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Newbie Here . . . surgery in 3 weeks

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,008
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Good afternoon. I've been lurking for the past few weeks . . . reading everybody's posts and finally decided to join.

I have a 2 1/2 year history of cervical problems that originated when I herniated a couple of discs while rolling over in bed! A few days later, I experienced numbness and tingling in my left index finger, that grew into some serious pain in my left arm and shoulder. I went to a neurosurgeon after an MRI showed several issues and was told that PT would afford me a 50% chance of recovery from pain.

I proceeded to PT with a great attitude and actually was pain-free for exactly one year. Then, in March, 2007, a week before my 5th trip to Jamaica, I went to a Sean Paul concert and spent 2 hours standing up and stretching to see the concert (I'm five foot nothing). The next day, I had the worst muscle spasms I've ever experienced in my life! Two days later, I suffered an onslaught of severe nerve pain down my left arm. A second MRI showed a new finding of a mild anteriolisthesis -- but otherwise, stable findings. I underwent an ESI that did nothing for the pain but gave me horrible hot flashes for about 2 weeks. I went to Jamaica in pain -- had a wonderful trip . . . recovered from my pain flare, but had a second flare a few weeks later.

I returned to PT . . . and got out of pain -- but have suffered 6 more flares in the past year or so. The pain flares are incredible!!! I gave birth to twins and the pain was NOTHING compared to this nerve pain!!!!! Despite the flares, I've remained at work and have lived my life (albeit with a sense of fear of a flare).

About 4 weeks ago, I had my hair done (something that happens every 6 weeks) -- but this time, my hairdresser got a bit "funky" and did some crazy, quick, pretty forceful neck massage. I'm not really sure why she did it -- she knows about my neck problems . . . but, it felt good!!!!! The next morning . . . OMG -- neck spasms that were so severe I could barely moved. Then . . . the nerve pain -- worse than I've ever had . . . and instead of a 10 - 14 day flare, it kept going and going and going -- kinda like the energizer bunny.

Another MRI . . . new findings of an annular tear at c6-7, and not only the c6-7 nerve root impingement, but now the exiting c-8 nerve root! Back to the neurosurgeon I went . . . same neuro I saw 2 1/2 years ago.

He offered me a "band-aid" surgery -- not sure what it's called (going through the back of my neck to "clean" up c6-7), but assured me the surgery was more painful -- and I'd still be left with the underlying degenerative problems that's creating my problems. We discussed a single level fusion at c6-7; however, my c5-6 disc has some moderate spondylosis . . . so we agreed on 2-level cervical fusion with instrumention. I'm scheduled for 11/7. UGH.

I'm a single mom with incredible 16 year old daughters. My Mom and Dad are coming from Maine to join us here in Florida to help my daughters while I'm recovering. I'm nervous and scared as heck -- but definitely ready to be out of pain for more than a few weeks.


  • Hi SoftE, welcome to SH. You have found a great site full of information and support. I am a lumbar Spiney, but we have lots of Neckies here that are sure to post soon. Surgery is always a scarey proposition, but when you have done everything else, and are still miserable, then it is probably time.

    Your story sounds kinda like mine in that I had flares that would settle with injections for 2 years. Then last Valentines Day I got my worst flare of all, could barely walk for months, limping all the way. The injection didn't touch it. It took about 3 months of water PT to start to feel better, during which time I booked surgery. By the time of the surgery I was much better, not 100%, but better. However knowing that I could flare again anytime and that my spine was unstable, I knew it was only a matter of time. It was inevitable that surgery was in my future. So I went for it, timed with kids out of school, around vacations, etc. I am doing well at 10 weeks, it is a long haul, but I will get there.

    Sometimes it just gets to the point where you know you need to do something, instead of living life on the edge of the next flare up. It sounds like that is where you are. Good luck with your surgery. Be seeing you around the boards. >:D< Cali-Sue
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