Cervical Fusion C567 8 yrs ago

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edt
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 12/13/2008 6:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
I had Anterior Cervical Fusion C567 in 5/2000 due to 2 rupt discs, while waiting for surgery 3rd rupture occured, spinal cord was compromised, one head turn away from Paralysis.  According to surgeon successful fusion occured.  Felt great for 2 weeks after surgery, numbness went away as did the severe pain from ruptures.  Following initial relief, began to have chronic pain, spasms, headaches, arm and shoulder pain, numbness off and on.  Was told prognosis not good because of the amount of spinal cord involvement prior to surgery.  11 mos later I went back to work, doing the same job, I had Prolotherapy and many alternative treatments in an effort to relieve pain.  Everything worked short term.  In 2003, I started to develop numbness left buttock that radiated in to leg (sciatica symptoms) at this point was told I should stop working.  Had an MRI of LS spine that showed disc bulges and bridging but not enough problems to explain symptoms.  Went on SSD, slowly over the last 5 years numbness in now in both legs, developed lympaedema left leg, neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain constant, never sure what I may have done for pain and spasm to intensify.  Recently, was evaluated for a Spinal Cord stimulator but was told I was in the 50% group of it may or may not work.  The odds are not enough for me to spend the $$$ and undergo a procedure that may NOT work.  The numbness in the legs is diagnosed as Unexplained peripheral neuropathy.  I have been on a lot of sites and have seen posts by many post fusion people with similar symptoms.
I maintain a positive attitude, take homeopathics, Norco 4 x's a day, have trigger point injections when neck pain is so severe I can't take it anymore.
The neurosurgeons that I have seen say not everyone with Cervical Fusion ends up this way, but what I have seen on sites like this we do end up like this.
Is there anyone out there with similar symptoms, this long after surgery?
pmphx

Pamela Neckpain
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Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 12/13/2008 11:17 AM (GMT -7)   
edit ...
I was offered this surgery at a large, (reputable?) teaching hospital about
three years ago. I waited in intense pain for over two hours. I looked around
me and saw people in halos and body casts who I knew were worse than
me. I didn't like the doctor before I even met him. No secretary came to
give us the doctors eta.
When I finally did get in to see The King, I could barely speak. Tears were
starting. It didn't matter. He spoke to my husband and me for about 5
minutes. Then he waited for us to accept or decline.
I just left. I wasn't rude or anything -- just picked up my purse, whispered
good bye and fled to the elevator and then to the frightening traffic in
San Francisco.
That's what you call a BAD TRIP. But it could have been worse. I haven't
really heard good things about Cervical Fusion.
Pamela
MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Osteoarthritis all levels of spine right down to Coccyx,Spondilytis,Myofascial Pain
Fibromyalgia,Bulging Discs,Spinal Stenosis,Scoliosis,Osteopenia,Chronic Constipation
Carpel Tunel Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder,
Depression & Anxiety

Methadone for Pain, Xanax for Anxiety, and more, of course.


PAlady
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 12/13/2008 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Edt,
First, welcome to the HW forum for chronic pain. We're not doctors, but can offer a lot of great support, and share experiences. I had lumbar fusion surgery last year, but it did not help my sciatic symptoms or the unexplained peripheral neuropathy in both feet. But I think it's important to remember that people with successful surgeries (I have to believe there are SOME out there!) probably aren't posting to these forums. So there will be a disproportionate number of failed surgeries here and on other sites - that's my guess.

That said, I don't think surgery is the answer many doctors would like us to believe. Or at least many surgeon. Pamela - so glad you walked out of there! Fled is a good word. I do know there are precious few neurosurgeons in the U.S. and that's why they're so busy, but if someone can't take more than 5 minutes with you I wouldn't want him/her touching me either. At least my neurosurgeon - although I had to wait two hours in the waiting room - when he finally saw me answered all my questions. He even answered an occasional e-mail, but not always.

Don't know if any of this helps, edt, but probably some people who have had cervical fusions will chime in. You can also search old threads on HW. There's a lot of good info. on them, although the people may not be around posting anymore if they're very old threads.

PaLady

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 12/13/2008 7:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Pamela and PaLady.....I totally agree with all that you said. I had the best of the best do my surgery, which I tried to avoid but the fact that they had already ruptured left me no choice. Its amazing what the Dr.'s consider a successful surgery, if the fusion occurs then its successful, the symptoms the fusion causes they run from. Sorry to hear you have the neuropathy, its definitely not a fun journey.
Thanks for sharing.
edt

PAlady
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 12/13/2008 8:14 PM (GMT -7)   
You're right on target edt. Took me awhile to catch on that my fusion was "successful" becasue the bones fused, even though none of my symptoms improved. Makes you wonder how accurate any of the statistics are.

PaLady

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 12/14/2008 5:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree, STATISTICS are a joke in most cases!
edt

cindybells
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/17/2008 7:54 PM (GMT -7)   
my primary care dr told me that there was a 95 percent success rate , i didnt stop to think that success rate was for fusion only , dr dont tell enough and we dont know what to ask. can any of you tell me if i can learn to drive while on 5/325 oxicodone or should i not chance it . c 5-6 spial fusion [4 mo post op ]+ 2 disc heriations in low back ,arm n leg pain n weekness

lolcashment
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 12/17/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I probably weight a lot more than you but at one time at the ER i was prescribed 5/325 oxicodone and didn't have really any side effects affecting my driving abilities or anything else really.

I did have a friend back in school that said if you put one of your hands between your legs and put your other hand on the steering wheel at 12 o'clock and as long as u keep a straight line between your hands your good to go. Dont know how he made it around turns tho. lol (wouldn't try it)

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 12/17/2008 8:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Cindy,
I take two 5/325 percocet's 2-4 times /day (max 6/day) plus others meds and I still drive. I find I can't take any muscle relaxants and drive safely, though. I only take that at night to help me sleep.

Everyone is individual, though, and I've had people tell me they're surprised that I'm taking so much meds. and still functioning. If I feel the slightest bit sleepy or groggy, I don't drive. I kind of know how to time it now. I'm not sure what the legal element would be. I never drink alcohol anymore, not with all these meds. but I never checked my state laws about driving with narcotics. My doctors have never told me I couldn't. I'm sure they probably do affect reaction time, just as alcohol does, but I need to drive as i live alone.

I seem to be able to tolerate a lot of medication and still function, although I do know I'm not as sharp and have periods when I'm very tired and need to rest. Fortunately, I don't have to drive a lot, as i'm no longer working full time. (there's a downside to that, too!)

PaLady

Tirzah
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2283
   Posted 12/17/2008 10:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi!
I also learned the hard way after my first surgery to ask what constituted "successful". Pre-op I had neuro probs that resulted in my decision for surgery. Post-op the neuro probs. were all either halted or reversed, but I also started getting these monstrous headaches about 10 days post-op. Fortunately, the SCS worked miracles on me & now that area is basically pain-free. :) Hopefully you can find something that will work as well for you.

I am having L5/S1 fusion next week & was given the same 95% successful statistic. So I asked what "successful" actually meant. My NS told me that "successful" means that the 2 levels fuse together, that there aren't any major complications (like infection), that you can still jump/hop and that you have at least 10-15% reduction in pain. Basically, that means that the pain goes from a 9 down to an 8. Most people will still be pretty miserable with their pain still at an 8 after a pretty major surgery. Then, of course, a few years down the road other levels might also deteriorate & you will be right back at a 9. You would think they would try to better manage expectations.

I asked what the best case scenario would be. I was told there are some rare cases when people have 100% elimination of their pain, but more commonly a phenomenal recovery would be 50% reduction in pain. To have any hope of that result, I was told that such patient almost always is young (20's-30's), thin, very healthy, relatively happy & not in litigation, and they are only getting one level of fusion. Even among that population, it's less than 25% chance that they will get that 50% less pain result. Why can't doctors just be honest with us? I don't get it. I know they say that there's all kinds of psych research out there stating that by raising patients' expectations the patient is more likely to have a better recovery, but it seems to me like people in reality just end up getting super depressed b/c they don't get that amazing recovery that they were expecting and can't understand why.

so frustrating...

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 12/17/2008 11:50 PM (GMT -7)   
To be honest, Frances, I think if they told us the truth many of us wouldn't have surgery. I was also given that 90% chance of success, which I thought in discussion with my NS meant 90% chance my pain would be significantly reduced. At least the sciatic pain. He did say I'd probably end up with more actual back pain, which did happen. Unfortunately, it ended up being on top of what I already had. So it increased my pain overall. if it had eliminated the sciatic pain, and numbness in my feet, I could maanage the back pack which is related to the muscles around the incision site (and that was with minimally invasive surgery).

Good luck to you next week!

PaLady

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 12/18/2008 6:14 AM (GMT -7)   
All of your answers sound like exactly what most Dr's I have seen have said. When the initial ruptures occured I went to a Prolotherapist in hopes that I could be fixed without surgery, he said surgery was the only answer at that point but to come back to him AFTER the surgery. He was the only one who realistically said and only these words, you will need me to help you in a few months, please come back and see me. He was so right and he did help me, my problem was the job I did continued to do more damage. At this point it is what it is and most of the therapies I did then are not affordable or covered with Medicare as my primary. The bad thing for all of us is NO ONE will give us secondary insurance, wait let me requote that, they will give us insurance with the surgery area being an exclusion and the monthly premium somewhere in the thousands. There are several modalities of treatment that we can do, BUT Medicare either doesn't cover them or they simply are not covered.
As far as pain meds, I believe in AZ if they find drugs in your system its pretty much the same as a DUI! After all these years I get very little relief or feel any side effects of the Norco. I play a game somedays I cut back the dose just so the next day I feel some relief....do any of you do this? It does work!
Thanks for sharing, it does help me feel like I'm not alone!
edt

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 12/18/2008 6:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Woops I meant to say Medicare simply does not cover some of the modalities or the amount they do cover and our out of pocket is way too unaffordable.
edt

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 12/18/2008 10:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Edt,
You bring up another huge area - finances. Maybe I'd better not think about that right now. I'm depressed enough with all the holidays and unemployment about to run out. But you're so right that many of the modalities that might help even manage the pain (nevermind cure - I've given up on that) are simply too costly, even if they're partially covered.

PaLady

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 12/18/2008 6:51 PM (GMT -7)   
PaLady,
NEVER GIVE UP!! We have to believe that someday soon there will be something that will help all of us who have chronic pain from surgical repair. Keep BELIEVING!!
edt

P.S. have you applied for SS Disability?

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 12/18/2008 10:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Edt,
For me, I think it's more productive to accept where I am, and move forward from there. I think that hoping for a cure can keep one stuck - at least I think for some of us it does. That doesn't mean you don't stay open to new developments, etc., but it does mean you deal with the likely reality and see what you can do with it.

I can't apply for disability yet. Not while I'm on unemployment. It's probably in my future, though. But I don't want think about that now!

PaLady

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 12/19/2008 5:44 AM (GMT -7)   
PaLady,
You can accept where you are but still believe or stay positive...I focus on what I CAN do! The 1st step in the morning is the hardest for sure! I have found that on my worst day, some time during the day I meet someone whose life is a bit more challenging then mine....this makes me grateful for where I am and what I can still do.
Have a GREAT day today!
edt

PICKINGCHICK
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 2/12/2011 11:46 AM (GMT -7)   
HELLO EVERYONE,
I have this prob. as well, I just want 2 know from Y'ALL just how the doctors know just how they know the # of Dics down the neck, how they count them also???????

Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 2/12/2011 1:00 PM (GMT -7)   

 

    Hello SPINALCHICK! Welcome to the CP forum!

Here is a website that may help you with your question. Also, it would help if you could start your own thread and introduce yourself to the members here. We would love to know more about you and what brought you here.

    Take care,

   SE wink          


Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 2/12/2011 1:11:28 PM (GMT-7)

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