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Posted By : JakenGess - 8/18/2017 7:01 PM
Hi everyone, just wanting to give an update on my most recent follow up neurosurgery appointment this week. I knew there was something different when the physician sat down and started going over my CT scan. To make a long story short, I have early onset of cervical myelopathy. That is a fancy term for irritation to my spinal cord. My doctor wanted to get a CT scan even after I had a MRI. As a nurse, I know the difference between the two scans but have never been in this position for myelopathy. The MRI looks at soft tissue structures like discs or muscles. A CT scan looks at the bony structures. My doctor was kind of on the fence about surgery and wanted the CT scan but now that I have those results, he approached me with surgery.

I have cervical stenosis from C5-7 with bone spurs at both levels. With the stenosis (narrowing) it has caused less spinal fluid to protect my spinal cord. Thus causing irritation. I also have hyperreflexia on my left side and hypersensation. He said that the myelopathy has not become permanent so surgery is not emergent but that I would need surgery soon, he gave me 1-2 years. Being a nurse, my bread and butter is my hands. I do everything with my hands and can't afford to wait for permanent damage.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Been through this before? Bad outcomes from ACDF surgery? This would be a two level fusion!

I am super nervous. I really feel like I trust this physician and unsure of a second opinion. Several years ago I had an episode transferring a patient and suddenly felt like I urinated on my self but never actually did. I wen to neurosurgery but they never did an mRI on my cervical spine. Only thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions. He made a comment that they never figured out why I had those symptoms, gave me medicine and then that was it. He feels that this could be related to what I have now!!!! Not many physicians would divulge hat information to a patient, that's why I trust him.

What do you guys think?

Posted By : White Beard - 8/18/2017 10:51 PM
Hi JakenGess. I've had C6/7 fusion do to cervical spinal stenosis, at the time mine was considered an emergency situation as my disc was pressing directly into the spinal cord. In fact the surgeon couldn't understand why I wasn't paralyzed?! Anyway I've posted in the past about this surgery and the others and the difficulties I had with that surgery. You can look up my post on it. There are some possible complications with having this surgery, but I will tell you for me the benefits or positives far out weighed the negatives of having this Surgery! I've had ACDF'S both C5/6 and C6/7 plus posterior fusion at C3/4. I understand your concern about the surgery and how it could affect your career in nursing. For what it is worth personally I would not wait to long to have the Surgery, as the possibility of having permanent damage done to your spinal cord and or surrounding nerve Roots is just to great of a risk!!

I can definitely EMPATHIZE with you! I wish you all the best!!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

Post Edited (White Beard) : 8/18/2017 10:56:34 PM (GMT-6)

Posted By : straydog - 8/19/2017 7:20 AM
There are many members that have had this same surgery in the past. You can type in 2 level ACDF in the search box at the top & pull up old threads to read. I think waiting is not a good options since you already know surgery is on the table. You are currently exhibiting symptoms that are bothersome, I would not want them getting worse. Waiting can potentially cause more damage to the nerves. In some instances people end with some permanent nerve damage not to mention increased pain by not taking care of it early on.

Since you are a nurse, lifting may be an issue. I do not see many drs giving permanent lifting restrictions any more & they should. Before the implant of hardware in spine surgeries, the drs always gave lifting restrictions.

As far as the 2nd opinion goes, that is strictly up to you. I would not ask the surgeon to recommend someone. It may be something you want to do. The recommendations this dr has given you are appropriate, he is on the conservative side & has given you options. I would go with my gut feeling.

One of the most important parts of this surgery is what you do after surgery. It is imperative to follow the post op instructions to the letter. Do not try to rush things thinking it will speed up the recovery. That will do more harm than good. You will need to be patient, time will be your new friend. Right after surgery take your medications on a schedule to keep the post op pain under control. Do not let it get ahead of you. Your pain meds will be short term so you will not have any problems taking them for a short time. The other factor is how much time can you take off to have surgery. Trying to return to work in a few weeks, not feasible at all. You need to allow time to heal on inside, the scar may look fine but it takes months to totally heal from this surgery. A new member recently posted, she had a 2 level done & the surgeon said she could return to work in 2 weeks as a server. She carries the large trays over head loaded down with food. That is absolutely insane & no she did not return to work. Surgeons are a breed of their own. They view every surgical candidate from a textbook stand point & that doesn't mean a thing.

Do yourself a favor & look in CP101 at the top. Scroll down towards the end, there are suggestions & tips from surgical members on what they found useful while recovering. I am sure you will find some great ideas in there. If you do not have an adjustable bed or a recliner, see if you can borrow a recliner. Getting up & down after surgery is rough, sleeping in a recliner has proven to be much easier.

Keep us posted.
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