Wow, I read your post and just could not believe everything that has happened to you and your family. You said you had alot on your plate, I think its overflowing honey. WOW, so much to deal with just with hubby's situation alone, now you have physical problems as well. It just does not seem fair.
I too have a Medtronics Pump. I have had mine since June 2005. Mine is on the recall for the potential gear problem. However, as you know in these recalls on the gears, not every pump is affected, but they have to alert people regardless. My pump is working fine and we have no intention of removing it and putting a new one in. When my pump is refilled, they always measure the medication they pull out and so far I have been on the money each refill. Too much medication or too little medication is the sign the pump is failing you know. Since I subscribe to the FDA site I get all the warnings on everything. I was just in this week for a refill and I told my dr it just scares the heck out of me every time I see a new alert. The latest of course is the catheter thing, which I need to call Medtronic and have them run my serial number to be sure. I talked at length with my dr about the tips of the catheters developing the granulomas and he says that particular problem is due to a dr not educated well enough in pumps. He says if drs do not use the correct medication in the pump and not have the doseage levels correct thats when the problems start with the granulomas. I have a very good pain dr and let me tell you, my quality of life is much better with the pump.
From what you are describing with your cervical problems, it sounds like its inevitable where your headed. All the numbness in the arms and hands, the awful shoulder problems are the classical signs of nerve involvement for sure. Every single thing you listed makes you a prime candidate for surgery. I have seen numerous neck and back surgeries and by far the cervical surgery is a much easier surgery to recuperate from over lumbar. Don't get me wrong, I am not down playing the surgery at all, its just an easier surgery to get through versus a full blown back surgery. I hope you have a very goos neurosurgeon. I know of people personally that were back working in 6 weeks. They had a good dr and they followed post op instructions and did great. Please keep posting and let us hear from you. This is a great group of people here. I belong to other forums on HW and everyone is always so compassionate. Take care, Hugs, Susie