And here is my situation (from what I think was the beginning): Senior year high school-1978-head on collision, the other driver was cited in the accident. My injuries - head - severe concussion, possible brain injury, neck & back - whiplash, knees - both crushed as dash board in pushed into my lap. All caregivers surprised I survived-but here I am.
Knee surgery on both knees to repair damage, several pins placed in each leg. Other treatments included 80 stitches in my forehead to close a gash. Next surgery in 1984 on both knees again-pins removed, more repair work, I'm good to go. To this day can't sit Indian style or be on my knees for more than a minute or two.
Meanwhile back/neck soreness is starting to increase. Chiropractic visits for several years help to relieve pain always very temporarily. Moved to a new state, had to find all new doctors and pain is getting worse. Here's where I stand today: 2001-03 epidural spinal injections (sets of 3 two weeks apart for 2yrs). Some helped again for very short time. Physical therapy made pain worse.
2003-severe L5/S1 disc rupture. Small pieces of bone fragments floating around, nerve pain unbearable. Neighbor had to call 911. First back surgery, neurosurgeon said it was the worst rupture he'd ever seen. In the hosp for five days, come home feel better for a while then pain hits again. More injections, more pain, new pain management docs decide I should try spinal cord implant, I said okay. 2nd surgery for trial and a month later 3rd surgery to implant the device. Offers decent relief for about a year, but still have nagging pain...like you know it's there but not severe. Then I lose lots of weight due to one of the meds I was taking at the time and 4th surgery-revision of implant-had to move from one side of my back to the other. This time surgical incision never heals. Constant swabbing to test for infection, always come back negative. 5th surgery to try to overlap skin to repair and close incision. Doesn’t work. 6th surgery to try to put implant deeper to allow incision to close. Still the incision doesn’t heal, go to wound care clinic for 14 weeks, they cannot get incision to heal, all the while still swabbing to test for infection, results always negative. Changing bandage every day has made my skin raw.
Now need to find a new surgeon and no one wants to see me after I tell them my problem – worried about some kind of liability issue? My family doc finally finds a neurosurgeon to see me. He recommends to remove implant completely, let wound heal and decide what to do from there. Okay- Dec 2007, implant is removed, near deadly infection is found, L5/S1 found to still be herniated, can’t do anything about it because the infection is so bad, they were worried about spreading it. Needed to heal first. Few more days in hosp with heavy duty antibiotics running constantly through IV, go home with script for 2 more antibiotics to be taken for three weeks, wound heals, pain is severe and is now affecting my upper back and neck.
All this time I am wearing a duragesic (fentanyl) patch changing it every three days. I take cymbalta for depression/pain, I’ve been on and off different nerve pain meds, hydrocodone and then a variety of stuff for high blood pressure, hyperthyroid and hormone imbalances. Blood pressure, thyroid and hormone issues are within the last two years, fentanyl patch and other meds for about six years.
Now I’m looking at spinal decompression-sounded like a good treatment, I’ve been for two consultations at this one place. They did range of motion tests, EMG (muscle responsiveness) and new MRI. All areas tested for range of motion are at least 30% less than what they should be, the EMG showed NO normal muscle activity (all muscles are in constant spasm) and MRI showed L5/S1 herniation, C6 herniation, arthritis forming in lower back, L4/L3 bulging, numerous cervical and thoracic discs are bulging. Cost for a “package deal” – 24 sessions of spinal decompression both lumbar and cervical, physical therapy, cold laser therapy, massage…$8400. This is after amount they absorb and amount my insurance will pay. And now after speaking with other people, my sister-in-law is a pediatric OT, she didn’t know much about this but asked some of her colleagues, she said they just said “YIKES”, wondering is there somewhere you don’t have to buy a “package”. And then I find other sites on the web (my original searches only came up with positive feedback) I’m finding lots of negative feedback about spinal decompression.
SO…like I said in the beginning, I’m desperate to find some relief. And now I don’t know if the decompression treatment is the way to go. I need my life back before I go bonkers…and NO I am not suicidal and have never gone that route. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and letting me get this all said. If anyone has any comments, suggestions or advice – my ears are open! Thanks again for indulging me.