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Wanted to introduce myself and say thanks for being here

tulsanurse1ttulsanurse1 Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in New Member Introductions
I am a single 47 and until 19 months ago, felt 30 years old. I dated, was full of life, and was for the most part happy. My neck had been hurting so I tried to get into my physician. He is a DO with manipulation experience. That day he happened to be out of the office sick, so I made an appointment with an awesome that had worked on me while I was in nursing school. I got in, got manipulated, received heat and massage and went home. I was still hurting so bad but had to be at work the next morning. I went to work and was hurting so bad that, on my lunch hour, I went in to see my physician. He manipulated me and I went back to work. Within 30 minutes of returning back to work I was in the ER crying harder than I think I had ever cried before. My blood pressure was 210/110 and after receiving enough pain med to put a horse to sleep, I finally could rate my pain at 4/10. They did Xrays and said that I was having spasms. They didn't do the MRI until 3 days later where they found that C2/C3 had shattered, the ligament that held all the disk in place had also been compromised so that C3-C6 had "fallen onto the spinal cord". It took 5 days after the MRI to finally get into surgery. It took those days to get the second opinion and conference calls with insurance and my primary care physician to agree who would do it, and what they would do. I spent 3 days in ICU because of anesthesiolgy related hypertension (High blood pressure). I then went to an ortho-neuro floor for 9 days before I released to go home. I walked with a walker for two months, could not bathe myself, and slept when I wasnt doing physical therapy. The depression was and is a whole 'nother topic. I finally returned to work 4 1/2 months later. I started off very slow and did minimally tasks.

I am not sure of the procedures except to say that I fused from C2-C7. I was cut front and back. I wear a fentanyl 75mcg patch, changed every 48 hours, use Lortab and Soma for breakthrough pain, an antidepressant, and Ambien for sleep.

I am back to work. I have horrible spasms, have not dated one time since the day it happened, rarely go out of the house on my days off. I work three 12 hour shifts a week and spend the other days trying to rest my neck enough to go back to work.

I no longer do physical therapy because it just caused more spasms. I have hypersensitivity to the posterior neck area and everyone knows to never touch me because they will cause a severe spasm that will send me home.

I have done a second opinion with one of the "best known" Neurosurgeons in my area. After he met with me, he showed and explained my new MRI films, and told me that the surgeon should have surgical fixed T1 and T2. He stated that it is a matter of maybe 2-3 before I will have surgery to fix those. At the end of that visit, he referred me to a pain specialist. I am an RN and was so against seeing a pain specialist. I went and then didnt go back. I want fixed. I cannot see how a pain specialist is going to help me. My primary care physician addresses my pain med needs, he can inject the steriods when I can't relief, so why would I need someone else to this. I want off all this stuff and am sure a pain specialist can do nothing for me.

I know this was long and I am grateful for those who read it. I have no idea what else to do. I want my life back. The chronic pain has affected my relationship with my friends and family and I just want it to decrease to the point where I can work, live, and be happy without the use of pills, patches, and injections.

1. I'm not sure if this related but I have been feeling "flu-y) for the last 5 weeks. I am worried that the hardware may be causing this.
2. My cervical spine is no longer straight. It began moving more towards the right about 6 months after surgery. A friend of mine who is a hospitalist confirms by palpation that this is the case.


  • After reading your post, its incredible that you are able to work 12 hour shifts! I hope you are not doing too much. Can you possibly go on disability for a while and give yourself more time to heal?

    I know how difficult this is for you. Hard to accept the changes. I'm sure you know the stages of grieving by Kubler-Ross. We are going through the same thing as chronic pain sufferers. It took me two years to realize that in order for me to live my life I had to come to some sort of acceptance of my "new" normal. It was a strange realization that came to me one day, this is not like recovering from an appendectomy, spinal surgery requires a very long recovery and the pain that brought me to it may be better but may never be completely gone. You've come to a great place for support, glad you are here.

    Best wishes to you,

  • it is one thing to want to be fixed and return to your former self. but is it a reality. can it be accomplished. get some more opinions and then you will know what is possible.
    my dr told me we cant fix your whole spine so i had to live with my problem and make necessary adjustments. if you can find a surgeon who thinks he can fix you then go for it. that is your desire but check with surgeons to see if its a reality.....i hope it is....pete
  • I have thought about trying to see if I could get disability. Usually its on the days I can hardly get out of bed. I'm so confused about disability. I think you have to be pretty much destitute to apply for it. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. I am curious as to whether I would be able to work while I was applying for it. I know most people are denies at least once. My question is...how do people "make it financially" while they are waiting to be approved. I have a daughter that I have to provide for. It's all so new and confusing. I guess I just always thought I would be healthy enough to work hard and prosper.
  • Thanks for reading my post. I think sometimes I am still in denial that my life as I knew it not coming back. Its been almost two years and I live in lala land at times. I feel so out of my league in learning what it means to have all the facts. I don't even know the proper terminology of things I've undergone surgically. I am just now trying to learn all the terminology to help me research effectively. I know I am an RN but my specialty has been ICU with ortho being my weakest area. Guess I should have learned more, smiles.
  • who cares about the terminology. a view of the good surgeon giving you the thumbs up sign is all you need to see.
    if you hang around this site a few months youll sound like a spinal specialist. we all know the terminology but you best not have us do the procedure ....best of luck....pete
  • Thanks Pete, your last sentence made me laugh. Well, If I have to quit working and lose my insurance, I may have to consider letting you all do any other procedures I may need. LOL, Thanks again, Laurie
  • Welcome to Spine Health. You mentioned 3 things that really piqued my interest, the first being posterior approach, the second being the posterior hypersensitivity and the third being that your c-spine is moving to the right.

    Has anyone taken a good look at the muscles in your neck (primarily posterior)to see if you have had any atrophy develop or any dystonia? A good PT can easily evaluate this hands on and an MRI can show it as well.

    I had two posterior surgeries at C1 and C2. Within six months I had two muscles atrophy to nothing and it started a hornets nest of problems, including the cervical dystonia which loves to crank my head and neck over and around.

    What you described happening to you, sounds fairly similar to my experience.

    As far as having a fear of using a PM doc ... get over that one or you will always be miserable. Anesthesia docs who get into pain management, seem to have a far better understanding of not only what generates the pain, but how to manage it without undoing our lives. A good PM doc is worth his/her weight in gold!

  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you finally decided to stop by! how do you find the time? i do hope you are able to have some pain relief soon. there are options you have not tried yet i am sure. good luck! we are always here for you!! Jenny :)
  • I totally understand what you are saying about just wanting to be fixed. I have been there. After 5 years of living and suffering with the pain (tried everything known to man including surgery) I have finally had to accept that going to a PM doc and finding the right medication for me has been key to having any kind of life that even resembles normal. I have not given up and am still very hopeful that advancements will be made in areas of the spine and that I will be able to one day have some type of procedure that will enable me to live without the meds or pain. But, until then Pain Management is the only thing that helps. You have found a great site for understanding and support. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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