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Switching surgeons

FarmgrrlFFarmgrrl Posts: 146
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had previously posted under another thread "met with NS today...3 level fusion vs. repeat micro-d" and posted in my last thread that I had finally decided to go with the repeat micro-d with my previous NS after seeking a 2nd opinion.

Well, I just got a phone call from my NS office and he's NOT giving me the choice!

I called on Friday to tell them that I was ready to proceed with the Micro-D and got a phone call back from his scheduler to say that the NS wanted to make sure that I understood this is fusion surgery. I told her I thought I had a choice, but apparently this is not the case.

So, I've now called NS #2 to book surgery with him. NS #2 is against fusion right now and only reccommends the micro-d.

This is really frustrating. I liked my original NS just fine but when someone says "you have 2 choices, , I reccommend #2" doesn't it mean I still have a choice? I've never had such a problem with miscommunication with a doc before.

Wish me luck,


  • don't exactly communicate well. When they say "recommendation" they actually mean 'my way or the highway.' I'm sorry this happened to you. You have to do what you feel is right for your body. Make sure you discuss the stability of your spine with your surgeon before you proceed. For months, the only pictures of my spine I was shown were the ones from the side. They didn't look all that bad to me. I figured shaving off the protruding pieces of disc would do. Little did I know that from the back, my spine looked like a total train wreck. The vertebrae were actually tilted and unstable looking and removing the protrusions just set up further collapse. That is why I ended up with a fusion. When I was told I had arthritis, scoliosis, spondy, and DDD, I just couldn't see it from those side views.

    I wish you all the best. If you can get by with the micro-D, I'd go that route too.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Which level will he operate on?
  • I'm glad you clarified and found out beforehand.
    It is interesting but I have met several surgeons (Ortho's and Neuros). The doctor that truly means it is your choice is the one that says "it is your choice and I will treat you no matter which direction you chose".
  • Hi Linda - In talking with NS#2 he did address stability. He feels that yes the other levels do have DDD as well but its not severe enough to warrant fusion at this point. There is no gross instability on my films either. I'm sticking to my guns on my decision though many, many of my friends & family think I'm crazy for not going for the "permanent fix"...little do they know of what that could potentially mean.

    Gwennie - He would operate only on L4-L5 where I re-herniated. He's giving me about a 20% chance of re-herniation.

    DNice- I'm glad you made your choice too! I saw your post :)

    For now, I'm still waiting for NS#2's office to call me back. I'm calling them again first thing in the morning. Its been 3 days now, I just hope that this isn't a bad sign of things to come.

    I can't wait to finally get a surgery date set. Its getting pretty frustrating, especially at work. I've been getting a few snippy comments from co-workers about me being on 'light duty'. I feel like all eyes are on me sometimes. I'd trade my back for their healthy backs any day to do direct patient care. Right now I just can't handle all of the bending, lifting, wrestling (LOL, I work with kids) etc. involved in working directly at the bedside. I've tried...secretly... and it hurt! I work just as hard as they do, just in a different way.
  • I am glad you are holding your ground.
    As for your co-workers . . .they don't have to understand your situation. Unless you meet someone who has had back issues or family with this type of issue, they will never get it so don't waste your time or energy on them. You have serious back issues and you need to take care of you.

    Let me know when your surgery is. I'm optimistic for both of us.

    Oh - as for coworkers, when people ask me how I'm doing, I tell them. I actually tell them it's bad and then I explain a fusion . . . and what it means and I get jaw drop. Then I get . . gosh, I hope the revision works and you should take it easy and stop working to much.
  • I can't wait to finally get a surgery date set. Its getting pretty frustrating, especially at work. I've been getting a few snippy comments from co-workers about me being on 'light duty'. I feel like all eyes are on me sometimes. I'd trade my back for their healthy backs any day to do direct patient care. Right now I just can't handle all of the bending, lifting, wrestling (LOL, I work with kids) etc. involved in working directly at the bedside. I've tried...secretly... and it hurt! I work just as hard as they do, just in a different way.
    I am sorry to hear you are going through this! Most folks unless you tell them that you have cancer, or walk in with a cast for instance, they can't "RELATE" what the heck you are going through. It sucks yea, and it gets you hurt and frustrated, but they just don't get it!!! Don't let them get you down - I get that as well, as I am "light duty", and in law enforcement, and well "we eat our young" or old in my case compared to many in my Branch!

    I no longer say I was "fused", but state I had another spinal surgery....they *seem* to back down on that. I guess they can "relate" to spinal surgery easier than "fusion" surgery? Dunno, but it is making it easier on me at work. Good luck with it!!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks for the support! :)

    One of them is actually a spiney herself. Perhaps she's kicking herself for never asking for light duty when she's had her own acute problems. I don't know. I think this is perhaps a case of "eating the broken" LOL

    I know its a stressful time of year with the holidays plus its our "busy season" and we are always short staffed. All I can say is there will be plenty of "charge" shifts to go around once I'm gone for surgery. A member of management actually told off one of my co-workers for saying something (behind my back) basically to the gist of, "either she's in charge (light duty) or we work short a nurse because then she won't be able to work". I know I should ignore it but its hard when you're in the heat of the moment. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and cry easily, especially when I'm mad.

    As always,
    Thanks for reading!

  • Micro over a fusion. Not a hard choice if he is telling you 20% chance of re-herniation. That sounds about typical odds. Will be lot less harder on you and you always have fusion to fall back on later if need be.

    As for co-workers. After my 2 week post-op meeting with my doc I sent my boss a status update. Told him at least 4 weeks but possibly 6 weeks. He told the rest of my team and another group I work with a lot. I got a bunch of people busting my chops for milking it and getting out of a couple of projects. So I sent them all an image from my 2 week xray. With a short explanation of what the surgeon did. My boss sent me a note back and told me to take the whole 6 weeks and not send anymore pictures. Most of the clowns who were giving me crap just said,"Wow" or "Holy Sh.., that must hurt"... End of harassment.

    Christine nurses are one of the worst for breaking the rules on bend, lift, twist. The nature of your job working on the floor does it. As a recent patient. I observed my nurses leaning over my bed to do things. The angles are just wrong. You gals bend at the hips too much.

  • I've called NS#2 three times since last Monday and have received no response. I'm feeling a little desperate, I hate the unknown! I'm thinking its time to see a 3rd opinion and get moving with this.

    Of course, I'm still in a holding pattern until I get the A-OK from my liver surgeon. I just had my liver MRI this past Monday and I meet with him next Monday. I got a copy of the images and have already started freak myself out over it, I guess an unwelcome distraction from my back issues.

    I can say I'm still quite comfortable, still taking my Aleve & Zanaflex, rarely needing Vicodin. At least I have that on my side for now!

    Yes, we do bend all the time! I just can't see myself raising up my patients' beds up to my level at 3 am for assessments & patient care! I'd have pretty p*ssed off parents!

    I really am thinking of making an appt with my PM doc to see if I can ease my work restrictions since I'm doing well right now.

    Anyways, Merry Christmas everyone!
  • Thanks for the update.
    I think we are both in holding patterns.
    It's probably best so you can enjoy the holidays.

    I got all my opinions and am pleased that the last remote opinion from a spine clinic came in confirming revision which is what I already decided.

    I'm switching surgeons for 2reason -> want a NS and my current surgeon is out of network which is going to be an issue in 2010 from a cost perspective. I have to say I'm going to send a brief thanks b/c they've been great and wanted to work with me on cost but I am just nervous b/c they don't know the details of my new plan which are terrible for out of network.

    Anyhow -> I have my next appt 1/12 with my new surgeon for re-assessment, probably another round of MRI images, and to schedule the revision surgyery.

    Keep me updated ...seems like we are both tracking toward similar dates.

    I started taking it easier and am holding steady with advil and occassional percoset.

    Good luck. Enjoy the holidays!
  • Right after I wrote that post I checked my voicemail & NS#2's nurse left me a msg...

    Surgery is set for 1/22/10...pre-op visit on 1/19/10.

    This is tentative depending on what my liver guy has to say...

    Holy cow, Merry Christmas to me :)


    I'm glad you're at least comfortable too. Thanks for your update :)

    Sometimes I find myself trying to talk myself out of even the revision surgery but I definitely don't want the nerve issue to become permanent and the sciatica/spasms DO butt their ugly heads in at least once a day. I guess just to remind me LOL
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