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Another surgery is scheduled

jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Today I was sitting at my desk working as normal when I felt something shift in my neck that brought on pain and a feeling of pressure. I had a x-ray last week and the surgeon saw my hardware was backing out and we were on a wait and see if it moves any further. The pain did not subside so I went tot he emergency room. After comparison x-rays with last weeks they decided my plate had not changed BUT my surgeon wanted me to go to his office up stairs as soon as they dismissed me. He told me he is concerned about the plate and since I felt something shift in my neck he thinks I should go ahead with posterior surgery to stabilize my neck. I do not want this but from what he told me it seems I really do not have a choice. Is it ever going to end? I dont want to seem like I am whining but I have had 4 surgeries on my neck to date and I have had enough. Finacially this will ruin me. You have heard the saying you are one surgery away from bankruptcy, well try 7. This will make a total of 7 surgeries on my spine. Work will fire me as soon as they find out about this, I have no fmla left for the year and will not be available again until August. The surgeon scheduled my surgery on a Sat. so I am going to have to work like nothing is wrong and call into work Monday morning and tell them I had surgery.Then pay for cobra insurance. I dont like to deceieve them but what other choice do I have. I need the income at least up until my surgery. I am single so I have no one to help me out. Any ideas anybody on how to handle this?


  • Can you find out if you have long term insurance to use for your time off to heal. It's really necessary to have the surgery and I'm not sure what else you can do. I hope everything works out for you and you can keep your job. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I am sorry to hear you are having so many problems, I had three level surgery done 12-8-08 with plate and 8 screws C4-7, 9 months later they said my plate had come loose and I did not fuse. I had posterior surgery done 12-2-09 with rods and my hip bone graft. I am 10 weeks post surgery. The new surgeon said I will be stable this time but will not know if my pain will improve until I fuse this time (mid March). So far my pain level is worse, I still wearing the hard brace too. I am on Cobra too, I used up all of my sick leave, vacation and FMLA. I found out the Fed's offer a 80% payment towards our monthly Cobra cost and trying to apply for that now. I pay $917.0 a month currently so any help I can get will be great.
    I started a SSD app on line in case I can't return to work, it is good until June to finish filing it.
    I hope your surgery goes good and everything works out for you. Don't ever give up.
  • Susan,

    I can definitely appreciate where you are coming from. I have had a total of 5 surgeries on my neck and waiting as you were to schedule the 6th one. I think the surgery you are having is close to what I need done. I have a hardware issues as well on my anterior plate. Unfortunately my screws are stripped out and the plate needs to be cut out and i as well need the posterior rods put back in the back side. Since the plate is anterior it is considered a 360 as what I think you have scheduled. Although surgery is not something we ever want to go through sometimes you just have to do it for your health.

    As far as your employer and what to do with them. If you are sure they will terminate your employment based on your surgery then I would do it as you are planning. Be sure your surgeon doesn't write you out of work for more than a week at a time, providing you have no long or short term benefits. As much as I hate to say this you can apply for unemployment and if they terminate your employment there isn't much they have to fight with if your able to work. While you and I know you can't work as long as their no paper trail to it, then you will qualify. This should atleast give you some income and time to recoup from the surgery. The application process for unemployment in most states is done on-line and report in once a month. Hopefully everything will work out and they won't terminate you but then again if they do hopefully you will land a much better position in the long run with a healthier neck. If you don't have your health in life then all the other stuff is mute. Keep us posted on what you do and if I can do anything don't hesitate to pm me. I have been through posterior surgery twice to date and while no fun at all the pain prior was much worse. Take care.
  • I haven't much experience with neck surgery at all.

    I really have no experience with Ohio labor laws. Why do I still so want to help-so bad? Your situation really bothers me.

    I understand you are out of FMLA time. Does your company have any medical leave time they will grant you? Many companies will grant personal or medical leave even though you have no FMLA time left. (FMLA time is just a federal guideline.) There are also certain laws that could possibly protect your job with the "Americans with disabilities Act."

    I do not know enough about your job, your company or your situation but I hope you do have an opportunity to do your homework and get a chance to really look into some of these before your surgery.

    Good luck with your surgery. Please keep us posted.

  • Sorry that you are having all this trouble. I know what you mean about being close to broke. I am still paying for my portion of the PLIF surgery.

    I hope that you get some help. Good luck with the surgery on Saturday ~ hugs~

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I am really in a no win situation here, Per Ohio laws it is a no fault law as far as termination goes, in other words employers do not need a reason to fire you.
    A other employee at work needed surgery and she had exhausted all her fmla on a previous surgery and work in so many words told her if she wanted to protect her job she needed to schedule her surgery when more fmla leave was available. Lucky for her she only had to wait an additional month. I cant wait until August, I took your advise Frog and looked on the americans with disabiliy act and did not see anything that I think would protect me. But just in case I missed something I will call them today. I think it is wrong that I will be basically lying to my employer but what other choice do I have. I have alwaya been taught not to lie. lol. If I do as planned this will leave the company in a big mess.....no one else knows how to do my job. My morals are kicking in here. I know when I return to work today they will want a return to work slip from the doctor, which I did not get due to all the excitment that was going on I forgot. So Ill have to leave and go to the surgeons office and get one. Go figure we are in the middle of a snow storm right now....just what I want to do is drive around in it, It seems nothing is going my way right now. The situation seems pretty hopeless,
  • I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this. I wish there was an easy answer. You state there is no one else who can do your job in your absence. Would even being upfront with them about this situation, as it sounds like it is really an emergent surgery and not an elective, put you at risk of losing your job? If it is an emergent situation, I get a feeling that they can not fire you. Let us know how you make out with your phone call to the ADA. I would also call your state's labor board.

    Best wishes,

  • Wish I had some good advice, Susan, but all I can do is wish you well in trying to arrange things so that you can survive financially. Will be keeping you in thoughts and prayers!

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • This Saturday?

    If you are so certain they are going to terminate you you might want to play it the other way. Go tell them what's going on. This is an emergency so you have no choice. But you don't want to hurt the company more than what is unavoidable. So can you work from home? If it's computer work you can probably be working in a week or so.

    This is how I see it. First they could get in trouble for firing you before your surgery because that is discrimination against you. Also it isn't going to help them. The longer you are there the more they get done. Second if you are honest they may work with you. If you duck out and someone finds out you knew then they will surely fire you.

    So you really have nothing to lose by notifying them a few days before surgery. And maybe everything to gain.

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I guess I should of said March 13th. It is next month and not this Saturday. My conscience go the best of me and I took the chance and told them of my upcoming surgery.Their reply was they have to speak to a/r and then will get back with me. Oh well if they fire me I will just pay the cobra sooner then I wanted to. I just would not of felt right not telling them or should I say deceiving them. I was raised better then that.Whatever happens, happens it is out of my hands now. I am tired of worrying about everything and that makes one less thing to worry about.
  • Susan,
    I am glad you can now live with your self. You will sleep so much better. (Okay, as better as those of us with pain sleep.)

    I have been away from the computer today, and it seems, missed all your excitement.

    So am I to understand that your surgery is now not until March 13th? Will you work until then?
    Will that build you up anymore FMLA time. Oh, I guess not enough. I think you said August.

    I am not sure the ADA will help or not since they will probably say as long as your job will make accomodations for you. I don't think the accomadations go as far as allowing you to actually miss work but it is still worth a call. Also the labor board of Ohio suggestion was great as well as seeing if there is anyway you can work from home. I am hoping they can work with you though and all of this can be avoided. Of course what they do for one employee they have to do for all........

    Like others have said, fortunately, you are in a position that they do need you so who knows. At least you have told them so they can get back to you now and you have time to prepare. Whatever happens I wouldn't walk away. Make it their idea. The ball is in thier court now.

    Best of luck to you, on this and your up coming surgery.

  • No matter what happens you know you did the right thing. Somehow it will work out.

  • I havent seen you in here in awhile. How are you doing? I'm sorry you are going through so much. Please let us know.
    take care
  • i can sympathize what you are going thru. i lost my job , because i had used up all my fmla, sick time, etc. they were nice about it, but i felt i couldn't go on anymore anyway, it was kind of a mutual agreement if you will. if i wasn't working anyway , it allowed me to get started on SSD. it opened doors as far as not even being employed anymore, to just being off work for awhile. my situation is different though, i am married with 3 children, and we did up in bankruptcy, lost our van, struggling to keep our house over heads. it is not easy, but i know what you are feeling, i struggled also. :T t after awhile i kind of threw up my hands, and my job got pushed down the list of many things going on in our lives with pain, and surgeries, etc. there is help out there , trust me how we have made it this far, i DO NOT KNOW. @) you have to put your health first. another thing we have in commen is that i had my acdf last June 09, i thought it was getting better but suddenly my neck pain has gotten bad. it feels like something pinching, sharp pains, headaches. i seen my neurosurgeon tues. and he is scheduling a cat scan of my neck . he wants to make sure there is nothing going on with hardware in my neck. i have plate, and 3 screws, i guess we will see, i sure hope nothing is wrong there again. well susan you take care LEO
  • omg! 6th surgery, i have had two and could not bear the thought of anymore,i'm terrified, i would imagine it's a must.i wish you all the luck
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