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rockinbear0625rrockinbear0625 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am a 50 yr old black male. I have for the last 9 years been in pain and dealing with Bi-lateral carpal tunnel, a Cervical Fusion (@ C5-C6), and lower back pain. I still have numbness and tingling in both left and right arms and hands. Even after having the fusion done. I then have the release done on my right hand, but the pain never left. I started having problems on my left-side after the fusion. I complained only to hear, well you do have problems at your C6-C7. I went to the VA hospital being a veteran because i could not get financial help outside, after losing my job, not even from the doctor that did the fusion. At the VA they did a nerve block(temporary), and Myelogram. I think back to the beginning, when i was told that things would get better for me after the fusion. But I'm still constantly dealing with pain, and the only thing, I am being told now, is pain management and medicine. I was told in the beginning my C4-C5, C5-C5, C6-C7. I am too scared to let anyone get near doing surgery again. Can anyone talk to me about this troubling ordeal. I think I have heard all the story lines so far.


  • Rockinbear,

    First off, Welcome to Spine Health! You will find many on here that have 'been there, done that' and are more than happy to listen, and support! :) On the top of the web page is a search box for any questions you might have - especially such that may already have been addressed by other members on the site.

    Sorry to hear you are still facing issues. Many of us have found that we HAVE to be our own advocates anymore with health care. So many doctors only see the forest, and not the individual trees when they look at us! My surgeon (in my opinion), sees on the work he has done, not what else is going on, nor does he want to address them.

    I bring that up because in some ways, you might be facing similar through the VA. The VA in south Florida is horrible, so I don't even deal with them. If you are able, I would try to get with an outside specialist, or better yet, get with your GP and see if you can be referred? Have you had any recent imaging done to see what the status of your neck is at this stage?

    I have become an 'ankle biter' anymore! If my doctor won't listen, I start nibbling till they listen! My (our) bodies know more than we do I think when something is wrong! I've had 2 fusions in my neck, and now looking at full revision plus an addition level below, and possibly my C2/3 with it. Since that will be a biggie, I will get several opinions both Neuro and Ortho side of the house. Since you had Carpal Tunnel addressed, have you mentioned your concerns to that doctor, and if so, did they offer any suggestions to help? Please ask your questions, and if we can, we will help or give advice based on our own experiences.

    With us you get 'patient' talk verses 'doctor speak' so maybe that will be more comfy for you. Again, Welcome aboard!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am sorry you are dealing with this pain after hoping for a positive outcome. I had my fusion C5-6, c6-7 on March 19, 2008. My fusion is now considered failed. The pain is unbearable and actually I never got any relief after the surgery whatsoever. I have pain, tingling and numbness all the way down my left arm. My right arm is now being affected also. I had the xrays after the surgery and the neurosurgeon would simply say "well it looks like it is doing good". Also, my right vocal cord was paralysed during the surgery so I cannot speak except for a whisper. I just completed in home physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. I also have lumbar problems which affect both legs. I can only say that I sympathize (sp?) with everything you are going through. We are close in age I am 49 and life as I knew it has completely changed. The neurosurgeon had me convinced the surgery would help my pain levels by approx 70-80%. I realize not everyone is helped by having a fusion. I am learning to accept this along with not being able to speak. What else can I do. I am scared to death to have anymore surgeries. Had a complete tear of rt rotator cuff surgery Mar. 2003 and it has retorn. I am starting to feel as though I just don't have luck when it comes to surgeries. I am now seeing a neurologist who is assisting in my pain management. I had to leave my job after 29yrs 11mos and 26 days. Hard pill to swallow. My injuries actually happened at work but the CEO did not fill out the proper Workmans Comp forms so that has been another nightmare. Also the "so called friends I had after 30 yrs will not even speak to me. They are not allowed to.
    Sorry for rambling I just want you to know that I feel so bad for you and I can understand what you are going through.
    Also the neurosurgeon who did my surgery really doesn't want to do anything else with me as I think the whole vocal cord issue scared him off.
    I have had pain blocks, every therapy there is, nerve tests which shows alot of damage. I was approved for social security disability and I was one of the lucky ones who was approved in exactly 8 weeks on the first try. However, you have to wait 24 months to get on medicare. This has been very expensive also. We lost our home as my husband is disabled with a very bad heart so with my income being cut it has just put us in financial ruin.
    I agree with you for sure about having anyone else touch me. After dealing with so many failed surgeries I can see why we are scared. I think we have every right to be. All I can say is what gets me through now is I have told myself I have to try to have a positive outlook everyday. Easier said than done but I try. I still do the exercises the therapists have given me. And I see a neurologist for pain management. I could not function what so ever without medication. I wish I could have my old life back but I have decided to be realistic and do the best with what I have. I also tell myself when I am down that there are so many people in so much worse shape than myself. I try not to have to many pity parties, but allow myself to if necessary.
    This forum has been a Godsend. You can talk to those who are going through the same things and it really helps alot.
    I will pray for you and hope you can find some help for your pain. I also take an antidepressant which I believe helps. This is not an easy road we are on but just know we are all here to help if you need to vent.
    Take care and sorry for rambling but its obvious we have alot of the same problems and I guess I needed to talk also.
    Thanks for listening to me.
  • I have no insurance and when I was faced with cervical issues I didn't know where to turn. All the local and even out of the area ortho docs wanted alot of money up front. I found going to a larger hosp. (Cleveland Clinic) worked with me during all of this. There are Cleveland Clinics in FL also not sure if you are from there, Mayo, Vanderbilt, John Hopkins etc. Even University hospitals have financial help for people military or not. Start by using the computer google hospitals or specialists in your area that have fincancial help avaiable and go from there you might spend some hours on the phone but it will pay off. Most of all you need a doc that you have 100% confidence in or you will continue to question yourself about having anymore work done. I felt safer knowing I had a doc that worked for a very well known hosp top in the rankings and that made me feel so much more safer then to think of a local doc do it. But thats just me I feel if they do 20 surgeries a day hey they have to know what they are doing :) Good luck on your search and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers you find someone to trust to help you become more pain free..Lori
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