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Hello my name is Gracie........

graciegirlggraciegirl Posts: 249
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in New Member Introductions

This is my first visit here to intorduce myself. I would also like to wish everyone WELL!

I am a 60 year old/young gal in fairly good shape in spite of some health issues. I quit smoking in 85, have osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis(due to menopause at 33)have well contolled hypertension and after a knee accident still keep quite active and walk as much as I can.

I had an accident in 1990 and fractured my neck. I have done fairly well all these years despite some back pain with bulging discs and some radiculopathy in my right arm in 2007 that lasted all summer and then just disappeared. I have the radiculopathy back now since April 11, 2011 and it is getting me down and am experiencing some weakness in my hands and some weird feelings in my lower legs as well. I have had many epidurals in the past many years that seemed to help but the last four this past two months didn't offer much in the way of relief. I have 4 bone spurs pressing on the nerves.

My MRI that I had in June states: On examination, foraminal closure is positive, reproducing her left radicular symptoms.

An MRI scan of the cervical spine demonstrates spondylosis at the C5-C6 and C6-C7 levels, with left-sided foraminal stenosis at both levels, corresponding to her left C^- and C7- distribution symptoms.

I have been prescribed prednisone, traction and Norco. I am currently relying on 2 tylenol + 1 full strength asprin a day and an ambien at night followed in the early morning by half to one full Norco. This takes the edge off my pain to make it bearly manageable/bearable.

The neurosurgeon says I am a reasonable candidate for surgical intervention with an anterior cervical discetomy and fusion at the C5-C6 and C6-C7 levels.

I am wondering what you all might think advisable having been through these types of surgery. I am in a quandry of what to do next. Am I in "good enough" shape for this surgery?

I thank you in advance for any insight you might offer me. Thank you all so much. I hope your days are good ones.

Gracie girl


  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. surgery is such a personal issue!!! being older like you, i would also have alot of questions to ask??? you have come to a great place to get some answsers from some fellow spineys.. i am not famaliar with your symptoms, i am a back person, but do be sure to get more than one opinion if surgery is the way you decide to go.. the more confirmation you have, the better for you!! please be sure and look over the different forums including the "Back and Neck surgery forum".. for more input.. good luck and keep us informed..Jenny :)
  • Welcome to spine health...a very good site for info and support! I am 58, and have had the anterior fusion on C5-C7 last year. Unfortunately, mine didn't fuse well, so we just redid it, 11 wks ago. This time we did anterior and posterior. I wouldn't be too nervous about this...you'll feel so much better! The anterior doesn't cause alot of pain, but you may have trouble swallowing for awhile, but it will get better. Stock up on soft foods such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt, etc., for at least the first few days...makes things much easier!
    Good luck, and I hope all will be ok!

  • Thank you for all the wonderful welcome gestures. I hope everyone is having a day with low pain. Today is not really great for me but i am trying to do my homework. I am still a bit lost and with the radiculopathy have trouble staying on this computer for very long... only a few minutes at a time.

    Hi Fannie,
    It's nice to be able to compare notes with everyone especially those a little bit closer in age- 60 as far as outcome might go.You have been through alot i see, so many here have. I have been spared surgery this far other than a dozen or more epidurals, etc. The swallowing is what really kind of makes me nervous, don't know why that is one of the things that has me worried. Gotta breathe, though. :0 The risks in genral have me concerned as well. I also have fibro and CTD. I consider myself lucky compared to so many gals with those issues though.

    Hi Karen, nice to meet you.... although wish it were under different circumstances. I am glad to hear that this surgery is doable.and perhaps not quite as bad as I have been imagining. I'm sure it tkaes alot of recovery and work at it though.
    My life here in the country is quite physically demanding, (lifting, making wood, taking care right now of my husband who is older and just broke his tailbone and has Parkinsons though mild now. So i am trying to figure it all out ahead of time.

    Hello Tam Tam. Thank you for referring me to the other links. I will try to maneuver my way there and do my homework. I have had only a second opinion from my Primary Doctor so far. I live in a very rural area and am 100 miles from the nearest bigger city; where i swa the neurosurgeon. I'm afraid travel is out of the question to Minnesota or Deleuth. Maybe Florida where I have family.
    This neuro is going to use cadaver bone. I suspect because i have chronic pain all over but none like this dang nerve pain. It is horrendous at times. I am so sorry to hear that your situation has not been resolved better and you have had to undergo so many surgeries and have had some risks happenings involved. I am scared of the thought of blood clots. I guess you have to make a decision to live with this kind of pain or do something at some point.

    Anyway, I am so glad I found this forum and i am reading all i can.

    Gentle Hugs,

    ps I am scheduled for another office appt August 10th.to ask many more questions. My arms are getting weaker and I suspect it to be myelapathy.

    Sorry but not sure where to post this.
  • Welcome to this forum. I had a C5-C7 ACDF when I was 46. Mine went very well and resolved the awful pain and radiating symptoms I was having. Now, 12 years later I'm having some problems at other levels and successfully treating it conservatively.

    The question I'd ask is are you in bad enough shape to have the surgery. If I had the kind of pain I had before I would do surgery again.

    Getting a second opinion is always a good idea.
  • HI,
    The swallowing thing is more annoying than a real problem (at least for me)... They have to move things around a bit, so it sort of feels like a "frog in your throat" type of thing...not painful, just annoying. You will breathe just fine...not to worry!!
    You do have alot on your plate....and sorry to hear about your husband and his issues...It never rains here...it pours!!! You'll be fine...just hang in there...
    Keep us updated!!
  • Good Monday(I hope)to you,

    Hi Lulusheart ,this forum has been great in response so far. The older I get the more slow I go. Kind of. A good thing indeed as i have always been too quick on my feet and hence the reason for being in this shape now today. I also have some back problems(2 bulged, 2 ruptured) w ocassional sciatica; but have never had surgery. This neck has taken forefront again and do worry about the rest of my back if i have surgery on my cervical area. Thanks again for the heads up here.

    Frannie, thanks for the culinary tips!

    Time for a break.


  • Radiculopathy update.......

    I am still dealing with this C6 and C7 radiculpathy due to spondylosis and foraminal stenosis. It started on April 11th of this year and it is now ongoing for almost 4 months. It is about the same but am still working and lifting as need be. :( Does anyone think that it may still go away with complete rest and I should give it more time or should I decide it's time for surgery. The more I read the more I wonder about my outcome at 60 and wonder about the rest of my back that is not so good either. I know I need to decide once and for all but am still hesitant about surgery. Should i give it a little more time? I also know it is my decision but still respect the insight you can give me. My second appt with the neurosurgeon in this Thursday.

    Hope everyone is hanging in there. Thank you.

    Gentle Hugs, Gracie
  • almost forgot......

    The neck pain has gotten worse and now also is felt in my upper back too.
  • almost forgot......

    The neck pain has gotten worse and now also is felt in my upper back too.
  • almost forgot......

    The neck pain has gotten worse and now also is felt in my upper back too.
  • Hi! Welcome! I too am new to this site. I have different spine issues but know exactly how difficult the surgery decision is. I know that I will soon be making a decision on surgery. There is so many questions that seem unanswered by our doctors. I feel like they have no clue what its like in our shoes. I wish you luck on your journey. Keep your head up and your mind open! Best wishes! ~Laney
  • Hello Laney,

    Thanks for the best wishes.

    Have you had any spinal surgery before? How long have you been dealing with this?

    Thanks for the heads up and a little prayer never hurts either.

    Stay in touch!

  • I'm sorry your neck pain is getting worse. That's not a good sign. Contrary to what we might think, complete rest doesn't help. In fact more than a few days of it can make things worse. Deciding whether to have surgery is very personal. You might ask yourself whether you can live with things the way they are. Or with worse? And ask the doc. on Thursday what your prognosis is if you don't have surgery.

    I lived with over 2 years of worsening symptoms before I had surgery. By then, it was a "no brainer" as they say! My biggest concern then was finding the best surgeon, and I'm happy with who I chose.

  • Heh, Cathy,

    Thanks for your reply!
    I'll ask the doctor that. I have plenty of questions but that was not one I had thought of. I'll be lucky if he answers half of them. I think i need to trim some back.
    Aside from 2007 when the pain was as bad, I have been very lucky (symptom free for the most part) until this past April again. At my last appt I was pretty nervous and forgot most of what he answered.

    You said that the pain is coming back for you again? Do you know what you will do?

    I hope this surgeon is as good as the one you picked out. He does have a good rep but he is my only consult as we live in the north country. I have questioned nurses, and one of his former patients though she was much younger at the time of her surgery. How much difference will that make? Uh. I guess you just gotta do what you do when you do it. I suppose I could live like this for awhile but i hate consuming these meds everyday. I only take norco once a day though and ambien every night but I can begin to think i feel they are not doing the job as they were even a few weeks ago.

    Thanks for your help and good luck.


  • I do as well take an aspirin and tylenol three times a day to make it manaeable/bearable.
  • Thanks for your concern about my pain. I'm actually doing very well right now after a course of prednisone and with ongoing physical therapy (aqua therapy and land exercises). The past week has been virtually pain free. I'm very relieved. I hope this continues.

    Are you in the North Country Minnesota? I used to live in Minneapolis.

    Can you jot down notes when you ask your doc. questions? Or, I often do that in the waiting room right after the appointment so I don't forget what was said. I don't know how much difference age makes. You're not that old! I'm 58 now and would have surgery again if it were necessary. My previous surgeon operated on Mother Theresa when she was quite elderly!

    Keep us posted.
  • Hi Cathy1836,

    Glad to hear you are faring well after your course of pred. What was hurting?

    I am in N. MI.

    I feel like a kid still on good days but they have been very short lately. It seems so many have had their surgeries at a younger age possibly w little else in the way of health ailments going on. Not to minimize their pain at ALL! I am in fair shape but still worry about the anesthesia as i had a bad experience a few years ago. You did make me smile talking about Mother Theresa. I am hoping her Good Friend Up There will be looking after me, too.

  • I have cervical spondylosis at several levels which causes aching in my neck, very limited ROM and some radiating symptoms like tingling and numbness. Several months ago I was rear-ended which caused significant pain to escalate in my neck, back of my head, and shoulder blades. It also caused intrinsic weakness in my left arm. There was or is nerve irritation and inflammation. The prednisone was a jump start to recovery. The PT is what is really keeping me comfortable. I notice the difference when I have to miss a session.
  • I have had good PT. Unfortunately, my last therapist just didn't want to help me. I really tried and would have done what was asked but he only gave me 5 sessions instead of the 12 I should have received. I was prescribed cervical traction and he wouldn't do that. He sent me home with a unit without any explanation and did myself more damage than not. I have since set up one all by myself in a sitting position.
  • Hello everyone. I am new to posting on this wonderful forum, although I have been reading it for years. I have had neck & upper back, shoulder problems for many many years, off and on. Had many physical traumas in my 55 years of life. Had chiropractic manipulations since childhood, acupuncture, P.T.,
    manual therapy,multiple trigger point injections,multiple epidural injections, facet rhizotomy, shoulder cortisone injection, multiple meds (including narcs for 5+ yrs), prayer, have gone to a pain psychologist, sports medicine doctor, pain management doctor, many spiritual healers, faith healers, on & on. Have had x-rays, one MRI each year for past 7 yrs, EMGs. Surgery for.carpal & cubital tunnel release surgery on left side. All symptoms since on right side. I have been told for past several yrs that I need to have surgery ~ C5-6 & C6-7 ACDF & am finally "giving in" & having surgery next week. I'm fearful, but don't want to continue with this pain and do not want to continue to taking drugs. I want to be a productive human being, wife, parent, employee. I have been working in healthcare for ten years and love my work. I don't want to be a burden on my family. I'm sorry...I'm kind of all over the place with my intro....I am suffering from a lot of anxiety. You are all AMAZING, INSPIRING folks here (especially Ron!) and I hope to someday find some friends here to share with. It is very difficult for me to talk about my pain - in the past I have always been looked at as a strong person. I want to be strong again. As for my faith, I believe in God...I pray, although I do not have a specific "religion". I'm having a hard time focusing through my tears and will stop for now. Thank you for letting me share. I am hopeful due to the posts I've read here, but I am also fearful.
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