First, what a great resource this has been. I find myself reading through the posts often for different reasons, but mostly just to relate as it is all too easy to feel alone and different in the world when dealing with these types of medical issues.
My medical story started 7 years ago when constant (5+ episodes a day) right should dislocating were severely impacting my ability to perform daily functions. After multiple attempts of PT still left me in the same state I finally opted for right shoulder surgery, bankArt repair. After surgery I continued to have lots of pain, mostly joint but also nerve pain. I maintained constant ibuprofen and also underwent a number of cortisone injections but none allowed me to use my shoulder without pain. I continued to seek answers and eventually all my doctors and therapists were directing me to seek a particular surgeon in Boston who after consulting recommended a second surgeory. I came out of that surgery in a very peculiar contraption that I had to wear for two months. The pain following my surgeory was unbearable now both in my shoulder and neck and at times I fell out of consciousness and Ultimately the surgeon turned his back On me and said "deal with it". Under recommendation of the ER doctors whom were now familiar with my pain and the severe nature of my issue as a whole, I returned to see a physiatrist who I had seen about my shoulder prior to surgery. He took control and said he would do everything to work towards getting me better and managing my pain. I went on a number of narcotics as well as muscle readers and anti-nerve pain Mede and also started to see a spinal pain doctor. I went for a series of test injections and epidural injections before then going for regular RFL treatments (radio frequency Lesioning) all giving some additional but not total relief. Just as we found a pretty decent combination of reduced narcotics, muscle relaxers, trazadone for sleep, RFL, nerve blocks, and bi-weekly trigger point injections, I came home to my wife and some close friends who staged an intervention for me. Although by this time I had Ben taking narcotics for several years and know my body is physically addicted, there was nothing more I wanted to do to get rid of the pain and get of narcotics, but am confident I am not addicted nor do I ever abuse or misuse my paiin drugs. This explanation was not well received and I was given the choice to get off the drugs or loose my marriage. The next few months were hell pain wise and I also fell into a pretty hopeless episode of depression. I finally reached a point that I told my wife I needed relief even if only once in a while and also continued to go through all the great tests with doctors, EMG study's, ct mylograms, mri's with contrast, and other just as fun poking and prodding procedures. I began to see a psychiatrist for depression as I too often contemplated living my life in this much pain. At the beginning of this year I had one particular RFL treatment that after a month provided a good deal of pain relief and then two months later I slipped and fell in the snow and it all came back and then some. The doctors sent me for an updated MRI and the report said severe progression and should seek surgical consult. I went to two separate Dr's both who had seen me in the past, one is my neurologist and the other an ortho surgeon and now they are both recommending surgery, but their opinions differ.
One is recommending posterior fusion surgery on 4-5, 5-6, 6-7 and the other is recommending anterior on 6-7 using my own graph. My issues had always been with 4-5 and 5-6 until this point so would hate to get one level done and have no relief but also scared to go posteriorly. I am also surprised that the one Dr. Is recommending self-donor bone as this seams like much additional discomfort and risk for little to no benefit ?
I honestly am scared to death of another surgery, but at the same time fantasize about getting back to the normal active life I had always lived. Both Dr's were very conservative in their predictions of pain relief, but both said they are hopeful this would help or would not consider it.
I plan to review their recommendations with my physiatrist but also weclcome all thoughts and opinions!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you to all on this forum who have taken the time to share your stories. Although you may not know it, what you shared here helps so many people and may even have saved a life by giving them hope to continue enduring the pain, and seeking answers. Sincere Thanks go to you!