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Okay dokay.... Surgery upcoming ...yum-yum!!! :) yeah, I am weird.

Aviatrix36440Aviatrix36440 Posts: 5,904
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
O-can-doky.... Here is where things stand now. I just went through extensive (finally damn it) testing for MS and ALS via what is called "evoked potentials"....basically these tests (there are like 3 of them....3.5 hours to complete) measure the chit chat between your brain to legs, arms, fingers etc. They also specifically (unlike an MRI) look at any interruptions in your spinal cord. The tech knowing I was well aware of what these tests were for....didn't give me details (she can't), but did say "the reason I was having them...I should be good, as the 'responses' are good. I'm fairly comfy in agreement with that. Ps... I could see the electrical differences between my left and right leg!!! (G)

I have a brain scan tomorrow and blood work...no biggie, and then the ole (ex smoker) lung checks Wednesday...then one final NCS/EMG (doesn't affect surgery either way)...and off to slice and dice!! :)

I (for catch up) was a competitive gymnast for 11 years..bad fall (couldn't get over it - kicked off the team)...was hoping for Olympics - oh well. Went into the the Army at 17 - rough and tumble, body beat up - first women paired with men!!! Hehehhe

In 1985 I crashed a helicopter... Contrary to the "conventional" way to crash, I modified due to proximity and issues to live and walk another day - it worked!!!

30 years aviation, 20 years law enforcement (narcotics and immigration....) took its toll. Okay, now everyone has the "Cliff notes" as they say...lol!!!

Except for a couple more tests, October 11th (two weeks) I go in for ....Lamies for C5-T1, and posterior fusions (yep...screws, plate, rods, yummy....) C4-T2. Hard collar lock down for 3 months minimum...due to my fusion failure history (me) betting more than that!!! (G) My surgeon has been very blunt and straight up with me, so we ARE on the same "sheet" as they say.

Hospital stay presently (if all goes well) is 3-5 days...Too close to surgery to 'donate for myself' so... yeah, figuring at least 4 units if all goes well. My hubby admitted (7 surgeries since married over 20 years ago) "finally" he is anxious! Hehehe.. and I never knew.... I love him to pieces. He is my best friend, lover and confidant!!! I now feel more for "his" feelings than my crummy emotions! My bud.... :) Ba-dom-ba-dom-ba-dom...sorry, happy heart beat!!! :)

Any-who's....ladies and gents, that is where I am at. Though discussed with my surgeon, my C2/3 sucks... and C3/4 is actually in pretty (per MRI) good condition.... I had prior adjacent level failure just over a year post op...so yeah...creeped out the only good level can go. Whew!!!!

Okay... that is *my* info novel for the day ladies and gents of CP and other nasty related issued to get you here. :) I'm an odd ball in that I should have been either dead or paralyzed back in 1985...so to me, surgery or not, it is gravy time!!! Thanks for reading this long, and understanding I am a happy flake!!! (G)


Isn't retirement wonderful? No bosses, no bullshit...hehehehehehe (sorry Ron if my "bull**** is a bad??) (G) Sorry, in a goofy mood?? Argh... hehehe
PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.


  • So what are you trying to say Brenda? Lol

    Its harder to read your post then a frickin mri report. Lol

    Best wishes, and good luck with surgery thats coming up!
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • alexhurting said:
    So what are you trying to say Brenda? Lol

    Its harder to read your post then a frickin mri report. Lol

    Best wishes, and good luck with surgery thats coming up!

    You are so mean!!! (G) Aw come on, had to give the Cliff notes history report! :)

    Thanks so much for the well wishes... I have a list of things I want to get done ahead of time. If I don't get them done, hubby will know (G) (yeah) the grumpy me will come out! Snicker....

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hello, great friend!!! You are not a flake! I just wish you never had to go through all the nasty things you've had to go through!!! I really hate it. But Brenda, you've gone through with great spirit. You my friend, are a poster child for how to get through this nasty, mean spine journey, you share with us, even the days I know you're in terrible pain! I love that about you. You have helped me so much! Thank you so much! I'm praying your mega spine surgery goes well and you get to the otherside of recovery really fast. Prayers, love, and many gentle hugs, Brenda C.
  • Lol. I am not mean! I just get lost between the(grrrr). And the(G) and the( nodes head) and the (soft hugs) and the( Ba-dom ba-dom ba-dom)and the (argh). Lol

    I am not saying anything is wrong with it(woof woof). I just never got use to it(meow). Lol. I am just messing with ya (taping foot). I am sure everything (picking nose) will turn out fine (grrrr). Lol.

    Now thats funny i dont care who you are lol. (git-ir-done)
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Brenda,

    Thanks very much for your comments...actually brought 'happy tears' to my eyes. :)

    I have my pity parties to get the negative crap out of me, but then I try to perk back up again, as I (it seems to me?) feel less pain when a happy camper? Getting ready to head out for more blood work, and a head MRI...yeah, I will have proof for my hubby that there *is* a brain up there! (G) EMG and pulmonary is all that is left...GP approval/clearance next week, but unless something goofy comes up on the ole lungs, "we be good" for the slice and dice day!!! :)

    Brenda, you say I've helped you, believe it or not, you too have helped me!!! Thanks girlfriend, chat with ya soon!! Big *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • =D> Good- you have your official date =D>

    Two weeks is enough time to STRESS out. I know you are excited and I am sure you will have an EXCELLENT surgery with EXCELLENT results.

    Let the count down begin :)

  • Alex,

    You're a hoot!!! :) I have to have my version of "emotions" in there don't cha know!!! (G)

    Off to more blood work and MRI of the sort of gray matter!! I will finally have proof there is a brain up there! Snicker.... I think I will take me to Longhorn's for lunch in between blood work and MRI...Yeah.. that is a plan!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Howdy woman!!! I've had the date for 4 weeks now, but of course been going through the pre-op testing and such. I still have 2 more appointments, and then (finally) done with em!!

    Not looking forward to almost complete loss of ROM, but *am* looking forward to "bye-bye" choke outs, funky voice, headaches.....(G) I think I can move that to the 'excited' category for sure! Thanks Ms. Julie!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock...October 11. While the clock ticks toward your slice & dice date, I'll be prayin' for you. Love 'n gentle >:D< , Ess
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Good luck and if you are anything like me you will have sooo much relief upon waking from surgery. Just dont try to raise your head.lol.
  • I wish you well with your upcoming surgery. I hope you have an easy recovery.

    I am a little nervous for you though, because the surgery you describe is huge and I don't know of anyone who has come out of it feeling wonderful and fixed. I just am concerned that you may not have realistic expectations.

    I remember a year or so ago when we were talking about the few members here who have had such extensive surgery and you were concerned that you may eventually be a part of the "club." Believe me, it is not a club I would wish on anyone.

    I'm not trying to portray doom and gloom here at all, or dash your hopes. I just wish someone had been brave enough to tell me that just because the surgeon does this extensive of work on a person, it doesn't lead to that person returning to a normal life. Once you get to this level, you will probably never be normal again. I think of MetalNeck, Tamtam, myself, GrandMesaMom (or something like that), Patricia, Griff, TammyC, maroseone, and others who have been this route (or something similar) and still struggle every day. In all honesty, I have much more pain now than I did 2 years ago, and my posterior fusion/revision/vertebrectomies has just led to even more disability.

    Have you had a discussion with your doctor about the long term recovery and limitations you will have? Please just know what you are facing so that you can make arrangements. I think you once said that you aren't having full fusions but rather just the facet joints fused. Maybe that will be easier to recover from, but I'm not sure how they fuse the back without fusing the whole part of that segment.

    Anyway, I do wish you well. I just hope you know that this surgery is not really something to look forward to and that it may not get rid of the headaches, chokey feeling in your throat, etc.

    Good luck Brenda. I'll be praying that all goes well.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Thanks guys, appreciate!!! From what I've learned from folks on here that had similar, the recovery isn't going to be anything like what I had with anterior (ACDF), guess we'll see.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Cindy,

    My surgeon has been very frank and detailed on what he is going to do, and what I will gain from this surgery: Stability and stop further nerve damage (progression). He told me that for a *minimum* of 3 months in the hard collar and bone growth stimulator. Complete restrictions in the BLT arena.

    I don't see this or any spine surgery as a 'fixer', but in my case, shore up and repair. Normal? I wish, but know better. There's a new member on here that fell off of a horse, and ended up being fused C5-T2. She just got released from her hard collar at 4 months. I'm hoping to catch her in chat with some questions: ROM, pain levels, what limits she is noticing etc. I know she still isn't driving (ROM); hubby and I already ordered special mirrors to put on the side mirrors.

    As for the fusion itself. If you look up cervical posterior fusion, you will see how they fuse via the facets - it's actually just as strong as from the front, and the success rates are higher than going and fusing from the front. YouTube had some really good videos of the surgery too! The hardware used will be screws, narrow plates between the facets (BMP under the plate), and then rods to lock it all down. In some cases they add a wire (criss-cross) between the rods. Since he is doing lamis, he most likely won't use wire on mine.

    My surgeon has me going through complete "head to toe" electrical testings - evoked potentials (VER, BAER, and SER), NCS/EMG arms, legs and spine to have a complete break down and base line to compare to in 6 months or so. He feels my Neurologists thoughts about nerve damage on me is correct in that surgery will not give me neurological benefit. It will however stop further damage - *maybe* give me some relief from present nerve issues.

    The only big regret I have with all this is had my original surgeon not 'pooh-poohed' me when this all started, it might have been a 3 level, now....well. Water under the bridge at this point, or as they say it is now 'what it is...' :<

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hey Brenda,
    Good luck my friend......hoping your surgery and recovery is smooth as silk and that your pain is minimal. I can understand the goofy mood because I had similar moments......and still do have 'em! :-)

    Thanks for all the support you give......we will be happy to return the favor!

    Lotsa HUGS!!

  • *HUGZ* to you as well!! Thanks very much. I am very happy that the status of my neck finally got worked out, and further damage can be avoided hopefully.

    Hubby knows his "house homework" list will increase as I will be on complete restriction for the next few months reference BLT! Hehehehe.... :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda, with my revision, they fused from front and back. They started by cleaning up all the stuff from the former failed fusion in the front, re-plating me, turning me over, and fusing from the back as well. They also installed one long strut graft (titanium cylindrical cage) filled with my own bone, and then added some bmp on the posterior side as well. Of course I also have a couple of rods and a bunch of screws on the back as well as the plate on the front and strut graft in the middle. I'm glad to hear your surgeon is using bmp ONLY on the back side, because my surgeon told me it is safe in very small quantities from the back, but never from the front side, at least in the cervical spine. I know there are differing opinions on whether it should be used at all in the c-spine.

    I tell you this because I understand the posterior fusion process, along with the anterior (at least my own surgeries.) I just wanted you to be aware of what is in front of you. I'm happy that your surgeon has explained things so well.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Cindy,

    Yes, my surgeon has been (at times) blunt with me on the status of my neck. I had several opinions before I approached him, but they were all Neuro side of the house. My body kept telling me (okay..hehehe screaming at me) that "stuff" was not good... I listened and found this surgeon - who is big on revisions, and reconstruction. So far, I am very comfortable with him, and too, I've met several of his "puzzle patients" and how they are doing. :) Very happy with that... My new surgeon even tells me of "new" surgeries similar to mine - and welcomes me to talk with said patient - that's a first for me!!!

    The main reason he is (so far...could change as you know when he gets in there) seeing my hardware is solid, and the vertebra are only moving due to the instability caused by the failed fusion (and too C7 is going...but the disk is not torn), going via posterior,...the existing disks, hardware and such, creates a sort of "insurance" policy - hence leaving all that in there.

    I've had vocal cord issues since just over 4 months post op - thankfully not paralyzed...but messed up!! Choke outs (deemed due to inflammation from the movement) etc....I so hope this knocks a bunch of this down. We did discuss this..and if I still have my choke outs after a month, the "front" will be visited as a way to get rid of swelling - I of course am HOPING that locking this crap down, the irritation will be gone, and as such, my vocal cords and throat become my friends again!!! Hehehe....

    I know this will not "fix" me... I am so hoping that my progressive nerve issues (loss of function, flipping leg issues etc) will stop where it is at. We've pretty much agreed that I will not regain what I've lost. 3 EMG's pretty well showed that...gonna have another one next week for a bench mark... Sigh... 7th nerve related surgery...grr, this crap gets old eh? (G)

    Cindy, I've been impressed with your attitude considering all the crap you too have gone through. Thanks so much for putting me under your wing, it IS very much appreciated and welcomed!!! *HUGZ* My spine just sucks thanks to life's activities, and too crashing..hehehe

    No complaints here believe it or not!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Oops, forgot the BMP. Yeah when I saw the initial surgical agreement and saw "BMP" especially his "little brother - my C6/7 screwed me"... I was nervous. That is where my surgeon told me "in the front, only one level due to potential overgrowth...but via posterior, no such restrictions. I felt better!!! :)

    Like you, I did ask "why" he wasn't cleaning out the front, and his comment was basically that the hardware was not compromised, and as such, leave it, and lock it all down in the back. The hardware (in place), and my disks (not torn) are extra cushions like insurance - makes sense to me!!! :)

    Sorry...I meant to have this in my reply, but you know..heheh...Lyrica!! (G) Honestly Cindy, there is a PART of me dreading this surgery, and the other part of me knows without it a firm fall or 'average' car accident, and I am toast....sigh... I guess... hence why I am counting the days?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi,
    Just a quick note to say I am praying all goes well for you and that the hubby isn't too stressed. You are a trooper (pardon the pun) ;).

    Take care and I be sending good thoughts.

    Huge hugs

    AL S
  • Thanks Al, appreciate!! :) My hubby isn't big on expressing when he is 'anxious', but I did get him to admit his feelings...finally! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi Brenda, we seem to be sharing appointment dates;

    3rd October - you have full body EMG and nerve testing
    3rd October - I have full spine MRI scan

    11th October - you have your VERY LARGE surgery
    11th October - I have my appointment with my neurosurgeon, and now my Pain Management doctor wants to join us for viewing and discussing my MRI results and EMG/nerve test results.

    No, sorry, I won't swap with you.
    Anyway, you need this surgery to stabilise your 'wobbly' neck. The sooner you have surgery, the sooner you can start your recovery, the sooner you will feel the benefits of it. :-)

    I will be following your progress and thinking of and praying for you.

    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • Now you are an ex-smoker your improved lung function will really help in your recovery and minimise risks of lung problems post surgery.

    Keep your amazingly positive outlook on life!

    >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Jellyhall,

    Hehehe....that's funny! I did my pulmonary function test today, and it went great. Considering how long I smoked, the doctor was amazed at how much lung function improvement I already had!! He did put me on Advair though as the airways are still recovering and are showing a bit of irritation. Works for me!!

    I'm gonna try and stay positively optimistic that I will see change for the good after this. Lots of nightmares out there for 3 levels and above... fingers staying crossed! Lol!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • jellyhall said:

    Now you are an ex-smoker your improved lung function will really help in your recovery and minimise risks of lung problems post surgery.

    Keep your amazingly positive outlook on life!

    >:D< >:D< >:D<
    I have to stay positive, it's "life's requirement" for sanity! (G) I let me get down once in a while to let those negative emotions and energy out and away. I am seeing more positive changes the further I get from my quit day. Tomorrow starts week 6!! Whoohoooo!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • :-C Congrats 2 U, Brenda :-C !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love 'n Gentle Hugs, Ess
  • Brenda,

    Will be thinking of you and praying for you on surgery date! Give us an update when you are able and I will see you on the boards when our surgeries are complete!
  • Your comments, suggestions and advice have really helped me with my surgery - 3 level - first and hopefully last. I'm 4 weeks post op now, and definitely still glad I had it done.

    Your positive attitude will go a long way to getting better. That and lots of prayers, I'll be sending mine along with many others I'm sure. It is also wonderful that you have a husband who understands and will be your rock when you need it.

    Please do keep us informed on how you are doing. I hope your key west trip was a wonderful relaxing time to heal yourself emotionally... Definitely for me, going to the beach and just sitting, thinking is the best way to get myself prepared for what lies ahead.

    Sending you gentle hugs that soon most of this horrible pain will be in the past.

  • @ess: Thanks very much, and too for the hugs!! :)

    @Splenda: Yeah, you and I are 6 days apart. I should be just coming out of the hospital as your going in. My hubby knows to bring my laptop, iPod and cell when I'm up to it.

    Actually the iPod my hubby can bring after I get put in my room! (G) Yeah Splenda, he is for sure a keeper!! He admitted that he gets "anxious" when I am in surgery. He's never told me what he felt about my surgery. I point blank asked him, and told him "Don't give me some macho bull answer...the real deal, what do you go through or think when I'm in surgery?" He just looked down and said "I feel very anxious."...

    Once he brings my laptop I will try to update... So far the surgery is suppose to last around 5 hours - seems low when I've chatted with others on here, and they were much longer - I guess we'll see right? 8>

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Happy to help where I can. :) It is great to hear you're doing so well. Thank you too for the positive thoughts and prayers...*HUG*

    It's weird in that I am not, and am looking forward to getting this done. Finding my neck had become an unstable mess did not sit well with me. Ridiculous!! Knowing that the stability issue will be resolved, and hopefully nerve issues stop progressing will be a big plus in my book.

    I guess once I get updated x-rays, a new avatar will appear - should be really interesting looking! (G) I asked my surgeon if he would take pictures during the surgery and he said "yes!!" Coolness. My last surgeon wouldn't do it...sniff. Except for my chest x-ray (hopefully tomorrow), all pre-ops for surgery is done, and next week my GP will sign off on it. I'll then fax it to my surgeon (he is an hour away) so he has it; I then see him on surgery day.

    I already met my Anesthesiologist and Pulmonary doctor, so all is good there. I figure I will do the final hospital preregister interview mid next week. Whew, almost there! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • WOW!!!!!! I knew you had been through a lot but never seen all the dots connected before you posted the cliff notes ;)

    My thoughts/prayers will be with you and I will keep checking back for updates :)

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
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