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Second opinion today!

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Chronic Pain
Going for a second opinion today at a local NS. I had seen this guy once before, prior to my first surgery, and I really liked him. I'm going to talk to him about doing a nerve block first, to see if that provides any relief. The previous NS I had seen had mentioned doing it, but not as diagnostic. He felt confident that he knew which disc, T10/11, was causing the pain. I've still been in a lot of pain these day. I've been working a lot, though, and sitting at work provides me some relief. It's when I'm home and on my feet for extended periods of time that the pain becomes intolerable.

I'm also going to talk to him about the ankylosing spondylitis. He had mentioned it when I first saw him, and since then I have tested positive for the gene. I have many of the symptoms of it, so I'm curious to hear his take on that.

I've also been having a lot of discomfort in my neck and down my left shoulder/arm since last week, so I may talk to him about adding in an MRI of the c-spine, along with my upcoming t-spine MRI on 11/16.

Well, I will keep you posted! Sorry I've been MIA lately. As I said, I've been working quite a bit these days. But, I'm loving my new job, and I feel blessed to have found something I can do, despite my bad back and other health problems. If I do end up needing another surgery, I'm going to push it off until early 2012, if I can, because that's when I'd be eligible for short-term disability. Fingers crossed it doesn't come to that, though!


  • just wanna wish you the best of luck with this doctor visit.

    Definitely if another surgery is needed, and you are eligable for disability benefits in a few months, put off the surgery until your eligability starts.

    The pain you are having now will be easier to deal with, then the pain in your wallet.

    My best to ya.
  • Hey everyone! I figured I'd give a quick update before I head up to bed.

    First and foremost, he said he would NOT recommend doing anymore surgeries at this point. I liked that he said that, because so many surgeons are knife-happy and will quickly offer surgery. He said I have problems with the ligaments in my spine, which is why I developed more herniations right after the surgery. He also believes I DO have ankylosing spondylitis, based on the imaging I've had done. He wants me to try PT again and to do a facet block. He did an assessment in the office, where you twist at the waist and bend forward. When I twisted to the right and bent forward, I felt no pain whatsoever. When I twisted to the left and bent forward, however, I literally yelped in pain. He said this proves that my issues are with the facet joints and the ligaments.

    The only issue is that because I am currently under the care of a NS, he thinks it's best that I stick with the first doctor. He is going to write a letter to my PCP and PM doc with his recommendations. So tomorrow I am going to call my PCP for a script for PT and the PM doc to make another appt.

    I figure it's worth a shot. I'd rather try conservative measures before going through another surgery, even if I AM in terrible pain.

    Aside from that, my BP was high at the office today. I had high blood pressure after my last child was born, but it resolved within a couple of months and has been normal ever since. It was 138/91, which isn't terribly high, but my norm is 110-120/60-70. They said to re-check it at home. I rested on the couch all evening and almost forgot to recheck it. Well, this time it was 151/100. Yikes! I'm not in anymore pain than I usually am, so not sure what's going on. I definitely overdid it today between various doctor's appts and spending the majority of the day outside with the kids. My joints are painful and the fatigue is at an alltime high.

    So, I'm going to head to bed and try to get some much-needed rest. Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow and it'll be back to normal. For now, my head feels like it's being squeezed by a vice.
  • very happy with the opinion that this doctor has given you, which is wonderful!Hope that all goes well for you with the facet block (I am awaiting one as well)and PT.

    Hopefully your blood pressure will be down today,and was just momentarily up due to the stress of the appointment. Now that you are back to everyday life, I hope that it settles down for you. I would keep checking it and maybe let your primary physician know.

    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Thanks Karen! Yes, I am happy to have found a doctor that is willing to try some more conventional treatments. So, I called my PCP this morning to ask for the script for PT, and I am going to call the PM doc to set up an appt for next week. Hopefully by then he'll have the letter from the NS, so we can talk about another facet block. I also stopped the Lyrica, because I wasn't happy with the weight gain. I am going to work on losing weight over the course of the next few months. Fingers crossed!
  • Oh, and my BP is still elevated, unfortunately, though not as high this morning. Overnight I woke up not feeling so well (nauseous and dizzy). I rechecked it and it was 154/102. I checked it when I woke up this morning and it was 132/95. So I'll just keep an eye on it and see what happens. I was thinking maybe the stress of the day wreaked havoc on me.
  • Kim - I am really happy for you. I know surgery is very personal but I also know that it is a slippery slope especially in the Thoracic area (which is pretty well protected area by the rib cage).

    I'm so happy you found a doctor that wants to get you relief but do so in a methodical fashion before jumping to surgery.

    Keep us posted.
  • Hi Kim,

    I have ankylosing spondylitis and have been diagnosed for about 10 years. I would recommend you see a rheumatologist, since a.s. is a form of arthritis. I also have fibromyalgia. The rheumatologist can fully assess you and may recommend other medications.

    (The other) Karen
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Thank you for your insight, Karen. I have an appt to see a rheumy next Wednesday, the 9th. I am looking forward to getting some answers. I have a lot of symptoms that seem to match the diagnosis. The NS seemed fairly certain that I have AS, so now it's a matter of getting it confirmed. I tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene, and I've suffered with joint pain/swelling, back pain, neck pain, and other various symptoms for years. I finally learned to live with it and learned to hide my pain pretty well, because I felt like my friends and family were tired of hearing me complain. So I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and put on a happy face. That all came to a head over the past year, and I am purely exhausted. I returned to work in August, and since working full time again, it's wreaking havoc on my body. I'm experiencing the pain, once again, and the fatigue is out of this world. Some days it takes everything I have not to break down and cry from sheer exhaustion. My hubby says he's tired too, but he does not understand that it's more than feeling tired. Everybody feels tired at some point in their lives...this is a completely different feeling.

    In any case, I had been diagnosed with fibro several years ago, when my symptoms first began, but they stripped me of that diagnosis about 3 years ago, when I returned to the rheumy, again complaining of pain, fatigue, and various other symptoms. They said my symptoms did not fit, and I did not have the tender points that fibro patients typically have. My sed rate and CRP have also been elevated from time to time, which you would not see with fibro. This NS that I saw last week was the first to mention AS to me, back in May. Initially I brushed it off, but after my surgery, when things went completely downhill, I decided to read about it and see what he was talking about. I was astounded when I read the symptoms. It was like watching all of the puzzle pieces finally coming together. I've been taking ibuprofen almost on a daily basis to combat the pain and swelling, but my stomach doesn't tolerate it very well. Hopefully the rheumy doesn't try to brush me off. I'm going to call the NS and have him send records over to the rheumy as well.
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