Hi all! I had an ACDF of my c5/6 on April 5, 2012. My issues started in 2006 after a car accident. Chevy suburban vs. Volkswagen Fox. As you may have guessed, the Suburban won. I've been in and out of doctors offices since. At first everything was okay (not great) and I could manage pain with PT and ibuprofen. I settled with the insurance company and thought I was leaving it all behind.
In 2008 I started taking care of my granny. She lost the use of her left leg due to stenosis. The neurosurgeon told her because of her age, she wasn't a candidate for surgery. Granny can walk a bit thanks to an impressive PT team but when she leaves her home she needs a wheelchair.
I never thought that taking care of someone could cause so much damage to my spine. It started with burning in the right shoulder then burning down my right arm. I went to PT (paying out of my own pocket because I had no insurance) and diligently followed any direction given. The burning in the shoulder turned into burning AND sharp pain and the burning in my arm turned into numbness and weakness. As an uninsured person, I never went to the doctor.
Skip ahead to november 2011...
I was still caring for granny and still having issues with my right arm. Then I lost the strength and feeling in my left arm. I couldn't do my job taking care of granny, I couldn't even open a bottle of water... I went to see a doc.
I had an MRI. I went to PT. I had steroid injections. Nothing was helping. In fact, the PT was actually making it worse. I was told on Dec 21st that I wouldn't get better without surgery.
To make a long story short, it took months to acquire insurance to be able to have surgery.
On Tuesday I go to see my surgeon for my post-op. I am terrified because I have worse pain than I had before on the left side of my neck, into my shoulder, and down to my elbow. The nurse who fields phone calls for prescriptions treats me like I'm some kind of addict while telling me the pain is just from surgery. Ive tried every week for the past 3 to tell her that this pain is different. Her answer was to drop my meds from oxycodone to Tylenol 3. (I can't take Vicodin, I don't know why it makes me ill)
I'm afraid I won't be able to make my surgeon understand that I am in worse pain now than I was before he played with my spine. I'm terrified that I'm destined to become someone who never gets rid of their pain while being treated like some kind of addict. I am terrified the fusion didnt work and he has to go back in.
That is my story thus far.