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Another Newby w/ lots of issues

So many of you have had some very interesting posts. Interesting is not good in most of the cases. Like my interesting case, it's been a horrible journey for the last several years to get where I am now. Though many of you all have endured many more surgeries, much more pain, and for a much longer time than I have. Now that I have joined this world, I didn't know it was so populated. As with so many of you, coming here to read about others and possibly express my own pain and frustration is the only outlet I have. No one in my family really understands the extent of the misery. Even my wife doesn't know the whole physical and emotional difficulty dealing with the pain every day.

I'm a 63 year old male who's had a 2 level Cervical fusion (C5-6-7) in 2010, a one level Lumbar fusion (L-4-5) in 2011, a left foot surgery (second metatarsel decompression) to remove the arthritis in 2012, and I'm scheduled for a 2nd Cervical fusion (C-7 to T-1) and Laminectomy of C-6 on August 28th (two weeks). These seemed to all be happening at about the same time so the symptoms have all overlapped. The Lumbar problem was discovered while looking for the cause of the symptom from my Cervical issue. When the Lumbar surgery was completed and I was at the 3 month recovery period, I realized that the symptom that started the whole process was still there. My legs and feet still ached every day - unbearably. The Lumbar surgeon wanted me off all pain pills by 3 months and I had to tell him that I couldn't. I did however find good relief from specific pain and loss of function with the Lumbar surgery - it was certainly necessary. My Lumbar surgeon did send me for the CT scan with Myelogram that finally made clear to me what was causing my leg pain and my difficulty walking - a spinal cord compression in my Cervical spine.

So I had 2 surgeons for the 2 spine surgeries - and when I went to them for my latest problem, which is a bone spur growing into my spinal canal and compressing my spinal cord at C-6, neither one would see me. ( if you put it all together, did the 1st cervical spine surgeon miss the bone spur? I don't know or care, I just want to feel better) I ended up having to wait 2 1/2 months to get into Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to get help - and they are going to help. That was a long wait while I was in a lot of pain every day. I'm taking a lot of pain meds (Lyrica and Tramadol) and it only took the edge off. I'm still working every day so my job got a lot tougher lately. Then on top of it all I did a sleep study and am now using a CPAP for my sleep apnea. Jeeze, can there be anything else. Remember, these are the "Golden Years". Yeah, fools gold.

I wish for everybody to have pain free days and pleasant thoughts, thanks for listening.


  • First let me say welcome to spine-heath. You have indeed found the place where everyone understands what you are going through, although I wish none of us knew all of this. As far as whom is the worst or has the most of anything, well we don't really gage anything like that. We assume anyone coming here, must definitely be part of the crowd. As far as your family not fully understanding there is a letter located on the site called "a letter to normals", many have printed it off and placed on the fridge for other family members to get a glimpse of what it feels like. Until you have endured this pain well, it is kind of hard to explain.

    As far as your cervical spine, I am guessing that sense your legs are involved you have a condition called myelopathy? If so, I hope they have explained that surgery is done to stop the progression of it, but won't help the symptoms you already have.

    sounds like a bummer if your original surgeons wouldn't help you out, but thankfully you have found help. To the medications if that is the only two you are taking, in the world of spinal issues, that is not to bad, so don't feel bad about them. Not to mention if you have pain then you need them. Keep in mind following your surgery, that you do need to take the pain meds as indicated so your body can heal properly, a body in pain doesn't heal well.

    One other thing I would suggest, if your not on a walking program, I would start one, following the cervical spine surgery. The one good exercise for all of us is walking. There are several programs on the net, that you can google. Personally 10,000 steps is a really good one. Be sure to take different routes on your walks to make it more enjoyable.

    Anyway just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. By the way good looking family, is that grandkids or your kids, hey you never know these days. Either way I bet they are the light of your day.
  • While I don't have anywhere near the knowledge of a lot of people on these boards, I did want to stop by and say hello and that I'm sorry you've been dealing with so much.

    My husband doesn't really understand the toll that this amount of pain takes on a person, either, but bless his heart he tries to be supportive even though he sometimes gets tired of hearing me talk about it. LOL

    There is a thread under back and neck surgeries called August Surgery Buddies...Come join us, you definitely belong in our group! There are a bunch of nice folks in this thread. I look forward to seeing you there.
  • Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, those are my grandkids though most are surprised how young my wife is to be a grandma. We are sure proud of them all.

    I look forward to the walking after surgery though I'm not sure how that is going to go, I cannot walk 100 yards right now. It certainly is Myelopathy and the surgery is to stop the progression, so if nothing changes for pain after surgery, and the surgeon told me that I only had a very slim chance that it will, I plan to visit a pain management specialist to get on more efficient meds. The Tramadol is not the best for skeletal nerve pain according to the Neurologist I spoke to at Mayo. There are some meds that may help my ability to walk if that doesn't change.

    I will look for both the "letter to normals" and the "August surgery buddies". Thanks
  • KarenDKKarenD Posts: 742
    edited 08/16/2012 - 5:14 PM
    You're in good company here. I've had 6 surgeries in 6 years (various body parts) and I hope next year will be #1 of a long chain without surgery. Last year I had gone to the Ortho because of pain down my legs and in my hips (I figured I needed shots), and I mentioned my neck and shoulder issues/pain. That Ortho took me down the corridor to the Spine doctors and my previously non-surgical issues were now surgical and told neck trumps spine.

    I'm sorry you're dealing with "pass the patient". My surgeon also told me that the cervical surgery was to prevent any further decline and couldn't promise anything about the pain. Luckily the cervical-related pain has decreased some, but lumbar - no luck with that thus far.

    Take care!

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • tpat1515ttpat1515 Posts: 7
    edited 08/17/2012 - 5:41 AM
    It's nice to talk to people who have something in common, it's just too bad it's not something more pleasant. I feel somewhat lucky when I see some of the stories of pain and surgeries that didn't work and so on and on and on...

    My surgeries have all been successful, even if my first Cervical surgeon missed the bone spur, he replaced two discs that were all but deteriorated away. The vertabrae rubbing on each other probably produced the bone spur that I'm dealing with now. Could that have grown in the last two years - as far as I know maybe it did.

    Anyway, I'm expecting another successful surgery this time. The surgeon told me that I shouldn't expect any relief from the pain - that this surgery is just to delay the progression. I am still (secretly) hoping that when the spinal cord pressure is released with the Laminectomy, that I will see a difference in the pain in my legs and the ability to walk again. I was having the same difficulty walking before my last cervical surgery (no leg pain though) and that disappeared for about a year or so after that surgery.

    The other thing that makes me hopeful is that my leg pain goes away when I lay down in bed to sleep. It takes several minutes and I often go to sleep as the pain goes away. When I wake up in the morning the pain is gone. About 1/2 hour after I get up, the pain comes raging back. Is it because when I lay down I'm relieving the pressure on my spinal cord? If that's what's happening, then a more permanent relief of the pressure should also work.

    Sorry I ramble but thanks for the response and may your days be pain free and your surgeries all in the past.
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