I am so pleased to have found this website and wanted to introduce myself and say thank you to you all for having shared your stories. Already this has made an enormous difference in my life- to know that I am not alone in my struggles. It's a grand sigh of relief to know there is a place to go where someone else truly understands the complexities of these issues we face. I feel that knowing this exists- that i can come to this place where other souls are seeking the same when i have fears or questions or worries- well it's a healthy and positive way to help eachother toward health.
So a warm thanks to all of you.
Today I am 4 weeks out from ACDF c4-c6 to correct instability in my spine and resulting bone spur development created by a gross surgical error in April of 2011. I went in to get microsurgery to remove a small bone spur which was pressing into my c6 nerve. I had a perfectly healthy spine except for this one bone spur which was presumably created by a hairline stress fracture which didn't heal properly. So I scheduIed to have a simple laminotomy to remove that one bone spur. A bit of a tragedy happened in the operating room. Instead of receiving the micro-surgical operation I received an major operation which would required hardware installation. I received a posterior laminectomy, foraminectomy and facetecomy of c4 c5 c6 c7. It seems that the surgeon realized his error when he got to c7 because he only half-removed c7 lamina. He then simply sewed me back up, leaving bone fragments in several of my formamens. He then lied on the operative reports, and to my face in the several follow-up exams- Over and over again he told me that that I only received a laminotomy. I entered a physical therapy program thinking I had just the laminotomy and could resume all pre-surgical activity. I struggled through the year trying to heal- not understanding why I was suffering so much pain and weakness. I returned many times to the neurosurgeon asking him why I was suffering- why I had reduced strength- why my hand wasn't working right- why i felt that i couldn't stand straight- why I was having pain in my extremities and down my back- He told me that some patients take longer to heal than others and that this may take up to 2 years to heal. He would prescribe me painkillers and send me on my way. I asked him for an MRi or xray. He said it wasn't needed. Finally I went to my internist who gave me an MRI. That is when I found out what was done to me.
It has been a long and terribly frightening situation. I am just happy that I found a great doctor who has fixed the situation. 2 days after my surgery (the 2 level acdf) they took me to the XRAY and showed me the plate and screws and bones. They were all where they should be and I could walk and shake a persons hand and stand straight which I hadn't been able to do for many months before the surgery. They treated me with the utmost kindness, professionalism and gentleness at the Hospital For Special Surgery. It was such a wonderful experience, that I feel that I can truly heal- both physically and emotionally from the damages done by that other doctor. I can get past this and be happy and healthy again.
I am now so blessed to be able to one again hold a pen. Before my ACDF I was not able to do do many of the things which bring my life joy. I could not play my guitar because my right arm was moving in a kind of slow motion and my fingers - particularly my thumb and index finger were not working correctly. I couldn't stand up properly. My whole body was collapsed on the right side because I should have had hardware installed after the doctor removed the lamina and facets to several consecutive vertebra. Instead he sewed me up and told me to go home and resume my life- which I tried to do and failed. That failure however was only temporary and the new doctor fixed it and now I hope within a year I will be able to ride horses again, I will be able to paint and draw and I will be able to play the blues! I have a beautiful song in fact I have written for the brilliant doctor who fixed my neck. I have another song- a ballad in D minor for the doctor who nearly ruined my life.
I feel a need to share this story- which is a kind of bittersweet tragedy with a happy ending becuase I know I am not the first person who has suffered through this. I learned that human beings can suffer through all manner of things and with a positive attitude can endure beautifully. I also have learned intimately how precious life is, and how lucky we are to live through these tough experiences. We can treat them with loving kindness and we can heal no matter what has been done to us.