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Making The Right Choice

Hello all!! I have been lurking in these forums ever since my cervical adventure started, and I wanted to get some input from others.
Let me give you some history on my situation first. Starting around February 2012 I was sitting at my desk at work and raised my right arm up and without cause went into one of the worse pains I have ever felt starting at my right shoulder blade and going all the way down to my wrist. My first thought was that I pulled a muscle. So once I got home that night I started heating and icing along with taking Ibuprophen. After two weeks of sleepless nights I decide to go visit a chiropractor, where the first thing they do is take an XRAY. The results come back that I have a bulging disk at C6 and C7 and she recommends I visit her three times a week for the next month. So I go to my appointments while taking it easy at home in the evenings, to the results of feeling worse after the visits than I did when I started going to see them. So I finally decide to visit a doctor who in a matter of minutes diagnoses me with a strained and pulled rhombus muscle in my back that is causing the pain to go down my arm. The doctor prescribed pain meds and muscle relaxers and told me to take every last one of them while doing a set of stretches the doctor’s office showed me to do. Thirty days pass and still no relief. By this time I am starting to learn to live with it (which is scary) and by around July 2012 that pain had been just limited to my arm, with the back pain every so often.
Fast forwarding to February 2013 with still having the pain coming and going I decide to go for another doctor’s visit with a completely different organization. At this point my symptoms still remain right arm and shoulder /blade pain with the addition now of uncontrollable tremors in my right hand. This doctor sends me for an MRI on a Wednesday, the results come back on that following Monday, and I am sent straight to a neurosurgeon the very next day. Now is where it starts to get even weirder for me, in-between getting the MRI and the results my arm and back/blade pain decide to go away and has been replaced by numbness in my right fingers and hand. I get to the neurosurgeon appointment and he proceeds to show my wife and I that disc C6 & C7 have now ruptured and fragmented and are applying pressure to my spinal column. He told me I have three options, two of which are temporary. Option 1 He would send me to a pain clinic every other week for an epidural. Option 2 Physical therapy 3 times a week. Option 3, surgery where he would install a prosthetic disc at C6 and cadaver bone graft with fusion at C7 with a stabilization plate across the whole area, calling the procedure an Anterior Cervical Discectomy. This of course floored my wife and me, he wanted a decision right then and there but we could not provide him with one at that time. So we left the doctor’s office and after consulting family and friends while talking amongst ourselves we decided that I should have the surgery now and get it over with while I am still young (29 Yrs. Old). We called the doctor back and I am scheduled for March 21st.
I guess the input I am looking for is did I jump to the surgery option without giving everything enough time to work? Since the arm and should/blade pain going away and being replaced by numbness, is this a sign that it is getting better or my gut feeling that it is getting worse? This would be my first surgery ever and I am trying to be positive we are making the right decision.


  • I'm afraid that I can't pass comment on the specifics of the diagnosis, my history is all lumbar specific. What I will say however is that I personally feel that we as the sufferers are the only ones who can decide if a decision is right or wrong, and even then it's not that simple.,I am sure others will pass comment that you should first seek a second opinion, have further tests and see surgery as only the final option. However on the flip side, I myself have followed what I think has been the a-typical path both originally in 1997 and more recently in the last 2 years of conservative treatments etc. all to no avail, and surgery has become the "final" solution. I use quotes as I believe "final" is somewhat a loose term for us spineys, as often we end up chasing up / down our spines upon surgical intervention. I wish you all the very best in your upcoming surgery, and definitely recommend you keep in touch through these forums to share information, concerns etc as they really are a helpful medium for all concerned, regards, Nick
  • mrnick0483mmrnick0483 Posts: 5
    edited 03/07/2013 - 2:35 AM
    First off thank you for your input,

    I agree this has been one of the hardest decisions i have ever had to make, and a second opinion was my very first reaction, but after some research it has come to surface that I would be operated on by the area’s top neurosurgeon, and if I am going to have this surgery I want this man to do it. So it is pretty much a catch 22.
  • Your first post and second still sounds like you are 100% comfortable (well, you'll never be 100%, but you get what I'm saying). Getting a second opinion does NOT mean you won't still go with the "area's top neurosurgeon", but it will put your mind a little more at ease. I'd say go get the second opinion, doesn't mean you'll be changing practices.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Nick
    I know the feeling of surprise you went through. I went in for a second opinion on a lumbar surgery and in a very short version of a long story the second surgeon agreed I did need the Lumbar but I needed a emergency surgery on my cervical issues that I had no idea I even had. My cord was severely compressed with some very light clues of a problem. You sound like your on the right track, if there is time a second opinion could not hurt unless the time factor allows damage to your spinal cord. Its a catch 22 and you have to learn to trust somebody with your health.

    Good Luck
  • Thank you everyone for your feed back, I took my MRI report and MRI to my physical therapist today and after him reviewing everything, he told me that there is a 25% chance that he could do very little for me, and that with the condition C7 was in it would be wise to go ahead and have the surgery done, instead of risking nerve damage. While this did bum me out a little, i am finally glad to know that i think i made the right choice by selecting surgery.C6 and C7 have been served with an eviction notice.
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 03/08/2013 - 1:30 PM
    I suggest you keep c6 and c7 and just evict the disc.... I'm glad you have some peace with your decission and wish you the best.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 03/08/2013 - 7:08 PM
    Sometimes I like that word. I did property management and a few times its needed..
    Looking at your pic I think from my experience your doing the right thing.
    Now lets hope for a good surgery and no cord damage it looks like you caught it early enough.
  • I evicted my gall bladder and it hasn't come back. :)
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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