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5 days before ACDF and a radiologist says nothing's wrong with me. FREAKING OUT

I'm about to lose it. For over a year repeated CT scans have shown severe herniations compromising the canal and compressing the cord. The most recent CT was conducted on January 23. I cannot have MRI due to metal in my body.
I have had moderate to severe neck pain throughout 8 of the last 12 months, with radicular symptoms of varying intensity during roughly half that time. Accordingly, I am scheduled to undergo a 2-level fusion at NYU Hospital in 5 days.
Yesterday I underwent a myelogram, requested by surgeon to get a more detailed view than a CT will allow. The radiologic report states that there is essentially NOTHING WRONG WITH ME but mild to moderate disc bulges. (Sorry for shouting).
I'm on the edge here. I spent 6 or 7 year as a chronic pain patient from a lower back injury and several surgeries. I genuinely don't know if I have it in me to live through that nightmare again. The surgery was supposed to be the answer, but if there is suddenly nothing wrong with me then... If my surgeon sees the same thing as the radiologist, he would have to cancel the surgery.
I'm so scared that this is going to be my life. I'm a pretty positive guy, buy last time I was close to not making it out alive. The drugs and depression (i was a diagnosed Looney Toon before all this happened) and physical pain...



  • DianafanDDianafan Posts: 5
    edited 04/17/2013 - 1:14 PM
    Depression does not make you a Looney Toon.
  • Smack_AdamsSSmack_Adams Posts: 6
    edited 04/17/2013 - 1:51 PM
    Of course not, thanks. Just trying to say that I have a history, without being overly dramatic about it, particularly since the rest of my post was so panicky
  • Hi Smack.......please never let ANYONE tell you nothing is wrong when you are the one in pain and looking for answers. I guess if I were you, I would most certainly discuss this issue with your surgeon and ADVOCATE for yourself. You are the one living in pain....just don't sit back and let anybody dictate your life.

    Good Luck.....PLEASE keep us posted. Now go get 'em!!

  • Thanks, Charlie. I got on the phone to my sturgeon
  • Smack_AdamsSSmack_Adams Posts: 6
    edited 04/18/2013 - 1:43 AM
    Thanks Charlie. I got on the phone to my surgeon as soon as I got the lousy report, bu he had already left for the day. Hence my venting here.
    I'll post an update as soon as I've got one.
  • I get the sense this guy has never seen a spine he couldn't justify cutting into, so he going to go after mine, despite the apparent shrinkage of my herniations. He says that I still have cord compression and DDD. This, coupled with past episodes of utterly debilitating radicular pain, is his justification now.

    Come Tuesday, life could get a whole lot better!
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 04/19/2013 - 10:08 PM
    Take the time and talk with the doctor have him show you why he wants to do surgery. Look at my profile pic. The report read mild to moderate disc bulge. Hell it was a major disc bulge with major pressure on my spinal cord. I have seen reports that don't show much in the report but the pics show major problems. I do not trust the radiologist all the time, they make mistakes.
    Ask to see the disc that are at issue. Do they have any pressure on your cord. Just touching the cord can cause problems.
    I got lucky I went in for a lumbar second opinion to compare to the first surgeon that wanted to fuse my lower back. The second surgeon just looking at me asked what was wrong with my neck. I had no idea so to be safe ask to be shown what the problem is.
    From my experience they have shown me how to tell if there is spinal fluid all around the cord. No fluid the cord can be damaged
    Any compression the cord can be damaged. My cord is damaged and it causes major problems.
    I am just saying do not toss in the towel yet just find out what he sees that he thinks needs to be done.
    In most hospitals surgeons have a board that reviews surgeries to avoid unneeded procedures.

    Do you have problems with your neck , shoulders, arms ,hands or fingers if so your mild disc issues may be causing it.
    You can always postpone and maybe get a second opinion but you may loose the surgeon. If it is not needed I would loose the surgeon but I always try to look at both sides of a story before making a decision.

    Good Luck
  • Cali4niaCCali4nia Posts: 45
    edited 04/21/2013 - 5:03 PM
    surgeon! So far the one surgeon I saw said my pictures don't look bad enough to operate and walked out of the room on me. He actually said "your neck looks perfectly normal". Didn't ask about my level of pain or that it has been almost a year of the worst pain ever or that I've tried 9 months of chiro and pt, never mind about what/how much I'm taking for pain control! I have DDD, 2 mildly protruding discs, 1 small herniated disc, minimal central canal stenosis and mild disc osteophyte complex.

    I wish you the best of luck in your recovery. Please let us know how you do.

    Sincerely, Cali
    Mother of three amazing boys who wants her life back, suffering from chronic neck/shoulder pain for 9 months.
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