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New member failed cervical surgery ACDF C5/6 and C6/7

Hi I am a new member. I had ACDF in Jan 2011 after trying multiple therapies and treatments. I had a great neurosurgeon but I already had nerve damage at the root of C6/7 so the success of the surgery was limited. I am currently seeing a pain specialist and am on Oxycotin 10 mg twice a day, 10 mg Percocet 3 times a day,Cymbalta 90 mg per day, and an anti spasmodic. I am currently still working although several doctors have been surprised that I am not on disability. I actually have considered retiring because I am eligible but this summer I took off and found that it did not impact my pain at all, I just spent more time in bed.i have tried epidurals and acupuncture. Epidurals are useless, acupuncture helped reduce the amount of meds I required, but insurance doesn't. Pay and it is $85 a session and I can't afford it right now. I am trying to get a tens unit and am willing to try anything.
At this moment, I cannot sleep due to the pain and I have a migraine. I am seeing a psychiatrist due to depression and anxiety. I feel like I am becoming a stereotypical chronic pain sufferer. I am fighting tooth and nail to deny this fate and discover a cure for my situation.
Anybody have any sage advice?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 07/20/2013 - 9:44 PM
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

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    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

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    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Well after several increases in meds, some consideration of SCS, a new MRI, and several 5 hour round trip to a special clinic to visit another specialist for a second opinion, I got the same opinion. No special treatment, no new trial, no incredible discovery that puts a new light on my medical condition, just another chronic pain patient that has no hope for a change. Just a recommendation for injections that haven't worked before. Really?
    Very depressing, how do you come to acceptance? Should you?
  • mcjimjammmcjimjam Posts: 307
    edited 03/16/2014 - 5:31 AM
    Did you end up trying a TENS unit? I love mine. I would rather give up any or all of my other electronic devices than my TENS.
  • Tired of the painTTired of the pain Posts: 197
    edited 03/16/2014 - 6:02 AM
    Yes, I have a TENS unit and I used it so much that it irritated my skin. I guess I should try it but not be so obsessive about it. I find that Therma Care wraps really help the most. The doctor did say that there was also some muscle tightens g that goes on and perhaps a muscle relaxer would help. I do have Methocarbamol but it makes me groggy and I can't take it at work.
    I'm just looking for a magic bullet. I begin to accept that this is my fate but then friends and family get stirred up and can't believe there is no cure. I have a friend who loves me so much and was so frustrated that she can't help me that she actually tried to get an appointment for me at a highly recognized clinic in the US.she is well meaning but very pushy. When they sent back an email saying that they have too many chronic pain patients and not enough doctors to see them, so they are not taking new patients. I was really glad because that ride would have been 8 hours round trip.
  • There can be a fine line between exhausting all treatments & searching for the 'magic bullet' for me. When I hear about something different that's helping chronic pain patients I still get excited & hit search like crazy but deep down I know there will never be just 1 solution. I think of it as chipping away at the intensity of the pain. Treatments aren't always a linear thing. I hear a lot 'I tried that & it didn't work'. Things that don't work alone often work when combined with other practices/medications etc.

    I was talking about this lately & my husband mentioned that I'd seen 12 different surgeons since this began..all the reputable, recommended ones said pretty much the same thing! We all need to do what we need to move on. I was clearly banging my head against a brick wall but I needed to do that to satisfy my mind that I wasn't suffering needlessly. It was part of my journey.

    Acceptance isn't about giving up or stopping the search. It's about focusing on my life & dealing with my pain in the background. That wasn't possible for me until I got a handle on my pain. It's still very much there all the time but now, if I really want to do something, like traveling to visit friends, I don't get depressed & think 'I can't!', I plan the least painful way to accomplish what I want to do.

    When I change medications I plan for the possibility of negative effects. I don't start when I'm going to be alone with the kids. I allow for the fact that many meds have a soporific effect for a while until my body gets used to them. In my experience a muscle relaxant or narcotic that makes me incredibly sleepy to start will become 'normal' within a few weeks.

    There will always be 'those' family members & friends who mean well. When an older relative enthuses about the latest bracelet or crystal she's sure will 'cure' me because 'for only $39.99' it's taken her aches away I smile & say 'I'll look into it' or 'my doctor advises against it for me' (that usually works!). They love me & mean well ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I think I will be using this quite a bit for a while.
  • One day at a time.. Just because today sucks it doesn't mean tomorrow has to be the same! ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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