Hi- I am new here. My name is Anne and I have been reading posts from members here & getting SUCH help. A needed insight as this is new to us. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to post here because it helps new people like me who are desperately seeking help/answers/advice. THANKS!
We are in Philadelphia, PA.
My dad is 69 years old and his diagnosis is:
Os Odontoideum/Cervical spondylosis with myelopathy
His problems started in about 2010. He was VERY active up until then & now, August, 2013- not active at all. He basically has no life at all & sits in his home in pain all day watching TV. When is up and moving, he looks like he will tip over and it's very scary knowing a fall could paralyze him. He really needs help quick. In the past 8 or so months, he has gone from bad to MUCH worse.
Starting out at Holy Redeemer Hospital due to his balance problems, we were then sent to Temple University. Temple didn't really give much of a diagnosis- they just said, "he has a broken neck" and wanted us to sign surgery consent forms right there. My dad, who has what they call "white coat allergy" lol, was not happy with the experience there. Our family doctor said no to consent at that time and to seek a second opinion at Penn.
Penn Neurology was great. They explained his condition- degenerative due to age but the C1 being separated/broken and that posed an unusual problem for him as his degeneration was C2, C3, C4 but the issue of the Odontoideum had to be repaired. The degeneration continued up into C1 as well from my understanding. Surgery can only be done with guiding equipment in the OR. So the neurologist at Penn EDIT referred him to another Penn doctor who specializes in this type of repair using this type of equipment.
But I went to Johns Hopkins as research led me there due to their CT scanners built into the operating rooms. He needs two more tests here in Philadelphia- CT cervical and XR with flexion. Then we can get to Baltimore to be evaluated by Johns Hopkins. Our family doctor suggested Johns Hopkins was best option for us as they do have the technology and expertise with this type of thing. Of course, he said Penn was great too but Hopkins does this type of thing a lot more.
I'm not in the medical field so I apologize if I'm unclear on some wording here.
My hope is that someone here can give me an insight as to what a complex surgery like this will do to a 69 year old man. He will be 70 in October. Otherwise his health is good. But I am reading horror stories from people who have had the surgery. My dad has 30 years from addiction recovery and will not take narcotic pain medication. He's what I call, "a tough old Irish guy" and just deals with his pain, avoids doctors, gets dental work done with no Novocaine... He never complains and doesn't want surgery.
However, he is going deeper into depression and accepting the fact that surgery may be the only option to help him.
I've been reading about Prolotherapy- not sure if that's an option for him.
All I seek is to help him get better quality of life. I know I can't make him any younger and he will have some issues. But is surgery the answer? Or will it make him worse? From what I have been reading, people become dependent on pain meds after this type of surgery.
Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. I'm lost here. I wound up here because I love my dad so much- he's the kindest man... it's hard to see him this way & I just need help.
Thanks a million.
Post edited to remove specific doctor's name. Please read the Forum rules