Hello, my name is Melissa. I have multiple DXs and will enumerate them in a bit. I know this is a forum for spinal and pain conditions, but I'm am more than my diagnoses. I'm an artist and musician. Since 1983 I worked in Commercial Art, Technical Illustration, Drafting, Graphic Design and in 1993 I began teaching junior and senior high school students. I raised two daughters during that time and also went back to school earning my BA and Teaching Credenial. I also performed on weekends and while I was teaching fulltime I also took at least six credits at a local college. Last Wednesday, after four years of waiting, fighting (sometimes to even stay alive), and worrying I finally won a disability judgement. I have been reduced to spending most of my time flat on my back watching TV. My kids and friends have to do most errands for me. Here's what happened:
As a kid and even into my mid twenties I was very active and athletic. I rode a skateboard, biked, ran, snow skied, climbed to stupid heights and pushed through the pain of every injury. I've fallen off two story roofs, out of trees, off bikes, horses, skateboards and the list goes on. During my first pregnancy I had undiagnosed Placenta Previa requiring a C-section. This triggered Fibromyalgia. It was annoying pain and fatigue, but I battled and pushed through. I went to a chiropractor and spent lots of money trying to manage back pain. I had another baby a few years later and kept fighting pain. In early 1994 I was in a car crash (not my fault) that banged me up pretty badly, but I kept fighting. My kids were in the car with me so I didn't want upset them and didn't go to the hospital. I did see my plan doctor, but they didn't really do anything. After a year of physical therapy I was sent to see a specialist who ordered an MRI. After this car crash is when my life started spiraling. I began to gradually lose mobility and function. Five years ago the pain was so bad in my RH shoulder and arm that I couldn't draw or play for more than a few minutes. This is a problem for me since I've made my living either drawing or playing my instrument or teaching other people.
LH Rotator Cuff injury
Herniated Discs C4-5 and C5-6
Nerve Impingement (entrapment)
Cervical Spinal Stenosis
(RH pain, tingling and numbness from neck to fingertips)
Arthritis in shoulders
DDD in Lumbar Spine (osteoarthritis L5-S1)
Pelvic Floor collapse
I used to have Carpal Tunnel, but that pain went away when I stopped writing on a laptop.
I've had steroid shots in my spine, hips, RH shoulder. For the most part, I am managing pain with opioids, muscle relaxers, an anticonvulsant, and NSAIDs.
In the last month or two I've gained a few new symptoms (yay) including numbness on my RH clavical area when I turn my head to the the right. This has lead to pain, tingling and numbness from my clavical and traveling up the right side of my neck, over the shoulder and down my back to my shoulder blade. I have also had migraine headaches the last two months almost every day. For me, this is not normal. I had migraines a lot as a kid and into mid twenties and for the last thirty years would maybe get a migraine twice a year. Also this past week, my neck has lost a lot of ROM, is very stiff and sore. When I try to move it to the right it feels a little better for a few seconds, then the tingling starts and it hurts so bad I can't keep it in that position. I mainly use heat for relief (boy, do I go thru heating pads!) I can only lie on my back and sometimes on my right side, but can no longer lie on my stomach or my left side or my right arm, shoulder and neck will fall asleep and excruciating pain follows.
I really hate telling my story. It seems so lame. Demoralizing.
I will try to go thru some of the posts here. I'm not looking for anyone to solve all my problems, just interested in people's experience with the cervical surgery for spinal stenosis.
Thanks for reading.