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Numb, pain, ringing

I am fused C5,6,7 with titanium plate. Long story. I went into the ER in April 08 had the most terrible pain imaginable in my arm and right shoulder area. they tried to release me and I refused, told them I'd be right back in after the morphine wore off. They have this stupid pain chart with the faces, but they didn't have one with a gun to it's head, that one would have been more fitting to the pain I was in. I was in so much pain I envisioned wrapping a chain around my arm and having a semi truck rip it off. They did admit me and put me on a morphine pump, the MRI and X-rays didn't show much, so the Dr. wanted me to wait it out, to see if time would resolve my issues, 6 days later on a Sunday he decided to operate, said it would be routine fusion, would take about 20 minutes or so and I would feel much better. Well it took over 3 hours, Dr.'s nurse told me that he commented as he pulled out a chunk of bone, "this is big enough for my dog to chew on". When I saw my surgeon after surgery, he said with a chuckle,"darndest thing, didn't show on your films, all I had to do was give it a tweak and was able to remove large chunk of bone from your neck, used cadaver bone to graph and a titanium plate covering C6-7, you should feel much better soon" next day I was released with scripts for lyrica and norco. Not to mention the lovely collar I had to wear for a while.
After 6 weeks I no longer had to wear the collar when I went out and about and was told I could go to work. I was a waitress and I had terrible pain in my neck when I would reach up and still had pain spasms in my shoulder, neck and forearm, along with numb thumb, index and middle finger. Pain was not nearly as intense as when I went into the ER, that was continuous, this was sporadic, only lasting for short periods. I also had a new symptom, this ringing/hissing of my heartbeat in my ears, drives me nuts, hate it, can not stand to be in silence, only hearing my now irregular heart beats. (may have been irregular before, just never heard it or caught by any doctors.) A doctor did catch the irregularities during a routine exam about a year and a half after my first surgery. Yes I did end up having a second surgery, 6 months after I was "laid off", was told by one of the managers off the record, it was because I was a liability.
In June 09 after injections and several increases in meds. He noted a slight disc bulge at C5-6. Once again did not show on film, had 3 spurs pressing on my spinal cord, he found them when he did the surgery, they were removed, fused and old plate removed and larger one added to cover C5-6-7. Lump in my throat feeling gone and sharp pain when reaching not as frequent, got a new job, but 3 months later was told she couldn't keep me, I was a liability and she couldn't risk me getting hurt at work, I pleaded with her to let me stay, told her I would work for free, just work for tips on weekends and she agreed. Here I am over 4 years later, symptoms are, ringing, numb fingers, sporadic pain in shoulders, forearm and neck, headaches,high BP, obstructive sleep apnea, start snoring before I even fall asleep all the way, I hear it as I drift off, I get a c-pap machine tonight, hope it helps, I've been so tired for so long, I fall asleep sitting up all the time. Writing, walking, looking down and driving all cause me pain. Oh and not to mention, my husband of nearly 20 years quit caring about how I felt and filed for divorce in 2011 (valentines day) and took our children from me and left me homeless and started causing trouble for me at work and put others jobs at risk, so I was let go. He wanted me to be jobless, knowing how hard it was for me to get work. He wanted the kids, only so he did not have to pay support.
I'm so frustrated, I went off all meds in Jan of 2011, they had me on lyrica, Neurontin, Norco 10/325, Elavil and Trazodone, I was still in pain and felt ill if I would forget to take my meds on time. I felt the pain will not kill me, but the meds just might over time. I was also taking Lisinopril 20mg and Metoprolol 25mg for the HBP. Currently only taking metoprolol 50mg and use Lidocane patch when I can't stand it and need to take the edge off my neck pain. I was a very healthy person before I had my first surgery, no issues at all, even had relatively low BP. What ever happened to me to wake that night with the terrible pain in my arm has wrecked my life as I knew it, maybe it was holding a sheet of drywall up with my head as I screwed it into the ceiling we were working on or maybe the little hand held vibrating massager I used on my neck for the sore muscles I had, all I know is I'm still jumping through hoops, back to physical therapy, injections and going to one Dr. or another to resolve my issue or to even get some kind of clue as to what is causing them. MRI, EMG, all say I'm ok, but I know better. Filed for SSI, but because I've had to work part time to stay out of jail so I can pay my ex child support, because no Dr.'s have said I can't work, I fear they will deny me and it's taken over a year and a half to get my day in court. I'd like them to be in my shoes for a day and tell me the same. I work for cash, get a 1099 at the end of the year and work when he wants me to, afraid I will be replaced if I tell him I'm not able because of my pain levels. I cry myself to sleep often because I feel like I just can't keep do what I do day after day, I'm broken and it seems no one can fix me or even tell me what is the cause.
Any help or advise as to how I can get answers or even cope would be appreciated. Thanks


  • Summi1408SSummi1408 Posts: 176
    edited 11/16/2013 - 9:01 PM
    I wish I could help you more but know that you are not alone. There are many good threads here if you read through them even some of the older ones you will find something that helps you. Sometimes it just helps to talk about it and vent. Hopefully someone can help you.
    Acdf C5 C6 12/13/12
    Laminectomy and Discectomy L5 S1 12/12/13
  • I can totally relate your pain and what you are experiencing. I fell 2 years ago and it leashed a beast on me. Long story short I went through all the steps trying to get rid of the radicular pain in my right arm. I had shoulder spasms so bad I felt like my body was convulsing. Finally, I lost the use totally in my right hand and the sensitivity and numbness was through the roof. Had injections as the final straw in my neck and skull and it didn't work. Had an MRI and it showed severe ddd and severe spinal stenosis. I had a herniation so large it crushed the nerve on the right side. So I saw the sugeon and he said if I didn't have surgery I would eventually be fully paralysed. Had the surgery back in Feb and had a double ACDF. Wore the neck collar for 4 months. Here I sit almost 8 months later and I'm still in the worst pain and it has started on the other side. I am also experiencing the buzzing in my ears 24/7. My physio therapist said it's called tinnitus and it's very hard to treat. I'm

    I fell broken like you do. I feel that this is never going to end. Unlike you, I do have LTD and I don' t know what I would do without it. I'm shocked your doctors have not helped you through this process. My surgeon, my family doc and my physio therapist have all given documentation stating that even after surgery the same issues are still there. Unfortunately, like my neuro surgeon said the surgery was actually to stop any further damage and paralysation and that correcting prior damage is not always possible.

    You seem like you have gone through a lot. It's hard enough to deal with this Chronic condition let alone deal with all the personal issues you have to go through. What is wrong with your doctors!! You had the surgery so they should be able to come to the conclusion that not everyone is cured. I hope things improve for you. Has your surgeon talked to you about going to a pain clinic. It's a long process to get in but I'm hoping they will work with me to get some normality back in my like. Be strong. I agree the tinnitus is brutal. I have also developed buzzing vibrations like a cell phone on vibrate in certain parts of my body. It's crazy! Take Care.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Ron DiLauro


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • edited 11/23/2013 - 4:31 PM
    I believe one reason my surgeon wasn't helping me or being very truthful is because he may have messed up and didn't want to admit it for fear of a lawsuit, which I wouldn't have filed, not his fault he left me roaming around on morphine pump for 6 days before my first surgery. He did the best he could with what he had to go on.
    I'm so glad I am working with new Doctors and finally resolving some issues. Not sure if my obstructive sleep apnea is related to my surgery, never had any issues before and curious as to why my old surgeon looked at my uvula and noted no swelling one time, which was on one of my better days. Some days I wake up with it so swollen I can hardly swallow or talk. Seems like all the health issues I have now are some how related to my neck, considering I was very healthy, active, fit and energetic before my injury. Just goes to show how much we take things like that for granted and then you wake up one night and it's a whole new life and not for the better either. I'm only 48 and hope to be around for a long time to come, but know at the rate I'm going, in a few years I'll be hoping for a shorter stay

    I get buzzing too, strangest feeling, your right like a cell phone vibration. Can not stand to have anyone lightly touch my fingers that are effected either, feels like they are touching raw nerves, like I have no skin where they are touching, use to get zapped like being shocked with a hot wire, but only when I've been overdoing it.
    Glad I found this place, people that can relate..............yippy!
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