Hi everyone! I have been browsing these boards quite frequently the past few months as I prepared for surgery. My history - 39 year old active female. I started having pain sometime in November. It was a gradual onset pain, I have no clue on any specific event that led up to my injury. It started as quite positional with pain radiating down my left arm, then I would get some numbness in my left index finger. This all came and went at first but by December it came and stayed with me. The pain was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life. Long story short, I had such a hard time getting doctors to order the right tests or even take the pain I was having seriously. The one doctor in my PCP office flat out treated me like a drug seeker. I have been on ambien for 10 years, this is a chronic med for me. When I saw him about getting something for pain stronger than tramadol, he refused. I asked for a muscle relaxer because I was having severe spasms in my back. His response? I will either give you your ambien or flexeril, not both (and this was WITH my MRI results in hand!). Very frustrating. I had to see a different doctor to finally get an MRI ordered and it came back with a severe herniation at C6 C7. Thankfully I was an established patient at a NS for carpal tunnel repair so I got in quickly and surgery was scheduled for 2 weeks later. I had already been seeing a chiro for traction and been on anti inflammatories for over a month at that point, I wasn't improving at all. I had no reflexes in my left arm and was losing strength.
I had my surgery 1/21/15. Things went very well I believe. Had ACDF with hardware/cadaver bone at C6 C7. I was discharged and not required to wear a collar. I do have a little anxiety so the first few weeks were very tough, always thinking I was messing something up. I am now 5 weeks out and I am so conflicted about everything that is going on. I apologize if this seems to be jumping all over the place. I just feel I am getting more and more anxious as I approach my 6 week follow up next week. This will be the first post op visit and I am kind of worried. I really haven't been pushing myself too much, following instructions, but at times I feel I need to do more because of the expectations of my family I guess. I think we all came to an understanding that I would take 6 weeks off work and then I would most likely be able to go back full duty. That 6 weeks hurt us, not going to lie. I work part time and I have no short term disability or any paid time off. Lesson learned, I will be looking into some type of short term disability insurance when I get back to normal, whenever that is. So this was 2 months without pay. We took out a loan to cover my lost wages. My husband is very supportive, I don't mean to make it sound like he isn't. I am very lucky. But he really has no clue about medical things or what is expected of me at work. I am an RN, I work in a mental health facility. I think as far as nursing jobs go, I have it pretty easy as far as physical labor. The major thing with my job is the risk. I work with mentally unstable and sometimes violent individuals. It is not uncommon for things to become physical at any given moment. I am now so worried about going back there anytime soon. I just keep imagining some crazy guy punching me in the face or the notorious hair puller there coming up and yanking my head back. Or being stuck having to walk a 150 lb lady to the bathroom and her deciding she wants to fall and I have to catch her. I am certain that my surgeon will release me full duty if I tell him I am ready because he knows the financial hit I took.
I am just so overwhelmed and getting more anxious and feeling depressed everyday. The weather has been horrible, I am sure I would be "blue" even if I was in perfect health. The surgery helped immensely with the pain but I still have some achiness in my left arm and the neck/shoulder muscles fatigue and start burning if I am up too much during the day. I am TERRIFIED of the pain coming back. I don't think I could handle being in that pain again. I go for my x-ray next week, and yes I know it is horrible but I am a smoker and I worry about the fusion failing too. And then knowing that the expectation in this house has been for me to return to work in a few weeks. I don't know how we could get by with me being off too much longer. I get scared just thinking about it all. My husband yells at me when he thinks I am doing too much around the house, he doesn't want me to mess it up either. But how do I go from not even vacuuming to putting myself in such physical situations at work overnight? I just wish I thought he could understand that. His answer would be to ask for help, tell them I can't do certain things etc. etc. This would not go over well where I work. The people I work with are great but I need to be released FULL duty. I can't always depend on someone being around when the 70 year old lady needs walked to the bathroom, or that I can hide in the office when someone starts throwing furniture. I don't even know that I really have any questions to ask here I just think I need to vent. Without feeling that I am being judged as just not wanting to return to work. Any input anyone can offer is appreciated. Feeling a little hopeless at this point that life will ever be back to the way it was before.