Hi all! Disclaimer:::long post!
I have been reading a lot of postings on the site since around December of 2014 and I have responded to a few posts but this is my 1st actual posting.
I would love any advise, words of encouragement or similar experiences that anyone would care to share :-)
I have only been actively dealing with DDD for about the last 3 years or so but I believe I actually had signs of it a few years prior to that, I just didn't realize that was where some of my aches and pains came from.
Throughout my life, I have had many different jobs. From Construction, working in a grainery, being a waitress in bars or restaurants, customer service rep for Northwest Airlines (before they merged with Delta) and a skycap once they did merge, etc. Most jobs I have had have been on my feet where I was lifting heavy objects, tossing heavy objects or just walking a lot.
While skycapping (the folks that check you in outside the airport before a flight) in the winter I would notice that my neck would ache pretty badly but I thought that was due to having scarves and hoods on, so much around my neck that my head would tilt more forward. Fast forward a few years, no longer working as a skycap and having sit down jobs or being out of work for a bit after a move and my neck no longer bothered me but I would notice my lower back cramping a bit when I would first stand up after sitting at the kitchen table or doing dishes, shoveling snow etc. I wrote the pain off as gaining a bit of weight and from being lazy for a few months. (I had gone to help take care of my foster mom in the final stages of cancer so I didn't work for a few months)
I finally started working again for a mail order pharmacy, packing & shipping the medications to be mailed out. I continued to have the lower back pain while working, for the first 8 months of my time there we worked 10 hour shifts 6 days a week. Then one day after working, I was sitting at my computer watching a show and soaking my feet, I went to stand up, thank goodness I was holding the chair and computer table because I was half way up when I heard a pop and felt my back give out. The pain was excruciating! For a week I didn't work, couldn't stand up straight and when sleeping in order to roll over, I would have to actually hold onto the side of the mattress and pull myself over. My then GP told me I pulled a muscle and I would be fine in a few days. He gave me muscle relaxers and sent me on my way.
That was the beginning of my life with DDD. Finally had an MRI and my Dr at the time told me I simply had a mild case of DDD and that I shouldn't be having any pain associated with it because I was to young at the time. Forward 6 months or so and the pain was still around, not quite as bad but still there, especially during "that time of the month" I was always having pains down my right leg into my knee and I had already had surgery on that knee so it always has a bit of soreness anyway. I was given 30 hydrocodone and robaxin and told I shouldn't even need that. Finally got a different Dr and another MRI. I never got the full results but was told I had a bulging disk in my neck and back and pinched nerves. Still no biggie. This Dr kept me on the robaxin and slowly over 2 years went up to 120 7.5 vicoden a month and sent me to PT and PM that didn't believe in pain meds and put me on cymbalta. The PM Dr moved offices 20 miles further away so I stopped seeing them. After no relief and actually getting worse and hearing my Dr tell me that he thought I was just getting addicted to the vicoden and I needed to stop taking them, I took it upon myself to go and have back and neck surgery at spine center that did the minimally invasive laser approach in December. I had just moved from Missouri to Kansas so I found a new Dr and after still having back pain and my neck being what feels twice as bad as before, I took it upon myself as well to find a PM Dr. (I am in love with both Drs by the way for all their help lol) I made sure that I had all the records for my back and neck issues and was able to get meds from the PM dr at my first visit. 10MG oxycontin 2x day, 15 MG oxycodone up to 3x day with my gabapentin 600 MG 4x day and Baclofen 10 MG 4x day I had already been on. Finally new MRI's with and without contrast.
This one read : L4-L5 disc bulge, disc protrusion with bilateral foraminal encroachment & lumbar spondylosis L5-S1 disc bulge, disc protrusion with left foraminal encroachment & lumbar spondylosis C3-C4 disc bulge & spondylosis, right stenosis C4-C5 disc bulge & spondylosis, disc protrusion, osteoarthritis, bilateral foraminal stenosis C5-C6 disc bulge & spondylosis, osteoarthritis, foraminal stenosis bilateral & central C6-C7 disc bulge & sponsylosis, foraminal stenosis bilateral & central with bone spurs
Apparently the PM tells me that my lower back should be giving me the most pain as the spondylosis is severe but honestly, my neck feels the worst. Major headaches in the morning and after being at the computer at work (I am at the same place but have had a desk job for the last 2 years)
I have done a shot in my neck but we are scared to do anymore steroid shots because within 2 days of the shot I had blurry vision in my left eye and was told the fluid levels in that eye are at 24/25 which is right below the level of glaucoma and it is believed that the steroid shot was what had caused that. If my back gets to hurting any worse, we may try a facet shot but not sure yet. My PM Dr did tell me that there is nothing else he could do for my neck and that we were just going to continue with long term medications I am guessing until it gets to a point where surgery is the only option left. Which scares the crap outta me because after neck surgery before where they just did a laminectemy on the right side of c6-c7 and I believe nerve ablation on both sides of the nerves, I cried when I woke up from surgery and begged them to put me back to sleep! My neck is constantly hurting and always very tired feeling, I am unable to look down for more than a few second without it spasiming and my head feeling way to heavy.The MRI didn't even show signs of a surgery having been done.
The oxycodone while helping a lot, gives me what they call the nods, I will be at the computer at work while talking to someone and just fall asleep in the middle of a sentence so I have to cut those in half in order to stay awake at work. I guess the reason for the long post is..... anyone have any ideas on where to go from here? I do know that no one can give me medical advise but perhaps personal opinions? Does anyone think that using steroids in my lower back will have less of an impact on my eyes? Has anyone had anything else done to help with pain in their neck besides steroids? I hate being on these meds, though they help I am always exhausted and run down feeling. I
Sorry for being scattered but I have been wanting to write all this down for awhile so if you actually read the whole thing, thank you. There is a great group of folks here and I am really interested in hearing everyones opinions. Have a great day!
Time is the coin of your life. It's the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~Carl Sandburg