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Surgery buddies for July/ August (cervical)

JustJenJJustJen Posts: 2
edited 07/11/2015 - 1:19 AM in Surgery Buddies
I have been reading a lot on this site and finally got the courage to post. Hoping to find some understanding and encouragement, especially because the world seems to think if you are young, you can't possibly be in pain. I'm 32 years young and have been dealing with back problems for nearly my whole life.

I was about 8 years old when I had my first backache. I had been out sick from school and had to carry some large text books home to make up the work. From that point on the backpack and books just got heavier each year and the muscle tension and pain continued to grow. It was nothing to really spark any concern. My grandmother and mother (found out both have some degree of scoliosis) always complained of backaches and i thought it was just part of life.

I didn't need any medical intervention until my first real injury when i was 16. I was at big, all day rock concert. Mind you I'm only 5' 2" weighing about 135. I spotted the really drunk guy and tried to stay clear. He was running into the back of the crowd trying to leap-frog over people so he could crowd surf. It wasn't working. He disappeared and the next thing I knew he had fully jumped on top of me! I was violently pushed down to the ground. He jumped up and ran away, I was helped up, dusted myself off and found a tree to go rest under, not thinking anything about it. Could barely move my neck and shoulders the next day. Went to my doctor who said it was just muscle strain because xrays came back negitive. Well the pain never really went away. Eventually some physical therapy seemed to help, but muscle spasms continued. It became an on and off pain that seemed to act up when i over did it.

Life goes on, shoulder muscles got tighter. My boyfriend, now husband, would rub my back constantly. The popping in my neck would make people cringe but it was one of the only things that seemed to relieve the pressure in my neck. The pain traveled from my neck, down my back, and into both arms. Sometimes I had tingly sensations run down my arms like they had fallen asleep.

Doctors all said there was nothing wrong. Just normal pain. I was on an equestrian team. Riding is hard on your spine and so is training young horses. I was once kicked by a mare, with her hind legs, right in my stomach. I flew about 30 feet, landed on my back, years later found out I had broke a rib. To the instructors surprise I was alive and walked out of the field with my horse. Ambulances were called but I didn't have healthcare so I said I was fine. It was just a little pain right? Meh.

I lead, or used to lead a very active life. I am a daredevil. I love adventures. I have two children, one having autism/aspergers. We ride our bikes to school, go to the park every weekend and I also love to exercise and dance, not to mention I am a baker and gardener. I am always on my feet. Always going and i love that. About 2 years ago the bouts of muscle spasms and tension got worse. I thought I had just over done it in the garden again. This was becoming an almost monthly occurrence. Usually a trip to the urgent care, coming home with a few pain pills and some muscle relaxers and my husband giving me a few strong back massages would do the trick. This time that didn't help. It just kept getting worse.

I wake up in the morning with a flash of pain traveling down my arms. Then they go all numb and tingly. My hands sometimes feel cold, not only to me, but a noticeable difference to my husband as well. I also get what I call stupid hands. In addition to the numbness, my hands would feel swollen and I would have trouble opening doors, doing my makeup, getting dressed, and even giving myself my medications and insulin injections. Sometimes my motor skills become so bad I have trouble holding a pen to write. My gait has been affected and sometimes I stumble while walking. I also have bladder issues. I use the restroom 8-12 times a day. I always feel like I need to urinate, but I have to push to produce a stream. I was given a diagnosis, by a neurologist, of moderate cervical stenosis. Central canal narrowing starts at C4-C5, is moderate at C5-C7 with flattening of the anterior spinal cord. I also have mild endplate osteophytes and mild disc hydration with generalized annular buldging with a superimposed broad-based central disc herniation with mild superior and inferior extrusion at C5-C6. Mild degenerative changes are also noted at T3-T5, with a posterolateral disc herniation with mild superior extrusion at T3-T4 and mild central canal narrowing and generalized annular buldging at T4-T5.

Since that diagnosis I had a bad fall that has worsened my condition to severe. I now suffer from extremely dull low back pain that radiates down through my left hip. My spinal cord is being flattened more on the left side. The doctors are hoping it is just accociated pain steming from my neck. My facet joints in my lumbar are also severely inflamed ( which can explain some of the hip pain). I was on a slew of medications including metaxalone, diazapam, cyclobenzaprine, naproxen, and gabapenton with no relief. I even got my medical marijuana card because marijuana is one of the only medications that relieves the severe muscle spasms and pain. I asked repeatedly at my doctors office if this was okay to continue taking all of the pills together and long term. I was told it was okay. I should have been monitored more closely . February 2015 I had a few uncontrolled blood sugars and extreme trouble urinating. I went delirious and was admitted to the hospital. My kidneys had shut down because of the naproxen. I had a stage 2 kidney injury and after a 10 day hospital stay I emerged alive. Now the doctors started taking me seriously.

I dropped that doctor and found a new one. She was able to get me into the UC hospital of my choice, where I have an excellent neurosurgeon. I am scheduled for surgery 7/31/2015. I have been diagnosed with Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy. I am having a lamonectomy and fusion of C4-C7. I also have hypothyroidism, hyperparathroidism, hypercalcimia, endometriosis, and type 1 diabetes. When surgery is complete I am having full blood work ups done because my surgeon said Im suffering from a rare condition where any damaged tissues will start to calcify and harden. Due to my many auto immune conditions and the progress of the degeneration throughout my spine I feel this is just one of many surgeries I face in the future.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 07/16/2015 - 9:47 PM
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and growing.
    Here are just some of the highlights that are available as tabs on the main Spine-Health menu bar

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    As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here you can meet thousands of people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family[/u] who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. You are now part of this family that is approximately 27,00 international members and growing daily.


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    Doug Hell

    Also working with us very closely is Allison Walsh from the Spine-Health company


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Can somebody please tell me how long its going to take before i feel my feet again surgery was done on sunday 12 july 2015
  • SukhreSSukhre San Diego, CAPosts: 181
    Good luck with your surgery. I pray that you do better.

    Your symptoms are so similar to mine (bludder issues, the pain running down the hand, numbness of & tinging..) I also have a lot of pain in the upper back, the triangular area in the shoulder).

    I have severe stenosis at C4-C5, C5-C6 and moderate on C6-7. One neurosurgeon asked me to do C4-C6 fusion. I am in the process of finding the surgeon and scheduling the surgery as soon as I find the right doctor.
    MRI shows C4-C7 severe steonosis. Pain in hand.
  • Hi JustJen!
    I am hoping you are doing well. I had cervical fusion C5 -C7 in August 2013. I must say it is a much easier recovery than lumbar fusion. It took me about 3 weeks to begin feeling somewhat normal again. I had some lingering problems swallowing that took about 5-6 months to heal and required a complete soft food/liquid diet. You'd think I would have lost some weight!! LOL

    Let me know if I can help!! Good Luck!!
  • Thank you! The power of prayer must work because I am almost 2 weeks post op and I have has so much relief! My bladder issue has greatly improved. Still a problem to go when I have spasms. The tingling and numbness in my arms was completely gone when I woke up from surgery and the pain I was experiencing in my lower back and down the outer part of my hip is gone too! I can walk again!!! I stayed in the hospital for 3 nights, then had a awful 4 hour turned 14 hour car ride home. Getting out and walking every 45 minutes was horrible. It took nearly an hour to get me out of the car, walked, and then put back in the car. We had a big rig over turn nearly in front of us on the I5 and were at a dead stand still for over 2 hours . At one of the stops I was in so much pain I almost asked my husband to take me to the nearest emergency room. My back and neck spasms were so bad i could hardly breathe or walk. My husband was amazing at encouraging me, holding me up to walk, and keeping me focused. I have never experienced such pain before and Ive had 2 kids and worked with horses! After that I know I can handle anything. The incision site has been pretty painful so i would definitely recommend lidocain pain patches if you can get your doctor to prescribe them. Keep in mind they went through the back of my neck and had to remove and reattach my neck muscles. I have a miami j collar and my surgeon said it is just for comfort. So after the first day in the hospital I was able to take it off. That was kinda scary. I now where it at night and on and off during the day. As scary as it is when I don't have it on, I like the fact that my neck muscles wont be as weak. Noodle neck doesn't sound fun. I still have flashes of nerve pain/numbness that comes and goes and my spasms are still pretty severe, but my surgeon said its normal and can continue for up to a year as the nerves repair themselves. I sleep in a power recliner and highly recommend getting one if you are having surgery. There is no way I could operate a regular recliner safely. Typing seems to upset my shoulders and neck so I'm signing off for now. I will continue to update my progress. Sukhre I hope you find the right doctor for you and good luck! Kecmn I couldn't even imagine being on a liquid diet for that long! I love food way to much. Probably why I married a chef! Lol! Luckily I just dealt with a slightly sore throat and swallowing issues from the chest tube for about a week.
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