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Questioning The Process

In 2014 I decided I'd have enough trouble with my shoulder and I went to see a nurse practitioner since my primary doc was out on maternity leave. The NP was pretty useless but she called in one of the docs who suggested I have a MRI of my shoulder. Shortening what could be a long story anyway, my shoulders are not perfect but the pain and weakness is the result of the cervical disk issues discovered in later MRIs.

I've been going to a Pain Clinic for about 18 months and they have been wonderful alleviating the pain from my lower back (2 surgeries there), my knees, (3 surgeries there) and Centralized Pain. But while my back always hurts and makes getting out of bed near impossible most days my left arm is the current issue. It's the result of the cervical disk that is not cooperating. (The disk has been differently identified differently several times. I have extra disks which makes naming them weird.) My left arm is not weak by any means. What is happening though is it is losing dexterity. I cannot hold things, manipulate my fingers easily- it's like my fingers are not listening to what I'm trying to tell them to do.

It seems like other people on here go for EMGs and discograms but with me, my docs see an issue, send me to PT, try meds and refer me to a surgeon. Like another person who was saying he didn't want an MRI because he wasn't having surgery. I know I could out and out refuse surgery but I don't understand why I'm sent to surgeons so fast. when I was younger (I'm 49 now) I thought surgery would be a walk in the park so I was all for it. Now, I live alone on federal disability and I'd like to avoid surgery because it's HARD when I'm on my own! I have friends who would definitely help but I'd be so reluctant to ask!

I feel like there is something that the docs know and don't want to scare me with. There was a medical fellow in training and he would look at my tests and interpret the craziest things! (Aortic aneurysm...) My pain doc did admit that my spine is a mess of bone spurs and arthritis and I have the spine of a 90 year old. It's the only spine I've ever had so I'm reluctant to request a trade-in.

Does anyone else feel like they are green lighted to surgery more quickly than others? I have medicare so it's not better insurance. I'm also in a good relationship with all my docs so no one is trying to kill me off! (I'm humoring myself here!)

Sheila


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
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Comments

  • I think once you lose function due to pinched nerves the surgery option gets pushed more quickly. The longer a nerve is severely pinched the longer it takes for the nerve to recover and the chances of the nerve not coming back increase. I have limited personal experience in this...so far...but from my now second spine surgery consult , that is the perception I get.
    C6/7 ACDF January 29, 2016
    L5/S1 Micro discectomy November 2010
  • I was told that losing finger dexterity is a clear signal for surgery and that the longer you wait, the less chance you have to make a full recovery. However, only a MRI as interpreted by your doctor can tell you whether or not you truly need surgery.

    If you truly need surgery, I wouldn't fear it. I am 60-years-old, live alone and am 4 days post ACDF. I stayed overnight at the surgery center, spent three nights at an aftercare facility and am home now and able to cope on my own just fine. A grabber, so I don't have to bend to reach things, has been indispensable.

    Rather than fearing this surgery, I thank God I was able to have it and am on the road to getting my life back and hopefully had it in time prior to having permanent nerve damage.
    C6-C7 fusion -January 20, 2016
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    edited 01/25/2016 - 5:08 PM
    I had the opportunity to read my MRI report this morning. It indicates more degeneration since my last MRI from 18 months ago. It would be easier for me, a non-medical specialist, to deal with a straight forward injury and a plan but there is a lot of degeneration, more as it approaches the thoracic spine. (Then I have a more recent MRI of the thoracic and the lumbar spine.) For me, I want to say, "What a mess" and move on. It's difficult knowing that the mess is in me. I have a good pain plan so I'm not suffering but I do have an abnormal tilt to my head- hey it makes me appear sympathetic- like I'm listening! And yes, the lose of use of my left hand/arm. And then, further up, the right side is effected. That is newer- I'd like to blame Physical Therapy if I may please!

    So, on to the surgical opinions. I have a friend with whom I go to for her appointments. She is great and I've love to have her come with me but he primary language is Italian (my second language.) I almost want to bring her along so the surgeons will slow down and make things easier for both of us to understand but my friend gets resentful if she feels like someone is talking down to her. On the other hand, I want a surgeon to explain all this to me!

    Has anyone ever recorded their doctors? Would it be weird to ask? I can understand a whole lot when I'm not anxious but my usual state of mind in a doctor's office is full anxiety. And god forbid I annoy a surgeon!

    Sheila

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,940
    I don't think it's weird to ask.
    I would think you can certainly ask to record doctor visit, and explain the reasons for it.

    My only experience with that is through friends of mine who have asked.
    Both were turned down.
    But that was years ago.

    Times change and every doctor is different.
    I would be interested to know how your doctor responds.

    Good luck to you!.....and with all your decision making process!
    Sue
    Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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