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Please All, I Need Your Opinions. I'm Nervous......

caitycccaityc Posts: 268
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
OK, so dealing with back pain for years, tried all treatments, bla bla bla. I have a completely collapsed disk at L5 S1. My doc is ready to operate, but here's the thing.... My husband has a new job, and we are switching insurance carriers. This means I have to start all over. :''( Actually, not that big of a deal.
My concern is that when I see the new surgeon, he may want to hold off on surgery, try more conservative treatments, etc. Now I'm probably just worrying for nothing, but I have heard so many people on this message board with surgeons that are refusing to operate, or putting it off. I came so close with my old insurance, and I am just so afraid that for some reason my new surgeon will want to hold off for some reason.
I know I can get several opinions, but here is my real question. You would think that with a completely collapsed disk, pain, no quality of life, ect, that no doc could find a reason not to operate, right?




  • Caity,

    I'm sorry to hear that you have been in pain for so long. I had problems on-and-off for 19 years, so I know where you are coming from.

    Your post is not clear, but I assume your current doctor does not accept the new insurance, correct? If he does take it, all you may need to do is get a referral through the new insurance company.

    If you have to see a new doctor, I suggest that you have clear documentation of all the different treatments you have tried, especially in the past 2-3 years. When you meet with the new surgeon, take this paperwork with you as proof of prior treatments.

    I would think that any good doctor would see your previous attempts and continue the treatment process, without forcing you to re-try the same treatments. Actually, with a collapsed disc, previous treatment shouldn't even come into play, but you may save yourself time if you have documentation just in case.

    In my case, I got a referral from my PCP to a physical medicine specialist who ordered an MRI. I told him all the different things I tried, and after receiving the MRI results, he referred me to a pain specialist who did a series of 3 steroid injections. When that didn't work, he referred me to my surgeon. My disc was partially collapsed, and he didn't need to hear about other treatments - it was either discectomy now and fusion later, or fusion now.

    I just switched insurance to an HMO. I had to switch PCPs because my doctor of 15 years does not take the new insurance. My surgeon takes the new insurance, so all I had to do was see a new PCP and ask them for a referral for my surgeon. They did it without question, so I am now set with my surgeon for another year.

    Good luck - I hope you can get relief soon.
  • caity- It is hard to know what another dr will do as they all seem to have different ideas and treatment plans.
    I don't know if you had a surgery date with the other surgeon or not, but it may help to bring all your records and the surgical plan from the other dr..
    I don't know if Cobra is a choice but you may be able to go ahead with the original surgeon, if you want. Cobra can be pricey, so that may not be an option...not sure though.. :/ jade
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  • Hi Caity,
    I would ask your previous surgeon if he would write to your new surgeon letting him know of your past history. Make sure you get all your records sent to the new surgeon, and don't forget to get the records from PT, MRI, and any other treatments you may have tried or any other dr's that may have treated you for anything to do with your back, like you PCP.
    Most dr's understand that you may have to change dr's because of insurance changes. Hopefully you can transition without any further delays. Best wishes for a quick answer.
  • The surgeon ready to operate (old insurance) is with Kaiser. They are completely one network. My new insurance is Blue Shield HMO. Actually, Kaiser is COBRA, which we have been paying since April. The new insurance with my husbands current employer is cheaper than COBRA. Also, COBRA runs out in August of 09, and we wouldn't be able to get insurance with my husbands new employer until Dec of 09. So that would mean 3 months without insurance, which we can't do. We have 2 children. So you see my dilema? :S We have to hop on this insurance now.
    Mark, I hope you are right that a collapsed disk is enough. But you're right, I should get all of my documentation ready just in case. I imagine they will do x-rays at least, if not an MRI to confirm it for themselves.
    And Mark, you did answer my question saying that if it is collapsed, previous treatment shouldn't matter. I know it is just your opinion, :) , but it helps to have the affirmation.
    Jade, your are so right, that is why I worry. You never know what a surgeon might think. Let's hope Mark is right. :)


  • When I was discussing my condition with my new surgeon, he offered different things I could try but then he said "It's not a matter of IF you have surgery, but WHEN." That made my mind up right then.

    Maybe you could ask your new surgeon that question and if he says it's just a matter of when for you, then it could move things along.

    Just a suggestion.
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  • Caity:

    If you have insurance through Aug. 09, why not go ahead?

  • Because when the COBRA runs out in Aug of 09, then we won't have insurance for 3 months. If we don't take the new insurance now, we can't get insurance with my husbands current employer until Dec 09. That's when open enrollment is. We have 2 children and can't go 3 months without insurance. See what I mean? Ugggg! :)
  • So I talked to my surgeon (from Kaiser), told me they will do the back surgery, told me I need to quit smoking, and he wants to order an MRI. =D> I said that's great, but we are switching insurances. I told him how apprehensive I was to leave him and find a good surgeon. He said keep COBRA til December, and in December try to find a good doc with my new insurance. :S
    So then my hubby and I started talking. I said "Look, I trust this surgeon, he's operated on me once before, let's just pay the dual coverage until I have my surgery, then we will drop COBRA". My hubby agreed to this. <:P Rememeber, I spoke to my surgeon on Thursday, just two days ago. So I'm all relieved, 2 insurance payments is gonna be tough, but worth it cuz it's for my back, bla, bla, bla. TODAY, I get a letter from my COBRA company saying they no longer offer Kaiser, and are switching to another carrier. OMG!!!! :& I wanted to die! I had this hysterical crying fit that if I had only lost weight a year ago like I was told, my surgery would be done, and I would be recovering. L) Now I have totally blown my chance to be operated on by someone I completely trust. I fee like such a failure! I know there are other good surgeons out there, but now it is just finding one. I have to start all over. :''( <br />Just wanted to give you all an update. Thanks for listening!

  • Get all the Dr's notes to give to the new surgeon. Perhaps he'll give the okay. There's a time for everything. Try not to be hard on yourself because you haven't lost the weight. It's hard to excercise while you're in pain. Have you ever heard of Deserata? Be gentle with yourself. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Ask your Kaiser doctor for a referral. Take all your paperwork, office notes, films, etc to the new doctor. If the Kaiser doctor and the new doctor have a good relationship and such then you should be ok. It stinks when you lose a doctor that you really like. But you should be able to find a good doctor through BC since most doctors take it. >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<

    I've been through insurance purgatory over the last year and a half so I know how you feel on this. But a collapsed disc and all the other issues you've got with supporting paperwork and films should show a new doctor that you've done everything and need the surgery. I hope it goes well for you.
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