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  • Hi there...thanks for the nice welcome. I love Pekingese dogs and think they are adorable. Who doesn't love a dog that fits perfectly in your lap? Well, I guess there are some out there that don't! 8}
    Believe it or not, I have never been to Houston but my husband travels there for work all the time. I have heard the humidity is awful, but I have grown a little used to that over the last 8 years while we lived in Oklahoma. Before that, I lived up in Montana where it is never humid, just really mostly dry. I am sure we will do fine there, once I get my kids all settled and my back rid of this awful pain! Sometimes I think that might never happen when I start reading some of the posts on here, but I am trying to be optimistic.
    The Extreme Home Makeover for Julie Carter and her family was actually filmed in my hometown (Billings, Montana). I don't know her, but have corresponded with her quite a bit through email as she has a support group for people with chiari. She is an amazing woman. It is a horrible condition and so hard to find doctors that know anything about it.
    My doctor never mentioned a microdiscectomy, and I am wondering if it because I don't have any sciatica going on. I have a little referred burning hip pain every once in awhile, but that is it. I am worried about having one surgery fail and then having to have multiple others, so I would almost have a fusion or ADR to start with if that is what it would eventually lead to anyway.
    This board has been insightful, I had no idea there were so many types of back surgery or things that could go wrong. I made a lot of mistakes on my brain surgery by jumping in to it uninformed. It feels nice to have this forum available and other resources so I can get myself better educated and not feel so naive about things.
    Thanks for cheering me up :)
  • There are many very good websites now about various spine conditions, treatments, surgeries, etc. Some commercial sites sell a bit of snake oil, but for the most part, you can learn a lot. It is even possible to watch back surgeries. Also we now have access to many medical journals, articles, etc. so there are many opportunities to learn. I imagine the doctors hate having patients who have a little bit of knowledge -- just enough to be dangerous, probably!

    You are right that when you start out with fusion, there is no place to go from there. Once done, you cannot go back.

    I trust you are hiring painters for your house. You really have a lot on your plate right now. Hopefully by this time next year, everything will be smooth sailing and you'll be feeling well.
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  • Hi Annie,
    How's things going for you today? My Dr gave me SOMA the other day and I started back on my Diclofenac,I actually got some sleep last nite!What a nice change.
    I just have to know,with your Montana roots (I'm born and raised Sidney)and your Oklahoma and Houston locales,you guys must be "from the patch".My husband and I both worked in the oil patch in Montana(we ruffnecked and later ran my dad's drilling company)then we got into mining.Both of which have no doubt contributed to my spine falling apart.We went home a few years ago to help out my husbands parents(then it turned out they didn't need our help)so we came back to Nevada.I don't do -40 winters very well anymore! I can't believe I used to work out in that!Anyway....hope you get your treatment figured out and get some relief,it can be miserable,I know. Have a nice Sunday, Sagehen
  • What a small world. I was born in Sidney. I didn't live there long, as we moved right after I was born for my dad to finish law school in Missoula, then we moved to Billings where I was raised. Both of my parents were born and raised in Sidney, and my mom moved back there about 3 years ago to take care of my 91 year old grandmother. My immediate family did not work in the oil fields, but I had an uncle and cousin and probably other relatives that did. My husband started working for Conoco when we first got married and that is what took us to OK and now TX. My grandfather on my dad's side was a family doctor in Sidney and delivered lots of babies that were born there over the years.My other grandfather on my mom's side was in construction and built a lot of homes in Sidney. My mom and her husband just bought a farm in Crane.
    I can't imagine the problems you had trying to find medical care when you moved back that way, because it is pretty slim pickens unless you get up to the Billings area. It looks like you have had a lot going on with your back and neck for quite some time. I read all the posts on here, and it makes me scared to have the first surgery in fear that it will only lead to additional surgery. At the same time, I don't know what other options I have when I can't function or sleep through the night.....
    I know what you mean about not missing the -40 winters. Montana had a terrible winter this year and as much as I miss it sometimes I really enjoy the warmer climate that I am in. It especially seems to agree more with me, as I hate being cold and when I am cold I have more issues with pain.
    I am glad you found something to help you sleep...for me when I finally sleep it makes a world of difference on my outlook the next day! I may still have pain but I seem to manage it a little better.
    Enjoy your Sunday also!
  • When I saw you were born/raised in Montana, decided I had to respond. :H We're in Bozeman and I have a wonderful neuro/spine surgeon who performed a foraminotomy on my neck a month ago for herniation at C6-7. When I went to him I'd been on hydrocodone for over a month and he told me that hydrocodone doesn't relieve nerve pain. Even though I hurt all the time, it did seem to help, but he switched me to oxycodone and that was a great improvement. You might ask about a change in pain med if yours is nerve pain, which I assume it is. Also, why don't you ask your surgeon for a referral to a good surgeon in Houston. I don't see how you can stand the pain for another 6 months, but I do recognize your dilemma in trying to make this decision. At any rate, no matter which way you decide to go you will have the name of one surgeon who your doctor recommends.

    Wishing you relief! :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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  • Funny....I went to school for a year at Montana State, and I have 2 brothers and an uncle in Bozeman.
    All that I have ever been offered is hydrocodone, and I wasn't aware that it wasn't great on nerve pain. I think the reason I haven't tried other drugs is partly my fault, because when I first saw my pain doctor I was stubborn and told her I didn't want pain pills but other methods like epidural blocks and I was very against any type of pain pills, so she told me after everything failed to give me any relief that she couldn't help me and I needed surgery.She fills my hydrocodone, but that is it. I take topamax for my chiari which I have heard is supposed to help with nerve pain but I am not sure. When I see her I will ask about the oxycodone. The hydrocodone takes the edge off, but I still feel the pain quite a bit.
    Also, I did plan on asking her for the name of doctors in Houston. She is actually a neurologist who does pain mgmt so I am hoping she might be able to give some good referrals. Thanks so much for your thoughts, I appreciate it! >:D<
  • Thanks for your nice reply.

    I understand Topamax to be a migraine med, but we all know that many meds are used for other conditions as well. Have you been offered Lyrica? It is not a pain reliever, as such. It is manufactured specifically for fibromyalgia pain and apparently is prescribed frequently for nerve pain due to back/neck problems. I used it for a couple of weeks and it did relieve probably 90% of my pain but I couldn't live with the side effects, dizziness being one. But it might not bother you at all once you get used to it. My surgeon used it when he had a herniated cervical disc and was able to avoid surgery. No idea if it would work for you but it's worth asking about when you see your pain mgmt doc.

    Keep us posted. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I was offered Lyrica and tried it for a very short time but hated the way I felt on it. I couldn't function at all on it-- I felt like I was going crazy and having an emotional breakdown; very wierd and unusual side effects where my husband said he felt like he was living with a different person. I also did not have any relief of my pain, but probably did not give it enough of a chance.
    Topamax is used off label for many things, but I take it to manage my chiari headaches.
    So many drugs! If only we all could find the perfect ones. :/
  • welcome to spine health i have been in pain for 15 years now with my back and leg and i have thoracic outlet syndrome .i have just found out that i have facet joint hypertrophy on multi levels .i have also reached the end of the active pain treatment line and there is nothing left for me other than pain killers and at 43 that's not good .having said that i have a fantastic wife and a lovely home i also find spine health a grate source of help and have found some lovely kind people on here i hope that you do too never give up
  • I find that statement unrealistic since the FDA has only approved 1-level lumbar ADR in the USA.
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