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New to forums, going through hell ,soon to have surgery.. Hello!

I've had lower back pain since I can remember. I was told I had scoliosis at a young age and have always walked with my head hung low. At age 27, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis in t and l region.. I took medications, got shots.. Got by.. On my 30th birthday, I COULD NOT get out of bed. 
After MANY car accidents (and a 12 story elevator ride) I ended up on disability.. Have been through the ringer with pain management doctors. My PCP finally just took over my narcotic medications after dealing with quack after quack.. Wasting money on copays I for sure can't afford.
i never knew it would be my neck that ended up being what I needed surgery for.
5 years ago, I began getting pain in my right shoulder that felt as though someone was ripping my arm off slowly.. Spasms.. Etc.. I thought maybe my shoulder was getting dislocated in my sleep. It hurt so bad.. But after having 30+ surgeries, chronic pancreatitis (I have mixed hyper lipidimia along with MANY other health issues.. Chronic kidney stones.. I've tried changing my diet, exercising.. Hard to do when your back hurts so bad you can hardly walk some days!) I can take a lot of pain..so, back to the major issue in facing now...
i finally began to believe it was my carpal tunnel  syndrome radiating up to my shoulder because my fingers would get  tingly.. I had a nerve conductivity test before carpal release surgery (which did show pinched nerves in my neck.. Did anyone look further into it? No!) on my right wrist, along with a ganglion cyst that was near my radial artery... (Sigh.. Trying to make this as short as I can..) 3 months after I healed.. I woke up in the WORST PAIN I HABE EVER EVER felt! I knew what it meant to "see stars" :( 
i, again... Thought it was my right shoulder.. After getting a run around because my PCP was out of town (minor emergency Dr said "this is not your shoulder, it's your neck" pre X-ray or MRI.. Heck, even my neck has bulging areas I didn't notice!) went to the ER hoping to get an MRI, got accused of being a drug seeker when I even told them I had MORE than enough pain meds... I could no longer hold my head up at this point! I left the ER (they're actually writing off my bill) and waited on my Dr to get back. I had to take far more pain meds than I was comfortable with but the thoughts that go through your mind when you're in that kind of pain.. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there. I have 2 wonderful kids and I'd never hurt myself but I sure wished for something to take me away! :( 
finally, I get an MRI. No one calls from the Dr I've seen for 15 years. I had to log into their patient portal and read the MRI report for myself. What I saw brought tears to my eyes. I should  just copy and past here by memory.. stenosis, narrowing of canal, cervical scoliosis, flattening of the spinal cord in several areas... Something about old injuries? From c4-c5 c5-c6 c6-c7 ruptured, bulging discs numerous bone spurs...If I could share one of the images from  my MRI  (I got a copy of shortly after reading that report.) It's pretty bad . Ugh! Even my neurosurgeon is stunned by the damage. My PCP is at a loss and the pain Dr she's sending me to for epidural injections until I have surgery (without even seeing me, they're refusing to take over my pain medication! Wow! My PCP is great but what a terrible burden to put on her! She doesn't know how to handle MORE than what I already had going on and I've tried showing her ways that could help me get through till I heal from surgery... Instead I'm just getting extra prescriptions of medications I'm already on. *sigh* she doesn't know how to deal with this like a pain management Dr would! 
So the curve in my neck is gone, I look like i have a hump at the top of my back (I often get teased and called a hunchback.. Not nice but, believe it or not.. Sure can't tell from this novel.. I have a good sense of humor and it's what's gotten me through so much in my life) I've been told so my whole life "you have poor posture" when it has NEVER been comfortable for me to "sit up straight" it hurts! .. I'm seen as someone with low self esteem and I think it's shaped and affected many life situations for me. I look beat down. I've been through a lot but I'd hold my head high, if I could! Maybe not atm. Right now, I'm depressed, in pain.. Can't even do something as simple as the dishes!
my surgery.. Because I WAS a 3-4 pack a day smoker the neurosurgeon said "I want you on my table this week but you have to quit for 3 months".. THREE MONTHS?! I quit immediately by the way! I'm soon to have my first nicotine UA. Oh and I need cardiac clearance because I have some miner heart issues that cause angina AND.. This all goes back to mixed hyperlipidemia. 
I swear I'm falling apart at 42. I am WAY freaked out by the amount of pain medication I take. I'd have ZERO quality of life without it though! All of these new laws... All they serve to do is let people like me suffer. Addicts aren't going to quit until they are ready! I am physically dependent on my medication and I call myself an addict because of it. If I were cured tomorrow, I'd stop taking them in a heartbeat! So not sure if I'm correct in calling myself that considering I never have been a "pill seeker".. I do see how easy it is to slip off into addiction and I'd say it's impossible to not get there after years of having no choice if I want to function. 
2 days ago, I rolled over and felt and heard 2 LOUD snaps.. I've gained a new pain. I'm considering, now that I have proof and an upcoming surgery, going to the emergency room. 
Wheh I went to nursing school and worked on a cardiac floor and ICU.. I remember one reason for longer hospital stays or just being admitted was for pain that is unmanageable at home. I have my spouse doling my meds out to me and he gets kind of pissy with me (it comes from a good place.. He doesn't want me to run out or something. My Dr has told me she'd give me extra while this is going on, I just have to ask. I didn't need extra last month so I didn't ask. 
Im sorry this was all so scattered and I hope I've posted this in the correct area. 
Min really scared.. I guess on top of my neck just falling apart, I have MANY bone spurs. I never knew how serious they could be. My PCP says that it's because of where mine are located. 
The surgeon, because I've not been able to tell him I've quit smoking.. SURELY he won't make me wait 3 months! I just CANNOT take this anymore. I see him in a week. From what I can gather is I'm going to get  implants? I was told by the pain Dr fusion but he's about worthless. The epidural kind of worked for a week or so.. Now that it's worn off.. I'm in a BAD place again. 
So, there's the shortest version of what I'm dealing with. I know nothing but plastic, implant bone spur.. And it needs done right away? Ha! So, I'll hope going to the ER is not a waste of time. I'm guessing it will after all I've read but there is something that gave out or broke when I heard that snap. Now my left side hurts when it didn't before and both hands tingle now. 
I just can't believe, when I pay for extra coverage and should get the best healthcare that I'm suffering like this. In the US. I hope that makes sense. Sorry this got so long, I'm also a horrible communicator.. But.. Hello everyone! 
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Comments

  • Good luck with surgery and congratulations on quitting, it will help with your healing.

    Hoping the surgery reduces your bucket load of meds :-) and more seriously your awful pain.

    Keep laughing, it is what gets me through each day
    AJ
    AJGormit

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • db13ddb13 TulsaPosts: 2
    Thank you so much! I apologize for that being so hard to get through. 
    I look forward to being off all of the meds or at least getting to a greatly reduced amount. While I have no quality of life (what's that? Lol!!) without them atm, I can deal with everything else as it comes. 
    I've read that kidney stones and pancreatitis can be the most painful conditions a person go through in their life (I'll say pancreatitis is worse than 26 hours of labor) but...they don't touch the all consuming pain I'm currently in. 
    Thanks again! 
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  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510
    db13

    welcome to the spine-health forums.

    i am so sorry that you are going through this, but hopefully the cervical surgery will help.

    congratulations on quiting smoking!  good luck with that, it will be very much worth it.

    please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started welcome to spine-health


    Bruce

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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