Hi, I just joined this forum, not really ever believing I would face a 'have surgery or not' question. I always thought when I got to this point the surgery decision would be clearcut so I'm interested in anyone else who has faced a similar conundrum.
i'm a 61 year old male who injured my back in grad school and it's never been the same - although to date I have never had sugery - over time the neck took over as the other primary problem and I was diagnosed 4-5 years ago with a C6/C7 pinched nerve but surgery wasn't strongly recommended - I have muddled through with some left finger numbness and opioids plus nerve blocks and epidurals helped me cope.
The last 6 months the pain just completely blew up / I sleep on my side (when it's 'ok' half and half') to the point that I couldn't sleep at all on my left side because the pain would be staggering within 5 seconds - the last epidural did nothing and I'm now on 60mg of oxynorm a day as the only way to partly cope but the nerve compression hasn't gotten worse i.e. Same level of minimal numbness.
So full set of scans and my 'muddle through' has led me to a very worse place. The London specialist im seeing is tops but now I need 3-level ACDF From C4-C7 but I have degenerative facet joints on the right side from C2 to C7 and for that reason I can't get replacement discs so I guess the ACDF is 'remove and fuse' (I'm still somewhat unclear on this issue) the issue is the left side pinched nerve can be fixed with this procedure but the facet joint problems on the right (less so on the left) means my pain reduction will only be in the region of 50% not near 100% if it was just the fix for the pinched nerve.
so it seems my 'muddle through' approach took me too far because of the facet joint deterioration issue and now while I'm getting a second opionion im being told it's 'kind of up in the air' as to whether I should have surgery - this view seems to be related to 'expectations' that surgery would fix most if not all of the problem but that's not the case anymore. But if I'm honest clearly a 50% reduction is an improvement over the status quo.
I certainly can't live like this as it's getting worse and I'm barely coping at 60mg of oxynorm a day / and of course the more meds you ask for the more you get cock-eyed looks from GPs.
i must say I don't normally participate in forums like this but am hoping some 'shared experiences' may cheer me up
So help ! Has anyone faced this kind of tradeoff decision ? 'Newbie Scott' - many thanks