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The Big File All issues not easily categorized in the above forums are here. Comments on general health, diet, "getting comfortable," and more are here.


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  #1  
Old 10-16-2007, 04:14 PM
Carolyn Carolyn is offline
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I am new to this site. I found out about a month ago that I have 4 bulging cervical discs. The doctor said I needed surgery soon and the 4 would be fused. The surgery is set for Dec 17.

I had a miserable summer with my neck hurting so badly. I tried chiroprators (2 different ones) and massages. I felt like someone was pulling a cord in my neck very hard. I was most comfortable with my left arm up and behind my neck to keep it from pulling. I also started doing some exercises in the gym for my neck and shoulders. One day the pulling quit, so I am more comfortable now. I still have numbing and tingling in my arms and hands. Some days I wake up and both arms are asleep, some days just my left arm, and a some days it is my hands. It is very difficult to turn off the alarm. Sometimes I have numbness in my my left outside toes. I don't have these symptoms all the time. I am not sure I am bad enough for surgery.

I am afraid of this surgery, but not sure what to do. I feel like I must go to Tulsa, OK for insurance reasons(Tulsa Spine Institute, Dr. Sherburn). I like what I hear about Germany, but don't think I could ever afford that. I guess I should go for a second opinion. I wanted to get ADR, but what I read I do not qualify.

I'm open suggestions and information.

Thanks, Carolyn
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2007, 04:41 PM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Carolyn, welcome to our community and sorry about the problems you reported. Do you have more info and insights about your specific diagnosis? E.g., radiology reports, how much disc height you may have lost, is it just your cervical spine, etc.?
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2007, 04:55 PM
Carolyn Carolyn is offline
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I did not get a written report--just what the dr. said to me as he showed me my MRI films. One thing I remember is him saying that I have a curviture or that my neck doesn't curve as it should.

I will call the Dr's nurse tomorrow and ask for a written report. I had lots of people say this dr. is great and he has operated on my husband's neck. But after reading some, I think, did he just see someone who he could do surgery on and in reality it is not that bad.

I was in a bad car accident in 1966--hit on the side of the driver. I was bounced all around and was said the have my verterbras jammed from my tailbone to my neck. I have had back problems since then.I have had another MRI before and had 1 bulging disk. Was told I had DDD and arthritis. I feel like my lumbar is worse than my neck, but was told that I had to get my neck taken care of before the lower back because of positioning during surgery.

I know my neck and back are bad, but I don't want to have surgery if not needed. On the other hand, my husband waited too long, and has problems with his legs--much nerve damage--and can't stand on his legs for very long. He does not want me to wait.

Carolyn
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:42 PM
Carolyn Carolyn is offline
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I typed a long message then tried to attach the report of my MRI and when I posted it, it said it could not then I lost my message.

Here is my email. If you want to you can email me and I will try to attach the files then
carolynl@coffeyville.edu
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2007, 03:03 PM
Carolyn Carolyn is offline
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I don't think I will be able to attach the files. Here is a summary.

The doctor writes: Cervical spine--demonstrates multi-level cervical disk disease and cervical spondylosis and stenosis at C3-4, 4-5, 4-6, and 6-7. Most severe at C5-6 and C6-7. She does have some severe stenosis, but I do not detect any overt signal change within the spinal cord itself.

Radiologist: c3-4 disc herniation with obliteration of ventral subarachnoid space. Uncovertebral joinnt osteophytes result in mild bilateral foraminal stenosis.

c4-5 moderate degenerative dic disease with broad-based disc bulge. Disc material abuts the ventral cord substance with mild flattening. Thre is uncovertebral joint osteophyte formation with mild foraminal stenosis.

c5-6 marked degenerative disc disease with a rather large broad-based disc herniation. There is mass effect and mild flattening of the cervical spinal cord at this level. There is obliteration of CSF signa. about the cord substance. There is associated bilateral foraminal stenosis.

c6-7 Degenerative disc disease with broad-based disc herniation and obliteration of the ventral subarachnoid space. Posterior element hypertrophy is also present. There is obliteration of CSF signal ventral and dorsal to the cervical spinal cord at this level. There is bilateral foraminal stenosis as well.

Sorry this is so long. Maybe I will write later on the lumbar. I am depressed and don't know what to do. I trust this doctor, but feel I should have a second opinion. I need at doctor in Tulsa, OK.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:13 PM
Lisibug Lisibug is offline
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I'm sorry to hear your neck is in such bad shape. I've had 4 levels operated on in my neck and am much better now. I don't know much about docs near you, but the Texas Back Institute does ADR clinical trials, which means they will perform multi-level ADR surgery; obviously, I cannot say whether they would do a 4 level cervical or if you would be a candidate, but it might be worth a phone call. Sure hope you're able to get some relief. My problems are similar to yours - multitudinous small injuries in my youth, add 30+ years of arthritis and Presto! Big problems - just like you - many years later! Sure hope you will feel much better after surgery and find a surgery and doctor you feel comfortable with. Please let us know how you do.
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Old 10-18-2007, 07:18 PM
cervie queen cervie queen is offline
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I had a four level fusion about 10 years ago, then one year after the four level, had the hardware removed and the adjacent two levels (one up and one down) were fused. I wound up with a paralyzed vocal cord as a result of the second fusion. It took about a year to resolve during which I had to have speech therapy. A four level cervical fusion is a big surgery and not to be taken lightly. I had four opinions and all four agreed on a four level fusion. I gave it a year of conservative treatment before signing up. I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have.
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Six level cervical fusion, C2 through T-1. Paralyzed vocal cord that took one year to resolve.

Three level Dynesys, tensioned down as fusion. Had Spondylolisthesis at two levels and severe facet degeneration three levels, stenosis and sciatica i
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2007, 08:22 PM
Carolyn Carolyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by cervie queen:
I had a four level fusion about 10 years ago, then one year after the four level, had the hardware removed and the adjacent two levels (one up and one down) were fused. I wound up with a paralyzed vocal cord as a result of the second fusion. It took about a year to resolve during which I had to have speech therapy. A four level cervical fusion is a big surgery and not to be taken lightly. I had four opinions and all four agreed on a four level fusion. I gave it a year of conservative treatment before signing up. I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have.
Thanks for your information. I am looking for another doctor to have a second opinion. I am still able to work--I am a teacher--and am able to manage the pain. I have to take breaks grading papers and being on the computer and get up and walk, stretch. My arms bother me at night--numbing and tingling. My neck is hurting now and very stiff. But my pain has not altered my life, but not completely. My husband is afraid for me to wait because he waited too long for surgery and now has nerve damage in his legs and can only stand for about 10 minutes and cannot walk very far. His life has dramatically changed and he does not want that for me because I waited too long for my surgery and get nerve damage. How bad were you before surgery??

I am looking for a great NS in Tulsa OK--let me know if anyone out there knows of a great one or one I should stay away from.

Thanks for any information, carolynl
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2007, 07:51 AM
Lisibug Lisibug is offline
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Before both my surgeries I was in severe shape, completely incapacitated with pain and before my last surgery was also passing out. Had to stop driving and laid on the sofa or was asleep at night in bed about 97% of the time. However, you have severe central canal stenosis (this means the spinal canal has narrowed to a severe degree) and this is nothing to mess around with. Mine was moderate, at worst. Your husband is right - unfortunately, you need to have surgery before some permanent damage is done. Peoples' pain varies to a considerable degree before they have surgery - I even know of one man who needed a 4 level ADR surgery and it was an emergency because he was 2 weeks away from being a quadripalegic due to spinal cord flattening and atrophy and he didn't even have any pain. Just depends on what is being compressed, etc. Sorry to hear about your husband's nerve damage, too.
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Lisa
Back/neck pain with chiropractic treatment 3 x week in 1973 (age 13) for 1 year and pain since then due to falling off horses
headaches since age 17
Onset of severe fibromyalgia in 6/95, undiagnosed for 2 years while lived in UK
About 1998 o
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