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New Member Introductions If you just joined, please introduce yourself here. Please add a signature describing your spinal history (use the "User CP) and ask us how we can help you get started.


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  #1  
Old 12-08-2010, 10:13 PM
DAnn's Avatar
DAnn DAnn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 73
Default New Girl here...Thanks for all the INFO

Wow,
I'm overwhelmed with all the information here. Thanks to all of you!

I"m logging in here as a new member and I hope I don't break any rules.
I'm a very healthy, active 48 year-old, mother of 12 year-old twin boys, and a full time employed economist at the Federal Reserve (Dallas).

I had severe neck pain 5 years ago. Diagnosed with some degeneration.....not bad enough to do anything about at that time, but saw many orthos and finally ended up with a very good chiro and my pain subsided. Then it got very worse. My chiro moved to NY in 2008 and I quit alternative therapy at that time, I've lived with very bad pain for a couple of years. (You mothers will know that we sacrifice oursleves for our children and work,etc....)
AFter a couple of vacations (in the car and in the plane) I couldn't take it anymore. I went back to my ortho and he diagnosed multiple level DDD. Double Fusion. (with a tear at the next level)

Now, after much research, we have decided on C7/6 fusion, with next level ADR (ProDisc C). I have a tear in the next level up, which makes this all the more important.

I saw 4 doctors. I picked Blumenthal in Plano TX. I like him?? Any suggestion? I also saw Peloza among others (like him too, but he's recommending Prestige)

Let me know what you all think about this. I've been denied twice from BCBS ILLiois and we've had to cancel two surgery dates. Needless to say, I am depressed and anxious. My poor husband and kiddos are having to deal with an angry mom, by end of the day. I'm still working and driving....Trying to stay positive!!

Trying not to take pain meds (although is that what they all do????Send you off with a big bottle of narcotics and see you later?)

I rhink I've jumped through all the hoops, but BCBs keeps deniying. My doctor has kind of left it up to me...

Help...I don't want to take pain meds. Any advice for staying positive is appreciated. I start physical therapy tomorrow (done it, and the injections, traction, etc all before) because insurance wants new info. I'm so afraid that they will actually hurt me and make things worse. I have xrays and mri's showing DDD degeneration, two collapsed discs, cord impingment, lesthesis, etc....

Nice to meet all of you.

I am (by trade) a researcher (I've actually written a paper with a Nobel Prize Winner in Economics), so I know I'm not totally out of the ball park here.

I will be glad to hear and help out in any way.
Your new member and Friend (I hope)
D'Ann
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2010, 10:53 PM
CP7959 CP7959 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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DAnn sorry to read about your situation. Here's a bit on me and my experience, might give you some things to help you out.

I have 4 levels (2)Fusion, (2ADR). First fusion in 2002, no problems. (2)ADR in Germany in 2009, (1)ADR in Georgia 2010. (1) of my German ADR was removed and fused here.

Went to Germany for my first (2) ADR's (M6). Was denied by BCBS as well and I thought Germany would be more affordable (46K). I had a problem with 1 ADR, had it removed here and fused.

When I had my 4th level done I stayed here and paid out of pocket (17K) for an ADR. My choice was Prestige or Pro Disc. I chose Prestige due to the ease of revision if need be. Also I did not like the Keel size of the Pro Disc. Could make revision much more difficult.

As I stated I paid 17K, much cheaper than the German surgery. My Dr. worked with me, the Disc manufacturer, and hospital to keep costs low.

So in a nut shell I learned (1)not to fear fusions (2) Dr.s will work with you if you need to pay out of pocket.

Good luck and I hope something works out for you.
__________________
CP

Fusion C6/C7 - 2/2002
Foramenotomy 1/2004 - C5/C6 right side
Stenum M6 - 4/2009 - C4/C5, C5/C6
US Prestige ST - 12/2009 - C3/C4
Revision to Fusion 4/2009 - C5/C6 M6
Auto fuse of M6 at C4/C5 - determined after Xray on 3/2011.
Current - Fused at 3 levels C4/5/6/7, ADR C3/C4
Lumbar L5/S1 Annular tear - pain started 8/2009. MRI Hiz on 3/2011
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2010, 08:05 PM
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DAnn DAnn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 73
Default

Thanks,
Now I need to look more into prodisc and prestige.

My surgeon has been very helpful in willingness to work with us on paying out of pocket. I just know it is a covered procedure once one works through all the hoops, so it seems a shame to pay. Although the waiting is hard.
I hope you continue to feel better.
DAnn
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2010, 10:44 PM
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jss jss is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,411
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DAnn,

Welcome, and condolences on the condition. Like CP, having had two cervical fusions and two more ADRs, I can relate.

I have been to TBI, but have no first hand experience with Dr Blumenthal. However, I have never read an unkind word about him. But I have read (and thought) many unkind words about BCBS. We live in Flower Mound and I work at 75 and Renner. I'm still trying to get reimbursement for my 2009 double ADR from BCBS-TX. I've tried everything but bad language; which may be next.

The hybrid surgery (fusion and ADR) has become very common, and I've read a lot of good reports about that procedure. If I'm understanding you correctly, you won't be undergoing the surgery until BCBS approves?

I was in incapacitating pain for the last two months before surgery. I have a strong aversion to pills and so declined taking them; though I was offered hydrocodone.

For what day is your surgery scheduled?

Good luck, Jeff
__________________
C4/5 - ACDF in 2000
C5/6 - ACDF in 2002
C3/4 & C6/7 - M6 ADR, Nov 2009, Barcelona
Conceded defeat to a manifestly disingenuous BCBS-TX in my quest for reimbursement, Jan 2011
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2010, 11:04 PM
DAnn's Avatar
DAnn DAnn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 73
Default hi

wow,
thank you
I feel like I put way too much info in my new member page
I am really feeling good about my decision with Dr. Blumenthal

He is so good and professional.

Still, I feel like I need to be the best patient ever. I need to be more informed. I hate the meds.
So, let me in on your info. I need all the info I can get on cervical devices. I'm driving to work every day from (close to you). Maybe the green line will help us?

Would like to get to know you
Flower mound, so close.
dann
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2010, 11:15 PM
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DAnn DAnn is offline
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Posts: 73
Default date

hi jeff,

no surgery date yet
so what is this M6??

hope it is working out for you
dann
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  #7  
Old 12-11-2010, 01:03 PM
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jss jss is offline
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Yes DAnn, we were happy to see the green line become operational. We wanted to take it to the State Fair, but it wasn't up then. If I worked downtown I am almost certain that I would take the train. I wish there was a train that ran parallel to George Bush, it would beat driving!

I had fusion at C4/5 in 2000, and another at C5/6 in 2002, both at Medical City Dallas. All went well until Jan 2008. I almost underwent ADR with the ProDisc and Dr Zigler. Ultimately I had a double ADR (C3/4, C6/7) with the Spinal Kinetics M6 with Dr Pablo Clavel of the Barcelona Spine Center at Quiron Hospital in Barcelona, Spain the day before Thanksgiving 2009.

In my non-medical judgment the ProDisc was inappropriate for my specific condition, so I opted to go to Europe for the M6, which in non-medical judgment would allow me to resume my active lifestyle. Since surgery I've been able to resume running marathons. Not everyone is as fortunate as I and have the kind of outcome I've had to date. And ADR in Europe is not for everyone. My situation was somewhat drastic and I believe warranted that drastic measure. The cost for the surgery in Spain was about half what it would have been here, plus I got a better device (my non-medical opinion). Since I was having to pay out of pocket either way, for me the decision was easy.

Tell you husband and twins to just hang in there; by this time next year you should be as good as new!

Where are ya'll? On this site there are posters in Plano and Denton. Maybe we'll start our own North Texas group.

Good luck, Jeff
__________________
C4/5 - ACDF in 2000
C5/6 - ACDF in 2002
C3/4 & C6/7 - M6 ADR, Nov 2009, Barcelona
Conceded defeat to a manifestly disingenuous BCBS-TX in my quest for reimbursement, Jan 2011
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  #8  
Old 12-13-2010, 03:32 AM
danzintommy danzintommy is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 18
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DAnn (Diane?), Similar to Jeff I had a C5-6 fusion ages ago, but when I had a lower back problem I ended up with prodisc-L at L4-5.
I was refused by my health cover (Bupa), but I wrote back and complained. I was helped a lot by the UK Financial Ombudsman's website (they are the regulators for Bupa) and I got tips there on what they can and cannot refuse.

You should ask you health fund for a detailed reason for their refusal. Bening a researcher you'll then be able to look up the successful ways to beat their refusal. In this day and age ADR shouldn't be treated as experimental Bupa initially took this take with me (verbally) and I found another UK organisation called NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence Welcome to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence).

They specifically state that ADR is NOT an experimental technique and is the same technology as hip replacement. Health funds just don't want to pay if they can avoid it.

Good luck!
__________________
Danzintommy
L4-5 & L5-S1 proposed Dec2010
Laminectomy C5-6 2002.
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2010, 07:43 PM
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DAnn DAnn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 73
Default

Thank you Jeff and Danz....

I will have to look further into all the cervical discs now. Apparently some are better than others for certain conditions.

I will also keep calling insurance and asking for more info. I've gotten the "requirements" but they are also quite vague (conservative therapy including....). I guess I may have to try each one listed before the say ok.

We are in Coppell. We really like it here.

Thanks,
D'Ann
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2010, 09:12 PM
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jss jss is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAnn View Post
We are in Coppell. We really like it here.
DAnn,

What a small world. We used to live in Coppell, and we attended FBC Coppell from 1987 until very recently; as we'll be moving to the Richardson / Plano area in the next year.

Good luck reviewing devices. It is a staggering task. I am certainly not minimizing the selection of the prosthesis as I was absolutely adamant about the one I chose. As important as the right prosthesis is (you're probably right about it not being a one size fits all) all evidence suggest that the selection of the surgeon is the most important factor. Not only is that intuitive, I have seen many posters assert that opinion, and have seen research clinicians express it as well.

BTW: Though the study to which I've provided the above link concerns DDD in geriatric patients, at only four years younger than I, I do understand that you are most certainly nowhere near a "geriatrics" patient!

Please keep us posted, and good luck!

Jeff
__________________
C4/5 - ACDF in 2000
C5/6 - ACDF in 2002
C3/4 & C6/7 - M6 ADR, Nov 2009, Barcelona
Conceded defeat to a manifestly disingenuous BCBS-TX in my quest for reimbursement, Jan 2011
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