Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just over 1 year Post OP

Low Back is doing well. I often forget I had a problem. I no longer awake in pain. It will get sore if I do too much housework or lifting or walking but its manageable and liveable. At this point I'd call the surgery a Success and would do it again.

Neck is still a disaster. Its been deja vu of the low back.

Anonymous - please no more comments, they aren't helping and I don't know who you are. Your replies are nonsense to me. This is meant for family, friends and helping others.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

6.5 months post op

My low back is good - it really only hurts with weather changes so this hurricane season has been tough or too much activity. Its not a constant pain anymore. I continue to core strenghten which is helping. Its going to rain tomorrow so I do feel it a bit now but nothing like pre-surgery. In fact this weekend was great weather and I never felt it at all. Maybe we should relocate somewhere that has no pressure changes.

My neck pain has continued to be terrible. I am having an awful time with the doctors. I had a facet block injection which did not work and in fact caused me to have severe spasms down my right shoulder. At the follow up appt the doctor said he was "at a loss" and offered my nothing but drugs. I refused to accept that option, ended up in a fight with him and am now seeing another doctor in the practice. I am in the process of dealing with the politics of that. New doc wants to do another set of injections which I don't want since the first ones actually caused me to be worse off. But in order to get to the next set of testing one must be a compliant patient and follow protocol. So we'll see where I get with this - no answers yet.

I had the German doctor look at my films and he agrees that they don't inherently look bad enough to perform surgery. However, he understands that given my history my pain is real. I need a cervical discogram done which could confirm my pain level. However, due the somewhat unreliable nature of the test and more to the risk of becoming quadripalegic with this test (2 in 1000 according to one doc) it is tough to get a doctor to perform this test without going through the above protocol.

So in the meantime I continue to be in awe that this has become my life......

Sunday, August 24, 2008

6 month post op - status quo - low back good, neck terrible

I saw the doctor this week. The lumbar x-rays look great. The low back is really great - its only sore at times no pain!!! I do feel a lot more popping in my hips, shoulder and wrists than I did presurgery. My arm is still sporadically numb and tingling. My left ankle is sore. So, although my back feels good things are still out of whack for me. But when I wake up in the morning now I often forget I had a low back problem!!!!! Awesome feeling!

However, my neck still hurts at a pain level of 7 most days with no improvement whatsoever. I will have a cortizone injection in the facet joints on Wednesday this week. Let's home that provides some relief. He's the 4th doctor who feels that this neck pain is just coincidence, bad luck, bad genes and bad timing - the neck pain is not a result of the surgery. That is somewhat reassuring if I should need surgery on my neck in the future that it won't necessarily throw off another part of my spine. But I'm not even considering that option at this point.

I am still having severe anxiety as well as a result of all this pain and terrible fear for my future and the future of my family. I had the doctor look at every level of my spine and tell me that no more discs were degenerating. Its so out of my control and logically I know that but its hard to deal with.

But, I'm here, I'm able to enjoy a lot of life and trying to work this all out.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

5 month post op - low back good, neck terrible still

I've been doing PT twice a day and only missed one session on the 4th of July. My low back is beginning to show signs of recovery. It's really only sore now, not painful. I can walk from 3-5 miles without pain. My neck still continues to be the main source of my pain. I am at a pain level 6-7 all day particularly on the right side where there is a herniation.
My physical therapist has discharged me. He is a compassionate man who was obviously sad that my neck pain is still so severe. He recommends continuing my therapy at home but feels further medical attention could be necessary. It feels a bit like deja vu on my low back but I'm hoping not to go down that road.

My left leg and foot did get numb and tingling during my walk today but subsided by the end. My ankle has been bothering me but that does not seem related to this more like an overuse feeling. These types of feelings cause a cycle of anxiety in my mind about what problems might be coming.

Despite the severe neck pain, I'm feeling overall positive that this will somehow work itself out. I am thankful that I am here, trying to enjoy as much as I can. Although, I do have pretty severe anxiety I recognize it and am hopeful that its temporary. A great friend of mine is moving away this week which I know is contributing to my uneasy feelings.

My mom has Mandi up north and they seem to be having fun. Even being down one child really helps me.

I appreciate the continued support and prayers. I still need it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

4 months Post Op - Intensive Physical Therapy Continues

I have been religiously following a very targeted Physical Therapy routing for a month now with the new therapist. He is head and shoulders above any others I've seen. I have some minimal improvement in both neck and low back but not nearly where either of us hoped I'd be at this point. I have an hour of neck and core strengthening to work on twice a day and a walk. Some days I can walk 2-3 miles at a decent pace but it usually means the next day I am much slower due to the low back. The therapist is saying I just have to keep working on the strengthening work that he is giving me to increase my endurance. The only reason I am able to stick to this strict regime is due to my mom and her husband who have taken my two little girls with them. If it were not for them, I think I would be stuck in the viscious cycle of daily life getting in the way of this rehabilitation.

We walked all day at Carowinds on Friday and I used a whole tube of Ben Gay to get through it. My left arm went numb that day but I realized that was the first time that had had happened in over a week so that was good news. The neck pain is constant at level 6 all day and gets to an 8 by the night time. Again that is some improvement over my being at painful, crying level pain by mid afternoon.

My low back is averaging a 4-5 but I actually had a day this week where I didn't notice it at all until 3:00 pm which was something that hasn't happend in 3 years so that is pretty great.

The therapist encourages me to stay as active as possible without increasing pain level. He's also helped me through some of the psychological aspects of this too because I'm getting pretty pissed off that I am working so hard and not feeling great results. He understands the whole aspect of looking good yet walking around at a pain level of 7 and feeling so bad and tells me its just a "cross that spinal patients alike have to bear". Put that energy into rehab and it should all fall into place.

Again the only reason I can do any of this is because of my mom, her husband and my husband's support. Thank you all so much!

At this point two spine doctors have read my MRI and neither believe surgery is necessary (thank god) so time will tell where this goes.

Just typing this post hurts the neck so I've got to sign off.

In the meantime my mom and I will be off to the beach with the girls for a few weeks which is always relaxing and a great place to walk.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

14 Weeks Post Op - Worse than pre surgery

I just forced myself to walk around the block. My low back is about as bad as it was presurgery -severe pain on the left side. My low back feels like its gone downhill in the past few weeks. I can't say its because I've overdone it because I haven't done much due to my neck pain. So that is really discouraging. My neck is horrible and continues to burn.

I made a macaroni salad for a cookout we are going to later and it took everything I had to do that. I was out of breath , my neck was burning. And yes, we could go to the store to buy it but my girls have been asking for the kind that I make it and I enjoy making it. Its as if I want to prove to myself that I can do something, anything small. But the sad part is that I really can't.

Its also awful because I look absolutely fine. I think its hard for anyone to understand especially if they didn't know me before this all began. I don't want sympathy, I just wish it was more understandable.

My mom is going to take the two littlest girls for the next several weeks. I had to tell my job that I cannot work. These are not decisions that I made lightly - these are horrible choices to have to make. Accepting that I cannot do my job at home with the kids or at work.

This is as much a journal for myself now so that I can chronicle the pain and hopefully look back at this and read that I've made improvements.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Results of Cervical MRI 5-22-08

Well, I had a cervical MRI on Tuesday and we met with the doctor for the results today. I'm not sure what I expected or wanted to hear but MORE PHYSICAL THERAPY was not it.

I have a small bulge at c5-c6. He thinks that is typical for my age and is not the cause of my neck pain. Another reason he doesn't think its this bulge is the fact that it is on the right and my numbness, tingling is on the left. Of course, I can remember the first results of my lumbar MRI and the doctors saying that degeneration at my age is normal. Well that pain was not normal among anyone else my age that I know. So, although I want to believe that I think the jury is still out.

So, he insists that I now see his highly experienced PT for more aggressive treatement. He says this therapist will know in a few weeks if he can fix me. I'm aggravated because I've gone to another PT for several weeks now with no relief and just wish that the doctor had started me with this one to begin with. Now, my kids are out of preschool so I have to hire a sitter and drive to downtown to go to these appointments.

He prescribed Arthrotec and said I should know in a week if that is working.My husband came with me to the appointment. He's normally quiet but this time he explained how this is affecting (ruining) our lives. He's had to stay home from work because I can't take care of the kids. My mom is searching for plane tickets to take the girls up North with her for a long stay to give me relief. We told him I'm crying in pain every night but the doctor just says that its going to take "a lot longer than I would like" to get better.

I can't say much more except that this really SUCKS!!!!