Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Surgeon - New Results

Hello everyone, it's been a loooonnnngggg time. I finally got hooked up with a Pain Management doctor to possibly get a Spinal Cord Stimulator(SCS). Had a trail and it worked pretty well. The next step was to find a surgeon that did this work. Found one at Jefferson Neursurgeons. I had given them my MRI's, CAT Scans and X-Rays ahead of time. The representative from Medtronics, the SCS people, was with me at the appointment. After dealing with the nurse for a while the Dr. cam in and introduced himself and then said he saw all my films and that "your back sucks", all the facet joints are blown and your spine looks like Ridge Ave (a very crooked street in Philadelphia).

He thought that my pain was being caused higher than where the pain was actually located (L3-L5). He wanted me to get steriod injections at L1-2 and L2-3. Medtronics was not happy, guess he saw the commission going out the window. I made an appt with the Pain Med Dr and scheduled the injections for Friday August 3rd. Went to hospital and had same day surgery. I needed to be there by 6:45 AM and was out in my car by 10:30 AM. The injections WORKED! I have not had any sharp pain in the L3-L5 area of my back since. Still have pressure and discomfort, but so far so good. I have a follow up with the Pain Med Dr to schedule a rhizomoty, where they burn the same nerves the injected. This is supposed to give up to 2+ years of relief. Hey any port in the storm.

Thanks for looking


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

1 Year checkup

Saw the surgeon today for my 1 year checkup. Seems that I am fused well on the right and fair on the left. My pain is still the same as before the fusion. He asked if anything was better. I told him yes that I can stand up straighter. I told him that my problem is that I am retired (disability @ 50) and I have a high speed internet connection! I search everything, XLIF, artificial facet joint replacement etc. He said XLIF could be part of a larger surgery and artificial facet joints have not been successful.

He told me that the surgery was a success because I fused. The pain is a different story.

He has given me 3 options. Do nothing, and live with it. Have minimally invasive surgery to fuse and straighten out my spine from L-4 to L-1 (already have fusion at L5-S1). Or an "open" surgery for the same thing. Open = filet me like a fish!! He says if it is an open surgery he would be able to "see" my spine and can't see it with minimal. Both surgeries would be 360 degree. In through the front (stomach) and back. LONG surgery and even longer recovery.

My insurance has changed. My old insurance was GREAT, meaning better than Cadillac. New insurance is not as good.

No guarantee and maybe 50% chance of it relieving my pain.

How am I to make this decision!!??? Especially after the problems with my last surgery! :(

It's been a while, here's an update

Sorry, haven't posted in a while.
In August I found a surgeon in North Jersy that does XLIF surgery. This is the surgery where they go in form the side and take out the disc material and replace it with plastic spacers. Small hole fast surgery etc etc. I drove two hours to meet with these guys and they kept me waiting 2 hours and 15 minutes. I met with the 2 surgeons and was told that I am a perfect candidate for the XLIF. They had already seen my CAT scan and MRI. They asked me if I had any questions. I took out a full sheet of paper double spaced. My biggest concern was that they wanted to do the surgery in their surgery center and not at a hospital. I told them that a) I'm a big guy (6'5" and 300 lbs.) and b) I have sleep apena. They told me that would not be a problem. Even though my current surgeon wouldn't do my laminectomy at his surgery center because of this. I asked how the plastic spacers that they hammer into the empty disc space are kept in place. They told me that there are "barbs" on the spacers the "dig into" the vertebre. I told him that I read many cases on the internet of lawsuits for the same spacers that doctors did not use a type of fixation (screws plates etc). I got a 10 minute song and dance. They said if they do the surgery it would take 3 hours to do three levels, then I would recover at the surgical center. And get this.. because I live so far away I should get a hotel room for a day or two to make sure that there are no problems. Isn't that what a hospital is for???

The assistant called the next day to see if I wanted to schedule the surgery. I told him that the XLIF procedure was interesting, but that those surgeons weren;t going to touch me. I wasn't impressed. I want my SURGERY to be done in a HOSPITAL.

I have my 1 year surgery checkup soon, so I will ask him.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Met With Surgeon Today

Saw the surgeon today. He read my new MRI and said that he didn't see any major problems that he could rectify at this time. He said "blah blah blah, look here on the MRI, blah blah blah"

He said that if I hadn't had previous surgery and came to him with this MRI he might try to fix some of the things on the MRI. However with my previous surgeries and the results, he would not recommend any more surgery.

I am to have XRays and a CAT scan in June and see him in July for my one year checkup. That will tell how the fusion is going.

BTW he still won't give me the letter for the handicap parking spot out front!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Doctor Appointment

Had my 6 month checkup with the surgeon. A little freakie. He asked all the same questions as the last appointment. I told basically same shit, different day. Then he said that he wants an MRI to see if any nerves are still impinged. If all the nerves are free I am pretty much screwed. If any nerves are impinged, then they can start with injections and then if no relief, then possibly more surgery. I told him that before we even consider surgery I would need a diagnosis of a more positive outcome. The recovery from the last surgery is still going on and was brutal for the first 3 months.
So we shall see. I will have the MRI, with plenty of valium!! and we will see.

BTW, he still wouldn't give me the letter so I can get a handicap parking space in front of my house. DICK

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Surgeon Check Up

Saw my doctor on Thursday. Got new x-rays. Dr. said that I am not totally fused yet. He asked what was good and what was bad. I said that overall I am standing straighter, the numbness in my right calf is now completely gone, but still have the lower back (facet) pain when standing or walking (without cane). Still have tingling  in both feet and numbness and weakness in my legs. I told him I have joined a gym, but they didn't want me to start until I saw him and got the OK. He gave me the OK.
He said that the numbness that went away in my right thigh is a bonus. (??) What! He said that any reduction in numbness or tingling is a bonus because of the length of time that the nerves were pinched. Then why did I have this surgery??? If they don't do "facet pain well" and the "nerves were pinched too long" what was the outcome supposed to be??
I asked him for a letter stating that my disability was permanent for my township to get a handicap parking spot in front of my house. He told me that he wouldn't do that. If after 2 more months I have no improvement, he would give it to me. (JERK)


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surgeon Called me today

My surgeon called me today. I was shocked. He said that the physical therapist was concerned about me and was worried when I left PT. She was always pushing me to stop using the cane. The day after I saw the surgeon and he told me that the surgery didn't work (see previous post) she was pushing me again. I kinda snapped and ranted a little about how the doctor told me that I would be stuck with the cane from now on. I told her that I was sick of PT and sick of her telling me that I don't need the cane. She said that it wasn't necessarily true that I would need the cane, if I did "more work". I told her that if I am comparing my neurosurgeon against her, I would take the NS word. Told her I was out of there.

Surgeon said that he wanted to know if he said anything that could have caused my "problem" with PT. DUH! yea I think so. I told him that I left his office in a fog and all I knew was that the surgery didn't work and that at 50 years old I will use a cane for the foreseeable future. He started backtracking right away. He said he didn't say that the surgery didn't work, said that after 2 YEARS if I was having the same pain he would say the surgery didn't work. (I checked with my wife who was with me at the doctor appointment and she said that she agreed with me, the doctor said it didn't work and I would need a cane). He was really changing his story. He said that I need a home PT schedule to keep up my strength. I was planning on contacting the guy from PT about that, I got his card the last time. Then he asked me if I was going to come in for my appointment at the end of the month. Is this what the call was for, to see if I was going to continue using him! WOW! I am going to see him because he has scheduled xrays to see how the fusion is doing. After that I don't know.