Neck surgery in 1 week...scared...input needed!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Julygal, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. Julygal

    Julygal New Member

    I've had pain/numbness/tingling in my left arm for about 6 wks. now. Internist referred me to neurosurgeon after physical therapy was done, CTScan,& neck & back xrays.Neurosurgeon said I have to have surgery due to 2 discs pinching a nerve & causing the problems. He doesn't want my spinal cord involved...HEY, me neither!
    Anyway, I have EMG tomorrow, then pre-op visit with doctor & results of MRI, then(Woe is me!) neck surgery on Aug. 18th.
    Needless to say to all on this message board, I'm as concerned about MAJOR flares after surgery as anything else!
    PRAYERS are needed more than anything, of course, but I also need your input, suggestions, experiences, etc. I've already heard all the horror stories about the EMG tomorrow, so I can't wait for that! Ha!
    I love this message board & pledge my prayers to each & every one of you.
    Coveting your prayers,
  2. IgotYou

    IgotYou New Member

    I had back surgery a few years ago, and it is what really kicked in my FM, so I understand your concern. Does your doctor believe there are no alternatives? Before you go in for surgery, you'll want to get set up with some kind of post-op help. Do you have friends and family who understand your condition who will be there to help you out? You will need help with cleaning, cooking, even dressing for a few weeks. Make sure you are set with pain medication that will be sufficient. If you'll be taking vicadin (I did), know that it is addictive and that it causes constipation (make sure you are working to counteract that). Get as much sleep as you can. You'll just need to be sure that you are set up to be down and out for awhile and don't push yourself to get back up right away. While you're resting, though, make sure you keep stretching and exercising as much as you can so you don't lose ground physically because it is so hard to regain it. And push your doctor to prescribe physical therapy afterward to get your body back in shape. It really helped me a LOT.
  3. Harmony

    Harmony New Member

    I had low back surgery 4 weeks ago today. I too, was concerned about a major flare after surgery. To my surprise, my fibro symptoms were not there after surgery for two weeks! I am now getting fibro pain back, but it is not a flare, just the normal pain (which is bad enough). I still feel better than I did before surgery and was glad I had it. I know our surgeries are different, but Hopefully, you will experience the same and not have a flare. I was not taking pain medication either since in the hospital I was very sick to my stomach from the meds. So it was not the medication that helped my pain.
    It could have been the general anesth. I will pray for you that it all goes well for you!

    Love, Harmony
  4. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I wish you the best with your surgery and recouperating. Just wondering if you have gotten a second opinion and checked any less invasive procedures. If it were me, I would feel a lot more confident if I had two opinions and knew I had tried everything short of surgery for relief.

    Many times, we feel well following surgery, so please don't worry about flaring. Good luck.

    Love, Mikie
  5. IngyW68

    IngyW68 New Member

    Hi Carolyn,

    I have had FM/CFS since '95 and then had a double discectomy in my neck in Oct. of '01. I definitely recommend getting a second opinion since it is a very delicate and serious surgery. I had no choice since it was already puncturing my spinal cord and I was losing mobility and feeling in my arms. They ended up taking the bone from my hip to replace the discs. ALso, I did NOT have the metal plates put in since my Dr. who is head of Orthopaedic surgery at Georgetown said it would be better in the long run. I STRONGLY urge that you do have the metal plates put in if they are suggesting otherwise. WIthout them, my recovery took 3 months before I could ride in a car again and I had to wear a neck brace that whole time. Other people who have had this surgery and used donor bone and had metal plates recovered in less than a month and are much more stable and able to more things than me.

    I am still in pain pretty much everyday and I think because of the long recovery and months of physical therapy, it made my FM flare up.

    I am not trying to scare you but want to give you an honest answer to your question and let you know of all the alternatives. Please feel free to ask more questions if you need. I will definitely keep you in my prayers and hope that your surgery is quick and successful and that you feel so much better afterwards with no flare ups.

    Take care.

  6. 99

    99 New Member


    Hmmm... I had a pinched nerve w/ numbness & tingling down one arm that took 1 1/2 years to resolve, but it did go away. Similar story w/ other arm, but less time to improve. ONLY when I was losing use of my right arm due to compression of the spinal cord, did they consider surgery-- there are just so many risks, and you may wind up worse off than you were. However, I do not know how much pain you are in....

    I had 2 cervical discs removed and a plate with 6 screws for fusion. Bone spurs (the cause of pinched nerves) were ground down and bone implants were put in. That is DEFINiTELY the preferred proceedure these days to taking the graft from your hip-- because they find that ppl recover quicker, and w/ MUCH less pain.

    Make no mistake, the post-op period was ROUGH! Hard to swallow and talk, too! I was just 50 when I had it done, and couldn't believe how much it took out of me...for a GOOD two months! Yes, you will need help at home, especially in getting in and out of bed. I COULDN'T wear the neckbrace, although I did try at first... I don't know, but I think it "bent" my neck wrong...hurt like the dickens!

    I was born with a fused C 2-3. Then surgery on 2 discs and another is now mildly herniated, along with 2 more herniations in my lower back. This degenerative disc disease is the pits, but at least I now have my head screwed on straight, hehe!

    I suppose I should add that I got the use back in my arm... It would only have progressed. Personally, I would NOT go for surgery unless it was at that point where paralysis was looming large on the horizon.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!


    [This Message was Edited on 08/11/2003]
    [This Message was Edited on 08/11/2003]
  7. Julygal

    Julygal New Member

    Each one of you have given wonderful info/advice. My husband will be with me tomorrow, & we intend to find out a lot more information.
    When I went to the neurosurgeon last week my husband wanted me to ask about my options. The only "option" was surgery.
    I've heard nothing but good things about this doctor. I keep praying, myself, for the right answer to my problem.
    Thank you for being so candid & concerned. It means the world, especially facing this particular surgery. Will let you know what we learn tomorrow.
    God bless you.
    Love & prayers,
  8. pearls

    pearls New Member

    I also think you should have a second opinion. Several things concern me:

    1) We with fms sometimes flare badly after surgery.

    2) Most disc problems do not need surgery according to doctors quoted in Dr. Devin Starlanyl's "Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain." Find out the non-invasive options. A good chiropractor might be one of those options.

    2) Most pain is probably from trigger points, which, if found and manipulated can take the place of a lot of unnecessary surgery. It is rather close to your scheduled surgery, but Clair Davies' "Trigger Point Therapy Workbook" is a very interesting read on the subject of pain. (By the way, I've dramatically lessened my chest pain and pain/tingling/numbness/burning in my hands through the ideas in this book.)

    Good luck and hugs,
  9. tweety48

    tweety48 New Member

    Carolyn, I had c5 & 6 fused due to disc diease in 1982 when I was 28yrs old. It was rough for a few months. I had to wear a waist to neck brace. That was some time ago they updated I sure. I glad I had it because it really effected my eye sight. More damage was there than the drs. realized. the drs. took the bone from my hip to replace the disc. I also had second opinion just to ease my mind. Many prayers for u. Let us know how u r doing. tweety48 {{{{hugs}}}}