Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 13th, 2013

It has been about a year and eight months since I had neck surgery.  I am not sure if anyone even reads this blog but I will update it anyway.

I wish I had better news but I am still in pain all the time.  In my neck and my mid back.  Like I tell my pain doctor, I do not regret getting the surgery, and I am thankful that I did every day.  Let me tell you why.

Before my surgery not only was in constant pain I was in constant fear of my neck "going out", AKA hearing (or maybe feeling) that "POP" and having my pain jump from a 4 to a 9 (with random bursts of 10) that medication did not help and staying that way for at least a few days.  It caused a lot of mental issues knowing it could randomly happen.  I would try to do anything possible to not let that happen, yet it would randomly happen.  For example one time I fell down the stairs and it didn't happen.  Other times I would be drying my hair very carefully or putting on a shirt and BAM it would happen. I also move around a lot in my sleep and often have night terrors... trust me this subconscious head moving in my "sleep" would make my neck go out all the time.  These events became more and more frequent leading up to the operation.

Now, the way my pain works is mostly consistent.  I know things like working, driving, overhead lifting, staying in the same position for too long, wearing a bra for too long (yes this can get very painful no matter the type), moving my head a lot (like while shopping), and other things will make my pain worse.  Doing these activities won't make my pain jump from a 3-9 all the sudden.  It gradually gets worse.  I also rarely get to the 7-8 pain level.  Daily I sit around a 2-6.  I can live with that.   I should also mention that the choking feeling in my neck/throat is mostly gone thank God!

All of this pain is not necessarily from the same spot I had operated on.  I had a steroid injection in T10-11 and it helped quite a bit.  It also assisted in me gaining about 10 lbs.  When I did weight watchers I started at 180, and got down to 135.  Now I am about 157.  I would like to get back to 140-145.  I am really not doing well with eating healthy, that is something I need to work on because I don't want to gain more.  Its also not about how I look, its about my health.  Before it was about my looks. 

I do currently take meds.  I take Tizanidine 8mg for sleep, Hydrocodone 5mg 1 or 1.5 when I can feel the pain building.  Cymbalta 60mg for depression and pain.  I see my pain doc about every 2-3 months.  I really like her, I have to wait a while but she takes time to listen and has done things like gotten me a tens unit and sometimes gives me samples of the Cymbalta.  (Its 50 dollars a month otherwise).

I am ok with how my pain is now. At least it is predictable and somewhat manageable.  I wish I could still play hockey, ski and bike ride and do active things like that.  Hockey I know I can't play any more, but skiing I would try.  I knwo it would increase my pain but I am ok with that, as long as it does not make things much worse.  I know I could ski on the little hills and be ok, but that is not me.  If I get to the ski place I am going to want to go on everything.... and that will lead to falling.  Self control?  No such thing.  Biking I am going to try this summer.  The head position and arm position is not good.  But I am considering getting a different bike.  More of an upright one.  I do love my trek mountain bike though, but mountain biking won't happen any time soon.

I still work for Panera.  I work 2 days per week doing training stuff, and 3 days per week in the cafe.

If anyone reads this.... and wants to talk feel free to email me

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jan 24, 2012

It has been about 3 months since I last updated this blog. 

In that time period I did 2 months of back PT and then 2 months of neck PT.  The neck PT really helped my range of motion but did not really help the mid back pain or the muscle spasm in the throat feeling.  Dr. Jennings prescribed zanaflex 4mg, and that helps quite a bit with the muscle spasm in the throat.  Thank goodness something is helping with that, it is horrible to feel like someone is choking you 24/7.

Sunday night I came down with the flu or norovirus or something.  (It's Tuesday).  After all the throwing up and everything I am sore, but my neck is not out.  That tells me that the surgery was helpful because there is no way my neck would not go out from that!

As for now I am not doing any PT except my home exercises.  I use my tens unit all the time and that helps with the pain quite a bit.  I am still seeing dr jennings and the next time I see her is feb 15.  I really like her, she is a very nice doctor and actually listens instead of trying to get you out of the door as soon as you walk in.  Usually I have to wait almost an hour once I get there, but it is worth it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct 17 2011

I am almost 4 months post op.  I have been going to physical therapy for about a month, it seems to be helping my back but making my neck worse.

I have been getting this horrible, "muscle spasm" IN my throat type feeling.  It is horrible and is worse at night, especially if I had to talk a lot during the day or during work.  

I had a follow up with Dr. Jennings.  She is not sure what is causing that muscle spasm.  I am also having muscle spasms in my left shoulder blade again.  She is also concerned about my range of motion in the neck.  She wants me to do neck PT after I finish the back PT!!  She also prescribed Skelaxin.  It is a muscle relaxer.  It is supposed to have less side effects than most muscle relaxers.  I am still not convinced its helping.  It gives me a headache and sort of makes me tired.

I also got a TENS unit.  I do like it, it seems to help.  It atleast takes my mind off the pain.

I really like PT.  Everyone is really nice and fun.  I seem to be getting stronger. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

3 months post op

I am sorry I have not updated this blog in a while.

Lets just start by saying... I can't believe I am 3 months post op.  It feels like I was sitting in pre op just a couple days ago.  Each month things seem to get a lot better.  Currently my neck feels great.  It tires easily, and after a long day at work I do get some mild to moderate (compared to pre op spasms) muscle spasms.  If I am working on the computer or working on the sandwich line looking down a lot, I do get some pain in my neck, but trust me... nothing near what I used to get pre op.  The new kind of pain will go away if I stop what I am doing.

Back pain has been an issue lately.  Although it does seem like every months it gets a little better.

I went back to work on August 24th, which was 2 months post op.  Going back to work was tough, because of the physical demands of the job.  Within 15 minutes of working my back muscles go extremely tight and start burning.  If I sit down the burning will slightly lessen, but as soon as I start walking, bending and lifting, it starts back up again.  I also get sharp pains in my low back and in my left hip.  This all was much worse in July and August, so I am hoping it just keeps getting better.   I talked to Dr. Croissant about this and he ordered a Lumbar MRI.  I also asked him if we could do a Thoracic MRI because I always felt like something was wrong with that part of my spine.  I had both MRIs and they both came back with nothing wrong.  He then referred me to Dr. Nadine Jennings, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation doctor.  She did an exam and we both determined together that because I was incorrectly moving my body pre surgery, it took an effect on my lower back.  By not moving my neck, I strained my mid and lower back.  This resulted in incorrect posture for a long time, thus giving me the resulting back pain.  She prescribed Flexeril to take nightly, Flector patches (A NSAID patch.  I am not supposed to take any NSAIDs because I am waiting for fusion, but she says the patch mostly targets the area and does not put as much in my blood stream.  Unfortunately insurance does not cover the patches, so she gave me some samples.  I am not convinced it helps anyway.  She also prescribed PT.  I had my PT consultation yesterday.  Everyone was really nice.  The doctor at the PT place said they would be using a combination of MedX exercises and massage.  We will see how that goes.  I have my first actual session on Monday.   I am supposed to be getting a TENS unit.  I thought someone was going to call me about that, but I haven't gotten a call yet.  I will ask Dr. Jennings about that next time I see her.

Anyway, overall recovery is going well.  My neck and shoulders actually feel somewhat normal.  I am glad I had the surgery.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Left hand

I noticed I can hold my left hand still now :)

Lower back isn't hurting as much.  I think it was from sitting in the recliner too much.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wed July 13

I haven't posted in a few days......... I still have been having a lot of lower back/hip type pain.  It is really getting to me!!  I don't know what it is.  I can't stay in the same position for a while because of it. 

My neck is not doing bad........ It is sore but nothing like pre surgery.  Then again- I am not working.

I just want the pain to go away and to get my life back.  Now I have all this lower back pain.  It's not nearly as bad as my neck was pre-surgery, but it is constant and painful.  Probably about the 5-6/10 range.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10

Today all day I have been having a lot of pain in my lower back/upper hips.  I don't know why.  I had this pain pre surgery since about April.  I thought it was because I never really moved my neck and moved other parts of my body in strange way to make up for it.  I am still hoping that it will go away when I heal from this surgery.

Lots of pain in my shoulder blades today too, both sides.  I feel my arms are still very weak especially my left.  I am going to look up exercises to strengthen them.  I don't think I will be going to physical therapy.  We will see after the next apt.

I hate pain!!