Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bad News

I just got back from seeing my doctor.

This is not good. My doctor is a sports medicine guy. He tells me that he always recommends physical therapy, localized steroids, stretching, over surgery when he believes the severity of the injury justifies it. In other words, he tries to avoid sending people to a surgeon if he can. He told me flat out that he does not think any of those things will help me. My condition is severe enough that he highly recommends surgery... and to get it done as soon as possible. He has given me the name of several reputable spinal surgeons in the area. I am looking in San Diego as well.

The surgical options include ACDF (anterior cervical discectomy/fusion), PCDF (posterior cervical discectomy/fusion). The posterior version (in which the cutting happens from the back of the neck instead of through the throat) can sometimes be done without fusing the vertebrae. In other words, they can remove the bulging portion of the disc and leave you with what you have left. I sure hope for this one, since I am still relatively young and want to maintain a somewhat active lifestyle post-op. There are other options as well, including the insertion of cadaver parts (yes, that means neck parts from a dead guy). I will see a neurological surgeon soon and find out all the options, recovery times, costs to me, insurance info, the whole nine yards.

Recovery from any one of these surgeries is generally a minimum of 12 weeks. Yeah. Um. Yay. Going overseas is definitely not going to happen. I have no idea what I am going to do about work. I have no idea what I am going to do about money. I have no idea if I am going to get better. One thing I do know... I want my arm back. Here is an overview of the most common surgical practices.

There is no point in freaking out though. It's just another challenge. Plenty of people deal with much worse, everyday. So, it is what it is. I will try to stay positive. Nevertheless...stress is building.

8 comments:

NikkiLuvsSF said...

I hope this recommendation is based on a CT-scan. 2nd opinion maybe?

Greg said...

MRI. It's pretty clear. I'll add them to the original post.

peggym said...

hmmmmmm... you really don't want fusion... removing the offending bulge sounds doable... so sorry, Greg.

peggym said...

Greg, has anyone mentioned the artificial disc rather than fusion as an alternative? Here is a link to a website that describes the new artificial disc. I have a lot of faith in the Orthopaedic guys in Albany... I have had ACL reconstruction, and thumb joint reconstruction, and both surgeries produced amazing results. The Spine Center at their facility has rave reviews.

peggym said...

ooops... here is the link... sorry...

peggym said...

oops again, apparently the blog site does not like actual url's... so...precede this with the www thing and it should go... let's see...

capitalregionspine.com/treatment/t_disc.html

Greg said...

Hey aunt Peggy. The problem with the artificial disc is that they don't know how long it lasts.... and removal is a very difficult surgery. Someone my age is usually not a candidate becasue they would be pretty sure id have to have another, more complicated surgery in about 15-20 years.

Zenon said...

Isn't this the Payton Manning surgery?

Best of luck Greg.