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@constancebabe my goodness, you have been through a lot! I wish I could tell you when you will be able to get back to a normal life, but I don't know. It's been one year and five months since my ACDF C4-C6 and I still have issues with my left shoulder and left side of my neck. Imaging shows the fusion is fine and healed. There is a small disc bulge at the C6-C7 that the surgeon said didn't show up on imaging before surgery. According to the physical therapist I have been going to for about a month now (I put myself back into physical therapy), disc bulges can resolve without surgery but can take a long time…like a year. I also have a bulge in my L4-L5 and a few other issues. I do have lower lumbar issues but I've had those on and off for many, many years. Seems I do something to flare it up, get it to calm down and am then good for a while before I flare it back up again. My left foot is tingly at times and doesn't feel the same as the other foot. I have had all sorts of tests on it and nothing jumped out at the specialist. This was before neck surgery so I let it go. Recently, I saw a different specialist for it and he thought it was coming from my lower lumbar and not the foot/ankle. MRI did show a few things, but they are the same things that have come up before, before I had these symptoms.

I will say that imaging like MRIs do not tell the entire story. I'm almost 45 and if you were to scan people my age and older you would most likely find a variety of bulges and small tears here and there. That does not mean they are causing any pain the person might be having. These images are just one tool a specialist should be using in their toolbox. Example: I have a labrum tear in my left hip. It does not cause any issues. I had one in my right hip as well and after five years of chasing pain in my lower back and front of the right hip, I had it repaired. Prior to I went to several physical therapists and specialists and got a variety of opinions. Was it the tear in the right hip causing the pain, something in the spine, something else? So I had that tear fixed, went through four months of post op physical therapy and then went back to a normal life of being active, lifting weights again, etc. Well, the pain came back! It was NOT caused by that tear. Surgeon said I still needed it fixed, as it was shredded. I learned from that experience and continue to read and research whenever I have an issue. Another example I'd like to share…I have a full thickness tear in one of my rotator cuffs of the right shoulder. This type of tear cannot heal itself and will need surgery. First specialist I saw said I needed to have it fixed within six months or the tendons would turn to "mush." He must have thought I was an idiot that didn't do my research. I walked away from him and went to a different specialist. He agreed there was a tear that needed fixed but also said I needed to have the cervical spine surgery first. He said what the other doctor told me about my shoulder was a scare tactic and that I have plenty of time to have it fixed. It's almost two years since that shoulder tear was discovered and I have yet to get it fixed and I am doing OK. I do have issues with it, but the arms works, etc. I won't bore you with what the current physical therapist said about it since this response is already getting to be too long. 🙂 I will say everyone is different and if this tear was causing my arm to not work, I would need it fixed ASAP. I guess the point of all of that is continue to do your research, get multiple opinions from different specialists, etc., and it's not always what it seems. That first specialist I saw for my left foot never suggested it could be an issue with my lower lumbar. I knew that was a possibility and that's why I sought out a different expert for another opinion.

As far as your leg issues, they are thinking that's from the cervical spine? I would think it's from lower down the spine or something in your brain and not the nerves from the cervical spine region. Are you getting treatment at the Mayo Clinic (the specialists I've mentioned were not from Mayo and were those where I live)? I don't know if my response has been all that helpful. I've tossed in a lot of things that had nothing to do with my cervical spine surgery but hopefully you've taken something good away from it.

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Replies to "@constancebabe my goodness, you have been through a lot! I wish I could tell you when..."

Thank-You SOooo MUCH for your reply. It helped me greatly to understand what all is involved….And how very different every patient can be. (And btw, It’s never ‘too long’ for me. I found it very very interesting and I learned something from all of it….So again, thank you!)
And no, I’m didn’t have this done at Mayo… Although the Mayo clinic is fairly close to us. I had it at a hospital in Madison Wisconsin ….and actually the same Neurosurgeon that operated on my aneurysm did my Corpectomy. I do have a lot of faith in him. As I said, I am 11 weeks out and I go back to my doctor next week. I know I’m just terrible at being patient and waiting for something to change here. I did ask my doctor if this could’ve been from my aneurysm that my legs were acting the way they are) and he said no. But from what I’m reading, sometimes the basic tests that are done don’t always give an accurate answer. (If you would like to connect on email or Facebook, private message me for my information.) You sound like you’re quite an athlete and work out a lot. I haven’t gone to any physical therapy yet but I think they have that planned for me. Before this all happened I was working out quite a bit and I have been biking a lot last summer it was an unusual for me to go 20-30 miles a day. When this started happening where I couldn’t move my legs very well and I was getting very numb feet, my workouts pretty much all stopped. When my low back MRI showed bulging discs I backed off exercising hoping they would heal by themselves but they didn’t. I would love it if I could get back to doing some sort of exercise routine every day!!
Thank you for all your words of wisdom. I’m sure I will re-read your letter quite a few times…..And I will be on here fairly regularly to see what more I can pick up!!! (You are right when you say ‘DO YOUR RESEARCH’. I have done a lot of research but I had never looked at any forums before a friend of mine suggested trying to find a ‘Corpectomy forum’.
Ok……..Hope to talk to You again soon!, Take good care of yourself!
~ Connie

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