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Oct 15, 2011 · MCTD (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease) in Autoimmune Diseases

Hi,
New to this site, but my Mom has been encouraging me to contact the Mayo Clinic to help me regain my quality of life. In 2008 I was diagnosed with cervical stenosis. I was told it was severe and needed surgery ASAP. I was working for a great hospital at the time, was recommended the best neurological practice at the hospital. The neurosurgeon decompressed and fused my spine from C3 to C7 posteriorly. When the surgery was complete and they were turning me over, something went a rye. All the bells & whistles went off that were monitoring my nerves & spine. They immediately took me in to have an MRI and found nothing to be wrong. When I woke from surgery, my surgeon, his assistant and my husband were all there and the neurosurgeon asked me to move my fingers, hands and arms. The only thing I could move was my fingers a tiny bit. The neurosurgeon had an “oh shit” look on his face. He then went on to explained what had happened after surgery. My life has never been the same since. I had to relearn how to use my arms & hands which took almost a year. It has left me with chronic pain in both my arms & hands. While going through OT/PT it left me with tears in both rotator cuffs which eventually healed. So during this year while dealing with these issues, I was trying to get my pain managed and under control. Was referred to pain management facility cuz they had to give me very strong opioids and it was tricky to find the right combination. While I jumped from one opioid to another,my pain was getting worse and more difficult to manage. During this first year of while trying OT/PT i began swelling up and was showing signs of possibly RA, so thus was sent to RA specialist. After working with him for the last two years and being now diagnosed with inter-connective tissue disorder. I have been put on several different types of medicine to keep my symptoms at bay but between the chronic pain in my arms from the spinal cord injury and now the inter-connective disorder I AM MISERABLE. I have no energy, everything hurts all the time, including walking. Early on,they had been giving me prednisone to help but I gained almost 75lbs since the surgery in 2008. I don’t take that medicine anymore. I have since managed to fall break my foot and had to have surgery (this was from being to drugged in managing my pain). Then when checking my nerves in my arms & hands with an EMG test, it was discovered that my ulna nerve was being crushed in my right arm. I was loosing functionality in my right hand, so they did surgery to correct that. I still have difficulty with my right hand, so maybe it wasn’t just an ulna nerve problem? I was told that my right hand difficulties could be coming from my spine, from the original surgery.

So hear I am,trying to explain this very complex situation (but there is so much more as with everyone’s situation) but I’m trying to keep this short. That and it hurts to type, or work at a computer for anymore than an hour at a time. I WAS a type “A” person, worked as a police dispatcher, flight for life dispatcher, volunteered for the police department. I have a husband, two grown kids (out on their own), 4 Grandkids any my elderly Mom who all counted on me to be there to take care of things. I now live with chronic pain on a daily basis due to the spinal cord injury, inter-connective tissue disorder, recovering right now from my arm and foot surgery, I also attended a rehab center to change my chronic pain drug which were opioids to a synthetic opioid which was to help with withdrawals since I was on so many pain drugs and it was to help manage my pain but it’s not helping as I would have liked it to. I still take an opioid and anti-anxiety drug, nerve pain drug, antidepressants, muscle relaxors and a handful of drugs from the RA doctor. He is now suggesting that I get monthly drug transfusions to manage my ICTD cuz now it’s spreading to my hips which is making it very difficult to walk. This is really scaring me.

So you ask why I would post on this site, like I said encouragement from my Mom, family and friends to see if we can get part of the old Kelly back. I’m willing to keep trying to get better but it’s very hard day after day living with the pain and all the drugs but especially when you feel like your not getting better only worse. I really want a doctor or facility to look at my whole picture and see what could be done to regain some of my strength, energy, maybe even become pain free.

One of the questions that I keep asking all the doctors is the spinal cord injury after the surgery and the ICTD possibly related? Most doctors have said no,but I did find a doctor that said hmmmm maybe. He went on to explain that maybe I was allergic to the metal that fused my spine together. So I got on the Internet and did some research and found that sometimes the metal, like titanium (mine was titanium) has a small percentage of nickel in it. It’s like when you wear cheap earrings or cheap jewelry your skin or body can react to it. I was asked if I had any metal allergies. I didn’t think so, but I know when I put earrings in that have nickel in them my ears puff up, turn red and get infected. It got me to thinking that could it be that I’m allergic to the metal in my neck. I was never tested for metal allergies, so I had a skin test for different kinds of metals. Those tests came back pretty much clear, but in my Internet research I found out that you need to have a specific blood allergy test called MELISA test. There is a website called http://www.melisa.org that has lots of info regarding this test. My problem has been finding the right doctor to get this test performed for me and wanting to get a lot of my questions answered, like……i.e. If I am allergic to the metal, can I take it out? Will my spine stay stable? Is it causing the symptoms of the ICTD? If I am allergic, has the metal already poisoned my body or could my body heal itself if it’s taken out? My ICTD didn’t start until after my surgery, so I somehow feel it’s related. I feel that I can deal with the spinal cord injury issues. I’ve gotten back some of my use in my arms & hands but there are still some issues that I have to work with. The constant pain in my whole body now especially my joints, the fatigue and all the drugs. I just would like someone or someplace to help me sort all of this out, do the MELISA test for my own piece of mind and help me get healthy and feeling better again. I’m on disability now, it’s hard to function somedays just even staying home trying to take care of myself. My family worries about me being home alone, since I’ve fallen several times already. I WANT MY LIFE BACK,or some sense I’m in control.

If anyone reads this and can help, or give me their input, I would really appreciate it. If there is a doctor that works at the Mayo Clinic that stumbles upon this and feels moved to help, I would be very grateful. I have family and friends that count on me, especially Grandkids I would like to see grow up.

Thank you for taking the time to read and listen. Look forward to hearing from you.