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The Initial MRI Results From Neurology and Pain Management

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yesterday my sister went with me to my pain management doctor's appointment. We took the films from my MRI along with my pain medication. When it was finally my turn to be seen, the nurse practitioner came in the room and started talking to me. The doctor was in surgery downstairs. The more I talked, the more alarmed she became. I handed her the MRI films and I asked her if I could possibly have copies of the radiology report. She started to read over the report and she told me that there were many reasons that I was experiencing so much pain. So I decided to ask her some questions about the effect that the injection might have had on the condition of my spine, knowing full well that she wasn't qualified to answer my question. She asked me to hold on a minute and disappeared from the room.

The next thing we knew, my doctor appeared in the room in surgical scrubs along with the same nurse. He wanted to take a look at the MRI films himself and read the radiologist report. Apparently he put his next procedure on hold downstairs in order to come up to see me. His facial expression was fairly surprised at the condition of my cervical spine. I looked him straight in the eye and started asking questions about whether or not I would regain the normal use of my left arm. He hedged and wouldn't give me an answer. He gave me three options for pain treatment but not for necessarily fixing my problem. First, living off of pain medication - not an option for me. Second, having more injection procedures - not an option for me. Third, finding a neurosurgeon to fix my spine surgically. He asked to see my pain medication bottle; which I handed to him. He asked me a bunch a questions about it - wasn't sure it was prescribed by him - and seemed surprised at the "take every 8-12 hours" directions. He said that needed to be take every 6 hours. (I'm thinking to myself, "You're an idiot!") Then he wanted to tell me about another procedure he could possibly do on me. I told him that he was never going to touch me again. He suggested a referral to neurosurgery and I said USF and he wrote me a referral. At the front desk they said ,"You didn't want to set up another appointment did you? You can just call us when you need us, okay?" I'm thinking, like never!!!

Today, Wednesday, hubby and I took the MRI results and radiology report to a neurologist to see what he had to say. This doctor actually listened to everything I said and read the little computer print out with my personal information that I attach to all the forms that I fill out at a consultation.
He said that the turning gray, the blue lips/finger nails were most likely from a spinal compression that wasn't caught by the MRI. (Perhaps positional?) He thought pain medication and injections would do nothing to fix the problem. He had only two recommendations. First, he recommended traction. I have tried manipulation/traction of the neck by a physical therapist which was ineffective.
Second, he recommended surgery. We asked him if this would give me back use of my left arm and he said most likely. Of course, in case he was wrong, he couldn't say a simple yes. That was kind of depressing. But, in way, he did give me hope. He said that I need a very specific kind of specialist and I will need to go to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to seek out treatment.

Hubby and I discussed the options and decided to go with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. We anxiously await hearing from them in the near future.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 1/19/2011 8:23PM

    Cyndi, I'm routing for the hope to be stronger than the depressing thoughts. So hope you get the treatment you need. Medical treatment and procedures can be just so frustrating. Mayo sounds like a good option, though. Take care, Cyndi.

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PEGGYANNSCH 1/19/2011 7:17PM

    Hope everything is ok

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/19/2011 7:15PM

    So glad you are rid of the first place and doc. That place should be reported. Best wishes in getting the care you need and healing quickly.

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HEALTHY4ME 1/19/2011 5:54PM

    Well alot of round about ness lol but that is what happens. sounds like you are good to be rid of the first guy. geesh. I hope you get your answers from the mayo clinic and yea true that if you have a compression it will stop blood flow and you will turn grey blue ect.
HUGS and keep us updated!


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L*I*T*A* 1/19/2011 3:05PM sorry you had to go through so much.....
at least you have hope and a place to go for a new opinion....
the reputation of the Mayo clinic will help you am sure.....
praying you get in quickly to see someome .....
blessings and hugs....lita

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Today Is Our 18Th Wedding Anniversary

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On a more upbeat note, today is our 18th wedding anniversary. We had planned to do something active and fun but have put that off for a later date due to my medical problems. However, that being said, hubby and I have decided to play it by ear and make the best of today. I will try to be positive and to grab all the fun I can find. I will just live for the moment and enjoy the day. Not only is today our 18th wedding anniversary but it marks almost exactly 20 years since the day we met. Let's hear a big awww here! Isn't that romantic?

We will go out for a healthy breakfast and later, if I'm up to it, a nice dinner. We'll exchange sappy cards and funny cards (another awww here). I also got him a collectible old baseball picture of Pittsburgh Pirate's player Roberto Clemente for his collection. It will be a surprise. The fact that I'm a Pirate's fan has absolutely nothing to do with it of course! LOL

I am determined that today will be a good day. I will not let anything interfere with it including pain.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYANNSCH 1/17/2011 11:49AM


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AQUAGIRL08 1/17/2011 11:07AM

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. We had a lovely day and although I wasn't pain free by any means, I managed to pace myself. My pacing enabled us to enjoy a breakfast and dinner out. Hubby watched me like a hawk but I did okay. I had egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast and delicious crab legs (my favorite), broccoli and salad for dinner. He gave me sweet cards that made me cry and the day was a smashing success!

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HEALTHY4ME 1/16/2011 4:58PM

    OH Happy Anniversary and I hope you had a good day, with no going pale grey, blue or any other colour other than healthy rose. lol
Enjoy the day congrats.

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TURTLEKIDS 1/16/2011 2:34PM

    Happy anniversary ! My hubby and I celebrate our anniversary and the day we met like you. We knew each other almost a year to the day of our wedding.


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DONNABRIGHT 1/16/2011 1:45PM

    Enjoy a wonderful day!

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L*I*T*A* 1/16/2011 12:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 1/16/2011 12:25PM

    Good attitude!! I hope you truly, truly enjoy it. Take care, Marsha

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THINAGAIN66 1/16/2011 11:20AM

    Awwww! emoticon Have a great day!

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Thank Goodness For Support

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I went to see my primary care doctor on Thursday for two reasons. The first reason was to bring her up to speed on what was going on with me just in case something happened to me. The second reason was because I was having a strange reaction as my pain medication was wearing off and I wanted to make sure I wasn't having a circulatory problem. When I have a really bad pain spike and I take the prescription the pain management doctor gave me (take every 8-12 hours) at about hour 6.5 after taking the medicine I begin to turn gray. At hour 7 my lips start to turn blue and my hour 7.5 my finger nail beds also start to turn blue. By hour 8 I'm in crushing pain and I take another pill. One hour after taking the pill everything is normal again.

My primary doctor assured me that my circulation was fine. If I had a circulation problem, taking a pain pill wouldn't make the problem go away. She did mention that the pain was driving my blood pressure up. I asked her if she felt that it was causing my system to shut down when I turned blue, she looked angry and said tersely, probably. She gave me a steroid injection to help the inflammation and pain in my left arm (which has helped) , two prescriptions - one to protect my stomach and the other a steroid- a request for a faxed radiologist report for my MRI and an emergency appointment for a neurologist for Wednesday, January 19. She said I need treatment of some kind immediately. She told me to go home and call my pain management doctor and tell him that she had checked me out for circulation and put me on a steroid. Then she said to tell him in detail what I told her about my lips turning blue etc. After that she said I was just to rest for the remainder of the day.

I got home, picked up the phone and called my pain doctor's office at l:56p.m. I told them exactly what my primary doctor instructed me to tell them. They took down the information and my phone number and said they would phone me back. At 2:03p.m. the doctor's office called me back and said they needed me to come in on Tuesday, January 18, with a copy of my MRI films and my pain medication. That had to be the fastest response time on record from them! Usually they take at least 4 hours to respond. They also wanted to know if it had happened more than once. I said yes, it had.

Friday, I had my MRI. They had to stick me four times in order to put the contrast dye into me. When the MRI was over, my upper body went into spasms and shakes from having been still for so long. It was horrible and I felt so out of control! Then it just stopped. I got dressed and waited for my films and drove home. By the time I stopped at the bank and got home, my husband said that I was already gray in color but I felt no pain. I felt nothing at all in fact. I ate lunch, took my pain medication (it made me turn back to my natural color again) talked on the phone, did some paper work and used the computer. My husband came in from work and took me to run two quick errands and we came back home. Five hours had passed since I had my pain medication. He told me that I didn't look so good - I was turning gray and I was cold to the touch. I decided to go to bed. That's when the pain started and my lips turned blue. I wrapped myself in blankets to get warm and tried positioning my arms to take the pressure off my cervical spine. I'd read about this on a medical web site specializing in the spine, and I lay like this for l.5 hours. I didn't know what else to do. OMG! It worked! My color came back, the pain subsided and I got warm again. I am just at a loss as to what is going on with my cervical spine. Thank goodness I read that article because it gave me some relief and I didn't have to take another pill. It will be interesting to see what the MRI says!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

L*I*T*A* 1/15/2011 9:28PM

    keeping you in my thoughts and prayers....
wish i could wiggle my nose to help you find your answers....
hang in there....
blessings and hugs........lita

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AMANDAJCD 1/15/2011 8:33PM

    Wow Cyndi -- thank goodness you stay so well-informed! And your primary care doctor sounds awesome (not so much the pain management folks). Please, keep us posted. You're in our thoughts.

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SLENDERELLA61 1/15/2011 8:04PM

    Oh, Cyndi. You are really smart to read as much as you can and try to find relief for yourself.- So sorry you are going through all this. Hope the MRI pinpoints the cause and that you get the treatment you need. Hang in there!

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HEALTHY4ME 1/15/2011 8:02PM

    OMG that is scary, I work in nursing and to turn blue and grey OMG that is not good as you know. but yea maybe something is pressing on a nerve or whatever to make you lose circulation like that. I am intetested to know your story. I hope you get some answers asap and if you don't get warm or get your colour back please go to emerg.
HUGS and wow you are strong!!!!

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WILD4STARS 1/15/2011 7:59PM

    OMG ~ I would have been terrified. Prayers that someone finds and fixes whatever needs to be fixed. SOON!!

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TURTLEKIDS 1/15/2011 4:37PM

    Hang in there. I would be begging to be hospitalized if it was me. You poor dear. Praying you get some answers and relief soon.



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AQUAGIRL08 1/15/2011 3:29PM

    My pain tolerance is really high for chronic pain. The problem is that it's too high and that is dangerous. My pain management doctor just isn't getting it which is why I have the neurologist appointment already set up. Thanks for your support!

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DONNABRIGHT 1/15/2011 1:35PM

    Oh my gosh, I feel like you must be one of the bravest people in the world not to be running to the emergency room. Your pain tolerance has to be really high. I ppray you get some answers and some relief this week.

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My MRI Is Next Friday

Saturday, January 08, 2011

My doctor acted surprised at the all of problems I told him that I've been having. He didn't even remember that I had his office call him the day after my procedure. This makes me wonder if they even called him or if they just emailed him and just said I had pain etc. I can't figure it out.

During my appointment on Thursday, I first saw the second year resident doctor who was doing his rotation for pain management. He was very thorough and asked me lots of questions; many more than even my doctor asked me either at the office visit or before my procedure. He also took copious notes which pleased me. After he left the room, I sat for at least 45 minutes and waited. I figured that my doctor probably was scrambling around in his office and reading everything in my chart - getting his "ducks in a row" so to speak. I think my doctor was avoiding me for as long as possible. There weren't that many patients when I came in but I could hear people going up and down the hall opening and closing doors. I noticed that I was put in an examining room at the end of the hall, away from all of the rest. I chuckled to myself when I saw where they put me. Did they honestly think I was going to have a screaming fit? Maybe.

After cooling my heels for 45 minutes, both the resident and my doctor came in the room. My doctor asked me a few questions and then turned his attention to the resident. They did this little Q & A thing about symptoms and diagnosis (it seemed rehearsed to me) and I sat patiently and listened until my doctor made a comment about my last MRI. He said that he saw the radiology report but that he hadn't seen the films since I hadn't brought them. I told him that I had and he said that he doubted it. I knew that was a set up, so I jumped in and corrected him on that since I had to go to a lot of trouble to get the disk containing the MRI images. I explained how I had to set up a special appointment to get the disk, right before my initial doctor's appointment with him, so I'd have it for him to look at. All he could say to that was oh. I told him how disappointed I was that he didn't even look at the disk with the MRI on it after all of the trouble I went to to get it.

Then, right in front of this resident, I repeated the same argument I gave him the first time I saw him when there was a different resident in the room. I told him that there was significant growth on a cervical bone spur near the spinal cord between 2007 and 2009 and I was advised by two neurosurgeons to watch that spur's growth. Before doing any procedure I wanted and MRI. My doctor convinced me to compromise and do two cervical epidural injections. For me, the injection has made the last three weeks a big blur of pain and I've lost much of the normal use of my left arm.

The doctor explained how the procedure went normally without any complications and nothing abnormal showed up on the fluoroscope x-ray. I made the comment that it couldn't have been too normal if the result for me was crushing pain for the last 16 days. He told me that even the worst reactions only last 3 days. My question for him was, "What is causing all of this? If you look at my blood pressure, you can see that I'm in pain. This morning it was 117/79 . It's off the charts from just driving over here." The doctor said he didn't know. I said I want an MRI and he said that would be a good idea. I need one with contrast because I have a bone fusion and he agreed with that too. He also insisted upon giving me a prescription for the pain because it is spiking my blood pressure up too high which could land me in the hospital with other problems. When the pain starts to crush, I'm not supposed to tough it out because it can be dangerous. I'm also on restricted activity. This means no workouts and only slow walking until we know what is wrong with me.

On my way out of the doctor's office, I saw one of the women working in the office putting some papers back into my chart/folder. So, I had been correct and they did make me wait while they studied my chart and compared notes. Interesting to know. I will file that little tidbit for future reference. My MRI is on Friday January 14, in the morning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EILEENV3 1/11/2011 1:24PM

    So glad you'll get your MRI. As a patient, you are SO right to stand up for yourself.

I agree with the others re looking into a different doctor.

Good luck & hope the pain level will subside. emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 1/10/2011 8:32PM

    Oh, Cyndi! It certainly should be simpler. So hope that MRI you have endured so much to get is helpful. And even more than that, I hope your pain ends. -Marsha

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SANDIEMAC1 1/9/2011 4:34PM

    wow! even my neurosurgeon (AKA dr prada for his shoes) isn't THAT bad.....although they did check me in and forget i was in the waiting room for over 2 hours....i guess it's easy to do that in a place the size of USF? although mine also acts totally clueless when i tell him that my back (L4-L5 and L5-S1) hurt MORE after he inserted his buttload of titanium than it did before he re-arranged it all. i'm at a loss...i worked in a fairly urban (tampa) ER and the staff seemed to be more up on complete strangers than these guys are on ESTABLISHED paitents....

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TGEVING1 1/9/2011 12:24PM

    Holly crap! Yeah I would suggest that you find another doctor. Its obvious to me that he doesn't care about his patients. His resident has more concern for you then your doctor. emoticon

At least your scheduled for an MRI appointment. emoticon


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  Seriously, you need to find a new doc. Maybe he's just not very smart (Every class has someone who graduates at the bottom of their class) or worse, maybe he just doesn't care (too busy to even think of his patients as people or has no capacity for compassion) but in any case that is one scary guy. Most patients don't know how to stand up for themselves and he obviously isn't used to someone not passively trusting him thus the game playing instead of being honest right up front with you. When I think that he has might have your life in his hands makes me say run, don't walk, run to find another doc! You deserve a better one and they're out there. emoticonGood luck with your MRI. I'll send some good vibes your way. emoticon

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DONNABRIGHT 1/9/2011 9:47AM

    My gosh, is it time to move on to some new doctors???????

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/8/2011 9:24PM

    You are so right to keep on top of these docs. My friend who is an 8 year terminal illness survior carries a file full of her medical papers and has often had to correct docs who either forgot the correct meds or did not know what to do. She is alive by her own savvy, truly. I hope you continue to be fearless about speaking up. Good for you.

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L*I*T*A* 1/8/2011 9:22PM

    well the main thing is you are going for an mri this coming week!!!
wow that was a quick appointment too...........
prayers answered...
blessings and hugs....lita

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Two Weeks After My Injection

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Here it is, two weeks after my injection and I'm still having problems. Instead of helping me the injection created issues for me. Pain and more pain created by the shot plus now I have to limit how much I use my left arm. My migraines came back with a vengeance and many of the therapies that I spent two weeks in November learning, I can't do because of the limited motion due to the electrical shocks that I'm experiencing daily. On a positive note, the severe muscles spasms that I was having 24/7 in my right arm (after the shot) suddenly slowed down yesterday. That was a welcome relief! I couldn't feel any pain from them, they just made my arm and hand shake. They were more annoying than anything.

Tomorrow is the day that I have my appointment with the doctor who gave me the injection. I need for him to understand just what this injection has done to me. He needs to understand the amount of pain I've had to endure because of the injection and just what effect it has had on my body. I need to know if any of what I'm still experiencing is permanent. I need an MRI and an expert who can guide me. The whole way I was treated by the surgical center staff and by this doctor's staff has destroyed my trust in him. I don't think this doctor is the person who is the expert I want to guide me, yet I'm going to have to rely on him to give me a referral for an MRI.

When I go tomorrow, I will not verbally attack the doctor. I will try to work with him. I want to find out why all of this happened. If I am antagonistic, I will shut down the lines of communication and I'll never find out what went wrong. My focus must be on gathering information in order to get better, not on pointing a finger and making accusations. I need medical attention, that much is obvious. I need an MRI and if I have to be nice to the doctor to get one, I'm going to be nice.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNABRIGHT 1/9/2011 9:49AM

    You have the patience of a saint - good luck on that appointment.

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L*I*T*A* 1/5/2011 8:17PM

    hoping and praying all works out for you....
blessings and hugs.............lita

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SLENDERELLA61 1/5/2011 6:50PM

    You are very wise to keep your goal of getting well as the top priority. So sorry you've been through all this. It would be very normal to be very angry at a doctor who cause you such great pain. Your plan to get your MRI and then seek the right person to guide you sounds good. So hope it works out for you. Please take care. Be extra good and kind to yourself. You deserve it. -Marsha

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/5/2011 4:21PM

    I'm not a litigious person, but if this escalates, you may want to find an attorney on contingency. I have had a situation in the past that nearly killed me (literally). I didn't go after the two medical establishments involved due to several factors that would take a book to outline, however, I should have. If this shot causes unintended consequences that escalate, you not only have the shot itself to blame, but the medical people who are not responding to your urgent need. You may want to keep a journal of dates, times, and to whom you spoke to create a record and paper trail. Include info on when you got the shot, and roughly how much pain and where each day. As many facts as possible. I'm hoping for your quick return to feeling well, but just in case, I would really document all this. What worries me is how they have not gotten you back in there for addl help with your pain.

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