I would like to tell you something about myself. I have suffered with chronic pain for over 25 years from spinal degenerative disease. As a young child, I had a diving accident that damaged my spine.
After I recovered from my accident, I was left with chronic stiff necks and neck pain. My first major symptom occurred when I was in my early twenties. I woke up one morning with numbness from my neck down, totally unable to move! My first MRI showed that I had a severe form of spinal degeneration and arthritis in my cervical and thoracic spine. Fortunately, physical therapy and exercise controlled most of my symptoms for about the next 10 years.
My daily pain began to control my life and by the time that I started to experience numbness in my arm followed by loss of function, I knew that the surgery that I had avoided was now a reality. As my surgeon discussed surgery, overwhelming fear had me on the run until I couldn't run from pain any longer.
In 1993, I had a 3 level anterior cervical fusion (C3-4, C4-5, C5-6) with anterior hip bone grafting and a titanium plate with 6 screws.
In 1995, I had a 3 level posterior cervical fusion ((C3-4, C4-5, C5-6) with posterior hip bone grafting to repair a fibrous union of the first cervical fusion.
In 1997, I had a C5 Foraminotomy to remove a large osteophyte or bone spur that should have been removed during the first surgery.
In 2006, I had a L3-4 laminectomy with discectomy.
In 2008, I had a L4-5 laminectomy with removal of a synovial cyst.