St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Update on Margo's back

Margo visited with the surgeon about her upper back shoulder pain after having talked to a clinician who thought the best option was surgery. 

You never go to a surgeon first--as their answer for everything is surgery.  So you check with the clinician (non-surgeon) who considers the other options -- pain killers, shots, physical therapy, pain management, etc.  When they refer you to the surgeon, you can be sure that is the best solution 

The surgeon said we need to do this as soon as possible as the pressure from the vertebrae on the spinal cord can leave permanent damage if not relieved soon -- think paralysis below the damaged area. 

So, Tuesday, Margo has a round of tests to see if she is able to have the back surgery #2.  The December surgery was for the lower back, and this is for the upper back.  

They have an emg test -- shock your upper arm and measure what comes out at the finger end (or something like that).  Margo had it dones many years ago for carpal tunnel and said it is torture!  With her cerebral palsy, she is more sensitive to these tests than the usual person.  

She also has to have a bone density test to make sure her bones are strong enough to handle the surgery. If not, then she has a delay of a month or more as she takes a daily shot of some magic bone growth drug.  Since she had a test like this in 2014 for the lower back and it was OK, we are hopeful that won't delay things. 

If things are OK on Tuesday, we will expect surgery in the next few weeks.   Anything pressing on the spinal cord can cause pain to come from limbs or trunk as the bundle of nerves from all over the body come up through the spinal column--and a squeeze on them anywhere can cause pain just about anywhere. 

The rehab will be 3 days in the hospital, two weeks in a rehab facility and then home for a year of recovery.  The surgeon told Margo that after the surgery her back would be less flexible and her head turning range would be limited quite a bit--no looking to the side. 

As Margo is already looking straight ahead to get through this second surgery and to once again live a life that is not filled with pain, we are optimistic that by summer she will be out and about again and enjoying life.