Happy New Year! – Now let’s catch up.
My last few posts were ACDF Surgery – 3 Weeks Post-Op & X-rays & Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion – ACDF Surgery & Recovery and a lot has happened since then, so let’s dive right in.
My 2022 ended phenomenally with friends, laughter and music. 2022 was one for the books and a year I will never forget. There was so much more happiness (and BMFS) this year than in year’s past and I’m grateful for that.
Peep my 2023 planner with all the fun from 2022 on display! 💚
Now, I’m aiming to make 2023 even better.
It has been 5 months since my C4-C5 ACDF surgery and I’ve only had to go to the emergency room once. At one month post-op, my neck locked up again and I couldn’t move – I thought I had injured myself it hurt so bad. The neurosurgeon said I could feel like this up to a year post-op, with severe muscle spasms until my neck fully fuses.
We took some X-rays and I was given more muscle relaxers to take as needed. My incision has healed okay, there is still quite a scar – but I’ll take it as long as I heal correctly.
I should have my 6-month follow up in the next few weeks with my neurosurgeon and we will do an EMG – electromyography test, to see why my hands have a permanent pins and needles, tingling sensation.
We thought the surgery would help with that, but my hands have seemed to get worse. What began as only my first fingers and thumbs going numb has turned into all of my fingers, go figure.
And now, these ribs and Slipping Rib Syndrome (SRS).
As of January 2nd, I am 8 months post-op. I have been having recurring nerve pains since surgery and I have began to feel bone on bone grinding again and more pain since September. Slipping Rib Syndrome is gonna be the death of me and my sanity.
Because I was so early in my post-op days, that 4 & 5-month inflammation, I did not reach out to Dr. Hansen – I was going to wait and let myself heal a little more.
But, now that I am 8 months post-op, I finally have an appointment – virtually – with Dr. Hansen in a few days. I reached out in early November after putting it off for weeks, because reaching out means the pain is real again, and I’m set for our appointment.
Although there is not much that can be done with a virtual appointment, it will be nice to discuss what is going on with my ribs.
I believe I feel bone-on-bone grinding in a few places in my ribs, one spot a little higher than surgery near my left breast and again near my 10th rib. I have some of the craziest and painful nerve cramps and a yucky feeling whenever the bone touches bone.
If I sneeze, the pain is excruciating near my torso and I have a hard time not feeling ribs move when I move. I manage because this is nothing new to me, although I shouldn’t have to be used to this.
January 2023 marks 5 years of rib pain. Will it ever end? Sometimes I worry that this is pain I will deal with for the rest of my life.
With my last surgery with Dr. Hansen, we used his most updated 3.0 version of his surgery technique. I am not sure there is anything that can even be done, so where do we go from here?
I’m sure after my virtual appointment, the next step will be another drive to West Virginia to be seen in person for a physical examination and Hooking Maneuver. I’m sure I will have to get another CT scan – that will show nothing – but we shall see.
I do not want to be right that my ribs are moving again – but I’ve been right about everything with my ribs for the last 5 years and 7 surgeries.
After my virtual appointment, I’ll make sure to post another update.
And as for my Crohn’s disease. Come February, I have been on Stelara for 5 years.
I already have a follow-up appointment with my gastroenterologist and a note for a pill-capsule endoscopy. It has been 3 years since we last got inside my stomach, so it would be nice to see what the the Stelara has been doing for the last few years.
I have been having more and more cramping and pain in my left hip and right knee, and I don’t know why. Is it a Stelara side-effect? Joint pain with my Fibromyalgia or Crohn’s disease? Or is it from my spine and torso shifting to the right due to my ribs for all these years? Who knows.
But, I don’t let this get me down. I’m so used to pain these days – if I do complain to anyone, then it has to be REALLY REALLY bad.
Otherwise, I try not to burden people with my issues. There’s so many, it’s exhausting, so I just keep trying to live my life to the fullest in spite of it all.
So, I usually say I’m okay.
And I am.
Because for me, it could be worse. Til next time!
And in the words of Billy Strings – you can’t stop us from dancing. 💚