I am 54 years old, a young man by my standards, and want to stay active as long as I can. I had shoulder surgery in 2003 and elbow surgery in 2011. At the time of my elbow surgery, I was also experiencing neck and shoulder pain but knew I had to get my elbow issue resolved first. An orthopedic surgeon recommended the pain management route for my neck and shoulder pain, and I had my first steroid injection in April of 2011. The injection gave me relief… so much relief that I laid a new tile floor. That apparently wasn’t good for me, and I found myself in as much pain as before, but the new floor sure looked nice! That following July I was frolicking in the ocean and a wave slammed me into the sand. My head started to swell, and I went to the ER in terrific pain. I received another steroid injection for my neck and shoulder pain. Over the next year I experienced a lot of pain in that area, had limited range of motion, muscle spasms, and lightheadedness. During the day I was keenly aware of every movement. At night after dinner I would spend the remainder of the night with ice on my neck, trying to dull the pain. The much anticipated summer season was upon us, and I didn’t even want to put our boat into the water. I basically hurt all the time, so my physician administered a third steroid injection in July of 2012. Nothing improved, and it was at this time that I called ConnectCare3.
My symptoms had been managed conservatively for two years with steroid injections and physical therapy, but it was clear that the non-surgical treatments weren’t going to be enough. My pain management physician had recommended a neurosurgeon to me, and ConnectCare3 also presented me with some well-researched options. I made an appointment to see the physician recommended by my pain management physician, with the plan that I would seek a second opinion from a neurosurgeon suggested by ConnectCare3. The diagnosis from both: I needed an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, a surgical procedure to correct a herniated disc.
The first neurosurgeon proposed a plan for relieving my pain by performing an outpatient procedure. The second neurosurgeon, the one offered as an option by ConnectCare3, had a totally different approach. He proposed a more comprehensive approach which included close monitoring after surgery and beginning occupational therapy and physical therapy in order to start regaining some mobility. His office would assign a caseworker that would take care of all my needs… a visiting nurse once I was home, in-home physical therapy, and the necessary medical equipment (elevated toilet, neck brace, etc.). I was so impressed with their attention to detail and follow-through.
My surgery was September 28, and I am happy to report that I haven’t needed to take a painkiller since October 16! I had a follow-up appointment and x-rays on January 15 with my neurosurgeon. He checked my range of motion and strength and was extremely pleased with my progress. He told me I no longer have any restrictions on what I can lift or do. Now I’m looking forward to getting our boat out this summer, something I didn’t feel up to last year.
With such an attentive surgeon’s office and all the great help from my ConnectCare3 Nurse Navigator, all my questions were answered and I was able to undergo this surgery without the least bit of hesitation. ConnectCare3 did all the research for me and found an excellent neurosurgeon. I am so grateful for such a good outcome and am now doing my part by working out at a gym and doing exercises to strengthen my neck. Life is good!