I have had 30 years of gradually increasing pain. I have osteoarthritis, chronic migraines, and Fibromyalgia. Add bone spurs and cervical spinal stenosis, and the neck pains contributed to some horrible migraines. I was seeing a pain specialist and getting multiple injections in the upper neck for eighteen months to help with the pain. Eventually the injections only lasted three days. Even turning in the chair was extremely painful. I had learned to live with some discomfort and the doctor told me I would know when I was ready for surgery. I did.
My surgeon did an MRI and found that I had two discs that were bulging and recommended surgery. She recommended using tissue grafts for the surgery because it was so much easier, cleaner and safer. I had taken a tour of Community Tissue Services and was familiar with and comfortable with using tissue grafts as part of my treatment.
Before my surgery, I had asked my husband what he wanted for Christmas and he said all he wanted for Christmas was for me to feel good! Two days after Christmas in 2010, I had surgery. The doctor removed the 2 disks in my cervical spine and replaced them with tissue grafts, as well as shaved the bone spurs, cleaned out the arthritis and corrected the stenosis.
The surgery went so well. I have not had any problems. I have two titanium plates and 6 screws holding my neck together. When I woke up from the surgery, the pain in the back of my head I had been so constant for 18 months was now gone. It so surprised me!
I was off work for seven weeks. Recovery was five weeks with a brace on 24/7. I slept and showered in the brace. I had a little pain after losing the brace for support but now I feel like a new women!
I will never have complete mobility, but I didn’t have that before because of pain. I am sometimes amazed at how much mobility I do have. My main rule is, “if it hurts, stop.” I can’t lift, push or pull over 20 lbs. I cannot work over my head or do anything bouncing but those restrictions/limitations I can live with.
I understand the value of donating. To the donor who donated my tissue, thank you! To be a recipient is an honor. I lost a sister-in-law who was waiting for a kidney and I also have a sister-in-law who is alive because she received a liver. Our family certainly understands the value of tissue and organ donation and I encourage everyone to consider it.