October 9, 2012

The Value of a 2nd Opinion - Hope Reignited!

On Thursday, October 4th, 2012, the candle of hope inside of me was shining bright.  I arrived to my appointment with the second opinion neurosurgeon at 2:45pm.  His office on the second floor, I stepped off the elevator and paused for a moment deciding to visit the restroom, but it was occupied.  As I stood outside the elevator waiting for the lavatory, these two elder women were waiting to get on.  I observed the one holding the other's elbow to stabilize her on her feet.  Figuring she had also just visited the neurosurgeon--I overheard her say, "well, he said at least you're walking".  The woman with her said, "so does that mean you don't have to come back again?".  In reply, the limping lady said, "I guess, no surgery for me."

My heart sank.  Of course, I don't know this person's medical history or issues, but hearing these comments made me more anxious and worried that he would reject me to, and I would live out my remaining decades in pain.

I put on the charm upon approaching the receptionist.  The way to the road to success is to win over the receptionist/secretary immediately.  You know they are the backbone (no pun intended there) of every office, so make nice.

I completed the information sheet and provided the typed sheet of all the lease invasive alternatives I have tried over the past 18 months.  Too my surprise at a cost of $3500 to date.  I think that's a pretty good indication of proof that I have been trying to resolve my pain issues, or manage. 

I couldn't sit in the waiting room because it hurts and there were only these lush, big, puffy, sink into and can get out of brown and black leather arm chairs.  It was exceptionally hot in the office as well.  I think I was the last appointment of the day at 3:30pm.  I didn't have to wait long to meet Dr. M.  He appeared businesslike, no jacket, red hair and beard, glasses, late forties. 

I had a plan this time around to be more assertive, more prepared.  I guess when I met with the last surgeon who had done my first back surgery, I assumed she would just fix me again.  I provided him with my MRI DVD.  His exam room was spacious, clean and had a PC on a small desk.  He loaded up the images and said they were good, clear images and he could clearly see the recurrent disc herniation at L5, and a new one at L4.  He examined me thoroughly, testing reflexes, stretching, bending, walking and flexing my legs.  I have no reflex in my heel and he noted the obvious weakness in my left leg.  He asked me why I didn't go to Dr. S.  When I said I did, and she said it wasn't surgically correctable, that it was scar tissue fibrosis, Dr. M asked did she look at your MRI?, I replied with not that I witnessed.

When he said to me he'd do the surgery, a laminectomy/discectomy I burst into tears!  I felt validated.  The risks are at 1 and 2% for spinal fluid leak, cutting the nerve and infection.  I felt my first surgery was a success, and knowing I can wake up with no pain in my leg is worth it.


For all these months of struggling with pain, gaining weight, being a lesser wife, mother and employee, being judged, being told a positive attitude makes all the difference, so being made to feel like all this pain is in your head, I say fuck you!

I have enough reality in my life making me feel ashamed, guilty, not worthy and ill.  I won't let anyone judge me any longer!

My next challenge now is to apply for longterm income protection benefits and CPP disability benefits.  If anyone has any advice, please comment to me.

We don't have to "live with it"!  Seek a second, a third opinion.


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The Keyhole to My Mind's Closet

The Keyhole to My Mind's Closet
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