Stenosis and Bone Spurs in Neck....May have to go to the dark side..

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by BigRedTruck, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    My DW and I love camping in our little PUP more than anything else. Last month I started having a sharp pain run from my left side of the neck, through the shoulder down to my hands. I had x-rays and MRI's done and they found significant damage to 4 discs in my neck. On top of that, the left side of my neck, face, shoulder, arm, chest and hand arm numb. I received three steroid injections in my neck that have helped to control the pain but I still have the numbness and the injections do not fix the problem, just mask it. My physical therapist at the VA (A great guy with 30 years of experience) would not even touch my head or neck area fearing I would be paralyzed. Surgery is the only option at this point. I am severely restricted in what I can do. I am only allowed to walk. I am not allowed to lift, pull or push anything. Very humbling experience as I can't even mow my lawn (I have a service doing it now.) Also, my lower back is flaring up from walking awkwardly. Anyway, I will be meeting with the Neurosurgeon next week. I know surgery will help the situation, but I am not sure I can do the manual labor after surgery of jacking the pup up anymore. The TT seems to be the way to go. Anyone with a back or spinal issue make the switch? Have any of you had neck surgery? If so, are you functioning 100% again? Thanks.
     
  2. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear of your ailments. A TT still has it's things that need to be done that require a little strength and manual dexterity. Hooking up and unhooking a WD hitch is probably the biggest. Of course, your still will have a tongue jack, stabilizers, and an awning. All of those can be done with power assist if you pick the right camper.
     
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Sorry to hear about your problem. I also had numbness and severe pain in my left arm and woke up one night and physically couldn't move my arm. Talk about scary. After MRI done they determine it started as a pinched nerve but somehow i fractured the disk in-between my c7 and c8 and a piece appeared to have embedded in the nerve. Surgery was my only option as well. In my case they had to take out my disk which thankfully took the sliver out with it and fuse the bones together. It was a long road to recovery as it took so much longer for my nerve to heal vrs my neck and so frustrating, but it was healing. I can't remember how long it took, but it was nearly a year when I was released to do everything I did before. And for the most part pain free. I found in the rain my neck would ache and it took time to rebuild my strength in my arm and back from lack of use. I had to learn to sleep on a special pillow to support my neck or I woke up with neck and back ache. Now my issue may not be the same problem you have, and it could take longer for you to heal, but I would assume as long as your nerve is not severely damaged it is possible for it to heal. So to say, I did no camping for a long while. It's been nearly 4 years now and outside of still needing that special pillow I'm fine. I pray for quick healing for you and may your outcome be just as positive as mine.
     
  4. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    I appreciate your information and really appreciate the prayers. I have been told the recovery is lengthy. One thing I have thought about is camping with friends (after surgery). Until then, my camping is on hold.

    It is very encouraging to hear that yours came out good. I don't know many people that had the surgery in the neck. I have one friend that had it and the result is him not being able to lift his left arm above his shoulder. I will keep you all posted.
     
  5. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    I have been able to avoid surgery on my neck for 18 or so years(!), in spite of herniated disks, some stenosis, and bone spurs (apparently my body is very good at building spurs). It was expected that I'd need surgery there before this, but so far, so good. My neck isn't great, but I can handle it.
    My lower back was another thing, and I did end up having surgery for it, last year, after quarterly shots, nerve damage, etc. (The surgery did not fix all of the issues, which we knew going in, but stopping the progression of nerve damage in my legs and feet was a biggie.) The back issue is what finally drove us to switch from the pup to the TT, 6 months before surgery. However, it was well worth it to both of us, since the goal is to keep enjoying the places we like to explore. On top of the camping, the TT is handy for me to travel solo, as I am currently doing, and gives me a bed tailored to my back - even better hotel beds are not reliable for me. I am on the return trip, from my MIL's - 4 nights on the road in each direction, plus 10 days in her yard. My husband flew in for 8 nights, so we had our own space, and he only had a carry on to take on the plane, having packed all his clothes, etc. in the TT.
     
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Wow, this is certainly a frightening situation.

    Is your DW able to do hitching / unhitching, etc? If not, I would move to the dark side all the way to a motorhome with push button leveling.

    Of course, even a motorhome is limiting with serious physical problems. My parents had to quit towing their car behind as they are no longer able to do the hitching and unhitching of the car. Their camping is limited to nearby places, where my mom can follow, driving in the car, unless some of us or the grown grandchildren are camping with them.

    I don't know if they make self leveling TTs or not. I would check into it, and possibly some kind of tool that aids in hitching / unhitching. I'm sure there are things out there to make it all easier.

    In any event, take care and don't take any chances. I'll remember you in my prayers.
     
  7. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    My wife has hitched the PUP before so that would not be a problem. Now, a TT that is self-leveling would be very cool. I am going to research that today!

    The first appointment with my neurosurgeon is Tuesday so I will actually get the process rolling. I will keep everyone posted.
     
  8. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    I wanted to keep you all updated on my neck.

    Yesterday (October 18th) I had my first visit to the neurosurgeon. I am scheduled for surgery on November 9th. He is going to remove the two bad lower discs in my neck, C5 through C7. They will be replaced with artificial discs. Those discs will be fused with a plate and screws. Those are the two discs causing the symptoms. The surgery will take 2 hours and recovery will be 4 - 5 weeks. It will take a year to totally heal but I can work again (teach at school) after the 5 week period.

    The neurosurgeon is very worried about the upper discs C2 through C4 as they show more damage than the discs he is replacing. He said I will need a second surgery a year from now. I asked him why not take out 4 all at once and he said he would not put me through that.

    I guess the good news is I should be able to do basic stuff when it is all done. The bad news is I am restricted from doing anything really physical the rest of my life. So, I am selling the pup and looking for that TT.

    I will let you all know how the surgery goes.
     
  9. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    November 9th I had the surgery. It went very well. I spent a total of 7 hours in the hospital and then I was sent home. The first 5 days went extremely well. I was able to walk for a block on day 6 and added another block the next day. My neck was healing well. My greatest setback was a huge allergic reaction to my pain med, Norco. I ended up with hives from head to toes and two trips to the ER when my lips and throat swelled up. That is finally cleared up.
    December 1st was my 3-week checkup with the neurosurgeon. I am ahead of schedule with my neck healing. I do not have to go to physical therapy which is huge. I can start light cardio (walking around the block a few times), and light calisthenics in 5 weeks. The best part is the numbness is almost 100% gone and I have no pain. So, the surgery worked.

    I can't complain. I am on schedule to return to work on December 12th. I'm a 5th-grade teacher so I am lucky to not have to do physical labor or I would be out a few weeks longer.

    I do have another surgery on the horizon for C2 - C4 but I do not have the symptoms yet. My neurosurgeon wants the healing from this surgery to happen first (9 months or so), and I will need to show symptoms. I am not in a hurry at this point for round 2.

    I am somewhat torn on selling the pup. We love it but I know I can't set it up even with my wife's help. TT's are not cheap but I do have the winter to look for a fixer upper. We will see. I appreciate the prayers. It helps.
     
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  10. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Kalinedrive so glad to hear surgery went well and already feeling relief. May things continue to go well for you.
     
  11. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    Update! My recovery is going very well. I am able to do all normal activities and have started working out the last 3 weeks (stationary bike, pushups and planks). So, we have decided not to sell our pup! With my improved condition I know I can work with my wife and get everything set up. I am changing out the front hitch on the pup to a more user friendly fold away type.

    I am amazed at what doctors can do this day and age. I have to still be very carefull, but I am up and running, which did not seem possible 3 months ago. Appreciate the prayers and well wishes from everyone.
     
  12. JPBar

    JPBar Well-Known Member

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    Great news!!! hope you make a full recovery soon
     
  13. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Active Member

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    Yes, that is very good news. Hope you continue to do well and possibly avoid that second surgery.
     
  14. XKPin

    XKPin There's no situation so bad it can't be made worse

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    --Road hard and put up wet-- What happens to service members.
    We were all pulling for you. You have a more sever form of what I had in my neck but the same arm numbing symptoms. Naval Medical Center Portsmouth performed the surgery on my neck. Great place! Replaced three disks with cadaver material. Screwed it all together. Removed bone spurs, etc. That was April 23rd. Today I'm doing everything I figured I could do after 22-years in the military and 63-years old. I too have to be careful about my back. I made some mods to my bed supports so I didn't have to use my back to assist.
    I'm headed out to Twin Lakes, SC and Fort Pickens, FL with my Lab on Monday - like I never had the surgery.
    Its amazing what can be done today! Glad you're doing better.
    Here is my selfie [LOL]:
     

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  15. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    Nice to someone that has made excellent progress! Love the pic. I need to see if I have a pic like that. I do have that second surgery looming. But the doc said I had to wait for symptoms to appear which could happen in weeks, months or years.

    I am purchasing some "helping hands" devices to help hold up the bunk ends so I don't stress my neck or back while putting in the poles. Here is a link https://www.fastcap.com/estore/pc/3rd-Hand-c46.htm

    So yea, I have to be careful no matter what, but I want to camp so I will figure it out :)
     
  16. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

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    xkpin, Just wondering if you are on a workout program. I am restricted to pushups, planks, leg press and cardio that does not involve running or jogging. I also have a 75 pound lifting limit. So I have been doing my pushups and planks and have discovered I like the stationary bike so I get some cardio in. So, what do you do to get stronger?
     
  17. XKPin

    XKPin There's no situation so bad it can't be made worse

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    I underwent physical therapy at Fort Eustis. Six weeks. I was using the elastic bands and finally progressed to a black band. They gave me the bands to take home. I had to give up my bowflex as it made my shoulder muscles too tight and impossible to sleep. My favorite is still my Elliptical bike but that too must be used in moderation because of my hip arthritis. Set the Mac on the handle bars and watch music videos! LOVE IT!
    To get stronger??? I started with a zero lift, then a 40, then a 60-lb lift restriction. I'm now restricted by common sense - but common sense is my poorest suite! I use dumb bells sparingly. I walk at least 1.1-miles with my Lab every day. Some good days 2.5 miles in more varied terrain. I do everything I can to keep my body active. To the delight of my wife I now do the vacuuming. I ensure I do my vehicle maintenance - slower and more carefully than ever before. I camp a lot. It forces me to walk, collect wood, continue bending, flexing, etc. I kayak every chance I get. I don't go as far or as fast but even the pauses for fishing keep the body in motion. Sure I long for my early years - but my life is pretty good with the right activity and attitude. I live my signature block motto.
    Maybe I'll see you on a lake someday?
     
  18. XKPin

    XKPin There's no situation so bad it can't be made worse

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    Incidentally I love the Helping Hands site. I'm looking into it right now. Thanks!
     
  19. jacrabbitt

    jacrabbitt Active Member

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    Was diagnosed with Stenosis in 08 C 5,6,7, were the worst. I looked into surgery option with neurosurgeon. He recommended chiropractor as an option. So i gave that a shot. I must admit I was ambivalent, But after about 12 sessions he got me straightened out. For 6 weeks prior I was a hurtin puppy. Couldn't rotate my head to the right more than a smidge, incredible pain shooting down the right arm to the fingers. I had to put a folded pillow in my armpit. Floor was only option for sleep. I feel your pain Bro. Since then had no trouble. Good luck
     
  20. TonyDM60

    TonyDM60 New Member

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    I have had 2 neck surgery, complety disabled. So after 56 I do stuff with my grandchildren and camping. But after my surgery they found out I have CIDP a autoimmune deise
     

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