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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi everyone,

I have a question about everyone's recovery from an ACDF C5/C6.

I had my surgery in September, 2012. My insurance company denied physical therapy, so I asked my surgeon what exercises I should be doing. He gave me a basic list of exercises, and I started working out with a strength and conditioning coach.

At 3 months post-op, I asked if I could go back to work. Surgeon told me a desk job only. I work a physical job (vet tech), so I had to wait another few months.

At 6 months post-op, he states that my fusion is healed, and he let me go back to swimming and yoga. He also let me go back to work, with a warning to "watch my lifting".

I've had 2 issues with this practice from the beginning. Every time my surgeon sees me, he tells me that I need bariatric surgery and a breast reduction ASAP. Then, he complains that because I take medication for biploar disorder (type II), I am never going to lose weight because of the metabolic changes that it causes. So, what do I do? Have the bariatric surgery and breast reduction? Wait? His answer was to shrug his shoulders at me. I inquired that maybe I should have had bariatric and breast surgery BEFORE spine surgery and he kind of shrugged at me again. I was a big girl with big boobs when I went in for the consult, not much has changed. I did lose 20 pounds prior to surgery, and I lost another 15 during recovery. It IS a slow and frustrating process because of the psych meds that I take, but I am coming along. I'm a former athlete and I know that I will get back in's just going to take time.

During the course of my recovery, I was diagnosed with celiac disease after 3 months of symptoms. I had various GI issues, migraines, hair loss and fatigue. I was going back and forth between my PCP and a GI getting tests. I was also in the hospital a few times. As a result, I had to reschedule some appointments with my surgeon. I was having some issues with the surgeon's secretary not calling me back when I had to reschedule, so I had to make it point to "chase her down" on a daily basis. This past week I finally got in touch with her after 2 weeks to make an appointment, and she actually yelled at me over the phone, stating that even though she knows I have been having some medical issues, my surgical recovery is more important. She told me that I was non-compliant because I didn't go to PT (what?) and that I "refuse" to lose weight and get a breast reduction (WHAT?). She implied that I didn't care about my safety and recovery because I am putting my GI issues first. I couldn't get a word in edgewise, and eventually, I just gave up.

I've never had anyone in the medical field yell at me before. I'm always a very nice, compliant patient who does what she is told. I understand that the office is concerned about covering their butts - but really, shouldn't I have lost weight and had breast surgery BEFORE spinal surgery? It was like - I had spine surgery, and suddenly there was this pressing need to have another 2 surgeries. As far as PT goes, they have documentation that my insurance wasn't paying, so I don't know where THAT came from.

I made an appointment to see another spine surgeon next week. They asked me to bring all of my MRIs and x-rays. I really feel bad about leaving the practice, but I think that yelling at me was a little out of control. The 3 months that I was going through testing and whatever for celiac were awful. I was fatigued down into my bones and had migraines with vomiting a few times per week. Of course, I wasn't the ideal patient or employee during this time. But, I never rescheduled an appointment without a reason - I always told the secretary what was going on - if I was in the hospital, going for testing or had a migraine and couldn't drive.

What would you do about this situation? Would you stay with the practice or find a new doctor? I know that people "fire" their doctors on a regular basis, but I have been with my docs for years - 10 years for pain management, 20 for PCP, etc. I've never had an experience like this that made me want to move on.

Any advice would be appreciated.


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