I was so hopeless, and the pain and immobility had gotten so bad that I was at a point where I didn't want to live anymore.
Report to Date: My car was run over by a transfer truck who changed lanes over the top of my Volvo, crushing the front driver's side of my car. All airbags instantly deployed, filling the car with a white cloud when the driver's side wheel was ripped off and I locked my arms trying to steer myself to safety. Tremendous force came into my body through my arms as they were locked trying to steer the car without a wheel and the force continued colliding in my thoracic spine.
Many hyper-extended and tom connective tissues and damaged/ bruised nerves healed over two years of physical therapy, massage, epidurals, acupuncture, prolotherapy and other treatments but my thoracic spine continued to fail and hurt with a nerve pain that cannot be described in words. After trying EVERYTHING, the spine continually failed to heal. I could not support my upper body. The pressure of my head, arms and chest weight bearing down on my thoracic spine, particularly at the bra line was simply unbearable. I had gone to neurosurgeons and orthopedists who had run MRIs, did not immediately identify a break then sent me away saying they couldn't help me, and it may heal in time. I continued therapies and nothing worked to relieve the spine pain. My thoracic spine was so weak that I could not sit up without reclining with support or just lying down flat. The searing pain was unbearable and would refer around my rib cage and into my sternum, the nerves would tense around my heart and lungs. A deep breath was so painful because it would inflate my lungs, tightening the pull on the spine, increasing pain. My body learned to take shallow quick breaths in response. Doctors kept telling me it would heal in time, that these complex injuries can take a couple of years, but the pain continued, and my upper body would just fall over, I had to lean against a pillow on a table to hold myself up to eat.
I had previously had a very full and active life filled with a dynamic and active career and physically challenging and fun hobbies like hiking, skiing, Pilates, horseback riding, etc. My strong, able body was turned into an arthritic 80-year-old overnight. Even after months and months of treatments and therapies, I ached terribly all the time. The referred pain from the thoracic spine around my ribs sent spasms around my heart and lungs triggered panic attacks and unbearable pain and impeding my breathing and ability to rest. When I found Dr. McCord and told him I had to have help because I was getting worse, not better, and that I knew there was something wrong that the neuros had not investigated deeply enough to find. I was referred to a "Spine pain clinic" for help and the doctor said, "You were injured over a year ago, you need to accept that you have permanent injuries and a chronic pain problem, and you will need pain management, possibly for the rest of your life. You need to just accept it." I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and told the doctor that we just can't accept that as my truth yet." We left there feeling like we had just been punched in the stomach by someone who was supposed to help us.
I continued seeking out therapies and treatments, trying to heal my body. I finally got in with Dr. Sheng who is renowned for her abilities in acupuncture and is famous in Nashville. She worked with me in several sessions, observed my body's response, then she said to me that she believed that I was going to need surgery in my spine in order to heal what she was seeing. She encouraged me to go back and try to find a doctor who might listen now that the injury had not healed after all the therapies and the time had passed.
When I found Dr. McCord, I was so hopeless, and the pain and immobility had gotten so bad that I was at a point where I didn't want to live anymore. My life had just been stolen from me and I was so desperate to get well. I researched on the computer for the best spine surgeon in Nashville who could fix complex cases that no one could fix. Dr McCord listened to me then started to study what was happening. The weight of my upper body was crushing down on something that was creating the most horrible, radiating pain that I simply could not stand any more. It was breathtaking, stabbing, debilitating suffering and no one could seem to hear me or cared enough to investigate deeply. I truly thank God daily for Dr. McCord and believe that he alone had the ability to find and fix what was wrong with my spine that was destroying my life.
He studied my spinal damage with further testing, listened to me describe the injuries, all I had done to help my body heal, the pain I was feeling in my body, how I could not hold my upper body upright, slumping over like a plant with no turgor. Dr. McCord ran tests and developed a plan.
Today, I am at 5 1/2 months post op from spinal fusion from T-4 to T-12 (I believe). The first 45 days post-op were pure hell, terrifying. The muscle knots and spasms and surgical pain have been rough, but I could tell that for the first time, there was pressure coming OFF of the point in my spine that was being crushed and radiating that horrible smothering pain around my ribs and into my sternum, that mind-numbing pain started to lessen. The fusion finally gave me the strength to hold my body upright without corset braces so that I could carry the weight of my head, neck, chest and arms without the horrible pain and slumping over.
I am able to walk around more and more without crippling pain. I can feel every week now that my body is making progress and the damaged places in my spine are finally healing. We have evidence-based hope that in 6 more months that my body will be completely healed from the surgery. I am continuing physical therapy and post op protocol in the fight to get the strength and peace in my body back. I am grateful beyond words. My heart hurts so much for those who are not as determined and persistent as I am who will give up before finding McCord. I do not know where I would be today if he had not helped me. When I went to him, I didn't have another one in me, where the doctor dismisses me and sends me back to PT. I am so thankful and excited to see where I am once the year of surgery recovery is over.