August 19th, 2014
My problems started with two rear end car accidents, one over 20 years ago and a second one 11 years ago. The most recent accident ended up with spinal fusion surgery on my C 4,5,6 and 7 vertebrae ten years ago. Two and a half years ago, while golfing, my lower lumbar spine let go and since then I have been trying to get it working again. I personally paid for spinal decompression. While this did give some relief, approximately one year ago things really started to deteriorate. I rapidly lost the ability to climb stairs and to walk any distance. The pain became quite excruciating. An employee that worked with my wife had gone to Thailand and had spinal fusion on his lumbar and was doing very well. I had been to my own doctor and he informed me that it would be nine months to a year to see a surgeon.
After three months and being told I was still in the same time frame to be looked at. My wife and I made the determination that we would look elsewhere, either the US or even Thailand to get help. A friend suggested i contact the Cambie Surgery. I emailed them my information and within a few days they set up an appointment with Dr. Janicki with Surgeon referral clinic. We At the appointment, the doctor looked at how I was walking and suggested that while he did not doubt there was a problem with my lumbar spine, he felt there was something else causing me an issue. He told me I would need an MRI of my Cspine and Tspine. He tried to set it up but it would take approximately one year. I checked with my doctors office and they had the same time frame. We decided it was too important and paid to have the MRI done. And very, very happy that I did. The MRI showed that the previous fusion had worn out the C7 T1 disc.
We were informed that the work needed to be done and I shudder to think what would have happened if I had been rear ended again. The surgery was performed. We were informed that there is some spinal cord damage but if the wait had been a year to two years to get this repaired, there is a real chance that I would have difficulty doing anything and there may have been severe spinal cord issues. We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. My wife and I work, have the requisite mortgage and hope to retire in the next 5 to 8 years ( 65-68 years old) What we did decide was the quality of life was too important to not spend the money necessary to get this repaired. I am so thankful that there was an option open to me. I still do not understand how the public system works in limiting the hours the doctors can work, and I am quite aware of how the taxation system works. In the end, the surgery was done in the public system, but if the wait had to occur, I sincerely believe that my cost to the system would have been significantly higher. My father was in the system as a quadriplegic as a result of being knocked off the freeway . I know what it costs.