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  1. #1
    DrLev's Avatar
    DrLev is offline Plus Member Since 7/07 Major Leagues Reputation
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    Surgical recovery update

    As I noted in the thread announcing that my wife is pregnant, my surgery ended up being a little more extensive than expected. Simply put, the process going on that had led to the compressing of the nerves and artery going to my left arm had clearly been going on for a long time. In the end, the surgeons had to remove a portion of my cervical rib (the extra rib), my first true rib, and a "knuckle" of inflammatory/fibrous/bony tissue that had grown right into the space where the vessels and nerves pass.

    The surgeon also noted that while I was lucky that I had not yet had any aneurysm formation, I had clearly been throwing emboli to my left hand, which would explain the coldness and migratory tender spots I had been experiencing. He also noted that my palmar arch arteries had been damaged substantially by these embolic clots, and that it would likely be some time before the coldness goes away completely, if ever.

    Recovery has been coming along at an appropriate pace. My pulsing lump behind my left clavicle is now long gone (and good riddance). The neuropathic pain I had been experiencing resolved immediately after the surgery and has not returned (and even just for this, I am happy I had this surgery). In addition, my left hand is no longer fatiguing or cramping after basic daily activities like buttoning shirts or cooking. My range of motion is a little limited and I cannot comfortably abduct my arm past 90 degrees or completely extend my arm without an uncomfortable stretching sensation. Hopefully, physical therapy will help with this. As I noted, my hand is still cold, and still blanches in the cold. We don't know if or when this will get better. In the meantime, there is medication I can take for this when autumn comes. The skin overlying my elbow is numb, though I can still sense deep pressure. The skin on the back of my arm is hypersensitive and very tender with even the slightest touch. The location of the incision right in the fold of my armpit is also irritating, but I know it will be much more tolerable once the swelling completely resolves.

    Basically, things are going well and I can say with confidence that two weeks out, things are better than they were before the surgery.


  2. #2
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    Glad to hear it Lev, and congratulations to you and your wife.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrLev View Post
    As I noted in the thread announcing that my wife is pregnant, my surgery ended up being a little more extensive than expected. Simply put, the process going on that had led to the compressing of the nerves and artery going to my left arm had clearly been going on for a long time. In the end, the surgeons had to remove a portion of my cervical rib (the extra rib), my first true rib, and a "knuckle" of inflammatory/fibrous/bony tissue that had grown right into the space where the vessels and nerves pass.

    The surgeon also noted that while I was lucky that I had not yet had any aneurysm formation, I had clearly been throwing emboli to my left hand, which would explain the coldness and migratory tender spots I had been experiencing. He also noted that my palmar arch arteries had been damaged substantially by these embolic clots, and that it would likely be some time before the coldness goes away completely, if ever.

    Recovery has been coming along at an appropriate pace. My pulsing lump behind my left clavicle is now long gone (and good riddance). The neuropathic pain I had been experiencing resolved immediately after the surgery and has not returned (and even just for this, I am happy I had this surgery). In addition, my left hand is no longer fatiguing or cramping after basic daily activities like buttoning shirts or cooking. My range of motion is a little limited and I cannot comfortably abduct my arm past 90 degrees or completely extend my arm without an uncomfortable stretching sensation. Hopefully, physical therapy will help with this. As I noted, my hand is still cold, and still blanches in the cold. We don't know if or when this will get better. In the meantime, there is medication I can take for this when autumn comes. The skin overlying my elbow is numb, though I can still sense deep pressure. The skin on the back of my arm is hypersensitive and very tender with even the slightest touch. The location of the incision right in the fold of my armpit is also irritating, but I know it will be much more tolerable once the swelling completely resolves.

    Basically, things are going well and I can say with confidence that two weeks out, things are better than they were before the surgery.
    Wow. I had no idea that your situation was so complicated. Best wishes from us both and a speedy recovery to you.

  4. #4
    sangar's Avatar
    sangar is offline Plus Member Since 7/08 All-Star Reputation
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    I was hoping to hear your new dagger was really cool. Sorry to hear the rest of this. The best of luck to ya Doc, and congrats to you and the wife.

  5. #5
    O's are Legends's Avatar
    O's are Legends is offline Plus Member Since 5/10 Major League Starter Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation
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    Hey Doc, had no idea you were getting surgery. Best wishes on your operation & recovery and congrats to you and your wife.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like things are going well. Time heals all wounds. Cliche'd but true.

  7. #7
    Dipper9's Avatar
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    Damn Doc. This is why I am holding out. My doctor said if you can stand the numbness, then don't do the surgery. I'll be following your recovery closely to see if you think its all worth it once the wounds are healed. Keep us posted.

  8. #8
    Gurgi's Avatar
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    Good luck!

  9. #9
    RevOlution's Avatar
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    Holy smokes, that sounds like quite an ordeal. And with your recovery, what you're saying, sounds like the surgery was a success. Awesome news. You must be quite relieved about that. Now for the difficult part of PT. Yuck, nobody likes it. And docs make the worse patients, so I'm told.

  10. #10
    cindyluvsbrady's Avatar
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    I hope you feel better soon! I like PT where I go!!!!!

  11. #11
    Can_of_corn's Avatar
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    So did you manage to get the rib as a souvenir or not?


    Glad the surgery went as well as it did with all the complications.

  12. #12
    DrLev's Avatar
    DrLev is offline Plus Member Since 7/07 Major Leagues Reputation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipper9 View Post
    Damn Doc. This is why I am holding out. My doctor said if you can stand the numbness, then don't do the surgery. I'll be following your recovery closely to see if you think its all worth it once the wounds are healed. Keep us posted.
    For me, the numbness wasn't the issue. The neuropathic pain (burning, aching, waxing/waning) throughout my whole arm was the problem. That was gone the moment the surgery was over, so even for that, I think it was worth it. I'll let you know how things progress.

    Quote Originally Posted by Can_of_corn View Post
    So did you manage to get the rib as a souvenir or not?
    I did not. The hospital has a policy against letting patients take pathology specimens home. As a bonus though, they checked the marrow for cancer and I am pleased to say my bone marrow looked fine.

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