Tuesday, August 22, 2006

HealthNewsDisgest.com on ProDisc

Here's a very informative, well written article about the ProDisc and the ADR surgery.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hurry up and wait

As usual, I jumped the gun. Of course I was so happy to see the news release about ProDisc's approval by the FDA that I just skimmed the part where they said it was approved for "single level" use.

I need two.

When the Charite disc was approved a few years ago, it was also only approved for single level use, but doctors began using it for multiple levels almost right away through something called "discretion." I'm *so* hoping that this can get worked out so I can get my life back.

I'm waiting (since last Thursday) to hear back from Dr. Balderston's office. I'm sure that they are getting deluged with calls about people wanting to find out where they are on the waiting list, but guess what? That's not my problem. Do you think they might have anticipated something like that and maybe prepared for it by hiring a temp or something to respond to everyone? But no! The horrid NP that acts as gatekeeper for Dr. B. seems to think that the best way to manage patients who are in pain and terrified is to ignore them. I can tell you that I am livid with anger at not having my call returned in three days' time! Sure I know they're busy, but come on! If you can't deal with patients, get out of health care. I'm calling again tomorrow to schedule a phone appointment, or, because in October it will be six months since I've been seen, a real appointment, with X-rays and everything.

I'm more scared now than I was a few months ago, I think because I may be closer to getting denied by the insurance company. In some ways, it was almost better to just be in a limbo, forced into believing that I'd have the surgery soon, than to be confronted with the possibility of having it taken away.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Broken but probably fixable

As I reported last night the FDA has finally approved the ProDisc artificial disc replacement for use in the US to treat Degenerative Disc Disease.

"What does this mean?" you may ask. It means that I am one step closer to being fixed, and that means being able to walk without pain in my back, hips and legs and being able to stand up straight and support my upper body weight without the use of a cane and even walk without panting for air and becoming exhausted. This all sounds like the golden strains of some heavenly music to my ears.

Not to be a wet blanket or anything, but let's not start turning cartwheels just yet (those of you who can, that is). This is the all important first step in the process that will culminate in me having surgery and fully recovering. Here comes the but ... it is the first step. I'm not the first person on a very, very long waiting list to have this operation, and we're not sure our insurance will pay for it.

That second step is a doozy, as they say, and could be the deal breaker here. When I talked to Dr. Balderston last winter, he told me that Aetna "has paid for it" in the past (during clinical trials), so let's keep our fingers and toes and eyes and legs and anything else you have that's crossable twisted up like a pretzel, so I can be fixed. For sure.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

FDA Approves ProDisc!

Read the news item here>

Monday, August 14, 2006

Synthes - Prodisc news

Well not so much news for me, but the company's earnings and the stock both continue to go up ahead of the FDA approval, which can't come soon enough for me.

How I feel vs. How I look

Here's how I feel:

Here's how I look:

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blink of an Eye

I attended this event last night, one of about three social events I've been to in the last 7 and a half months. It was fun, if draining; I stood for far longer than I should have, even after I felt the pain and exhaustion begin, like a little child who is too sleepy to keep her eyes open yet still insists on waiting up for Santa. I did this because I was excited to be out and see some people for a change and have some fun, and at things like these n one really sits down, you walk around, you mingle, you make the rounds. Since I'm not too good at walking the other two didn't come very easily for me. Thank goodness for a few really nice people, good friends, who brought me food and drinks and walked slowly around with me or sat with me when I could no longer hold myself up.

Sometimes I feel so conspicuous with the cane, like everyone on the street is staring at me. (That wouldn't be because it's festooned with stickers and, sometimes, a bacon air freshner? No!) Last night, aside from my friends, I have to say I felt sort of invisible. Part of that, well, probably all of that, is my own doing. I'm very self conscious about the cane and the way that I appear, all hunched over and leaning to one side, probably more self consious (and rightly so!) in a room full of photographers. I was reluctant to approach some people to introduce myself; I can't help projecting my evil thoughts about myself into their minds, "Yuck, who's the gimp?" or "What's wrong with her?" To make matters just a bit worse, a few people, who I thought I knew and thought I liked, seemed to pointedly ignore me.

Again, this might just be my own distorted self image working overtime, but in case it's not, it isn't the first time I've experienced something along these lines (ref. here); some people just seem to not want to be around someone who is not well. They don't know what to say, they feel uncomfortable being reminded of their own mortality, or they're just so self-absorbed that they simply can't be bothered. Whatever the reason, whoever's fault, I still felt that some people at Blink of an Eye had theirs closed.