Patient Story of Annie Skerchek

We are getting ready to retire to Florida and so I started looking for pain management. I’ve been living with chronic pain for 26 yrs now. I live with Arachnoiditis, arthritis, neuropathy, severe lumbar back pain. stenosis, radiculpathy.
Since having a lumbar laminectomy in 1989 my life has never been the same. And now my spine has been reduced to bone on bone, which is crushing the nerves.

In order for me to have quality of life I need pain medication. For me that means Fentanyl patches, Fentanyl lozenge, Norco, and ativan.

I sent out about ten e-mails to different PM doctors in the Sarasota Florida area. And what happened was I only received two messages back. They both said good luck, that at this time they were full and couldn’t help me. But then I received a phone call from The Orthopedic laser surgery center in Altamonte springs Fl.. The surgeon I spoke too said he thought the head surgeon there could help me. He then ask me to go for updated MRI. I went for the MRI thinking I wasn’t going to hear from them again. But this time the head surgeon himself called me. Doctor Scott Katzman said he could fix my back with minimally invasive fusion surgery.

That when he fixes my back I won’t have to worry about the strong meds. He told me he won’t have to touch the Arachnoiditis or the arthritis. And that I should get about eighty percent relief. As you can imagine I was floored but also skeptical. I had been told that I wasn’t a candidate for surgery. Before saying yes my husband and I met with this surgeon who comes to NJ once a month. He said with the new procedures and techniques surgeries have come a long way. He’s confident I will get my life back. I’m having the surgery on March 12th.

Doctor Katzman also told me that pain meds are not easy to get in Florida. That he can write me scripts for pain medication but it’s the pharmacies where I will have trouble filling those scripts. He also said that he would work with me to get different pain meds to help with the Arachnoiditis as well as the arthritis once I am permanently in Florida.

So for now I hope and wait. I have a mom who is at the end of her life with lung Cancer. And she wants me to have this surgery. I’m hoping that she’s here long enough to see me get it. And I hope and pray that nothing goes wrong. If I can get off of some pain meds to move to Florida then that’s what I’ll do. It’s been a life long dream of ours to retire there. But we never thought I would have to worry about the pain meds.

Thank you, Annie Skerchek

One thought on “Patient Story of Annie Skerchek

  1. Peggy Oestreich

    I am eager to hear if you indeed got the surgery, and if it helped reduce your pain. Either way, I hope you are doing better! I suffer from peripheral neuropathy, lumber pain due to degenerative disc disease, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, and radiculopathy. At present I’m on pain medicines and I do stretching as best I can. I am not a not a candidate for surgery. I have severe osteoporosis, and I won’t put myself in a position to possibly induce more problems. I’m 61-years- old, and like you, my life is not my own anymore. However, I’ve recently decided to go on a gluten free diet, as well as, add a lot more pretein to my meals. I haven’t been eating well for awhile because grocery shopping and cooking make my pain worse. I’m going to do my best to give my diet more attention. I am single, and my children live out of town. You are very fortunate to have a supportive husband. My husband divorced me because he couldn’t handle the way my life had changed, the pain and fatigue, etc. That was 16 years ago. Life can be cruel sometimes but I’ve not given up. God is good, and I will continue seeking ways to make my life better! Good luck to you!


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