AK's Spine Surgery and Recovery

Hello this is Akin "AK" Adams, and thank you for taking a moment to read this. I'm an artist, musician, producer, entrepreneur and yoga teacher currently disabled by severe osteoarthritis in my neck, and I'm raising money here to help defray the various costs involved with my upcoming spinal disc replacement surgery and recovery.

I'm also seeing this as a space where I can discuss the rather gory details of my health situation, as I haven't worked out entirely how to incorporate this into my artistic practices, mostly because this has nearly completely eclipsed them.

I've been rather desperately trying to avoid surgery, but after 2 years of acute chronic pain, nerve damage and growing physical impairments,  trying "everything else" and feeling things get worse, I'm accepting the surgical option as a path to a more functional future.

By "everything else", I've spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, yoga, epidural steroid injections, oral steroids, natural supplements, multiple medications, prolotherapy injections, inversion therapy and positive thinking.

While there has been some modest improvement in general pain level from some of these treatments, the deterioration of the discs in my cervical spine, the calcification and growth of bone spurs and the impact on my spinal cord and various nerve roots has continued, as shown in MRIs from 2018 to 2019.  Seeing this progression and feeling the growing effects on my nervous system has driven me to welcome the potential relief this surgery can provide.

I currently spend 4-6 hours day on physical therapy & pain management strategies, with near-constant grinding from the bone-on-bone contacts, and frequent spasms, cramps and related pain symptoms. The severity of the condition varies from week to week, with some weeks being intolerable and others being mostly OK. I do what I can when I can while I can, but this inconsistent functionality has greatly affected my concentration, my productivity, my work, my life, my balance and my business and income.  The last freelance tech project I worked on for the Atlantic last spring took me 2 weeks to recover from physically, and I have not been pursuing work opportunities until I can get this issue resolved and have a more reliable presence to offer.

I've seen nearly a dozen doctors, including 3 neurosurgeons in the last 2 months; the first 2 recommended a 4-level ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion), in part because things have progressed so badly. When the 2nd surgeon told me that 1) he couldn't recommend disc replacement because of my excessively straight "military neck" and 2) that the fusion he was recommending might not even last 5 years without needing correction, I felt punched. I asked if there was anything I could do about the curvature to improve the prognosis, and when he said flatly no, I knew I had to keep researching.  

I contacted a chiropractor who had warned me about "military neck" almost 12 years ago when I first came back to the US, and called Dr. David Kaminsky of Maryland Chiropractic and Rehabilitative. He agreed to see see me the very next day, and while he recognized the severity of my situation, he felt that we could try a course of intensive traction to try and improve my cervical curve.

He did some x-ray tests which showed that my vertebrae and ligaments were capable of the curvature, so at the end of 2019, I started a 3x week program with him of intensive physical therapy, gentle bio-physical chiropractic work and cervical traction. While this work has definitely improved my cervical lordosis potential, it hasn't addressed the osteophytes, disc deterioration (multiple herniated cervical discs), stenosis (central nervous system impingement happening on 2 levels) or radiculopathy (radiating pain & symptoms from impinged brachial nerves

In my research, I found Dr. Faheem Sandhu, a local expert in disc replacement and motion-preserving neurosurgery, and was able to see him in January. Based on the x-rays and progress I was making with Dr. Kaminsky, he felt that he could improve my situation greatly with a 2-level disc replacement, rather than a 4-level fusion. I have decided to proceed with this option, as thing I2 of whom recommended a near-total fusion of 4 vertebrae, gotten several opinions from nearly a dozen doctors, and have identified a surgeon, a support team and a strategy to move forward.

This fundraiser is to help with the costs not covered by my current insurance, primarily the pre-habilitation and rehabilitation services provided by Dr. Kaminsky, (set. $4000, based on the discounted package he's offered), the various copays, deductible and procedural costs for the procedure (approx $1000), ongoing COBRA payments during the rehab period in case of complications (approx. $2300) and rehabilitative expenses, including supplies & supplements to assist in a full and hopefully speedy recovery.

Thanks for taking the time and interest to check this out, and thanks greatly for any help you choose to provide. I'm looking forward to getting through this and getting on with life more actively.

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • Jo Chim  
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
  • Lora Marie Williams 
    • $20 
    • 7 mos
See all

Organizer

Akin Adams 
Organizer
Washington, DC
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