Thanks for reminding me TOS mother. I brought my parents and my boyfriend to my consult with Dr. Pearl's office Friday and they were joking with me that there wasn't enough room in the consult room for my entourage. My parents will be with me after the surgery, and so they needed to be there, and my boyfriend has been to EVERY neurologist appointment, test, etc, and he's a lot more calm than I am about this stuff and would ask the questions I forgot to ask. Dr. Pearl was unfazed by all these people being in there with me.
I brought CDs of my X-rays, arterial doppler test, and my MRIs (cervical spine and brain. Dr. Pearl looked at them right before he came in and met with me.
When he came in the room, he made me lift my arms while he listened to my heart. And then I told him when my hands would start to go numb after raising my hands (almost immediately.) He then asked me where I had pain.
He sat down and then proceeded with my assessment.
He said he saw my cervical ribs on the discs I brought and that I have a classic case of TOS. I had a page of questions written down, but he answered most of them before I could ask them. He said he'll definitely take out the cervical rib and the scalene on the left side, but during the procedure he'll decide if he needs to take out the first rib as well. I said that I only wanted to go under the knife once, and he assured me that he did too and he had cleaned up enough other doctor's messes that he would take it out if it needed to be out.
He said he can only do a rib resection on one side at a time, and that if I continue to have symptoms on my right side he can do that one later. (I'm sure after I'm done, I'll only want one.)
I asked him the best way to prevent scar tissue and he said to keep it mobile and moving in those first two weeks while I'm on the pain meds. Then, PT will start after that. I asked him if he had a recommendation of where to go for PT in Houston and he said it's a pretty standard program so I could go anywhere I wanted to. He confirmed that I might have some scapula pain after the surgery (thanks for the heads up on that Romans)
in another part of the conversation he mentioned that other surgeons would just take out the scalene and not the first rib causing more scar tissue to build up, and he's had to fix that. (Sounds like romans8)
I also started physical therapy at the beginning of October for two reasons:
1. I wanted to see if it would help
2. I didn't want to get to Dr. Pearl in December (when I was originally supposed to have the consultation) and him tell me to go back and try physical therapy.
So, it helped with pain, but I still wasn't able to do much. I asked Dr. Pearl if I should continue with PT until the surgery and he said he wouldn't. He probably wants to see where my 1st rib ends up and see if he needs to take it out.
The best part was while I was paying, he called me back into another examination room and introduced me to a patient who had just had the surgery two weeks ago. She showed me her scar (two inches max), and that she was able to raise her hand halfway above her head, and she had just walked 1.6 miles that day. She looked amazing! She had had a 1st rib resection, and I was so impressed. She was asking him if she could go back to work for half days!! I couldn't believe it. If I look and feel like that after two weeks, I'll be thrilled.
I also really like his personality. He asked how I found him and was surprised that I found out about him on here and through Chris Carpenter's surgery. I told him we have a little Dr. Pearl's patient support group here
He's really reassuring and all the things that hope said about his confidence/humility are on the money. He gave me his cell # already and said to call him or text him with any questions! I was so happy to have met Dr. Pearl and he's given me so much hope. I asked him if I could give him a hug after the consult, and my boyfriend started tearing up with joy that there's light at the end of this crazy, winding, painful tunnel. I can't wait until December 5th, and TOSmother, I hope you have a similar experience. I'm running to class, but let me know if you have any other questions.