Re: Thinking about you, Suzy-Q
How nice of you to ask after me. I'll have to admit this hasn't been the easiest few days. Well, here is the long of things. My doc doesn't agree with the scan reports on some aspects and thinks I may, just may have some small amount of fusion bone left in there. He dismissed the pars defects as a normal consequence of my previous surgery and says they shouldn't be creating pain so long as there is no movement. He tells me that if the pedicle screw at L4 is out of place it doesn't matter because it can't be on a nerve since I would have constant, severe pain from my bum to my foot- which I do not. He agrees that the degeneration of L3 has advanced markedly and rather alarmingly and says that level will require surgery at some point totally irregardless of the other fusion site. He asked me to undergo 2 epidural injections thinking that there may be considerable inflammation and if we could get that under control the fusion bone just might have a chance to grow. A light in the dark?
But he thinks giving it 2 months is as much as time will do for me and if the shots don't help he has nothing more to offer before going back in to see exactly what the problem is. In that case, he described 3 possible surgeries dependent upon whether I am fused at L4-5. Here is what he would NOT do: he will NOT use BMP (doesn't use it ever and marshaled some pretty stiff arguments against it), he will NOT fuse L3 to a fused L4-5, he would instead fuse L2-3 if needed and so avoid putting too much stress on L2 (this would mean 2 seperate single level fusions), and he will NOT take an anterior approach (he admits it is a great place to fuse from but feels all the risks outweigh the benefits). And here is what he will or might do: he would use hip harvest if needed but would also be using the lami bone from L3 (since he will decompress L3 no matter what else he does). He remains perplexed about my L3-4 disc and my L-5-S1 disc and hopes the epidurals will help inform him about those. But at this time he would not be planning to remove any discs. He will refuse L-4-5 if needed and will either remove the hardware or replace it with new. He will implant a bone growth stimulator. And he says he still thinks that I may be extra sensitive to weather and may begin to feel much better as spring progresses. He handed me over to schedule the epi's and BY GOSH - they called me at work this morning to up my date from April 13th (1st available) to April 4th and then called 20 minutes later to have me come in by noon.
So, I again left work in a dramatic fashion and was on the OR table by 1:15. Despite all, I felt it! It was bearable but I have been gradually experiencing a mounting pervasive ache and a funny soreness. Nothing out of the range of normal, I think, but certainly no miracle cure is evident.
And that's my story. Not the definite diagnosis I was hoping for. I would have thought the plan for the epi's would fill me with hope but there is something unsettling about all of this. I probably just need a few nights of good sleep. I am awaiting a call from the 2nd opinion - won't get that till next week. I know you know, Lorie, the toll this waiting game can take. I'll be fine tomorrow but my spirits are a little low tonight. But I have been thinking of you and wondering what your new surgery date is? Hope you are holding up. Thanks again for asking for me - Suzy-Q