Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)
Friends--For those of you who've been on this board a while, you know that this thread's title is copied from SHG's on "good fusion outcomes wanted," recently reincarnated by Brooke.
This thread is intended to be in much the same spirit--a chance to share experiences between those who've had laminectomies (recent or distant, and including laminectomy/discectomy combos) and/or anticipate having a lami, either definite or possible. I know there are are number of us in that group--Greg B. just had one; Stillwater, I think, is contemplating one; Shosharnah and I are also in the "contemplating" group; and no doubt there are many others.
The goal would be to help each other with the decision-making process; the experience of surgery itself; and aftercare issues and expectations. Of course, many other threads also deal with these questions. Without being too repetititive, we may want to bring in some of the "greatest hits" from earlier threads that relate to this one. Clearly, the decision-making process and criteria have been discussed many times.
Personally, I would say the odds are about 60-40 I will have the surgery, most likely by this spring if not sooner, unless I see some clear progress. Although not in chronic pain if I "stay in the box," that box is very narrow, both re: sitting and a whole range of things that are the "wrong move." Although I am very lucky to have a job (college prof) in which I have been able to accomodate my situation, I would say that, across work/social/recreational spheres, I've had to give up about half of what had once been "normal" life. That may be the way it remains; I may look back and consider this the _good_ times. Who knows!?
The neurosurgeon I've seen is not veryencouraging, partly because of the function I do have (I continue to do a lot of walking and don't have much trouble with that and, as above, pain itself not that bad if I'm very limiting in other ways). Given what are always uncertainties, and his generally conservative approach (which I like), he says a lami would have about a 50-50 chance of being helpful (with help defined broadly). In the downside 50, about 10-15% chance of things actually getting worse. As I look back, I'd say I made a good deal of progress from July '02 (when things really crashed) to November of that year. Since then--about the past year--it's been more of a wash; some things have gotten a bit better, other things worse, in general a lot of up and down. I had significant nerve damage when this began--documented by emg and by measureable atrophy, especially of the left lateral quad. My upper left leg strength has never returned to what it was before the "crash"--I'd say, if I lost 50%, I'm back to somewhere around 80%, or what had been normal for me. I worry about the continuing irritation of the nerve, and I worry that surgery could make that even worse--a common bind for many of us, I know.
So let me stop there. Others' thoughts, experiences, reflections, are very welcome!