why is it that there are so many of us up at this ungodly hour?
So, I went for ANOTHER MRI today, with/without contrast, which, I might add, was a blast all in itself. I feel that it is safe to assume that laying on a hard flat surface on your back for approximately an hour is not such a good idea when you have back pain! Who would have guessed? Not only was I almost in tears, but I could hardly walk once they allowed me up. That was a scene! Of course the radiologist was not able to say anything about her findings, although I tried to shake her down....
As luck would have it, as I was leaving the hospital, films in hand I ran into my surgeon! He immediately wanted to take a look at the films
Long story short, he thinks that because I had DDD prior to my microdiscetomy what is happening is the space in between has narrowed even more since the surgery.-(only 3 1/2 months ago) He reminded me that he had advised me that I was a great candiate (like I am running for the election) for spinal fusion (L4-5, L5-S1) - and he told me to call to make an appointment, we will sit and talk.
Needless to say, I have to call tomorrow to set up an appointment. ~M~
Anyway, it is ironic; I am also up late reading this post the day before I have to go for my post-op MRI. OOOWEEEOOOO-OH, that was my attempt at an eerie sound effect in print. I guess you had to be in my mind to get that, I enjoyed it though.
Yes, I really did have a point when I began this reply, but I forgot what it was now. I just wanted to wish you good luck. I also had DDD, the operative word here is "had" (at least I'm hoping it is) as they took the 3 discs that were involved (DDD) out, and I did have the fusion, however, I am still having some occasional pain in my back along with some nerve pain that is still in my right leg, so I can relate to your anxiety.
The radiologist is definitely not qualified to give you any answers, even if they could read them, been there. And...I also am not looking forward to getting on that ice-cold slab and spending 45 minutes to an hour either. I am 6 foot 1 and 240 pounds, I barely fit in that stupid tunnel.
I hope and pray for the best for you. Keep us posted.
Load up on the pain meds and hope for the best!!Yeah,lying on that cold hard table when your back is already screwed up is definitely no big treat.(i have had to endure about eight of those over the last two and a half years)the best thing i have found to do is to,like I said, make sure you have someone to drive you,and take those pain meds!! also, i had alot of problems with keeping my arms still as the tension and the pain would build up in my shoulders and neck(really bad!!)and i am so used to just kind of shaking out my arms all the time that i don't even think about it anymore.So naturally, while lying there in absolute agony, my arms would want to keep moving just to relieve all that pain,i messed up I don't know how many films while accidently flinching and moving during the shoot,so I started requesting a blankie and would kind of lay it over the top of me and then kind of wrap both of my arms up in it(while keeping them at my sides?)this really helped ALOT in keeping me from inadvertantly moving.even a slight move during the shoot will cause them to have to redo the dang thing again and also make the agony of lying on your back even longer.this also makes me feel rather "comforted?"as well, like a big old blankie hug.If you have this flinching problem or just want to make yourself 'feel" a little more relaxed, try the blankie,it really does help.good luck,Marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
Once again, I thank you all for your words of kindness. Carl you made me smile in spite of myself, thank you!
Today I don't feel so hot, it's gloomy and raining, like God is actually feeling bad for me.
I'm trying not to believe that at the age of 26 I'll have to carry a note on a plane with me stating that I have metal in my back, but odds are looking that way.
Hey Carl - at which levels were were you fused? Hong long has it been, and is there any sign of your discs above/below showing ddd? sorry for all the ?'s -
I really think that dh is headed in the same direction as you are. He has advanced DDD throughout the lumbar and cervical regions and so far there is no relief post op. Of course a microdisectomy is pretty specific and doesn't even touch on the other back issues. I've heard more good things than bad about fusions. Are there any other options for you? At 26, I know you're anxious to get past the pain, finally, and move on with your life. Dh(44) has the attitude that surgery can't possibly make things worse. KWIM? Good luck to you. We'll be watching your progress and will probably have plenty of questions!
OK, call me a complete fool, but what does dh mean? I can't figure it out for the life of me!
Thank you for your concern. To answer your question, the other options that I have attempted have proved to be useless. Epi shots, pt, traction, drugs, & so on. However, that was all attempted prior to surgery, so I'm wondering if I should retrace my steps & see.
I spoke with my neuroseurgeons secy earlier, & was a bit concerned when I asked if they receieved the diagnosis report. I was told that they did, but she finds it a bit unclear, as does the Dr., & he wants to look at the films, & see me. Now, maybe I'm over-reacting considering... but... you can never get an immediate appointment with him, and she fit me in tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Furthermore, I was SUPPOSE to have pt this morning, & was looking forward to it since I feel like someone smashed my tailbone with a hammer,--- needless to say, they didn't have me in the appointment book, so I had to leave!
I'm sorry, 'dh' means 'dear husband'. Strictly used as a form of computer jargon - not endearment. In other words, I still use it when I'm mad at him. You'll also see dd (dear daughter), and ds...
Scott (dh) tried the epi's but couldn't bring himself out of pain from the herniation long enough to withstand PT. That is such a long progression of treatments to go through while withstanding tremendous pain for six more weeks only to find out that surgery was really the only option in his case. Now he's having facet injections and PT to no avail. An MRI is the next step, too. You both are so similar with your cases.
That's where I'm really confused. If there is a herniation and bits of the disc have broken off and traveled up and stuck to the cord, how would an epi help? Is there a way to see if the disc had bits and pieces floating around by running another test? How can poor suffering individuals avoid uneccessary treatments if surgery is the only way? Am I reading this all wrong?
About your appt, tomorrow. Maybe they had an unexpected cancellation and since the neuro happened to be around to read the MRI, it could have all just fallen in place. Fingers are crossed for you! It could be that he wants you to take it easy and not risk more herniations? Just speculating.
Oh, I understand now. As you can tell, I 'm not up to date on the computer jargon.
Your poor husband! My heart goes out to him! I know the pain he is feeling, but I have to also give you kudos, as there are not many people who are willing to stick by their signifigant other as you have! It is a hard place to be, always getting the S*!* End of the stick... I give you credit!
Anyhow, I'm by no means a Dr. but I would assume that an epi shot wont help if there are disc fragmants already broken off. My MRI yesterday was done with and without contrast, they injected something into my arm that they explained will help iluminate my scar tissue and nerves. I don't know if it will help for your dh's situation, but it can't hurt to ask. Other then that, I have no idea if there are any other tests for that.
In response to my Dr. tomorrow. I think you are right, I will try to just wait it out and see what comes of it.
Last edited by mlachowicz; 10-19-2004 at 12:21 PM.
As Karen said, maybe they just had a cancellation......try not to worry.
I know, I just found out I reherniated after having my MicroD in June. Not something I wanted to hear, but I guess it is what it is. Fortunately, so far the pain is not nearly as bad as it was before surgery, so I'm trying to walk, walk, walk to avoid surgery. Don't even want to go there. But we do what we have to do. It's all about quality of life.
I would at least try some other options before going under the knife again. I hate those ESI's though. They made me worse in the long run.
Ask all of the questions you want. My surgery was Feb. 20, 2004 almost eight months now and counting, and they fused L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1. Since there is nothing below that, I think I am safe, however, I am wondering how long it will be before L2-L3 will start giving me problems. There has been no evidence yet that DDD is rearing it's ugly head any where else [knocking on my wooden head], but I am afraid that it is a matter of when more than it is a matter of if, if you catch my drift, not a pleasant thought.
I am glad I was able to make you chuckle, or was it just a giggle? I guess even a lopsided grin would have been good enough, I'll try to...well, maybe that's not a good idea, it's hard to laugh when it hurts so much (I’ll keep it down to a chortle).
feelbad-that was a good tip on the blankie thingie, I made it through today’s MRI with flying colors (my fourth), it only took 47 minutes, 53 seconds, but who’s counting.
Well ~M~, I am sure that you’ll probably have been to your appointment by the time that you read this, I hope all goes well, I am saying an extra prayer for you tonight, Good Luck and God Bless.
I'm sorry to hear about your re-herniation. Like you said, at least it's not as painful as before...look on the bright side of things, right? that's the way I see it anyhow. Thank you for your words of encouragement - I'm trying to be strong, & I keep reiterating the old saying my Nana use to say, "There's nothing bad that could be worse" - unfortunately, I get a bit discouraged when I try to get my daughter out of her crib & have a hard time bending down to put her on the floor. I'll keep you in my prayers!
Your kindness shines thru once again! I'll keep you posted once I get home.
It hurts more to sneeze, so the laugh is a nice change of pace!
I remember having the "fusion" conversation w/ my surgeon, before I decided to be a chicken & go ahead with the microdisetomy. The thought that the levels above/below - in our cases just above - would be at greater risk scared the you know what out of me! Seems like either way it's a loose-loose situation. I don't remember his exact % of people in which that happens to, but I am sure that it is inevitable. Being 26, married with one child, eventually wanting another, - it's more then discouraging to even discuss fusion/cages/rods & screws. Makes my head spin!
At any rate, my apt is not until later this afternoon, so if anyone has suggestions please advise so that I can mention to Dr.
Hi Everyone! Had to get my daughter to bed before being able to sit down and explain this.
The MRI shows a large recurrent or residual right lateral recess and foraminal disk protrusion at L5-S1 involving the right L5 & S1 nerve roots. (My Dr. does not agree with this diagnosis. He feels that I am not re-herniated on my right side.)
The MRI also shows arthrosis, greatest at L3-4 where there is a sub cm complex synovial cyst to the left L3-4 facet joint posteriorly.
Basically, I am a 26 year old who not only has ddd, but arthritus, and now a cyst!
Dr. wants me to continue pt, but start aquatic pt. I'm to go for more Xrays - (he wants to see if I have lost or gained mobility since the surgery) if I lost we will talk sooner about fusion. As of December 1st I will be seeing a pain management Dr in his office, and we will decided if the fusion is necessary...
I am researching more info about this cyst.... any advice/suggestions so on.. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
Well, I must say a lot of the mri interpretation was "greek" to me, but I do know 2 things. Aquatics is wonderful for arthritis. I use to sign up at the local rec center for arthritis excersising in the pool and loved it. I also know that the interpretation on the MRI report is not always accurate. Both my daughters and I have had interpretations that when the ortho. looked at it, he did not agree. (daughter's said there was nothing wrong and there was and mine siad something was wrong and it wasn't ) Go figure Any way, keep us posted.
M, a lateral herniation is a tricky situation. I had a lateral herniation at L5,S1. First doc I went to was an ortho and he missed it. The second doc I went to who was a neuro spotted it. It is commonly missed. My first doc said it was just a" shadow". I found out 6 months later that this was my problem all along. Lateral herniations make up between 3 and 11% of all herniations. Don't totally discount this. At the very least you should do some internet searches on lateral herniations or far lateral herniations.
You also mentioned synovial cysts. I believe they are soft tissue cysts and are fairly common. You can have them out if they are causing pain but if they are not, they are no risk.
There has been some talk of radiologist not telling the patient anything after an MRI. Most MRIs are administered by an MRI tech. They don't have near the training a radiologist has. They do see alot of things and can often guess what is going on but it is best to have a trained radiologist read your films. I have a good friend who is an MRI tech and she never tells patients anything because she would hate to be wrong. She administered one of my MRIs and she did show me the slides but did not speculate on anything with me other than the same "shadow" that was on my first MRI. She had no idea what it was but thought it was not right.
I can't even imagine a reherniation. That must be sooooo frustrating. I hope the pt helps and you are feeling better soon.
Carl, I had a very funny mental image of you being stuffed into the MRI tube wearing an Aloha shirt, shorts and slippers. I hope you never get stuck in there.
Yes I did wear an Aloha shirt and slippers to the hospital, no shorts however. This being my fourth MRI, I was akamai (smart) enough to bring my backpack (I take the bus) with some sweats (they keep those rooms cold enough to store a side of beef) and a t-shirt (no metal, except for the 70k worth of barometric apparatus in my back), and yes, she had to poke me in and out about three times before I fit in that stupid tube . Once I was in, it was ok, I stayed still like a stiff in a mausoleum (let's see what that brings up visually). For my first MRI they had to do the whole thing over, I was in much more pain and I kept on moving. That was a very unpleasant experience to say the least.
I'm actually very much looking forward to getting back into the pool. When I was in school I actually swam competitively (sp?) so I am pscyed to see if it will help relieve some pain. I will keep you posted.
Thanks for responding! I'll do some research on the topic, & let you know what I find. As for the cyst, I've already began researching,- I quoted some information about them below:
"Surgery for synovial cysts can be either a decompression alone or a decompression with a spine fusion.
If there is no associated instability with the cyst (e.g. no degenerative spondylolisthesis as seen on flexion/extension x-rays) then a microdecompression of the nerve root with removal of the cyst is reasonable. Basically, this is the same approach as would be used for a microdiscectomy, and is a minimally invasive surgery with a relatively quick recovery. (See also Microdisectomy).
However, since the joint pathology (which caused the original synovial cyst) is still present the cyst can re-form at a later date.
Decompression with fusion
The most reliable treatment method for a synovial cyst is to remove the cyst and then fuse the joint. Fusing the joint stops all the motion at that level, and without any motion the cyst should not regenerate.
This is the most reliable treatment, but it is also the most to go through. It changes the biomechanics in the back because one of the joints will no longer function. The L4-L5 level has the most motion, and fusing it creates more stress on the other non-fused levels of the lower spine. Also, the surgery is more to go through since this is an open procedure, and it takes about six to nine months or more for the fusion to heal."
The research also stated that cysts are usually not found in patients younger then 45, & older then 65 It usually only developes in the lumbar spine, & it almost always develops at the L4-L5 level (rarely at L3-L4). which is, of corse, where mine is!!!
Thanks for listening!!! If anyone has further information, please advise.