[COLOR=Magenta]1) At what point do they decide you "should" see signs of fusion on an x-ray... if i'm panicing too early, then when should I?? (I keep reading of others who are fusing already, and feeling great - in all honesty I feel pretty poopy, and there is still all "white mist" on my x-ray - no fusing yet per dr who is repeating x-rays every 2 weeks). He hasn't said he's worried yet, but has kept postponing PT until he sees signs of fusing. At what point am I a failure [/COLOR]
Everyone's body is different. My husband did not show evidence of the beginning process of fusion until the twelveth week. I would say that if you don't fuse by 18 months, you might be a failure.
[COLOR=Magenta]2) I wear a corsett brace 24/7 and a bone stim... (dr's orders) is there anything else at this point I can do to encourage this thing to work?? I think I've followed the rules What am I doing wrong??[/COLOR]
Walk, walk, walk. You can take long walks, or a lot of short walks, but walking is essential. If you smoke, drink soda, or eat chocolate, give them up. Everyone starts out with an 80% chance of fusion. I am not sure how they come up with those statistics but that is what I have read time and time again. You want to be in the 80%.
[COLOR=Magenta]3) IF (again, realize i'm likely being pessimistic here) I don't fuse - then what?? More surgery? What? Will I just walk arount with a back missing bone?? [/COLOR]
They took out a disc, so you would just be missing a disc, which is not bone. You would be a member of the FBSS club. They would talk you into another surgery. They usually save the *illiac crest graft* surgery for last, just in case the BMP or your own bone marrow or a cadaver bone doesn't work. Using your own illiac crest bone is the gold standard of fusion, but it is usually used for last. That is what you would, in all likelihood, be offered.
[COLOR=Magenta]4) I did not ever have a discogram (discograph? the test to see what is the pain generator) - my dr decided from MRIs and x-rays and ESIs that my pain trigger was L4-L5 (DDD, herniated and nerves a total disaster) and that L3-L4 was slightly herniated and neves compressed adding to it. During my surgery they fused L4-L5 then removed the protrusing part of the disc from L3-L4 and did a laminectomy (I think?? Where they open the space up to let the nerves move more freely??) of L3-L5. But I'm only fused L4-L5. In hindsite how bad of a mistake was not having the discogram (graph??)? I trust my dr. (both pain dr and orth spine specialist came to same suggestion) but now wonder. If things don't improve soon, can they do the disco-whatever still? [/COLOR]
Discograms are controversial. I would never have one. My husband didn't have one and he had a fusion. Hindsite is always 20-20 and second guessing yourself will drive you crazy and intensify your pain.
I think that you are jumping the gun, so to speak, give it time.
[COLOR=Magenta]Okay, clearly I am freaking out a bit. I am really happy for everyone who is doing well, but I honestly feel like a hit a wall at 3 weeks (now 3 1/2 weeks ago) and haven't improved since. I try to have a good attitude, even went to work PT starting yesterday (sitting at a desk), but why isn't this getting any better???
Everyone (my mom, my husband, my boss) expect me to be normal now, and 90% plus healed... "its been SIX weeks!!" But I feel as if i'm stuck, or even going backwards!! HELP![/COLOR]
Going to work was a good thing. It should help pick up your spirits. Healing takes time. It took awhile for you to get to the place where you needed surgery and it will take some time to heal. Positive thoughts
Your mom, husband and boss need to walk a mile in your shoes. Just take a deep breath and try to move on. Don't let the get you down. I knew that when my husband had his fusion, the most important role for me to take was to be supportive and positive towards the entire process. Together, you will make it through this.