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Old 12-03-2006, 11:52 AM   #1
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new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Hi everybody! I just found this board about three weeks ago, reading posts have helped me realize I am not alone in the world of back pain.

I have had back pain for 13 years ( I am 33 ). The past month my back pain has been unbearable, I have been in the hospital on and off for this pain, last stay was first week of Nov. During my hospital stay an MRI was done, it showed degenerated discs 3 in lumbar, two discs are poking my spinal colum, spinal senosis. I also have scolisis. ( sorry about the spelling ).

A neurosurgen came to see me in the hospital, he said I need surgery for my back. When I got out of the hospital I did go see him and he said I need to have a lumbar interbody fusion 2 level with screws, cages and a rod on L4, L5, & S1.

I have agreed to the surgery ( I did have a second neurosurgen look at my MRI and he said the same thing ). I am having this done on the 12 of Dec. I have to tell you guys I am scared to death!! If anyone has had this done, please let me know. I am trying so hard not to be comsumed by this fear, but as this surgery date gets closer it is hard to stay positive. Thank you all in advance for your time and knowledge.

Rose

 
Old 12-03-2006, 12:19 PM   #2
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Hi Rose,
Welcome to the board. You already know you're not alone! There are many here who have been through what you're facing. They'll help you through it! I'm sorry you've been in pain for so long, but at least you're finally getting some help. I hope this surgery will give you the relief you need.

If you haven't found it already, look at the top of the page for the thread called "post surgery tips." It's got lots of very helpful information that will help you to have a more comfortable and easier recovery. My favorite tip was to get a grabber tool. It was worth it's price the first day I was home from the hospital. My 16 year old likes to come in and play with it and laughed at me one day, saying what would I do if he broke it. I just smiled at him and told him I'd have to call him a few hundred times a day to get me the things I couldn't reach. He decided he wouldn't break it!

Do start a list of questions for your doctor for your pre op appt. You'll probably think of all sorts of things, some big and some little, but if you don't write them down you'll forget half of them when the opportunity comes to ask. You can also come on here with whatever questions you have. I'm sure you've seen by now that there are some very serious questions and concerns that have been posted, and there are also some more lighthearted things.

Also, make sure you have a little notebook to keep track of what meds you take, the time, and the amount. It's very easy to lose track of all that, and you don't want to over medicate or under medicate yourself. It's important to keep your pain under control. You'll heal better if you're not in a lot of pain!

December 12 --- not so far away. It would be very normal to feel very anxious as you think about your surgery. Been there, done that! I tried to keep myself very busy during the week before my surgery so I wouldn't have time to dwell on it. It helped, as did coming on here. I found a lot of encouragement and support here. I don't know what I would have done without it!

What is your living situation? Married, kids, roommate, living alone, living with parents? Each of those situations has its own little issues to address for your best recovery after surgery. If you have things you want to get done for the holidays, you'll definitely want to do them before surgery. You won't want to be out in stores for quite a while, especially not when they're crowded! You'll also have lifting restrictions (probably 5 pounds for a couple of months), so you won't be carrying packages. I had my surgery on September 25, and I not only did all my Christmas shopping (plus all three kids' birthdays), but i wrapped everything and hid it away. I will be at my three month mark on Christmas Day, and I'm soooo glad now that I don't even have to wrap!

Rose, it sounds like you're in good hands. You'll be glad to get this all behind you, I'm sure! Recovery takes time, but you'll make it! Keep in touch and let us know how you're doing. You'll be okay!!!

Take care!
Blessings,
Emily

 
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Old 12-03-2006, 01:46 PM   #3
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Thank you for your post!! It is nice to know that there are people who care!!
I live alone with my two children, but I will be staying with my parents, child care will be split between my parents and their dad. Going to miss being at home!

 
Old 12-03-2006, 01:51 PM   #4
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Rose, I would ask you if the second ns is out of the same practice as the first one. If so, please gete an opinion from someone who is not affiliated in any way....perhaps from an orthopedic spine specialist (that's an ortho who works only with the spine after completing a year of intense training and getting a spine fellowship). Of course, if the 2 doctors aren't from the same practice, then you have gotten your second opinion and as long as you are happy with your surgeon....answers your questions, etc...Then I wish you all the best of luck. You'll do fine, I know. It'll be a tough couple of months, but you'll gradually get better and better. I hope you will keep posting.

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Old 12-03-2006, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Hi Carol, Yes the second opinion was from a diffrent neuosurgeon from a diffrent pratice ( one my GP gave me the name off ). I like my neurosurgeon, he seems to be concered about my well being. I am just really scared about the whole thing. I have read alot, had questions answered w/ my doc, & what to expect. I will try hard to keep my self busy rather than freaked out!!

 
Old 12-03-2006, 05:35 PM   #6
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Rose,

Welcome to the board. Ditto to what Emily and Carol just posted.

You'll be fine, just remember to breath (little humor for ya). Also, you'll probably have lot's of questions after surgery and when your up to it, just post like now and you'll have lots of help.

After thirteen years you can finally say, December 12th will be the start of getting better.

Good luck on your surgery and please post again to let us know how your doing.
Bernie

 
Old 12-03-2006, 07:36 PM   #7
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

That's great that you can stay with your parents for a while! I'm sure it's a relief that both you and your kids will be well cared for. You've got a bit of a a road ahead of you, but it's a phase of recovery that will be followed by a much better rest of your life!

I wish you the best!

~Emily

 
Old 12-04-2006, 05:28 AM   #8
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Rose, I had cages, rodgs, pins screws etc. I had three level fusion done. YOu will do great. Just remember that there will be no BLT (Bending lifting and twisting) for awhile. You will probably have a "brace" of some sort that your doctor will give you. IT's usually an elastic contraption that helps you stay in place. You don't want to risk upsetting the fusion..You didn't say what ages your young ones are, but you won't be able to lift them up if they are still of that age.

You will suffer some pain as you heal, but it will be nothing like what you have been dealing with. Make a list of question to ask your doctor. The more you know, the better you will feel.

This board is a great place to ask questions. Keep coming back and asking questions...

 
Old 12-04-2006, 08:15 AM   #9
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

I am sitting here with tears in eyes ( a good thing ). I can't believe how supportive all of you are, means so much to me!!! It is nice to "talk to people" who know and understand what I am going through. My friends and family don't really understand ( they have read about it, some have talked to the neurosurgeon ). I don't feel so alone here, so thank you guys so much! All of you have touched my heart.

 
Old 12-04-2006, 04:58 PM   #10
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Jennii,
My 25 yr. old daughter is having a 3 level fusion after the 1st of the year.
Know that you are in our Thoughts and PRAYERS!
Blessings,
Terri

 
Old 12-05-2006, 02:01 AM   #11
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Jenni, I have what you have with a few additional things. I have 4 levels of bulging. 2 levels of spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylosis and a deformed thecal sac. My discs are dried out and my facet joints are arthritic.

NS and OS will not operate.

I'm wondering if the extra level is the difference.

Anyway, Good Luck!

Alan

Last edited by erfan; 12-05-2006 at 02:02 AM.

 
Old 12-05-2006, 10:16 AM   #12
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

I am having TLIF surgery on the 15th. And I am very nervous as well. I have 16 month old twins and am thinking "how long until I can pick them up?"
My doctor has not told me all that much about the recovery process. So I am frantically looking at the internet trying to find out stories of others that have had this operation. I read one story of a girl that was watering skiing 3 weeks after the surgery. Now I dont figure that was smart or even true, but it gives me hope.

 
Old 12-05-2006, 11:48 AM   #13
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

[QUOTE=japutie]I am having TLIF surgery on the 15th. And I am very nervous as well. I have 16 month old twins and am thinking "how long until I can pick them up?"
My doctor has not told me all that much about the recovery process. So I am frantically looking at the internet trying to find out stories of others that have had this operation. I read one story of a girl that was watering skiing 3 weeks after the surgery. Now I dont figure that was smart or even true, but it gives me hope.[/QUOTE]


It will be a while, sorry to say, but it will be worth it! You can still cuddle with them, though. Just get someone else to lift them for you and put them in your lap (you'll know when you're ready for that) or lay them next to you. I imagine that as you heal, you'll figure out ways to hold them without stressing your back. I'm thinking if I had tiny ones I would probably learn to steady them with my hands but use my knees to support them and scoot them onto my lap that way. That probably didn't make sense. I can see it in my mind but it's hard to describe. At any rate, get that cuddle time in with someone's help. They're so little, they won't really realize that you're no longer picking them up, but they'll know you're still snuggling with them. And they won't have a lasting memory of your "down time."

As far as water skiing, I don't know if it's true, but it most certainly wasn't smart! You don't want to do something like that until you have a good fusion!

This board is a good place to get a picture of what your recovery will be like. Be sure to read the "post surgery tips" thread at the top of the page. It has lots of great tips that will help you.

Good luck!
~Emily

 
Old 12-05-2006, 12:29 PM   #14
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

thanks for the info. I am trying to find the post surgery tips you suggested (?).
Have you had the procedure? I was thinking that after a month I should be able to lift some weight if I used my knees. I am 34 and in pretty good shape. i have heard it takes anywhere from 3 months to a year for the bone to fuse. I am curious if I can drive two weeks after the surgery and when I can attempt stairs, then jogging, then skiing... my dr has not been all that clear on recovery.

 
Old 12-05-2006, 03:42 PM   #15
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Re: new here, but not new to back pain. have question.

Hi, and Welcome.
And Very Good Luck to all of you that will soon be getting surgery done!!!!

I am now 6 weeks postop from a fusion, and I am just starting to feel like I can say that I am getting "better". There are reminders to let me know to take it slow.......I reacted with a sharp jolt when my cat jumped on me, and stayed in bed for a day b/c of the damage that did. LOL.

So, let your body guide you. Pain is your body communicating to you, "not to push any further". I found that even though I might have bent the rules in my life about other things (like when I broke my ankel), I am following the guidelines very strictly with this fusion...I do not want to have to do this again for the same injury.

But as bad as it may seem while you are experiencing it...it gets better. Once you start to feel "better"...than you know that the worst part is prob behind you. The thing about surgery also...is that there is so much going on (like learning to do things differently), that time seems to help you a bit by speeding up. Not saying that its a breeze, but you will be 6 weeks postop before you know it. And when you feel down, or like nobody understands, or the pain is too much....come on by and see us. We get it!!!
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Last edited by babs17; 12-05-2006 at 03:47 PM.

 
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