Hi everyone! I hate to post my story because it's long and boring and who gives a damn really. Eh sorry...just a little sick of this today. Here it goes....
I'm an almost 34yo stay-at-home-mom to my daughter (Emily 19mo). During the summer of 2002, I suffered a fall on my lower back which resulted in chronic Spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration. I had months of PT with little or no relief and had my first epi injection in the spring of 2003. It was a miracle for me. It worked the first time and I was great until the birth of my daughter in June 2005. Labor was difficult and completely ruined my already bad back to the point that in addition to the Spondy and disc degeneration, I now have a tear as well. I decided to see a Chiropractor this time. This was a big waste of time and money (I plead ignorace as I didn't have a full understanding of my condition at the time). After about 7 months I went back to see my original ortho and scheduled another injection in Nov 2005. Relief lasted one month. I have to pay out of pocket for the shots so I waited for another one until May 2006. The relief lasted until Sept. I then had another shot in Oct 2006. NO RELIEF at all....except in my knees and ankles which are also very painful. I went back to my spine specialist and he thought I shouldn't be having so much pain and scheduled another MRI to see if he missed something. MRI showed no change in my condition and he recommended continuing as we have been. Keep in mind....my success rate with injections has been 50/50 at best. I explained that I couldn't continue this way as I'm paying out of pocket for all of these shots and I'm basically throwing money down the drain because I'm not getting much relief. Plus, I'm taking Darvocet and Lortab in fairly high doses to ease the pain because they work and they are cheap, but I'm going down a dangerous road. What I didn't tell him was that I'm also getting meds from my PCP since I'm needing more for relief. He symathized with me and agreed to schedule me to meet with the surgeon. FAST FORWARD to this past Monday when I met with the surgeon and he agreed to operated.....fusion at S1 L5. He seemed optimistic and it didn't so TOO horrible...although I know it's pretty horrible. I got a second opinion a few days later and that surgeon made it sound much worse. Keep in mind I have a daughter to take care of. My mother can stay with me at a minimum of 6 weeks but what if I need more time?! I'm really scared to make this decision and I'm very frightened of the recovery process.
Anyway, I'm sure I'll be posting questions in the days ahead so I wanted to post my story so you would all be familiar. Sorry for the length.
Well it seems like we are in the same boat. I have ddd at L5S1 and spondy and am having fusion on feb 22nd. I am scared, but hopeful that this will be my chance of getting better. Your story is not long or boring, here you have a place where people understand. Diet Dr Pepper is having fusion to in a few days..I think five. So we can be each others support.
Sorry to hear you are in so much pain.
An dont worry about posting exactly how you feel on here.
You will get alot of support
I have been having back trouble since july 2005 an still it continues.
I have had my Facet joints injected which didnt work an starting pain management classes in Feb.
It is such a slow process.
I live in England and we have a health system which is slow an very frustrating.
I have discussed with my consultant about having the same fusion to give my back more stability but i am doing it as a last resort.
All i can say is read through some of the posts.
Quite afew people on here have had fusions so hopefully they will be in touch an give you more advice than i can.
Hi and welcome. first of, you never have to apologize on this board for telling your story. We have been there and we also understand, as we are just like you.. a person with chronic back pain with varying reasons.
Surgery should be a last resort, and this surgery is MAJOR surgery and recovery is not over night. Only you can truly know if that time has come.
I am a post fusion patient, suffered from back issues since age 18... now 45. Had a fusion done at l4/l5 (one above your disc problem) and it was done April 2006. I am solidly fused and doing much better than before the surgery. I am still healing even though I am solidly fused. This takes a long time to heal.
There is no guarantee that the fusion will solve your problem or rid you of your pain, but I am sure the surgeon had told you this. I was given a 50/50 that it would help. Well it did help alot, but I am not pain free, and a good chance that I will never be pain free, and also forever limited in daily living. Im okay with that, for less pain. I have no regrets having the surgery at all, and would do it all over again.
I can tell you to try and rally as much help as you can, especially where your child is concerned. I assume you are a single mom and on your own. Take your mom's assistance if it's offered. For many weeks, there is no lifting, bending, twisting (aka BLT). Lifting your toddler may be difficult and prohibited even at 6 weeks recovery.
Most people can often return to desk type work around 6-12 weeks. That's the median. There are some that manage sooner and have done great!, but most of us fall into that timeframe. And for some.. much longer.
It's a hard decision to make, but you will find which decision is best for you, and then you will know it's the right choice, when you have comfort with that decision.
Again welcome, and let us know how you are doing. Tammy
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt
L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!
[QUOTE=Justoneofus;2766085]I can tell you to try and rally as much help as you can, especially where your child is concerned. I assume you are a single mom and on your own. Take your mom's assistance if it's offered. For many weeks, there is no lifting, bending, twisting (aka BLT). Lifting your toddler may be difficult and prohibited even at 6 weeks recovery.[/QUOTE]
Actually, no I'm not single. It's just that my husband can't be here 24/7. Someones got to pay the bills! lol
I forgot to mention too that I want to have another baby down the road and I know I can't handle 9 months like this. I would be in agony and my daughter would suffer. Next year I'd like to consider getting pregnant and it would be nice to have this surgery behind me (provided it goes well).
I don't know....this is so hard. I always thought this is what I wanted but now I'm not sure. I just want to move on from this and if I wait until next year or the year after that or the year after that (you get the idea ) I will just continue on this same endless path and consumed with having enough pain medications to help me function. Worse yet...no hope of having another child.
But I fear this will turn out for the worse and I will be worse off and will ruin what little bit of function I have now. Where would my daughter be THEN?
Thank you all for your responses. I look forward to learning from you all! (((((hugs)))))
Please don't say your sorry for posting about your pain. If anybody would understan, it's everyone on this board!! We do care here!!
I'm really sorry for your pain, and that you've had to endure the fustration of not getting any better. Well, you've had three opinions and now need to make the "big" decision, it's not an easy one and it's down right scary.
Have you talked to your Dr. about wanting to get pregnate again? I'm just curious. I had to have a hysterectomy at age 26, thank goodness that I had already had my children. Anyway, I know that there was a post on the board awhile back about haveing children after fusion, but sorry to say, I didn't read it......... So, I was just wondering, if it was okay to.
I wish you well, relief and peace with your decision. Please keep us posted on how your doing and what you decide.
Bernie, I asked one of the surgeons about it and he said I could get pregnant and handle the nine months and even delivery vaginally. I may still opt for a c-section so I don't tempt fate, but he said it would be okay. He said that he's had many patients who went on to have babies post fusion.
I had my level 2 fusion on Jan 10th. Do I regret it? Well if you had asked me that on Jan 11th I would have said "Shut up and get me my flexeril!"
But seriously, It was a huge decision to make and one that took a few of years of pain to finally decide. I knew it was the right decision. I will admit that I had some doubt after the surgery about whether it was worth it or not. But it was because of the horrible pain I felt. This is MAJOR surgery, you really need to understand that when you make your decision. You will be unable to do much of anything for a long time after. I think that my wife is just now realizing this. I told my wife that I would be out of commission for a while. She seemed OK with that, but this last week she has been hinting that I should be doing some exercises for my back. I told her that it was far too soon to even think about doing exercises? I am having a hard time just being able to make it to the rest room! But she has been insistant that I should be doing more so that I will get better sooner, I truly believe she does not understand just exactly the pain I am having (not to mention the terrible nerve pain!) and do not know how to explain it to her. We went to my first Dr. appointment (post surgery) yesterday, while we were there my wife spoke up and asked the Dr. "Shouldn't he be doing some physical therapy or something cause he doesn't do anything but sit in his chair, shouldnt he be doing more so he can get back to normal?" the Dr. never hesitated in his response, he looked her straight in the eye and said "He should not be doing anything, and we wont discuss physical therapy until at least 3 months, please try to remember he has just had MAJOR surgery and his muscles, nerves, and spine have just undergone major trauma. He has 6 screws and 2 rods in his back, not to mention that I just removed 2 discs from his spine, its great that he was able to make the trip here today!" I couldn't believe it, he had said everything I wanted to say, but knew better and kept it to myself. I understand that this has been a huge burden on my wife, but I told her what was going to happen and asked if she was ready for it, she said she was. After the appointment was over, my wife's attitude has changed, she is treating me better and I think she understands a little better about how major this surgery is.
I tell you this so you will understand how this surgery will affect those around you, how the surgery will affect you will be ten times harder. It is painful and recovery is long. I am still feeling a lot of pain but not nearly as much as I was the day after. I get a little better everyday. I will warn you though some days you feel pretty good, but then there are other days that you feel that something is wrong and you need to go to the hospital because you feel so bad. I am one of those people who are a little paranoid so I am terrified every time I go to sit down because I am afraid I will break the instrumentation, but that's just me. OK I will stop. If you truly need the surgery, you will make the right decision. I know it was right for me because I knew I couldn't go on with the pain I was feeling everyday. Just keep in mind that this is a MAJOR SURGERY. You will need a lot of time to recover and you will need your family to understand this and care for you when you come home. I hope I have not scared you into not having the surgery, I just wanted you to know what comes with it. Everyone responds differently to surgery and recovery and you may be one of those that does real well after surgery. I unfortunately don't do so well This is my third (and hopefully last) back surgery. I pray that I fuse and I will never have to think about having another surgery, but I will never say never again. If it comes to the point again where I cant deal with the pain, I will do it again if there is a chance of eliminating or even reducing my back pain. Good Luck to you. I hope that what ever you decide that you will soon be pain free. Take care and God Bess.
Along with making the decision about having the fusion surgery, you need to talk honestly with both your surgeon and your pcp about how much exactly you are taking of lortab and darvocet. Maybe together they can find a different medication or combination that will work better for you. If they find out that you are getting meds from both doctors without the other knowing, it is going to open up another can of worms that you don't want to deal with. You will be marked as a drug seeker rather than a back pain patient. And then the help that you need may not be so easy to get.
I know no one else mentioned it and I know that you won't be the first patient they've seen to do that, but you really don't want to go into this kind of surgery going down that slippery slope of double dipping in pain meds.
Many surgeons and doctors have you sign pain medication contracts that say that you will not get meds from any other doctor but the ones you are getting them from, and if you violate that contract, you are left with 30 days of meds and that's it........you don't want to deal with that.
My husband is a cop and this is a true story. They pulled a woman over one night, she had 7 or 8 different pain meds prescribed by 5 different doctor's. One of them was mine and they were filled within a day or two of each other. By law , they returned them to her since they were in her name, BUT, and this is a big but, they contacted her prescribing doctor's first thing the next morning.....she had already called the physiatrist that we both see, and told them that "the cops" had taken her meds, so she needed new prescriptions for meds she had gotten just three days before. The police department contacted him just a few minutes later, and guess what she can no longer get narcotic meds from any of those doctors and she has been flagged at every pharmacy within a 100 mile radius. You don't want to wind up like her.
Please, tell your doctor's, explain that the meds aren't working for you, so that's why you were getting them from both, and let them find something that will work better for longer.........good luck hon.......
Sorry about your problem! I had a similar problem. Accident, mylogram, crushed disk, lamenectomy, failed, several more lamenectomyies, spinal stimulator, no relief, take out spinl stim, fusion L5-S1, Failed, fusion L4-L5-S1 with metal. Back is now solid but pain is still there. I left out the numerous injections and mylograms. Bottom line is I now have Arachnoiditis(google it)I live with constant pain. What you need to ask yourself is...Is my pain going to get better with another surgery? Mine only got worse after each surgery. I had so much scar tissue around the nerves. If I had to do it again I would not have had the surgery or any other spinal intervention. They all contributed to my Arachnoiditis! It is your choice to make. Do a lot of research. Review your old medical reports including surgical reports. See if any of the DR's have said failed back, arachnoiditis, arthritis ect. Good luck and God speed you to good health!
Sandim, I guess the problem is that my spine doctor won't go stronger then lortab....he just won't. More injections or surgery....those are my options. If I want stronger then I have to go to pain management which I will do if I don't go through with the surgery. But I'm not ready to start that kind of lengthy regimine while I'm contimplating surgery. FWIW...I did tell my spine doctor that I take more than prescribed which leads me to need refills more often. So he's not completely unaware. He just isn't aware that my PCP has helped me too during some of my more painful periods. I'm trying very hard right now to take fewer pills. At this point I take about 4 Lortab 7.5 a day...not too bad.
Porter, thank you. I am aware of the severity of this surgery. That is what I'm most concerned with. I really fear the dependency I'm going to have on others for so long. I feel a little guilty asking for such sacrifices from my family. I'm thankful they are willing to help me though.
Yikes, Michael. Sounds like you've been through a lot. I have had no surgery to this point. This would be my first. And to the knowledge of myself and my doctors I only have slippage and degeneration at L5-S1. I know things can turn out for the worse. I guess that is the chance we all take.
[QUOTE=sara31773;2766997]Sandim, I guess the problem is that my spine doctor won't go stronger then lortab....he just won't. More injections or surgery....those are my options. If I want stronger then I have to go to pain management which I will do if I don't go through with the surgery. But I'm not ready to start that kind of lengthy regimine while I'm contimplating surgery. FWIW...I did tell my spine doctor that I take more than prescribed which leads me to need refills more often. So he's not completely unaware. He just isn't aware that my PCP has helped me too during some of my more painful periods. I'm trying very hard right now to take fewer pills. At this point I take about 4 Lortab 7.5 a day...not too bad.
Hi again Sara,
I had a fusion at L4-5 this past March. I also was told that I had to see PM before the surgery. It went pretty fast as far as PM goes, he saw me, examined me and the films and said, there was nothing he could do other than prescribe my pain meds until I had surgery, so it is not always a long drawn out thing, sometimes it 's just until you can have the actual surgery. The good part was that he ( PM guy) was the one who finally put me on something stronger than Tramadol and Motrin before the surgery.
I had no idea how much you were taking or how often, but I was concerned when you said that you were getting meds from two doctors. I just would hate to see you find yourself in that situation like that woman did. The difference that she had nothing that showed up on films, xrays, mri's or any other means of testing and it wasn't a back injury but an alleged knee injury that she was taking those meds for. She told one doctor that she has her daughter going from doctor to doctor now getting them prescribed to her and then she ( the mother takes them) ........how sad is that?
Anyway, like I said, I know that alot of surgeons and physiatrists, PM's around me make patients sign pain contracts and I didn't want you to find yourself suddenly named as a drug seeker rather than a legitimate back pain patient.
Aw heck, maybe I just should have shut up......anyway, whatever your decision is about the surgery, or not, I hope that it turns out well for you and that you have a speedy healing.