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Old 03-07-2007, 11:17 PM   #1
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Dnunan28 HB User
I'm so confused and scared

Greetings, first time here writing, been reading lots and lots of posts and answered a lot of questions. Thanks to all.

I have been told I need an Anterior Lumbar Fusion W/Cages at levels L-4-5 and 6 (yes six, they told me I have an extra lumbar disc) and they might also go to S-1 once they get in there and dig around. My Neurologist told me my insurance covers a single disc replacement, but he refuses to do them due to recent complications hes heard of with them failing. He gave me the option of waiting for a year or maybe 2 and they might have a fda approval for more levels and a better replacement. I dont know if I can wait that long, I have horrible pains in lower and mid back, with radiation down the butt cheeks and upper legs, and now numbness on right thigh and pains in both heels. My wife was first gung ho for me to get the fusion NOW, but after going in and seeing the general surgeon who will move all my intestines around for the neuro to get in and do his thing, shes changed her mind and thinks I should wait, cause Ill be down for so long and not be able to the stuff I enjoy in the spring and summer, like gardening, camping etc...

So now I cant make up my mind. This neurologist was the second opinion and hes ready to go as soon as I call him and schedule. I cant stay on the drugs for another year or 2 waiting. The med's are driving me nuts cause I have to take so many through out the day, I open my cabinent and I could open a drug store.

So I know the decision is ultimately mine to make, I just need to know that I'm making the right decision, cause I cant take it back once it's done!!

And just so you know, I have had the pain worsening monthly for the last 2 years. No known accident or injury that caused it. My family does have a history of back issues, mom's and dad's side. Im 35yo and up until this back stuff been very active...I sit all day at my job, usually 8hrs but sometimes 12 hrs a day, plus an hour commute each way sitting and driving. Im sure I could blame my job for some of the problem, I worked 550hrs of overtime last year. All sitting down.

Thanks for listening,

Aaron

 
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:57 AM   #2
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ms_west HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Aaron - it sounds like you have already made your decision and it does sound reasonable to me to move ahead but REMEMBER only YOU can make this decision alone.

Personally it took me 4 months to make my decision to go ahead with the surgery and my surgeon said, he would not operate until I was emotionally ready. Thankfully he continued to provide me meds and try other things nerve blocks, steroids, pt, etc. In the end, he looked at me and said, we should move forward I am getting worried about permanent nerve damage and at that point I knew I was emotionally ready although scared as all get out. Its normal to be scared.

Take care and listen to your heart. I will be praying for you and keep us posted.

Last edited by ms_west; 03-08-2007 at 02:58 AM.

 
Old 03-08-2007, 04:54 AM   #3
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yvette777 HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

hey I have an extra vertebrae to...I told my doc that my body knew i needed a back up...my hubby laughed and said it was my tail.

I don't know what kind of insurance you have, but they are doing mutli-level artificial discs, and there are even trials going on that you could be a part of. You might check into it...they have been doing this in germany..and I have talked to lots of people who have went over there. It seems in germany when it comes to spines they are way ahead of us and have thousands of adr under their belts.

 
Old 03-08-2007, 05:02 AM   #4
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Re: I'm so confused and scared

pro spine in bogen germany is one of the top notch places from what I've read...they do consultations where you send mri's etc and everything. I have looked into this alot myself. Also if you research clinical trials, they are doing multi level adr here. I just thought you should know there are other options out there. There is alot of help getting insurance to pay etc when you check into them.

That being said..i was not able to go through that direction as my vertebrae has slipped now aka spondy. I will be having fusion tomorrow. There are many storys about that here,that have left me optimistic, and feeling educated. If you read diet dr peppers thread and clover, and roy..they all just had fusion.

I hope some of this helps, I know I cried when making my decision..I had been convinced that the adr was the way to go and had waited for a year to be told I am now not eligible.

good luck.

 
Old 03-08-2007, 10:39 AM   #5
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Re: I'm so confused and scared

[COLOR="Navy"]Welcome to the group Aaron!

[COLOR="DarkRed"]My wife was first gung ho for me to get the fusion NOW, but after going in and seeing the general surgeon who will move all my intestines around for the neuro to get in and do his thing, shes changed her mind and thinks I should wait, cause Ill be down for so long and not be able to the stuff I enjoy in the spring and summer, like gardening, camping etc...[/COLOR]

Aaron...re read the section above. How much are you going to be able to do if you don't do the surgery? You are already in so much pain that it is affecting your lifestyle. Only you can decide when you are ready for surgery, but how much is enough?

Enough for me was nerve damage in both legs and a husband, son and the wonderful daughter(in-law) that I waited all my life to have were starting to avoid me because of how I was acting with the pain and on the meds.

Was the surgery successful? YES. Did I fuse? YES. I had complications that affected me, but the pain I had before the surgery is gone. It took close to a year, but that went.

So, ask youself. What quality of life are you willing to have? How is the affecting my family in addition to myself? How is it affecting my work? If you are having trouble deciding, make a list....

Don't think that you will be pain free right after surgery..After all, it is a major operation. I had a 3 level fusion with cages, rods pins and screws, etc.etc.

All the best....Jill[/COLOR]

 
Old 03-09-2007, 01:53 AM   #6
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Dnunan28 HB User
Thumbs up Re: I'm so confused and scared

Greetings to all and thank for your good thoughts and comments.

I appreciate being able to speak the group about this traumatic and life changing event we are all experiencing on some level. Even though we may never meet face to face, the support shown by everyone here is amazing and really shows the strength of the human spirit. Thank you.

Well, I did it today. I made the call to the Neuro office make the appointment. Although at first I kind of got the run around at the office, untill someone grabbed the phone from the ditz who intially answered the phone and took all my info and said they would call the General surgeon and get his schedule and check the Neuro's schedule, set a date and call me tomorrow...

The Neuro told me I could go back in 3 weeks, but after reading the boards on here, ill be lucky to go back in 6...I sit at a computer all day with limits on getting up and moving around since I answer 911...So I cant really get up and walk too much, though we have fully adjustable work stations from sitting on the ground to standing at 6ft tall, that should help. Now I just have to find a carpool buddy that can drive me to and fro for a while too.

I am thankfull I found this great place to learn about other's expieriences, good and bad and what I could expect or not. I plan to continue to follow others journey thru this delicate and difficult process.

Ok, enough rambling (the drugs have kicked in)

Thank you all,

Aaron

 
Old 03-09-2007, 04:39 AM   #7
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ms_west HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Aaron - you just completed the most difficult part of the surgical process in my opinion. Deciding to have the surgery and courage to tell the neurosurgeon was hardest. It took me a month to finally tell my surgeon that I had made up my mind.

Please keep us posted of your journey and know that we will gladly answers any questions that you may have. If you haven't figured it out, some of us like to talk.

 
Old 03-09-2007, 05:47 AM   #8
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Re: I'm so confused and scared

Aaron,

good for you. That was the hardest. Now the doctor will control the rest of the flow. Read the stickies at the top of the page for lots of info that you can use.

Keep coming back. this is where you can say you are scared and no one will laugh..at least not too loud! We all have faced those moment of uncertanty. Here you can get a cyber hand to hold....

good job Aaron!

 
Old 03-09-2007, 02:59 PM   #9
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crookedback HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Way to go Aaron... ur my hero of the week! I too am draggin my feet on gettin surgery done... actually I shoulda had somethin done 10 yrs ago after my 2nd herniation... now I gotta get fused prolly at 2 levels.

And I too was thinkin of waitin until after the summer but will just have to see.

I think you made the right call so hang in there & come say hey to us!

Take care... Dave!

 
Old 03-09-2007, 03:38 PM   #10
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clover60 HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Welcome Aaron
You have found the best place to share your thoughts and get ideas. I found that everyone here is very supportive and sure has helped me with my back issues.

I also had a time deciding to have surgery. I had gone thru everything it seemed like with limited success. I was researching my mri results one day and found this board.

My Dr told me that when I was sick of my life style being limited and having to take pain pills to function to let him know and we would do the surgery. This took me about 3 months. My Dr was very patient with me and I had surgery on Feb 26th. I am getting stronger everyday and all my presurgery pain (so far) is gone. I am anxious to heal and see how I feel. Sure hope I become pain free.

Good luck and keep coming back as we are all here to help you thru everything.

 
Old 03-09-2007, 11:24 PM   #11
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Dnunan28 HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Well I got the call today, May 1st..

So I have to wait 6 weeks or so...Good news is I can get gardening done and everything planted for the most part and the the wife can do all the weeding after I have the procedure!!! Bad news I have that much time to think about it.
Oh well, I can always come here and get information to hope make me think I am doing the right thing, right???

Anyways, No gardening this weekend, lots of heavy rain and maybe flooding, luckily we should be safe from the nearby river...

Thanks again,

Aaron

 
Old 03-09-2007, 11:56 PM   #12
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ustalaughalot HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Hi Aaron,

Welcome to the best support on line for back pain. I just had a discectomy on 2-26, I know, way different than a fusion. Let your body tell you when it is time. When my surgeon said that he was adding me on to his surgery list for the following week from first seeing him, I wanted to kiss him. I have a fairly high threshold for pain but I was ready for immediate relief. I think if I were you I would put off the gardening thing, six weeks will seem like a lifetime if you make your pain worse than it already is. Maybe someone from above is telling you the same thing if you are in for a lot of rain. The gardening can wait, don't hurt yourself more ... keep us posted, Usta

 
Old 03-10-2007, 04:54 AM   #13
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ms_west HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Do you wish someone congratulations on a surgical date??? I guess that would be okay. I am glad that you have a date and that it will be the beginning of your recovery journey. Enjoy your freedom prior to surgery and use this time to prepare for the surgery to make it a little easier afterwards. Good Luck.

 
Old 03-10-2007, 10:48 AM   #14
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RM8251 HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Hi Aaron,
Welcome ! A few days ago I found this site and I was feeling a little unsure of my decsion to go forward with surgery. The support , information and the well being that comes forth from this place and these people will help you as you go forward to recovery. They will answer a lot of your question and they will also inspire a lot of question.

I've been waiting for about five weeks for my surgery which will be a L5-S1 Anterior/Posterior Fusion & Laminectomy on March 14th.

I understand all the doubts that will creep into your mind. Stay strong, stay positive and stay focus on getting ready mentally and physically for the best results.

The threads here have tips on helping your bone growth with Calcum and Magnesium.Info on pain meds for nerves and post-op pain that might help you with a varity of different symtoms you may be dealing with.

Anyway welcome again,
Richard

 
Old 03-10-2007, 11:31 AM   #15
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Roy47 HB User
Re: I'm so confused and scared

Hello Aaron,

I agree with all the others; when the time came and surgery was offered, I jumped and said lets go and get it done. I was very comfortable and looking forward to it. The one thing that was perhaps the worst to me was slowly going away from some of the meds that things your blood. The
Spine surgeon office sent me a list of things not to take 2 weeks out. This was not a lot of fun. But the doctor said that I must have followed it to a
T because I did not do a lot of bleeding during surgery.

There was a problem and we had to wait; I went sunday to get my blood typed that way monday the blood would be there and things would go perfect. I went and the nurse at Clarkson West said that she did not have the orders to type the blood and that I would have to wait and do that Monday morning before the surgery.

When my Spine Surgeon showed up and was told this he was not a happy camper and things got straightened out. The pre op nurse asked me what happened. So I told her. She called my Spine Surgeon right away.

I am sure glad that I was not the lady who did not do her job sunday, I am sure that she got grouched at a lot. The spine surgeon was not upset with me at all. He said that you did as you were told. The gal at Clarkon
West did not do her job.

But, yes I am sure that you did what you needed to do like the rest of us. I am sorry that things are a little long here as well.

Roy 47

 
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