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Old 01-07-2008, 03:01 PM   #1
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General Practioner and Back Update

Today I saw my GP and he is taking over my pain meds effective with my next refill. PRAISE THE LORD! He is very concerned about my new found balance issues since surgery and he stepped out of the room for a minute and called a neurologist. The neurologist said that a nerve conduction test should not be done now because of my pain levels and recent surgery. The neurologist said that we needed to give my nerves time to calm down and he would recommend nerve medications for a full 6 months to one year. The neurologist recommended that I try Lyrica one more time and go on cymbalta. (There goes my weight loss!! )

However, my general practioner did not feel comfortable writing the Lyrica prescription until he talks in detail with the pharmacist because of my severe reaction to neurotin and he wants to talk to a psychologist about switching me from prozac to cymbalta.

My GP also stated that he talked to my surgeon last week and he said my surgeon is talking Failed Back Syndrome. and that I will never be well again. My GP said he hates to put that label on me at age 43.

Overall I think my appt went well until failed back syndrome was thrown up there. Now , I don't know what to think.

 
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:17 PM   #2
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Hi Pepper,
I'm sure that was distressing to hear, but I'd take it with a grain of salt. Your surgeon may be trying to save face to the GP, since you're having a lot of pain and he wasn't willing to help you with it. It may be his way of bowing out gracefully, so to speak. I think you probably already knew you'd never be "normal" again, but that probably wasn't even the goal with this last surgery, or the one a year ago, either. The goal is to get you able to function with a manageable amount of pain. I'd say the jury's still out on that, since you're still so fresh from surgery. Please, please, don't fret over the surgeon's comment. You've got so much healing yet that needs to happen from this surgery, I can't understand how he can even use those words yet.

I'm so glad, though, that your GP is taking over the pain meds and is listening to you. You need relief! I hope he gets you under control quickly.

How is general life going? Are you able to do anything yet? Keeping up with schoolwork? Do you have any help during the day at this point? Which all boils down to: are you able to get the rest you need?

Keep hanging in there, sweetie. You know we all love you! Let us know how the meds go.

Emily

 
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Hi Pepper,
I agree with Emily. How can the surgeon possibly be talking failed back syndrome when you are still such a fresh post op? I agree also that it could be his way of bowing out and not having to deal with the issues surrounding your surgery. He has been VERY negative since surgery, not really giving you any hope or suggestions. And then on top of everything.....not to give you your meds. He has not given you any reason to put a lot of faith in what he says.
Your GP sounds very caring and thorough. He is doing all the research to make sure he is giving you appropriate care and meds. I applaud him for that. As far as the Cymbalta goes, I have lost weight on that especially in the beginning. It made me nauseous and I wasn't hungry at all. It is much better now but I still don't overeat, just a little nauseous now and then. I'm sure he will follow you closely if he determines that Lyrica is worth another try. I can see where it would make you nervous though since you had such a bad reaction to those meds before.
Pepper, after they get your pain under control you can concentrate on getting up and around and feeling better. You are young and highly motivated. The human body is amazing and people have come back from injuries and illnesses that no one ever thought was possible. Keep the faith and prove that surgeon wrong!
I am saying an extra prayer for you tonight that God will give you the strength to get through this tough time in your life and that he will bless you with his healing powers. Hang in there girl. I care about you!

Deb

 
Old 01-07-2008, 04:03 PM   #4
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Pepper, I'm sooo happy that your GP is going to work with you regarding the pain meds!!! At least that is something positive. I know it would be better if you didnt need those meds, but since you do, it's great to know that you have a doctor that seems very willing to help & has alot of concern for you. All doctors should be that way. I know the weight gain, if it does happen, is tough, but right now it's probably better that you get your pain under control over weight. And if your pain does lessen, maybe you can actually move around more, and maybe counteract weight gain. Just trying to give you some ray of hope about it. Im also really glad he is consulting with a pharmacist about the meds, it seems he is being very cautious with you and has your best interest at heart. Don't let the failed back thing get you down now....like the others said, that doc probably just doesnt know what's going on. Try to keep your spirits up and see what the other meds might be able to do for you.

 
Old 01-07-2008, 04:11 PM   #5
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Thank you so much, Pepper, for the update! I was wondering if you talked to your doctor about maybe having cervical spine (or neck) issues? I knew that someone on the board mentioned that it could be your upper spine causing the balance issues. I was wanting to let you know that since I have been having trouble with my upper spine (as well as with my lower lumbar spine), I have also been having balance issues. I remember about a couple of weeks ago, I lost my balance, while sitting in a chair and spilled my soda all over me! I am so thankful that you have a caring and sincere GP. It seems that he is willing to help you with all of your needs. Emily and Deb had very good advice, also! Please continue to keep us all updated about your condition. I care so much about everyone on this board and pray that we can all find relief, soon!

 
Old 01-07-2008, 04:13 PM   #6
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Baybreeze, that is wonderful and uplifting advice, also!

 
Old 01-07-2008, 04:35 PM   #7
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

We have been off school since November 19th and tomorrow I want to start back on 2 subjects a day then hopefully next week we can add another subject. I need to get us back on track.

I am not moving that well at all - I did walk 150 ft for the last 2 days but at the end of that my nerve pain is burning something fierce. We are hopeful that once I get some nerve pain meds in that it will allow it to calm down and I can slowly build up.

My surgeon did release me to start walking and pool therapy as tolerated. I am also allowed to climb the stairs once a day but no more than that since the steps are a trigger for me.

My parents are flying out tomorrow and my MIL is now here for 2 more weeks. What a lucky gal I am!! I am doing no cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. I have plenty of help so that I can concentrate on healing.

I am unable to sit up for more than 5 to 10 minutes because of the back pain. I also am not allowed to drive beause of the narcotics I am on.

I am able to lay down and sleep during the day as needed; however, I am trying not to sleep more than 45 min at a time because I can't sleep at night then. As it is I am sleeping from 3 ish in the morning to 6:30 am. if I am lucky because of the pain. I average about 5 hours a sleep a day. My GP said that if the addition of meds do not help that we will be addressing this as well.

My GP is researching long term pain meds for me next month and told me that he may change my pain meds but he does not want to change pain meds and add lyrica and cymbalta at the same time. Then we would have no clue what helped with the pain or if I had a reaction what caused the reaction, etc.

I agree I don't want to accept failed back syndrome either. I want to hang onto HOPE but I also am realizing that surgery may not be an answer anymore. I have had 4 surgeries and am getting worse - I really want to be worked up by a neurologist but it looks like they want to wait another six months to a year to do it.

Deb, thank you for your positive words and extra prayer tonight. I will take all the prayers I can get. I found out today that I am ineligible for social security because I was self employed and did not earn enough in the last 5 years. Everyone going thru spinal problems needs to realize that it is very important that if you are self employed that you need to earn a specific amount of $$ and pay certain dollar amount of fica to be eligible for social security. I have enough work quarters I just did not pay enough fica in the last few years because I went to self employment on account of my deteroriating back pain i.e. unable to be super mom and work with the amount of pain I was under I went part-time. Very Tricky!!

Thank you for your support.

Last edited by ms_west; 01-07-2008 at 04:40 PM.

 
Old 01-07-2008, 05:37 PM   #8
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Petense, My GP said it was very possible it could be cervical; however, at this point he does not want to put me thru an MRI or nerve conductivity test because I am so fresh out of surgery and he does not want to do anything to increase my pain. He would rather wait a few months and see what happens. If they become worse, he said that he will most definitately order additional testing.

Last edited by ms_west; 01-07-2008 at 05:37 PM.

 
Old 01-08-2008, 02:36 PM   #9
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Diet, I had been on Lyrica prior to surgery why i dont really know as I didnt have nerve pain............. but I think at this stage they were just trying anything. Weight gain........... none......... so dont worry about weight, think of your back and dont even go down the failed back syndrome ........ thought they only say that after 2 years etc..... wheres all this info we have on the months go by and we see the improvements not in weeks. Diet look after yourself, sorry to hear some of the helpers are leaving you, but you are very luckey to have had for so long. I would have given anything for my mum to helped me mentally to get thru my fusion, (she died 2 years ago at the age of 63, found out the 9th of march and she died the 8th of May) But when she was dying she said when I am up there I am going to have a word with the Lord and tell him you have suffered enough and if I can do anything up there it will be get the Lord to fix your back !). When i pray to her at night I laugh and say mum having a bad day here, are you just chatting up there, get working girl !!!!.

Diet look after yourself and the old text books are being dusted down and school begins. Take care and dont over do it.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:13 PM   #10
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Diet, I'm hearing a theme from these wise spineys... pace yourself and wait to make conclusions, my dear. We know it hurts to hear things like "failed back" even from doofuses like your surgeon (he may be a good surgeon, but his social skills are not top notch). Put that out of your heart and mind as best you can. Try to focus on the here and now and maybe find hope in any small improvements you see or feel. You know there will be ups and downs, but hopefully in the next months there will be a trend of more ups. Be a tortoise, not a hare in this recovery, OK? Jumping to "failed back" won't help anything. It's a big pain in the watuzzi trying new meds, BUT if they help, it would be really nice, eh? We'll be here for you either way! Be strong, sweetie! You can do this! You've made it really, really far. Take a deep breath and a baby step today. That's all you have to do. Tomorrow, do the same thing.

Hugs,
Margaret

P.S. I'll probably need the same lecture in a couple weeks, OK? So, if you can just copy and paste it?

 
Old 01-08-2008, 05:04 PM   #11
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Chatter you crack me up. Isn't your surgery soon?

My GP called me back tonight and has placed me on 20 mg. of cymbalta for one week than 40 mg. starting next week. He has decided to hold off on the Lyrica. After thinking about it overnight, he only wants to start one medication at a time in case I have a reaction we will know which med caused the reaction. He wants someone to be around me 24/7 for the next week because of the severe reactions I have had to nerve medicines in the past. So here is praying that this will give me some nerve pain relief.

 
Old 01-08-2008, 05:20 PM   #12
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Hey Pepper,
I was glad to hear that you are receiving some help from GP. I know that everything will turn out like you need it to. I am new to board so I don't know alot about everyone. What kind of school are you talking about? My wife teaches school so I am interested. I go to 4 appointments tomorrow so think about me. 8:00 MRI 9:00 nerve test 10:00 neurosurgeon 1:00 internal medicine and 2:30 pain dr. I have to drive 2 1/2 hours to doctors so they all have to be on same day due to increasing gas prices and decreasing funds(I was also turned down for social security this week) my back is not serious enough yet--They say I can work just not as much. I wish they would tell me that to my face when I can hardly get out of bed in the morning(If I even sleep that is) well, i am just ranting but it seems as if you guys are the only people that understand. My wife has been the only one in our house working all of last year. I feel bad sometimes but I can't help it. Anyway look forward to hearing from you. Cosby

 
Old 01-08-2008, 05:24 PM   #13
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

I totally agree with starting one med at a time. BTW, I stayed at 20 mg. of Cymbalta and got a reasonable amount of relief for the 4 months I was on it. I wonder if you can hold at 20 mgs. for a few weeks and then see if you need to go up?

If Lyrica doesn't do the trick, would your GP consider Topamax? It has really been a savior for me. It hasn't fixed everything, but it sure put the dragons (as I call it) away for the most part.

Yes, my pre-op day is tomorrow and surgery is Friday. I'm much more at peace with it than the last one (Feb '07). I'm just ready to move on with this and my life! When I think about all that can go wrong in any surgery, I get anxious, but otherwise, I'm ready.

I hope you understand I try to use a little humor to keep things light - not that I take any part of anyone's situation lightly. I was talking with a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer one year ago - stage 3B - age 33. She's still not out of the woods. It gives me perspective and helps me be grateful for the health that I DO have. I try to smile and laugh when I can. I never want that to be misinterpreted in my typing...

OK, be good to you and those you love.

Best,
Margaret

 
Old 01-08-2008, 09:59 PM   #14
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Hi Everyone,
Pepper, NO failed back!! way too early to know that. My doc didn't think about it until 1 1/2 yrs after last surgery and as I said on another thread, he started to cry when I started to cry when he did tell me. I know for me I knew months before he said it that I was headed in that direction. You know your body, we all know our bodies way better than any dr. will. I knew my body just can't do anymore than what it is doing no matter how hard I try. We need to listen to our body not the dr.'s to a certain point I think. It's hard to hear that diagnosis but we sure don't need to hear it so soon post op.

I'm sorry that you & the others got turned dosn with SSD, I fought for over 4 years before I got approved. I know it's hard but if you guys have not exhausted all of your appeals I wouldn't give up, SSD is so screwed up it isn't funny. My first denial said I didn't make enough earning to even qualify to apply, well they weren't even looking at my records, they looked at someone else's SS#. the second denial said I wasn't bad enough, then I had a hearing. The judge actually apologized to me at the hearing. I should have never been denied at all. So don't give up with those idiots! I know with the earnings issue I would make sure that they have the right records.

Again, I'm praying away for everyone. Hang in there, things will get better.

God Bless

Carol
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:17 PM   #15
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Re: General Practioner and Back Update

Ditto! Way too early to even have heard that from the doctor! I remember when I heard that same crappy and ugly phrase from my back surgeon at 7 months post op. Then my PT was thinking the same thing because of my lack of ability to get beyond a certain point in PT despite many different ways of trying to get me over the hump.

BUT here I am now! Doing well! So chin up, push that nasty phrase out of your head and just concentrate on resting and healing.

You and I are quite alike with the nerve meds. Unfortunately, I could not take either the Neurontin or the Lyrica. I reacted severly to both of them. I later was given a script for the cymbalta but couldn't get up the "nerve" to try it after the other two that put me in harms way.

Try one new one at at time. The only way to go. I do hope that these meds do work for you and bring you some much needed relief.
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