I had my appointment with the surgeon today. I fully expected to walk away with a surgery date, but unfortunately, I did not.
First off, he is a great guy, and spent over an hour with my husband and I. I cried almost the entire appointment, and he kept handing me tissues and was very compassionate.
He reviewed my x-ray and MRI, and is the first Dr. (out of the several I have seen) that told me I have a disc issue on top of my Spondy. My Spondy is at the L5-S1 level, and he said the slippage is not too bad. My L4-L5 disc has an annular tear with some mild disc disease and is bulging. I don't understand why is the the only one so far that has seen that, but he is a spine surgeon and therefore a little more qualified to make those calls, so I trust him. He ordered a CT scan, and I have to have a discogram. These are obviously to give him more detailed information. After those two tests have been done, he wants to meet up again and discuss the next step, which is most likely a fusion. It is mainly a matter of what level needs to be fused, if not both. One question. What will a CT scan show that the MRI didn't?
He also wants me to start PT. I called my insurance company today to see if this is covered, and it doesn't sound like it will be. In addition, if they were to approve it, I would only get 20 sessions per year. I don't think that would get me very far, and I would rather save them for after surgery. So that is a bust.
I am just so tired of waiting and waiting, but I do understand that he needs to be VERY thorough before operating on my spine. Meanwhile, my emotional and physical state are quickly deteriorating. My pain is increasing. Tonight I thought I was going to have an emotional breakdown/ anxiety attack. I was home alone with my 14 month old, and could not handle the pain. I don't ever get to rest, she still doesn't even sleep through the night. I cried so hard in front of her. Luckily it didn't seem to phase her much! Once again, I had to call a family member to come help me take care of her.
Sorry to vent. I do have another question. I am in severe pain at this point. It is difficult for me to imagine getting up and going to work every day, but most of the time I do. Is it my spondy causing this, even though he says the slippage isn't too bad? Could it be the annular tear in my disc? Could it be both?
sorry to hear about your pain. about the PT, usually they want you to go 3 times a week, so you could easily use up the 20 session by the end of the year and start in January for 20 new sessions. If you are unhappy with the docs decision you can always go for a second or third opinion. I would! Make sure though that you keep bringing your husband to the appts. for some reason docs that see me cry think my problems are emotional and want to prescribe xanax. If you are not seeing a pain management doc you may also want to start that now since you are having trouble taking care of your daughter. Hope you find some answers soon!
Megss.....to me it sounds like a good doctor.....he is concerned about the correct answer for you....I would never in a million years have fusion without a discogram first.....I know your hurting and sounds like you need some rest and maybe a break as well.....stay relaxed until he gets you "Fully" checked out.....back pains can make a person absolutely nuts so take it easy and the doctor you have will get you taken care of.
I have a tear and slippage as well and the slippage appears to be the pain but im sure both play a role.
I think you will be surprised to find out what you find out with the discogram...they hurt (4or5/10) but are worth all the pain to know whats really going on.
wish I could help you some how. It will get better.
My 2 cents on the discogram...absolutely necessary, and mine hurt for all of about 5 seconds. I really don't even remember it. I know everyone's is different, but these boards had me freaked out about how painful it would be. Even the docs had said, "It's not exactly comfortable." Your basically knocked out, they set everything up, they wake you up for a minute to test the disks in question - it either hurts (they immediately stop) or it doesn't. They put you back under and before you know it you're in recovery. Best of luck. My surgery is Dec. 17th so I'll be around the boards for a while.
Thanks everyone for your responses. It is such a relief to have this board. My friends and family don't really get what I am going through, and I feel very alone every day. I also feel like a burden whenever I ask for help. I used to be such and active and industrious person. Now I have a hard time walking 1 block!
My discogram will be Dec 2, so it's coming up quick. I am looking forward to that day actually because, since I will be sedated and given pain meds, I will get to stay home from work. The scheduler on the phone today also told me I will be out of it the entire day and will need help with my daughter, so I get to SLEEP all day if I feel like it! That is great news to me! I am so deprived of sleep, especially this week because my daughter has a cold and has not been sleeping well at all.
The Dr. is also going to do everything he can to get my insurance to cover PT. He only wants me to do 6-8 sessions, so I can strengthen my back in preparation for surgery, and also learn how to get around in a safe way post op. So, that is good news as well.
I will keep you all posted.
Luckylady- Good luck with your surgery!!!!
[QUOTE=luckylady814;3799456]My 2 cents on the discogram...absolutely necessary, and mine hurt for all of about 5 seconds. I really don't even remember it. I know everyone's is different, but these boards had me freaked out about how painful it would be. Even the docs had said, "It's not exactly comfortable." Your basically knocked out, they set everything up, they wake you up for a minute to test the disks in question - it either hurts (they immediately stop) or it doesn't. They put you back under and before you know it you're in recovery. Best of luck. My surgery is Dec. 17th so I'll be around the boards for a while.[/QUOTE]
your one of the lucky ones and had sedation during your discogram, unfortunatly mine was raw with nothing but a 5mg.valium which did absolutly nothing it hurt like a you no what!!! some drs alow for pain meds some dont. i beleive in mild sedation for that procedure shoot if you can feel pain under mild sedation you really have some pain ya know what i mean. it was a horrible experience for me im glad you had some releif hope your doing fine.and good luck with your surgery my prayers are with you
Meggs, On the PT issue, I would check to see when your insurance starts a new year, like another poster suggested. If it's Jan. 1, I would take advantage of PT before the surgery and do as much of the exercises as you can tolerate on your own. It really will help your recovery. My insurance also allowed more PT because I had surgery. You might want to ask your insurance if this is something they do. If not, perhaps discuss a reduced rate with your PT. They may work with you on that.
As an example, I found that a PT teaches a water exercise class at the Y in my area. It's $15 for drop in, which is less than my PT co-pay. Because it's a PT, she's able and willing to understand my situation and provide some modifications. So, cross that bridge when you come to it. There are resources out there when you run out of sessions, most likely.
On the diagnostics your surgeon wants to run - this is a sign of a good surgeon! He's not rushing in! I know you're in pain and desperate to get out, but you want the best recommendation possible. Is there a better way to manage your pain in the meantime? I would advocate for that. It sounds like you're taking more than you should.
Keep expressing yourself here. I think everyone here can relate to the feeling that the folks in our "real" lives don't always understand.
If it's any comfort to commiserate... I can totally relate to the waiting and frustration! I feel like that's what I've been doing for the last 2 years, with a few high hopes and dashed hopes mixed in. You are definitely not alone!