Well, I'm here looking for some success stories too Kelly!! Daunting upcoming L3-S1 spinal fusion on active 54 year old..!
Both glad and bummed to be here! Glad there is a support network out there in the ether and bummed that I need it!
My name is Kevin. Live here in NYC. 54 year old fit, dad to two boys (13 & 7), husband, business owner, type A personality, active (climbed a volcano 6 months ago..post epidural)..
I've seen four of the world's top guys here in NY. Ortho-spinal, neuro-spinal..HSS and Columbia Presbyterian..They all say the same thing..3 level spinal fusion from L3-through S1. They have different approaches/multiple approaches..My legs are very weak, serious pain, electric shocks..drop foot..on my last legs..! I've had about 10 epidurals and man they were heaven for a while..last one bought me one day of pain free movement..
I am having a hard time finding other relatively young guys who have gone through this and are out there having a good time on the golf course. Everything I read says "beyond 2 level fusion...beware...."
I am hoping to find some stories I can relate to. Appreciate any and all feedback.
Welcome to the board, and I'm sorry for the reasons you find yourself here! I'm six years older than you, and not nearly as active, but I did have what I would consider a successful L3-S1 fusion in June. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have...if I can.
I gather this is your first spine surgery? Have you decided on a surgeon yet?
I am still recovering from my fusion and am still in the process of growing bone. It can take a good year for the bone to harden and become strong, and multi-level fusions can take longer. You may find that you may have to add PATIENCE to your list of qualities as you move through recovery.
What have specialists you've consulted with told you about returning to your very active lifestyle after a three-level fusion?
I had an L3-S1 fusion in Feb 2010. I have very loose ligaments and tendons so that meant I've previously had L4-S1 but L3 became loose. I'm 44.
Originally my Orthopedic Spine Surgeon was going to do a 360 where they go in from the abdomen and the back, but his new associate proposed a 5 inch incision above my right hip and the back incision. This worked well. I still could not eat for days as they do move the internal organs around to slow them down. I had a brace I had to wear for about 4 months. I was in the hospital 7 days and I was able to drive around the 3rd month. But my doc was great, he said "if you get hit by a drunk but you get out of your car in the brace, who knows what the responding cops will think" So I was very careful if I did drive!
Sorry to hear about your pain. I'm recovering myself from a 2-level fusion. As Teri has told you, PATIENCE is something you will have to have going forward.
I'm 3 yrs. older than you and have always been very active. I had a fusion in 2004. Four months after that fusion I was playing golf twice a week. I walked 4 miles a week. Had no problems for 5 yrs. Then my right leg started giving me all kinds of pain. Had a discectomy in March of 2010. Did not help. Then in Dec. I had the 2-level fusion that I am now recovering from.So I have had 3 levels done, just not all at one time. Hoping to go back to work in march. Maybe start playing golf again in april.
I've known some people that had the 3-level fusion that recovered and led productive lives. It's a long process to recover. You must follow the doctors advice. If you try to do to much too soon, it could very easy set you back for an even longer recovery. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I'll try to answer any that you may have. Good Luck!
anyone have any success/experience with Faber's "pain pain go away" and prolotherapy? my wife and I were considering going to Milwaukee from NYC to his clinic. they have great case studies of success w/3 level spinal suergery candidates. we found someone here in the city who was trained by Faber..
Re: Can you have your Vitamin D levels tested at any time of day?
yes Jenj770. My wife and I (I'm 54, severe stenosis, rotolelisthesis, disc and vertebrae severe degeneration, etc...although I climbed a volcano with my son last year) were planning on going to see Faber (pain pain go away/prolotherapy leader) in Milwaukee when we found someone in the city who was trained by him. thanks!
Last edited by moderator2; 05-17-2011 at 11:16 AM.
thanks for all the feedback. I recently heard of the Milwaukee Pain Clinic and a guy who wrote the book pain , pain, go away...its about prolotherapy and there were lots of casae studies where people avoided surgery with this treatment. My wife and I were going to go. Figured what the heck. a few round trips to Milwaukee from new york sound great as an alternative to 3 level spinal fusion. Now though, we found a guy in the city who was trained by the milwaukee guy back in the 90"s. Calls in reconstructive therapy.
I'm a newbie when it comes to boards and as such. Hard to tell what offers real hope and what is a bucket of fool's gold. I am dying to avoid by described surgery... Am now traipsing around NYC with crutches ans my legs feel like cotton. Not complaining just describing. thanks all.
Last edited by moderator2; 05-17-2011 at 04:26 PM.
Be sure to check if the prolotherapy and the doctor you want to see are covered under your insurance. If you are willing to pay cash then you need not worry. However, if you have a good relationship with your primary care physician and/or pain management physician perhaps discuss with them as well to see if it's an option. While there are many therapies out there, much of the success of a therapy depends on the person's exact medical condition, MRI reports, etc. Two people may be advised to have a L4-S1 fusion, for example, but for very different reasons. One reason may be possibly treated with prolotherapy but another reason may only be surgically fixed. Also, I would hope the Milwaukee doctor would want to review the case ahead to time to see if your wife is a viable candiate. Many specialist doctors located in few locations do so.
Milwaukee is great in the summer (SummerFest is what I miss about Wisconsin, amongst many other things)