I got so upset with the pain yesterday that I went to see my specialist (and got in!) and he has refereed me to a neurosurgeon who I called this morning and got an appointment on Thursday. I can't believe I got in so fast, he must have had a cancellation. Anyhow the surgeon does intermediate rooms (operations) at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. It may cost roughly $3000. But I can always put it on mum's card and pay it off. I just hope he can do something for me, I have just been going down hill fast. It is just terrible. I don't know what sort of operation I would be offered but it is worth a go. Wish me luck? It is just a relief to talk to someone about my options. Anyhow I will keep you posted. Allan
I've been keeping an eye on your posts. I'm so happy you have been heard and you got in so quickly!! I pray this Neuro will be able to do something to help you and minimize this pain for you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers!
Well I am going to get back surgery but not until the 12 months exclusion period for pre existing ailments is up (9 Months). I saw the neurosurgeon today and he was really good. He explained every thing and told me I can't just have a partial operation I need the whole deal otherwise my back will become unstable. So 9 months from now I should be recovering from surgery. He seemed to think I needed fusion because I have reduced space for the nerves and my disc's are damaged and dehydrated. and will have to come out I believe. But he will explain more and I can ask questions in October about more details.
He was very good and showed me all the problems on the MRI and could see strait away exactly what needed to be done as soon as he saw the MRI. Not like other doctors who just went MMMM! Which tells me nothing. I got along with him well and felt like I could trust him. He told me about some surgeries he had performed and some he just did in the last couple days. He also talked about what to expect afterwards and that we will be tapering off the medications slowly after the surgery. And he said that he has seen his patients going back to work and feeling much better.
He told me I should loose the leg symptoms as soon as I wake up and the shooting pains will go after a couple of weeks. And with physio etc I should be able to reduce my meds slowly and later maybe go back to some part time work. He really wants to help me get my life back. I know he will do his best and I feel positive about him and his confidence. Not like other doctors I have seen.
Now it is just about being patient and not hurting myself any more if I can help it. I just feel a bit of the weight lifting from me. I am going to be as positive as I can.
Personally...I would only have surgery when there is a total herniation of a disc and there was extreme risk of paralysis unless having the operation..
I have had 3 Cervical fusions over the last 9 years..and now with a team of some of the most experienced Neurosurgoen's in the country...They would never operate on someone with just bulging discs or anything less than where the side effects of the damage outweigh the surgery consequences..They never do surgery just to alleviate pain.
To say that your surgery can wait for over 9 months...just shows that there is not an 'emergency' situation...All my surgeries were set up within 3 weeks at the most because of the dangerous situation..
I am NOT saying that your pain is not severe...and that every moment that you are in pain is terrible...Please don't misunderstand what I am saying...I am saying that your Neurosurgeon does not feel that you are in immediate danger to wait that long which tells me he wants to operate for other reasons..
but there are dozens and dozens of modalities that can help with back/neck disc issues...and I would avoid surgery at all cost if they are not telling you this should be an emergency surgery...
Now..have they offered the option of doing a laminotomy/discectomy, or microdiscectomy, or even endoscopic discectomy? ..to go in and relieve pressure..that is a different story...those are much less invasive...
I am speaking of fusion surgery..with autograft/allograft bone..titanium plates, etc..which is very invasive..and only has a 50% (about 12% if you are a smoker and most surgeons refuse to do surgery on smoker's) chance of any type of permanent pain relief.
Since I am fairly new to the boards..have you done all the other therapies to help alleviate the pain?
Again..this is both for you and others who read this about surgeries...I would personally exhaust every single type of modality of non medicinal and medicinal options which takes some time before considering any type of surgery
I would always get 3 opinions from Board Certified Neurosurgeon's or Board Certified Orthopaedic surgeon..
I hope that whatever path you eventually take truly does help with your pain..
Last edited by Ilovemycutedog; 02-18-2010 at 04:31 AM.
I would like to answer concerning the surgery I have arranged with the neurosurgeon. Firstly I may have suffered from chronic pain for over 8 years but not only that my symptoms have changed completely in the last 6 months. I now have trouble walking, I am in agony for 2 hours in the morning while I wait for the strong medications I now have to take twice a day give me some relief from pain from my waist down. I have shooting pain like lightning that goes up my spine and into my legs when I do anything physical. I now have pain in my bottom on both sides that disables me when I walk and or when I sit. My feet burn and I have pain in my thighs and around my knees.
The surgeon I am seeing is very experienced and has had many patients that have gone from my situation to being able to work again. I am now in the position that I can't do much of anything. It is horrible.
The neurosurgeon showed me on the MRI how my disc's have lost a lot of height and are degenerating. The vertebrae and facet joints on either side are under a lot of stress. This is noticeable by the white colour on the bones shown on the MRI. There is very minimal space for the nerves to get through between the vertebrae and is why I have the pain in my butt and legs.
Every month my problems are worse but these surgeons can't just drop everything and treat me on the public system. If I was put on the public list it might take 18 months to 2 years to get treatment. It has only been 3 months since I joined health insurance so I have 9 months before I can be treated respectfully by the doctors nurses and surgeons. This is just how the system works here in Australia.
The only reason they could call my case an emergency is if I become incontinent or loose control over my bowels. Is that the only reason you would have surgery? If that was the case I could get treatment much earlier as all the back surgeries would be cancelled. I believe that I deserve to have some sort of life given back to me and not live like this for the rest of my life.
By the way I have had possibly 100 injections all sorts of treatments and I am not going to go through any more as they just don't work for me.
Last edited by Administrator; 05-31-2011 at 02:37 PM.
Reason: inappropriate comment
As I stated before...my comments have nothing to do with how much pain I think that you are in..I'm sure it is awful as I and others on here have experienced it..
It's just my opinion...one of thousands...
I just wanted to let you and others know that are having fusion surgeries..that the statistics for it relieving all your pain is 50% at best...it is used to relieve pressure from the nerves...and prevent any permanent damage...and fix the damaged disc/remove it.
That's why it's so important for people on these boards to share the good, bad, and the ugly about their experiences...
That is why I asked if you have tried and exhausted all the conservative treatments that I mentioned...since I said I was new and hadn't read your other posts with what you had tried before..
Each one of us has to make our own choice with our Dr. on when to have surgery..I was just giving my personal opinion as I stated..
I never say that someone has to follow exactly what I do/did...that would be silly...
This is a place to exchange information..I wish I had this before my first two surgeries as my last Dr. who is the most wonderful and caring Dr. I know...told me the honest truth about what to expect with this last surgery....which was to fix mechanical issues...and maybe take some nerve pressure off...but it's not a 'fix' for all the pain...Unfortunately..I will have to manage neck pain for the rest of my life...and I am only 41..
And when people have fusion surgeries..it puts pressure on other areas of the spine and makes the statistics go way up that can cause bulging or herniations in the above/below discs...along with adhesions, hardware issues at times, failed back syndrome, continued nerve pain..muscle pain, etc...
I truly hope that you are one of the lucky one's that this would take care of all your issues and that you have no more pain..I really do...
just sharing my 'little 'ol story'...
Last edited by Ilovemycutedog; 02-19-2010 at 04:52 AM.
Did you even read my thread? I have compressed nerves and degenerating disc's that are getting worse all the time and as I do need surgery but am not in the situation as yet where I have become incontinent or loosing balder control. So I can wait a while as I really have no choice because I have to wait the 9 more months on my health insurance. Also the public waiting list is over 12 months. Now if these things start to happen I would be classed as an emergency and rushed through. So I DO NEED THE OPERATION just I have to wait a little and not cause more damage by being very careful and not over doing anything.
Obviously you are one of the only ones here who really needed an operation and all of the ones here who asked for the operation to relieve their agony where wrongly treated? We should just continue to take very strong pain medication for the rest of our lives and just put up with it?
I'm sorry if I got upset but this has been the first glimmer of hope for me. Everything else has been a downward slope. I really believe that the nerves in my lower back need to be released from the pressure they are under and the doctor showed me what is happening on the MRI. So I could see his reasoning and have faith in the surgeon I spoke to. He was the first doctor to really help me to understand what is happening in my spine and it is not happy. So the only thing I can see that will help me is surgery. Even though that scares me I feel like it is the only option I have that may give me some sort of future. Because the life I have now is not very nice. Stuck at home 95% of the time and I only go out to the doctors or to my parents. How am I going to meet someone to spend my life with? If I stay like this I will be on my own for the rest of my life which may be reduced by my declining health and emotions.
Not only this neurosurgeon has advised me to have surgery as the orthopaedic surgeon I have been seeing before, also was arranging surgery for me but our personalities clashed and I cancelled the appointment. He was very abrupt and didn't like that at the time I had no health insurance.
He also told me that the nerves were being compressed. As the neurosurgeon stated if they where to do a laminotomy/discectomy, or microdiscectomy, the removal of disc it would leave my spine unstable so he would not take that option. For some reason the neurosurgeon recommended a fusion. This doesn't necessarily mean that I will agree with this as there are other surgical options.
Thanks for explaining that for me Jema as I do get upset when someone tells me I am doing the wrong thing and or don't understand the risks of surgery. I am scared of the thought of being cut up and screwed back together. I have never had surgery before, not of that extent anyhow and if I thought I could avoid it I would. But things have been steadily getting worse for me over the last year or so.
I was told by another neurosurgeon back in 2004 that my back was stable and wouldn't get any worse. But here I am now with sciatica in both butt cheeks and basically in pain from my waist down.
I wish I could have something done now.That is why I went to the new neurosurgeon. But as I said he will not do any small procedure as he believes it would destabilise my spine and I have to wait for the insurance before anyone will touch me. It is not meant to be like this but basically money talks and the public system sucks unless it is a dire emergency.
Then they do treat you well and are very good to you but you have to get through emergency and only the very sick get past and into a bed. My Dad broke his foot badly and after 4 days my mum rang the local member of parliament before they got him into the operating theatre and a bed in the wards. He now has joined a health fund as well but they can't both afford it.
I know it is going to be a long and difficult wait but I am hoping it will all be worth it.
Thanks again. Allan.
I don't know alot about the medical system down under in Australia... But I just had a series of Radio Frequency Ablations which have helped tremendously. They tested me for effectiveness first though by doing 2 sessions of Basal Branch Nerve Blocks. So its not in the spine but in the branches just off the spine. Maybe something you can inquiry about?
Just trying to help like I said I can't possibly assume to know your perspective being in different countries life situations etc.
I think I have too many problems down there for any one treatment to really help. I have had some success from different treatments but they all only last short periods and not enough for me to go through any more injections etc. I just have had enough of doctors jabbing me all over the place and I just feel like I'm done with injections as I am now having hormone problems as well. I just want a permanent treatment I have had enough stop gaps. Allan
Last edited by allanbruce; 02-26-2010 at 05:02 PM.
I can very much empathize with that feeling. Sadly my doctors won't even discuss surgical options with me until I've exhausted EVERY other option. So that's why I've continued to be a pincushion and am moving on to every physical therapy option next.
Sorry I don't really understand what you are saying? The surgeon won't operate? What is it you call physical therapy? Do you mean massage etc or like acupuncture.
I just don't think I can cope with injections for the rest of my life. I think it is worth trying the operation if it gives me a chance of some success so I could maybe reduce the medications I have to take. Allan
Yeah with my insurance they won't pay for any procedure unless its a Office visit to a Clinic or my General Practitioner or its a referral to another Doctor from my GP or one that is in my current list of active referrals. So basically they won't refer me to a neurosurgeon until I try everything else first. Part of that is insurance rules, part is my doctors not wanting to expose me to the risks of surgery before all else has been tried.
So the PT is "Myofascial Release" which is a form of massage therapy in addition to my cycling, aqua therapy and regiment of stretches and exercising with a Back Stretcher (or exercise ball if I am away from home).
I've tried acupuncture with ZERO benefits even when they used electronic needles.
I tried a form of chiropractic therapy called Directional Non-force Technique... Which actually helped some but the location was inaccessible by mass transit so my only session was when my sister-in-law was in town and we scheduled back to back appointments.
But back to your question... I can't get a referral until I've tried everything else and mt\y insurance won't pay without a referral.
Last edited by Myofascial Pain; 02-27-2010 at 02:40 AM.
Thanks Bullymum and Jema, I don't want to start doubting my decisions. I think it is positive and all my family are happy to hear that I found a good neurosurgeon and one that will operate on my back. I have been suffering for a long time. I am willing to go through the surgery if it gets rid of the sciatica and I will be very happy if it relieves some of the other pain and side effects I have dealt with for about 8 or 9 years. Allan
Allan, leave the doubts behind. You've made a decision and now it's time to plan for the time when something is finally done to help you. You've been very brave and really taken things very well. I'm just so glad that someone will finally help you.
I have found it hard to stop thinking about having surgery. I am always thinking about maybe I could meet someone nice but then I wonder how I would be in a relationship. I didn't do so well last time. I didn't even know I was doing anything wrong but she just wasn't the right woman for me. I worry about how long I will be invalid afterwards and having to do some physio afterwards. Also I wonder if I am ever going to be able to work again and how after so long off work will I cope. I feel so inadequate that how anyone would ever want to be with someone who has to live with their sister to get by. I have needed my family for so long that I don't know how I would be having to get by on my own. I can't live here for the rest of my life though.
I do have one opportunity to work for my brother, as I did some part time work mostly on the phone for him but it got too much for me to be really responsible for some big jobs when I had to keep ringing people and do it sounding like real professional. I used to be able to do it but as my pain got worse I just couldn't trust myself to be so dependable and up early every morning in case my phone rang and I would have to talk to managers and sometimes higher like directors of Australia wide shopping centres. I just couldn't be that person. I don't look the part or sound it on the phone now.
I think I just get too much going on in my head and burn myself out. I don't know if I could be the married responsible husband type anymore. I tried to but that lasted about 7 years then my life broke down. I had a huge emotional breakdown that has taken a long time to get over. It was like my hole life was just crap. All the drinking and hiding from responsibility. I have never been very stable, even when I was married we moved about 10 times. I have never tried to own my own home or even thought about it seriously. I have just been lost most of my life but I really try sometimes but look at me now relying on family again to help me along. I am very lucky they love me or seriously I don't think I could have made it. I nearly killed myself many times but I was not meant to go someone has been watching over me. I rode a big motorcycle fast and drunk for about 10 years but I got through it almost unscathed just this lower back problem that started when I was trying to make my marriage work. I don't know how or why but I will never get back on one again. Partly because of my back. If I came of one I would do serious damage to my spine. I just have to get those dreams out of my head. I have to try to be there for my niece and nephew they need me and so do my mum and dad.
Life can be so hard sometimes but I am not going to give up yet. I have a chance of recovery from my back injury and I will try to prepare for the operation. I need to loose some weight and get some exercise. I am actually missing swimming at present because of the weather. It has been raining and windy so I haven't been in. I may have to find a heated pool so I can swim even through winter. I really need the exercise other wise my pain actually gets worse so I am going to have to start doing these things and get motivated.
Sorry if I have gone on so long but I just had to get it off my chest.