It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 12-09-2009, 07:09 AM   #1
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: MN,USA
Posts: 2,520
megss HB User
Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

8 months ago I had a fusion at L5-S1 to correct a fracture, Spondylolisthesis, and herniated disc. It was horrible and I never got better. I am now with a different (better) surgeon, and after more tests he is going to go in and fuse L4-L5 (it has a full thickness tear, disc disease, and caused 10/10 pain at a recent discogram) and re do the fusion at L5-S1, so now I am in for a 2 level fusion.

I am only 28 and have already been through way too much. This whole mess has caused a host of emotional issues because I do not deal well with pain, not to mention severe chronic pain. I want to do the surgery because I need to get better, for myself and for my husband and daughter, but at the same time I am terrified. I don't want to go through it again.

I want to do everything right this time so that this fusion will heal unlike the other one. I know the odds are not 100%, and unfortunately I had a failed fusion the first time around. Other levels in my spine are starting to deteriorate. The surgeon gave me 20% odds of needing additional fusions because L3-L4 and L2-L3 are beginning to tear, but the damage is minimal at this point so he would rather leave them to avoid more hardware if at all possible.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can better prepare myself? Are there any supplements I should take? I am trying to stay as active as possible, get a little exercise in, and eat well. I went into the last surgery too thin, and lost even more weight while trying to recover. Chronic pain and pain meds take my appetite away. I had some major nutritional issues over the summer and was hospitalized a couple of times due to severely low potassium- low enough to cause cardiac arrest.

I just had my gallbladder taken out last week. I had a golf ball sized stone in addition to other, more regular sized stones. My gallbladder was causing a lot of pain and digestive issues and I am already feeling a lot better in that department, so I am hoping that will help. Food is no longer sitting in my stomach making me feel sick, it is digesting. I am not constantly nausiated anymore, having gallbladder attacks, and believe it or not my migraines have completely stopped! I used to get migraines 3-4 days out of the week.

Is there anything I can do differently this time around besides eat better? I walked a lot last time, but am worried this time around because it will be the dead of winter when I have the surgery. Walking will be more difficult.

Any advice is welcomed! I just want my life back!

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 12-09-2009, 07:33 PM   #2
Facilitator
(female)
 
SpineAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 5,097
SpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Listen to your body and to doctor's orders. Don't do too much too soon and avoid anything the doctor may recommend. I know that many physicians are of the mind that things like advil/aleve/aspirin should be avoided during the fusion process. Nutrition will be very important. Consider things like supplemental drinks if you find it hard to get all the nutrients you need. I found that eating a rice krispie treat before each pain medication dosage worked very well.

You have to get yourself in the mindset that you will fight through the recovery and come out strong on the other end. Maybe it's years of different surgeries but I now gauge everything on feeling better be it by surgery, medication, etc and knowing I may never get back to 100%, but I'd take 50% better than I am today.
__________________
Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 12-10-2009, 08:18 AM   #3
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: MN,USA
Posts: 2,520
megss HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Thank you for your reply.
My old surgeon just stunk. He gave me ZERO restrictions after surgery, said I could lift my daughter right away. He said I could go back on advil, ect at 6 weeks post op, because he refused to fill my pain meds any longer and I was still in a lot of pain. Maybe that had a negative affect on the last fusion? He also didn't believe in PT. I went to a pain clinic after him, and they did not think I was ready for PT at 3 months, but I started at 4 months. I was only in the pool because my pain was still so bad. It didn't last long however because I lost my insurance and no one would help me. There aren't any resources for people out there who need PT and have no insurance. My life has just been a huge mess lately!

 
Old 12-10-2009, 11:03 AM   #4
Senior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: seattle
Posts: 171
matt3507 HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Hi Megss,
I don't have it as bad as you, but I have had chronic disc pain for 3-4 years. It is horrible and I feel for you! When I hear about surgeons that don't treat patients correctly it makes me sick. There are bad docs out there - thats what I don't get.

As far as advice goes I have a couple of small suggestions.

I just finished a book called "Full Catastrophe Living". It is outstanding. It teaches you how to meditate and relax on a deep level. I can't recommend it strongly enough. I have neck probs and I was skeptical at first, but it has helped so much.

Also, for do it yourself PT, I have 2 suggestions. One is "Feldenkrais". They have books online you can get for cheap. It is all about small movements for people with big pain. The other suggestion I have is Qi-Gong. It looks like tai-chi - you know, slow looking martial arts. It increased my range of movement like crazy. It was like I got defrosted. They have cd's and tapes available everywhere. I wouldn't recommend a book because you really need to see someone do it. It is very gentle and gets your blood moving.

For nutrition, I got a juice machine over a year ago. Except for the neck I have never felt better. It is about a four hour job once a week but you can get 3 gallons of juice that will last you a week. If you are interested in the whole routine and recipe I use then just PM me and I will post it.

Gotta run now, (more like hobble). Hang in there and please keep us updated. matt

 
Old 12-10-2009, 01:35 PM   #5
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: MN,USA
Posts: 2,520
megss HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Wow! Thanks! I would love the recipe. I am not sure how to PM but I will try to figure it out.
I should mention that I was able, months later, to get medical aid for me and my daughter through my county, but as soon as I started working part time, I made way too much money to qualify. Problem is I only work part time so I am not elligible for benefits. My husband had lost his job and then stayed home for a little while taking care of me and my daughter, but he went back to work a little while ago and is not elligible for benefits yet either. I am going full time Jan 2nd technically (Jan 1 is a holiday), so I will benefits for my family then, but I will loose LTD. I have no idea what the STD/ LTD policies are for my company, so hopefully I will be able to go back on once I have my second fusion. Even though I will be working from home, I am still going to need a chunk of time off.
I have a question for you. Why have you never tried surgery if it has been this long? Surgery does give a lot of people their lives back, even though it doesn't help some like me. I am hoping this next one will give me my life back. You could maybe qualify for a disc replacement instead of a fusion. That would be less painful and less of a recovery I think. I wanted one for this second surgery instead of a fusion, but the surgeon told me I can't right above another fusion. He said the FDA hasn't approved it.

 
Old 05-16-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Connectict
Posts: 20
harmonv HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by megss View Post
8 months ago I had a fusion at L5-S1 to correct a fracture, Spondylolisthesis, and herniated disc. It was horrible and I never got better. I am now with a different (better) surgeon, and after more tests he is going to go in and fuse L4-L5 (it has a full thickness tear, disc disease, and caused 10/10 pain at a recent discogram) and re do the fusion at L5-S1, so now I am in for a 2 level fusion.

I am only 28 and have already been through way too much. This whole mess has caused a host of emotional issues because I do not deal well with pain, not to mention severe chronic pain. I want to do the surgery because I need to get better, for myself and for my husband and daughter, but at the same time I am terrified. I don't want to go through it again.

I want to do everything right this time so that this fusion will heal unlike the other one. I know the odds are not 100%, and unfortunately I had a failed fusion the first time around. Other levels in my spine are starting to deteriorate. The surgeon gave me 20% odds of needing additional fusions because L3-L4 and L2-L3 are beginning to tear, but the damage is minimal at this point so he would rather leave them to avoid more hardware if at all possible.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can better prepare myself? Are there any supplements I should take? I am trying to stay as active as possible, get a little exercise in, and eat well. I went into the last surgery too thin, and lost even more weight while trying to recover. Chronic pain and pain meds take my appetite away. I had some major nutritional issues over the summer and was hospitalized a couple of times due to severely low potassium- low enough to cause cardiac arrest.

I just had my gallbladder taken out last week. I had a golf ball sized stone in addition to other, more regular sized stones. My gallbladder was causing a lot of pain and digestive issues and I am already feeling a lot better in that department, so I am hoping that will help. Food is no longer sitting in my stomach making me feel sick, it is digesting. I am not constantly nausiated anymore, having gallbladder attacks, and believe it or not my migraines have completely stopped! I used to get migraines 3-4 days out of the week.

Is there anything I can do differently this time around besides eat better? I walked a lot last time, but am worried this time around because it will be the dead of winter when I have the surgery. Walking will be more difficult.

Any advice is welcomed! I just want my life back!
I am the wife of a 40 year old man that has had five lower back surgeries. He is suffering from failed back syndrome as a result of his first fusion. The best thing that you can do is remain nicotine free. My husband is a smoker and, even with the patch, for some reason, the nicotine impedes the fusion. Can I ask the name of the doctor who will perform your "redo surgery." My husband's fusion failed. Then they implanted a spinal cord stimulatator into his back and then, god help me, a morphine pump. The pain still continues. He has had the screws removed--all to no avail. I am wishing you the best of luck. Wear that bone stimulator too. My husband says that it is uncomfortable, but wear it for the max time prescribed.

My hopes for you: an uncomplicated procedure that proceeds smooth as silk; a speedy recovery; and a pain free result.

Please share the name of your new surgeon with me (if you don't mind)

I am in Connecticut, USA. My name is Valicia.

Best of the best for you.

 
Old 05-16-2010, 05:39 PM   #7
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Connectict
Posts: 20
harmonv HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
Listen to your body and to doctor's orders. Don't do too much too soon and avoid anything the doctor may recommend. I know that many physicians are of the mind that things like advil/aleve/aspirin should be avoided during the fusion process. Nutrition will be very important. Consider things like supplemental drinks if you find it hard to get all the nutrients you need. I found that eating a rice krispie treat before each pain medication dosage worked very well.

You have to get yourself in the mindset that you will fight through the recovery and come out strong on the other end. Maybe it's years of different surgeries but I now gauge everything on feeling better be it by surgery, medication, etc and knowing I may never get back to 100%, but I'd take 50% better than I am today.
Hi,

I just read your response to "getting ready for 2nd fusion" and I am wondering, with all your surgeries, do you have a good lead on surgeon that might be willing to "redo" a fusion.

My husband's fusion from 2007 never gave him any relief and I am having a hard time trying to get another doc to "try again"--as it were. I watch my husband suffer every day. He was fused on two levels in 2007; had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in 2008; had a morphine pump implanted in 2009; and finally, had his hardward (screws and what not) removed in Dec. 2009. He still has chronic, constant pain in the original area. I have great insurance, but like I said, I am having a hard time finding a surgeon to take another run at this.

I appreciate any names you could forward to me.

Valicia in Connecticut

 
Old 05-16-2010, 06:41 PM   #8
Facilitator
(female)
 
SpineAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 5,097
SpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Sorry, I don't know anything about CT physicians since I am in AZ. I found my current surgeon through a friend-of-a-friend. He is a very tall and large guy and was having a fusion 12/31/08 and I had met him at a Christmas party a few days earlier. I found out he did well and kept his surgeon in the back of my mind.

I had used a great surgeon for my neck and went back to him in May 2009 with severe lumbar pain. He was indifferent and basically brushed me off. I had had 2 lumbar fusions before. L5-S1 in 1987 in Wisconsin and L4-S1 in 1993 in Chicago. So I got in contact with my local acquaintance since as of May 2009 he was 6 months post-surgery and he was very happy with the doctor, results, approach etc.

I saw his surgeon for a consultation and was VERY impressed. My new surgeon just added a partner who is younger and that guy is very eager to work on complex cases. You want to ask around. See who you know that is perhaps a physical therapist or knows one - who would the PT suggest. If you have a Pain Management doctor or Primary Care Doctor, ask that doctor for recommendations. Or call medical schools in major cities near you and ask for recommendations. Teaching hospitals are often more willing to take on complex cases.

It can be tough. My PCP had never heard of my new orthopedic spine surgeon. Neither had my PM doctor. My PM doctor did some research and ended up talking to my new OSS and they cross refer now.

So ask any doctor, nurse, or physical thereapist you know if they know any Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon that takes on complex cases. Not sure where in CT you are but you may need to be looking in NYC and Boston.

Do some research of the OSS and NS you find in those areas and perhaps make a quick call. Telling them "My husband has already had one fusion at _______ (levels) in 2007 and has been chasing relief ever since. Would the OSS or NS in your practice be willing to consult on a complex case?"

Also, see if you can get a current MRI. Many surgeon's want to see that up front.

I hope this helps, you just have to start asking everyone you know. Don't be shy. I had a woman ask me, when I was in the grocery store, if I had back surgery and who the doctor was as she was looking for a good surgeon in the area.
__________________
Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

Last edited by SpineAZ; 05-16-2010 at 06:44 PM.

 
Old 05-16-2010, 07:08 PM   #9
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Connectict
Posts: 20
harmonv HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
Sorry, I don't know anything about CT physicians since I am in AZ. I found my current surgeon through a friend-of-a-friend. He is a very tall and large guy and was having a fusion 12/31/08 and I had met him at a Christmas party a few days earlier. I found out he did well and kept his surgeon in the back of my mind.

I had used a great surgeon for my neck and went back to him in May 2009 with severe lumbar pain. He was indifferent and basically brushed me off. I had had 2 lumbar fusions before. L5-S1 in 1987 in Wisconsin and L4-S1 in 1993 in Chicago. So I got in contact with my local acquaintance since as of May 2009 he was 6 months post-surgery and he was very happy with the doctor, results, approach etc.

I saw his surgeon for a consultation and was VERY impressed. My new surgeon just added a partner who is younger and that guy is very eager to work on complex cases. You want to ask around. See who you know that is perhaps a physical therapist or knows one - who would the PT suggest. If you have a Pain Management doctor or Primary Care Doctor, ask that doctor for recommendations. Or call medical schools in major cities near you and ask for recommendations. Teaching hospitals are often more willing to take on complex cases.

It can be tough. My PCP had never heard of my new orthopedic spine surgeon. Neither had my PM doctor. My PM doctor did some research and ended up talking to my new OSS and they cross refer now.

So ask any doctor, nurse, or physical thereapist you know if they know any Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon that takes on complex cases. Not sure where in CT you are but you may need to be looking in NYC and Boston.

Do some research of the OSS and NS you find in those areas and perhaps make a quick call. Telling them "My husband has already had one fusion at _______ (levels) in 2007 and has been chasing relief ever since. Would the OSS or NS in your practice be willing to consult on a complex case?"

Also, see if you can get a current MRI. Many surgeon's want to see that up front.

I hope this helps, you just have to start asking everyone you know. Don't be shy. I had a woman ask me, when I was in the grocery store, if I had back surgery and who the doctor was as she was looking for a good surgeon in the area.
Thanks (now I get the AZ thing--I thought that it was more like "A to Z"). God, I think that I am loosing my mind in all of this and it is not even my back. My husband has been brushed aside two times now. Its tough when surgeons says that they don't see anything wrong with his fusion. If it looks good on the CT scan, they just say that this is a "perfect looking fusion."

I guess I am luckier than some though. I have a good job and my husband and I have great health insurance. No kids. I am near Hartford in Connecticut--so close to NYC and Mass General Hosp. But this feels like an up hill battle. Just want him to feel better so that we can go out for pizza or something. Going to blockbuster to pick out a movie is like boarding a plane for Europe.

I would take him to AZ if I thought that it would be worth the trip. Nice country out there.

Valicia

 
Old 05-16-2010, 08:45 PM   #10
Facilitator
(female)
 
SpineAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 5,097
SpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB UserSpineAZ HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Harmony:

The only thing I can recommend is extra servings of Pepe's Pizza in New Haven. That should help.
__________________
Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 05-17-2010, 05:21 AM   #11
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Connectict
Posts: 20
harmonv HB User
Re: Getting Ready for 2nd Fusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
Harmony:

The only thing I can recommend is extra servings of Pepe's Pizza in New Haven. That should help.
Pizza at Pepe's would be like a vacation for me--if, of course, me and my husband could eat in. These are the things you miss when pain debilitates your life. Thanks, though.....

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
I am getting ready to have the Evans procedure... kellyb333 Foot & Ankle Problems 12 09-02-2009 10:10 AM
getting ready for surgery after brace fitting nancy94011 Back Problems 8 07-22-2009 04:26 AM
L2-S1 Laminectomy with instrumented fusion, getting ready Backtobasics Back Problems 23 07-06-2008 06:28 AM
Getting ready for round 2-Which surgery? confusedpatient Back Problems 3 04-30-2008 04:04 PM
getting ready for second mid-foot fusion tazzy0429 Foot & Ankle Problems 2 11-28-2007 03:56 PM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added








TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



WebDozer (268), jennybyc (197), Realhousewife (42), kenzibenzi (33), NJ Ldy (32), SpineAZ (31), teteri66 (26), frenchfri1003 (21), ladybud (20), feelbad (18)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1180), MSJayhawk (1004), Apollo123 (903), Titchou (847), janewhite1 (823), Gabriel (759), ladybud (754), sammy64 (668), midwest1 (668), BlueSkies14 (610)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:37 PM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!