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    Old 02-03-2008, 12:43 AM   #1
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    Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    A year ago Feb.23 I had a posterior bi-level 360degree fusion of lumbar spine with instrumentation. This is all do to a work injury (nurse) that happened 3yrs ago Dec 26. I was wrongfully terminated from that job and won that case and have been on WC since. After intensive PT and some injections, an orthoscope of the knee that was involved as well as synvisc injections and surgery for a strangulated hernia also due to the injury I tried to return to another job after 10wks on the job search program. Not many places are interested in a broken nurse. Anyway the MD took me back off work after only 1 month due to the loss of reflexes in lower extremities. Then I had a neuro-spine consult and had the surgery. Ok so here it is 3yrs since the injury in that time I have gained 30# mostly due to lack of movement and not having reduced calories. Now it has been a year since that surgery I have put on another 10# and my pain is still nearly at the same level it was at 2 months post op. with an added electrical current sensation when the surgical site is touched. It did stop most of the radiating leg pain though so glad for that but now when I stand for more than 10 min it feels like warm/hot oil is running down that leg. Anyway all that to say I am very frustrated and depressed. I also have fibro/lupus and just got out of the hosp from finding cardiomegaly (enlarged heart). I don't feel like I am any better back wise even though I try. i have a treadmill, recumbent bike and exercise ball. Problem is I keep trying but cant do much of any of it. It did seem like I improved while in physical therapy but WC has long since stopped that. Currently I am on total temp disability but though my PCP does not think I am MMI max medically improved he knows they will soon declare me MMI and I will have to start all over with the 15 face to face job contacts per week until I find a job. He and I agree that twisting to get in and out of the car 15X a week will only make me worse but those are WC's rules. What really bothers me is I am sure it will be even more difficult to find someone to hire me now since I had the surgery and am now on sedentary duty only. Hello most nurses walk or whooy's off I can't even get through the store if we have much shopping to do how am I going to work? I feel like a big fatter useless piece of crap. I don't know what to do. Yes I take antidepressants along with an pharmacy of other drugs all pretty much downers ironic huh? I guess I am just venting but if anyone has any PT ideas I can try or job ideas I will gladly take them. Also any thoughts on why my pain is still so bad. Surgeon says I am fusing and am probably as good as I will get. He also said he never promised to fix me which is true but still rude. He did tell me if I didn't have the surgery I would continue to lose sensation in lower extremities and do further nerve damage. I still regret the surgery and have nightmares about the horrid post op pain. Not meant to scare anyone, that was mostly due to me being drug tolerant due to the fibro/lupus meds and the MD being afraid to give me doses I needed. Most people have their pain well controlled. Ok I think I am done venting luckily I don't post much so ya don't have to put up with me often. Thanks for listening/reading.

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    Old 02-03-2008, 05:45 AM   #2
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    Re: Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    Hi Angel, I remember you from last year. I had my second fusion on Feb 1, 2007 and I too am no better. However, I had a revision surgery on 11/28/07 and unfortunately so far it looks like I am worse instead of better so my heart definitely goes out to you and I can feel your pain.

    I have a slew of questions/thoughts:

    1. Since this is a w/c issue, do you have a lawyer? If not, I strongly suggest you get one and hopefully Chris and a few others will post to you in regards to this. It is very important because w/c is looking out for themselves and not you.

    2. Have you had a MRI, CT Scan, and/or mylegram since surgery?

    3. Have they tried any nerve blocks?

    4. You say that are trying to move thru exercise. I have found that water therapy is really the only thing I can manage without increased pain. I am not swimming but boiling in a hot tub for 15 minutes, getting into a pool with a belt/tube around the middle of my body, and going into the deep end. I pretend to walk in the deep end and I move my legs being careful not to twist the body. Being in the pool is the only time, I do not suffer from the wrath of pain. I started out with 5 minutes and by the end of summer had worked myself up to 30 minutes, then I would end the session with another 15 minutes in the hot tub. I don't know if this is an option for you or not. If it is an expense you really can't afford, you might see if your insurance would cover it, or check with your local gym if they provide scholorships for inidividuasl who are disabled for a reduced fee since you will only be using the pool and/hot tub. I know one of the gals on the board got a FREE membership so it is worth the asking.

    5. Have you had a second opinion either a neurosurgeon or spinal surgeon take a look at your case. Make sure it is not a w/c doctor eitehr. Remember w/c is looking out for them not YOU.

    6. Lastly, please don't take this wrong but if you have put on 30 pounds - I would recommend trying your hardest to get it off. Carrying around extra weight is not going to help your situation at all. It is not good for your back, not to mention your self esteeem, and it adds to your drepression. It is very hard to take off weight when you are inative, trust me I just took off 35 lbs and would like to take anotehr 20 off. It is very hard and has taken me 6 months to do it. Again, I don't mean to be mean - it is just some unsolicited advice that you can toss in a trashcan if you so desire.

    Good luck and remember we are here for you 24/7 so feel free to ask any questions or vent anytime. This is the reason for the board to SUPPORT you and others.

    Last edited by ms_west; 02-03-2008 at 05:52 AM.

    Old 02-03-2008, 10:55 AM   #3
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    Re: Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    Hi there. You dont need to apologize for telling your story, as that is why we are all here. This is a virtual means of people around the globe to talk with others just like ourselves as means of learning, understanding, and support.

    Please join in more. It's a great way to help you get things out, talk with others that totally understand what you are saying and feeling. Not many others in our circles understand what we have going on inside us each second. Here, we do.

    Does your state allow you to do online job submissions, or must they be "in person". If you can do it online.. go for it. Just keep a log of who you sent it to, the attention to person, contact info email address, date of submission, etc. That way you have it ALL if asked to produce it.

    As to your career, as I dont know your level that your career was, but have you thought to inquire to insurance companies that employ nurses for looking at insured's health records, and also being a nurse contact for insureds. This is a huge field to explore.

    Then there is medical records and coding world. It's not nursing, but you certainly understand the medical terminology and human anatomy. You could probably walk right into this field with little to no further education requirements. Many places offer to be able to allow this position to work from home.

    It doesnt sound like you will be able to return to the "hands on" part of your field, but you may be able to try and make the most of what you also have in knowledge of the medical field in put that toward a different venue.

    No, it sucks and it's not what you want to do, but if your body isnt willing, it's not, and you have to try and pick yourself up and do what you can and make the most of it while we can.

    Did you have the fibro before the back issues? As sometimes this is triggered from the injury and/or surgery. Has anyone diagnosed you with Arachnoiditis and or RSD? That trickling feeling you have going on there..makes me wonder.

    PT.. I would get your doctor to insist you get approval to return to PT, as it did improve your abilities some.

    Weight.. ugh.. most all of us have been plagued with this. I know better and yet I did not change my eating habits when I was forced to be inactive from this injury. I chubbed on 30# myself on my 5.2 bod. I am now taking it off thankfully. I am down 8.5 pounds in 4 weeks and down a pants size so far, but it's a long road to getting it off. I am still miffed that I wont be able to body sculpt my muscles like I used to, as I easily get flared up with working out. I know my body well and have to eat a very controlled diet in order to get the results I need, especially if not being able to get the cardio work out and resistance training like a normal person to burn off fat and build lean muscle. I also have food allergies to add to the mix, and many of the healthy foods and veggies I am allergic to. So, it's not easy but Im doing it and I'm completely committed to it now. I eat to live not to enjoy anymore. My BF is also into this completely himself, which is an extra help and he's down 20# in one month! No junk in our house and while we are eating differently, what we eat is all healthy.

    Can you take any vitamins at all and do you? I would imagine you are on some form of folic acid to help combat the effects of the steroids. ??

    Please join us, even if for awhile. I think you find that while we arent always the ray of sunshine with our stories, we have a great way of lifting people up a bit, just by being here for each other. We cut up alot too on here.. gotta laugh!! Talking really helps with the depression part and when you talk with others on here.. you will find you won't talk about your issues as much at home or work and that makes everyone else around you see in a more "normal" light, and you won't get that feeling that they feel sorry for you as much. It just flat out helps!!!
    "believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt

    L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
    Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
    Solidly Fused Nov-2006
    A Success, but still improving!

    Last edited by Justoneofus; 02-03-2008 at 11:06 AM.

    Old 02-03-2008, 12:02 PM   #4
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    Re: Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    I can understand this situation,I have WC for a back injury,and I can't get anywhere,I was suppose to have surgery but put off for time being,I wanted to continue under pain management for the radio frequency denervation,but got denied as usual.they only worry on themselves,i wish they get back trouble know what it is,no fun,very painful,depressing too,which doesn't help my already depressed state.

    Old 02-03-2008, 04:23 PM   #5
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    Re: Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    Thank you for the replies. I will try to answer the questions as best I can in no particular order. Yes I do have a wc attorney. I had fibro before the injury. I have only had a plain old x-ray since surgery. Unfortunatlley my surgeon is also an attorney and it seems he is far more interested in law than surgery. Dear hubby and I feel that he did the surgery and then dropped me like a hot potato. I had a 6wk and then a 6month follow up at both follow ups he sat behind his desk barely said a word about my surgery. I asked for an xray as at that point I still could barely move. At the second appt my hubby literally took me around the desk lifted my shirt and forced him to look at my back and even told him to feel it as there is a lump that should not be there. He agreed the lump shouldn't be there but he doesn't know what it is.
    I am not at all offended about the weight comments. I brought it up I know it is a major issue. I also know I am the only one that can do anything about it I just got to figure out how to get it done. I also carry an awful lot of resentment toward my former employer and even worse myself. I know I need to dig deep instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself. Anyway thanks again. If I missed any questions I will try to catch them later. Angel

    Old 02-03-2008, 05:42 PM   #6
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    Re: Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    Hi Angel and welcome
    I can totally relate to your work situation. I am also a nurse (NICU), injured myself catching a falling double channel IV pump, herniated and had surgery. That was June 07. I have permanent nerve damage on the right and still live in pretty much constant pain. I also cannot return to bedside care and it sucks. Most of us go into nursing to care for patients so I understand exactly how you feel. I have not been released yet so I am still floating around the hospital doing sedentary work. When I am released I imagine that I will end up in case management or quality management. It has taken me awhile but I am finally starting to accept that I will not return to patient care. Maybe it will help you, but I often will think back to all the infants and families that I have impacted over the past 23 years. I go back and look at pictures and re-read letters sent to me. Not even this crappy back injury can take away the good that I have done. As someone else said, we can still have an impact on the healthcare system, just in a different way.
    I agree with the others that if I were you I would get another opinion. It doesn't sound as though your doctor is really vested in his patients. You deserve better.
    Hang in there Angel, come here to vent...we all have our bad days and there is always someone on board who knows exactly "where you are" ! Please keep us posted.


    Old 03-16-2008, 07:13 AM   #7
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    Re: Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    Hello all - let me preface by saying I will not presume to know the pain each of you has been through. I have significant SI issues, but though the mechanical and inflammation pain brings me to tears, it's only been since Dec 06 with no surgeries or nerve effect. So my hats off to each of you for searching for means to learn and commiserate; for not giving up despite your extreme circumstances. Justofoneus has it perfectly; when you can share your complaints and theories here or in a support group or with a friend who is going through something similar, you can more often "set it down"; leave it here on the board and both you and the others around you can take little breaks from this constant presence in your life.

    I'm posting to share the little tiny things I've tried that work, because if any efforts you add to your plan of attack can reduce pain by even and quarter of a point, it's worth it. I'd rather be a 6.5 than a 7, eh?

    I'm not always diligent on these things, but that's the beauty. Because I stop and start, I can tell what works! (For me at least.) Avoid inflammatory foods; eat ANTI-infammatory ones. Instead of candy, eat dried tart cherries. Instead of chips, eat rice chips with hummus. Just examples. Surf for the anti-inflammatory foods that speak to you and your tastes & needs. Next, try avoiding salt - with great care. Every friggin thing prepackaged has piles of it. I'm finding that when my water retention is down, my pain is down. (I just assume it's related to swollen tissue and therefore more pressure.) PS, pretty much any controlled diet will help drop weight, so it could potentially kills two birds, one stone - or cherry pit as it were.

    I like the comment about not eating to enjoy. Eat to heal so that you can enjoy the other parts of life.

    Lastly, explore natural remedies. Castor oil packs allow the healing power of castor oil to seep into your joints. They also can be used to help your poor livers deal with all the meds. I'm not a witchdoctor; just open to alternatives that aren't manufactured and pricey (and reliant upon more darn appointments). I still take NSAIDs and skelaxin, but I can maybe mitigate that a bit. And I take both pill and liquid glucosamine and MSM supplements. Surf on MSM. Interesting.

    I work on these options as a way to mitigate the possibility of a very longterm injury (just in case, argh, this goes on forever). OH! And I've started stretching VERY slow and gentle throughOUT the day - maybe 4-5 times. Also helping, versus one exercise session daily.

    Has anyone lost their menstrual cycles or regularity through this? I think the piles of ibuprofen have jacked my hormones.

    Old 04-16-2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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    Re: Nearly a year post surgery and beyond frustrated.

    I am new at this...Is it too early too complain since had microdiscectomy 6 months ago 10/07 that didn't work on L5-S1, and now just 2 months ago 2/08 had PLIF fusion on same disc. and things looking like heading in every1's direction on not getting any better. Was 6 wks post op and started physical therapy, injured my right foot doing a certain calf stretch. hve what's called a "morton's neuroma" which is extremely painful. can't do anything at all, sit home all day w/ leg propped up w/ ice. now making my back sore and hurt even more since I sit and lay down all day long. I feel for every1 else out there that things just don't seem to get better, just get more and more frustrated as the days pass by....nice to "vent" a little...thx for listening...some day, we hope it will get better...some day....will stay in touch... MC

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