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    Old 01-12-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
    queenie5
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    18 months post op fusion

    I had a fusion (plif) 18 months ago. I had dynamic stabilization L4 and 5, and fusion L5 and S1. I have continued to progressively get worse. I just got on disability. I can't walk any distance, stand or sit for any periods. I've had anything blocked that can be blocked. I'm on Morphine, and norco . I decided to go for another opinion . Hes going to order an MRI and then possibly a discogram, which I wasn't thrilled about. He said I never fused. My original surgeon got to the point where he wasn't listening. I really want my life back! Hes talking about ALIF. Can anyone give me much of a comparison? I know what it means, but will it make any difference with recuperation? Also, any discogram stories? I've heard its not fun............ I'm so scared. But I"m 56, and I either stay this disabled, or try it. Any similar stories? I haven't been on the board for about a year, so I'm really behind here. Thanks in advance for any responses.

     
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    Old 01-12-2009, 11:05 PM   #2
    DelawareGirl
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    I to had read some of the stories about the discogram but I didn't think it was that bad. Certainly, the nerve pain I was experiencing at the time was much worse. I was glad I had it done because he discovered a 3rd disc that was bad. I had 3 level ALIF and also couldn't walk, sit, sleep in a bed etc. prior to the surgery. I am now walking about 3-4 miles, sleeping in a bed, and am pain free about 95% of the day. I hope to be driving soon and then back to work. By the way, I am 50 and in my family everyone lives until their late 90's. Good luck!

     
    Old 01-13-2009, 12:16 AM   #3
    lynn1961
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    awwww queenie5.....

    Sorry to hear your fusion didnt take. I had ALIF surgery on dec 16. I cannot compare because I have never had PLIF. So far......and I am only 4 weeks out after surgery, I feel as if I am going to be better I am crossing my fingers and toes! I was told ALIF is easier to recover from. So far.....its been ok. I still have pain <surgical pain> and I still take pain meds. I am getting better though. I was laying down resting yesterday and was thinking back when I first came home after surgery and I feel as if I am doing good. I, alos, had the discogram test done. I am so glad i did. I was sedated for the test so it wasnt too bad. My doc injected 3 levels and out of the 3, 2 hurt. So, it was determined I would have a 2 level fusion and I felt confident going into fusion surgery. If you can, get that test done. It will make you feel better prepared going into another surgery maybe. The 2 disc fused on me is L4-5 and L5-S1. I feel as if my surgery is going to be successful Good luck to you and hope you feel better soon and btw....i am 47. AND DELAWAREgirl....that is wonderful. You give me even more hope There is many successful stories with back surgeries....good luck to you both!

    LYNN

     
    Old 01-13-2009, 04:22 AM   #4
    queenie5
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DelawareGirl View Post
    I to had read some of the stories about the discogram but I didn't think it was that bad. Certainly, the nerve pain I was experiencing at the time was much worse. I was glad I had it done because he discovered a 3rd disc that was bad. I had 3 level ALIF and also couldn't walk, sit, sleep in a bed etc. prior to the surgery. I am now walking about 3-4 miles, sleeping in a bed, and am pain free about 95% of the day. I hope to be driving soon and then back to work. By the way, I am 50 and in my family everyone lives until their late 90's. Good luck!
    Was your second surgery the alif, or the first? Were you petrified going back in the second time? I can't imagine being able to walk again! I used to ride about 30 miles on my back and also did lots of walking. I did some rollerblading, and also had a horse. Now I shop in a wheelchair............so I'm praying to be able to return to at least some activities again.

     
    Old 01-13-2009, 04:28 AM   #5
    queenie5
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Lynn,
    It sounds like you're doing really well. I will continue to say my prayers for you! I have always had such an active lifestyle, that this has been a nightmare. I continued going to my surgeon (very reputable out of Chicago), but he seemed to give up on me. I lost my job, but we are okay without it. I had started to do photography to gradually get out of my other career, before all this started. I do mainly high school seniors, and kids. I've been able to continue shoots at a small scale with the help of drugs and my husband. Now I'm so concerned about losing what I've built up do to having to go through this surgery again. We'll see. I will continue to keep up on your progress.

     
    Old 01-13-2009, 09:17 PM   #6
    NLena
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Dear Queenie,
    I am so sorry to hear about your pain 18 months out. I am glad to hear that you are going to another doc for 2nd opinion. Did your first doc say that fusion never occured and why that might be? Was there no suggestions from him or reasoning as to why you have this condition now? I wish I had some really good advice for you but I do not really... except to say that I am sorry about your pain and I think you are on the right track in seeking some sort of fix for this problem. I always want to feel that it is human nature to want to get better and have hope that there are fixes if we look hard enough..I will hold a positive thought for you in your search for answers
    NLena
    8 weeks post op 2 level plif

     
    Old 01-14-2009, 10:28 AM   #7
    jaydar
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    discogram will show what mri doesn't.Some doctors will say the test is useless.If they do,you need to find a better doctor.I've had 2 discograms verify my problem.....vertical annular tear and moderate protrusion of thecal sac at L5S1.Numerous mri did not show this.
    As to the test...it is painful if done with no meds.Uncomfortable with meds.
    Mine were done with no meds.....I survived.

     
    Old 01-14-2009, 10:34 AM   #8
    jaydar
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    also....it was only the neurosurgeons that picked this up.Ortho's missed it completely.
    I had two discograms in two differents states.they were shown to an ortho and a neuro in each state(mass and florida) Both neuros had same diagnosis....both orthos said test was unremarkable.

     
    Old 01-14-2009, 11:06 AM   #9
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Arachnoiditis is also a complication from spinal surgery that doctors don't like to talk about. A good radiologist should be able to read it on an mri but not always. Also scarring could be the culprit.
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    Old 01-15-2009, 07:28 AM   #10
    queenie5
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    I was scheduled for my original surgeon to go back in, in October. I completely chickened out. I met with him 3 days before surgery, and he said he wasn't even sure what he would be doing, because he didn't know what was wrong. But, never talked about doing any tests, MRi, CT guided myelogram, Discogram, etc, to find out what was going on. Instead he called his partner in the group for pain management and told her to try some blocks. Thats where he left me. So then I decided to go more local, and get a second opinion. I was Dr. with a reputable Dr. in Chicago, and therefore thought everything would be fine. I think he just gave up on me. He just kept saying he never had a case like this in 20 years. I think part of it was that he couldn't admit that his procedure just didn't work! Thank you all for your input. It really is encouraging and helpful. I probably will never go back to my professional career, but an early retirement isn't bad either. But , I want a life back. Thanks. I'll keep reading and keep you updated.

     
    Old 01-15-2009, 11:07 AM   #11
    pattibb
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Curious what all you have had done to your back. I have had steroid injuctions - worked for less than a month- then medial branch block---doc wants nme to do a radio frequency ablation? What say you? I also have all my problems at L5/s1.

    Help?!

     
    Old 01-15-2009, 12:43 PM   #12
    queenie5
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Since my surgery 18 months ago, I have had the Physical Therapy. Si joint blocks, facet joint blocks, and hardware blocks. I've been on all the meds, muscle relaxers, valium, Duragesic, Now ms contin and norco. They tried lierica (didn't spell that right)....
    I have had the lidoderm patches, and 2 different types of tens units. No improvement at all. I was in so much better shape prior to surgery! Is this what you were asking?

     
    Old 01-15-2009, 09:07 PM   #13
    janiee08
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Dear Queenie, Well I am a similar story. I too was in Sooooo much better shape before surgery. Now I live the life of an invalid @the age of 47. Also the pain is Wayyyy worse than prior to surgery-and 24/7;even @ rest I too had this fusion done to have a better life with my family, and take no or less pain meds. Now I have to take the hard core stuff I have a very difficult time accepting that this happened to me. I don't have any advise for you, accept that I will keep you in my prayers --janiee

     
    Old 01-15-2009, 09:30 PM   #14
    queenie5
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Janiee,
    How long has it been, and what happened? I'm not angry, and I'm not questioning. I just know that if they can't fix it, this will be my life, and I'll have to adjust to it. I'm 9 years older than you, but led a very active life. So where are you at in your care now? Pam

     
    Old 01-15-2009, 09:43 PM   #15
    queenie5
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    Re: 18 months post op fusion

    Janiee,
    How long has it been, and what happened? I'm not angry, and I'm not questioning. I just know that if they can't fix it, this will be my life, and I'll have to adjust to it. I'm 9 years older than you, but led a very active life. So where are you at in your care now? Pam

     
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