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SpinalMalady 12-07-2005 09:23 PM

Remember Me?? Long Read! Sorry!
Hi everyone: :wave:

I have not posted in a [B]VERY [/B]long time. Even though it's been almost a year, I still subscribe to this board....,and now this post brings me "back". I had a micro-d/hemi-lami at L-5/S-1 on 12/10/04. The surgery was a huge success and I did very well. I've been on Topomax due to migraines as well, and due to the side effect of weight loss, I've now lost nearly 90 lbs. Under the supervision of my Physical Therapist and the Physical Trainer at the local YMCA, I began a workout program using their Nautilus Equipment. I was feeling better than I had in many, [B]MANY [/B]years! :bouncing: I was doing [B]EXTREMELY [/B]well, and only had some minor residual problems such as numbness in the last two toes on both feet, but the pain was totally gone. I was very happy to live with that residual side effect forever if I had to! That nerve had been severly crushed from late July to December and my condition rapidly deteriorated until the point that I could hardly walk. I was in a wheel chair much of the time, and in constant deep pain 24/7. I could not sleep or eat, and even with all of the medication I was taking, it just wasn't touching the pain. I woke up from surgery, and only had surgical pain. It was a great blessing. My NS is one of the best around here.

Having said all of that, I am now back to square one. I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Hurricane Katrina hit our area on 8/29, as I'm sure you are well aware. Due to the nature of my husband's job, he was working from dawn to dusk, and the damage to our home, and yard had not even been touched as late as 10/1. It was very frustrating, and terribly depressing and I wanted to at least attempt to get the yard worked on. [B] I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.[/B] Long story short, I re-herniated the same disc by raking. I recently had another ESI, (I had one last year right before my surgery), and that really has not helped. My NS ordered a new MRI, and confirmed my worst fear, the disc is re-herniated. I have an appointment with a pain management specialist to see if perhaps there are some other avenues to explore or perhaps some other medications. I'm in a lot of pain, and again not sleeping. I teach college, and my adjunct instructor lost her home, and moved away from the area, so I had to pick up an additional night course...which made three night classes in a row, in addition to my day classes. So I'm working a 50 hour week, [B]and [/B]feeling crappy! The NS wants to see if the PM Dr. can help get me through the Spring Semester, because I'm scheduled to teach 8 classes. I teach a very specialized two year technical program. When the semester is over, my NS wants to do a fusion when I get out in May... he says I'll be ready to go back for the Fall Semester in August, but I'm not wanting to do that. I'm scared to death of a fusion. I asked about the ADR, and he says I'm not a candidate because I have bone spurs on each of the three levels just above the herniated disc, so I "would still have pain" even after the ADR. [B] If that is the case, even after a fusion, would I not still have pain???[/B]

I'm very angry at myself for doing this to myself when all was going so well. I'm hurting again, though it is a little bit different type of pain, and not [B]AS[/B] severe as it was at this time last year. For now, I still can walk without a dropfoot! I have lost feeling in my great toe on my right foot since the ESI. Last year I walked like a stroke victim. I'm back to being a walking pharmacy and that's depressing, but without the meds I can't function. I don't like taking all of the medications, but without them, I can't get through the day without rolling into a ball and crying for the pain! It's so frustrating. Perhaps my biggest frustration is learning how to manage my fatigue. I can [B]GO[/B] to sleep thanks to things like Flexeril, and Lunesta, and Elavil, but I can't [B]STAY[/B]asleep! My body wakes me up out of a dead sleep with [B]SCREAMING [/B]muscle spasms :blob_fire and I'm lucky if I get three hours of sleep. I can't lay down any longer than that. Hopefully, tomorrow I will find some answers. I will let you know. It's good to still see some familiar faces...Shoreline, Feelbad, BilboCameron, Shakespeare, Carol632, I remember you all! I will keep you all in my thoughts and pray that you have less pain, and will become more pain free in the days ahead!
Hope you do the same for me!

Take care all,
~!~ bgsigns ~!~

ARANGER 12-07-2005 10:25 PM

Re: Remember Me?? Long Read! Sorry!
Hey Bg,
Thats too bad about your herniation again. I'm really sorry to hear that. I know how that feels. I will undergoing my 6th surgery in a month to correct a previous fusion which has led to even more problems.

It sure feels good when everything is going great and then just WHAM, you're back down again. It sounded like you were a true sucess story. And losing 90 lbs is great. Woking all those hours must be painful. Is there a way that you can reduce that so that you cope better with your pain? Sleep is really important as you mentioned about sleeping. I have Fibromyalgia and had major sleeping problems. I would go to sleep but then wake up 3-4 hours later and was awake. My Dr put me on Ambien and it worked wonders. They now have an Ambien CR (Controlled Relase). I understand you're in pain as well. You really should see the PM and address your pain problems and sleep issues. They should all work together. You said you are taking Elavil (amitryptaline). This drug has just the opposite effect than Topomax. Elavil increasing weight. Just FYI.

Anyway, I hope everything works out for you and you find some pain relief soon. You'll make it, one day at time, but will make it. Hopefully you'll be more comfortable while you're sorting out what you're going to do. Keep us posted

Take care

Veronica_Mars 12-08-2005 04:37 AM

Re: Remember Me?? Long Read! Sorry!
I don't have back pain or know very much about it, but I do know that neurosurgeons are often EXTREMELY pro-surgery and that many patients with back pain end up regretting their decisions to go ahead with surgeries, though some are of course successful and helpful. If you are hesitant about this fusion, I would be very cautious about agreeing to it, make sure to get several other opinions (at different hospitals/medical centers/affiliated clinics if possible because doctors within a given system are often prone to reflexively agree with each other on issues they would consider much more carefully and independently if dealing with another doctor's opinion who wasn't a colleague. I understand very well the frustration with medication and the desperation that can cause in terms of looking for ANY alternative, but please make absolutely sure you know all you can about the procedure and that a number of doctors agree it is a good idea to have the surgery before you proceed. Perhaps I am biased because my chronic pain was caused entirely by an unnecessary dental procedure, but I am also extra cautious about back surgery because I know a number of people who have had such surgeries at their doctors' urging and ended up with increased pain and/or even more problems. Unfortunately, the variety of neurologists and neurosurgeons (who I've learned that I generally don't like, so I could be biased) with whom I've consulted about the possibility of some sort of surgical intervention for my facial pain have said that the tiny likelihood of success on such a poorly understood condition would be far outweighed by the risk of additional complications and increased pain. Yet my best doctors, at the Mayo Clinic, say that I need to be careful because if I see enough specialists, one will be greedy and/or foolish enough to push hard for what would likely be an ill-fated surgical intervention. I'm certainly not saying that the same odds are the same for you of course, just to be careful, because while you can always change your mind and decide to have surgery, you can't go back in time and change the decision if you regret it. Please also remember that while none of us like to rely on meds, there are definitely worse options, and that adjusting your doses or trying new meds is a more conservative and reversible option than a surgical procedure. Regardless of what you decide, I wish you the best of luck and hope you give yourself all the congratulations you deserve for all the progress you've made improving your fitness :). Take care and don't give up!

Shoreline 12-08-2005 09:33 AM

Re: Remember Me?? Long Read! Sorry!
HI BG, So sorry to hear things have come un done, also very sorry about gulf coast, I can't imagine even though I had a taste a few years back when we had no power for 10 days after a cat 3 huricane brushed by in the midde of august.

I think the big reason the doc is nixing the idea of ADR is because it's FDA aproved for very specfic uses and lawyers are already scouting the market for a class action law suite for those who have had bad experiences.

The aproval is pretty specific, for discogenic pain at L4-5 & L5-S1 with no other DX's involved. The class action stuff just irks me because it's only been aproved a year and has been used succesfully in europe for a decade. However few docs in the US have been working with them for any length of time. When something like this is aproved, the manaufacturer and the docs that have been running the trials for the past decade teach other surgeons to implant ADR's.

Personally If I had one done, I want one of the guys that did the cinicl trials for 10 years, not one that learned how to do the procedure over the weekend by assisting one of the primary docs with one or two surgeries. It's a very precise surgery and I wouldn't want to be anyones first or second or 10th ADR. I want the guy that's done hundreds and knows the downfalls of improper placement and other complications.

It seems the doc that screwed up should be the one being sued because it's not the docs that have done it for years creating the problem by thinking a couple mm off is no big deal, when it's a huge deal. Wich means it's not the equipment used, it's the lack of training and experience of everyone that wants to get into a hundred million dollar market and feels they are qualified after a weekend seminar with one of the pros in ADR.

With this type of lawsuite you would think it would discourage anyone from bringing anything inovative to market for fear poorly trained docs will start slapping them into anyone they can. :

If you do end up needing a fusion, if the spurs are found to be a source of pain, hopefully they can trim them while they are in there doing the heavy work. Try to hang in there and good luck with the cleanup from HK and keeping up with your workload. Take care, Dave

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