I was diagnosed with degenerative spondolythesis at the L4-L5 levels, L5-S1 isthmic spondylolisthesis, degenerative disks between my sacrum and L5 and between L5 and L4, and a synovial cyst at the L4 level. After trying all conservative measures for the past three years, I accepted the fact that it would take surgery to finally correct these problems and get rid of my pain when standing, walking and driving.
My surgeon recommended a 2-level lumbar fusion anterior/posterior. We scheduled my surgery for Jan. 19th. He was supposed to do both phases of the surgery one after the other that morning. Unfortunately, he became acutely ill during the anterior phase of the surgery and chose not to call in a collegue to complete the second phase, but rather to reschedule me for completion of phase 2 at a later date. I am scheduled to have the posterior fusion part done this Friday, Feb. 6th.
Since my release from the hospital Jan. 22nd, the pain in my lower back and down my left leg has become unbearable. Also I have really bad swelling in my left knee, calf, ankle and foot. My foot is especially painful. I am walking every day and drinking 40-60 oz. of water daily. My surgeon's nurse did not think that he needed to see me about the swelling and suggested I visit with my GP. Also, for some reason my surgeon is not able to subscribe any pain relievers other than Tramadol and Norco. I have been taking these, but they only put a dent in my pain level. The ortho nurse suggested I should consult with a pain management specialist if I continue to have pain after the second phase of the surgery is complete. I did see my GP today who ordered an untrasound to see if I had deep vein thrombosis in my left leg. Fortunately, I do not. So now I am taking a diuretic for the swelling.
I am hopeful that when my orthopedic surgeon completes the second phase of the fusion process, that afterward I will not have this awful pain in my lower back, both buttocks and down my left leg. What should I expect with regard to pain after both phases of the fusion surgery is complete? My ortho surgeon was vague and said everyone experiences pain differently. I don't think I can take three months of the kind of pain I have been experiencing for the past two weeks. Any suggestions?