I'm a 28 year old female who has been struggling to live a "normal" life for the last 2 years, but severe chronic pain has become my nemosis that is robbing me of so many of life's joys. It all began after a minor fender-bender in June of 07. I began having some low back pain, but didn't think much of it initially....Fast forward 2 years: I've been through months of PT, have had MRI's, Xrays, a CT scan and a bone scan, have wound up in the ER 3x, tried every pain med available (currently taking naproxen, percocet, valium, and tramadol daily), tried herbs, yoga, and pilates, had injections and a facet block, seen a back "specialist", an orthopedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon, and am scheduled to see the chief of spine surgery in a week...NOTHING has worked (or only worked for a very brief period of time). I've been diagnosed with spondylolythesis (pars defect), arthritis in my spine, a cyst at my L3, and a deteriorated disc between my L5 and S1. I fear my condition is actually worsening now...In the last 3 weeks I have been having tingling and numbness in my hands and feet, weakness in my legs, and the pain in my back rockets into the realm of virtually unbearable most days. I'm a 1st grade teacher, a newlywed to my Romeo, and a stepmom to a beautiful 4 year old son...and every day I labor to be a good teacher, a good wife, and a good mom who is present and pleasant rather than depressed and defeated. (I've always lived a very busy, active life; I was even in the military!) My quality of life has plummeted as the pain injects itself into every aspect of my life. I want to fight back, yet I'm barely able to even hold my son in my arms most days. My neurosurgeon has suggested an ALIF...I am not too hip on the prospect of back surgery, but I am even less keen on continuing to live life like this. I understand this is a relatively new procedure, and I'm having difficulty finding information from the patient's point of view. Does anyone who has had an ALIF have any words of wisdom or morsels of advice? Pre-op/Post-op recommendations? Opinions for/against the procedure? I have been feeling so very alone, confused, and conflicted in this journey, and though I'm typically not one to ask for help...I recognize the time has come for me to reach out for a helping hand...
Thank you for taking the time to read my story
My sincerest thanks in advance for anything in response.