I am 44 years old and have had back problems for 31 years. I have kyphosis, compression fractures (T8-T9), bulging discs and chronic pain. I'm in constant pain and have numbness in my hands, legs and feet. I became addicted to narcotics about 15 years ago and have struggled with it daily. Since March 2008 I have been seeing a chronic pain doctor who has been injecting my back with steroids and I've found it to be very helpful. Since his treatments I have come off of four medications. Unfortunately I'm still taking Fentanyl, Tylenol #3 and Trazodone daily.
The chronic pain doctor has isolated my pain and referred me to a surgeon who has determined that I require back surgery, specifically an "Anterior Release Endoscopic Thoroscopic" and "Posterior Segmental Fusion T2-L2 Expedium" and "Discectomy". The surgery will take 7 to 10 hours and will involve puncturing three holes through the side of my chest, then doing a horizontal incision across the front of my chest and collapsing my lung to gain access and finally slicing my back open to perform the fusion.
I am scheduled to have the back surgery on March 3, 2009 and I am absolutely terrified. I know my doctors are excellent but I'm still nervous. I have a loving and supportive wife and two beautiful children (9 and 14 years old). My kids are scared and don't want me to have the surgery. They've been crying about it lately because they don't want anything to happen to me. I can’t stop thinking about my wife and kids and what will happen to them if something happens to me. I’ve considered cancelling the surgery for them but I can’t take the pain anymore, it’s controlling and ruining my life. I'm also worried about any complications that may arise and the pain following the surgery.
I haven’t worked since 2001 and at this point, I just want to have a somewhat normal life with as little pain as possible. Can you offer any advice or support?
Thanks for listening.