I want to thank all of you for such a great site. This is such a good place for information, to share ups and downs, to find friends that know and understand life as we live it. Thank you for keeping me informed, entertained,crying, laughing and feeling normal the past few months as I have read your posts and info. while recovering from my fusion. I went through so much the past 3 years alone and here this site was only a click away...now I know. I actually joined a few weeks ago and have posted a few times but thought I should officially introduce myself. I'm Kathy, 54 years young, although I feel prehistoric at times, and I am lucky enough to live in Florida. I have a wonderful husband and 2 terrific sons.
How I wish someone would have told me that when your legs/feet hurt it could be your back!!I had leg/feet pain with some back pain for years and always blamed it on something I did or that I had arthritis like my mom and her family, always had an excuse. At first I'd limp around and keep going, try to find comfortable shoes,heat, ice, all the tricks, I'd still hike then bengay or heat, ice,over the counter meds. Sometimes I'd mention it to my dr. and he would x-ray, send me to an orth to get a cortisone shot in my feet, try celebrex,etc. and back to home remedies. But I worked on my feet all day at school and then I helped with the band to enjoy time with my son. I thought my back hurt because of bus rides and bleachers (everyone dreads the pain from bleachers!), heavy uniforms and my legs/feet from going up/down the stands helping the kids with whatever they needed, walking the field at competitions, games, etc....UNTIL
10/9/05. Yes, I'll never forget the exact date. After a long week end with football games and competition I had the worst pain I had ever had so I opened the closet to pull out the heating pad and excruciating pain went through my back/legs/body and I was numb to my toes. I could not walk, sit, lay down. I was crying and never had an epidural or any pain med with labors, never had I experienced this pain and my husband knew it was bad because I never complained or gave up.That experience with the ER, Drs. and finding a dr. to help me was a nightmare, a story for another day. By the time I got help, surgery was the only option after weeks of no sleep with unrelenting, excruciating pain that affected everything (I didn't even realize BR issues were related at the time). The dr. gave me one epidural to try to help and then surgery 11/4/05. I had a laminectomy, lumbar unilateral, bilateral decompressive laminectomy, facetectomy,foraminotomy at L2-3 for ruptured disc, dr. described as "exploded or imploded disc" on nerves. When he saw the MRI he couldn't believe I made it to his office in that condition.
Thank goodness I had immediate relief from excruciating pain. But I still had the numbness, pins and needles and always had some pain but the level would go from ok to severe. Of course, the Dr. and PT would tell me it takes a very long time for nerves to heal. 2006 - I had 3 rounds of therapy, more x-rays, MRI's and 4 epidurals, lidocaine patches, tens unit which does help sometimes and different meds, both prescribed and over counter. 2007/08- more of same and the Dr. told me AGAIN that I really needed the fusion. I had been living in pain and compromising, not a good quality of life since 2005, so I continued that cycle because of my family, always something and the fear of fusion. You know it well, do something,rest,do something, pay dearly for it, my life revolved around the pain and what I was able to do/tolerate. Last August I knew the pain was getting worse again so I decided to have the fusion Jan. '09, I'd have time to prepare this time and winter to recover.I didn't get that chance because almost 3 years to the day.....10/2/08 I got out of a chair and BOOM the pain was excruciating, nothing helped, again I couldn't lay down, sleep, walk, sit. I called my dr. and had a new MRI which proved I needed surgery now. So I had the fusion 10/16/08.
I don't know or ask all the specifics like I should but this is from the paperwork: L-3/4 decompressive laminectomy,posterior L2/3/4 fusion w/bone graft/lumbar unilateral/fix dual rods,hooks. Arthrodesis ea. add'l segment, laminectomy ea. add'l level, autograph spine surg. only spine, bone allograft, morselized, flouroscopy, arthodesis fusion post, bilateral decompressive lami, arthod post fusion, ADL level w/ bilateral dec. lami at add'l levels. Here is what I know, my version of lumbar fusion....2 rods, one little cross bar, 6 screws look awesome on x-ray and the pain has decreased considerably! YEA! I am 4 months post fusion and have good and bad days as expected, it takes time and patience (which is hard), but I do see/feel a difference not daily, but weekly and monthly. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I know I'll never be my old self and I miss myself! I'll never be 100% but if I can live with a little less pain and enjoy some quality of life I'm going to do my best to get there. The nerve pain is the worst and I feel bad for all of you that experience it daily. Good news, I'm only numb with pins/needles to my knees and pain most often in thighs, front of legs, groin and lower rear/back but very much tolerable with hopes of it getting better with time.
I'm very thankful to have a good Dr. He is an ortho, spine specialist, and knows me well by now. I pray he is always here for me and all his patients but I also hope to see less of him and his PA's over the next 3 years! LOL!
You didn't know it but you were silently getting me through each day and still do. You keep me company and inspire me every day. THANK YOU all my new spiney friends for your support! Take care and I'll see you around the posts!