Hello all, first let me say that this site has beewn a godsend for me if for nothing else the comraderery and support shared among complete strangers is great. I know just reading the posts has helped me learn and survive this whole fusion ordeal.
In 2007 I had a TLIF at L4/L5. The surgery was on Sept 25, 2007. Around June or July 2008 there was little or no improvement in my pain I had an appointment with my ortho doctor with x-rays, CT and MRI. My Dr./Surgeon declaired at this time that there was absolutely no sign of a fusion starting to take place. He couldn't explain it other than sometimes it happens. He told me I could wait and see if the fusion eventually started or I could opt for another surgery. This time he recommended a 360 or circumferential fusion where he would remove the TLIF hardware and perform an ALIF and PLIF addressing the problem from both front and rear. After long consideration I decided on the 360.
I had the 360 fusion on Election Day, Nov 4, 2008. I must say that after the 360 I was almost immediately able to tell improvement. I asked why he didn't do this procedure in the first place and he told that he wanted to, but the insurance company insisted on the "cheaper" procedure first hoping that it would take care of my problem. There is still some minor pain occasionally but I think this time they got it right. Once in a while I may take a Darvocet or Vicodin, but less and less. I try to 'tough' it out an do without medication.
That's a quick history of what I've been through over the past couple of years, but not my present concern.
I was wondering if it is possible that during one of the surgeries (I'd say the 1st in 07) that I could have had a mild/minor or 'silent' stroke?
The reason that I ask and am concerned is the fact I occasionally loose my balance and have actually fallen twice (my ortho dr. assures me that the surgery in no way affected my balance). I can no longer type like I could before my surgeries (especially with my left hand. It's taking me forever just to type this short message.). In high school I played drums. Was actually fairly decent. Not great but OK. I can no longer do something as simple as a drum roll. Granted HS was over 35 yrs ago, but some things you don't forget. My speech is sometimes slured and garbled. I cannot enunciate some words clearly. I am always having to repeat myself. More often than not lately I find myself avoiding conversations because I don't want to sound silly having to repeat myself all the time. When driving I find myself drifting to the left and difficult to stay in my lane. It's becoming more difficult for me to judge braking distance and I often brake harder than normal. If it weren't for ABS on my vehicle I'd probably often skid to a stop. I've had to give up riding my motorcycle because I no longer feel safe due to balance issues.
These are just a few reasons I feel as though I could have had a mild stroke. It all seems to be limited to my left side.
Are there any other conditions thatcould have these symptoms? Does this sound like it could be symptoms of a stroke?
Thanks for any insite that you may be able to offer.