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been a while...

LoLLo Posts: 694
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
i haven't been here in a while, mostly because i like to keep my mind off of this kind of thing, but i wanted to check in and see how everyone was doing. that, and i have somewhat of a question.

i had another MRI tuesday && the regular radiologist at my primary care doctor's office said that there's a herniation now at L5-S1, and L3-L4. there wasn't before my fusion. my fusion was only 8 months ago. i'm kind of discouraged that the wear and tear is happening ALREADY. has anyone else had this happen this early on after their fusion, to discs that were totally fine beforehand? and if so, did they get progressively worse or did they plateau?

i had a herniation at T11-T12, which is now DDD. lovely. i guess i'm feeling a little crappy today. i still take percocet on a daily basis, though i stopped the valium a while back. now i cut my percocet from 8 a day to 4, and they added tramadol, which does nothing for me, but... i dunno. i am tired of being told to just live with the pain. i'm freakin' 23. these 50 year old doctors have no idea what it's like. i miss hiking, and outdoor activities. i miss being able to do the dishes && fold a basket of laundry sitting up straight && without having to take breaks. i'm so tired of having to say, sorry, i can't go out, i have to take my meds && lay down. it's kind of hard to be a good mother && girlfriend like this. and as far as i can tell, it's not going to get any better, but worse, as time goes on.

one doctor told me there was a 33 percent chance i'd need another surgery within the next 5 years. but then today i was told it's more like 50 to 60 percent chance. lovely. how the heck am i supposed to get back to work when i'm just waiting for the next surgery? i can't go back && forth from working to not working. i have a child to care for, and i don't live with my parents. i don't have other people to depend on, but i do have someone depending on me. i just wish doctors would be more sympathetic sometimes. it's like, the doctor today told me that i'm going to have to work and go to school for the rest of my life. and i'm like, yeah, that's great, but i can't right now. she hardly even let me get any words out before she was interrupting me && talking over me again. she's not a specialist, but she is referring me to another neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon for second opinions, since my neurosurgeon told me there is nothing else she can do, and to just live with the pain. easy to say when you get up every morning pain free && go to work where you make 6 figures a year.

anyway, anyone have similar results on their MRIs less than a year post fusion, just on discs that had no prior issues?


  • Geez it's been a long time lady. Sorry to hear your doing crappy...still. I am doing good and just bought a new motorcycle! Pick it up tonight!

    I am so sad you are hurting, I wish I could help you or send you to my doctor. Please keep visiting and talking about your experiences; you have so much to offer and have a unique, honest perspective that is sometimes lacking.

    Get well and enjoy the little boy of yours.

  • I am so sorry that you are still hurting. You are so young to be dealing with these issues. Fusions are very hard on those surrounding discs, but they should've been more resilient, I would think. Take it easy, if you can. If I come across anything doing my research that could be of help, I'll let you know.

    I wish you the best LO!

  • Lo,
    I am so sorry to hear about your MRI results. You just have to keep going, keep moving, keep getting stronger, keep the positive attitude. That is all you can do, but I'm sure you already know this. I also hear you about staying away from the boards--it can be depressing and I really think anxiety/fear/stress can have a profound impact on recovery and healing.

    Have you tried acqua therapy? I started it and it seems to really help. When you get in the pool you have zero impact so they are able to put you through movements that would otherwise be either impossible or painful--so then you get the benefit, of say biking, without any impact.

    Do you think the doctors telling us to move, move, move actually ends up hurting us in the end? Our bodies are so compromised after these surgeries, I don't know about you....but my doctor is telling me to do more and more and I'm thinking that I'm just messing things up in there. Ughhh....praying for you tonight.


  • Lo,

    It certainly has been a long time. I am sorry to hear about your MRI results. I can't respond directly to your question because I am only 9 months post-op, but ...

    My pain has been gradually increasing since January. It has become common for me to feel very much like I did before my surgery. I've been feeling a little better this week, but only after I bumped into the refrigerator and got a good jolt out of the experience. I felt it up and down my entire spine!

    I had gotten off all pain meds, but am now back on Vicodin at least once a day. I forgot to take one last night and am paying for it right now.

    Next Tuesday I am scheduled for a Myelogram/CT Scan combination to see what's going on in there. My appointment with the surgeon to discuss the results is on June 4.

    My situation is a little different because I did have some "natural" mild issues with neighboring discs pre-surgery, but I am a bit older than you, so that is not surprising.

    I'll post an update when I know more, so we can compare notes.

    Hang in there.
  • i'm happy to see familiar "faces"! (: thanks. i appreciate your well wishes. i wish i could go to your doctor, too! motorcycle?! that's awesome (: i'm so happy for you!!!

    speaking of the little one... he's started reading && is now potty trained! can't tell you how glad my back is not to have to sit on the floor changing diapers all the time. haha (:
  • thank you very much (:
  • thank you (: i enjoy reading anything you post because it's usually interesting && filled with thought provoking points.

    honestly, i do think part of what the doctors tell us to do actually has a negative effect on us. i think there is a happy medium. they tell you to move as much as you can, but maybe they're assuming it won't be much? because i can tell you right now, too much activity HURTS. no activity sucks. but a decent amount feels good.

    i did aquatherapy after my first surgery, in the heated pool. it was alright. but for some reason my neurosurgeon told me that this time there wasn't any point. HOWEVER, i've decided to go another route. the doctor at my primary's office put in a referral to see another neurosurgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, and a physiatrist AGAIN. the SAME one. i don't know why. this primary care lady really doesn't seem to know what she's doing, but with my insurance i only have so many options. so i guess i have to go with the flow.

    i appreciate your response && prayers very much (: i hope you're doing well!
  • thanks (:

    we are pretty close together surgery-wise. mine was a little over a month after yours. i'm sorry to hear you're back on pain meds ): it sucks, and partly because of the stigma attached to it. it's hard when you're young && you need them because you can't request them without doctors looking at you like you're a drug seeker. i am so tired of having to convince people that my pain is real && i'm not asking for pills to get high. i am asking for them so i can do my dishes in one standing. so i can fold an entire basket of laundry without having to take breaks. so i can walk around the neighborhood with my boyfriend, take my son to the park. it's like, they don't get it. and it's unfortunate.

    yikes! sorry to hear about the refrigerator incident. i had a little something like that, felt a little jolt, bending over again. i should just stop bending, what with the leg shaving fiasco incident last year. LOL.

    definitely keep me updated on your progress && what your test results show. hang in there (:
  • Lo, I am so sorry about the MRI news. I definately feel your pain (literally, lol). I am 28, and I had a 2 level fusion 20 months ago..and had no other herniations (fusion was L3/L4 L4-L5). I had a recent MRI because I was having some flare ups of old symptoms and it turns out L2 and S1 are now herniated. I am like you and was also told that I would probably have another surgery within 5-10 years. I showed my new MRI to my pain doc and he said the herniations are still at the point where we may be able to help them with PT and injections, so heres to that! I also found out I have herniations at C5/6 :-( Unfortunately this is a never ending process, but remember there are others out there that know what you are going through,don't let this get you down, just take one day at a time.
  • Hi Lo and Mark R

    It's been ages since I was on line and posting. I'm now 7 months post op (2 level fusion with cages and stem cell) but I'm STILL on the same level of pain killers as I was before.

    Things were getting better and I returned to work (office and desk mainly) in Feb. I tried increasing hours SLOWLY and got to April doing 5 hours split in 2 with a 2 hour lie down in between, but then the pain came back with a vengeance.

    Physio was concerned - I was still doing basic physio - and I brougt my 6th month check forward.

    Turns out I have a screw loose (no comments please) and it is causing inflammation. It feels like same pain same place, but in fact it is similar pain in a similar place, but the brain just sees PAIN.

    So I was given diclofenac to take along side my 300mg of tramadol and paracetemol. That has worked up until last week. I was on my 3rd week of working full time (and being near normal) but the pain is back.

    Next steps are cortisone injection and if that fails to kill the inflammation around the moving metalwork, he'll take the metal work out. But not until I am 12 months post op in October.

    So nI logged on today to see if anyone knew of stronger anti inflammatories and here you both are - and we're all in similar boats.

    I am SO SO sorry top hear your stories. I think I stayed away as mine wasn't improving and I didn't really want to read all the positive outcomes,that would make me feel worse - BUT I DID NOT want to see you here and still in pain.

    And I remeber the leg shaving incidents so well - still talk about them and I am just about managing to shave my legs in the bath once a month - sun is shining and need to look respectable in shorts!!!

    Let me know how you are today

    Hugs and smiles (no tears)
  • Hey Snoopy,

    It's getting to be like a reunion around here, but for all the wrong reasons! ;-)

    I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I hate hearing about people's hardware coming loose – it can't help stabilize the spine if it breaks or comes loose! You'd think they could do something at the time of placement to avoid these kind of problems.

    I stayed away from the forum for a while too because I didn't want to say anything about my situation in case things changed for the better. There are so many horror stories out there and I didn't want my issue to be misleading to anyone else.

    I hope your doctor can do something to help relieve your pain before October. That seems such a long way from now.

    I'll post an update when I know more about my situation.
  • I missed you.

    Sorry 'bout the MRI.

    I had one recently. Some things ain't right but nothing the Dr wants to operate on.

    I guess I'll keep working on the core muscles....that's what PT keeps preaching.

    All the best.

  • Nice to hear from you again. I'm sorry about your new problems and hopefully it can be managed without another surgery.

    It's good to know your son is doing fine and is potty training. OMG I remember those days (and the messes). You know, once the kids get older you start to miss the baby/toddler years. I started to want another one (not possible, nursery was torn down)and my husband got me a dog instead. Works for me :X She is so cute.

    Anyway, they found scar tissue on an MRI a few months ago and it's been very hard for me because all I do is lay down with my faithful icepack. I drive once a month to my PM visit and stay at home most of the time. My surgeon also said I have permanent nerve damage in one leg. I am going in for a morphine pump trial and I hope it makes a difference.

    Well, I look forward to hearing from you and hope things go well for you and your son. Take care
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