The MAJOR decision to have surgery is never easy whatever the situation. I, like most people, I tried absolutely everything out there before making that very important decision.
I suffered the progressive pain of spinal stenosis for around 4 years. It all began with lower back and some sciatic pain. I tried exercise and taking pain killers until I progressed to Cortisone Epidurals. The first epidurals worked well, for a while and I thought that I had the pain beaten at one stage.
True to form though, the Stenosis got progressively worse and with it came more pain. I had no choice so I then moved on from regular Cortisone Epidurals to Caudal Epidurals with contrast and "C" arm guidance for pinpoint accuracy. The Caudal Epidurals were a painless procedure and at first they worked well too, but sadly that was short lived and the frequency between Caudal shots increased. In the end, I ma-x'd out on Cortisone to the extent that I had to suffer chronic pain for 6 months without any Cortisone just relying on oral painkillers which by that stage were mostly ineffective.
With so much chronic pain, I began to think very seriously about surgery which was something that I had been avoiding or trying to avoid at all costs before.
Then my pain management doc suggested that I might try a Neurostimulator from Medtronic by taking the trial and then subsequently having the "STIM" also referred to as an "SCS" Implanted in my butt with wires going to the relevant areas of the spine.
That is when I discovered this excellent website and the wonderful world of "SPINE HEALTH" and some really great and valuable support. It was only then I discovered how important it was to talk to others who had "been there: and "done that". I posted my situation and I got several replies but, I was sent an ANGEL from Spine Health called CHagland who replied to my post and she became my guiding light from then on. For me she walks on water.
It was through "C" that I discovered after several e-mails, that I was making a completely wrong decision for me and that I was doing things somewhat backwards and quite in the wrong order. My pain management doctor, thought that he was giving me the best advice, but after communicating with CHagland I realized that his best advice was really not the best advice for me.
Having done the trial, I was about to have the Neurostimulator implanted but due to the great advice from "C" I took it upon myself and of course completely of my own free will and accord, to cancel the procedure only 7 hours before the surgery was due to take place. "C" Hagland had already been down that road, she had already had the personal experience, which my pain management doc had not, even though he is the Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Management at a major US medical institution.
When I subsequently explained to him why I had backed out of the procedure at the last minute, he saw the reasoning and agreed completely. "C" was absolutely correct.
I was able to benefit from her great personal experience and her experience is legendary, I can assure you. In fact you can see it yourself through the member list.
By this time, my pain was excruciating and that level of chronic pain dictated that surgery was the only option. I had reached the point where the decision had been made for me. After consulting with several surgeons, I chose the one with the greatest experience and the most conservative approach and with "C" really holding my hand, I had my procedure.
I am now over 100 days post surgery and the decompression surgery that I had on L3/$, L4/5, L5/S1, bilaterally, was well worth it. my sciatic nerve pain has gone completely and I am recovering well for a 65 year old man.
Thanks to my angel, CHagland, who's constant help and support was just golden, I genuinely feel that I have been touched by an angel.
For those who may be interested in the medical detail of this success story, I was diagnosed with Multilevel Spinal Stenosis with recurrent and persistent Radiculopathy thigh and bi-lateral leg pain.
The procedure was Hemilaminotomies with facetectomies carried out Bilaterally from L/3 through S/1.
Finally, I have no more nerve pain whatsoever and what small discomfort I do have is due to the whole thing getting better. The only regret that I have is waiting too long to have the surgery. I could have been out of pain ages ago.
I had a great surgeon and thank you Spine Health for sending "CHagland" to me. She is the best.