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Surgery in 4 days (and counting)

JeffAJJeffA Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi all,

Thanks for the forum. It's really helpful to read through your posts, see I'm not the only one with back problems.

I got to this 'bad back' diagnosis in a really backward (no pun intended) way. About 18 months ago I started having 'strange' pains in my quadriceps and calves. Bounced around to several doctors with no diagnosis. One thought I might have MS, another muscle disease. Eventually I met with an orthopedic surgeon. He snapped an x-ray of my lumbar spine, said it didn't look too good and ordered an MRI.

A week later I went back to get the results. I'll never forget the Doc walking into the room, report in hand. His face was grim, he said, "I have some bad news..." he began to read form the report, "... congenital stenosis, severe stenosis at L2-3 and L4-5 (70-80%), completely smashed disk L5-S1... (okay, he didn't really say smashed, but it is) arthritis, degenerative...bla bla bla"

As he read I kept thinking, this is great, finally I know what's wrong. why my legs hurt, why I can't run anymore, why I can barely walk.

It didn't take long though for the jubilation to fade. Although I knew what was wrong, NOW I HAD TO GET IF FIXED! And I hoped that didn't mean surgery.

I met with a top neurosurgeon at Stanford. He walked into the room holding my MRI, he glanced at it one more time then said, "You need surgery." He recommended a laminectomy to decompress the spine. I had a second opinion. No luck, same recommendation.

Anyway, long story but here's where I am. Scheduled for a laminectomy July 7th (4 days... bite nails). I anticipate an easy operation and quick recovery. (positive thinking... cross fingers) I'll let you all know how it goes.



  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i would just suggest getting more than one opinion if you can. :? i know your surgery time draws near and i wish you the best of luck for a successful surgery and recovery.. :D be sure and check out the "Back and Neck" surgery forum for a little more input. think positive! :D Jenny :)
  • i'm pete.
    just wanted to wish you luck. sounds like you've got good attitude in your quest to walk well again. laminectomies arent the most difficult. you should get some good results. just look at it this way youre going in for a little rest then youll come out fightin. best of luck,
    pete :-C
  • Glad you found us! There is lots of good information on this website and many kind people who are willing to share their experiences on the forum. Please post whenever you have a question or concern, or just need to vent. Sometimes it is easier to find answers to questions here than through the doctors, particularly regarding the practical little tips that make recovery easier!

    The best advice I have to pass on to you is to plan on taking it easy for at least a couple weeks after your surgery. One of the biggest problems after this surgery is that patients usually feel SO good afterwards that they immediately start doing all those things they haven't been able to do while in pain. They don't pace themselves; they do too much too soon and they end up with a reherniation or something similar.

    So, even if you feel great, remember to take it easy. Avoid any and all activity that involves bending, twisting, reaching and do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Avoid anything that jars the spine -- riding in cars, bumpy roads, roller coasters, jet skis!! Also you'll want to discuss the running thing with your surgeon.

    Good luck. As back surgeries go, the one you are having isn't bad! You should be feeling better soon.

    xx Gwennie
  • Hi Jeff. Just wanted to say welcome to the forum and good luck with your upcoming surgery. I know your nervous about it, but just keep thinking about how good you will feel when all healed up.

    I know it's easy to say not to be nervous because I am having ADCF (discectomy and cervical fusion) on July and am nervous already, too. I too, will keep trying to think how good it will feel when up and about again.

    Please keep us posted on your progress and even if you just need to come in and complain we are all good listeners!! Talking to others who "feel your pain" helps a lot.

    Good luck and best wishes,

  • Thanks everyone for the great advice. What a supportive group!

    When I was a little kid I was afraid to go into swimming pools. My mom would tell me, "Jeff, sometimes you have plug your nose, close your eyes, and jump in.

    That's my attitude about the surgery. I need it, I'm a bit nervous, but come Tuesday I'll just plug my nose, close my eyes, and jump in -- well walk it but you get the idea.

    Yester day I visited our neighbors, a nice older couple whom I hadn't seen in a while (I'm 51 so they seem 'older' to me). Anyway, it turns out that the wife has severe stenosis and is planning on surgery 'as soon as she can get in.'
    They had a friend over who has had three spinal surgeries, including a laminectomy.

    My God... we're everwhere!

    We joked about our 'old man/lady' walk. How sometimes when we're out in public we need to bend forward to relieve the pain. I assume people think I'm crazy when I do it.
    "Mommy, why is that man bending forward in the middle of the store?"
    Because, I think to myself, if I don't -- I'll fall down and scream in pain.

    There are a lot of us out here. We're not always visible because we don't wear the pain on our faces but we are here.

    To Diane. good luck with your surgery this month. I'm sure it will go well.

    One question on protocol. I plan on periodically posting progress reports after my surgery. Do I move to the 'Back Surgery and Neck Surgery' forum or just keep it here?

    Thanks a lot,

  • hi!! :H noone wants to tell you where to post but the more likely spots would be in the "Back pain" forums, including the "Back and Neck Surgery" forum. =D> see which seems appropriate for you. :D you are more likely to get replies there as you recover.. :D that really is a good question and feel free to do as you please.. :? all the best!!! :D Jenny :)
  • Came down with a minor cold. They bumped me to the 15th.
  • Sorry you had to postpone your date. Oh well enjoy your "vacation." My sugery was postponed a week because of a snowstorm. Just one more week of anxiety. I was totally freaked out before my surgery because I had to much time to "prepare." I hope your surgery goes well my friend. Just like climbing everest I think.
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