Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

You should have surgery/you shouldn't have surgery-Help!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am having major problems with my family and friends who are pulling me in two directions. They mean well, but since they are going to be part of my recovery process, it is frustrating. I feel like if I have a hard time with recovery, those who will be taking care of me will be unhappy about it because they warned me. Not to mention increasing the stress and anxiety about the procedure. Any advice?


  • Would you mind saying what procedure you are contemplating?

    Have you sought more than one opinion? Have you tried "conservative measures" that have had little effect on your situation?

    I have found that if you told your friends, family and co-workers that you had a brain tumor, they would not be quick to offer advice. However, it seems EVERYONE in the world has back problems, or knows someone who had surgery,and they are more than happy to share their expertise with you. And, they just do not get it!!

    People at my husband's office who know I have had two major surgeries that caused him to miss some work, inquire how I am and then say things like: "Oh, I can really sympathize....my back goes out a couple times a year and I have to take an aspirin and lie down for half a day. It's rough." ETC.!!! :O
    Or, the ever popular, "Has she tried acupuncture?"

    For family, you have to do what you can to educate those who are willing, and develop a thick skin for everyone else.

    It is a hard decision to make without having your support system second guess you every step of the way.

    I think you just have to tell them you have done research and educated yourself as best as a layman can to your particular issues, you have availed yourself of several professional opinions, and even though there are never any guarantees as to outcome, you are making the best decision under the circumstances and that you would appreciate their support and encouragement...that you need positive energy to heal and you want them to focus on your getting better. If they cannot bring themselves to do that, they must either keep their mouths shut, or not come around until you are healed.

    Good luck with your decision...and let me know if I can help in any way.

    xx Gwennie
  • Thank you Gwennie! I am having (or not having) minimally invasive TLIF (not to be confused with TGIF!). Right now, I have been in so much pain all day (pain pills don't work and I'm not wanting to take narcotics unless it is for post-op pain, that I keep getting up and trying to clean, but have to immediately lay back down. I try but my house is a wreck. I got my kids to do some, but it is not nearly enough. Now, who gets most upset with this. Who is hard core against me having back surgery? My live-in boyfriend/significant/father of my children. I know there will be no swaying his opinion. His brother had a back surgery gone bad and as a result, is permanently disabled. Personally, I think he did not take care of himself properly post-op. He ended up w/ a bad infection. Now, isn't that one of the things you are supposed to be vigilant about or can an infection start that won't get better? Fortunately, my mom lives and hour and a half away and said she will take my kids for as long as I need to recover.

    I talked my surgery nurse at my neuro's office a couple of times and she relieved a lot of my anxieties. Right now, I have severe pain in my back going down to my butt and all the way down to my knee, and ankle. I'm having trouble getting a second opinion because the only other neurosurgeon who takes medicaid is in another city. I tried to get a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon, but my primary care dr. said that orthopedic surgeons don't treat back pain. Maybe they meant my type of back pain?
  • There are several sub-specialties with orthopedics. One is the kind who sets broken bones, etc. Then there are those who do joint replacements. Others are "sports medicine" guys and then there are the "orthopedic spinal surgeons"...and their practices are devoted to those with spine and back problems. They do not work on anything else. Whether there would be one in your area or not, I would not know....

    Surgeons are very careful about the possibility of infection. But it can still happen. You are given intructions to help prevent infection after you are discharged and the great majority are able to avoid it...but, it does happen. Then they have to be treated with antibiotics for a long time.

    At least your boyfriend has a reason why he is opposed to your surgery. Do you know if you have a herniated disc or perhaps spinal stenosis? It sounds like you have a spinal nerve that is being compressed and that is causing your pain running down your leg...like sciatic pain.

    Sounds like you have your work cut out, trying to convince your boyfriend that surgery is in your best interest. Good luck with that!!
  • My experience with men...ok, my husband in particular, is that they are terrified of us being in pain/laid up/helpless...all of the above. My husband is also adverse to being at hospitals. I found that taking him to my doctoe appointments with me helped a great deal to educate him to the scope of my condition. It's hard for us to take home the scary news we get at the doctors and repeat it in a way that sounds like it needs to be done. Perhaps this would help with your man as well.

    Find one person who can help you without prejudice and make your own decision about your surgery. While it helps to have your SO on your side it is YOUR back and YOUR decision. Just make sure that you tell him that you'd like for him to be supportive and that this is a big deal to you. Puppy dog eyes may help too LOL.

    Good luck with it all,
  • I had some close family members that were vehimently opposed to me getting any back surgery.

    One in particular had a friend that was disabled for life and using a cane as a result of a back surgery
    (this was from the 80's... way before modern techniques)
    He assumed I would end up the same.

    I did a bunch of research on procedures.
    I then shared the information with my family.
    It really helped all of us rationalize the situation. Soon I had their full support.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • This reminds me of my surgery!

    My DH was gone all last year during my surgery and recovery (in Iraq). We had talked about it and all and he was kind of sympathetic, but not overly so - I know it was long-distance, but he didn't seem to think I was bad enough off to need surgery and did not consider it a big deal.

    He had back surgery in 2001 and let me tell you - he was a BABY for it, on MAJOR pain meds for years! He milked it for all it was worth. He had a discectomy. His scar is not quite 2" long.

    My scar is 8" long and I had a 2 level fusion. I did it alone with no support at home, with a child to care for. I had complications and they had to go back in 2 days after the first surgery to figure it out.

    Tell me who had it worse??? ;) LOL!

    When he came home all he could say was, 'Why'd they leave you with such a big scar?'

    Yes, I still love him. And he isn't really mean, it's just funny how a person's background flavors everything.

    That all said - I agree with Gwennie's posts about explaining and helping him truly understand your situation - best of luck

  • Sounds like your support team is anything but. With support like that, who needs people trying to slap you right back down. It's YOUR body. No one has the right to tell you that you shouldn't have surgery because the house needs to be cleaned, and no one has the right to harass you after surgery because you're in pain. I think I'd have your SO take care of the kids and you go stay with mom. Sounds like a much better solution. I'm sorry - I have no tolerance with men who think they know it all.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I think that if you sit (or lie down) quietly by yourself and ponder whether you want to continue living as you are, or have the chance to have some relief, if not a guarantee, you'll be able to decide. It really is that simple, that complex. I know people are terribly opinionated, and that's a good thing sometimes, but when it's about something that they really have no conception of, it's damaging. Your loved ones only want whats best for you, but the decision is yours, based on what the Dr.s tell you and whether or not you can live a good life feeling as you do now. I wish you all the best, it's scary contemplating any surgery, but it can be just as scary contemplating remaining in acute pain.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,863
    and the final choice is going to lie with you.
    One of the most important factors about making the final decision is to become as educated as possible regarding your condition and the actual surgical procedure. Next step would be to have a second opinion. You always want to have two doctors that come up with the some conclusion. If you have 1 doctor saying this and the other saying that, then go for a third opinion.
    During all your discussions with the doctors, you want to be in a position that you understand exactly what they are saying, you want to know the Pros of having surgery and the Cons of not having surgery.
    Also, what would it mean if you postponed surgery to a later time?

    Of course before the decision regarding surgery is made, you want to make sure that you have tried every conservative treatment. Many patients have had good luck with some of them to the point that they avoided surgery. Even if you have tried some of them once or twice, dont give up on them.
    However, this is a viable action plan Only if your doctor agrees. There are times when surgery is the only alternative and waiting could cause additional problems.

    Then there are some major considerations regarding post surgery. Where are you going to recovery? Who will be helping you? In the beginning phase of recovery, you will need assistance. As time goes on, you should be able to handle almost everything yourself. During the road to recovery, I can not stress how important it is to make sure that you adhere to every restriction and limitation that the doctor placed on you. One sure way to not recover and open yourself up for additional surgeries is to ignore what your doctor said and just do what you feel like doing.

    Take time, familiarize yourself as much as possible.
    Good luck. Spinal surgery is a big step, but modern medicine has advanced so much that most spinal surgeries have almost become routine for many surgeons.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
Sign In or Register to comment.