~X( Well I am somewhat new, I signed up a while ago but never posted.
I have been dealing with back and leg pain since early 2000.
Surgery #1 Left L4-5 discectomy June 2000
Did great after Surgery #1, until early 2006 – pain started again. Ortho ordered more MRI those showed more DDD, another disk bulge central L4-5 L4-5 had become very thin and dried out. L3 was dried out. S-1 was also on the road to being trashed.
Had my first DISCOGRAM. Will not ever have that procedure again. Besides my new Neuro does not give that test any weight. Too many false positive come from that test.
Had four transforaminal epidural steroid injections during 2006, early 2007. Thos helped for some time.
My left leg starting going numb, off and on the shooting pain got so bad it woke me out of a dead sleep some nights. At some point, my left leg below the knee went numb and stayed that way. I would also get this special jolt when I would put my foot on the ground walking (I later learned this was from S1)
Surgery #2 Laminectomy (partial) at L4-5, S-1 & Foraminotomy at the same levels. October 2008 – woke up from surgery with no numbness. I was happy until my Neuro told me he found massive amount of scar tissue – most of which he did not remove. He also found two bone spurs which he could not do anything about without FUSION. I did not sign up for that, at least not for this surgery. The FREEDOM pain lasted all of 3-4 months. During PT, I managed to re-injure myself causing another disc herniation central S-1, right S-1 and right L45.
As of now. My leg pain comes and goes hard. The numbness is getting worse by the minute. My back pain was somewhat under control, but the steroid injection(s), I have had five steroid injections this year, are not lasting as long as they use to. So... Neuro says NO MORE.
Finally, Fusion Surgery is agreed upon and schedule for September 25. I would do it sooner, but my Neuro requires me to donate two (2) units of blood prior to surgery. I have to start that five weeks out, so there is a week between units, and at least two weeks between last donation and surgery. In addition, I have HBP, so I have to get Cardio clearance and medical doctor clearance, which the hospital requires. N o biggie I cleared last time with bright colors.
I am taking all kinds of meds to fight the pain – which we all know never completely goes away. Lyrica seems to help some. I also take Vicodin, or Vicoprofen. I also seem to have good results with Tramadol, but I was on Cymbalta and cannot Tramadol with Cymbalta. Now I off Cymbalta due to high rate of side effects. I went back to Tramadol. My sister teases me saying it’s my crack candy—the Tramadol. Well, it sure does work well for me.
I have been on many other medicines for nerve pain. For my breakthrough back pain, I have Fentanyl now, was on Morphine for a while. Fentanyl is like 10 times stronger than Morphine. I have also been on the Oxycontin at one point.
I just wonder if I am doing the right thing by having this FUSION. Nothing else works.
I am having two levels done L4-5, S-1. My heart, mind and soul tell me to do this. Hell my Neuro says go for it. I read a lot of stuff about fusion failure and people having them and then being in more pain once they have the fusion. I read that about 60-70 % of fusions are successful –meaning solid fusion is achieved. As for those being out of pain, I have not read anywhere that any one person is totally pain free from a fusion or partial pain relief.
I should have had this fusion last year. Well thank you Mister Insurance Regulator.
Some days I hurt really badly and some days I do not. I have not been able to bowl since August 2008. I carried a 210 average. I was depressed and thought this is just sick. I need to do something. I even went to Mayo Clinic and got a second opinion. Mayo said, pain stimulator and/or fusion. No one will do the pain stimulator, nor will insurance cover it, until I have exhausted all surgical intervention. So I will go ahead and cost the insurance company $50K plus for a two level fusion vs a non-invasive pain stimulator approach which cost much less, first.
Does anyone feel I should not have this fusion or what? I am just beside myself.