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Anyone had T12, L1 surgery?

JennyfooJJennyfoo Posts: 81
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a L5 S1 discectomy last year with great results except for the major nerve damage I suffered in my lower back, leg, groin, and paralyzed toes. I found out too late that my symptoms last year were indicative of Cauda Equina Syndrome and my case should have been treated as an emergency instead of me waiting around 3 weeks(in debilitating pain) from my 1st ER visit up to surgery. If I'd found out sooner, I'd have sued.

But back to the current problem. The T12 L1 herniation caused me excruciating pain and I was totally locked in spasm from armpits to hips. I had an Epidural Steroid injection a month ago, but my idiotic primary care Dr. did not send my MRI to my neurosurgeon, so when he referred me to pain mgmt, he had no idea I had the new herniation. Pain mgmt assumed it was a L3-4 problem and gave me an injection there. It caused me severe pain, worsening spasm, weakness, and more radiculopathy. Neurosurgeon thinks it aggrevated my scar tissue from last year and ordered a new ESI at T12,L1. 2+weeks later nothing has been done, but the ESI has worn off and I'm not in so much pain now. I was bedridden, unable to move due to the spasm for 4 weeks. The spasm eased up, but my neuro ordered me to lie flat on my back for 4 weeks and do nothing- he said only to get up to use the bathroom and shower. As much as I've tried to do that, I have 4 kids, one who is still home with me and not quite 2. my hubby works from home, so that's been a huge help, but he gets stuck on conference calls often and I HAVE to care for the baby. We've hired a gal to come in 2 afternoons to help with the cleaning, not that we could afford it, but we can't afford not to either. My 11 year-old was helping so much before school started, but she's finding Middle school to be too demanding and is having a hard time getting in all her homework, viola practice, etc every afternoon and can't help as much with the bambino.

I overdid it Monday when hubby got stuck on a call for 4 hours and I had to care for the baby. He's a busy boy, gets into everything, like most almost 2 year-olds do. I've paid dearly for it. I'm locked back up with spasm, in extreme pain, having difficulty sleeping, etc.

It's been over 6 weeks. I can't continue to live like this! The dr. does not want to do surgery because of the risks involved and how invasive this particular surgery would be, but I can't keep this up. I've had it. My mid-back pain is still excruciating, I am barely able to sit for 20 minutes at a time due to how bad it is. Forget walking further than across my house and back. I have a family to take care of. My husband does not get paid FMLA time, so he can't take time off, plus his job is on the line right now if he did because he's working with deadlines, they're understaffed, and he's crazy busy. He's the only one who can do his job and if it doesn't get it done, he'll lose it. He manages the website for Blue Shield of CA and has to coordinate everything that gets put up on the site- for customers as well as doctors and staff. We're basically screwed as far s him taking any time off.

Has anyone had T12, L1 surgery? Is it as bad as my Dr. says? Is it really so invasive that I should be expected to live like this, totally incapacitated, unable to care for myself let alone my family? This is riduculous!

Thanks for any info you guys can give me.

-Jenn Bosch


  • Just found this when I was looking for a thread about T12-L1 herniation. I also had developed Cauda Equina, but in my case it was performed as emergency surgery.I had a Decompression & Discectomy, and I had a rod put it with bone grafts in hope that it will fuse together. It was so incredibly painful, it is a week and a half later and my spine is still swollen, I can't even lift my purse, and I wish I had fully understood what was involved with the srugery before I agreed to it. I was put on a pain pump and then took it off a few short hours later. I was in the hospital from Sunday late night-Friday and my pain was not well controlled then or now. My surgeon had a terrible bedside manner. It took me from Monday morning to Wednesday to even think about sitting up or walking, and even then it was so painful that I blacked out and passed out. It was very rough, and now I am depressed because I can't take care of my daughter and my family is giving me a hard time for it, but I couldn;t pick her up no matter how badly I wanted to. If you think you need the surgery, go for it though. Just know what to expect ahead of time and be prepared. Oh, and I just wanted to point out that it is interesting that we have the same herniationns. They only fixed one though, they left my L5-S1 alone, I'm not sure why. Anyway, good luck!
  • T-12 L-1 right sided herniation. I do have Central Spinal stenosis.

    Im in so much pain right now Im ready to cry. I feel as if I have been getting progressively worse since last night. It is getting to where I just can not get up out of my chair.

    My appointment is not till the 8th of feb and I dont think i can hold on that long with out going crazy.
  • Pain at this level takes some comprehending. I had issues at this level (as well as S1/L5). It really is the pits...breathing is painful never mind moving! I had Laser decompression surgery at both levels resulting in 2 x 1cm scars. I am only 7 weeks out and just starting physio but things are definately better.

    I know laser is still a "new" proceddure and I would stongly reccomend research, also some insurances don't cover it but the "collateral" damage is hugely reduced.

    Jennyfoo, my thoughts are with you >:D<
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