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One Surgery Down, One to go

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Lower Back Pain

First, I'm new here and while I did read the FAQs, I'll admit to not having spend a great deal of time on them. So, if I've posted in the wrong place, or otherwise violated a protocol of this community, I'm very teachable, and will gladly follow the house rules.

Moving forward--last February 5th (2009) I had a Diskectomy (L5-S1) and a Laminectomy just to liven things up a bit. The healing has gone fairly well, but at the time of the first surgery there was a bit of a debate. You see, there was another problem disk present, but because I was not experiencing symptoms (I've since learned that the size of a disk protrusion/herniation is not always a good barometer when it comes to accompanying pain levels) the decision was made not to deal with what it now looks like will have to be dealt with.

L2--L3: Yes, it turns out that over the past year, what started as a fairly mild protrusion has now become a bit more complicated. I am NOT an expert in any of this but from the MRI findings: "Disk desiccation and intervertebral disk space narrowing. Large right lateral disk protrusion. It measures 2.6 cm transverse x 5.7mm AP and 1.2 cm craniocaudad. It abuts the L2 Dorsal root ganglion."

My DO put this simply--"You need to strongly consider going back in for surgery."

So, I found this site while looking for resources and have read a number of posts. It is obvious that there are some smart, capable people here who find themselves in similar (to one degree or another) situations. Because of that, and because I think that "back pain" often results in an ugly stigma; everything from, "tough it out, we all have pain," to "Yeah, back pain equals nothing less than drug seeking--a not so clever way to get refills on Vicodin," I thought this might serve as a good place to talk, get to know people, and hopefully, share what experiences I've had, and where I am and want to be--going forward.

Long post, and I apologize for the five minutes of your life you'll never get back if you decided to read, but thanks, and I look forward to getting to know people, sharing, and with any luck, getting to feeling better very soon.

Take care and thanks for having this community ready and waiting for guys like me who are simply trying to get on with life, as pain free as possible, all predicated on a better understanding of the links and ties that bind all of us who have joined this forum.



  • Hi Drew,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Your post was rather entertaining, so taking the few minutes of my life worked just fine for myself. As far as posting in the right place, looks pretty good to myself. You may also want to post in the surgery forum or look there as well. Seems most post surgery when they are getting ready for it.

    You will find many members, as yourself, who are, or have gone through this already. While none of us have the perfect answer, we do understand what your going through. My perfect answer is for the Doc, to let me have a loaner spine, while he works on it and then can give it back. Or if the loaner would work out, then I'd keep that, as well. Oh well, one can dream.

    Although I don't suffer for lumbar issues, thought I would drop by and welcome you. I will look forwarding to reading more of your post. Once again welcome to spine-health.
  • I did not find your post long winded at all. You explained things very well. I am sorry that you are experiencing such pain but am glad that you found this forum. You will find lots of support and understanding here. Good luck and please keep us posted on your surgery.
  • Welcome to spine-health. I also found your post to be entertaining. It's 12:33am and I'm having trouble sleeping so it was nice to have a little chuckle,not at your expense though lol.

    I too suffer from lumbar pain even after having a fusion at L5/S1 7/1/08. Too bad they didn't take care of the other disc at the time and get it all over with in one shot.

    Do you suffer from constant pain with this? Does it interfere with your normal, everyday activities?

    I'm glad you found this site as the member's here are very helpful, understanding and supportive. It's a great community to be a part of.
  • Good morning.

    I wanted to thank all of you for the welcoming "hello" and for sharing a bit about your own experiences. My story is not unique, and not unlike a number of other people who deal with pain/back/neck issues on a daily basis. I'll skip the gory details save for the fact that I'm a manager in emergency preparedness for a rural hospital and during a drill about a year ago I attempted to do that (think, lifting and moving) which trained body-builders would most likely have passed on and I should not have even thought of. That resulted in my first of many trips to doctors, and my first of many experiences with some of the stigmas that are attached to people in pain.

    It's funny to me that even when one has an MRI with a Lumbar series showing disk images that appear to have been drawn by a four year old (in that often the pics are UGLY) some people still approach with the, "Yeah, I strained my back once--know how you feel." I used to do my part to explain that a strained back and two massively herniated disks were like comparing a paper airplane to the Space Shuttle Discovery, but now, I sort of smile and nod, and move on. And you know, I really do wish them well. I am not suggesting that a strained back does not hurt--only that a strain is not likely to land someone face down on an operating table in a room that feels like it is designed for hanging sides of beef.

    Some of the funniest moments (if you haven't yet noticed, I refuse to allow any of this to dampen my mood, for even a moment) is when well-intentioned co-workers (remember, I work in a hospital) engage in "helpful" suggestions. That usually goes something like:

    Friend: "Hey, sorry your back is hurting--you know, my sister had the "same" thing and she was able to find relief by---

    Drew: "Ahh, thanks, I appreciate the kind words, but I.....

    Friend: "Yeah, so she had a doctor that told her that in order to "shock the back" back into position, well, she jumped off a 150 foot ledge with a bungee cord wrapped around her lower back, while wearing four strings of clove garlic, to ward off vampires, anyway, I know it "sounds" odd, but it really did work."

    Drew: "Wow, I....don't really feel safe even responding to that, but thanks for the input."

    Friend: "Sure, hey, I'll get you the name of the doctor. My sister keeps it in the notebook attached to her traction device."

    Drew: ......running........away.........

    Others have recommended everything from *and I'm not kidding* Ben Gay, to soaking in a "tub of ice for one hour." Hypothermia anyone??

    But in all seriousness, I've read about a lot of experiences here and it is clear that there are some really good people here willing to help others. I'll be happy to do the same. I think that attitude is everything when dealing with this type of situation. I know that there are moments to be serious, and I pick my moments well, but I also think that one of the first things to go when we are hurting, is our want to laugh. I want to see people laugh, even if only for a few moments, through pain, and even through tears.

    In the meantime, it feels good to be here, and again, I thank you.


  • Hi Drew,

    I thought I was a sick puppy humor wise, but, I think you've bested me. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying - thanks, the endorphin flow feels great!

    Your description of an OR took the cake. When I gimped into my surgery wearing the 'du jour' gown with the accesorizing IV arm candy/ID bracelet and saw the bolster that was going to be used under me to position my hips/back I thought, I don't have dotted lines where I fold do I? Before surgery, the OSS did use a marker on me, was he figuring out where to bend me? As far as the ice soak, ouch, maybe they thought you'd make a good member of Blue Man group?

    Drew, please keep up your fantastic upbeat attitude, I think it'll only serve to help you through the 'spiney' path we walk here.

    Have a great day.

  • I smiled a lot reading your comments about well-meaning co-workers. I guess it is because everyone has experienced a bit of back pain at one time or another that they feel their experience must be the same as ours. Also, it doesn't help that most Spineys wear their pain on the inside -- they look "normal" to the outside world.

    I've had two surgeries in eighteen months and as a result, my husband has missed some time at the office, driving me to injection appointments, doctors' appointments, etc. People periodically ask how I am doing, and my husband comes home with stories similar to yours. His co-workers don't recommend bungee jumping. They say how they have back pain every couple years, take a couple Aleve and that does the trick. They always give him the "What is wrong with your wife?" look. So now, when they inquire about me, he just says "She's OK."

    Welcome to the board. I can tell you will be a good addition to our community.

    xx Gwennie
  • I just had to chime in here because I was laughing, like everybody else. I particularly liked the paper airplane compared to the Space Shuttle Discovery comment. With your insight, too bad we haven't met you until now. :-)

    I started out with cervical spine issues and apparently I did so well that I've graduated to lumbar issues. (I'm still waiting on my certificate.)

    I was in church a couple of weeks ago and some friends told me that there's a member of the church named Staci who's a physical therapist and "she works miracles with sciatica. She got rid of mine and Connie's. Really! She can get rid of ANYBODY'S sciatica. Too bad she didn't come today - you could've make an appointment with her."

    Well, I just didn't feel like telling them that my surgeon has an onsite PT facility and that if he thought there was any chance in he11 that PT would work, I would've already been cured.

    Anyway, welcome to Spine-Health. It's nice to have you here (albeit under painful circumstances).

  • To everyone who has responded, many thanks. I too look forward to reading more about what you've written and the experiences you've had. I know that I'll learn a great deal. Yes, some of the epiphanies are quite humorous in that people sometimes (as well intentioned as they are) don't think before engaging brain with mouth. The comments about, "Wow, sorry Drew, I'll bet that hurts," followed by, "Have you tried Motrin IB," is both comical and tragic, but mostly; comical. I have felt (at times) like responding. "Damn, you know, I went through a four hour surgery with a world-class surgeon--but it looks like we forgot to try MOTRIN before cutting me open." :)

    Still, most people mean well, and most are genuine in their wishes that we get well. I know that I work with a number of people who care a great deal, and likewise, I care a great deal about them.

    And I look forward to getting to know more of you, more about your situations, and more about what has and has not worked. It is tough at times in that no two people are the same. A medicine that helps one person might in fact make the next person break out in a weird rash and forget who they are for a few hours. Life (and medicine) is funny that way.

    Laughter is the only way I know how to deal with all of this. There is an element of richly defined humor present in most stories, and while the roads we travel are all closely linked, we all know that each case is a bit different. That does not however, make me unique to the point of not being able to identify similarities. I feel strongly that in educating each other (I know I'm going to learn a lot more here than I ever share) that we are better equipped to talk to physicians, understand what is happening to us, and hopefully, discover ways of making things just a bit easier. And sometimes, "a bit easier," makes all the difference between despair and hopefulness.

    Finding this site, and the members who make it a community lets me know that I'm not alone. And that, above all, is the biggest and most appreciated of gifts.

  • I look forward to reading more of your posts and you are a great addition to our spine health community. We could all use more laughs lol.

    We have a lot of commercials that advertise the DRX9000 and I am constantly having people tell me that I should try that. I just kind of chuckle and let them know that I tried that as well as all non-surgical treatments before having surgery since I did suffer with this for over 6yrs before giving into going under the knife. I also get asked frequently if I found a job yet. I feel they are hinting around thinking I am just lazy and playing out this whole back thing cuz I can't find a job. I gave up 2 great sales positions due to my disability and could start them up tomorrow if I could.

    As I said before I look forward to reading and laughing along to your posts.
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