I had my one year surgical check up today. This entailed getting up at 5:00 in the morning and driving 2 plus hours to the "big city" to see my surgeon. The last part of the trip was spent in rush hour traffic, but I made it to the health center in time to have a cup of coffee before heading off to get my xrays and then heading to the doc's office. As many of you know, I have been having increase pain in my lower back, hip and leg over the past week to week and a half. I finally gave into taking some Lyrica on Saturday (and have been taking it since) because the oxycodone was not really helping. The Lyrica has given me a bit of relief, but after driving for 2 plus hours, my back and leg were howling by the time I arrived. I got my xrays and headed to the doc's office. After a bit, he came in and we talked about my pictures, my pain, and the things I was doing for it. He told me that my fusion was never about eliminating my pain. Before I went to see him, I had been referred to a pain management specialist to have an SCS implanted. I just didn't want to go that route. Because of the nature of my injury, my surgeon did his very best to stabilize my spine and MINIMIZE my pain, knowing that he could never eliminate it. I will have to live with these flares for the rest of my life and I need to fight to keep myself strong while not over-doing and aggravating the injury. The problem, as you will see if I can post a picture here, is not that I had a three level fusion, but that before I had the fusion, I had DDD, Spondy, Scoliosis (apparently a rather wicked kink to the side which he managed to almost straighten out) and arthritis.
The good news is that my fusion is complete. I cannot hurt my spine, except for the discs above the fusion. Currently, those discs all look fine and healthy. The bad is that I will never be back to normal. I guess I knew that, but I had hoped for more. Here, if I can post the pic (or at least a link) is my lovely fused spine.http://lindasteller.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/my-back-nov-091.jpg?w=360&h=483
3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.