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

Surprise! You have a tumor in your spine!

melhope868mmelhope868 Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in New Member Introductions

My situation is probably somewhat different than most people around here. I have had mild, treatable with Advil lower back pain on and off for several years, mainly since I injured my back in 2006. I didn't think anything much of it; lower back pain is very common, so it was mostly annoying when it cropped up. Occasionally I would get pain down my legs, but it would go away in a day or two. No biggie.

I was having that sort of pain when I went to my neurologist for a check up for my seizure disorder, so on the spur of the moment, I mentioned it to him. He mentioned several ideas such as anti-inflammatory meds, epidural steroids, or an MRI. I decided to do the MRI, as I'd never had any imaging of any sort done back in 2006, and I thought it would be good to see what was going on in there.

Imagine my extreme surprise (shock?) the day after the MRI when my doctor called me and said that the MRI showed what he called an "epidural mass" in my spinal column. He was referring me to a neurosurgeon whose office would call me later in the day.

The neurosurgeon filled me in on the details, and I've had a biopsy done. What I have is a benign neurofibroma or schwannoma spanning from T12-L2. It's been growing in there for years, probably earlier than 2006; the pain from this is actually different than when I hurt my back, it's higher up, for one thing. It's actually reforming bone. It's grown out of the spinal column and pushed the bone out of the way as it's grown. This was one of the things that indicated that it was benign even before the biopsy.

Obviously, we're doing surgery. If it stays in there I will eventually be paralyzed. Luckily I'm stable, so we'll do it in May, after I'm off contract at the theater where I work. Then I'll have the summer to recuperate.

This can't be done with mimimally invasive techniques. He'll have to make a large incision and probably remove bone to get at the thing, and then do a spinal fusion. I'm rather amused at the irony of having more back pain after the surgery than I did before.

I've never had any sort of surgery before. I don't think the stitches I had in my finger count :) I really like the list of suggestions for stuff to have in the hospital and at home while recovering.

Anyway, that's my story. I'm looking forward to participating here.




  • and Welcome.
    That's a pretty amazing story you have there!
    I can't help but think how lucky you are (I know sounds ironic) that you happened to mention your back pain to the doc and he took you seriously and did the MRI! Imagine if this hadn't happened you might have tolerated your pain and kept treating with Advil and ended up being paralysed!
    I tell you sometimes there is a higher power looking after you and this is one of those times.
    Look forward to getting to know more about you and talking around the forums.
    You seem to have a great positive attitude through all this and THAT is inspirational.
    Take care
    P.S. what sort of fusion are you having, do you know yet? anterior or posterior, how many levels?
  • Sorry to hear about the tumor but thank goodness the Dr. found it in time. We're here to support you through your surgery and recovery. Check out the surgery forum for the pre-op checklist of things you may need for recovery. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Wow, Melissa, that's my first reaction! It's good to hear the docs have a plan of attack before the tumor completely calcifies to bone and that it is benign. Makes you wonder how it would have turned out if you did not just mention the pain to your doc.

    Similar story-friend was in car wreck, had to wear brace for fractured vertebrae. She thought the brace was rubbing her breast, causing pain, and never would have gone to the doc about her breast issue if she hadn't thought the brace was a problem. Actually,she had breast cancer and thanks to the lucky coincidence of the brace and back problem, they caught the cancer in time for treatment. Maybe you two have the same guardian angel? :)

    Keep us posted, there's quite a few people with good, practical, ideas during recovery. Best of luck to you!

  • Thanks for the good thoughts, everybody. It will be a posterior fusion. He just won't know how extensive until he gets in there and sees how much bone will have to be removed, or exactly what's entangled with what. On the MRI, it all seems to be posterior to my spinal cord, but we'll see.
  • Hi Melissa and welcome to the spine boards :H

    WoW! Good thing you mentioned this to your Dr. and wonderful you have such a good Dr to do a quick folow up test to see what the issues is. :)

    Hope all goes well for you !
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • I've had a similar issue. I've been doing judo for around 3 years and knocks are part of the sport. About 6 months ago I was feeling a pain down my left leg when I bent over or in certain positions. I never thought much of it. Three months ago for around a month or two I could not lie down for more than 3-4 hours without a sharp pain running down my thigh. In all I didn't sleep for those months.

    Went to my Dr who thought my pain was a torn ligament in my thigh. I was refered to an orthopedic hospital where they did a x-ray which obviously showed nothing! I insisted on getting on a MRI scan.

    It showed a neurofibroma or other benign tumour in my spinal cord L3. Pretty shocked at the whole thing. I'm a relatively healthy 26 year-old who eats well and exercise regularly.

    I've now been refered to a neurosurgery specialist. I've been told the tumour needs to be removed else it could lead to paralysis!

    Has anyone had a spinal tumour removed? What should I do to prepare for the surgery? How long will it take to fully recovery?
  • Hi tailor! I like your username, because tailoring is part of what I do at work, in a costume shop at a professional theater.

    Anyway, I haven't run into anybody else here yet with a spinal tumor. I think they're kind of rare. I'm still having moments where I stop and think "Wait?! I have a WHAT?? In my WHERE?!!" This whole thing has been rather surreal.

    My surgeon said it would be 6-8 weeks before he'd let me back to work. But I doubt I'll be 100% by then.

    Have you scheduled your surgery yet? I'm doing mine in May, but we haven't scheduled a date yet. It's slightly frustrating because I want to make arrangements for my sister to come, and things like that, but I need a date to do that.

    Good luck, tailor! I hope everything goes well for you.
  • Yep I had the same thoughts and was in a bit of shock. My surgeon said he gets maybe 2-3 of these types every few months (and they have all been successful).

    He also thinks I'l be walking on the same day as my operation. Call me a cynic but if he is planning to cut me open I doubt I'll be walking for a day or two!

    I've got an MRI on Wednesday and the operation middle of April. I've been told recovery will be 4 weeks. I'm getting the feeling my back won't be the same after this.

    ps my ancestors were tailors hence the name!
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you dropped in to visit!! =D> you have come to a good place to spend your recovery and have alot of your questions answered. always remember the doctor knows best.. i hope your surgery is a complete success and you do not have more back pain. i really hope not. :D good luck and drop in anytme. Jenny :)
  • My case is little different than yours; I have a benign hemangioma on L2 but at least it is stable and not encroaching onto anything for now. It is just one more thing to keep an eye on. Please let us when you have your surgery and I hope everything goes well for you. Take care
  • So I thought it would be good to tell the story so far...

    I had the tumour removed on Friday, they managed to remove 96%. Some of the tumour is attached to a main leg nerve so they decided to leave it. It did mean that they did a double laminoctomy (removing a bit of bone from the top and bottom). Although I'm happy they didn't have to insert any screws to keep me together.

    Because of a tear in my dural they kept me lying flat for 36hrs. The wound isn't particularly painful and I've not taken too much morphine since the operation. I was walking (or hobbling!) after 48hrs although it was very painful to sit down and stand up at the start.

    The wound is about 14 stitches so about 6 inches. Don't get me wrong it does hurt but you have to remember they have cut into the core of my body (literally!).

  • good to hear of your recovery so far!!! :D i am sure laying flat was no fun but you did it and that is over with!! good luck with your recovery now!! please be sure and drop in whenever you feel like it and keep us informed! take care! Jenny :)
Sign In or Register to comment.