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Good News/Bad News

lisa burekllisa burek Posts: 855
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Fellow Spineys,

Today I had my 6 1/2 month follow-up from my ALIF L4-S1.

The good news is that the hardware is in place and "perfect" according to my surgeon. Also, I am finally starting to fuse, yeah!

The bad news is that I am still in pain every day. My surgeon said it is most likely residual pain from my first 2 level PLIF L2-L4. I had scoliosis, severe DDD and spondylolisthesis (in other words: a train wreck). My surgeon did the best he could with the mess that was there, but this is always going to be a problem. Thankfully I went into this surgery with eyes wide open: I wasn't expecting a pain free future, just less of it.

My Dr. wants to see me in another 3 months. I mentioned that we should probably address my neck issues at that time (severe DDD, disc herniations/bulging, kyphosis and a partridge in a pear tree). Dr. said if there was more people with spines like me we would need a lot more orthopedic surgeons in the world. I told him I was just lucky, if you don't laugh, you cry. I choose laughing most of the time.

Thanks for listening,



  • Oh Lisa...while I'm glad your surgery "mechanically" is working, I'm sorry to hear about the pain. Did he give any indication that the pain might subside or reduce over time?

    I had 2 microdiscectomnies on L5-S1...my pain didn't reduce by week 6, but then i started PT and found that it MARGINALLY reduced by my 3-month appt. I also find that it fluctuates with monthly menstrual cycle and 'damp' weather to "higher" and then gets back to a seeming improvement. I suspect the fusion timeline is longer than microdiscectomy but I have no experience.

    Sounds like you are helping your surgeon's retirement plan (ok, you said if you don't laugh you cry...so thought I'd try to make you laugh).

  • I always tell my orthopedist that I am putting his kids through school!! Someone in my family is there almost every month. Thank God for insurance.
  • I'm so glad you are starting to fuse. What did it look like on the xray??

    Maybe your pain will get better as you completely fuse. I know that nerves regenerate at the rate of 1 milimeter per month, so maybe it is just a function of time...I sure hope so for you!

  • On the x-ray it just looked like some "whiteness" was there. My surgeon knew, of course, what to look for. To me it just seems like a blur against the metal.

    Time will tell how my pain will be in the future, however, if it is indeed the first fusion mess causing the pain it will probably always be with me.

    I can accept this. I'm not happy about it but I have had the time to go through the stages of recovery, and this is what I have to deal with. The members of this site have helped me to get to where I am.

    Take care,


  • So glad to hear that the physical aspect of your surgery is coming along, it just bites that the pain too is still there! I too was told that some of my nerve pain post operative was due to their being irritated for so long, and as such 'healing.' Humm.. okay doc, thanks!

    Over the years my spine has shown me its true side if you know what I mean! I half jokingly tell my NS, "Hey Dr. P... I am just putting your kids through college." He then puts his head down and tells me I am being bed! (G) Others I see say similar - retirement plan, school, college... Our way of letting our humor give us a pain break. Hoping you are feeling better as the days go on! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was hoping you would have fused by now. After what you've been through, it's a big disappointment.

    It could be that the first fusion mess damaged nerves and is causing your lumbar pain now.

    Despite what you're going through, you're always encouraging to others here, so do keep that good attitude.

    Hoping the next few months will be better for you.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hi Lisa....I am the same as you..My "Hardware" is on track but I still have pain..
    Ive seen a Pain Specialist who has injected my facet and sacral joints all up my spine and hips and then has burnt the nerve endings..All up it gave me 6 months of managable pain until recently when I had to have further surgery..I go to the Pain man again this Tuesday where we will discuss putting a Stimulator in for thoracic pain as its unbearable now.

    Take care
  • Thanks for your support fellow spineys. I crack myself up: after I typed my post about "accepting this" and "choosing to laugh instead of cry" I had a mini meltdown and quietly cried (the kids were home, ugh) for quite awhile!

    Oh well, I'm only human, and that news yesterday was a bitter pill to swallow. Thank goodness I found this site, the support from all of you is such a blessing.
  • Hang in there my dear! Hopefully with time the nerves will settle down with the pain becoming more manageable.

    It's amazing what us spiney's are willing to settle for after all that we have been through! We are one tough group!

    I remember after my first surgery I was thanking my surgeon and he told me if I was pleased with his ervices to let others know.

    Shortly thereafter, we were back and my husband had a fusion.

    Within 4 years, we have had 4 surgeries ~ 2 fuions and 2 laminectomies.

    Now, I laugh and say when his wife sees me come through the door (she works in his office), she calls her travel agent! Heehee! :)

    Ya gotta laugh, gotta cry and sometimes both at the same time! We are here for you!
  • Hi Lisa. Lordy, I'm sorry you're in this fix. I don't think it really helps that others are in there with ya, but understanding is nice eh?

    On your x-ray, could you see the 'whiteness' showing up around the metal bits? I only see some faint whiteness around the bone implants on mine. The metal is clear as can be. I guess it doesn't matter, I'm just curious as to what it should look like.

    Since several of us are in the same pickle at the same time, maybe we'll all get some good news at the same time to huh? About the end of summer or early fall, we should be some happy campers! Or maybe we'll just get a cooler full and tie one on.

    I'm not one given to cryin', but yesterday when the doc even brought up the possibility of another surgery, I sure could have. Today I'm just kinda numb about it. Well, I'm rambling. I just wish you (and all of us) the best.

    Blessed be,
  • Lisa and Aaron...one thing for sure...we can't take the boat out in the Gulf of Mexico. We might get stuck in the tar balls ;-)

  • You can take the boat to the south western side of the gulf coast! We are not suppose to get the tar down here!

    Swing by and pick me up and I'll be the bartender! :)

    Hang in there ya'll!
  • Hi all,

    I had Percudyn Stabilisation Surgery on L4/5 on February 9th this year and eventually weaned of the morphine and struggled back to work on May 4th.
    I was in some pain but nothing like before the op'.
    I'm now off again in some significant pain as the poxy exercisies I've been given are little or no use and I'm thinking I might have to say goodbye to my career in the Prison Service.
    Answers on a postcard please.
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