I had a 360 L4-S1 fusion w/ instrumentation on 1-20-10. I had been suffering with back pain and problems w/ my left leg. I do appreciate what my surgeon did for me. He told me he could fix the leg problems, but could not guarantee that my back pain would be resolved. I have done everything that I could to insure a good outcome. I try to walk an hour a day, even if I cannot do it all at one time. I also have PT 3 times a week for at least an hour. I am on my second PT script, as the therapist felt I needed more therapy. I can only get 5 degrees flexion and extension, but my side to side is better.
At my last visit to my surgeon on 6-10-10 my x-ray looked great! It was hard to tell where my bone ended and where the fusion began. I told the surgeon that I still was having back pain. My back pain is not much different from what I experienced prior to my surgery. I have had a few moments of mild radiating pain in my leg, but for the most part nothing like the pain and feeling of weakness I experienced before my surgery. Unfortunately, I felt the same painful sensation in my leg on 6-8-10. That morning I got up and poured a cup of coffee and went outside to walk around my flower beds. Every step with my left leg radiated pain like before my surgery. This really made me feel horrible, mentally. I have worked so hard, I was concerned with the back pain, but this totally took me by surprise. For one thing I do not understand how this could happen. My hardware is textbook perfect, and I have already mentioned how good my fusion was progressing. My surgeon said he too was at a loss to explain how this could happen. He gave me a script for volteran and made an appointment to see me on 7-15-10 as I have to resubmit my paperwork to my employer if I am going to be out beyond 7-20-10, which will be 6 months.
I have a great PM doctor. He has been my biggest advocate since I have been having back problems. He had cautioned me that I might regret surgery. He had told me he would support me, and that he would not abandon me as far as dealing with my pain. He has been very honest with me about my situation. He unfortunately is very busy and I only see him @ every 3 months. He has mentioned disability to me, prior to my surgery. I made the choice to take a chance with the surgery mostly because my quality of life has diminished so much over the past few years.
I have a very good job that I enjoy, unfortunately it is very physical and involves a lot of heavy lifting and long hours standing and walking. I am also not supposed to take narcotics at work. I have been taking narcotics for the past year or two. Currently I am taking oxycodone, oxycontin, lyrica, flexeril, celebex, and volteran. I have to use ice after every Pt appointment. I also use a tens unit, a heating pad, and a hot tub, and my wife messages my back also. I cannot seem to do any thing physical, without paying the price in pain(i.e. gardening, laundry, vacuuming or even sex).
If you made it this far I thank you! I am hoping I can solicit some advice from anyone who has gone down this road. My benefit representative at work suggested that I need to file for SSDI immediately. He said it could cost me if I did not. I have not yet, mostly because my situation is different from most others in my union/plant. I work in an automotive assembly plant, and it is a extremely physical line of work. If I cannot return to work I would have to sell our home and move back home. We are in K.C. but we have no family up here for support. Our family lives on the Tennessee/Alabama state line. I am not even sure how long I could keep up on the house payments. I did not see this coming and my LTD is quite a bit smaller than my 40 hour check, not to mention the overtime I am use to. We are very close to running out of money. In fact I sold my fathers 442 just so I could have this surgery. Without the funds from the car I could not have made it this far. Don't misunderstand I am so grateful for my benefits, but I have two kid in school and I need to figure out what I have to do. my daughter just got excepted into the gifted program and I am afraid I have screwed that opportunity up for her because I am not strong enough to preserve her chance at something better than I could achieve. I wish i could get this figured out before they go back to school this September. This is very painful for me. I am so glad for my wife. We have discussed the possibility of having to go home and she would have to go back to work. she is an angel! I feel pretty bad about the whole deal. I have a decent disability retirement benefit if that is what it comes down to, it just worries me that it may be a long process and we cannot afford to stay in this house or up here if I can't go back to work. I feel like such a failure as far as being a good provider for my family. I guess as hard as it is to admit, I am a failure as far as a good provider for my family.
This has been a very hard post to write. It is only the third post that I have started. I would welcome any constructive advice or suggestions . I don't know what to do, and the not knowing is the rub, for the reasons stated above. Unfortunately I am running out of time and money. Thanks in advance for any guidance, advice, or suggestions.