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

Hello all, newbie here for help and info. 3 priors awaiting 3 level fusion

cmorr176ccmorr176 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi everyone,I am Craig 53 yrs old 6ft. 180lbs from CT. and I have been lurking for awhile reading and learning from all of you.I have gotten a lot of very good info here and decided to join your community. My condition has worsened considerably after a bailout training accident at work 6 months ago(I'm a firefighter)and now I am looking at a 3 level fusion at levels S1,L-3/4/5.I have had 3 prior surgeries,1996,1998,2002 excisions and laminectomy. after the last one I had some back pain relief, not much, and my right leg from the knee to ankle has bad nerve pain that feels like it it being crushed/squeezed with burning and electrical shocks running up and down the leg and sometimes it feels like a hot iron is being pressed on the front of my leg, or someone is stabbing me in the back with an icepick (knocks me to my knees). Needless to say ,sleep is hard to come by. I returned to work after 8 weeks at full duty,but started 7 months of intensive PT, after a few months and then had 2 series of 3 injections(steroid and epidurals)with minimal relief. My pain doc sent me to my regular doctor to get on a narc pain management routine.I told him if I had another surgery with hardware,I would be gone from the job I love and with 3 kids heading to college I needed him to get me through 8-10 more years.Well I made it 7 years before the pain just got too much to handle. I went from 10mg. oxycontin 2x day with soma and lidocaine patches and some other meds that did not help.now I am at 80mg 2x day. some days they never even touch the pain(9/10), and the past 8 years my pain has gotten much worse. I am a 6/7 on the scale every day with a 4 being a great day.Putting on 75 pounds of gear and climbing ladders,crawling,jumping out windows and other duties does not help, but my doc got me through the bad times and I cannot thank him enough. He literally saved my job, house and allowed 2 of my kids to get their degrees with one to go.Now if i have this fusion or even the MEDTRONICS implant, I am done. I need to get through 7 more years for my 75% pension, but I will take 2-3 more if I can get it.Any help would be greatly appreciated.My surgeon says the fusion is the way to go, but I just had a IME from the workers comp. doctor who is thinking that the fusion may not help. I am making an appt. for another opinion from a doctor from THE HOSP. FOR SPECIAL SURGERY in NYC to see what he says. what to do ...what to do...frustration and depression are starting to set in. I am thinking about taking a fitness for duty exam ( and hope i can pass) and go back to work, but in my job, 60% could get someone (not only me) injured or worse.If I could get the pain down to 4/5 daily i can do it.......wishful thinking....thanks


  • I forgot to add the diagnosis, multiple disc space narrowing,from L3 to S1,right L4 spondylosis,slight to severe narrowing right L4-5 neuroforamen, broad disc bulge L3-4,multi level severe disc degenerations and narrowings,nerve compression,some central spinal stenosis,annular tears,bilateral facet osteoarthritis. just a complete mess in there.
  • These comments come from a who person who directly deals with a firefighter and knows the life and the demands of the job. I am quite amazed that you have made it this long to be honest. I am also amazed that your department hasn't told you that it's time to be done. Unfortunately one wrong call could make you end up in a wheelchair. The duties of a firefighter are difficult on someone who has no back issues. I don't want to make you feel bad and I hope I don't offend you, but you could be putting yourself and others at risk if you do continue. I know you love your job, people who serve like you do in my eyes are strong and amazing people. Wouldn't the department be required to put you on light duty and work with you until you can retire or go out on full-disability? It sounds like you are covered under a work comp injury, they should have an obigation to help you continue. If not I would consider consulting a work comp attorney or contacting your local Union for help. If you are being fused you would need at least One year or more before you could go back to full duty(of course this is my opinion). You would need to be completely fused and go through a ton of rehab. Has the surgeon give you an approx recovery time? I am sure this all is getting you real down I know it is a difficult time. I can just feel the concern coming through your words, you want to be able to provide for your family. That being said you also need to take care of you. I am sure your family loves you very much and would make sacrifices to keep you well. I wish you the best and hope you get things worked out. Take care...
  • Has your doc said anything to you about the risk you take by not having surgery? I completely understand the pension issue and love of the job, but at what risk to your own health? It's kind of like the professional athletes who have taken one too many blows to the head and have to face the hard reality of retiring or becoming an invalid or dying. I know your job has that sort of inherent risk anyway, however how do you want to spend your retirement years?

    I definitely agree that getting another opinion would be smart. I wouldn't put too much faith in what an IME doc has to say.

    Just remember, you have to take care of you in order to take care of others.

  • welcome to spine health and i can surely understand your pain and your description is very accurate {just like mine } i am also waiting for a 3 level fusion {maybe/// i see the surgeon in a few hours} the problem i can see for you is the work issue ,i highly doubt that you will be fit enough to do your job as recovery for this operation can lead into years and once you are ok the last thing that you will want to do is drag a body down a ladder! maybe you can get a desk job in the control office? just to keep your foot in the door ??.have you considered artificial disc replacement that would give you better mobility ..if you are a candidate
    good luck with the fusion and take your time post op don't over do anything
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you decided to drop in and get acquainted! you have some hard decisions to make that is for sure! i wish you all the best and hope the second opinion offers you more hope for a better recovery.. good luck and drop by the forum anytime! Jenny :)
  • I am so very sorry to hear of your suffering and dilemma.

    One thing that I did notice is that it seems that you have nerve pain but you are not on any of the meds available for nerve pain. I do know that the long acting pain meds that you are on work great but will not do too much for nerve pain.

    You may want to ask your doc about a med specifically designed for nerve pain.

    You have found a great place to come to for understanding and support.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.
Sign In or Register to comment.