I've been reflecting a lot on all of us and our spine problems. Many of us have both cervical and lumbar issues, and some have major cervical or major lumbar issues. Then there are the other complications that come along like cysts, syringomyelias, arachnoiditis, etc. Almost all of us have had or are expecting to have surgery.
In addition to operable spine problems, most, if not all of us have DDD, arthitis, mild (or mild to moderate) disc dessication and/or spurs, and degeration of the facet joints at levels other than those that are bad enough to need surgery. And it's well-known that once you have surgery, your spine is never the same.
So I wonder if you ever think about the future with regards to these other levels and what it means. The unknown is the most difficult for us to face, and I worry because my MRI reports, both lumbar and cervical, show problems at other levels that aren't serious enough to have surgery but don't things just get worse as we age? I don't see how we can prevent all of these things from degenerating.
I'm 48 (will be 49 in Oct) and after both my surgeries, I know I'm not the same and so does my hubby. Will I ever be able to lift stuff again? Will things just continue to decline as I get older? What the heck will I feel like when I'm 60? Is it an absolute that I'll have to have surgery in the future?
Some days, it just seems like the future looks a bit bleak because these problems aren't going to heal themselves and in fact, like I said, will only keep degenerating as we age. It's also common for things to degrade in other areas with us spineys, like our other joints - shoulders, knees and elbows. I'm currently having severe pain in my right elbow and am icing it a few times daily. I also have to wear a brace on my wrist every night when I sleep. What's the deal with that?
I'm not sad, I'm just pondering what the future hold for those of us with bad spines. My surgeon is a pie-in-the-sky kinda guy and says I'll be back to normal eventually. Frankly, I don't believe him. I don't see how, at my age, things will be just dandy after my TLIF completely heals.
I'm just wondering how many others think about this, despite what we're told by our doctors and surgeons. I've always been active and strong, but now, as I feel my body aching and know I have other stuff like DDD, arthritis, spurs and facet degeneration at other levels, I feel fragile and wonder if that's our fate.