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You are all going to kill me but I have to rant..

angelanicaangelanic Posts: 256
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

So many of you know that I am having fusion surgery on November 3rd after two back surgeries in the last five years and no disc left basically in L4 and L5 along with a host of other issues in that area. I have been in horrible pain (last episode a month ago when I could not even walk or stand). So I have been on a regimen of meds and in the last few weeks have been doing really well EXCEPT I am having all sorts of GI issues. So on PM advice I stopped the Naproxen two weeks ago but kept taking the Neurontin 400mg 3 x a day. Not feeling any better (nausea, dizziness) I called last week and they told me to start cutting back on the neurontin. Now I was terrified because I was feeling like it is the only reason I am walking. Let me just add it is basically the only thing I take now also except occassional oxy and flexeril along with a nightly zoloft. Well I was feeling so lousy that I said the hell with it and stopped taking all meds as of Saturday. Was okay..not great. On Sunday night I took an oxy and then yesterday was so sick to stomach and dizzy that I gave up going to work and slept half the day away. So with all that said....

I am hardly in any pain. I have some neck pain (which could be from getting used to my new temperpedic..odd I know..or the new recliner that I have been laying around in) and achiness in my legs (both not the usual left) and just general malize. Okay I know why am I complaining about not being in pain and on no pain meds...because I am getting TWO LEVEL FUSION next week. This is insane. Please tell me that I would be not walking again in a few weeks. That being tired and achy and not being able to really do much of anything for fear of ending up in horrible pain is enough???????

Stupid I know but had to get it out and you guys are the only ones that really understand all this back stuff.



  • It's not uncommon for people to feel better just before surgery. I know I came off all meds before surgery also. I think some people do this and realize that the problem got better but they didn't know because they were taking their meds. Others I think experience a euphoria just prior to surgery. The brain does it's magic to block out the pain.

    I would call your doctor today and talk to him. Some conditions do get better on their own. Others may have good days and bad days but don't heal.
  • Hi Angela, I think a lot of us can relate. Today I'm doing fairly well. Nobody in the office has commented on my limp or slow walk, so it's obvious my pain is less. Last night I simply laughed wrong and threw myself into a spiral of pain that lasted the whole evening. I think it comes and goes. I question my decision for a fusion every time the pain gets less. Then I roll over in bed and reality hits...I'm still in pain and this thing isn't going away :(

    Like others will suggest, maybe discuss it with your Dr? You've still got time before the surgery date.

  • Angela,

    You stopped taking all your meds, cold turkey? All of a sudden? That's not usually a very good idea but if it works for you, that's great.

    You're second-guessing yourself about this surgery. I did the same thing and I expect that most people do the same. I don't feel that bad so why am I having surgery. The pain in my leg isn't bothering as much as it used to--maybe something has healed up? And so on... I would go around in a BIG circle which ended up with remembering that I had what I called a "structural defect" (degenerative scoliosis which recently caused increased pressure on nerve root) that wasn't going to get better and would almost certainly get worse. Did I want to wait until I was in horrible, intractable pain before submitting to surgery? No! What would be the point in doing that? I figured there's no merit in waiting until I was miserable and probably making everyone around me miserable too, lol. I'm in better condition now when I haven't been dragged down both physically and mentally by chronic pain that is barely controlled, etc.

    At that point I would say to myself, this surgery is the right thing to do and the right time to do it--I really have no choice, only choice on timing and this is the right time! My runaway mind would settle down at that point and I'd be content, assured of my path. That might last a couple of days and then I'd start the big CIRCLE again. I did this over and over again, right up until my surgery.

    Angela, if you're doing something similar in your head and don't have the circle complete yet, I suggest you sit down and write down all the pros and cons of having this surgery, adding any other things you know that are important. Call your surgeon, as others have suggested, if it will help you feel better. The thing is to get to the point where you know what you need to do and that you need to do it now. Just because you suddenly dropped all your meds doesn't mean your back has suddenly healed itself. image

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • you are not the first person who has had this 'amazing' improvement in pain levels just before a fusion. I am sure that your surgeon will have had calls from other patients about just the same thing.

    Speak to him, he will be able to advise whether it is likely that things are improving, or if it is just a blip in your pain.

    I had a similar thing the week before my lumbar MRI scan. My pain improved so much that I thought something must have moved and taken the pressure off my nerves. I felt sure that they would tell me that there was no problem with my back.

    Well, when I went to get the results, I was told that things were much worse than they had thought, and it was amazing that I was managing to walk. I had very severe stenosis on my cord and nerve roots. As I was feeling so much better, we decided to leave well alone. Well in 2 months I was back again, in horrible pain again. My surgeon told me that if I tried to avoid surgery, I would be in a wheelchair.

    In fact when he did the surgery, things were even worse than the MRI scan showed!

    I am so much better now and am glad that I did go ahead with surgery before I had permanent nerve damage.

    I wish you well and please do tell us what your surgeon says, and what you decide.
    We are here to support you through all this. >:D<
  • I would think cold feet, but I can't believe that seeing you are off all your meds. That in itself is pretty amazing and a little dangerous. Are you feeling any signs of withdrawals? Be careful.
    Everone has already said talk to doc, so I won't say it (but I'm thinking it - LOL).

    Seriously, miracles do happen. You may have healed enough for now that the extreme pressure has released, but for how long?

    You are not a stranger to back surgery, so you know what to expect, has this happened prior to any of your other procedures?

    Maybe a new MRI is in order ... talk with surgeon.

    I know you had an ESI in September, any chance you are having delayed residual good effects? Just throwing ideas out....

    I suffered since 2003; during these years, I had months were I was good, pain level of 3 and was not on any meds. My episodes would start and end suddenly sometimes. I wanted to wait for my fusion as long as I could, my fusion has been on the table since Feb 05; I finally had it on 8/24/10. This was MY decision to wait & hold off.

    A two level fusion, you know is a major surgery, you have already went through the processing, absorbing, and excepting and finally prepared. I know this is a wrench thrown in to your mix. Last minute! and no one can be mad at you, you are feeling good, that's GREAT!

    Will it last? If so how long? I know so much must be running through your head.

    You need to really understand what your body is telling YOU and consult with doc, not his nurse or pa, talk to him and together figure out the next logical step for YOU.

    good luck honey,

  • You know it isn't too safe to stop all of your meds or your title wouldn't say "your gonna kill me..lol
    On a serious note. Please tell me you didn't stop your zoloft cold turkey. It is NOT safe to stop antidepressants like that.
    And if you have been on narcotic pain meds for a long time your body will go through withdrawls. That doesn't mean your an addict. It just means your body physically is use to getting those pain pills.

    Please be careful.
    I never had that moment when things were great before my surgery. In fact mine got worse and my surgery was moved up a month.

  • Angela,

    While I've never had pain resolve right before surgery, I have had my pain seem to suddenly disappear, usually this is very short lived. I only take pain meds on an "as needed" basis. I have taken extended release meds on a daily basis in the past, but can't stand the fog it puts me in and I spend alot of time in my car, which does nothing good for my back & leg pain, but don't want to drive while impaired.

    Best to talk to your doc, of course. If your surgeon has a pretty open schedule you could always cancel the surgery and take a "wait and see" approach. The risk is if your surgeons dance card is pretty full, plus throw the holidays into the mix, and your pain comes back. Now you have to wait that much longer. Tough call, but as was said above , miracles happen.

  • Wow.I hope this isn't taken the wrong way because I only mean this as support.Surgery to me is always serious and I always weigh the risks vs. benefits.Of course we never know how things will turn out but we always hope for the best possible outcome.

    Usually my motto is to only have surgery as a last resort,but I read your signature line and you are certainly not new to this.I guess that I can only add that you know yourself and your body better than anyone,your surgeon (even if s/he is the best) can't really be objective about surgery,I mean,a surgeon is going to want to operate (just my opinion),and some people view surgery different.. so it can be difficult to be objective about this whole subject here.

    I only mean that some people may be pro and some not-for surgery here.The most important thing is your health though,and what you think is best for you at this time.I don't have that high of an opinion of myself (lol),but I would hate to influence a persons decision on a matter of this importance--not that you could be influenced either,but .... I guess I'm just hoping that you can trust your instincts and what your body is telling you.

  • I was wondering if you had spoken to your surgeon, and if so, what he said.

    We are here to support you, whatever you decide to do. :-)
  • So I spoke to soon. My back is actually doing pretty well and thanks to all of you for your comments but it is far from perfect right now. Been taking my Zoloft everynight like a good girl. >:D< But I am afraid (as many of you suggested) that I threw myself into some type of withdrawal by stopping the neurontin. I called the doc today (finally) because I can't take the nausea...days and days of it. Today was the worse. Woke up at 5am starving. Ate a banana and yougurt and fig bar by 7am. Must be some wierd metabolism thing. Then took 4 tums. Showered. Ate again at 9am, egg white omlette with feta, toast, and potatos. Ate most of that. Within an hour sick again. Took pepto, tums..no resolve. Ate at noon salad and french fries. WOW bad diet! =)) Sick throughout but hungry. Finally, had my rep drop me off early...called nurse about possible withdrawal and she told me to take 1 neurontin to ease back into it (because I will probably have to take it again after surgery anyway)and gave me enough clonodin (spelling??) to get through the next few days. Took that an hour and half ago..ate 3 handfuls of wheat thins AND STILL SICK TO MY STOMACH! ~X(

    So enough of this new rant. You guys are awesome. I will make it to this dang surgery on Wednesday. I am glad my back is doing pretty well because I got to go out on Wed night and seeing a bunch of people tomorrow as well since I will be home bound for awhile.

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