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Concerned... Prayers, answers, encouraging words appreciated!

ConcernedGrandCConcernedGrand Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Spinal Stenosis
All of this has happened so fast that I'm not sure where to start. My grandmother fell in 2007. Started having a little trouble getting around. Slowly started getting worse over the years. Fast forward to present day 2011. She is unable to lift her legs on her own. Can't walk for more than 3 minutes and can't stand for even 2 minutes. Can't sleep due to unbearable pain. Even sitting for a long time hurts. She describes the pain as something pulling from her lower back all the way to her toes. She has sharp pains in her lower back and legs. We made a doctor appointment on Friday, Sept 23. Prescribed prednisone and blood work done. X-ray and MRI done on Saturday. Radiologist called within 2 hours and was EXTREMELY concerned about her bowel/bladder control. Said to follow up with doctor on Monday. Called on Monday (yesterday), and was told she needs to be referred to neurologist immediately for surgery or she will be paralyzed soon. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HER. She was referred to a specialist who was booked up but fit my grandmother in TODAY, because her case was so bad. See specialist today and was told she has a SEVERE/CRITICAL case of spinal stenosis. The specialist said that this is the worst case she has seen. Also says that she needs L5-S1 vertebra fused. She is scheduled for surgery October 3rd at 9:30AM. Pre-Op scheduled for Thursday. PRAYERS GREATLY APPRECIATED! My grandmother is 68 (just turned that yesterday) and other than her walking due to this condition, is in perfect health. She is a workaholic. She sits at a desk all day because she is a secretary. She is also a preacher at her church. My questions are....

1) I know everyone is different but what are we looking at for recovery time? Could she go to work after a few weeks if she just sits? She has been there for 35 years and doesn't want to not go in. :/

2)Is the pain afterwards severe? She does not like taking any form of prescription pain medication. Is it possible for her to stand the pain without it?

3)My grandmother is SUPER modest. She is wondering how she will use the restroom or take a bath? The nurse was not able to answer these questions. She said she was unsure because the back brace would not let her bend much.

4)How likely is it that the pain will not go away and she will not be able to walk again? I have read horror stories on how this surgery did nothing but caused more pain, and I am terrified of this for her. Just trying to hear some encouraging/positive stories.

Thanks in advance for prayers, answers, and encouraging words!

Concerned Granddaughter!


  • Meant neurosurgeon, not neurologist
  • Your Grandmother is lucky to have you, have faith in God and hopefully you have faith in the surgeon. Think positive and look for the most realistic positive outcome as told to you by the doctor.

    I wish I could answer your questions and sewage your fears, but so many variables. She seems like a strong lady and that is in her favor. Be there for her as you have and keep the faith.

    All the best and God Bless

    AL S
  • I am in a very similar state to your grandmother, but have been here twice. The doctors are right to be concerned about her bladder and bowel control if surgery is not done imminently-right away. If she should suddenly loose control over her bladder or bowels , get her to the ER right away and tell them to evaluate for Cauda Equina Syndrome. They will know what it is.
    As far as the pain levels post op- I won't lie and tell you that the post op period was easy, because it wasn't. And the pain levels for me, were very difficult but I developed a post op complication which wasn't picked up on.
    Patients are usually given a pain pump- which allows them to push a button to give themselves doses of pain medications. She is going to want to use it and when they transition her to oral meds, she is going to have to ask for them.
    The first 6 weeks were the worst as far as pain levels went but slowly improved. She will most likely go home in a back brace, with instructions for no bending , lifting or twisting, and for the best outcome for her surgery- she will need to follow those instructions exactly...otherwise she can mess up all of that surgery.....
    She will also probably go home with a walker, and you will most likely want to get her a raised toilet seat and a grabber so that she can pick up anything that may fall onto the floor...
    As for going back to work, I doubt that she will be returning in 3 weeks- it may be more like 6-12 weeks, depending on her doctors wishes and how she feels.....
    I wish her the best......As I said, this is my second time with it and this time, I am most certainly going to wind up paralyzed, when is the question.
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