On 11/18/2011, I will be going into a very well-known orthopaedic hospital in NYC for my fifth, yes fifth spinal surgery. Four surgeries in 2.5 years. A quick history...
I am a male in mid-50s. Live on LI.
In late 1998, I developed a fracture of the spine at L5/S1 due to crashing into a low fence playing baseball. I developed grade II spondylolisthesis at L5/S1. I was having bilateral pain down both legs into my heels, soles and toes. I had pain in the lower back as well. After another week I had dropfoot on the left side. Had spinal surgery #1 with fusion and instrumentation. Once I recovered from the surgery approximately 9 months later, I developed massive low back pain. Ortho surgeon took x-rays and said it’s just the trauma of the surgery. Everything will get back to normal soon.
Well, after a few years, many surgeons & way too many years on morphine, I finally found a spinal surgeon who would take my case. We did x-rays, CT scans, MRIs & myelograms. On film all looked good. He told me that he should go in and take a look and most likely take the instrumentation out. In June of 2008, my surgeon discovered during surgery #2 that the fusion never solidified and was "mushy". One of the screws was almost out, another screw was very loose and the last 2 were slightly loose. At this point, they cleaned everything up and did a revision posterior fusion with instrumentation. A few days later when I was finally lucid, my wife told me that I need to have another surgery in one week. This would be an anterior approach (surgery #3) to put in two HAMM cages. Needless to say, 2 surgeries in 12 days is a lot to handle. Found out after this surgery that I have a severe case of osteoporosis. I had to inject myself daily for 2 years. Now I just get an annual infusion. This disease obviously is a main culprit in my spinal issues.
Recuperated well and went on with my life. I still have a fair amount of pain and that will never go away. In late January, 2011, I started to develop sciatic pain again in both legs and feet. After the MRI revealed severe stenosis at L4/L5 on all 3 sides. I had decompression surgery in April, 2011, (surgery #4) to free up the nerve.
While recuperating, on Father's Day, I started to feel a new pain on my left side with sciatic pain bilaterally as well as increased back pain. More MRIs and lo and behold, a lumbar facet joint synovial cyst was found impinging the nerve root. We tried aspirating the cyst using CT guidance. A 30 minute procedure turned into quite a painful 2 hour session. The procedure failed to decrease the cyst. Which brings me to the here and now. I am scheduled for my 5th lumbar surgery on 11/18/2011. They will do a facet decompression at L3/L4/L5/S1 with fusion (cadaver bone, gave all I am giving) and instrumentation.
Thanks for listening. And yes, I keep my head held high because I can breathe, eat, walk (kind of) and hear all the beautiful sounds that surround us.
Anyone in a similar situation?