Thank you for the opportunity to post here. Let me give you a quick history. I found out I had scoliosis at about age 26. Thoracolumbar curve about 18-20 degrees. No real pain at the time. Early 2009 - pain onset. No real definitive diagnosis until late 2010 (see below). Before then, it was assumed either my small bulge at L4/L5 or facet arthritis at right L5/S1, which did exist. I went through all modalities - injections, chiro, PT, etc. No real pain relief.
Late 2010 - my first CT scan. Showed a probable tumor on my right L5/S1 facet joint (see my profile picture). The tumor is called an Osteoid Osteoma. Happy to prove that this all wasn't in my head, we started a treatment sequence of RadioFrequency (RF) Ablation of that tumor. The first RF Ablation seemed to reduce my pain about 40-50%. That was good. But the pain was still there. Tried a facet injection to see if that was being masked by the tumor. No relief. Tried a second RF ablation. No further relief.
In early 2011, I decided to consider surgery. Saw about 5 surgeons. Picked one. Actually had it scheduled for early October, but at the pre-op my pain was only like a 1 and we postponed. I was told to keep a pain diary for many weeks. I did that. October had an average pain score of about 3.5 (I know subjective). It got as high as 7 on a few consecutive days. It was during that time I scheduled this December surgery. In November my pain score went down to an average of about 3.0. In early December, before my pre-op, my pain increased again. At the pre-op, my pain was about a 3-4.
I take 50mg of Tramadol every evening before bed. And during the time I kept a pain diary, I took a total of 5600 mg ibuprofen, 2000 mg Tylenol, 3250 mg aspirin. As a side note, there were two days in November, I took no meds at all, not even my nightly dose of Tramadol. I thought I was recovered. Wishful thinking, I guess.
I know I don't have the worst pain in the world. And maybe I take relatively few medications. But knowing I have that tumor in my body, the fact that I do live with some pain probably because of it and the fact I hate taking medications got me to thinking that surgery would be beneficial for me.
Now, again, I am having second thoughts. Actually, I really, really scared and nervous. Am I doing the right thing? The fusion part is what is scaring me the most. The surgeon says that have to cut most of that facet joint off to remove the tumor and thus fusion is necessary to stabilize things afterwards (I actually did have two docs say I could risk not fusing now and see how it goes -- I could always fuse later; but most the three others I say say fusion is the way to go).
Anyway, as it stands now, I hurt, but I am able to pretty much adequately function (albeit very grumpy sometimes). So I don't know whether I should postpone again to see what happens 6 months down the road.
Any advice or similar stories would be appreciated. On one hand, I have a benign bone tumor on a very arthritic facet joint that may never go away. It produces pain and may have contributed to my scoliosis. On the other hand, I could wait, live with the pain, see if the tumor disappears (sometimes they do after 2-3 years) and continue, reluctantly, to take medications. It would be the 2nd time we postponed with this same surgeon, and I really like him -- I just hope I wouldn't get "black flagged" if I do postpone again.
Thank you very much.