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Hi Another Newbie Here, About to Have 4th Back Surgery

dldawsonddldawson Posts: 29
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi Everyone,

I have had back pain/problems for about 40 years. Initially, at age 17 I was given the choice of surgery, traction, or exercises. I opted for exercises and was able to sustain for quite some time before things progressed to where the pain was significant and continual. A MRI, CT Scan and Myleogram was done in 2001 which showed DDD, buldging/ruptured discs, spinal stenosis, facet hypertrophy, foraminal stenosis and other things I can't remember at L3 through L5. After many appointments with Orthodox and Neuro's I opted for the least invasive surgery which was a laminectomy at L3-L5. I went in the hospital for an early Monday morning surgery which ended up being late in the afternoon and went home Thursday afternoon. I was encouraged to walk as much as possible and within two weeks was walking 6 miles a day. The pain took awhile to decrease but by the end of a year or so I felt pretty good. Within 2 years the darn shooting pain down the leg returned and I have been battling it ever since.

In July 2011 went back into surgery for a discectomy at L4. Woke up in recovery with my left side numb. Turned out the disc had ruptured again and there was also a hematoma. Back into surgery 2 days later for another discectomy and to remove the hematoma. Unfortunately, the disc ruptured again. Have had to wait for some healing to occur and for insurance to approve a fusion L3 -S1, both anterior and posterior. Surgery is this next Wednesday, the 21st of March, and I am so scared. Scared to wake up in worse pain than I have been in the past 2 years or worse yet, what if it is permanent pain! Scared of the recovery, not as strong and in shape as I was for the surgery this past July.

Any tips or words of wisdom from any of you that have braved the anterior/posterior fusions? Looking for all the success stories I can get to bolster my confidence going into this surgery but also want the truth for what I am about to face and endure.

Thanks in advance for your help.



  • I am so sorry for your experiences with your surgeries!
    By now you have had your surgery and I was wondering how everything went!
    Come back and let us know!
    Keep your chin up
  • I dont have the surgery until tomorrow but will let everyone know how it goes.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can.. good luck on your upcoming surgery!! be sure and check out the "Recovering from Surgery" forum for more input during your recovery!! the forum is a great place to spend time during a long day!! stop by anytime! Jenny :)
  • when you get to read this {posted on the day of your operation} you will be home and not feeling like posting ! .i too have had years of back problems and in the last 16 years had 3 operations ...the last on being a ALIF at L4/L5 .and it was the most painful operation so far.i am 13 weeks post op and still having problems .like you i have had the laminectomies and discectomies but i woke from surgery ok and hardly in pain .but the fusion }ALIF} was the worst thing i have ever experienced .i wish you well and hope that it went well .just take it easy for the next few months and expect a very slow recovery as its not your first surgery and like me your health is not the best .good luck
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Had the 360 degree fusion L3-S1 back on 3/21/12 and what an experience it has been. It was the most painful thing ever done to my body and I have had a lot of surgeries. I had to learn to use my left leg again by using a walker and had to give up the walker as it damaged my right hand (more surgery on the hand in Nov 2012). I don't think I would have recovered without my husband and daughter helping me, both physically and mentally. It was a very long, slow process. Walking helped but found the water exercise classes the most helpful. Also did acupuncture, acupressure, massage, and physical therapy (multiple times).

    Getting off the all the medications also helped me feel better. The oxy was the hardest to stop but I slowly decreased starting in Dec 2013 and took the last half pill on Mar 16, 2014, yay! You wouldn't think that decreasing a medication by a half a pill every few weeks would be so hard, but it was like four months of physical withdrawl. Guess that's what makes it so hard for most people to stop. I am so thankful I was able to stop them, mentally I feel healthier and stronger and amazingly the pain is no different than when I was taking the oxy. Unfortunately, I was never able to return to my job :(.

    I still have nerve damage in the left sciatica but walking, water exercise and laying down help when it flares up. Am now facing a 2 or 3 level cervical fusion at c3-c6 as there is severe narrowing at these levels and I have horrible neck, arm, and shoulder pain. Have been in physical therapy since December to keep my neck from freezing up. Just can't seem to get to accepting this and don't want to make the decision for another surgery. Am so afraid of experiencing the pain again although my surgeon and therapist all say it won't be as bad as lumbar fusion.

    Anyways, felt it was long overdue to post my update.
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