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New one

New lifeNNew life Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi everyone
I joined a couple of days ago and have been familiarising myself with the site. What a fantastic site for us.
The short version of my 'life challenge' lasted 6 1/2 years. Not long compared to most.

My story...
I was injured at work. Someone did something stupid and I paid for it. The result was medical retirement Total and permanent disability. No worries there now. I fought it for a long time but once I had accepted it it became 'The Gift".

So during that time I went through most of the things you all have tried. Pain clinic. Various mediations. Tramal being the right one for me. Without that I would have benn retired much earlier. Surgeries offered and various treatments.. Each time I trusted my instincts and declined when I knew it wasn't right. Had nuerotomy - nerve burns. in 2008. That was 3 unique experiences in pain. Gave me 3 months relief. Cost and pain coupled with the fact that each time its repeatd it would last less time meant it wasn't worth it to repeat.

Cutting to the end of my story...... I found my surgeon who was right for me. Previous to medically retired occupation I was a fitness instructor for 11 years. Through and ex-boss I found a specialist who then referred me to another specialist.
I knew he was right for me.
He performed all the right tests. My L5 S1 was smashed together. Facet joints over lapping. Nerve damage confirmed through test. Truth test revealed I was living with a pain score of 9 out of 10. My hope was for disc replacement but surgeon warned ther's probabley too much damage.
So here the good news... I am 4 weeks post op. ALIF surgery. From the moment I woke up I knew life and changed for the better. How do I put that into words?

I did all the right things pre surgery. Strength and flexibility mainatined. Paid of big time. If you can't bend forward you need to be able to bring the lower half to you. Makes it to much easier to dress your self.
Came home morning of day 5 and took the the dog for a walk a couple of hours later. All dog lovers please respond. Amazing how they just know stuff. She stayed with me as we walked slowly and each time the leash extented she moved back to my side.

The most important lesson I learned is this.....

You must take control and responsibility for your own health managemant. I was led around for way too long. Once I took control and responsibiltiy that gave me back the power which in itself helped so much. This enabled me to find the right medical care for me.

So much learnt and so much still to learn

Looking forward to sharing with this wonderful community....



  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    Thanks for telling us your story and giving out some advice for pre-op to make recovery easier. I'm sorry you've been through so much, but I can't tell you how happy I am that you got through the WC system and are doing ok now.

    I also have a dog and am a major dog lover (I love your avitar, btw). I have a little Corgi named Wally and he totally understood how I was feeling when I got home, althoug he was so stressed when I was in the hospital that he chewed some carpet, even though he'd never done that before. But once I came home and especially when I was able to walk him (not big of a worry there, the little fella), he was the perfect companion for my recovery.

    I'm so happy you found the right surgeon - it's such an important key to a successful surgery and recovery. I also love my surgeon and see him still, as I have ongoing problems (in fact, I need to call for an appointment now that I'm thinking about it and my neck is hurting).

    Again, welcome and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  • Hi Cath... :H

    Thankyou so much for your welcome message.

    my pic of Mia is titled
    'Mia's advice after having a bad day'

    Well work cover won...2009' They call it 'stable and stationary' I call it 'As good as it gets'

    I feel I have some important lessons to share I learned over my time as described by one wonderful specialist 'your a victim of the system' As mine was a work injury and I was a victim of all the different departments associated.

    I have learned without a doubt that the GP you choose can set in motion a chain of events that you just would never see coming. I'm no longer angry and bitter (well not really). For me I just need to confront about twenty various medical professionals and provide them with the medical facts they never had any intention of investigating. Strongly worded letters at the least. More stuff too ... but all in good time.

    Speaking of time. I have accepted the timings of my challenge and am so positive about the future noone and nothing is going to mess with me now. Thats the best thing to come out of all this. I am soooo patient now. All in good time. The experiences gave me strength I never knew I had..... that's why my posts are strongly worded. I wish I knew then what I know now.... Gotta get the messages out and make people do the job they happily take peoples money for. I wasted so much money on empty promises.

    Enough of that for now. I read your list of challenges. Do you mind sharing with me some background and your experiences with the system. Medical and other wise. I can only imagine what strengths you need to find to move forward.

    Poor Wally... It wasn't 'Where's Wally'... It was where's Cath'. Never under estimate your dog. They are better than any human company.

    I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about you and Wally.

    Stay strong and always have the best day possible..


  • I like your attitude and I've also learned patience in all of this. That's something that only comes with time, as with spine issues it's almost always a hurry up and wait situation. And I also agree that this give us some strength that others don't benefit from, as we have to deal with so much over such a long period of time and for many of us, it doesn't end. It's a livelong issue that we know we'll have to live with and what option is there other than accepting it and doing what we can?

    My problems began in April of 2008 with very strange arm symptoms - it's hard to describe, but I'd be at my desk working and suddenly, my arms would get very painful goosebumps, then they'd get very cold and then the musces would start to hurt and would stay that way for hours before it all went away. I discussed this with my hubby, but thought it was too strange to go to the doctor for.

    At the end of April, I was scheduled for a physical on a Thursday and on Thursday of the week before, I started having the most incredible pain in the middle of my upper back that I had to go see the doc as it was so bad I couldn't wait for a week. She sent me for an x-ray and when she got the results, called me to say that I had some serious cervical problems, so she sent me to PT. Six weeks of PT, and things did't get better so the PT said there was nothing more he could do.

    So, back to my PCP I went. She reiterated how bad my x-rays looked and sent me for an MRI. After getting those results, she finally told me that my cervical spine was so bad that she felt I'd better see a surgeon. Needless to say I was floored - where did ths come from? I'd never even been in a hospital before, I'd always been active and healthy and now I need surgery on my spine? I looked at my MRI and x-ray and didn't understand what I saw. (Now, I look at the before and after x-rays and wow, she was right - my neck was totally collapsed at three levels.)

    On to the surgeon, one that was recommended to me from a coworker of a friend who'd had a botched ACDF and this surgeon fixed him. I went to see him an immediately knew he was the surgeon for me.

    He was very honest and straight-forward. (I really have a great relationship with his PA as well.) In our first meeting, he said he could send me for injections, but "honestly, it's not a matter of 'if' you have surgery, but 'when' ". This was in September 2008 and by this time I'd been having tingling and numbness in my right arm 24/7 and my left arm was getting weaker and extremely painful. We scheduled the ACDF for Oct. 2008 so I could recover in the winter and golf again in the spring.

    The surgery went well and I recovered in good time. I had a good summer, fall and beginning winter until February 2009 when sciatica began. If you read my story, you know what happened from there as I detailed all that went on with my lumbar spine.

    That recovery was so much more difficult that the cervical and still have ongoing problems.

    I now have problems above my cervical fusion, but not caused by the fusion, it's not adjacent disc disease, I just happen to have a bad cervical spine.

    My hubby has been a very understanding and caring man through all of this and my MIL came to care for me during both recovery phases of my surgeries. I began walking very soon after both surgeries, hoping to have the successful outcomes that I have had.

    I'm in a sitation now that is both good and bad - I have a job that is fairly physically demanding. I need to lift boxes of paper (50+ lbs.), stand regularly, bend and twist. It's good in that it has helped the muscles that support my neck and I'm not desk-bound, which is difficult for someone with cervical problems. However, the work has caused mechanical pain, above and below my lumbar fusion, as those two levels are carrying the load for my L4/5. Sometimes it get severe and I'm stuck in my recliner.

    I try to work smart and not put pressure on my lumbar spine, but that's not always possible. It's also nice because where I went to work is a company I worked for 10 years ago and know many people in my department. At first, they wanted me to do all the same heavy work that the person who was in the position before me did, but now that I've been there a year, they're aware of my problems, and help me out a lot. My boss told me that she hired me for my "brains not my braun", so she alway wants to know if I can't do something and she will either do it herself (and count it as part of her exercise program) or will find someone who will do it.

    As for my surgeon, I'm still in touch with him and his PA on a regular basis and really love the Spine Center that they're in and the people there. Luckily the Center has physiotherapists (they did my injections) and PT on-site which makes it very convenient. My surgeon also continues to fill my medication prescriptions. Oddly, they're still my pain management, but I've talked wih my surgeon and he wants to handle it. Okey dokey, whatever you say doc.

    So, now that I've written a novel telling of my life starting with my first problems in 2008 to now, you're probaby asleep. LOL But I have to say, it was a bit cathartic to type it all out so thanks for asking. I'm sorry it's quite long, but thought I'd give you the extended version of my story.

    Again, it's taught me patience and gratitude toward my doctors and feel lucky that I haven't had the problems that others have faced with their surgeons abandoning them after surgery.

    So there it is, my entire story. I look foward to reading more of your posts and what you have to say to the other folks here or even if you need to vent.

    Take care,
  • Your reply was lovely and heart warmimg. Heart warming because your sharing your life with a total stranger. That is special. :D No problem with the length. You got a story to tell. Enjoying the personal sharing very much. You go girl on and on if you need to.

    Ahhhh Recliner chairs, Pain meds - some of our new best friends.

    After surgery I was given a special backrest support to be used everywhere and anywhere you sit. This keeps your spine in alignment. Ask your doc about one. It is very helpfull. OBUSFORME high back backrest support.

    As a fellow dog lover I Know you'll love this. My beautiful Hope passed away last August.She was a mixed breed of the most perfect kind. Well I feel its time to become a two dog, two cat family again. She says it s ok. No I'm not loopy.

    Got on the net and have been led to Sharpei rescue. Off to meet Dale on Monday previously neglected and haven't been told the rest. The only photo I've seen is one in which he is an emaciated condition. He's 9 years old and thats old for a sharpei. Its a true rescue place and they have procedures to follow to be accepted. So if it's a fit for my family we'll be go through the procedures and bring home the boy so he can live out his retirement years in peace and harmony.

    I'm wondering if that should be sent via private message. For me its related cause its the good stuff that happens while the bad stuff goes on.

    Post op nerve pain. What a wierd and wonderful experience. Has been sitting in my right bicep for the past 24 hours. Have you experienced any after your surgeries. Taking Dexmethzone when it it gets bad and Lyrica daily to maintain control. Loving Lyrica Calming energy for me. So good when the side effects are great. Also max tramal which is a lower dose for me since surgery.

    Are you still able to get in some golf at all? Not a golfer myself but I know that stuff is so important to us. e can't lose everything

    What are your pain meds and experiences with them?

    I'm off to surgeon for post op visit Tuesday and booked for rehab to start Friday. Lyrica is a steroid based med and I gotta get a cleared for more exercise to use up all that extra food intake it makes you crave..

    Looking forward to continuing conversation....


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