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Pain out of control, going to surgery, 2nd opinion needed?

Trying again here but putting it in a different format, hoping I get some feed back. I'm in tears about no feedback so far on this forum that was highly suggested to me for help and support by my surgeon.

I have been given this diagnosis, for an urgent surgery:

transforaminal posterior lumbar interbody fusion, laminectomy L5S1

I am currently experiencing:
I have pain in my left hip, tightening of the butt muscles to cramping pain. The pain shoots down my ham string as if it's pulled. The left side of lower leg always feels as if it's so cold it's on ice. The foot is either numb or tingling but always has the feeling that I'm stepping on a hard round piece of steel at my arch and that I tied my shoes too tight across the top (even barefoot lying down). The pain has begun to hit my right hip and down the hamstring. Also my neck has become a pencil thin piece of equipment holding up a thousand pound head.

I was prescribed 8 PT appts, where I used 3 before it was determined I was in too much pain to continue and along with my Workers Comp Doctor, and my Spine Specialist Doctor, they agreed to order an epidural cortisone shot.

Reqests for MRI, MRI's accomplished, coincided with my Epidural request approved. As I handed in my MRI Discs, my epidural appt was made.

My MRI consult, coincided with my epidural coritsone shot procedure. I had progressed so quickly, even from my MRI, that he was sending me to a surgeon consult. He did go ahead with the shot to see if it gave me any relief, along with medications, until my actual surgery.

The Epidural Cortisone shot occurred, June 20th, 2012, so far in the left side for my pain, but was told that with my condition it probably was not going to be the solution, even if it helped a bit. It helped tremendously with the consistent left hip pain, the left hamstring and calf cramps, during the daytime and eased it enough for sleep during the night pain.

Current medication is 3000mg of Gabapentin nightly. 1-2 pills of Hydrocod 10/325mg as needed for pain. Not to exceed 4-6 times in a 24 hour time span.

Nothing seems to be working long term....I considered a full day with manageable pain long term, now I'm at 3-4 hours, a great day. Some days bring unmanageable pain down my leg, some include my "heavy head, thin neck", some times it includes my right hip and hamstring, some times my low back constant deep ache, sometimes all of the above.

My current symptoms began approximately 2 months ago and began with the hip, ham string, calf cramps for about a week or 2 and so I ignored it thinking I must have done something odd and pulled something. When my leg began to feel like it woke up after "falling asleep" I became concerned and called the Dr. who referred me to my case worker for my back. The speed of which my pain increased has been quite scary.

I'm blessed with a good case worker who is expediting things quickly. I'm blessed with great doctors. I'm blessed that I work for my brother, in an office environment and he has constantly turned his schedule around for my doctor visits and pain management (back room, laying down with an ice pack, to sometimes just going home).

I am in full fear mode at the same time with the speed of the processes. I looked my surgeon and Dr's and all have rec'd from 77%-higher ratings depending on the sites. I disregarded to the factor bar, waiting in wait room, bedside manner etc to the ratings given for the actual services. I hear they are well respected in their fields, created cutting edge surgery procedures, etc. Yet I feel like I should get a 2nd opinion as that is something that everyone tells you, that you should do. in asking my processor regarding the request for consult to actual surgery recommendation (different than surgery done), what was the ratio, and this surgeon was given a 50%, even lower for urgent. In that respect I feel comfortable.

Finally getting to my support needs from this forum:

Has anyone been given an urgent request for surgery of the type mentioned: transforaminal posterior lumbar interbody fusion, laminectomy L5S1 with the included diagnosis that it's unstable which is why it's urgent?

Did you get a second opinion even if you trusted the fact that you had the best doctor?

Did it appear to help? When did you begin to feel the signs that it did help or signs that it didn't and you went back to see why?

My EMG is now a go, the site I would go to, does them Friday afternoons. I'm assuming the 13th is the first time I would get in. Which means the surgery could be on the books shortly thereafter....that in itself, just typing it, creates my stomach to turn. I could use some feedback.



  • SoberbabeSSoberbabe Posts: 5
    edited 07/05/2012 - 1:48 PM
    I feel your frustration, have been trying to get input in last couple days myself. You can read my story with the post about the 4mm osteophyte. It sounds like you have done all the footwork you can do. I have found that having an MRI is the best thing to have ortho or neurosurgeons look at our problems. I also in the last year have realized that nobody can tell us that anything is going to be 100%. also, everybody is so different with every diagnosis. What works for some, doesn't work for others. If you have the time and ability to get 2nd opinion, I say do it. Nerve pain is really hard to control and it sounds pretty tricky to get under control even with the best surgeons, from what I've been reading. Try putting diagnosis in the google search and see if anything comes up.
    The first surgeon I had been recommended from my internist, who I didn't like his bed side manner anyway, I found out on maybe vitals.com had been sued last year for operating on the patients wrong disk. Meanwhile, I heard of a friend who had sciatic surgery and had success. So, of course, I made an appointment with him and see about have him do survey for me. I have done all consertive treatment and just take norco and soma to get thru the day. By the way what is gabapentin? What does it do?
    Good luck, and remember you will get thru this, and a little praying never hurts.

  • outdoork9ladyooutdoork9lady Posts: 17
    edited 07/13/2012 - 4:39 AM
    Thank you for being the only one to listen. This forum feels like High School. If they like you, through a posting? then maybe you will get a response. I found no help here. My surgery is on the 23rd, support here is zero. Even if I didn't present well, no one asked questions which that in itself would have been support. People who have been through it, going through it, understood your pain. Ramble, to the point, it doesn't matter. I just got my EMG and the results are that there is definite nerve issues. They ran the L5-S1 up to 100 at one point with no response (other than my leg jumping). Surprising to me was the L4 reaction. The test ran up to 60 before there was a response. Muscle reactions were in accordance with the nerves. Left leg is smaller by a good inch than the right, it was the larger one prior to the flare up. In 3 months, I went from hiking up to 10 miles up and down high grade hills, training both of my SAR dogs, searching for the missing, to heading to surgery. Yeah, I was pretty scared, now I feel confident in what is going to happen, but to no confidence builder from here. I wish all support and luck to those going through back pain, both conservative and extreme measures to heal. This forum wasn't for me, but it may be for you.
  • Good luck on your surgery. I am sorry that you felt left out. But just so you know the forums went through a major upgrade and most are still working on figuring things out, including myself.

    There are many members here whom have gone to what is deemed urgent surgery, meaning the went to the ER and then to surgery, so your in a better situation in that you could look around for a surgeon, and research them out. Also the fact you work for your family is a big plus, as most don't have as good of luck with worker's comp.

    If you look around there are plenty of threads on the forums where others have discussed there 360 fusions. Have you meet with the vascular surgeon and researched that surgeon as well. When they go in from the front, they need that surgeon to do the entry to the spine. Have you discussed with your surgeon about putting hardware in from the front and wether or not it can be removed? What type of bone grafting material will they be using, your bone, cadaver or possibly BMP.

    Given that you are a healthy individual, your recovery should go pretty smooth. If you look in the surgery forum at the top of the page you will find, a thread on post op must haves. The list is a good place to start on things you will need post surgery and has been compiled by other members whom have gone through surgery.

    One thing that is crucial to your recovery is to begin walking, as soon as possible. You can google the net for walking programs so you have a measurable program in place, prior to surgery. Be sure you follow all your surgeons instructions, and watch the BLT(bending lifting and twisting). Don't let the post op pain get ahead of you. Be sure you use the pain medications, before the pain gets out of control and your playing catch up.

    You might get more responses on your thread if you place it in the surgery forum. For some reason that seems to be the place more members read. Good luck on your surgery and hopefully this is something of the distance past soon.
  • I am new here, but I am sorry no one answered your post. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion. It doesn't matter how good your doctor is, another opinion gives you a chance to get another viewpoint. At one time, I was needing knee surgery. My insurance co insisted on a second opinion.

    I have Ankolysing Spondylits, Ulcerative Colitis, DDD and a bit of OA to make things fun. Most of my problems are due to inflation of many joints, tendons and ligaments. I see a GP, a Rheumatologest, an orthopedic Dr and a wonderful PM.
  • I did feel left out but living on my own for so long and having other surgeries had m e a bit prepared about lining up home care and pet care. I figured to think out 2 months. However I was in pure fear being it was my spine and how much more dependent I would be on others. I also work among construction guys who related their "macho back issues and how they negated any surgery considerations" so my fear and tripidations of having surgery became " am I a wimp?". Like a snowball I made myself crazy and as prepared as possible. Things are turning out well so far. I just need to pace myself better and stop over doing things.
  • DNiceDDNice Posts: 1,962
    edited 08/12/2012 - 4:07 PM
    Hey there,
    I used to check the forum a lot and would have loved to give you my 2-cents (heck, anyone willing to read my thoughts...are friends of mine).

    Sounds like you had the surgery. And, sounds like you prepared for it and are doing fairly well in recovery. It's still early and yes, pace yourself and learn that it's ok that the house isn't perfect. It took me a long time to get over a floor that needed to be swept or vacuumed. But I learned that in the grand scheme of things, it's ok b/c my health and back was more important.

    Hopefully the pet care is still there. I know the toughest part is not being able to give your pet the attention you want. But, with my dog, I found she was really adaptable. She was happy to hang out with me. And I finally got to where it was safe to walk her (meaning, I didn't risk her pulling me and screwing up my back more), it was such a joy for both of us. We'd start out on short walks. Then my husband would agree to "hike" with us (on flat rail trails) so we could go farther and in public (I couldn't risk her pulling after squirrels or animals or me tripping).

    Good luck with the recovery.

    Again, not on here much (I try to pop in 1x/week or worse case every other week).
  • SugarplumsSSugarplums Posts: 77
    edited 08/13/2012 - 2:47 PM
    I feel awful that anyone has felt left out when you are dealing with pain and probably already feeling alone and misunderstood. There are many who feel like you. I have found that posting and commenting on other people's postings in this and other forums helps, especially the chronic pain and mind/body/spirit forums for depression. I figure that most people are on sporadically like me, so I don't expect a response immediately. Also, people see the top post first, so if you need an answer ASAP, just comment on your own thread to bring it to the top.
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