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I finally got the courage and joined, please be nice.

Tamara DraperTTamara Draper Posts: 6
edited 07/30/2012 - 2:02 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello, I use to be a very active person. Competed in gymnastics, cheer leader, ballet dancer, and love the outdoors. I live in the mountains and love hiking, rock climbing, anything outside but hunting.
I followed disasters around the world for about ten years. We helped with the clean up then we put on new roofs. I love roofing and I'm very good at it.
Then I went on to be a butcher. After four years of cutting meat I had an accident at work. It led to two back surgeries of the lumbar spine L5-S1. First surgury was just a laminectomy/diskectomy. I never got better. I had no feeling from waist down. The next surgury was a fusion with hardware at same level. This was in 2001. I pretty much made a full recovery within two years. No more pain meds.
In 2004 I went back to work as s butcher. In 2005 I re-injured my back. I told them from the get go it felt like my hardware was loose. That was never acknowledged to me, that I was right. I read this in medical papers a year later. Anyways after trying other treatments to know avail, surgury was set up for 2/17/09 and 2/18/09. A two day surgury anterior/posterior discectomy and fusion L4-5, re-instrumentation of L5-S1.
To make a long story short the two day surgury turned into four surgeries over the next three days. I got an infection, a pedicle screw was put in to tight and fractured (cracked) my pedicle bone. That screw was taken out. on top of all that a nerve was cut. I have no feeling at all in left leg from kned down. I have to wear a brace or I trip over foot, drop foot. Which happened leading to surgury on my hand putting a pin in it.. I also have CRPS from the nerve getting cut.
I'm sorry this is so long. So to make a long story short, I have a new great doctor. We've tried several procedures to put my CRPS into remission. Nothing has worked so far. I had another major surgury 9/2/10. My prior surgury was completly re- don tilting my spine and fusion of L3-4 was added.j
I've had a spinal cord stimulator put in that needs to come out, oh and did I forget to mention they think my hardware is loose again. I can't do much anymore. I spend most my time in bed. I take 80 mlg. oxicotin twice a day, 20 mlg oxicotin once a day, somas twice a day and cymbalta.
Sorry if this was to long, it's hard to explain that many back surgeries briefly. If anyone wants more details or has questions I will be happy to answer them. Thank you very much to everyone at this site. It's a lifeline one i intend to use. I just turned 50 and have been dealing with this since the age of 38.
Tamara Draper


  • I now have 2 ruptured discs in my T level and one bulged. In my C level, neck, 1disc ruptured efacing my spinal cord. I don't know what that means and another disc in neck bulged out alot. Doctor also talking about fusing hips to sacrum. I'm done with all the operations though. One just leads to another to another....
    Tamara Draper
  • Tamara:

    It's clearly evident that you are a spiney and you have found the right place to seek answers and to share information.

    There's no need to worry about someone saying something that is not nice. Everyone on this list shares in the negative effects of substandard spine health. Thus we are all in it together. In fact, I remember reading a post just the other day from a person who was/is a butcher. Maybe he will see your post and you two can share similar occupational stories.

    Welcome to the forum.

  • Welcome to the forum. We all stick together on this site. We can all learn from each other. Many of us have had the same procedures but everyone has a different outcome. For example, many people go physical therapy on this site but my NS says it isn't necessary. Just a good walking program is effective. I have already two PLIFs this first L4-5 then L3-4 this year. I am heading towards a fusion L5-S1. My NS appointment is not until next Wednesday. At least I won't be shocked if i am told I need another fusion. The last one I had an anesthesiologist tell me I was frequent flyer in the OR. I take Norco every 4 hrs and Valium twice a day. I can't imagine the pain you must me going through with a broken screw and a cut nerve. Anyway, I just wanted to welcome you to the forum. Sorry if ranted to much about my issues.

    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • It was nice to see that someone responded. I want to thank you very much. I have never done this before. It's nice talking to other people that understand because they have spine issues too. I saw a pain shrink for a year but he has never had back pain. Nobody has a clue unless they have been there. Do you mine me asking what spine problems you have, your story.
    Does it ever get better? I use to be such an active person. So very depressing.
    Take care and hope to hear from you again. Hope your pain isn't to bad.
    Thanks... Tamara
    Tamara Draper
  • Thank you so much for your kind words and telling me a little about you spine proplems. I'm so sorry for what your going through. I hope every thing goes well. Did your other spine surgeries help? Is it the same doctor that did your other fusions? Keep me posted and if I can answer any questions you might have I will do my best. I have alot of experience of the lumbar being fused. Again thank you. It' so good talking to other spines. This might sound stuip, but could you please tell me what PLIFs means?
    Thank You... Good Luck
    Tamara Draper
  • I have just read this thread, and seen your question, so I thought I would answer while you are waiting for Jennifer.
    A PLIF stands for a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. It is in the lumbar spine, with an incision from the back and generally a cage or bone block is used between the vertebrae to start the fusion growing.

    It sounds like you are well and truly a member of our spiney club. You will always find lots of friendly people here who understand and have experience of spinal pain and are willing to share their story with you. It sounds like you have a lot of experience to share with others too! Just knowing that you are not alone with spinal problems is helpful in coping with it all.

    I had a decompression with a PLIF in March 2010. That really helped reduce the pain in my lower back and the awful sciatica in both legs that would stop me in my tracks on a regular basis.

    I also have problems in my neck and thoracic spine. It looks like I will be having a 2 level fusion in my neck (ACDF - Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion) before very long. I am hoping that the thoracic problems will never need surgery!

    Again, welcome and look forward to learning more about you.
  • Thanks for answering my question. I've had that done several times. It took me awhile to figure out LOL when I started texting. Everybody is so nice here. What a great support group.
    Siatica pain is the worse. That is one good positive from all my back surgeries. Still get it sometimes, but it's tolerable now. Sounds like yours is better too. I hope all goes well with your neck surgury. Keep me posted please. I have a couple discs messed up in my neck causing alot of problems and pain in right arm. My neck makes popping noises. Feels like something in there butting up on something else with movement sometimes. One of the disc'sis efacing the spinal cord. Do you know what that means?
    If I can answer any questions for you I will domy best. Hope your not in alot of pain. Are you able to do much?
    Again thank you very much...Tamara
    Tamara Draper
  • I have had five back surgeries total. All where performed by the same surgeon. He is awesome. My fusions don't even hurt anymore and I had my latest one on June 28th. I find out next week if I am having L5-S1 fused. I believe most of my pain is coming from that herniated disc.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find so many members here that understand what you're going through and you'll learn a lot from them too. They're very understanding, helpful and supportive. Myself, I tend to come and go from this site depending on my circumstances (working so no time to get online), but I'll always be here whether it's more times or less.

    I'm sorry to hear all that you've gone through and are still facing. It seems like once a spiney, always a spiney - you said it never ends, and I believe that. I doubt, as does my hubby, that I'll every be pain-free and off pain pills, so the decision to have surgery is a very tough one. The only thing he doesn't understand is why I keep having surgeries when I continue to have pain. He doesn't realize how worse the pain is BEFORE the surgery compared to AFTER surgery/recovery. And I'll never be able to make him understand because until you've been there, you don't know.

    I had an ACDF, 3-lvl (C4/5,5/6,6/7) in Oct. 2008, then a TLIF, 1-lvl (L4/5) in January 2012. This coming Dec. 18 I'm scheduled for a 2-lvl fusion (L2/3,3/4) due to adjacent problems above my previous fusion. My disc is unstable as I have spondylolisthesis at both levels, along with bone spurs and facet issues. For me, my problems are almost all bone-related, not disc related, so I have no opportunity for a micro-anything. It's either fuse or live with it. I can't live with it.

    I tried Oxycontin recently, as I've been taking hydrocodone and diazapam (vicodin and valium) for a long time and because my pain is getting worse, my surgeon wanted me on a longer acting med. Well, I took it for three days then became suicidal, couldn't stop crying and so I stopped and went back to previous medications. For me, that stuff is evil. However, it really did relieve the pain, but the side effects were too much for me to handle. That's a bummer.

    Anyway, I hope that your doc can help you non-invasively with your cervical issues. I had the arm stuff happen to me before my ACDF surgery and know it's not fun. Keep us posted on how you're doing and what your plan is for the future in terms of your medical issues.

    Take care,
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