Let me start at the beginning... it will be a long post, I am sure.
When I was 18 I was hit by a drunk driver one block from my house on my way home from work. I was doing a U-turn and he slammed into the driver's side door. He hit me so hard that he totaled a 1980 Mercury Marque... And there was nothing LITTLE about that car! Anyways, I had to go to the hospital and then the chiropractor after that because of pain in my lower back and neck. I went to the chiropractor 3 days a week for months before it started to feel better. About the only thing I remember the chiropractor told me about my spine is that my neck didn't have an arch left in it.
Now, lets fast forward 13 years... to 2009. I went out of town with my now exboyfriend and I leaned down to pet a dog and that was all it took, by the time I drove home, I was in EXCRUCIATING pain. I was to the point that even rolling over in bed made me cry! That was January, and 3 months later I had my first back surgery. The tests leading up to it were horrible! One in particular... I don't see myself going through another discogram... EVER! It was the single worst pain I have experienced, including the surgery! When I had the discogram, they noticed that 3 of my discs were bulging, and 2 of them were herniated. They decided to remove the 2 worst ones, which in hindsight I should have had them just remove them all, then maybe I wouldn't be where I am now. I don't remember my recovery from this surgery... so any advice on recovery anyone can give me would be awesome! One of my aunts stayed with me for the first week afterwards and she said that I did A LOT of sleeping, which makes sense since my body was doing some SERIOUS healing. She did say that when I got dressed, I could do it myself, which is reassuring.
Now lets bump it up 3 more years... to 2012. My husband and I were doing a cookout for our combined families last June. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary that I did that day or that weekend. But Monday, my back was hurting REALLY bad again and I went to the doctor by the end of the week. I currently work at a state mental hospital in our sexual predators unit, and within a month of the original flare-up, I was unable to work. I have had several tests again including a myelgram and nerve block shots... I am now looking at another back surgery scheduled for Sept 6th and am SO looking forward to it. I hate taking pills and I take anywhere from 15+ pills a day for the pain, plus a pain patch and tens unit! I am 34, recently married, and I just want my life back! I was able to go back to work for a day under some restrictions from my doctor. I don't think she wanted me to go back, but I was extremely bored sitting around the house and of course we could use the money. The human resources lady found me another job to do as a JANITOR! I did it for 8+ hours one day and I could barely walk the next day! I told her I can no longer do that position and had my doctor fax in another more specific restriction letter to her. She now claims that she can't find anything for me to do.
So to wind this huge post down, hopefully I haven't lost everyone who is reading this... I need to know if anyone has had a level added to an existing fusion? What should I expect? Do they add the hardware to the existing hardware, or put on new? Will the recovery be similar to the 2 level fusion? What should I expect for that? I spent 4 days in the hospital last time, will it probably be about the same? I now live 2 1/2 hours from where my surgery will be, any pointers on the ride home? My mother-in-law is picking me up to bring me home. What tips should I give to my sister-in-law who will be staying with us to help take care of me? My last surgery was a PLIF L4-S1 with rods, screws, and cages... they will be adding L3/L4 to it.
Again, sorry, it is a long post... but please respond with any and all helpful tips!
Oh, also, I could use some tips on my neck as well, it has been flaring up pretty bad lately. I went and had an xray done on it this past week. The doctor said that it has little if any arch in it and is in a constant state of muscle spasm... which it shouldn't be since I am taking both robaxen and soma...(4-750 mgs robaxen and 1-350 mg soma) a day!
I hope this finds everyone as pain free as possible and in good spirits. I know back problems can be hard on the emotional toll as well
2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times