I've been lurking around this site on and off for almost a year and have to thank all of you for your contributions. It's so good to know that we don't fight this battle alone.
A little bit about myself ....
I live on top of a beautiful mountain in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia. Up until a little while ago I was a high level executive who travelled interstate almost every week. I am also in not one, but two rock and blues bands. (you might have figured out that I am - or should I say "was" - a little hyperactive!)
About 4 years ago I had a bad fall at work and injured my lumbar spine and right SIJ. Being the tough cookie that I am - I kept on working even though I could no longer walk without an aid. I also learned to block out much of the pain because pain meds tended to dull my ability to think. Eventually, however, it got to be too much and thus started my road to "recovery"!
After forging a life long friendship with my physiotherapist, my journey continued with a two week stint in a pain management program. I learned a lot in that program but it wasn't enough. I endured countless steroid injections which didn't work and then moved on to radio frequency ablations. After several failed attempts I was referred to a neuro. MRI's, bone scan, discograms etc led me down the surgical path and on November 30 2011 I had a TLIF on L4/L5. The NS opted for a conservative approach and decided leave L5/S1 due to inconclusive results from the discogram.
I had a couple of problems as a result of that surgery - one is that there was some nerve damage so I have a foot drop and now have to wear a brace on my left leg. The other is that the cage migrated forward. There was hope that there would be enough of the cage still between the bones to allow a fusion but alas - that was not meant to be. We also discovered that I am extremely sensitive to opioids so my planned 4-5 days in the hospital turned into just short of two weeks!
After toughing it out for so long prior to the surgery I am disappointed to say that I have not made it back to work in anything but a limited part time role since the surgery. I still perform in the bands but this is now limited to once every couple of weeks because it takes too long to recover after a gig.
I'm not sure if life is looking up or looking down at the moment. At last week's check up the NS told me that the fusion has failed. He is going to have to go back in to re-fuse L4/L5 and while he is in there he is also going to fuse L5/S1. He is going to do a 360 because he has to go in from the front to get to the cage. He also said that he will do it in two stages because the anterior section will take at least 4 hours. Looking up - because this might actually fix things. Looking down - because I am not looking forward to the surgery, the pain and the uncontrollable migraine from the pain meds post surgery!
Life goes on - what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. All I can say is we must be one hell of a strong group of people!