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New member from Australia


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!


  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,338
    edited 09/06/2012 - 9:56 PM
    that's some surgery your going to have effectively a 4 level fusion !! i had a 2 level last dec and i am still recovering and on loads of pain killers .i have had 2 previous surgeries and my spine was a mess so my recovery will be a long one .
    back to you ..a 360 is a massive operation and life wont be the same again ..you do know that ,,,don't you?? you will need help when you get home and recovery will be very long too and as for no opiates you recovery and pain relief is going to be difficult to say the least .i use oxycontin /oxynorm and a TENS to help my pain {i also have other drugs too} but the oxycontin/oxynorm are the best at helping the pain ..i can't think how you will manage your pain .i wish you the best with you operation and wish you a speedy recovery {you will find loads of advice and personal experience on here if you google a question on spines .it tends to bring you back here !
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
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