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New to the forum... L5S1 Fusion Looming

About 20 years ago I suffered a back injury playing football (gridiron for those of you NOT from North America)
I had slipped in some wet grass and was in more or less a sitting position when a 230lbs guy landed on top of my shoulders, compressing
the L5 vertebrae at an angle, about 35% compression in the front of the bone.
Through Physio I recovered from this injury, only to have the strain on my weakened back increased by a whiplash/upper back trauma I received 2 years
later in a car accident. The recovery from this one was much slower, but I did get back to semi normal life for a few years, With the exception of a migraine that lasted 8-9 years... at no point during that time period did I have full relief from this migraine... it was better at times and worse at other but never fully went away.

Skip ahead to 2004. My back pain had come back with a vengeance. It had developed into sever sciatic pain in my left leg to the point when the doctors finally to an MRI of my spine... the decided to operate almost immediately. They performed a discectomy at the L5S1 level because of a bulging disc was crushing the sciatic nerve going into my left leg and if I didn't have it I may have lost all feeling and most of the control I had in said leg. The operation was very successful, and I had a few years of pain free existence. I was told, before the operation, that I had a 10% chance of scar tissue forming back in the same area, and causing the same problems as before the operation.... Yes you guessed it.... lucky me.
I then spiraled downhill... the pain was unbearable and no doctor seemed to be able to help... I was basically an invalid... in bed 23 hours a day and miserable. I had to (at 35 years old) go on disability benefits... That lasted 3 years. I then found LASER ACUPUNCTURE... Which in a short few months brought me back from the abyss and back to the land of the living. I was able to get back to work and for the last 7 years I've been coping...
in July/August last year My back started to get worse... I had another MRI done and was told that I no longer had any disc left at the L5S1 level and that it was grinding Bone on Bone, and that now there is also some degradation of my L4L5 disc as well. I was Just about to start a new job in management, and I Couldn't pass up the opportunity, so I asked the surgeon to delay the surgery that He wanted me to have to Fuse My spine.

Present day... I've just been told now... that I'm not working again... that I may have to wait till MAY to have this operation... that the success rates are 70% of a good outcome... that there is a serious risk pf paraplegia ... and the pain seems to be getting worse everyday... I'm on 40mg of Oxycontin a day... and it's no longer covering all the pain like it did when I started on it... I've gone from 5mg tablets twice a day, to 10mg, to 15mg, then back down to 10mg cause I couldn't focus at my job.... then when I quit back to 15mg... and now I'm on 20mg...and It's just not cutting it.
I now have to worry about damage to my liver and other organs... I was also told that because I'm on such High doses that it makes the risks higher for the operation. I can't go back to work.... We moved recently into my Mother-in-law's house... as it had been vacant for the better part of a year, and the house is in shambles, she had let it go in the last few years, now she is in a nursing home. It needs a great deal of work, and it sucks because I can't do the renovations that need to be done... (I NEED to put a new kitchen in... and renovate the bathroom)
So I've got all that Going on... I feel guilty spending ANY time working on my car.... any time that I do have that the pain subsides enough for me to do ANYTHING... I REALLY should be working on the house... Now instead of working 62 hours a week... I have all the time in the world... but I can't DO ANYTHING with that time... except lie in bed..... AAAAAARGH!!!!
I Just CAN'T win.

It's all too much...


  • ChicInBlueCChicInBlue Posts: 34
    edited 02/14/2013 - 6:21 AM
    Hi Moose,

    You found a great place where we can all relate to how chroic pain and injuries have impacted our lives. I am 39, medically retired for almost 3 years now, and I just had a three level fusion on L3 thru S1. They removed all three disks and caged me. AS a positive note, I am doing great following my surgery with a positive outlook to my future now!
    You are on a very high dose of meds which will make pain management difficult post op but hopefully having surgery can help you recover.
    Feel free to ask lots of questions here, everyone is so great at supporting and helping thru your journey. Hang in there!!!!.
  • well I must say, that I am a 30 year old female, with almost the same symtoms as you had just prior to you first opp, except for the fact that I had already had started with me not being able to feel or use my left leg sometimes / most of the time in thr two months prior to my opp. They also fused, and decompressed my S1-L3, but, it`s been 4 months now, I`m pain free, I can use my leg, and feel it all the time. I can actually play with my kids again! Just keep strong and keep a positive mindset, and you will see all will get better!And what helped me alot, is even when I had a lot if pain and did not feel up to do anything, I walked! It got my mind clean and in some cases even held me managing my pain better. Good luck!
  • I know you wrote a detailed post but the only line I can focus on is the surgery actually being a "serious risk of paraplegia". I'd certainly seek another opinion on that. Nerve monitoring in surgery is quite advanced, so that just surprises me.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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