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Looking for some proof that trials and tribulations can end in success! Please Share!

Good Morning,:wave:

I am just over 11 Months post-op from a "failed" L5/S1 Discectomy and just over 9 Months post-op an L5/S1 PLIF w/ hardware and decompression, I am completely fused but the final word from the doc was "Failed Back Syndrome". I also have severe nerve damage in my Left Sciatic at my S1. (The nerve can even be viewed on the MRI as flat rather than its normal shape). I also had the nerve test thing done with the needles and the electrodes... Definitely did not feel awesome and hearing that odds are my nerve will no longer support muscle growth after about 12 months was disheartening. (I am now 26)

I have searched on this site, and others, and have found some success story's but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. Would anyone like to share any similar story's that ended in success? Or any challenges that ended with livable conditions? I am extremely interested in anyone that might have had been diagnosed with "Failed Back Syndrome" that has overcome. Or anything with severe sciatic nerve damage, as I feel this is one of my BIGGEST HINDURANCES.

My enitre life (and identity) has had to change and continues to do so. As you all un doubtedly know we have good days and bad. Lately I have found that I yearn to hear some success stories. I do believe I can make it through this but I would really love to hear that it is possible to overcome nerve damage, "Failed Back Syndrome" or other difficulties of this nature...

Thank you for your time and thank you even more if you decide to share...


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 03/18/2013 - 2:28 PM
    BabySteps (oh, please, Ron, never Mr) There have been so many trials and new techniques introduced in the past 30-40 years in dealing with spinal problems. Many have made it, many have failed.

    Then there are good number of trials and new techniques that have been proven successful around the world, but have never made it past the FDA in United States. Now that could be a good thing or a bad thing. I know the FDA wants to be more than 100% sure of a new technique, not only when it happens but down the road. Sometimes that means its too late for someone. But on the other hand, I wouldnt want something done to me that was just a one time fix for a one time patient.

    Back in the late 1970's, early 1980's when I started with my lumbar surgeries. I read about a technique up in Canada, where they injected a Papaya mixture into your disc area to disovle any fragments and avoid aggressive surgery. John Davidson, at the time a goalie for the New York Rangers tried this treatment and within months he was back skating and playing goalie. Since I've always been a hockey lover, I said I WANT THAT! Turned out that , that treatment was not approved in the USA, but was approved in Canada. Over the years, that procedure, many times refined has proven to be successful in some situations.

    Dont want to bore you with history, so, take a look at Clinical Trials
    to see if there is anything that might address your situation.

    As far as the success rate of trials.that is going to be hard to identify, but with research, I am sure its completely doable.

    I get bothered by the term "Failed Back Syndrome" That term never existed 10,20,30,40 years ago. It seems to have surface more recently. Spinal Back Surgery is NOT the most complicated surgery in the world. Sorry, its been going on for decades... Sure new procedures, introduction of more rods, the 360 , etc have put a new twist onto everything., but when you break everything down, its still pretty straight forward. Now, I am not meaning to demean the medical field or surgeons and saying its easy, I am just making some laymen's comparisons to this surgery vs brain or heart surgery.

    No surgery is a walk in the park. The simplest of surgeries can turn into disasters almost overnight. But why is that?
    Is the patient, Is the procedure, Is the environment, Is the surgeon? Too many variables.

    But as far as success stories regarding Spinal Surgeries, I am your Poster Child! I've had my share of spinal surgeries and they all were successful. The fact that I had to repeat some of those, I really believe was due to me, not doing everything I was suppose to do. I ignored doctors restrictions and limitations. After all, I was young and I was invincible. But even putting that aside, I am so happy and content in my life today.

    Yes, I have restrictions and Yes, I cant do what many others an do, Yes, my wife and adult children have done so many things that I couldn't do, but that is what life threw at me. I could have stood back, talking them all as balls for a free ride, or waiting to get hit, OR, I could have swung... at least that way I knew I tried.

    I try and I try and I will continue to try. But it will be a long time and a hard cold time before I strike out.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • This might be off base but, sometimes when I'm out and about, I see people that are way worse off than I am. I *thought* I had back problems...... some of these people I don't know how they do it. I see them with real bad obvious spine problems walking around town, going about their business, getting groceries and stuff. They are hunched over real bad, or walk with a cane or a walker, really slowly, walking vast distances. I feel this >< big compared to them.

    Today I saw a homeless girl on crutches with a busted foot. She was carrying groceries in bags in each hand, on crutches, and hobbling on one foot. Where she was, was quite a ways away from any kind of housing. Again, I felt so small.

    My mom is in her 80's. She has a friend about the same age bracket, maybe older, that visits her. This lady is hunched over pretty bad. She can barely walk and uses a one of those walkers with wheels on the front. But she is a tuff old bird. With all that, she still walks many many blocks around town. Amazing.

    Anyways, sorry if I messed up your thread. That girl on the crutches today made me think about my perspective and your thread kinda reminded me about that.
    If it makes you feel any better, when my L4-L5 disc herniated and atrophied my right calf, it made it look much smaller compared to the other one. I already have chicken legs. LOL But I just kept going. So you see, people really can overcome obstacles. LOL

    I hope you can find a happy place in spite of your back problems. Hang in there with us. :)
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Ron, Thank you. I enjoy reading your posts and am a research-a-holic, so thank you for the link! I am usually pretty optimistic and I am pretty pig headed and stubborn so I know I will get through this, I refuse to lose.lol. I am learning more and more about 'taking the swing' rather than continually just sitting on the bench (out of fear). I have always had a respectable, understanding for and of fear. I wouldn't say I thought I was invincible I just knew that most chances were worth taking. I think through almost everything, basically I am a pros and cons list maker. lol this injury has changed that, I am scared of getting hurt further so I guess I baby myself (if you will) but I can thankfully say that I am starting to move out of it. I actively remind myself I am fused and according to my last check up my other two damaged discs have remained exactly the same. I allowed myself to get into the mindset because I have always been a go hard or go home kind of person. I never know when enough is enough when it comes to physical activity. I took no pain no gain way to seriously I thought if I wasn't fighting through physical pain I wasn't improving. Now that I have to listen to my body I have to completely re program that and LEARN to LISTEN to my body and the pain and when to stop. Before I started realizing and learning that I need to reprogram myself my solution was just to avoid almost everything. Also my finicky leg that does whatever it wants whenever it wants (to include agonizing pain, not doing what its told and sometimes just giving out completely) makes me even more standoffish but again I am learning how to press on. My current method is setting times instead of going off how I feel. Like riding the recumbent bike (basically the only cardio machine I can use) or walking for X amount of time X days. Doing this takes my feeling out of it so I don't worry about pushing too hard cause I feel good one day and paying for it later. I'm ranting, I'm good at that. I apologize but just so you know I am going to stalk you a little bit (via your past forums) so I can read more of your story. You always are upbeat and have positive, informative posts and that is encouraging. I feel like I am very lucky to have a positive outlook and even luckier that I don't have the attention span to dwell on my bad days or even have bad moments that last very long, it is too boring. :P I believe optimistic perseverance is key to recovery. Side note: I think I was diagnosed with that awful term (Failed Back Syndrome) because when my recovery was in its infancy the military stressed me out to the max trying to just discharge me with no benefits. 6 weeks after my second surgery I was back working 9-12 hour days under insane stress as I had to scramble every 30 days to get an extension to convince someone to review my case. I fully believe that if my circumstances would have had less additional stress I would be in a very different state regardless I will overcome this challenge I didn’t chose and come out victorious as you have! Lol Again sorry for the rant.

    Paul, I agree with you. Seeing others in worse shape makes you really understand that you don’t have it as bad as you think you do sometimes(rereading that it kind of sounds bad). My second surgery was done up at Landstuhl, Germany. Landstuhl has an amazing military facility. However, it also happens to be the epicenter of the wars reality. All the severely wounded from the middle east are transported there. As I was being rolled in to surgery I witnessed a soldier being rolled in the opposite direction, his face mostly gone and what was left was terribly wounded. I also had several personnel in my ward (ended up being stuck there for 2 weeks) that had injuries FAR worse than anything I could imagine living through and every single one had the most AMAZING, OPTIMISTIC, INSPIRING ATTITUDES. It was very humbling. I try to think back to them on my bad days. Unfortunately the day I started this thread was kind of a crappy one and I guess I reasoned that if I heard from someone that had the exact same or similar situation that got through it I could too(even though I really know I can and will). :)
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