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Here are my stats:
Female, 43 yrs old. Previously exceptionally fit. Not overweight at all.
I'm a "newbie" so please bear with the unitiated. Will try to give a summary of a long winded story. Since I can remember as an adult I experienced lower back pain, being female I always put it down to female related pains. 10 years ago I decided to start changing my lifestyle and began rigorously running, cycling and going to gym. 5 years later I developed a serious case of ITB which required bilateral surgery, and during rehab I was advised to do more core exercises. I incorporated Pilates and yoga into my already hectic routine. I also went to the physio and chiropractor regularly to manage the back pain. In 2010 the pain got so bad that at times I couldn't lift my feet when walking and when I bent down I would get stuck. So in October I went to see a leading sports orthopedic surgeon specializing in back problems - with the idea that he would check me and tell me what I should or shouldn't be doing. I arrived at the appointment and told him my story as above, also that I had never sought out any medical intervention for my back prior seeing him. He examined me and said his estimation was perhaps a pinched nerve, and that I should just have an xray to confirm. He called me the next day to say that I must come in and see him urgently. Turns out that I had/have idiopathic kyphosis scoliosis and that where the spine joins the hips the angle was over 75○, and was so severely degenerated that leaving it as such would have me wheelchair bound within 5 years. Additional to this I had 2 x s bends scoliosis and exaggerated kyphosis. None of this was apparent to the naked eye as I have always been active, did ballet as a child and as explained later gym, running, cycling, which strengthened my back. Anyway I was sent off for a CT and MRI scan. It transpired that I have exceptionally small pedicles which just exacerbates my chances of successful surgery. In Nov 2010 I underwent my first surgery, having 2 Harrington rods and 8 paediatric screws because of the size of the pedicles, inserted into the thoracic area, in a bid to correct the lower curve of the scoliosis and taking off the strain on the last two vertebra and thereby reducing additional degeneration. The operation was 7 hrs long and post op was excruciating, I returned to work 6 weeks later, in a rigid brace, half day for about a month. But pain was immense. After 4months I went to a biokineticist to start getting back into physical shape, but after about 6 months instead of getting better, the pain increased. In Aug last year (2012) I underwent additional surgery, this time the fixture went from L2 - T4, doing a kyphosis correction too. Operation time 8.5 hours. If I thought the previous op was bad, that was a walk in the park compared to this one. After the operation they could not rouse me, and I had an out of body experience, whereby I realised I didn't want to wake because the pain was so bad. I was in icu for 2 days and then an additional 7 days in the ward. My husband is a GP and he stayed in the hospital with me to take care of me because the pain was unbearable. I was on a PC pump with morphine, as well as getting morphine injections every 2hours. At home I continued on morphine oral meds every two hours and lyrica twice a day. I had a home nurse taking care of me as I could not do anything, not even bath, she had to bed bath me. At my 6 week check up it was discovered that the top two screws had pulled out, and I had to wear a Milwaukee brace. By Feb this year the rods at the top of the fixturewhere so close to the skin you could see them protruding as two lumps, and my spin had collapsed forward so that I was 3cm shorter. Hence me going in for another surgery now on 13 March, to lengthen the fixation and do repairs. After another 6 hour operation, I am now fixated from L2-T2. I am 6 weeks post op and still in pain, although refuse to use the heavy narcotics as they make me feel so ill. So I'm taking stopayne and robaxin for the severe muscle spasms and cramps I experience. I am due to see the doc next week Thursday and as I've read so many of you say, 6 weeks seems standard repertoire. I'm always told in six weeks you should be much better. But I'm not, and I feel like such a failure. I feel so frustrated and worried that I am never going to regain a normal life. My entire life revolves around whether I am able to go somewhere, or sit through something. My life is so restricted, even my sex life is a disaster. Pain pills and chronic pain are not very erotic. If I knew how long I was going to need to recover I would have a goal to work towards, if I knew what the "normal" steps of recovery were I may feel more in control. My doctor is clueless. My husband being a doctor is stressed beyond belief in not being able to help, and I feel like I am losing my mind. And as I have read in other postings, people that ask "are you getting better" or "you look great" when I'm grinding my teeth through agony are in serious danger of being screamed at or clobbered. I just feel no one knows what I'm going through - hence me landing here. At least here there are others that understand, that I know what is shared verbally has been shared physically.
This has been rather long winded, but necessary.
Thanks for the time


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

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    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

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    dilauro , tamtam or liz

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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