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Hi - I'm not dead yet

Hi everybody. As I'm reading through the posts again after a few months' absence, I see there are a lot of newbies, but still some old ones hanging around. Nice to see that as well as the new moderators, whom I know. Congrats to you.

I just wanted to let you know that I'm not dead yet, and plan on being back on the forums regularly as I continue to fight with my painful back. First, I'll tell you that personally, I still own my home and we still have our 4-year-old Corgi, Wally. He's not who you see in my avitar, that Merc, my beloved English Setter who passed away soon after my second surgery. While Wally can't fill Merc's shoes, he sure comes in a close second.

I'm 7 months out from my third lumbar fusion and laminectomy (L3/4 on Dec. 18) and had my check-up with my surgeon. All is going well as far as fusion, but my pain is never going to go away. He says the best we can hope for is to try to keep it to a steady 2-3 on the pain scale, but to expect flare ups, of course.

After the company I worked for (that broke my back from lifting heavy boxes, emptying recycle bins, etc.) "let me go" two weeks after my surgery, I at least had a severance package and they paid for my health insurance for three months. The good thing was that I would have had to go back in February and I wasn't ready. This way, I was able to have just over four months to recover as I looked for another job.

So I found that job and it's working for a family-owned, small print shop where I do nothing but graphic design and desktop publishing. They refuse to allow stress into the workplace and respect my limitations. The benefits are nada, zip, zero and the pay is much less than I've ever made before, but as my hubby says, I now have to look for jobs that are ok for my back, not so much for the paycheck. I'll probably keep looking for something that's got benefits, but this is a great fit for now.

I'm going through the expected mechanical pain from L2/3 and L5/S1 working overtime and my cervical area hurts (I had a 3-lvl ACDF with plate and 8 screws in 2008) during weather changes and when I look one direction too long, but that's part of the deal. I've also got a huge dent in my back where all my lamina are missing so it's hard to keep a Lidoderm patch on.

Anyway, I just wanted to catch up with those that I know and who know me and introduce myself to those that don't. I used to have a huge presence on here and want to start getting back in touch. This forum has saved me in more ways than you can imagine over the five+ years I've been a member, and I want to give back again.

Thanks for reading and please update me on yourself if we're friends and if not, feel free to introduce yourself right back.

PS Ooops, I guess I better update my profile - a lot's happened since I wrote it. :-)


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 07/24/2013 - 7:56 AM
    It is good to see you back on the forum, thank you for the update I am glad your fusion is going well, it is nice to catch up with what is going on in your life too.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

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

  • It is good to hear from you again and especially good to hear that the fusion is happening.
    Also great to hear how your job is going and that they allow you to work within your limitations.

    Not so good to hear that you are having pain in your lumbar and cervical spine again.
    Also not good that you no longer have insurance, but at least you have a job that you can cope with.

    I have had to give up my job which was very disappointing as I loved working with the children.

    Good to hear that you are going to be around more often now and I'll look forward to chatting with you.

    Thanks for the congrats. :-)

  • Hi Cathie...so glad you are back and gave us an update. Im so sorry for all you have been through. I hate that you have to be back on here though.
    I had my microdiscectomy on T7-8 in May 2012 and still struggle with pain after failed surgery. I had microstructure surgery on left knee in Jan. Of this yr and will be having knee replacement in Aug at age 49 :( I will also be having lumbar fusion L3-S1in Dec but must lose 75 pounds first. Have been on a very strict diet and have lost 14 lbs in 18 days so hopefully can keep it up.
    I love hearing from all of you who have experience and who encouraged me.


  • Losing 14lbs in 18 days is amazing. Well done I am very impressed.
    I keep trying to lose weight but don't have much success.

    After years of dieting, putting back on the weight, dieting, putting it back on again, I find it harder and harder.
    My diet is really quite healthy and I walk just under 2 miles a day so I get fed up about my weight.
    I was taking Gabapentin and seemed to put on weight quickly so I stopped taking it and am now on Nortriptyline.

    Good luck with your knee replacement! I don't envy you. I hope that it will all go very smoothly and that you will have a good recovery. Hopefully by next year you will have less pain and a brighter future ahead of you. :-)

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Im glad to hear you are doing well. It stinks about the job, I think the same thing is going to happen to me when I return from sick leave. It seems we follow the same path. Lol. Great to see you back
  • Thank you so much Jellyhall for the encouragement. It means a lot. I have been on a very strict 1000 calorie or less a day and right now see'm s to be working. I am same way....I have yoyo dieter for yrs. But something about surgeon saying the complication can be much worse the heavier you are so I m determined. I also have appt. With NS in Sept. To discuss fusion of L3-S1 at end of year so hopefully knee replacement will go smoothly and I can continue weight loss for fusion. Again thank you for your kind words...they mean so much :)

  • I'm happy to see you again and am really glad that this surgery seems to be on tract and hope that it keeps on that way for you. Changing jobs is seldom an easy thing but at least it sounds like this one is one that you like doing and even with the pay cut and the lack of benefits , the environment sounds good. No stress and one that takes your current limitations into account is a good thing.
    I am looking forward to reading more updates and seeing your posts again........we've missed you.
  • Well, I would've responded sooner to you guys but for some reason keep getting logged out when I'm really logged in. Hmmm.

    Anyway, it's nice to see you all again. And Kelli, I am also very proud of your strength in losing the weight you need. It's never easy. I have the opposite problem - I got way too skinny after my surgery and look like a walking skeleton and hubby's not too happy about it.

    Susan, Sandi, Jelly, Liz, and Kelli - thanks for the welcome back. I'm looking forward to catching up.

  • CATH!! :)
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • kamgramkkamgram Posts: 483
    edited 07/26/2013 - 6:28 PM
    Oh Cathie I know everyone says oh I would love to have that problem but it's not any better. My mom lost 115 . Lbs while battling cancer and my full Time job was caring for her. She loved boost shakes and I would mix protein powder and syrups...anything to add calories. Maybe try one in between meals. For some reason was easier to drink calories rather. than eating them. I hope you are able to regain your strength and continue to heal.

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