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Back Again Five Years Later

I used to be on this website all the time when I had my back surgeries. I feel like an old hat now with all I have dealt with in the past few years. I am 53, had a laminectomy/discectomy in 2007 and then a L4-L5 fusion, instrumented, with donor bone. I am a chronic pain patient, and have tried every kind of pain management out there. I am currently on Fentanyl patches, 75 mg, changed every 48 hours. I have constant pain in both legs - kind of an ache from my hips to my feet. My have nerve damage in my right leg, and pain and numbness in both feet.

My neck is a mess - widespread degeneration with spinal stenosis. I have numbness in the left side of my neck, shoulder, and upper arm that is related to neck position. The surgeon said he does not know where to start, so I am waiting until the pain gets unbearable in my neck or arms - and then they can zoom in on one specific area to fuse. I have been getting epidurals in my neck and lower back. I go every 4 months and the doctor lets me choose where I need it the most.

I figure with my experience with chronic pain I can help others who are suffering - or maybe just be there to listen. Please say hello! It is nice to be back again. :)

Discectomy/Laminectomy 2006
Fusion of L-4, L-5 2008


  • It seems like so many of us wait "for the next ball to drop" and see what will happen next. It's so hard to tell what is causing what pain or issue. Thanks for coming back to help.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • You have had both neck and back fusions. How are you feeling these days? Which one was harder to recover from?
    Discectomy/Laminectomy 2006
    Fusion of L-4, L-5 2008
  • The neck fusion was worse. I was really weak afterward. I knew I was going to be in critical care when I woke up, and I know I could still be intubated when I woke up. I did great - writing notes to the staff and family. I went to sleep and woke up and freaked for about a minute until I realized where I was.

    One thing, each week I could look back and see the progress I made. It does seem like never ending "what's next"?
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
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