Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Introducing Myself!


My name is Allison and I have been living with chronic back and hip pain for at least 10 years. The first time I went to the Dr it was diagnosed as Fibromyalgia and I was put on antidepressants and told to live with it. For 10 years I ignored the pain thinking it was all in my head. I tried to be as active as possible but pain made that difficult.

About 6 months ago I was fed up with the chronic pain and the huge impact it has on my life. I decided to go to a new dr and get to the bottom of the pain. I started with a Family Medicine Dr who referred me to a Rheumatologist. The Rheumatologist took one look at my hands, feet and knees and said "you don't have Fibromyalgia, you have arthritis and joint damage has set in." The Rheumatologist sent me for x-rays of my back and hips. Seeing the joint damage in my hands made him look for a cause for all my pain. In the x-rays, he could see degenerative disc disease. He gave me some gabapentin which made me extremely ill and then added sulfasalizine for the arthritis, which I tolerated much better. I gave the meds a few weeks to work, but it wasn't touching my back and hip pain. He sent me to PT too. That made the pain so much worse. Thats when I was referred to a pain specialist that took me a 3 weeks to get in. I was in agony, and after a teary conversation with the nurse they called me in Talwin to help until i got in with the pain specialist.

The pain specialist seemed skeptical when I told him about my back pain. I guess because of my age, 32, he thought that I was just drug seeking. Then he took a look at my x-rays and all he said was, "Wow! I bet that does hurt!" The pain dr gave me some tramadol and sent me for an MRI. 3 weeks later I was back at the pain specialist. He looked at the MRI and then at me and said. You have a Spondylolisthesis‎ of L5, bilateral fractures on L5 and degenerative disc disease on L5 S1. You need surgery and soon. He has such a look of concern on his face, and I felt that I was finally going to get some help. He personally scheduled me with a neurosurgeon and scheduled me for a epidural steroid injection 3 days later. He made sure to tell me that he didn't think the epidural would work, but if it did that I didn't need to delay surgery. He also made a note in my chart to refill pain meds as needed by phone until my surgery date.

Two weeks later I met with the Nuerosurgeon. He explained that I needed a posterior spinal fusion of L5 S1. He went over the complications with me and explained that for my condition a spinal fusion was the best choice. I had a million questions. He answered them all and I scheduled surgery for October 29 at 8:30 am.

So, now I'm just waiting and trying to be as prepared as possible for the surgery. I've never had surgery before. My health has slowly declined the past 10 years and I've gained a lot of weight since I'm no longer as active as I was. I've come to this forum to share my story and get advice from people who have had surgery. I'm also here for support. I know that my recovery will be frustrating and challenging. I'm single and my family is 300 miles away. My grandmother will be helping me for a few weeks post surgery, but I know that my recovery will be much longer than that. I have a great set of friends, but none of them have been through a major, life changing surgery. I'm hoping to find some online friends who understand what I'm going through.

At this point I'm terrified of the unknown. I'm trying to stay calm and be as prepared as possible before the surgery. Sometimes I look around my tiny apartment and at my dwindling bank account and have to fight back panic attacks. But, I also have hope that after this surgery and my recovery I will have my life back. I would love to be active again.
PILF of L5 S1 on October 29, 2013. Psoriatic arthritis, spondylolisthesis L5 and fractured L5 and DDD


  • 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:

    - Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

    - The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - 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.

    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

    - As a new member, it is helpful to understand the 'makeup' of these forums, how to make posts, tips on adding images and much more. You should read Forum FAQ

    Here are some you should take a look at:
    Read before you post
    Tips for Newcomers
    Understanding the rules

    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:






    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Welcome to the Little Spiney Village on the Web!
    i hope the surgery goes extremely well and that you find relief!
    dont let the spectre of the procedure scare you
    it is what it is, try to focus on the positive and let the ghosts of doubt in, face them, then once youve had their measure..dismiss them.

    the pain is bad enough, 10 years ahs given you many tools to deal with pain, remember them when the time is upon you
    wishing you an uneventfull surgry and a speedy recovery!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 10/01/2013 - 1:07 AM
    Welcome, a lot of us here can relate to what you are experiencing. I went down a similar road you are with not getting the proper diagnosis in my younger years. I finally learned to be my own advocate, research, sort out the good info from the bad,
    and learned to be patient which wasn't in my vocabulary a few years ago.
    I have severe OA that is attacking almost every joint in my body and the spine included. Fortunately I have a high tolerance to pain. The worse part for me is the unknown, I want to know what is happening so I can combat it with core strengthening and exercise. Some times it can be difficult but with proper diet and modifying workout routines you can remain active.
    Follow Dr's orders and never be afraid to seek other professional opinions, I learned that with the help of others on this site.
    Best of luck to you and keep us posted with your progress.
    Be strong, be safe.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/01/2013 - 2:05 AM
    I had a fusion (PLIF) and laminectomy of L4/5 done 3 and a half years ago for a grade two spondylolisthesis.
    Apparantly I will have had the problem with my spine since I was a child/teenager which was caused by a stress fracture of the Pars.

    Before my surgery I had awful sciatica in both legs and could only stand for about 5 minutes and walk slowly for about 10 minutes before I needed to sit down. The surgery gave me wonderful relief and I am able to be more active again. My diagnosis wasn't found until I was in my 50s and the doctors said they didn't know how I was managing to walk about. The upper vertebrae were tipping over and putting severe pressure on my nerve roots and spinal nerves.

    I was extremely scared of surgery and avoided it for over two years until I was told that I would end up in a wheelchair if I didn't have it. That helped me to decide and I had surgery about 3 weeks later. The recovery was not as bad as I had feared. The nurses told me that as I had been in such awful pain before surgery, the post surgical pain didn't seem so bad. I hope that will be the case for you. :-) My back is definately not perfect and I went on to have two levels of my neck fused. I do have daily pain, but nothing like before my lumbar surgery.

    There is lots of information on this site about the surgery and your condition. Like Ranger, I like to know and understand what is going on and so I have learnt a lot by reading articles here. I suggest unless you don't like to know, that you learn all you can and as you read, write down any questions that you think of.

    There is a thread that gives various ideas of useful items to help you after surgery. Don't be worried by how long it is, it covers cervical surgery too. Here is the link to it:


    Do ask if you have any questions. People here are very friendly and willing to share their experiences.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    taken away from you. It was just put on hold for a while.

    Surgery is a big step, a huge step and decision. When you and your doctors have come to realize that there are no other options, then its time. As long as you have had all the various conservative treatments, now its time for the aggressive treatment.

    I dont think anyone is ready for surgery. There are a lot of questions, concerns all of us have going into surgery. What if this, what if that, etc. Our minds can go crazy.

    The important thing is having confidence in your doctor and knowing that the hospital, nursiong staff, nursese aids, etc are more than capable in seeing you after surgery.

    The doctor in some ways has the easier part. Spinal surgery is getting more and more normal now. So many people have some form of surgery. So there is a lot of practice , skills and techniques out there. Once your surgery is completed, it will be your nursing staff that takes care of you. They are going to be the ones to see that you are as comfortable as possible while you are in the hospital.

    Then when you are released, the initial recovery phase takes place. You mentioned that you are single and in an apartment. Do you have someone that will be with to help you, take care of you , etc while you recover?

    The unknowns are the hardest to deal with. There are no words that can really change that, just words that can try to comfort you.

    You do have so many people here that are willing to help and understand what you are going through and what you will be going through.

    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
  • Allison_BAAllison_B Posts: 30
    edited 10/03/2013 - 7:02 AM
    Thank you so much for the support. My grandmother will be staying with me for a while I have friends in the area that will help. I have a great surgeon who is head of neurosurgery at a well respected teaching hospital. One of my neighbors is a PT and was recommended by my surgeon and I talked to him for a while yesterday. That helped a lot.

    The decision for surgery did not come easily. I tried several conservative treatments; PT, injections, acupuncture, massage, medications. I consulted 3 different doctors before I made the decision to have surgery. I'm ready to be on my way to recovery.
    PILF of L5 S1 on October 29, 2013. Psoriatic arthritis, spondylolisthesis L5 and fractured L5 and DDD
  • Hi, Allison, and good look with your surgery. Do look at the site for advice on what to do before the surgery to prepare for after. There are really good and helpful suggestions, like getting a "grabber". Keep trying to move as much as you can, especially walking. Ask questions, make sure you know exactly what is going on, and what you need to do to help your recovery.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Welcome Alison All The Best For The Surgery Glad You Found The Site So Much Info Here
Sign In or Register to comment.