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Virg's History

Greetings to all!

Thought I would fill everyone in my history.

My husband and I lived in Leavenworth, KS for close to 25 years. My career of training was in computers. I was a network programmer for the Defense Department for 16 years when I was offered a buy-out. I had started selling Avon and Tupperware in my spare time so I didn't have any of that and it seemed like being my own boss would be fun.

I was shipping out a box weiging slightly over 50 pounds, was in a hurry and so I didn't bother to lift correctly. Got it in my car and drove to the post office. When I arrived there, I got it out of my car and threw it on my shoulder. Still in a hurry, I decided to close my hatch while the box was still on my shoulder. Started to fall backwards so I pulled myself forward to protect the box and as I did, I heard two distinctive pops in my lower back.

By the end of the day I could hardly walk. Visited my PCP several days later and was put on mild pain meds, muscle relaxers and told to take it easy. That is not in my vocabulary and, when you work for yourself, if you aren't working, no one is working. Needless to say, the pain did not get better. I started experiencing numbness/tingling in my left leg and then shooters going down my left thigh so back to our PCP I went. He scheduled an MRI which showed that I had two bulging discs (L4, L5) and was sent to physical therapy. I would feel great as I walked out the door from PT but by the time I got into my car, the pain was back full force. I saw a neurosurgeon and he sent me in for a series of three epidurals.

The first epidural was brutal as he did not use live or guided x-ray, did not offer me any pain meds and I had a HUGE area of inflamation in my lower back. The inflamation was much improved after the third shot and back to my old ways of doing business. I also started swimming a mile and a half a day six days a week. This did help lessen the symptoms for several years. However, I awoke one morning and was unable to get out of bed. Back to my PCP and then off the the neurosurgeon I went. He scheduled yet another test, forgive me for forgetting the name of the procedure -- too many years down the road. They inject die into you (not a CT scan), Anyway, it was finally time for surgery and I was scheduled for a laminectomy, microdiscectomy at L5/S1.

Surgery was down on an outpatient basis and I felt fabulous for maybe 8 weeks and then WHAM the pain and other symptoms kicked in high gear. At this point, I was no longer selling Tupperware and Avon but was working as an office manager for a furniture store. I did absolutely NO lifting and hubby actually loaded/unloaded the dishwasher for me. PCP told me that it was just nerve damage and to "learn to live with it". No pain meds, nothing to lessen the nerve issues. Thanks for nothing dude! I kept up with the swimming and slowly, the pain either receeded or I learned to live with it.

So, hubby and I decide to move back to Nebraska (our home state). I was offered a job long before we were ready to put our house on the market so I accepted the job and moved in with my in-laws until such time as the house sold. For 14 weeks, I drove 5 hours to Leavenworth every weekend and worked on the house with my husband. We were very fortunate as our house sold the same day that it was put on the market. We found a great house in Grand Island and moved in 8 years ago this month.

I had a demanding boss who switched my schedule in the morning and that precluded me from swimming in the morning. Law swimming in the evening was only available 2 nights a week and that rapidly took the tole on my back.

I ran the gammit of lousy, uncaring doctors for a couple of years. Our PCP was great but the spinal docs/neurosurgeons I saw told be that A) they only did surgery if a disc was ruptured; B) I was too young to me on pain meds (lortab 5's -- get serious; C) I wasn't exercising enough; and D) that I should learn to live with the pain. I happened upon an ad for the Ne Spine Institute, called them, had MRI's redone and 3 weeks later, I was scheduled for a TLIF L5/S1.

There are definate pros and cons one should consider before undergoing a permanent, life-changing surgery; but, for me, the decision to have surgery was one of the best decisions of my life. I still have limitations but I can live, mostly, without pain. It has been almost 7 years since the TLIF. I did 3 months of physical therapy after my spine had fused. I've had some little bumps in the road; like twisting and falling hard enough to break at L3 so I spent an additional 6 weeks in that gorgeous back brace.

I went for several years without taking any meds. Gradually, I've slipped a bit here and there. I now take Etodolac twice a day, Lyrica 75 mg 3 times a day, Ultram ER twice a day and Lortab 5 as needed. But as I said earlier, I'm almost 7 years post fusion.

I also have a VERY physical job. I own my own business: alterations, general sewing and upholstery. 75-80% upholstery. Just finished up two restaurants, have done two motorcycles, a forklift chair (really sucked), replaced driver's seat in a jeep, dining room chairs, ottoman and my favorite: restoring a 1912 EMF. It's an absolute ball and I truly love it but I'm sure it's putting a lot of wear and tear on my back. So, I'll live with a little pain to be in charge of my own destiny. Also, I turn down lots of big jobs - heavy chairs, couches, etc.

One more thing, if anyone thinks they remember another Virg from many years ago that was me. I'm one of the original 4 moderators. Not sure if any of the other 4 "Mod Squad" members, as we referred to ourselves in private are still posting on here or not.

Hello to anyone who may remember me.

Life is short, embrace it with all you have.


  • RubyTuesdayRRubyTuesday Posts: 195
    edited 12/29/2013 - 4:11 AM
    Wow, I can't believe you're wrestling with forklift chairs after all of that! Your story sounds like so many here.......esi's, mri's and finally a surgery. I'm going in for my TLIF tomorrow morning at l4-l5. Trying to think positive, but I'm scared out of my wits!

    Thanks for stopping by and giving some encouragement.
    All the best to you.
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • I'll be sending lots of positive vibes your way tomorrow. Things do get better pretty quickly after surgery. Each day you gain - less pain and regain strength, coordination, etc.

    Just make sure to follow your doc's orders. Rest is GOOD for you, walk a bit further each day and above all no BLT's ( bending, lifting, twisting) until you're cleared.

    Keep us posted about how you are mending!

    Life is short, embrace it with all you have.
  • RubyTuesdayRRubyTuesday Posts: 195
    edited 12/29/2013 - 1:57 PM
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • MollyAkMMollyAk Posts: 114
    edited 12/29/2013 - 2:01 PM
    Hi, I'm on the other side of the state from you, here in cattle country. I found a small town neurosurgeon (amazing right?) and I really like him, well enough I let him operate on me twice! Really though, I'm happy with the results and so glad you gave us the update. You sound like you are doing well, some of the posts get a little doom and gloom so I LOVE to hear good stories!
    L5 S1 MicroD - August 21, 2013
    L5 S1 Fusion - October 17, 2013
    44 year old
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