I have an L4-S1 fusion surgery coming up March 6th. I'm anxious and nervous at the same time. I'm nervous b/c of how invasive the surgical procedure is as well as being under for roughly 4 hours.
First, a bit of background... I'm now in my 40s and I've been dealing with low back pain for 3+ years. For the most part I just dealt w/ it as there wasn't much I wasn't able to do. I just lived through the pain. However, things progressively have gotten worse - I can't lift hardly anything off of the floor when bending over; I can't jump up and down; I can't run and play soccer w/ my daughter b/c the pain levels are too high and I sometimes get spasms. About two years ago I experienced 10 pain as I was on the floor and couldn't get up b/c of the pain. I was nearly screaming it hurt so bad.
For me, the only relief I get is when I'm in a seated position. This is the best of things as I have a desk job and I sit the vast majority of the day. It's when I want to "live" that I cannot. I love to exercise. My favorite thing I used to do every night was to pop in an Insanity DVD and do a workout in the garage. I haven't worked out in about 3 months b/c the pain just got to be too much.
I wake up every morning in a lot of pain. The best way to describe my sensation is that it feels like if I bent forward far enough, my back would snap in two. I have to get in a crouching position when I go to sneeze. I have to lay w/ pillows under my legs when sleeping at night. I can't remember the last time I got a good nights rest.
When I was in 10 pain I got an epidural b/c the pain was so bad. It was awesome for about 2 weeks, then went back to being bad. I've had 2 MRIs and I had one dr. tell me to go thru physical therapy and the other dr who told me surgery was my only option, other than living w/ the pain. I tried physical therapy b/c it wouldn't hurt but I did not get any relief. I left in more pain than when I arrived. I did the disc decompression machine and ultrasound.
So, I have decided to move forward w/ surgery. The surgical procedure is called an anterior-posterior surgery. I'm first cut open above the pubic bone, the intestines are moved so that the discs can be cut out, then rolled onto my stomach and cut in my back so that the rods and the rest of the fusion can be completed. An additional step of cutting me open in the hip area to take existing bone for the bone graft is also done. This is mixed with artificial bone to fill in where the discs were to create the fusion.
My initial thinking was that surely there would be a minimally invasive procedure I could benefit from. My dr swears by the anterior/posterior method. He calls it the gold standard and says it has the highest success rate. I told him Insanity was my gold standard and he felt very confident that he could alleviate nearly all of my pain.
I have degenerative disc disease. I'm curious to know/learn from others who have gone through this procedure. Did you have the same anxiety? Did you first try a minimally invasive method? What are the results 6+ months post operation? Do you feel like you're able to live? Is there anything that did not meet your expectation?
I greatly appreciate any insight offered? God Bless.