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What have I learned

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
I first started having back problems when I was 15. I remember going to the mall with my girlfriend (who became my wife) at 16 yeas old and falling down to the pavement because I had lockup of my muscle and spasms in my upper back. That would last for days.

I started having hip pain when I was 25.. That went on for a while. I went to many different doctors, all sorts of test.
I am not even sure if the MRI tests were available back then.. Because all I remember was Ct Scans

Then when I was 28 (1978) at a ice skating party, I felt a jolt going from my right foot up into my upper body. I could not put any pressure on it, I couldn't walk, etc. I went to the ER to help with the pain.. Over the next several days, based on tests, evaluations, I was back into the hospital for a myloegram. That pointed to a L4/L5 problem which was addressed Now, I was in the hospital for 2 weeks ( did have a case of pneumonia while there) and I was sent home to live in a back brace for the next 4 months

That was just the start. But the years that followed identified a major flaw in my personality;... I IGNORED what I should be doing and just pushed on ahead As a result, lumbar surgery #2 happened in 1982. Being you and indestructible, I march forward. So that in 1986 , I had another lumbar surgery.... After 3 surgeries, you would think most people would wake up.
No not me! I still pushed forward and did half heartily what I was suppose to do... Yeh Yeh, follow those instructions, limitations, restrictions... thats for other people, not me[

Well because I didnt do what I should have done, lumbar Surgery #4happend. At that point, my spine was sort of screwed up. Then came the cervical problems, ACDF surgery 1,2, then 3.

So now with 7 spinal surgeries under my belt, I should be behaving Right? Wrong!, I still didnt do it. As a result I eventually herniated 4 thoracic discs ( and compared to lumbar or cervical, this was real painful!)

But the surgeon's didnt want to do additional surgery on my spine. So for the next 5 years I dealt with server pain every day, masked with varioiu8s levels of Oxycontin. I finally had some relief from a Thai specialist in deep tissue massage.

But the damage was already done!

Over the next 5 years, I had to have both of my shoulders totally replaced with implants and both of my hips totally replaced with implants..... This was osteoarthritis, ripping through my body.. Much of that was due to all the surgeries I had already had.

Know, my knees are going and it will just be a matter of time before I have to have them replaced.

b[u]]What is the point of all of this?[u]

IF I had listened to the doctors, paid attention to what I should be doing or not doing, concentrated on the right diet and exercise, didn't abuse my body - I might be a healthier man without all the surgeries and without all the daily pain and without the need for daily pain medications.

My future? Well, I know it already... It will just be a matter of time before I am restricted to using a cane (which I do already about 50% of the time), then it will be in a wheel chair, then who knows what?

BUT If I did back then what I should have......

Please dont make the same mistakes as I have....
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
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Comments

  • Ahhhh wouldn't a time-machine be a wonderful thing? My 8 year old son assures me that he'll invent one when he's finished curing osteoarthritis & designing a new spine for me...

    As a fellow arthritis sufferer can I ask you to elaborate on something Ron? I haven't had your number of surgeries. I'm still pretty young, fingers crossed I won't be following you on your path. You've said before that you believe that your degenerative osteoarthritis is a result of multiple surgeries. I've never heard that theory before. Do you believe that it wouldn't be so distructive if you hadn't had so much surgery trauma to your body? I know that my inflammation increased greatly after surgery. I could clearly see it in the joints of my hands & feel the pain in the usual suspects, back, hips, knees...but I don't know scientifically why. I know the inactivity increased my pain...

    I guess I'm thinking that I've always (mostly) been a good osteoarthritis patient yet nothing stops the progression. Maybe I've slowed it with diet, exercise etc. I'll never know...

    I'm just interested in your case. Thanks Ron.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    edited 09/17/2014 - 12:37 PM
    I have been told by several of my doctors that the number of surgeries I had created the accelerated deterioration from osteoarthritis. I have had several bone scans which can show 'pockets' of arthritis. Over a 10 year period of time and 3 bone scans the progression was somewhat startling.

    Even when I first started having shoulder problems. The initial X-Rays documented a moderate level of arthritis. Within 18 months, that had changed to severe, bone and bone, which resulted in my shoulder replacements.

    Now, IF I didnt have all those spinal surgeries, would the arthritis still play a huge role in my condition? Perhaps....

    Up until I was in my late 40's, I never had indications of any arthritis.

    So, EG, here is my solution for you:

    • 1. Stay young, never turn 40
      2. Keep on tract with #1 until you son finds the cure
    Seriously, there has been a lot of literature about osteoarthritis. We all know that there is no cure. But discussions are floating around on how to slow it down, postpone it a while. My daughter took me on a nature tour walk with Mr Bob.
    He pointed out all the various vegetation that is good for us.. One thing that stuck in my mind, was the bark from a specific tree that help with OA and was a great inflammatory. Trouble is, I forgot the tree name (or what it even looks like).. With my luck, I would pick a tree that was infested with poison sumac. All I remember was it was a bark and you chewed on it.
    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
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 09/17/2014 - 4:40 PM
    Things are moving in the right direction lately. With the identification of some genetic involvement a lot of scientists are looking at the problem with 'new eyes'. It's been labeled 'just' wear & tear for too long. I didn't have 'wear & tear' as a young teen & there's nothing 'just' about what's going on in my body! I know a lot of their work is falling flat at the moment but you can learn a lot from failure sometimes. I'm optimistic that we will see a way to slow the progression soon...I just hope it will be soon enough. Once it's gone, it's gone!......or..... Do you have any faith in the possible promise of stem cells etc. in the treatment of arthritic joints?
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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