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New Member about to have ALIF Fusion

mjdoublemmjdouble Posts: 5
edited 12/20/2014 - 5:37 AM in New Member Introductions
I just wanted to drop in and say hello. I've been reading the site for a few weeks and it has been a great resource for me. A little about myself. I'm a 39 year male that until fairly recently was very active and in good shape. However my wife has severe DDD affecting every level of her lumbar region and has been on permanently disability for almost 4 years. Our situation was difficult enough when just she was suffering. Then things got bad for me too. I've had some minor back issues over the past 7 or 8 years. But nothing really serious that sent me to a doc. It was tightness more than anything with occasional spasms that would resolve in a few days. But in October of 2013 after playing in a men's baseball game I found myself hurting pretty bad. It wasn't anything during the game. It started once I got home. I've been playing baseball in a very competitive men's league ever since I finished college over 15 years ago. I played collegiately too, so it is fair to say baseball is big part of my life and my #1 hobby. Anyway, after this game the pain kept gradually worsening over the next several weeks. Eventually I went to my family doc, who referred me to an ortho, who diagnosed me with a pars stress fracture and isthmic spondylolisthesis at my L4/L5. He was actually surprised I had gone this many years relatively pain free. He said it was a grade1 slippage, bordering on grade 2. He mentioned that surgery might be necessary in the future. Prescribed PT for Core Strengthening (Abs of steel workout really) and suggested I try an inversion table. I did the PT and kept up with it at home and slowly my back got a little better. I got an inversion table a little later on and that seemed to help too. By May of this year I was completely pain free. I was back to doing most of the things I loved to do. But it only lasted 3 or 4 few months. In October of this year the back pain started up again. This time it came paired with sciatica down my left leg. The worst pain is in the hip. I went back to my ortho and new radiographs indicate that the slippage has worsened. Extension views also showed the L4 vertebrae was really moving around a lot. His treatment suggestion was an ALIF fusion. I got some other testing done and have seen a couple of other surgeons, both neuro and orthos for second opinions and they've all been in agreement. My L4/L5 is unstable, likely won't respond to conservative treatment, is probably going to get worse, and an ALIF fusion is the treatment needed. I've been advised to do it sooner rather than later because I'm still in relatively good shape and I should bounce back quickly. I'm told I'm actually a dream candidate for this since I'm fit and the rest of my spine looks completely healthy. I'm thankful that this seems to be such a clear cut case on how to treat it. I know for many of you that isn't the case. But I am still nervous as hell about having a fusion. The surgery is scheduled for January 20th.


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