I ask because long story short, I am about to turn 66 years of age, male, had 2 fusions in 2003, CERVICAL C5-C6 and 6 weeks later at L3-L4. Botched badly, lost my job of 22 years and never worked again. Finished at age 55. My primary care doctor advised me NO surgeon ever allows more than 2 fusions and I asked why I had been conned into ANY if they were supposed to stop the tearing, searing soft tissue pain and spasms in my lower back and in fact did NOTHING to help. His response was that my back was now a "train wreck" and that is a direct quote. I had also had 5 prior stomach hernias repaired so he basically wanted me to use narcotic pain meds. I flat refused.
Fast forward after over a dozen MRI, CT tests, dozens of X-Rays. The hardware had been placed wrong in my prior lumbar surgery. No kidding....I had know that when I never walked again without a severe limp from my left leg that I now "drug" behind me. It is now Nov 2013 and I wake in the night feeling as if I had been shot in my left buttocks. I go to get up and fall. My left leg is now 100% paralyzed and NO feeling, NONE. I meet a new ortho surgeon whose tests show he needs to remove that old misplaced L4 hardware & redo it. He ALSO needs to fuse it ALL. From L3 to and including S1. I now have NO choice and accept his demands to at least do low dose Hydromorphne, Tylenol etc combo medications until the following April 1, 2004 surgery. The delay was because I literally had to switch health plans that would then allow him to use the hospital that has the Mazor Robot for such a complex surgery. Time for the operation and he opens me to discover something all those MRI and other tests never saw which REALLY makes me crazy mad....A huge tumor the size of a very large grapefruit wrapped around the base of my spine! THIS was all that caused the paralysis and foot drop...but hey, we DO have authorization so lets fuse the boy up anyway right? (me bitter?)
Even longer story as short as possible. The next 13 months are worse than my time in War in the USMC. I develop a monster football sized Seroma where that tumor had been. I now have a drain tube in my back and for 5 months my wife misses work to drive me to the hospital for Interventional Radiology to change this tube and inject me with Betadyne and later actually use a Chemo drug in attamps to "scar" it to close up. EACH visit has a co-pay of $250.00 plus other fees. My wife also spends an hour every single NIGHT, injecting me with these fluids to fill me with scar tissue. pain is off the charts and I am not allowed to shower or bath in the hottest year on record. They call in a plastic surgeon who literally not only botches his attempt but butchers me in the process. While my primary care doctor is searching for a new plastic surgeon and getting authorizations etc I feel a tiny pea sized lump in my left breast. (yes, I AM MALE). But it hurts SO bad the doctor send me to a surgeon and back to the hospital I go. But in that 3 week wait it has now grown to the size of a little bigger than a very large egg! So they have to now do a full Mastectomy....Having fun yet?
OK, 4 more days and now plastic surgeon #2 does the next back surgery for the Seroma. So in the space of 5 weeks I have just had 3 more MAJOR surgeries.
I never recover this time. Today makes it 9 months and 2 days since the initial multi-disc fusion. With all the complications I was never able to do the walking or physical therapy. Now, I can't even stand straight up anymore. Walking is a memory. I creep around on a walker and those endless tearing, burning RIPPING muscle type of "soft tissue" pains are worse than ever. I have been on Fentanyl 50 MCD patches since the 4/1/2014 surgery non stop. They no longer help one bit. Today I see my primary care doctor and ask to have them cut to 25 MCD so I can begin a completely drug free life again. But last week met with a pain management office. They agree with me since the narcotic pain meds no longer help and now I am terrified of the withdrawal process ahead beginning tomorrow.
The Pain Management office is practically SHOVING the neurostimulation implant device on me since I can have a "trial"period with it. I have had ZERO results using any and all forms of TENS units and I feel this is just a glorifies similar device. I also see I can have a "trial" of the Intrathecal Pump as well (to a degree) and feel it is the only REAL chance I have for honest pain relief. My entire need is to STOP the pain that for me is a full 10 almost 24/7 but not be high or drugged. I have not driven in over a year as I refuse to put others at risk and as a result, I now risk my wife losing her job of 35 years due to missing a couple times a week for over a YEAR now. They have been undeniably supportive and caring but they also have to have someone they can count on. I was supposed to give Pain management my answer in 3 days, the end of this week. But I cancelled that appointment. I meet today instead with my primary care doctor to ask for a prescription to cut my Fentanyl by 1/2 and guide me through withdrawal. I am utterly TERRIFIED as my pain is completely unbearable now on the drug. Yet as it wears off (if I even can tell, not sure anymore?), I don't notice much of anything other than horrific withdrawal symptoms.
My goal is to be off all narcotic medication to make my decision as to what to do to contol pain for what little time I have left on this Earth. I want to be less of a burden to my wife. I want to stop thinking that ending my own life is my only way to escape this pain that has turned me from an extremely strong and vibrant, athletic semi pro surfer and motorcycle rider & racer into a withering old man, hunched, crying all the time, beaten down and defeated. this is NOT me. Does anyone have any experience with these pain pumps with back spams and.or soft tissue pain? i hate that word. "soft tissue pain".....It is all I ever had. Now this year alone so far I have over $450K in medical bills! Before, I had trouble walking and that tearing in my low back. Like a zipper pulling across my low back, a muscle tearing is all I would feel then back to bed for a month. Now? Well now I can't walk, can't even stand half the time without a walker. I honestly could care less anymore about ever walking. I just need to stop this PAIN....ANYONE who knows if these pain pumps help with muscle pain, please let me know? I have read so many horror stories about all that goes wrong I am scared out of my mind. One more "failure" and I will have to end it myself. And I promise you, that is NOT me or who I am.
Fusion With Hardware C5/C6
Fusion With Hardware L3 THROUGH S1