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New to site having L5/S1 Fusion

DeltaoptionDDeltaoption Posts: 4
edited 06/28/2015 - 3:19 PM in New Member Introductions
Hello all,
Just came across this site and thought it could be a good idea for support and info. I was originally injured in 2009 in Afghanistan in two blasts. After fighting it for fours years to prove i was actually in pain and getting someone with a brain to look at my films. The VA finally sent me to see real doctors. The first look at my X-rays and mri's, They said how did the VA not see this. ?
I originally had bulging discs in my neck and lower back, Fractured the ribs where the meet the spine. Two discs in my lower lumbar and tailbone were split. Va has been telling me for the last 5 yrs nothing major was wrong and i just had to deal with it, but i shouldn't work or it would get worse. Needless to say not working wasn't a option. now almost 6 years later new docs say I have gotten way worse. My L5/S1 is completely gone, L4/L5 may need surgery within two years, the last disc in my neck surgery within two years. They did decide that visit that surgery was needed on the L5/S1 soon. They would address the other two areas after recovery from this surgery. I go in for surgery July 2 to fuse .. They will be doing it anteriorly which is a little nerve racking. I am happy to finally have someone recognize that I do actually have injuries since being medically retired from the Army, and the VA not wanting to do anything about it. It will be nice to not be in as much pain as I have been since 2009.
Im planing to take my Vacations days from work to recover without feeling the need to over do it. So 45 days should do it.
Hope everyone is doing well.!

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that need members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
    . Results
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ There you will find much information that will

  • - Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
    - Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
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    - General pieces of valuable information

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
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What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 06/28/15 21:22 est


  • either i posted in wrong forum or no one responds to new people ... Ill move on to another site.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Nothing wrong with your post. You are in the right area!

    First,may I say, thanks for serving!

    I want to wish you best recovery with your July 2, surgery.
    It is good you found doctor who was a able to spot your spinal issues, and has a plan, and now taking steps to deal with it

    You said you were happy to find someone who recognized you had injuries.
    I, and many on this site, can relate.
    Sometimes it takes a second or third opinion. It's often good to have fresh eyes check out your issues.

    You may find it useful to use the __search __ on this site, upper right on page.
    Type in your concerns and you may be led to older posts, article or videos. Very informative!
    Sometimes when I search, I have more questions.
    I may continue with search to learn more or I will write down questions to ask doctor.

    There is also as __post op must haves__ that may benefit you.

    Please keep us posted on how you are doing!

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Chris has a point. Like him, I made my first post a few days ago, only receiving a lengthy automated message in reply. I guess it's all a matter of expectations. I'm not looking for sympathy or comforting words, but I was hoping for more of an interactive community. I suppose there are worse things than the soothing sound of crickets.
  • I haven't posted in the newbie section yet, I have only been a member for a few days but I have been reading posts since December of 2014. I have noticed that if you post in the introduction thread, not many get responses but if you post in pretty much any other threads, you get responses. I figure when I post the first time I will go in one of those spots.
    Maybe us newbies can monitor the newer intro postings and say hiya to the new folks and let them know that? They do have some really great folks on this site that have been through a lot of what we are just starting to go through and they can really provide us with some good information.
    I will go look for your posting extraspecial especially if that will give me something else to call you lol, that is a lot to type.

    Chris, I really do hope you will update us on your progress after surgery. I would suggest posting under the surgery section so it will get seen :-) Welcome both of you to the site, please give it another shot because it really is a great place for information and there are some very nice and knowledgeable folks here.
    Time is the coin of your life. It's the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~Carl Sandburg
  • Betty65BBetty65 FloridaPosts: 83
    Wow. Saying thank you for what you have done seems so insignificant....but thank you! Praying your surgery goes well today.

    I've been on this site over a year and just recently realized that I should take a look at the new member introductions! Good point you've made. I hope you recover quickly and find the support you need on this site. It really has been helpful for me.

  • edited 07/06/2015 - 1:55 AM
    My thanks for the encouragement, and for the tip to visit other sections of the forum after initial introductions. As for my handle "extraspecialbitter", it's a style of beer originating in England, but I also like the odd juxtaposition of "extra special" and "bitter" in the same phrase, so I named my domain after it. The first name on my birth certificate is Paul.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,863
    edited 07/06/2015 - 3:34 AM
    Everyone should keep in mind that it can take days before you get a response.
    One of the problems in the past was that when new members posted, they did not give enough information, so it was close to impossible for anyone to reply.

    That is why we came up with a long list of questions we ask when new members make that first thread. Even with that, there is never any guarantee on how fast people will respond.

    In general, the member community here tries to welcome new members. I admit this can be difficult at times, since the daily new member registration continues to grow very rapidly, and we have only 4 moderators, all volunteers, all spinal patients also who try to do the welcoming. We are very fortunate in that there are many other members that assist us with this trying to make all new members welcomed.

    But please do not get alarmed, dont think you are being ignored if you dont hear anything for a couple of days.
    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
  • Well 11 Days after surgery, The anterior insicion is healing well, feels a little weird like my organs still working back into place. As for my back and the fusion. Its stil very painful for some reason. Cant lay flat, still have pain in my legs, I have limited the amount of pain meds im taking to avoid any issues but in return its not doing much for the pain. I have a follow up this week, but noticing certain things are making life a little difficult still. i.e. Carpet floors difficult to walk especailly since my left leg has gone out on me twice walking on carpet, trying to get in and out of the shower which hasa tub is very challenging, heck even just trying to use the sink in bathroom being that its waste high is challenging. Anyway still trying to stay positive, trying to not let the pain take a toll on me mentally being cooped up in the house. Not to mention with the A/c not working very well and it being so hot out im hoping it doesnt fully crap out on me again!
  • Hi Chris. I'm so sorry that your post wasn't responded to faster. Truly sorry. I'm glad you're home & healing well. I know surgery can be really frightening & the recovery can feel all uphill to start. Do you have a walker to support you around the house? You should. Are you living alone? Which country are you in? Please ask for help if you need it. In my opinion you've stood for us under unimaginable stress in Afghanistan. You've given all the 'brave' anyone can expect from one human being & now it's your turn to be supported & taken care of in every way. I'm horrified by all you've been through. It's just wrong! You've given everything & deserve nothing but the best in return.

    Sorry if you have a history that makes you concerned about taking meds. Very few chronic pain patients who take their meds as prescribed end-up with problems. At this stage I'd be taking what I need to be comfortable. I know this is a very personal choice. Please keep in mind that unmanaged & poorly managed pain can be very damaging to our bodies. Sometimes meds are the safest option.

    I find that my pain increases with traveling & waiting around at appointments. I find it really hard to focus & concentrate. I always recommend keeping a note book of questions & concerns so my appointments can be as productive as possible.
    For me the very best pain management tool is distraction. I know it's hard. You've got a computer. I think of things to research. I can get my mind lost in YouTube etc for a while. Having nothing to think about can have me climbing the walls! Ugh!

    Again, I'm so sorry for everything that you & others who have served are going through. I wish I could do something. I truly hope that you're on the right road with your specialists now. Thank you for your selfless service.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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