I am in Canada and I have suffered with DDD (confirmed with CT) for 20 years. With the help of the medical community, I have managed well by using PT, arthritis medications, 85 pound weight loss followed by hiring a personal trainer to come to my home three times a week and then about 8 years ago focussing in heavy weight training and core stability.
My maternal grandmother , mother, younger brother, and 10 year younger sister have all had multiple spine surgeries.
At age 55 while out for a nightly wAlk with my wife, i had one single step that signalled the point in time where I needed ti bring in the bug guns to help. I always keep walks relatively short as I had a weak hip (pain) and regular Arthritic back pain . That one step turned into a nightmare case of nerve pain, sciatica that was anything but classic.
The "public" medical system in Canada puts a top priority in life saving procedures but orthopedic spine issues generlly are not life threatening so since early March 2014 I suffered until surgery was finally executed as an "emergency" case on May 13 of 2015. A two year wait for surgery is common but in my case evidence if permanent nerve damage bumped me up the triage list and got me to the surgeon.
Diagnosis was difficult and the surgeon struggled to believe the descriptions of the different pains I was experiencing. I went twice to America and personally paid for MRIs in order to jump the line which take months to get a free MRI in Ontario. The evidence came in that my spine was in rough shape from top to bottom explaining the various symptoms.
Our decision was made that operation #1 would focus on the lumbar spine so that I might be able to walk again. I have not walked since August 2014.
Surgery involved the following:
Bilateral laminectomy including spinous process at two levels L4/5
Foraminotomies in 4 different nerve location routes.
Removal of a large synovial cyst
Decompression of the spinal canal from L3 to S1
Removal of grossly swollen ligamentum Flavum
Reprofiled 4 facet joints and removed spurs
Realigned a spondylolesthesis l4/5
Posterior gutter bone graft fusion
Instrumented fixation l4/5
Typical depression and anxiety have taken their toll.
My doc wants me to start PT this week for three days a week for 8 weeks before assessing my abilities to return to work.
I see an employment lawyer next Monday to sort out my employment rights. Deep breathing and an understanding doctor is prescribing what I need ti dull pain and reduce stress.
The good news is at age 56 I am financially able to retire (if forced) , I have a super supportive wife and 5 grown kids that help when they visit. My dog keeps me sane. Music and prowling this forum for months has helped. Now I am at a place where I feel I can speak spine language.
Thanks for the welcome.
May 13, 2015. L4/L5
2X bilateral lam
2X s. process removed
2X lumbar sten
1X synovial cystectomy
4X f. joint modifications
1X bilateral post. Llumbar fusion
1X instrumented fixation