Hello all, I am new here and hope to get some suggestions whether or not to do fusion surgery. I know that there may be similar posts to mine, I will be reading through what I can find but I wanted to get suggestions based on my own back and whether or not to go ahead with surgery.
Let me start by saying my nightmare started ~6 years ago at age 24 for seemingly no reason at all I just fell apart. I am now a few months away from 30 years old.
The spine surgeon told me I have degenerative disc disease. 6 years ago I had a discogram done (T5-T12) and it showed that I have 4 full thickness radial annular tears (all the way through the annulus) from T5-T8. On the MRI's I had done, T1-T4 looked just as bad. They didn't do discography on T1-T4. If I recall correctly I believe they didn't do it on those discs because the space was too small to get the needle into the disc? I also have bone spurs and some other things going on, I can't recall everything any more.
I am in a lot of pain most of the time I have been coping (unhappily). In the beginning I was in excruciating pain for about a year and slowly I must have adjusted to the pain. I literally stopped doing everything I enjoyed to cut down my pain, that probably helped the most. I have done nothing but sit or lay around all day and have had no life for the past 6 years. I haven't even been with a woman in that time, that's how bad it is.
I finally got sick of doing that or living this boring life... I started to get out a bit more slowly and was doing ok but obviously was in more pain. A cute gal asked me to play volleyball and I was stupid and said sure... Well I am back to the beginning in some of the worst pain of my life.
I have also been getting a lot of popping in the T5-T8 region. Most of my pain also resides there though I do have flare ups in my upper thoracic area as well.
I spoke with my spine surgeon several times over the course of the first year (6 years ago), he told me he was 70% certain he could fix most of my pain by fusing T5-T8. He said he would need to do 2 surgeries (2 discs at a time then recovery).
He suggested that due to my young age I wait as long as possible because the discs above and below will wear out more quickly. He had me meet with 4 patients that had similar surgeries done and at that time, 3/4 agreed and told me to wait. 1 of them told me not to do it at all, he was in his 40's and had all of his thoracic fused. His issue started about the same where he had 5 discs fused and that lead to more surgeries over 15 years...
My problem is this: I want to be able to enjoy life... I can not and will not live the sedentary sitting/laying around life anymore. I would honestly rather be 6 feet under. I have been very depressed, lonely, and I would even say suicidal...
If I have surgery, will I be able to do the things I enjoy? I used to be very in to sports. Can I play volleyball or will that be too hard on my fused back and the hardware inside? Would it be risky to play sports with a fused back?
For those of you that have had your thoracic back fused, would you recommend I do the surgery or wait it out? How has your life been since you had your fusion surgery?
I know this is long, I just really need support because lately my thoughts are not good, I really do not want to make it to my 30th. I have been binge drinking which is not helping...
I did start taking Lyrica about a week ago which hasn't helped yet. 75mg twice a day... I had bad side effects with gabapentin (neurontin) which I was on 6 years ago for about 6 months: 1200mg, 3 times a day for a total of 3600mg. The side effects I had were: extreme memory loss and forgetfulness, and extreme anger. So far with Lyrica I just feel intoxicated, the memory loss is not as bad but the dosage is still low.
I hope I posted this in the correct location and I know this is a lot of info... I hope you are all having a better day than myself. Thanks for your responses. I really do appreciate every post. You people with similar situations truly understand. Welcome to Spine-Health
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