Last week I finally met with my 5th neurosurgeon and he has recommended fusing 9 vertebrae between T10 and the sacrum. 18 months ago I had a 3 level spinal decompression and that seemed to help until November of last year when both legs started going numb after standing for about 5 minutes or walking about 50 feet. Based on a MRI done in January, the surgeon who did the decompression surgery thought I needed an XLIF so he sent me to another Dr for a second opinion who agreed. My insurance denied the procedure because they felt it was experimental.
Leg numbness in both legs continued and I was able to stand or walk less and less while i was working to get surgery approved. On June 20 intense pain started to radiate down my left leg to my knee. With new imaging it was found that I now had a pars fracture at L3. My pain was only relieved with large doses of strong pain medications. I was put in the hospital and to get the pain under control and while there had 2 steroid injections at two different locations.
I have been diagnosed with Degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and 3 herniated discs. My Dr. said he has looked at all the imaging I have had done and L3-L4 is my worst level. He feels that if he fuses that, it will put stress on the levels below and above, and those areas are almost as bad as L3-L4 which leads to the other fusions. He said every time he would go back to the biggest problem, he always comes back to the multiple fusion.
He has not painted a pretty picture of recovery. Long, hard and a lot of work. 10 days in the hospital with 2 separate surgeries, one from the back and one from the front, 3 months out of work and 6-9 months recovery. He says that I would be able to live a "normal" life, but it would be a "New normal" from what I know now. Restricted motion would keep me from doing things the way I do them now.
Everyone that I met while I was in the hospital told me that the Dr. that now had my case was the best person for the job and he does the "worst" cases. He was also just listed as one of the Top 100 Doctors in St. Louis.
I do not want to feel this way anymore and would love to live a life free from daily pain without medication and I am not afraid of a long recovery. I would like to hear from anyone else who has gone through a surgery such as this. Good and bad, I want to know your story. Please help. Welcome to Spine-Health
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~ spine-health moderator, savage