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Newbie from the Northwest

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in New Member Introductions
:H Hello everyone. I am "Bobbers" from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Evan thought pain has been my constant companion for many years, the worst part of spinal disorders (for me) is the loss of quality of life. Having to plan your life around limited mobility and pain medication. :( I have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis of L4-5. After physical therapy, injections and chronic pain management, I was referred to a neurologist. He recommended a L4-5 laminectomy, interbody fusion, pedicle screws and "Infuse Graft". That is why I am here. I need to educate myself in order to make an informed decision as to whether to go through with the procedure or not.

:SS I have to say after reading some of the horror stories I am a little worried. But as I just started reading the forums, I will try to keep an open mind. I would like to come across a forum for recommended specialist in my area (Seattle). If someone can lead me there that would be great. Thank you in advance for your welcome.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

    Welcome To Spine-Health

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is NOT
    formal medical advise. You should always consult with your doctors.

    To get back to the Forums, you can always click on Forum Home

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    I believe you have come to the right site to get some of the information you are looking for. I truly believe that anyone going in for a surgical procedure should research as much as you can. You want to have a good understanding of the actual procedure, risks, what the recovery period should be and what are the short and long term results.
    As you start to browse through the forums, you will find so many success stories, but you will also find some of those horror stories. Even with the simplest of surgeries, there are never guarantees that everything will be perfect.
    I suggest that you read through the various forums to read about people's personal experiences, different views on the subject and much more.
    And for the pure medical information, use the Spine-Health libraries to get the details. We also provide a large library of videos that cover so many different spinal situations.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Bobbie,

    Welcome to Spine Health. You are at the right place, you will find all kinds of useful info here. Before you make a decision about surgery, it is a very good idea to do extensive research on your condition and treatment options, and this is a good place to start. Now, as far as the horror stories, don't let them scare you. They are only the tip of the iceberg, but most of the successful surgery patients move on and don't bother to post any more. Nevertheless, there are lots of stories here about good outcome. For example, go and look up a section called "Casual Conversation" on the main forum index, and go to the thread :Good news". Lots of stories with happy endings there.

    Good luck in your research, and don't be discouraged. Think positive, because there are many happy outcomes.

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  • like you have a good attitude about it and are doing your homework. Don't know of any site or board like you are describing. Have you just tried googling your surgeons name?
  • I am new today also and I promise to post post surgery. I am not afraid of the horror stories because I have full confidence in my doctor. He is well known and has been selected as a top doctor. Please research your surgeon, the hospital you will use, and ask if you can have any names of past patients to ask how it went. If you have questions...ask. Don't forget to get a second opinion if you need it. Welcome and best wishes. I also need a front/back fusion with hardwear at L4/L5. Feel free to email me.
  • Hi Bobbie, welcome to SH! You have found a great site full of information and support. Sounds like you have the same problem that I had. I am 10 weeks post-op from L4-5 fusion for unstable Spondy. My surgeon used Polar technique which is similar to TLIF. I have a Bak Vista cage, infuse, connexus, autograft, and ST 360 hardware. I am the type of person(RN) who has to have all the details, read all my reports, check out my xrays etc.

    I suggest you do a lot of research about your condition and the treatments for it. Keep a running list of questions as you think of them to take to your surgeon. Can your Neuro or PMD recommend someone? Perhaps look at the websites for your local hospitals, they sometimes have a physician referral section as somewhere to start. Also don't be afraid to go see several, as it is important that you feel confident with your decision and comfortable with the person you choose. I was fortunate as I work in the hospital where I had surgery and so had an inside path to checking up on my surgeon. I talked to OR and Neuro nurses as well as risk management to confirm I had picked an excellent surgeon. Once you have a name google it. I found out so much just from that as well.

    Good-luck in this process. Check out the surgery section for lots of post-fusion patients are posting about their recoveries there. If there is anything I can help you with be sure to PM me. I have a "Bookmarks" file full of sites about spondy and fusion. Have you read the infuse site:

    See ya round here soon, Cali-Sue
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  • I do not envy you on the decision that you must make. Good luck and if you do decide to go for surgery, please be sure to get at least 2 opinions. Please keep us posted.

  • Welcome aboard from a fellow North Westerner, This is a great site and the info contained in here is priceless.
  • Hi -

    Welcome to a great site - there is so much good info here! You are wise to get as much info as possible before making the decision about surgery. Mine was pretty unavoidable so I just jumped in and got it over with - but if you can continue with more conservative options then that should always be a serious consideration.

    I had ALIF/PLIF for spondylolisthesis L4/5 11 weeks ago. Recovery is long and slow but for me has not been overly painful. (Pain meds make me quite ill so I took very minimal meds for the first couple of weeks post-surgery and nothing since. Ice and heat have worked just fine.) Earlier this week I traveled 9 hours by plane (including layover) and another 2 by car on Monday and 4 hours by car Tuesday with no ill effects. I walk, do things I can around the house without bending, twisting or lifting, run short errands, etc. But, nonetheless the recovery is not easy. Gaining back energy and stamina has been slow and frustrating - being patient with the process is hard. I did not really believe it when told it can take a year or two to get back to full-speed but now I do! So, if you make the decision to have the surgery go into it knowing the recovery is long.

    Good luck with your decision-making - if I can answer any questions I will be happy to try.

  • I think I know how you feel. Living in this most excellently beautiful area of the country, it is such a waster to be confined to the couch or recliner week after week. I long to be out hiking on a nice trail, enjoying the breath-taking scenery. My mobility is bad enough that I am having three levels fused in just a tiny bit over a month. I guess I can either fuse it and stabilize it, or wait for it to crumble (most likely sideways) and fuse on its own. It's tough making these choices when you know that eventually, you will need more help, possibly more surgery. We do what we have to do. All the best to you from down here in Eugene.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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