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Hi I'm the new girl with a lot of questions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello, my name is Tonya. Over the last 6 months I have learned that my back is falling apart. Heres what the xrays and non-contrast MRI's say:

1. Grade II anterolisthesis of L5 on S1 with disc space narrowing and endplate degenerative change present. No significant spinal canal stenosis at this level. Mild to Moderate bilateral neural foraminal narrowing is present.

2. Left paracentral posterior disc protrusion/extrusion at L4-L5 with associated annular disc tear. The disc extends posteriorly approx. 6 mm and inferiorly approx. 2-3 mm. There is narrowing of the left lateral recess without obvious nerve root impingement.(those are under impression, on first MRI 7/14/08).

It also says that I have modic signal changes and vacuum gas phenomenon. Hemangioma on L1. There is also mild facet hypertrophy.

Xrays 7/09/08

Bilateral sponylolysis at the L5 level with grade II spondylolisthesis at the lumbosacral level. Advanced degenerative disc disease at the lumbosacral level.

Old mild compression fractures throughout the mid and lower thoracic spine with associated mild to moderate degenerative changes and sigmoid scoleosis. Cervical kyphosis which could be developmental or the result of muscle spasm.

MRI C-spine T-spine 10/13/08

c4-c5 right posterolateral disc bulge/protrusion. Multiple varying bilateral levels of neural foramina narrowing. Mild disc bulges at the T4-T5, T6-T7, & T8-9 levels. Tound foci of signal alteration are noted involving the T4 and L1 vertebral bodies. These foci demonstrate increased signal on both long and TR sequences and are suggestive of hemangiomas. Small eccentric to the right disc bulge at the T4-T5 level.Central annular disc bulge at the T6-7 level with mild thecal sac effacemnent Eccentric to the right disc bulge at the T8-9 level. Mild encroachment on the right exiting nerve root at this level. Mild thecal sac effacement.

I have bowel and bladder problems. Walk with a can. If I get up too fast from laying down I have an instant spinal headache. On pain meds continuously. The ortho doc I saw told me I had no restrictions other than pain tolerance and that he could fuse 2 levels of my lumbar spine and left it at that. I see a neurosurgeon on Oct. 23rd. I just don't know what some of this means. I am a mother of two and I am so concerned about being in a wheel chair or worse. I know they won't be able to fix everything. I am also wondering if anyone who has similar of even less symptoms has been eligible for disability and how much of a struggle it is.

ANY IMPUT WOULD BE A BLESSING! I am sorry this is so long but if I want input I have to set it all out. Have also wondered about Cauda Equina Syndrome as I have so many of the symptoms. Thank you so very much.


  • Hi Tonya,

    Well you are doing the right thing in seeing the neurosurgeon. Generally orthos only focus on "structural" repair of the spine, whereas neurosurgeons take a look at a heck of a lot more! Having all the imaging done, is great and will really help out.

    Now the key thing is not to freak yourself out between now and the time you see the neurosurgeon. He will be able to explain things to you and run diagnostic tests. Researching on the Internet is great, just be aware that there's a lot of misinformation or biased information out there and it's very easy to let this drive your stress level up.

    What kind of bowel and bladder symptoms do you have? How long have you had them? Does the ortho doc know you have theses symptoms?

    Have you ever had a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) or any other spine surgery? Did you have an accident or some sort of traumatic incident where you feel you hurt your back?

    I know too many questions. Sorry. Just trying to get a better picture.

    Welcome to Spine Health.

  • I sometimes just lose my bladder and other times I can urinate a little and have to wait a couple of minutes to finish. I have also lost bowel control a few times as well as had paralysis of my small bowel that caused a blockage. I did tell the orthodoc and he told me to come back after I lost 80-100 lbs because I was too fat to have the surgery. I also have thyroid disease.

    I have had 2 c-sections that involved spinals for both. I was born with the lumbar defect, I also was kicked in the back several times by my son about 6 years ago. 8 years ago I was ran over by my ex's brother accidentally but my back wasn't injured other than scratches. My back didn't start really bothering me until June '08 when I got sick one day and could hardly walk. Don't worry about asking too many questions, not a problem. I hear you on misinfo, I just wonder if anyone else has the same problem or problems that could shed some light just incase this neuro only gives me a 5 min. visit like the last one. Thank you for your response. Tonya
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  • First of all build a list of written questions to take with you. Make two copies. Hand one to the doc and keep one for yourself. That way you and the doc can just "go down the list" during your appointment. I have had docs ask if they could put that into my records, which I am glad they do. Sometimes on the list or page, I make a brief outline of my medications and also my symptoms along with daily pain levels. I download an outline of a person and mark on there where my pain is and I do it over the course of several days, because on days when one pain center is higher than the other, I tend to forget when I speak to the doc.

    I'm sorry to hear that the one doc has given you the run around because of weight. That's unfair and with your history and symptoms ... well it's not right in my opinion. That's something else I have written down and taken with me when I see a new doc. My history. New docs want to get an idea of what might have caused the problem and I like many others can forget things when I see the doc. The better prepared you are for your appointment, the better you'll feel at least.

    I have to go. It's nice to meet you and I hope this all works out for you. Feel free to PM me any time or just post.

    Take care,

  • I agree with C and think that you have been given very good advice on how to handle the doc. remember, he is working for you and sometimes we just have to take control of our medical care in order to get the answers that we need. I am so glad that you have found this site as you are sure to find lots of folks here that truly understand what you are going through and we are always here to give you the support that you need. I am so sorry that you are having so many issues right now but try and keep a positive outlook on things. Even though you may have lots of issues with your spine, they may not all be causing you problems. So please try and keep your chin up until you meet with the neuro. If you are not comfortable with him, then move on to the next doc until you find the one that is truly willing to listen and help you. Good luck to you and please keep us posted on your progress.
  • I am so glad that I found this site. Thank you all for your support and words of wisdom and encouragement. I will definately keep in touch about findings, issues & such. Thank you, Tonya
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  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i have been on disability for about 12 years and can tell you alittle about it. it takes time and patience. :? once thing you can do now is keep track of all your doctors appointments, meds,anything having to do with your problems. i do this on a big calender and keep each calender year by year. you can file anytime and since it takes time you might want to get started. don't be discourged if you are rejected the first time and must get a lawyer or go to arbitration. like i said, it takes patience. one good thing is it can even be done online. good luck with your pain and i am happy to answer any questions i can. just pm me. Jenny :)
  • I was wondering if I have to wait until a doctor says I am disabled or if that is a given with all of my problems? Thank you for your info. This forum makes me feel better talking with people who understand. It's hard for me to talk about the pain that I feel from all that is wrong, or the frustration I feel when I can't hardly put my socks on in the morning and all of the other things that I use to take for granted. I usually just try to hide what I am going through, a grin & bare it attitude, until I get frustrated and then I break down. Now hopefully I won't have to get frustrated because I can talk to everyone here. THANK YOU!

    One question...does anyone else get extremely irritable from their pain meds? I use to take a 1/2 of a 7.5 lortab twice a day and now I have moved up to 4-6 a day. It never takes all of the pain away but it helps me so I can at least move around. I have found though that lately I am getting very irritable and having a lot of hot flashes (maybe early menopause?) I don't like pain meds at all but like to be able to move around. Thank you
  • Tonya,

    I have no clue about the pain meds and the irritability. Anything's possible since we all react slightly different to the same meds.

    As far as early menopause brought on by the pain or meds ... oh how I and my doc wished!!! It used to be the running joke when I would go to my previous neurologist. I get migraines associated with my monthly cycle. Yee ha! I have read on here where some women feel that they have been thrown into early menopause due to dealing with their pain issues. Again, it's an individual thing. Is it real or coincidence?

    When it comes to disability, I have no idea. Maybe someone else will come along that can help figure that one out for you. I deal with the military medical system so the process may be quite different than it is for you.

    We do understand what you are going through on a day to day, moment to moment basis, so you know you can always come here to vent!

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