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Long Recovery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Hi everyone :H

I haven't posted in ages and I think some of my posts must have been lost when moving to the new forum because it's only showing I have 2 posts now. Oh well, no big deal.

Anyway, I finally had my surgery on August 6th. I had a bilateral diskectomy/laminectomy at L5-S1. I had a double herniation that was causing me sciatic pain down both legs and it was not getting better with conservative treatments.

I did ok in surgery and was discharged in a couple of days with the hope that the worst was behind me and I could concentrate on healing and getting my life back. But then 5 days after surgery, I was having increasing pain and then noticed quite a bit of fluid leaking out of my back one night. I called the on-call doctor and was told to come to the ER right away. They readmitted me and checked for a spinal fluid leak. As it turned out, it was a very large seroma that needed to be surgically drained. So they discharged me the next day with antibiotics since my white count was over 16 and once again, I went about trying to recuperate.

I felt like I was doing better for several weeks after that, but then the pain started increasing again. This time though, the pain episodes I'd have would literally knock me off my feet if there wasn't someone there to catch me. My doc sent me for facet injections thinking that might help, but it didn't. I got no relief at all. So then he sent me for xrays and another MRI. In the MRI place, I had another episode of not being able to walk and two of the techs had to literally carry me to the MRI machine. My doc had told me to get the disk of the scan and bring it directly to his office when I was finished. After my doc had a chance to look at the MRI and then call the radiologist to get his opinion, he came into the room and told me, "I've got bad news. I need to put you back in the hospital. It looks like you've got an infection deep in your spine and I will need to do surgery again." The incision was perfectly healed, it was down deep. He wanted me to go right then, but I talked him into letting me go home first and get things in order and return the next morning for surgery.

I was readmitted to the hospital for the third time and had surgery again. This time, I was in the hospital for several days on IV antibiotics and to also get a PICC line placed so that I could continue the IV antibiotics at home.

I've now been on the IV antibiotics for 7 weeks and just had my labs re-checked and another MRI this week to see if it was ok to take me off the antibiotics. Unfortunately, my labs nor my MRI showed much improvement at all. So now they have added a 2nd IV antibiotic to the mix and I have to do both infusions for another 4 weeks.

I'm just so tired of all this. I want my life back!

Sorry for the really long message.


  • I am so sorry! It's bad enough having to go in for surgery, then to have to go back in for an infection. At least you have a good doctor that didn't just send you on your way. A lot of docs could have said "oh that's normal". It happens.

    I hope the next round of meds work for you. How is your pain level? I hope it has gotten better.

    Hang in there! It sounds like you are in good hands.

  • Infection is something they warn all of us about when we have these operations but something that will go away though it may take some weeks. I wish you a quick recovery. As Caity says, it looks like your doctor will be doing all he can to insure it. Good luck!
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  • My doctor has been right on top of things the whole way and I'm grateful for that. I'm still having quite a bit of pain, but it's better than it was before the second surgery and starting on the antibiotics. The thing that kinda worries me is the bone destruction that was shown on the MRI. I know that bone can regenerate, so I'm hoping once the infection is completely gone, that will be ok too. The destruction was showing from the level of L4 (my surgery was at L5-S1) down to the sacrum. Also, during the second surgery, there was a hematoma that was hiding behind the facets that he removed and another small fluid collection in the surgical bed that he also removed. (probably left over from the large seroma I had drained which was about 300ccs) He did a full "wash out" using antibiotic solution and I noticed an improvement in my pain almost immediately after the 2nd surgery. I think the pain I'm still having now is most likely due to the bone destruction which is just going to take time to heal.

    The good news with my most recent MRI is that the infection had not gotten worse.....it just hadn't gotten a lot better. There was "minimal improvement."

    The new IV antibiotic I'm on was a little scary to start. I had to go over to the hospital to have the first infusion due to the higher possibility of a reaction. Fortunately, I did fine and am now doing the rest of the infusions at home. So I have my vanomycin infusion in the morning which takes almost 2 hours and then my Invanz and Vanc (1.25gm) in the evening which takes a total of almost 4 hours. Fun stuff! LOL

    My doc did tell me that these spinal infections "can take months to clear" so I guess I'm gonna just have to be patient and hopefully, one day, I'll be ok again.
  • What a drama you have been through. I am so sorry this has happened to you.
    At least you have good spiritus to keep you going!

    Did your Dr recommend you taking Calcium and possibly Vit D for the obsorption?

    Hope things get better soon.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I had a post surgical infoection after my first lamenectomy (fusion no problems so far)so I have an idea what you are going through. In my case they tried to put a pic line in but my veins were too bad, so they gave me an extremely strong antibiotic pill (zyvox) and thankfully it worked. My thoughts are with you. >:D<
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  • My goodness! What an ordeal. I think it's wonderful that with all you've been through, you still have a good attitude about it! >:D< >:D< I have a friend who had open heart surgery and contracted MRSA while in the hospital. It took her a long time to recover. Scarry stuff!

    My main prayer before my surgery was that I not get an infection. Thank the Good Lord, I didn't. Please take care of yourself and follow the doc's orders to a T.
  • So sorry to hear of your continued problems. Peace and blessings going forward.
  • I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery. That's great your Dr. found out what was going on. Keep us posted on your recovery. What an ordeal to go through. Stay strong. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Well we're into January now and I'm still on the IV antibiotics. I had another MRI this past Monday and just got the report yesterday. It basically showed "no change" from the previous report which means the infection has not cleared yet.

    I'm seeing my ID doc on Monday and I imagine she'll extend the antibiotics again. Obviously, she can't stop them since the infection is still there, but I don't know if she'll make any changes to the current regimen.

    I'm beginning to wonder if this will ever end. :??
  • I feel your pain and your frustration. I too had a spinal infection however, mine came before I had surgery and ended up causing all my back problems. Having this type of infection and having to take these heavy duty antibiotics is basically, a living hell. I know the feeling. My PIC line was infor 10 weeks followed by another 2 months of heavy duty oral antibiotics. These wonder drugs did such a number on me that I have lost 20% of my hearing, and it looks to be permenate Hang in there.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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