I have been "lurking" on these forums for about 4 months now trying to get a full understanding of what I was in for with my back treatment. I typically just read as much as I can, discount the horrible stuff and pray for the good stuff. People who post helpful information (bad or good) help more than they probably know. I learned a TON from this forum.
Here is my story and hopefully it will give somebody some hope for their back issues and I also am doing this because I have never really come out totally about my issues.
Please be patient with this story, it's long and painful and it's not finished, but I feel it's close and wanted to get it down so I never forget.
It started in the summer of 2007 when I started to have simple lower back pain, nothing major just some strains and a little soreness. I was coaching Freshman football at our High School, working from home for a major corporation and life was good. I am a father of 3 absolutely wonderful children (they are now 4,6 & 8) 2 girls and a boy (he's the oldest). My wife is the absolute best person in the world, she does not work but takes care of all of us full time and for that I would not have been here today. We have been married over 13 years now and I lover her more and more every day.Fall 2007:
I visited an Orthopedic Dr. about my back, he recommended a Chiropractor which did nothing at all, the Chiro wanted to have an MRI done and we were setting that up. In the meantime, I went to a store called Relax the Back and purchased an absolutely wonderful chair for my office and an inversion table to help with the sitting I do. I mentioned my issue to our Football team's Dr. and he said he's a spine guy and I should go in and see him, which I did and after and MRI and X-Ray, it was determined I had a herniation at L5-S1. We did 3 Epidural shots with no luck so we scheduled a Microdisketomy for early Dec 2007.Winter 2007:
The first surgery went as planned and I was in the hospital for 1 night and got home feeling a lot better, 5 days after that surgery I was putting on a pair of shorts to go see the Dr. and re-herniated the disk. It was the most painful time in my life, I spent most of Dec on my back no matter where I was - I would eat dinner for 2 minutes and lay on the tile floor in the kitchen, I would lay down flat wherever I was just to ease the pain. We had a 2nd Microdisketomy 3 days before Christmas and I spent the holidays on the couch recovering.Spring 2008:
Still had leg pain (sciatic) down my left leg and part of my right leg, saw another Ortho Dr. for a 2nd opinion and he told me to loose weight (I was close to 300 pounds). I went on a diet recommended by my medical Dr. (Medifast) and lost nearly 80 pounds in about 6 months. I was feeling good, but the pain never went away.Summer 2008:
More epidural shots, MRI's revealed I had a bit of stenosis, was referred to a Neurosurgeon who told me he couldn't help. I had an EMG test which revealed nerve damage in the Left leg. I felt like I was on a raft in the ocean with no motor and nobody to help. In the meantime I tore my Patella tendon due to a Gout attack and saw another Ortho doctor. I asked him to recommend a Neuro who might be able to help me. I went to see him and he said I might be able to help, but wanted to do an Nerve Block Shot and possibly a Discogram to determine what was going on.Fall 2008:
In the meantime, my brother who works in NYC found who I consider to be one of the best Doctors in the world, Edited, JR who is Chief of Spine Surgery at the Edited. ( I live in NW Connecticut).
I called Edited office and had to go through an interview process just to get a first consultation appt at his office. A week went by and they called and said he reviewed my case and would se me. That first appointment was scheduled for Oct 27th, 2008.
I was notified on the 24th that my job was eliminated and I now was unemployed though I was able to work until the end of 2008. I had that first appt with Edited and he recommended a Discogram. Winter 2008:
For those that will have one, it is not the worst thing in the world, they were very nice and I was scared out of my mind. I had already taken a Valium because I had an MRI that morning so I was a bit relaxed. They gave me more Valium and did the Discogram. I don't remember much about that day, I actually think I blacked out I definitely did not remember the CT Scan afterwards. I went home and waited.
After some time, we got the results late in November. Strong Positive results from the Discogram in L5-S1 major degenerated disk issues. L4-L5 I had a new broad herniation. L3-L4 was slightly degenerated but not critical. Dr. Edited recommended a 1 Level Fusion on L5-S1 and a Disk Excision on L4-L5. We scheduled the Surgery for January 22nd, 2009.
The pre-op procedures were amazing, Edited office sent me an itinerary for the pre-op certifications. I had to donate blood, get a physical, get X-Ray's, blood test, urine test, EKG. This was at 4 different places in NYC and took most of the day (my mother was with me the whole day). The day went off fine and we were 1 week from Surgery.
The day before surgery my wife and I hugged our children and headed into NYC for the week. The kids stayed home with their grandparents. That Wednesday I had a very specific diet which I followed to the T, had an enema at about 8:30 that night and was ready as ever to get this done. We stayed at my cousins apartment close to the Hospital, thank God he had that place (he lives in Dallas) and it was available. We got a call from the Hospital that day that told us when to come in, 6:00 AM - I was the first surgery scheduled.Day of Surgery:6:00 AM:
We check in and wait with about 20 other people (that place is a surgery factory) they know what they are doing that's for sure. I fill out paperwork and my wife and i go into the pre-op room. Get undressed and put on the gown and wait. I am now visited by a slew of doctors and nursed who prep me. Shave my back, clean it, put in IV tube in my hand, wristband / the works. Finally Dr. Edited comes in and explains what we are doing and signs my back with a special marker.8:30AM:
The place is a swarm of nurses and doctors and they come into my room and say it's time to go. I hug and kiss my wife and the all too familiar ride into the surgical suite begins. For those that have done this, they know what I'm talking about, if you have never done it all I can say is it is something you will never ever forget. You are giving your life over to this person and your mortality is very much in check. I start to breath deep and look right into the eyes of everybody I see for some form of hope. I find lots.
We ride into the OR and the nurse says Welcome to Dr. Edited personal suite. All I can say is it was the biggest OR room I have ever seen and it was FULL with stuff. I knew then and there that this was no small time operation and was at the best place I could be. The Anesthesiologist talks for a minute, we joke for a second and I go to sleep.2:00 PM:
I am in the Recovery room and wake up. I'm not in a ton of pain but I know where I am and my head is clear. (the Anesthesiologist did a fantastic job). The surgery went about 4 1/2 hours and Edited visited my wife and told her everything went according to plan and there were no surprises.2:30 PM:
I see my wife and we share a cry (happy cry). I can't move but I can press the button for pain meds every 10 minutes which I do. The Hospital is very in tune with pain scale 1 - 10. I started out about a 6-7 and quickly went to a 2. We waited, I had to spend the night in Recovery because about 8 years ago I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and that's policy.Post Op Day 1:
At about 3:00 PM I finally go to my room and I am thrilled. Pain is still not bad and I am in good spirits. I have a roomate who had 3 heirniations done and we talk candidly. The room overlooked the East River and it was just amazing.
I am visited by Physical Therapests / Social worker / Dr.s / Nurses/ Dietitions, everybody under the sun.Post Op Day 2:
I am able to walk to the door with a walker, also eat something other than ice chips. The catheter is a major pain and I hated it and wanted it out. I felt it was hindering my ability to get up and walk, they took it out and made me promise to drink plenty which I did. After the catheter cam out I felt a 100% better. Log Rolled out of bed, walked down the hall and felt much better.Post Op Day 3:
Same as before, they remove the IV and I'm eating and drinking and making progress, I'm visiting the bathroom with assistance to urinate on my own. (I was so proud of myself)Post Op Day 4:
I was planned on being discharged that day, however I had a Gout attack in my right knee the previous night and was sidelined. The pain was massive in my knee, my back felt OK, but my knee was terrible.Post Op Day 5:
I can walk better (Dr. Edited gave me Indomethecin for the Gout but the problem is that anti-inflamitorys are not good buddies with spine surgery so I have to be careful. My knee feels better, I walk stairs and they discharge me.Post Op Week 2:
I'm home now, I am alternating between sitting / walking / standing / laying down pretty regularly. I'm walking with a cane, however I probably don't need it but I'm just letting it hang just in case. I do laps around my house (inside) as it's freezing out and snow is on the ground. I am taking about 3 Percoset's a day and still on the Indomethacin but hope to get off of it this week. Sleeping is tough, I'm a side sleeper and roll in bed. Twisting is hard NOT to do so we have sleepless nights. I am going out to lunch today with my friend (first time out of the house) I'll wear my brace and bring my cane.
I'll try to update this weekly but I just wanted to share, thank you to those who read this entire thing (didn't realize how long it was)!!
If you have any questions please please do not hesistate to ask. Oh yea, my left leg feels great, I am having tingling in my right foot and a little tug behind my right thigh. Dr. says that can happen as he had to move the nerver to do the surgery it should go away with time (I really hope so). I'll also try to get a picture of my back up for those that may want to see it.
I'm still unemployed at this time, however I'm very positive about a new job and will begin my job search aggressively in about a week or so when I can handle interviews
WhammerDoctors name and contact details removed by forum Moderator (paulgla). We do not permit publishing specific doctor's or institution names and contact details.