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New here, need advice and friendship

pugloverppuglover Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Whatever anyone can share I would love to hear what you have to say. I am 39 , busy mom of 3 teenagers. Three years ago I woke up with terrible low back pain and my life has never been the same. I finally decided I couldn't take it anymore and had a discogram last May...got the dx of grade V annular tear in my L5/S1 disc. The surgeon told me artifical disc replacement was the only thing that would work. I didn't want surgery( I had a major brain surgery 8 years ago & am trying to avoid that at all costs), I wanted something less invasive even though he told me it was a waste of time & $. I had my PCP refer me to a pain mgmt doc and had 2 epidural steroid injections, facet block, rhizotomy..all that failed to give me a drop of relief. The pain doctor told me she exhausted all of her efforts with me and said all that is going to work for me is surgery. She has me on hydrocodone and the pain is so bad I just can't take it anymore. I am working on getting a 2nd opinion now because I want to make sure an artifical disc is the right option and that a fusion isn't the right option. I have read a lot on both and just don't know which is right.
My other dilemma is that my husband has just been transferred and we are getting ready to move in 6 months. There is so much to be done to get ready and I can't do anything right now...I am worthless. I can't decide if it would be better to have the surgery now where we live (OKC/TULSA area) or try to hold off until we are settled (Houston, TX). I don't know how long I will need to recuperate and I also am unsure about having surgery here and then maybe having any issues followup and needing care later and having to find a new doctor.
I feel extremely desperate right now...to have the surgery now. I haven't slept through the night in 2 weeks.

I appreciate any input. Thank you,


Grade 5 annular tear L5/S1 with bulging disc
Chiari Malformation 17 mm herniation - 12/00 decompression surgery


  • hi Annie

    In Texas, you will have the famous and renown Texas Back Institute available to you. (Dallas area I think)

    If you are not inclined to have a major surgery such as an ADR or fusion, can't they try a microdicsectomy?

    Sorry we had to meet under these circumstances.
    This board is quite nice and has really helped me.
    The people here "get it".

    BTW, pugs? Really? Little ankle biters. :))(
    Siberian Huskies rule. :>
    Just teasing you, had to get that in there. Love the doggies!
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • hi and welocme to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what quesions we can. you are doing the right thing in getting a second or even third opinion. :? you will need quite a bit of time to recover, so being stttled might be best for you.. :D you will need assisstance as well. =D> check out the "Back and Neck Surgery" forum for input on this! :D good luck as you face your pain issues. :D Jenny :)
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  • hello and welome,
    by no means are you worthless!!!!....you are a mother of 3 teenagers thats a job on its own as i have the same family set up as you an i am also 39!!!...but i live in ireland!!!
    im rushing off at the minute to drop my 2 girls at school so ill drop by later again... just wanted to say hi.
    once again welcome to spinehealth.

    LOVE P
  • Paul
    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have heard of the Texas Back Institute and heard positive things. We will be in Houston and they are in Dallas, but it would be an option.

    I am not familiar with microdiscectomy and the doctor I saw did not mention it as a possibility, but I am still new to all this the options available, and am spending a lot of time researching so will look into that as well.

    I appeciate your response and the fact that that there are other people out there in the world that "get it"...as it gets very lonely sometimes feeling as though noone can possibly understand.

    I love ALL dogs but have a very special place in my heart for what you refer to as "ankle biters". My pug Seabiscuit is pretty special! Siberian huskies are beautiful though.
    Thanks again for your kind words. :D
  • I would look into having a discectomy. The recovery from that is often fairly quick, at least compared to fusion or ADR. If this is not an option, if I were you, I would wait until I got settled in Houston. I wrote a message to you on another thread about AxialIF surgery and I just noticed there is a specialist in Houston who is trained in this procedure, if you think it sounds interesting!
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  • Thank you all for lending your thoughts and advice. I appreciate all your posts and will definitely look in to the axialaf procedure. It is nice to know I have all of you here to lean on when in need! Thank you so much for all the knowledge.
  • Sorry to here about your long battle with pain. There is excellent advise from people on here. I am about 4 days post op. for repair to my thoracic, T7-8. Last year, I had 3 disc replaced in the neck. Prior to that, I would jog 2 -3 times a week. That all changed. Definetly get a second opinion, it helps to get all the information you can. The Axialif was done on a friend of mine around the L5/S1. It seems to be working pretty good. The microdiscectomy is also possible, the may use a stabilizing system on the back after they remove the part of the disc that is giving you trouble. There is alot of new stuff. Do some homework on it. Good luck.
  • I had my ADR in Wisconsin 6 months ago and I feel great. Great results and a great doctor. I would do it again tomorrow. Please hire someone to pack and move you..it isn't worth the pain and agony. I went home the next day and after the first few days I was feeling pretty darn good. Wherever you have it, do your homework on the surgeon and hospital.
    German Shepherds Rule! I love all animals but when you have 4 Shepherds, you gotta love 'em.
  • I think it would be best to wait until you're settled in Texas. My best friend is from Tulsa! If you aren't having any sciatic (nerve pain in one or both butt cheeks/legs) then I think a discectomy or micro wouldn't be recommended. You are NOT useless. Although you aren't able to be too physical teenagers don't require much of that. They're mostly emotional monsters; taxing isn't it? I love my girl but, can't wait 'till 15 is done. 5 more days! I have two grown kids as well. And a 2.5 year old grand son who I love watching my daughter struggle with. Neener neener! A second opinion will be worth the wait, I think. Good luck and welcome. There are a bunch of kind and knowledgeable folks here.
  • puglover said:

    I love ALL dogs but have a very special place in my heart for what you refer to as "ankle biters". My pug Seabiscuit is pretty special!
    I just wanted to tell you that I meant that in an affectionate way. O:)

    Another thing I wanted to mention was about waiting to have surgery.
    There are consequences to waiting. The longer the nerve is compressed, the more damage it sustains.
    I waited almost 9 months to get my md. In that time, my right calf shrank an inch and a half.
    It then took another 6 months after the surgery to get rid of the residual effects.

    By no means am I saying there is a rush to get into surgery.
    (Cauda Equina Syndrome the exception)

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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