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Living in Chronic Pain- surgery 20 yrs. this October.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello Everyone,
I've been living in chronic pain from a failed spinal surgery done in Oct. 1989 due to a ruptured L5,S1 disc. My initial injury was during the mid 1970's that gave me sciatic pain that I could deal with as it would only come on very bad if I did anything to set it off but there was no rhyme or reason as to what that would be. I had a bad fall on my spine when I was in my early 20's as a result of my ex-husband pushing me so hard I flew over a dining room table and landed on a concrete floor. I felt something so horrible happen at that moment I can only describe it as it went straight into my head and I couldn't even get myself off the floor for hours. My dad had to come and pick me up and get me off to a doctor, and at that time there were no MRI's so they did X-rays and put me on bed rest for a long time.
When I was finally able to get around again, I left college to start working to be able to get my divorce and get my own place. I managed pretty well until I was in my mid-30's and was working on my feet all the time as a medical office manager and then the sciatic pain became constant. I was working for a neurologist then and she sent me to an orthopedist for diagnostics and he had an MRI done, said I needed surgery or this would never go away and that I had a severely herniated disc as well as DDD of the vertebra that had taken up the slack for the injury for all those years.
I went for a second opinion to a neurosurgeon who confirmed the diagnosis but felt a less invasive approach called a micro-discectomy would be a better option for me. He gave me a month to try PT first to see if it would help before he'd operate on me. The doctor I worked for was against any surgery as she had seen too many lives destroyed from failed surgeries, but the micro's were pretty new at that time and I wanted my life back so I did it anyway. It will be 20 yrs. this October 2 and it was the worst mistake I ever made and it ruined my life.
I ended up in the 6% failure rate, and when I got worse instead of improving after the surgery the surgeon just passed me off to the pain management services to try to figure out how to deal with my issues. I had never had a back pain at all prior to the operation but within a few weeks of the surgery I began to have debilitating LBP constantly and nothing they did ever had any success. I've had every procedure done that could be done and then they farmed me out to my primary care doctor to be managed on narcotic pain management.
On a repeat MRI it showed a re-herniation of the remaining disc the surgeon had left in for cushioning. It now is laying in the canal and presses on the nerves leaving me with radiating pain in both legs and across my hips, as well as the original sciatic that plays with me in various degrees.
I've had several falls due to the weakness in my right leg and I've had to have my left meniscus removed almost entirely as it was ripped beyond repair, the right is also torn but I can't rehab right due to the spinal pain so I was advised to leave it alone.
I fell again in the late spring of 07 and broke three bones in my right leg while walking my dog, must have stepped in a hole in the ground, but all I know is that when I tried to get up my foot was hanging off, and the sound I thought was branches breaking was really my bones snapping.
I had to learn to walk all over again for about the 3rd. time after I healed from that which took about 18 months fully.
I have lived a life of just watching other people live real lives, have lost all the friends I had along the way, and even though I was never a complainer they just couldn't deal with me not being who they all knew anymore.
Even my cousins have drifted off over the years, as I was always the life of the party, the "fun one in the family" and the one they all loved to come to with all their problems for advice and consolation. No matter how hard I tried to explain my new reality and to make them feel more at ease about the whole thing, I was still left behind. I can't travel or go for long rides in a car so it excluded me from most family gatherings and I've just been mostly forgotten.
I have over the years consulted with reconstructive surgeons who have advised me not to undergo any further surgeries, as they said until my spine becomes unstable it would just look better on an MRI to fix the damage, but I wouldn't have less pain and might end up with more, although I don't see how much more there is than what I already live with, but I took their word for it anyway.
Was offered a stimulator but a very good neurologist advised me against it, too many failures in that too and also a risk of infection. I have a great deal of allergies to antibiotics and pain meds so I'm a risky patient for these kind of procedures. That would also include a pain pump implant, although I kind of thought that was a possibility but I'm allergic to morphine.
I've also had a hip fracture that healed incorrectly from one of my falls and now it has healed as sclerotic bone tissue, that causes a great deal of pain in the hip area, and have also been diagnosed with FMS.
I have my pets to keep me company, dog and some parakeets, and get home health service a few times a week to do the things I can't anymore.
To top it all off this week I found out there is a nation wide shortage of the drug I use for pain and it's on back order until October, so I'm facing going into withdrawals when my last rx. runs out in a month.
All in all, I would say that I don't know what keeps me going, some days I just want to never wake up again but then I do and it's kind of like that movie Groundhog Day, but I never get a do over.
It would be nice to find people who can relate to my situation and help me feel less isolated, because that's almost worse than the pain.
Sorry for the long post, but it's been a long road for me and I wanted to get it all out in one shot.



  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Welcome to Spine Health. I'm so sorry that you've dealt with back pain for so long. Here you will find a lot of people who suffer as you do and are more than happy to include you in the group. I hope you get as much out of this forum as I do. Everyone here is great. If there's anything I can do for you feel free to PM me anytime.
    Take care,
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. you have every right to be feeling sad and at odds with your life. :''( you have been in pain for a long time. ~X( good luck as you seek pain relief! :D Jenny :)
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  • oh my heavens! Welcome! Ground Hog Day is my example of what some days are for me too.

    Hope your feeling better david
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