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Upcoming L4/L5 fusion

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2

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  • I can so empathise with you. Your history is very similar to my own.

    I've had back/r leg pain for five years now and have also tried all conservative methods first (like 7 facet joint injections, 2 epidurals, radio frequency ablation therapy, umpteen MRI's and x-rays, pain management programmes, physiotherapy, chiropractice, a plethora of prescriptions [which I now rely on such as morphine patches, amitriptyline, ibuprofen and extra morphine oral solution as/when], joining a gym to improve my core strength, electric heating pad, TENs machine, losing 5 and a half stones in weight and even applying FROZEN PEAS! Over all the years after seeing 2 orthopaedic surgeons, 4 consultant anesthetists and numerous doctors and occupational health visits later, I am no further forward in my quest to relieve my pain! It's so depressing.

    I'm facing the same quandry as you - I actually read an article in the Mail on Sunday last September about a spine surgeon with success in PLIF's. This seemed to kill my 3 problems with one stone, so-to-speak (DDD, facet joint arthritis and right foraminal stenosis). I requested a second opinion from him through my local GP. After more MRIs and a positive Discogram at L5-S1 and L4-L5, he has recommended a 2-level PLIF. I have 100 per cent faith in him and his team and so have been put on his waiting list.

    I think there comes a time for everyone where the thought of progressing in life as we are now (and I have been told it will get worse as I get older, which has been the case so far - I'm 52) is too depressing to contemplate. In my own experience, I am only existing to work, and that's all. I cannot make any social/work choices for fear that it could render me unable to work in case it makes my back pain worse. I don't do anything too strenuous at the weekends and don't go out in the evenings - just to make sure I can function at work, which is difficult as I'm always tired due to lack of quality sleep (although the amitryptoline is supposed to help, it doesn't do enough and taking too much makes it dangerous to drive in the morning!). Most days, I come home from work and lay down (sometimes flat on the floor) just to relieve the pain in order to be ready for work again the next day.

    I work in 3 local schools and although it's a relatively new job, the constant need to bend over to listen to the young children talk (because I am tall and also have a hearing loss!) and the tiny chairs/desks, has resulted in an increase of back/leg pain. Also, with any luck, my surgery may be scheduled for July, which means I can use the six weeks holiday to recouperate without any loss of pay!

    My daughter has been offered a promotion at work and hopes to move to start her new job in Pittsburgh, USA, in July 2010. So with everything I've said above, I now have a definite goal in mind - to be able to fly long-haul, which I've not been able to do for 2 years now.

    In the end, it is definitely something that only you can decide, but you have to weigh up the pro's and con's about what you can and can't do now, and whether having surgery will ultimately improve your quality of life and give you the freedom to make social choices you desire, without the constant worry of whether your back will be worse for it - if you see what I mean? If you've been told that your condition is degenerative, this doesn't always mean your symptoms will get worse. And, those people whose surgery has been successful are out living their lives, which is why I suppose you see more negative posts on this site.

    Discuss your concerns with your family and how surgery may impact on them, find out what support is available if you need it and try and get as much professional advice/information as you can in order to make an informed decision. If your medication was reviewed, and is more successful in combating your pain, then you may be happy to give yourself a year or two before having to make a decision about having surgery.

    I'm sorry my post is so long (I got carried away), but I just wanted you to know that you're not alone!!

    Perhaps you can let us all know how you get on?

    Take care
    SUE
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • although i have not yet committed to having the fusion {a 360multi level from L5/S1 as my life stands .or in my case reclines ! i am nearly 44 and i am fit for nothing as much as i am scared stiff of such an invasive operation and all the horror stories i too may be going under the knife soon .so i can empathize with you i think when you are out of options and you have tried everything like we have then surgery{again} is the only option .at first when i was told i needed this op i said no way but as time had gone on i am thinking what have i got to loose as my day consist of taking pain killers an reclining i want my life back ..or at least to be free of pain or as near to it as i can get .what every you do do it for you and i wish you every success
    tony
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  • Mel,

    It seems you are in excellect shape, physically. That can have a really good impact on recovery. You also seem to have a decision in mind.

    I can only tell you, my decision came down to quality of life. Without surgery, I would have so many continued limitations. After 4 yrs. of the same Merry Go Round of PT, ESI's, Facet Inj. Rhizotomy, MRI's, discogram, etc. I decided to go for it. Recovery has been tough, but I know it is a long process. I have had some additional issues, but I am hoping those are just little bumps in the road.

    Good luck with your decision. Please keep us posted. This is a great forum and really caring people. Especially after surgery. And before surgery, be sure to check out the surgery must haves posted in the Back and Neck Surgery Forum. There is a list of post surg. items for use at home, etc. It's very helpful.

    Best Wishes,
    Traci
  • Hi SueD, I did it a week ago 5/19/2010. Pain yes....but no nerve pain going down either leg from day one. That was great. The swelling around the incision and back was unexpected. My whole back is black and blue, it rather looks like a hump-back whale. Sleeping is hard. Every 3 hours you are instantly awake to receive pain meds. The meds I'm on manage my pain pretty well. They gave me Lyrica for nerve pain, Dilauded (a form of mophine) for pain, Tylenol and a muscle relaxer. Pain is bad, but not unmanageable. Keep ahead of the pain. My daily life is sitting for 10-15 min., getting up and walking around for 20 mins., and lying down for 30 mins. and repeat. I find walking and climbing stairs to be the easiest.....it doesn't hurt at all. That's my up date. Have people lined up to stay with you most of the day to help and do. Let them do for you!!! I)
  • Hi SueD, I did it a week ago 5/19/2010. Pain yes....but no nerve pain going down either leg from day one. That was great. The swelling around the incision and back was unexpected. My whole back is black and blue, it rather looks like a hump-back whale. Sleeping is hard. Every 3 hours you are instantly awake to receive pain meds. The meds I'm on manage my pain pretty well. They gave me Lyrica for nerve pain, Dilauded (a form of mophine) for pain, Tylenol and a muscle relaxer. Pain is bad, but not unmanageable. Keep ahead of the pain. My daily life is sitting for 10-15 min., getting up and walking around for 20 mins., and lying down for 30 mins. and repeat. I find walking and climbing stairs to be the easiest.....it doesn't hurt at all. That's my up date. Have people lined up to stay with you most of the day to help and do. Let them do for you!!! I)
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