Hello everyone in Spine Health. I'm Pepper. I started off with broken facet joints at L5 level. The disc at that level crushed, and immediately I had a MIS TLIF to fix the problem. That was done in 2007. After the surgery, pain never left me. Therefore, I had revision in the same area in 2009. This surgery complicated matters, not only was the revision not sucessful, I was down with hematoma seroma and infection. After several surgeries, and antibiotic treatment, that took many months to recover externaly, I still didn't feel right inside. I sought several different opinions from different facilities, including overseas, had several recent sets of MRIs and CTs for the expertise. All came back with the same results:
1) A failed fusion, (not to be confused with Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)): In my case, the fusion didn't happen. Some bones grew around the cage, but it didn't join the upper or lower level bone. The reason is that BMP-2 that was used had leaked throug the opening, and 2)causing Ectopic Bone Formation on the L5 left exit nerve endings and openings. The bone has totally grown onto the nerves that travels down the left leg.
Needless to say, my main problem now is my leg is numb, my toes hurt at touch, and I can't lift my leg, I basically have to drag it. I use a cane or a walker now when I commute. The pain level is at a constant 7-8. Right now, I'm on Fentanly patches, lidocain patches, morphine, percocet and lyrica for coping. These medication causes servre nausea, and I throw up on a daily basis.
The new surgery option is to perform a 2 days surgery -
day 1, 360 re-fusion anterior;
day 2, Removal of the ectopic bone posterior, and implementation of instruments.
I'm hestitant because the surgeon admitted that he has never seen any patient with my situation. He added that such cases are really rare. 2ndly, he has never done this kind of surgery before, i.e., removing the bone from the nerves, there are many possibility that the nerves will tear and further damage the function of the leg; and the overall success rate is 50%, and I will still continue to feel pain even if the fusion is healed because the nerves will be irritated.
My 2nd option is to accept my current condition for life, using medication and epidural shots to maintain my pain level, and possibility of using a SCS in future.
Currently, I have a hard time coming to terms with myself. my bed is soaked with tears and night sweats, I need to learn how to cope with the chronic pain for the rest of my life. I can't do daily household chores, I have young children to care for, and I need help with many things, including meals. I can't drive for more than half an hour to a place because I will feel nauseated and throw up. This happened last three weeks already. Thankfully, I wasn't driving.
I'm here to receive support, to help me understanding what I am going through. I am trying to find different options. And I'm trying to seek professional help and hopefully, I'll find the strength to search the internet for one.
Thank you for listening,