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No hope left

As a career Soldier I am not used to complaining about pain. I have had multiple broken bones, terrible lacerations, crush injuries, you name it and in most cases I had to wait until I returned from my mission to receive treatment if I didn't just take care of it myself. Before I start I have to say that each day I see Soldiers returning from the battlefields around the world with real injuries and no corrective surgery to help them. But they I most cases drive on and live the best they can. Others sadly end their own miserable existence on their own terms.

In June 2011 after years of back pain the Federal Government's Federal Drug Enforcement Agency under the Department of Heath and Human Sorrow decided that the drug Darvocet which had been used successfully to treat pain for at least 20 years was a "bad drug" and removed it from the market. As I have terrible side effects from all other similar drugs I panicked. What could I do about my back pain without the only drug that helped.

I began to research surgical options. I began with a fusion of the C4-C6 fusion which to my surprise helped greatly. Then came the real decision Lumbar Fusion. I consulted with the same surgeon over multiple MRIs, CT Scans and X-Rays. Looking back I should have been more cautious and corrected only the L4-L5 disc which was the most problematic. However, the exams showed degenerative disease in most of my lower spine. So like any fool I asked the surgeon for his opinion and did not obtain a second opinion. Result complete fusion from L3 thru S1.

When I woke up from the surgery my legs felt as though they were under so much pressure they would explode. It has been two years and I still have severe pain in my left lower leg and foot. I am going to a different doctor this month to see what my options are. I can only pray for some relief. 30 years in the military is nothing compared to the last 2 years of hell.


  • Hello Career Soldier. I'm really sorry about your situation. Its sad that our veterans aren't given better care. I don't really have much advice, unfortunately, but I wanted to welcome you and thank you for your service. What medications are you given to help?
  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    edited 05/28/2013 - 10:52 AM
    i am sure that you will find your time on spine-health very rewarding. this site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    here are just some of the highlights:

    - detailed medical libraries of articles and videos that address almost every spinal conditions and treatment

    - the wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - under the resource tab, there is a section doctor advice health center which can be invaluable.

    - as a bonus, spine-health provides these patient forums. here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. you will soon become part of the spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. you are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 international members and growing daily.

    - it is very important to understand the forum rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

    - as a new member, it is helpful to understand the 'makeup' of these forums, how to make posts, tips on adding images and much more. you should read forum faq

    here are some you should take a look at:
    read before you post
    tips for newcomers
    understanding the rules

    all of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    if you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the private message facility to contact any one of the moderators on my team:







    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I am also a neckie and a back person. 5 surgeries on my cervical and 2 on my lower lumbar. I also deal with the leg pain that can be unbearable. I take Nuerotin for the leg pain and I can honestly say it takes about 90% of my pain away. Do you take any meds at all? Hopefully with the new surgeon you will find some answers. Keep us posted
  • Im sorry you are having trouble fixing your problems.Sometimes another dr can have a new method of treatment that works.Hope this sight can help you thank you for your long service to our country. You deserve better kathy
    Kathy B
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 05/28/2013 - 1:12 PM
    Hi, used to discharge guys from the Aus Navy, Army and RAAF mostly medical, as they were complicated cases. Over here there is a lot of help for returning veterans, mainly because the guys who came back from Vietnam set it up. We set up a system that if you were in, and still had problems, you couldn't get discharged until the Military had done all they could to fix you. That took a bit of doing.

    I have seen so many horrific war injuries and wounded guys with physical and also mental problems. Over here we changed the support structure, which I'm really proud of, so when the guys got discharged and were handed over to the Dept of Vet Affairs they could keep the same Drs they had before. We also got the rules changed so that if you had some kind of mental condition, DVA could contact you - after I had a guy come in who had been starving himself because he thought he had no money in the bank and was too frightened to go outa the house much.

    I never thought I would be in the same position as you guys but it happened to me through a motorbike accident - I knew who had pain 'cause I had the same condition. There are so many vets in Aus with back and knee conditions. Are you still in? Do you have a medical case manager? Is there a Vietnam Vet association near you? There is so much help now for the guys over here and help after they get out. If you wanna talk to me you can PM me. Do you have a Returned Soldiers League - those guys usually have specially trained guys and do all the work for nothing.

    There are a lot of support agencies for Vets here. Better than drinking yourself to death because of the pain which I've seen heaps of times, especially in the long term guys. I'm from Aus. Was my work for 20 years so am pretty expert in Aus, know the US is different but might be able to steer you in a direction you hadn't contemplated. And I'm free advice now.

    Have a less pain day,
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  • SpinegrlSSpinegrl Posts: 17
    edited 06/03/2013 - 7:01 PM
    I am sorry to hear that you are in so much pain. I can relate. I too after having 5 spinal surgeries have a great deal of nerve pain, especially in my left leg and out the bottom of my foot. do you know what they used to do your fusion? You may want to find out what they used for fusion? I had "infused" and have had a lot of problems since. I hope you find some help here and some support. the worst is going through this all alone. This is a great site and I have found it very helpful.
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