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Hi {Waves bashfully at everyone}

Hello everyone. My name is Russ and I am from the Northeast Alabama area. I have been coming to this site for quite some time now but have just recently (yesterday) joined.

I spent close to 20 years as a trucker with most of that time spent over the road. My neurosurgeon tells me that my treads wearing thin. He also told me that I need a 2 level fusion (lumbar) from all the damage that's been done. I'm only 43 and not in the best of health but not sure that I am ready for surgery. I have all the classics: DDD, 2 big herniations, spinal stenosis, facet arthrosis, spurs etc... I had 9 epidural injections within 12 months last year (6 of them within a 5 month period) with only about 2 weeks worth of relief. Went to PT and felt like I was being ripped in half on the decompression table (doc thinks I have a tear).

Needless to say I don't drive trucks anymore. I also ripped my right quad from the bone back in 2009 and couldn't walk at all for 12 weeks and couldn't walk unassisted (walker, crutches & cane) for close to 4 months and still have a difficult time climbing stairs so climbing in and out of a truck all day isn't an option.

I do have a nice desk job now and have taken up photography as a serious but expensive hobby. I would love to do it more but the pain and lack of energy from the meds keeps me home most of the time when I am not at work.

Well enough rambling, it's nice to be here and to know that I am not alone in all this; to know that there are many others who have experienced and are experiencing what I have is a comfort.
5 MRIs since 2010 | Severe DDD throughout entire Lumbar Region | Facet Arthrosis throughout | Spinal Canal Stenosis | Herniation L4/L5 | Broad - Based Bulging L1/L2, L2/3, L3/L4 - but still kicking - just not very high. :)


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 09/05/2013 - 9:41 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:






    hi big r,
    glad that you decided to join us! i don't think that any of us really are ever really ready to travel down the surgical road of spine surgery but in certain cases, the conditions in our spines leave us with no other option. do you have numbness and tingling as well? usually surgery is only done in two situations, one being nerve compression and the other being a mechanical problem that can be resolved through surgery. it sounds like yours is in the second condition....
    if i were you, i would consider getting at least one board certfied ortho or neuro opinion and then doing a lot of research into outcomes.
    i had my first surgery on my spine at 42, and my second a year later but had some issues that needed to be resolved.
    many patients undergo spine surgery, and do quite well once they get through the recovery period. then they get to return to living.
  • Thank you for the warm welcome.

    I have had numbness on and off for close to 5 or 6 years now. But my right ankle down to my big toe has been completely numb, like no feeling what so ever for about 6 or 8 months now. My left foot is the exact same way. I dropped a jar (jelly I think) on my left big toe about 3 months back and to my shock...... no pain - other than the deep kinda pain associated with something like that happening.
    My wife can run her hand on my ankles and there is like no feeling, she might as well be rubbing her own ankle... One doctor said the numbness & tingling was from Diabetes... They ran the tests and like I thought.. No diabetes. Got sent to a Neurologist for a nerve conduction test and she said she bet it was coming from all my back issues. Then the orthopedic surgeon who sent me to her said that her findings were not correct and that I had diabetic nerve pain and just needed a good diet and some B-12 shots. So I said "See ya".
    Any-who, 2 more doctors later (a Physiatrist and a Neurosurgeon) both say I do in fact need surgery. The Neurosurgeon said that when I get tired of hurting, I have his number.
    5 MRIs since 2010 | Severe DDD throughout entire Lumbar Region | Facet Arthrosis throughout | Spinal Canal Stenosis | Herniation L4/L5 | Broad - Based Bulging L1/L2, L2/3, L3/L4 - but still kicking - just not very high. :)
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  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 09/05/2013 - 3:24 PM
    Just don't wait too long with the neuropathy . The problem in the spine is that once you wait too long, the odds of the nerves ability to recover diminishes as more time passes.
    The sooner that they can relieve the pressure/compression on the nerves, the better the outcome for you.
  • BigRBBigR Posts: 48
    edited 09/06/2013 - 6:37 AM
    If I can get through til tax time I do plan on having something done about it. We can pay off our car note then and will be out from under some other financial obligations by that time also. Good thing is that with Aflac, vacation time, tax time and a good place to work for, the financial part shouldn't be too terrible. I hate using the "I don't have the money" excuse but, like I told my wife, we'd loose everything we have if I couldn't work for several months without trying to plan first. Back in 2009 when I tore my quad and was out of work from a major surgery and no insurance - it was only by the Grace of God that we got through it.
    I guess one thing that scares me is wondering if I'll be able to get back to doing the stuff I enjoy doing. I'm not extremely active but I will get down on the ground and roll around taking photos. There's a picture of me online somewhere, where I am laying on the double yellow line of a road in downtown taking a picture of a high school senior...
    Thanks for the ear.... I really do appreciate it and I am excited to be here and to be a part of this community. :)
    5 MRIs since 2010 | Severe DDD throughout entire Lumbar Region | Facet Arthrosis throughout | Spinal Canal Stenosis | Herniation L4/L5 | Broad - Based Bulging L1/L2, L2/3, L3/L4 - but still kicking - just not very high. :)
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 09/06/2013 - 9:01 AM
    I can certainly understand needing to get things in order to survive a major surgery. I think that we all can. And hopefully, once you get through tax time, and your surgery done, your recovery will hopefully go smoothly. In the meantime, work with your doctor, maybe he can send you to PT now, to strengthen your core muscles and improve your strength and flexibility going into surgery?
    It makes recovery so much easier going into it as strong as we can be, and really helps move the time along and who knows, maybe you'll see more improvement if you are careful now.
    My husband loves to take pictures as well- he really got into it after taking a photography class and learned how to use the cameras more effectively and he takes some beautiful pictures.......
    We will hope to see you posting some of yours again, after the surgery is done......
    We are glad that you joined us as well......If you need any help finding anything, my pm box is open.
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