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It's been a while...

I haven't been posting since I joined a while back. 6 years of spinal pain, 2 discectomies/laminectomies in the lumbar spine, plenty of epidurals and physiotherapy, and of course more than enough medication. I'm so exhausted. i've been the artificial disc replacement route, and my insurance denied the coverage, so I am back to looking at fusion surgery l3-l5. I am tired of doctors and tests, and I want this surgery to be the last. I am tired of pain. There isn't much to introduce today besides a woman who wants her life back. I'm afraid I may never run or bike again, never attend work or school without pain again. I don't want to lose motion in the spine or have adjacent disc degeneration from the fusion.

There is no other option, and surgery may only be a month away. I dread doing it, but I'm just tired.

Hey, maybe if I'm lucky I will have some positives from it. Anyone have a positive fusion story? I am so terrified. I know a fusion is for life.

Thanks for reading.
lydia
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Comments

  • israaiisraa Posts: 17
    edited 01/06/2016 - 11:11 AM
    Hi so I don't actually have any experience in fusion but I really want to give you positive energy ...please be positive there is hope I know that the pain sometimes will get you but you have a choice to be positive i really hope you get better sorry that I can't help much but don't worry I know that all of us are strong strong enough to do what we have to do to move on with our life's am really sorry that I can't help much you are strong thank you
  • Yes there are loads of success stories for spinal fusion. After 40 years of on off pain. 5 years of which was pretty constant pain and weakness I was finally diagnosed with a slip at L5 S1. By the time I had my op I was desperate for relief I could barely walk. I had my fusion and a disc removed. I now have only the odd aches don't even need pills for it. It's usually muscles that haven't been used in a while. You've tried everything else go for it.
    jill55
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  • Spinelessjellyfish said:
    I haven't been posting since I joined a while back. 6 years of spinal pain, 2 discectomies/laminectomies in the lumbar spine, plenty of epidurals and physiotherapy, and of course more than enough medication. I'm so exhausted. i've been the artificial disc replacement route, and my insurance denied the coverage, so I am back to looking at fusion surgery l3-l5. I am tired of doctors and tests, and I want this surgery to be the last. I am tired of pain. There isn't much to introduce today besides a woman who wants her life back. I'm afraid I may never run or bike again, never attend work or school without pain again. I don't want to lose motion in the spine or have adjacent disc degeneration from the fusion.

    There is no other option, and surgery may only be a month away. I dread doing it, but I'm just tired.

    Hey, maybe if I'm lucky I will have some positives from it. Anyone have a positive fusion story? I am so terrified. I know a fusion is for life.

    Thanks for reading.

    I was a very active person as well before I hurt my back. For two long years I tried everything non surgical to get better including chiropractors, non surgical decompression, injections, yoga, etc ... nothing worked. Decided to have a discectomy at L5 S1 in June of 2015. Still no relief. I've been back to my doctor, and the new MRI show a bulge. He thinks maybe a disc replacement or a fusion. Not sure what to do, so I'm in the same boat. Fusions are for life, but I'm not sure how much of a life I really have now. Always in pain. Anyway, good luck with your decision, and keep us posted with updates.
    Scott Giles
  • Hi Spineless. I had a fusion in 2008 and boy, did I not want it! I was told by my neurosurgeon that a surgical fusion would be much better than having my discs naturally fuse. After herniating, herniating and herniating again, there was no jelly left and I was bone on bone. Bummer.

    I had like five second opinions. I was just hoping one would have some doubt and an alternative option for me. I was really hoping for disc replacement instead but was told I qualified in every way except for my age. I was too young for an implant that had about a 20yr life.. I don't care, I told them. The technology in 20 years from now should offer me something in the line of options.. after all, fusion is permanent. All five second opinions said I needed that fusion... But I did get some good advice and I'm happy to share it with you...

    One doctor said to be sure the surgeon goes in through the front. Leave those precious back muscles alone. A nurse for a doctor I was waiting to see said I should get /request /research the most up to date and best technology hardware and get the cage for added support for the spine. I had no clue picking or requesting the hardware was an option. And a neurosurgeon said have a neurosurgeon operate. It's all about the nerves. An ortho surgeon would need to call in a neuro if there was a tricky nerve or vein situation.

    Whew, this turned into a small novel. Well, getting so many second opinions was absolutely exhausting..looking back at that time. There is a ton of information on the interweb about the pros vs the cons regarding fusing the spine. You have to do what is right for you.
    Best of luck.
  • edited 01/15/2016 - 5:32 AM


    I was a very active person as well before I hurt my back. For two long years I tried everything non surgical to get better including chiropractors, non surgical decompression, injections, yoga, etc ... nothing worked. Decided to have a discectomy at L5 S1 in June of 2015. Still no relief. I've been back to my doctor, and the new MRI show a bulge. He thinks maybe a disc replacement or a fusion. Not sure what to do, so I'm in the same boat. Fusions are for life, but I'm not sure how much of a life I really have now. Always in pain. Anyway, good luck with your decision, and keep us posted with updates.


    I know what you mean about not having much of a life anymore. It's really a made a mess of my life, and I feel desperate enough to make the fusion leap. I have my second appointment with the surgeon on Monday the 18th. I am sure I will hobble back here and report what comes next. It's a relief to know there are others out there suffering, although, I don't wish this pain on anyone. Thanks to everyone for the support. I feel very lucky, and I'm always here and quite useless at doing much else, thank you lumbar spine. lol. Swimming has saved me from hopelessness the past few years, but the relief is only a few hours each day. I hope this gamble pays off...
    lydia
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  • So, I went in for my fusion consult today, and my surgeon walked me slowly through my mri from 6 months ago. He told me I have three level degeneration. L3, L4, L5. Now, my L3/L4 and L4/L5 were already operated on a few years ago, so I thought those discs were better now. Not so, because there are still disc fragments present that were not removed. Aha! So, the nagging pain of six years never was fully resolved. This leaves me with two options surgically, another discectomy to remove the medial disc fragment, and/or fusion IF the disc matter at the two levels of degeneration has calcified. This means more waiting and a new mri (don't you just love those machines to be trapped in?) and cat scan. Once he sees those, my next appointment is mid March, then he will advise if I only need the discectomy or both the discectomy and a three level fusion. Are you lost yet? I thought I was, but it seems that even though it is a slow moving process, it might be the wisest. He says even with a fusion, even if it's required, the chances of a successful outcome are about 50/50. He kept saying how young I was to have a fusion. Also, that the risk of adjacent disc degeneration is accelerated with a fusion. Well, at least I have some answers now. I think I am relieved that I don't have to throw metal in my back just yet. If a third microdiscectomy solves the problem, I'll be as happy as can be! Yes, I'll still be slower, disabled, full of arthrosis, etc, but it just might be enough to allow me to go back to university! I'm back on oxycontin today. ugh. I have to admit I am grateful for the pain relief, because I haven't used any for weeks (except bud, as I live here in the Netherlands). It's only a 10mg dose, so I am not worried about being on another planet. I have my IB Profen to back that up for the arthrosis, and I'll be at the pool swimming tomorrow trying to work my muscles and keep sane.
    There is no definite cure, and no easy way through this. I can swim, and I can try to distract myself with reading, films, forums.
    Walking is a must, as I'm in the city. I can't carry more than a purse though. lol.

    Trying to stay positive, and trying to remember, it could ALWAYS be worse.

    Thanks for reading.
    lydia
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Sounds like you have good communication with doctor..that he took time to so fully explain what he sees and thinks.
    That's huge!

    I've been following you thread with much interest.
    I wanted to wish you the best with your decision making process...with new testing and doctor consult.

    I know you are not happy about being on OxyContin, but I'm very glad that it is lessening your pain.
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • edited 01/18/2016 - 9:47 AM
    Seriously! I have gone six years without consulting anyone who suffers with back pain. I can be such a fool. Thank you for your kind words and support. I am most grateful, and I am glad to be reminded of that, because so many have it so much worse.

    I hope you aren't suffering, and if you are, I'm a PM away! Take care! :-)
    lydia
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,416
    There is no question that dealing with spinal problems and surgeries is an uphill battle. Its really never easy.

    I think one of the things that separate spinal surgery from other surgeries, lets say an appendix surgery is that once those others are completed, it should be done and gone. You can basically forget about it. Not so with spinal surgery. Its been almost 40 years since my first spinal surgery and 16 since my last. I'm still going strong, sure a bit slower and I have to remind myself about my condition. Nothing ever stopped me, just put a few wrinkles in my future paths.

    That needs to be the same way for you as well as anyone. Understand and recognize what you current medication condition is, realize the limitations and also the boundaries. I can tell you for sure , over the years, you may forget those limitations and start to push the outer limits.
    Its how far you push that can make a difference.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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