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Please help, I am so afraid (fusion)

I don't know who else to ask... I am terrified. I am having a fusion (five levels) due to laminectomy 8 years ago to remove three tumors (second surgery in 7 years). My back hurts all of the time and I can't get relied other than through injections (maybe lasting three weeks), an ablation didn't seem to help, and I am at the point of a fusion. I have dealt with pain ever since my last surgery, but the pain over the last two years has been nothing short of unbearable to where I can't imagine another... I am terrified of the fusion. I literally freak out thinking about how I won't be able to move my back at that area (thoracic and lumbar region). Please tell me I'm crazy and that I'm overreacting. I just need assurance from someone who knows how I feel. Please help. Thank you,
littleton 
1) Schwannoma removal (1) @ L2-L3 (2001)
2) Schwannoma removal (3) @ T11-L3 (2008)
3) Failed laminectomy syndrome T11-L2, facet joint disease, ongoing schwannoma formation.  Fusion scheduled from T10-L3 (April 12th, 2017).  Chronic pain that never goes away
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1

Comments

  • chonnacchonna JoplinPosts: 28
    I had a fusion lasting 10 hours on Nov 2 2016.  It was rough, the days were long, I had much pain, but I'm so glad I did it.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.  I had reached the point of not being able to stand longer than 10 minutes or walk even a block without pain that would put me down.   Your life will not improve without the surgery.  Be sure of your doctor, I had the best at a large teaching hospital in the Midwest.  Do you have support at home to take care of you when you come home?   Give up the fear and reach out to the relief.  2017 will pass, will you be on the road to recovery?   Or still dealing with the pain you have now?
  • That last question put things in perspective - thank you so much. How long did you have to miss work?
    1) Schwannoma removal (1) @ L2-L3 (2001)
    2) Schwannoma removal (3) @ T11-L3 (2008)
    3) Failed laminectomy syndrome T11-L2, facet joint disease, ongoing schwannoma formation.  Fusion scheduled from T10-L3 (April 12th, 2017).  Chronic pain that never goes away
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  • I had a 5 level lumbar fusion in 2007. It was a rough recovery, took over a year. Back is now flexible enough to play golf. I retired after the surgery so can't answer your work question.
    Dick
    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Thank you Dick. I am glad you have made a recovery. I am 33 so have a ways to go before retirement. I am hoping more people respond, my neurosurgeon referred me here so additional help would be greatly appreciated. 
    I was up from 3am until I went to work because the pain was so bad. I am waiting to hear back about injections to hold me over until surgery. I think the worst part is that I am just a patient with a date of birth and insurance to all of the offices I have to call for appointments, injections, etc. I feel like when I call and say "please help me. Can you get me in for injections next week?" they don't seem overly concerned. No one understands the pain and it makes me feel like I am Crazy and that I am exaggerating... but I don't feel like I'm exaggerating at all. In fact I feel like the pain is much worse than I tell people. 
    1) Schwannoma removal (1) @ L2-L3 (2001)
    2) Schwannoma removal (3) @ T11-L3 (2008)
    3) Failed laminectomy syndrome T11-L2, facet joint disease, ongoing schwannoma formation.  Fusion scheduled from T10-L3 (April 12th, 2017).  Chronic pain that never goes away
  • Unfortunately, people with chronic back pain are treated in a dismissive manner because of opioid abuse. We are the ones who suffer for the few who are drug seekers. Hopefully you will find an understanding doctor and staff that won't leave you suffering.
    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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  • I had a double fusion in Lumbar two years ago and now awaiting fusion surgery on other 3 lumbar joints, so I'll be just like you (S1 through L1 fused).  I am 59 and going on to disability, had to retire from farming.  I'd strongly recommend looking into taking disability.  The monthly payment is a little low but it is livable with them paying for all medical and medicines. 

    Besides the double fusion I've had numerous other surgeries due to chronic pain (just like most other people on this site).  Don't be to afraid, you should pull through just fine. This is not to scare you but I would really recommend that you have a Living Will prepared and on file with the hospital before your surgery. It is just in case something abnormal happens. 

  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971

    Tim

    Don't be afraid of the fusion surgery... it is the oldest and most proven surgical technique to solve back issues like yours.  Make sure you find a doctor/hospital that you feel comfortable with and has a proven track record.  The surgery recovery is pretty tough... especially the first few weeks... and a full recovery takes months... not weeks.  I wouldn't worry about the reduced flexibility... it's a small price to pay for getting your life back... and like the rest of us you will find easy ways to manage around it.    

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • rae1112rae1112 Michigan Posts: 147
    I am having fusion for scoliosis March 9, t4 all the way to sacrum. terrified doesn't begin to describe how I feel. I am 35. I can't help you with knowing how long you'll be off work or anything but I can tell you that facing any surgery is scary and it's totally normal to be nervous or unsure. I've been told this by others and now I'm passing it on to you. there are a lot of nice supportive people here. I hope you find what you are looking for and that things work out for you and all of us facing surgery and those of you who have had it and are recovering. 
  • Fusion is one of the remaining options with my thoracic problems. I just turned 62 and would most likely go on disability and retire from work, take the pension. The difference between SSDI now and SS at age 66 is only like $60 a month. I'm having trouble putting in 40 hours a week right now.
    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
  • Thank you all. I am having injections on Monday because of the pain. I met with doctor Tuesday and we settled on T10-L3 so now it's up to insurance. 
    April 12th is the day. It seems so far off but still right around the corner. The recovery is what seems to be the hardest part according to posts and responses. However, maybe the pain I have now will be less than the recovery pain? I just don't want to walk like i was in a horrible accident and I don't want sympathy from everyone. I just want to Feel normal and not have to go to bed and wake up wondering how the pain wiwill be for the day. It's awful. 
    1) Schwannoma removal (1) @ L2-L3 (2001)
    2) Schwannoma removal (3) @ T11-L3 (2008)
    3) Failed laminectomy syndrome T11-L2, facet joint disease, ongoing schwannoma formation.  Fusion scheduled from T10-L3 (April 12th, 2017).  Chronic pain that never goes away
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