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Old 05-03-2009, 04:14 PM
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Default How long were you off work after ADR surgery?

I do commercial lease administration and accounting and most of my day is spent behind a desk in front of a computer. I do get up throughout the day to stretch and walk around, but there is no heavy lifting or anything else strenuous involved in my line of work. I have about 3 weeks PTO, and I do have the ability to do some of my work from home, but Dr. Fenk-Meyer told me last week that I may be off 8-12 weeks. That was a BIG shock! I wasn't expecting that at ALL! When I had my laminectomy done last year, I was home for 3 weeks, but was able to keep up with most of my work from home, and once I went back, I spent a couple of Saturday's making up time getting caught up on other things, so I actually wasn't charged any PTO at all.

So, for those of you that have been through this, how long after your surgery were you able to return to work, and what line of work are you in?

Thanks, Jess.
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36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany

Last edited by jessmith07; 05-05-2009 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:59 PM
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I am expecting to be off for 8-12 weeks, and using FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). This allows you to take a leave of absence without losing your job. Your company has to be large enough (I don't know how many employees is required, for the policy to be in force, someone will come along with that answer), and you have to have been on the job for a year (I think). You have to have worked a minimum number of hours in the previous 12 months, as well.

If all these things are met, then you can be off work for 12 weeks, with a guarantee of a comparable position when you return. They are not required to return you to the same position, but a comparable one that you are qualified to do.

FMLA does not guarantee pay during this time, only a job when you return.

I have been planning for this since November, and limiting how much time I have been taking off, except for absolutely needed medical leave. So, I didn't take off time at Christmas, except for the scheduled holidays. I have 6 weeks of paid time off, but am having my employer change my hours from 40hr/wk to 30, so that it will stretch to 8 weeks.

And then we have a program, where people can donate their vacation to you, or anyone in need. Before I leave, I will be signing up for this program, and sending an email to everyone in my department and the few additional people that I know outside the dept, asking for donations. They can donate as little as a half day of vacation. But I am hoping that if enough people donate 1/2 or 1 day of vacation, that it will be enough to allow me to be paid through the entire 12 weeks.

And I really, really hope I will be ready to come back to work in 12 weeks, so that I am guaranteed a position. In this economy, I am very nervous about having to find a job, if I am not ready to come back at 12 weeks.

I hope that you are able to take the needed time off to heal. At a minimum, it takes 6 weeks for the bone to grow into the ADR.
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Cathy

46 years old. 12-15 years of intermittent pain, 2 years with constant pain.

DDD, L4-5 and L5-S1, pain confirmed by discogram.
PT, ESI's, Facet injection and block, Acupuncture - all no help.

2-level (Prodisc-L) ADR surgery with Dr. Bertagnoli, May 26, 2009.

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:33 PM
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Jess and others,

What you need to understand - this is a big surgery. Though any spine surgery is big, I too was able to return to work at about 6 weeks post disco/lami. Fusion and ADR is a much bigger surgery. Though you might be able to return to work at 6 weeks post op, most are not ready. Three months is a good estimate though again, you might not be ready to sit at a desk all day regardless of frequent breaks. Rushing back to your job before you are ready can have adverse consequences. Justin posted yesterday, you have only one chance to heal correctly.

As to whether or not you're able to withstand the possible increase in pain or risk any possible negative affects from doing too much too fast, only you can decide. Only you will benefit or suffer. Then again, maybe you'll do so fantastic, six weeks is all you'll need????

Perhaps it's time to start a new thread, the healing process, what to expect!

To all facing surgery, may your hopes and dreams for a pain free life be realized.

Dale
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3 level Prodisc adr S1-L3, Oct 12, 2005
Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:50 PM
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i went back to work part time at 12 weeks. and in 3 weeks was back to 40 hrs a week.
and i am a Toolmaker.
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ddd 1990
2003 mri,xrays,shots,emg
2004 discogram ouch pos l4 l5
facet block neg
lost all appeals BCBS 5 months of that
3 surgeons later
surgery with dr. bertagnoli aug 2nd 2006 in Bogen Germany Successfully ProDisc-L L-4 L-5

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Old 05-04-2009, 09:10 PM
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I did go back to work at 6 weeks but I had to take breaks and a low phyiscal load. Sadly I have a hard time sitting for hours to this very day but I was more or less recovered to my current state at about 6 weeks out. Also I was at a much better shape at 6 weeks post then I was before the surgery when I could only sit for 15 minutes and then it was next to impossible to get back up short of heavy drugs. At 6 weeks I could eek out 2 hours in 1 hour sessions a day. If more then that the leg pain really ramped up and I would have had to increase meds which I chose not to do. What worked surprisingly good is to have a tall desk and to do desk work standing, a total reversal of before surgery. Best solution, one of those motorized desks. I had hybrid lumbar fusion and adr.
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Nov 07: STALIF Fusion L5/S1 ACTIV-L ADR L4/L5
Nov 09: Prodisc-C ADR 2 level C 4/5/6
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:11 PM
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Chasswen I think you meant to say 3 month. But that is a good recovery time for a physical job.
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Nov 07: STALIF Fusion L5/S1 ACTIV-L ADR L4/L5
Nov 09: Prodisc-C ADR 2 level C 4/5/6
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:24 AM
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Default Just feeling REALLY STRESSED

I feel so STUPID that out of all the research I 've done and all the pounding and fighting with the insurance company and all of the travel coordinating between here, Paris, Munich, Stroebing, that a very important question never entered my mind,,,how long AFTER the surgery will I be down? This sounds like PRISON to me!!!!!

"What will you be having for dinner, Mademoiselle?

"Oh, I'm on that new Stress Diet...have you heard of it?

"Why NO,,,,,?"

"Well, just bring me anything on the menu,,,then, throw it on the floor, yell at me like it's my fault until I cry, and then I'll have the double chocolate mousse, please. In fact, make it a double. Yes, that's right...A double-double. It's called slow suicide. Learn to recognize the symptoms in your friends."

Only I can't really have it, because I try to stay away from this kind of stuff...

I should probably go, I feel my nightly crying jag coming on...Lord, I'm SUCH A BABY!
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany

Last edited by jessmith07; 05-05-2009 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessmith07 View Post
I feel so STUPID that out of all the research I 've done and all the pounding and fighting with the insurance company and all of the travel coordinating between here, Paris, Munich, Stroebing, that a very important question never entered my mind,,,how long AFTER the surgery will I be down? This sounds like PRISON to me!!!!!

"What will you be having for dinner, Mademoiselle?

"Oh, I'm on that new Stress Diet...have you heard of it?

"Why NO,,,,,?"

"Well, just bring me anything on the menu,,,then, throw it on the floor, yell at me like it's my fault until I cry, and then I'll have the double chocolate mousse, please. In fact, make it a double. Yes, that's right...A double-double. It's called slow suicide. Learn to recognize the symptoms in your friends."

Only I just get to dry-hump this one, because I try so hard to stay away from unhealthy stuff...

I should probably go, I feel my nightly crying jag coming on...Lord, I'm SUCH A BABY!
YOU ARE NOT STUPID AND YOU ARE NOT A BABY! There are a lot of things to think about & consider when it comes to surgery. Sometimes we can't think of every single thing to ask the doctor when it comes to making such a huge decision.

Stress is a real "bittie". I can vouch for that. I stress out over quite a bit. Even over stuff that I have no control over. It doesn't help me though.

I knew going into my surgery that I would be out of work for some time. My doc told me 6 weeks & I looked at him like he was high. Go back to work 6 weeks from ALIF/PLIF fusion?!? I wasn't ready to go back after 6 weeks. It was just too painful. I went back to work F/T after 10 1/2 weeks. I was still dealing with some pain & discomfort but I went back due to being pressured by both of my jobs to go back. Silly me. I went back only to tell them that I was leaving them again permanently in 2 months. That went over REALLY well. Oh well.

Both of my jobs are pretty sedentary but that's tough when you have a fusion, I have to remember to get up every 45-60 minutes which again irks the crap out of my supervisor. Evil woman she is.

You have to remember that each person heals differently. Some faster than others. Keep in mind that this is a huge surgery. You want to make sure that you heal properly so you can hopefully avoid doing any damage.

I knew I would be out for some time. I purchased a mortgage disability policy through my insurance company to help with the bills in anticipation of this. I'm not sure if this is an option for you, but it may help relieve some of the stress with paying some bills. I also noticed from your signature that you have some little ones. Is there anyone that can help you with childcare while you are recovering? Again, this may help relieve some stress for you.

I know it doesn't seem like it now, but everything will be OK. If you need to talk, or vent, just hit us up here on the board.

K
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Disc Bulge C4/C5, Disc Degeneration T11/T12, Bi-Lateral tears L5/S1, Diagnosed w/ Lumbar Disc Derangement w/ Radiculopaphy. Treatment: IDET, Percutaneous Discectomy, SI Joint Injection, Facet Block. All failed. Empire BC/BS Denied Coverage for ADR-lost all of my appeals. MVP also denied coverage.

Anterior/Posterior Fusion L5/S1 -1/20/09
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:57 AM
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I was able to work my desk job at 4-5 weeks out after my 3 level cervical ADR but only for 3-4 hours a day. I'm now 9 weeks out and I'm working 6 hours a day but on many days, the last 2-3 hours are with moderate pain unless I take alleve and maybe a pain killer. Overall , working past 4 hours now usually starts to hurt but I can work through it usually. Dr fenk meyer didn't seem concerned that I'm back to work with some pain, so hopefully I'm not risking messing anything up by doing so. She said you will heal with or without pain and not to worry about it. Again, my pain level at work is slight to moderate. If it gets worse than that I just go home early.

Last edited by steve55; 05-05-2009 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:27 PM
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I'm sorry for the middle of the night crazy post...even with sleeping pills, I can't sleep, I'm so stressed out.

I took a sleeping pill around 9:00 last night, because the night before, I didn't fall asleep until 3:30 am and had to wake up at 5:30 for work. I woke up at 12:30 and couldn't fall back to sleep...so I finished a book, drank a glass of wine, and jumped on the computer. And started STRESSING! And looking back at my post, and my newly created signature, I can see some fatigue and loopiness too I'll fix that...

Our children are older - 9 to 17 - so childcare isn't a problem, thank the Lord, and they're GREAT kids, so other than occasional bickering, behavior isn't a problem, either. I'm just so scared. Really, that's what it all boils down to...I'm just SO scared.
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:01 PM
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Jess, if you weren't scared, you'd be nuts

And you have no idea how many 'middle of the night' messages I've written but deleted before sending them Just writing them down helps enormously.

One of my frustrations is that my typing skills are going downhill so rapidly. I usually don't make many mistakes, but lately every third word is misspelled. And being a stickler for punctuation and spelling doesn't help At least I'm catching them. When I stop doing that, I'm really in trouble!

Please feel free to come here and vent any time. It's what we're here for. I'm hoping/scared silly to be getting surgery sometime soon. We can exchange numbers and call each other at 3 am and commiserate

All the best. And did I get this right....seven kids AND a full time job???? You already are Superwoman!
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DDD
Herniated discs C4/5 & 5/6, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1
Severe compression of spinal cord in two levels
All conventional therapy exhausted, including spinal injections, PT, massage, etc.
In appeal with Gov't Insurance for Out-of-country coverage for ADR hybrid surgery of above discs.
Recently discovered that I am severely allergic to all common metals used in surgical hardware except for Titanium.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:29 PM
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Thanks Katie...and yes, I work full-time and have 7 kids; 6 daughters and 1 son. 4 live with us full-time (my three and my husband's son) and his 3 daughters live with us Thursday-Sunday.

I just recently altered my hours to work from 7-3 instead of 9-5 so that I could be home more in the afternoons. Now, I get to pick them up from school, and cook dinner a little more often...and play taxi driver a little more often, too, but it's not so bad.

Funny you mention the typing thing...I've noticed that in the past few weeks, too, but never made the connection that it could be a neuro symptom...Mine seems to be mostly hitting the right keys in the wrong order or "fat fingering" between two keys, and I've also been reversing letters a lot lately, or hitting the same key too many times...It is EXTREMELY frustrating!!

My poor husband...he just doesn't understand. He keeps smiling and telling me it's going to be fine. He's a seasoned traveler, and even lived in Germany for 3+ years when he was in the Army. He keeps telling me not to worry, we're going to be in a nice hotel and the people are great, and it's so pretty there, blah, blah, blah...

I finally snapped and said, "I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE OR THE HOTEL OR THE WEATHER!!! ALL I CARE ABOUT ARE THE SKILLS OF THIS SURGEON!!!" He just doesn't GET it that I walk around trembling all the time, and that I'm so afraid of HAVING the surgery and NOT having the surgery, and that I'm looking for any excuse to chicken out. I'm SO TIRED of being in pain, and that I'm about to submit my body for something that's going to do what? CAUSE MORE PAIN before it gets better...IF it gets better...the last surgery was supposed to make it better but it didn't.

Lord, I'm sitting at my desk, and I'm about to start crying, and I think my fingers are going numb...I hope it's my imagination...

Gotta run...I'll check in around 2:30 in the morning...
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:15 PM
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Oh Jess, hang in there. We seem to be so much alike....clumsy fingers and all

I really relate to the see-saw of emotions...I have been fighting so hard for surgery for the past year and a half, and now I am terrified as well. I normally don't worry about 'things' until they are right on my doorstep, but this is creeping up on me fast. Like you, I'm really worried about the post-surgery pain...big time. Worried that it is going to be worse than what I'm experiencing now. With medication, I can control it now. But in a hospital, at night, at the mercy of nurses who may or may not give me the correct dose ON TIME before it gets out of control....well, that is another thing altogether.

Do you notice that I'm worried about control issues?

Jess, I think you should send your dear husband to the 'caregivers' forum He may gain some insight there once it gets rolling!
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DDD
Herniated discs C4/5 & 5/6, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1
Severe compression of spinal cord in two levels
All conventional therapy exhausted, including spinal injections, PT, massage, etc.
In appeal with Gov't Insurance for Out-of-country coverage for ADR hybrid surgery of above discs.
Recently discovered that I am severely allergic to all common metals used in surgical hardware except for Titanium.
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:19 PM
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Jess, just because your last surgery wasn't all that you were hoping for, does not mean the same thing will happen this time. Obviously the laminectomy did not address everything that was going on, and that's unfortunate. I have great faith that Dr. Bertagnoli will do the best surgery for you, and me, and that we will be feeling so much better in no time. He is the worlds best surgeon for ADR surgery, I trust him completely.

Since you have been able to keep working through this, you are more likely to have a better outcome (according to a research article I read), than someone who is no longer able to work before surgery. This, and the fact that Dr. B. has done thousands of these surgeries gives me hope. As I think they are the most important factors to a good outcome.

Have you talked to your doctor about your anxiety and stress? Maybe they can give you something to help with that.

I have been having some short bouts of anxiety, but so far they haven't lasted longer than a few hours. There are things that are beyond my control, and I will try to do whatever I can to make sure things get done in time. But if they don't, they don't and hopefully there will be a way to work around it.

I guess I am lazy at heart, because I am looking forward to not working for a couple of months. Although I am afraid I won't have the discipline to walk every day, or push myself to walk further each day. But I hope that I will, and that I will want to come back to work at some point.

The most frightening thing for me, is thinking about the post-op pain. I am so worried they won't have my pain controlled adequately, or that the meds they give me will make me nauseated, or both. And the next most frightening thing is the pain and discomfort I may have on such long flights, both going over and coming back. I don't like pain, and will do everything in my power not to hurt myself, so you can imagine how much I want this surgery to work.

Have you talked to your employer yet, about the likelihood that you will be out longer than you expected? Maybe they will surprise you with their understanding. At least I hope that talking with them, will ease your mind about it.
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Cathy

46 years old. 12-15 years of intermittent pain, 2 years with constant pain.

DDD, L4-5 and L5-S1, pain confirmed by discogram.
PT, ESI's, Facet injection and block, Acupuncture - all no help.

2-level (Prodisc-L) ADR surgery with Dr. Bertagnoli, May 26, 2009.

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:55 PM
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Gee...is my anxiety disorder THAT noticeable??? I've been taking meds for this for years!!! Maybe it's time to up the dose...

As far as my employer goes, I work for a great company, and we're like family around here, so I know my job will be here. Plus, there's quite a bit I can do from home, and when I need to, I can come in for a couple of hours if I need to put my hands of a file. Oh, did I mention we have a nap room? No, really, I'm not kidding...although somethimes you have to fight the owner for it...

And you'd think I wouldn't be so afraid of pain, but I am...I've had three BIG, HEALTHY babies...the last one was 9.5 pounds. I remember when I was pregnant, during an "exam", as I'm squirming, and saying "OUCH!!!", the doctor looks at me and says, straight-faced, "How'd you ever hold still long enough to get pregnant?" I said, equally straight-faced, "Well, THAT part didn't HURT!!!"

Time to go pick up kids...
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany

Last edited by jessmith07; 05-05-2009 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:44 PM
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Hi Jess,

I about had a nervous breakdown prior to going to Dr. B last year. I was taking extra muscle relaxers just to calm down. There is so much to think about its crazy.

I would not have been able to work full time until 4-6 months post op if that. (I've only gone back part time and it was much later because I now have neck problems unrelated to surgery.)

Hopefully you will have a short speedy recovery. Mine was long, painful, lots of bumps but finally at a bit over a year, I often forget I ever had a low back problem.

I felt that Dr. F-M underestimated the healing time for instance I asked how long I would need help with my kids who are younger than yours and she said 6 weeks. NO WAY, I needed 4-5 months of help. And I consider myself to be pretty hardcore meaning I do more than I should, do whatever it takes but this was REALLY challenging.

It sounds like you have some flexibility and this may be the time in your life that you need to use it.

You are going to the best and as such you are going to get your best result possible.


Cheryl

My story: My Story
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44 Year Old, mom of 3
DDD - l4-s1- woke up Feb 2005 and couldn't walk
Tried PT, Injections, Accupuncture, drugs, etc.
2 level Prodisc ADR L4-S1, Feb. 18, 2008 Dr. Bertagnoli - Straubing, Germany - SUCCESS -

Now I struggle with Neck Pain likely c5-7
PT, injections, rhizotomy.......MRI and CT Myleo not consistent with pain symptoms, waiting that out, keeping my passport valid
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:37 PM
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hey Jess,

Been there, done that. The 'crazies' occur when living with pain and/or before any surgery but for spine surgery, it's double. You have hopes and dreams but there's a very possible downside. Making an informed decision means knowing that a negative outcome is, although not probable, possible. Some perfect candidates have seemingly negative results and other's, who have some history not in their favor, go on to live happily ever after. Some are in the middle.

There's also something that happens in the middle of the night, when all is quiet and everyone else is happily snoring away and you're prowling the dark, empty halls. The nervous tension that you experience all the time migrates out of your body and into the walls and floors. There, it grows and mutates into an abnormal psychosis, technically referred to as the ultra-crazies, which can then be transmitted back into your body, transdermally through osmosis. Ask Justin, he's a doctor and this is a medical fact . There are several aspects to this phenomenon; depression, paralyzing fear, thinking adnormalities, concern for your future and that of your family and of course, the hatred of the more normal world.

Jess do you remember the first time you were pregnant? Was there anything you didn't think/worry about? Didn't any blip/symptom send you into a blithering idiot where you imagined the worst and beyond? That's exactly what's happening now. Having a baby, though the vast majority are born without any medical fanfare, has it's complications. But that didn't stop you. And though you still worry constantly about your children, the chances of them growing up and the cycle repeating are pretty good.

I'm not trying to liken children to your back, just to similarities to the crazies. I'm 3 1/2 years post op and any twinge still sends my imagination into the cosmos. That's who we are and will always be. Your husband doesn't understand because he hasn't experienced either pregnancy or living with pain. He wants to comfort you but has no idea what you're going through. Of course he's saying 'there, there now. Everything will be okay' because that's what we all say.

You are entitled to your feelings, whatever they are. Don't worry about what others think. If the c's or uc's overtake you, so be it. It is what it is. You have enough to worry about. I know it's hard, but try to smile. It does lift the spirit, however temporarily.

Dale
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Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:05 AM
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Default Post op pain

Actually, as I recall, my immediate post op pain wasn't that bad. In fact, the pain peaked at about 6-7 days post op but it was muscular pain not the old back pain, no pain at all at the disc locations. I will admit that the first 24 hours made it hard for me to feel comfortable,....it wasn't pain as much ad just not able to relax. I couldn't get into a comfortable position and I was sort of climbin the walls so to speak, more like an anxiety attack . But once they gave me Valium , I immediately calmed down and was able to feel comfortable. I really never felt pain was that bad, my muscles were just tense and sore. It's nothing you won't be able to handle. And I had 3 levels done . : )

I don't think you will have trouble working 2-4 hours a day starting at 3 -4 weeks out. Even now at 9 weeks out, 4 hours is the max of my 100% comfort range. 4-6 hours is the flare up painful danger zone. Weekend and evenings off of work are no problem, even without meds. But yea, work creates issues still.

Dr b is the man!! He will check every single nerve to make sure they are fully free and decompressed. He said this is why my surgury took so long, I had many issues causing nerve compression, i believe bone spurs , but he specifically mentionef needing time to free up my nerves, so it was more than just a discetomy and disc implantation. He was so careful and detail oriented that he spent 6.5 hours on my surgury , when it should have taken only 3 hours.

Overall, the whole surgury process wasn't that bad. I was never on "oh my god " type pain, not even close. So, no worries ; ) I'm 3 levels and am very happy with my outcome despite some mild pain issues, mostly at work. Good luck all!!

Last edited by steve55; 05-06-2009 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:23 AM
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Default this soon will pass...

Jess,

Hang in there.
It is normal to be scared and try not to worry too much.
Easier said than done.
You will make it to the other side.
Homemade wine, huh?
Do you have a vineyard?
My husband has been making his own beer.
But we don't have barley in the back yard, he buys his ingredients.
LOL.

runner
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:04 PM
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Dale,

Your post made me cry...they were tears of relief, for the understanding and the empathy and the clarity. I have gotten so much support from everyone here, I can't even begin to thank you all.

The ultra-crazies get me most when I'm sleep deprived, which is a lot lately. Mark asked me a few weeks ago how I was holding up, if I was becoming depressed. I told him, no, I didn't feel depressed, but that I did fight it back everyday. My children, while they do occasionally get on my nerves, are like 7 rays of sunshine that beam down on me, and they give me the strength to fight. How am I going to keep fighting when I'm in Europe, so far away from them for so long?

And so, last night, I increased my anxiety medication (Cymbalta) from 60 mg to 90 mg, which was what I was on before my last surgery. I don't know why I didn't think to do that sooner (thanks Cathy!!!!). I also occasionally take Sonata for sleep, and I can take 1 or 2 at bedtime, so I went ahead and took 2. I did wake up a couple of times, but I was able to go back to sleep, and managed to get about 6.5 hours. I'll try the same again tonight.

Thanks again for all the support! (Breath in~~Breath out~~Drink Wine!!!)
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36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:17 PM
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Runner,

Yes, we make our own wine, but we don't have a vineyard. We DO have 8 blueberry plants in the backyard, but they aren't producing anything yet. Sometimes we buy kits, but we've also developed recipes from juice that we can get from the store. We have our own label that we call Convergence, because we developed it not long after we met, and decided that we wanted to blend our beautiful families together into one. And so Convergence was born: The occurrence of two or more things coming together; the act of coming closer. Convergence is a fruit wine and we currently have three varieties: Convergence White (Apple/Peach/White grape), Convergence Red (Concord/Blueberry/Strawberry) and our newest, Convergence Blush (Con. White + Merlot). We are still fiddling with the Convergence Red. Our last two batches were very acidic, so we've gone back to the drawing board with it and are trying something new with this next go-round, but it takes SO LONG before you can do anything. We have three batches that are about thee months old aging in the 6-gallon carboys...they need at least another two months...
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36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
We have three batches that are about thee months old aging in the 6-gallon carboys...they need at least another two months...
Well that will be something to look forward to after surgery.

Well, I am having some of that anxiety myself today. My boyfriend was told that the home equity line of credit increase that he applied for (already had the HELOC, and is just asking for an increase in the amount, to pay for surgery), is going to take 3-4 weeks . They had told me it would only take a week.

3-4 weeks is too late! I need that money now!

I don't know what I am going to do. Everything is in motion to have surgery in 20 days. I have to find a way to make it happen. I just want to cry right now, but I'm at work so I have to hold it together.
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Cathy

46 years old. 12-15 years of intermittent pain, 2 years with constant pain.

DDD, L4-5 and L5-S1, pain confirmed by discogram.
PT, ESI's, Facet injection and block, Acupuncture - all no help.

2-level (Prodisc-L) ADR surgery with Dr. Bertagnoli, May 26, 2009.

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:22 PM
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Maybe get a letter from the bank that you can send to the doctor, explaining the situation, and they may give you some breathing room. If it is guaranteed, then this may not be a show (or surgery) stopper.

Can't hurt to ask
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DDD
Herniated discs C4/5 & 5/6, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1
Severe compression of spinal cord in two levels
All conventional therapy exhausted, including spinal injections, PT, massage, etc.
In appeal with Gov't Insurance for Out-of-country coverage for ADR hybrid surgery of above discs.
Recently discovered that I am severely allergic to all common metals used in surgical hardware except for Titanium.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:47 PM
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Well, I emailed ProSpine. Telling them the situation, and asking if there were options, with some suggestions for what I can do.

I am still hoping we can get the bank to move more quickly. He will be calling them tonight, and if things still don't seem to be going our way, we will go to our branch in the morning.

OMG, I can feel the stress now in my neck. I think I should leave work early, and try to chill out at home. Luckily the boss isn't here today.
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Cathy

46 years old. 12-15 years of intermittent pain, 2 years with constant pain.

DDD, L4-5 and L5-S1, pain confirmed by discogram.
PT, ESI's, Facet injection and block, Acupuncture - all no help.

2-level (Prodisc-L) ADR surgery with Dr. Bertagnoli, May 26, 2009.

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:07 AM
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Hey Everybody...just checking in...it's 10 minutes 'til midnight, and I'm wake, again...even after 2 sleeping pills.

At the moment, not only are the crazies getting me, but me, but I'm feeling that black shadow of depression. During the day, we all fight it. Even though the ones I love have no idea that the monster is there, they fight it on my behalf, unknowingly. I have two of my girls in with a psychologist, and she asked them how they felt about my upcoming surgery...they replied that they were fine...glad I was going to get fixed. Outside of their presence, I told her that my children are my children and not my little therapists, so they know just the facts, and none of my deep, dark fears. I tell them very little; just the bare minimum, and I try not to talk about it in front of them, knowing that kids are smart and that they will pick up a little more on their own when I'm not paying attention anyway. They know I'm stressed and a little scared (even tough I'm terrified, I try to down play it for them), but I look at them and tell them that it's normal and that I have the best doctor in the world, and that everything is going to be fine. They trust me, so they believe me. I hope I'm doing right by them...
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36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:56 AM
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Yes, you have one of the best back doctors in the world. I hope you are getting some sleep now. I read somewhere above that you had a glass of wine the other night. I am not sure if that is so good if one is trying to sleep . I had a lot of problems like this before my surgey as well and went on lorazepam which helped not only the nerves and sleep but odly enough also the parenthasia and neuralgia problems in my feet. So I am still taking it and it still helps with my sleep as usually after 3 hours of sleep my ibuprofen has worn off and the pain builds up more and more just from lying. Without this stuff I could often give up sleeping after 3 hours but that would have a real impact on my next days energy and stress so my Dr. keeps me on it. Nice guy.
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Nov 09: Prodisc-C ADR 2 level C 4/5/6
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:24 AM
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Thank god others feel the same.
Here I have been feeling completely inadequate not wanting to get out of bed in the morning but having to at some point because of pain.
I am having a nervous breakdown from the stress of indecision. Wanting surgery but not sure if I can live with the outcome if not a success.
How do others keep going?
How do you keep moving forward?
How do you keep positive?
Do others see a psychologist to help them cope?
Please tell me some coping strategies because I have none left to draw from.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:01 PM
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Michelle, one thing I've learned in the short time I've been on this forum is that I've found a wonderful group of people who KNOW what I'm going though, either because they've been there, they are there, or they're heading there. Yes, there are others who feel the same as you. I, myself, have taken the day off from work because I'm so exhausted, and I just need a quiet day. How do I keep going? Honestly, my family keeps me going. My husband is my rock and if it weren't for his patience and understanding I couldn't do this. My children NEED me to get out of bed every morning, because I don't want their childhood memories to me filled with a mom who was there but unavailable. How do I stay positive? Sheer gut force, but it gets harder and harder as the days go by because the stress is wearing me down. That's when my husband steps in and stays positive enough for both of us.

You have to have a strong support system. I am blessed to be surrounded by people that I can draw strength from, and I think that God led me to this forum as a further means of support. If you can see a psychologist, then do. It certainly can't hurt. But hang in there, and keep talking to us. It's what we're here for.
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36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:02 PM
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Fuzzy...lorazapam...isn't that Xanax? I have some of that somewhere. I have a fear of dentists and I've been having some reconstructive work done over the last couple of years so I have to pop a couple of those before I go so that I don't say bad things about my doctor and his mama (I actually said that to him as he was leading me to "The Chair"...no kidding! ) As for the wine, my husband and I are what you would call wine enthusiasts, and we always have a couple of glasses in the evenings to help us relax (we're both pretty uptight people naturally )...which is why I HATE taking pain medication (like the narcotics).
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36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:13 PM
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Xanax is short acting so it wears off after 2 to 3 hours and that together with the pain build up would cause me a major axiety attacks, like a flash i would sit straight up at 2 in the morning and that was it for the night. I could set my clock by it. My doc tried several of the others and when he heard about my xanax complaint he quickly switched me. The lorazepam is longer acting and doesn't fall of the cliff as fast as the xanax which I think it meant for anxiety (dentist) but it is weaker then the loraz which the doctors don't like to write up unless they know you real well and you can manage it as it has a addictive tendency. What happens is the usual dose does not work any more and one "ups" the dose. Not good. Luckily that doesn't happen with me but it really helps with the pain constant axiety and the fact that I might get some sleep at least for the first few hours. Last night by the way was a bad night for me has my lower half tingled, when numbish etc depending how I lied and if I move arround from not being able to sleep makes it worse. I hate this neck!

I think the Dr.s don't like to write these meds especially for chronics like me due to the abuse issue. He want me to take antidepressants instead as pain causes depression, well known fact. But I had such good luck with this simple med as it helps other ways too (not documented) that I like it for that and rather not take the other.

Oh edit: I am quite into wines myself but I had to lay really low on the wine due to my problems I had to chose, the wine, or better sleep. I have friends with fine wineries. I can go enjoy the winery have a quarter of a glass and that is all I can handle...
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Last edited by fuzzy; 05-07-2009 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:36 PM
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I've read in other places that anti-depresents can help with nerve pain also... i haven't been put on any yet, but I'm thinking of trying this, for both depression and the pain. I have a history of chronic depression anyway and the pain is making it come back on me full force here lately.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:54 PM
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Michelle,

Aside from drugs, it is our support system that keeps us going.

My husband is absolutely everything to me. He kept me going. If I couldn't depend on him, my life would be 100 times harder. The reverse is also true and I couldn't/wouldn't let him down.

When someone is more important than you, you do it for them. You draw from their strength.

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time but others have been where you are and have come out whole. Hang onto that hope and don't let go. Don't lose sight of the other side. It's there, even if the tunnel looks dark, the light is there. My tunnel was 3 years long and now it's gone. Yours will be gone too!

Please don't give up the hope, Dale
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:16 PM
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I enjoy wine too. But I have given up drinking at all, while I am on pain medications. I can't wait to be able to have a drink again, one of these days. Maybe it won't take all summer before I can stop taking the meds, and I can enjoy sitting on my deck in the evening with a glass of wine.....that would be lovely.
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Cathy

46 years old. 12-15 years of intermittent pain, 2 years with constant pain.

DDD, L4-5 and L5-S1, pain confirmed by discogram.
PT, ESI's, Facet injection and block, Acupuncture - all no help.

2-level (Prodisc-L) ADR surgery with Dr. Bertagnoli, May 26, 2009.

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:40 PM
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I know this thread hasn't been active in a very long time, but I feel I am worried just as much as Jess. Jess what was your outcome?
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:45 PM
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Default Good

I contacted her yesterday she is doing well n happy about her decision.
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