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iSpine Discuss New and screwed. in the Main forums forums; Just a little of my story. This past summer I had a routine discectomy for a herniated disk in my ...

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Old 01-02-2016, 02:38 AM
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Default New and screwed.

Just a little of my story. This past summer I had a routine discectomy for a herniated disk in my lower back. A week and a half later, I was back on the operating table to save my life from a serious surgery site infection at the nerve root. A week in the hospital and then 6 weeks of IV antibiotics and I can just now start getting around a little. Problem is I have about 50% feeling in everything below my waste and can only hobble around for about a hour before I can't pick my feet up off the ground and walk. Burning nerve pain in back, both legs and feet. I'm 53 years old and have been a police officer for 25 years and it looks like I'm going to have to medically retire and apply for disability. I was in the best shape of my life 7 months ago and training and working out 6 days a week. Now I'm just a shell. If this doesn't get better, I may not see next year. Another MRI next week and then who knows.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:03 PM
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Default new & screwed

First off I'm sorry to read what a devastating experience you've had with spine surgery. I am wondering if you had an acute injury that lead to an emergent discectomy or if you had problems and it was enough to recommend discectomy so you went ahead and had the surgery. Either way I can certainly understand how you feel given the results to date.

I had my first discectomy when I was in my early 30's. Big open surgery at L5S1. It helped for a while but L4 bulged about a year and half later and once again whatever relief I had felt was overshadowed by my back going out for weeks and just messing up my life again (was an RN,NP and had been in pretty good shape prior to surgeries even with problems/pain/etc).

2nd discectomy was in my late 30's and was a percutaneous surgery (not open). I don't really know whether the surgery was so new back then, the surgeon even though quite experienced not experienced enough in that surgery or visuals just so poor back then but the surgery failed horrifically and left me so much worse off I was thinking along the same lines as you.

Mostly the pain was just unbelievable.. I mean the burning was gnawing and crazy 24/7 thru buttocks bilat, both legs, and into my feet. I managed to go back to work but I was really suffering so much and this was back before Pain Management specialists were a big thing and/or prescribing any helpful pain meds. I was put on Elavil to take the edge off the burning pain and it did but eventually it wasn't helpful enough and I went on Neurontin 1800mg/day after 5 years of Elavil. Stayed on the Neurontin for 12 years though in 2000 had to retire on disability and in 2001 started taking Methadone (low dose) for pain daily.

From around 2001 to 2006 I explored more surgical possibilities starting with 3 level global fusion but decided against that. Then had some surgical consults for ADR surgery at L4 and L5 and eventually was authorized for ADR at L4 and fusion at L5. I just was too scared to have more surgery and have any increase in pain anywhere... so I did nothing further but take my pain meds and also had been started on Epidural Steroid Injections around 2002 (up to 3-4/year). They actually helped me greatly with some relief so was afraid to do anything further surgically that might change any of that.

Here I am in 2016. I'm 30 years older and still have a bulge at L4 that is gives me problems, L5 is probably fairly well fused so less bothersome, and the burning pain has been gone for about 10 years at least (knock on wood except with occasion).

All I can say is take one day at a time and if you're not seeing a Pain Management specialist I'd recommend seeing one to help out with the burning pain type of relief.

It's hard to accept failed surgeries or surgeries that make us worse instead of better or at the very least don't do anything worse however it happens and all I can say from my own personal experience is to try to get the best treatment you can to help you deal with living with pain, retire if you have to even though you don't want to, and try to just get thru the day you're dealing with and hope that the next day brings some relief or improvement. It took a lot of days to get me to that point so I'm not trying to give any "overnight/quick fix advice." Pain sucks and great dysfunction and pain sucks even more however you just never know when you might start feeling better. The body can surprise you again so I guess I'm just trying to say~ don't give up hope.

If you feel like posting more about what you're going thru or have tried thus far to date feel free. Many of us that have had spine surgery have had less than desirable results and some downright awful results. Then again plenty of people have had great results. I used to envy them and wish I could have had that too .. I didn't so I had to learn to deal with living my life and finding my way.

take care and I do wish you improvement and pain relief for the future ~ Maria
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:31 PM
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Thank you Maria. I'm trying to keep my head up and in the game about all this. I haven't given up yet, but this next year should be interesting.
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Old 01-03-2016, 03:43 AM
Gil Denis's Avatar
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Location: jackson Wyoming
Posts: 349
Default One day

Hi Mark

I have not posted for a long time, but I lurk the site quite a bit you story struck me and you are not alone I live in pain every day and try to be strong and do the best

One day you will find a solution I have had three surgeries in my spine and looking at more !!

Do your research and we are here to help

Gil
__________________
L5-S1 lam 1994
L2 to L5 DDD
L3 -L4 hern Dec 2007.
L4-L5 Annular fissure with mild central stenosis and moderate facet hypertrophy.
L5-S1DDDDD
L2-L3 Right-sided neural foraminal narrowing at and L3-L4 related to posterolateral hypertrophic spurs and facet hypertrophy.
C3-C4 limited DDD
9 injections Depo. P.T. 13 months 5 dose packs,
Nerve Block Injections.4 ESI S1
L5-S1 foraminotomy 09
L4-L5 Microdiscectomy 09 Reherniate 4-2010
Coflex-L Implants L4 to S1
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Old 01-03-2016, 05:33 AM
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Wow. My problems, all of a sudden, seem very minor now. I guess what I mostly concerned about is surviving financially. Luckily, I've been with the same agency my entire career and had years of holidays, sick time, and vacation time built up and have continued to get a paycheck every two weeks even though I haven't worked in 6 months. If I'm forced to retire, I'll lose my insurance or have to start paying it which is around 800 a month. I'm already out 25-30k with no end in sight. I would have never thought I would end up like this.
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:17 PM
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Default re retiring/income

I didn't listen to my PCP when she told me I should retire (on disability) while I was still working full time. I thought she was just "part of the system" re my employer and did not have my best interests in mind. I worked part time for the last few years which meant less money when I finally did file for permanent disability and SSD.

If you're thinking about retiring on permanent disability Medicare health care benefits take up to 24 months waiting period and I've forgotten now if that was from point of filing for permanent disability or point of permanent disability being awarded.

I'm not sure how your employer benefits go but sometimes employers keep paying benefits up until you file for Permanent disability and then you start to Cobra after that. So maybe you'd catch a break there with the wait period from when you retire on disability and when you are eligible for Medicare.

Once you have Medicare you will need a supplemental insurance as well however at that point there are plans that are relatively inexpensive even if they are HMOs which I really dislike .. at least it's something.

Good luck and yes you are far from alone in any of this and what you might be thinking now or at any point.. many of us have been there too
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmsf3 View Post
Just a little of my story. This past summer I had a routine discectomy for a herniated disk in my lower back. A week and a half later, I was back on the operating table to save my life from a serious surgery site infection at the nerve root. A week in the hospital and then 6 weeks of IV antibiotics and I can just now start getting around a little. Problem is I have about 50% feeling in everything below my waste and can only hobble around for about a hour before I can't pick my feet up off the ground and walk. Burning nerve pain in back, both legs and feet. I'm 53 years old and have been a police officer for 25 years and it looks like I'm going to have to medically retire and apply for disability. I was in the best shape of my life 7 months ago and training and working out 6 days a week. Now I'm just a shell. If this doesn't get better, I may not see next year. Another MRI next week and then who knows.
Most of the people were able to get back to their daily activities within a few time period after this stage. But there are some occasions which were people may experience great trouble in doing their regular activities like sitting, walking, running, etc. They may feel chronic pain in their back, this can be healed by doing some back strengthening exercises. Exercises after the surgery will help to regain your movements and activities. My brother had got a physiotherapy treatment as per the recommendation of his doctor after his discectomy surgery. He got relieved from the pain and discomfort after a few therapy sessions and exercises with the help of a well-known physio in Toronto. I think, getting physiotherapy treatment is a good option to regain the stability and strength especially after the surgery. All the best
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:37 AM
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Default Too easy to be a Doctor

I hate to say it but it's too easy to be a doctor in USA. My son whom can't even stack checkers is in Med school to be an orthopedic surgeon. It's amazing the people who can play the people game become doctors n the ones who can fix a car on the side of the road don't finish college. I would be very careful about letting doctors you don't know cut you open. Sounds like your doctor ruined you. All I know is I'm headed for surgery too n if a doctor ruins me n I commit Harry Cary he is going first. Sorry your messed up bro. Not even a cop deserves back pain. No one does.

All my sons friends say or this make 800k a year that's all they think about is the money!
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