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Surgical Outcomes and Blogs Discuss C3-4, C5-6, C6-7, T1-2 ProDisc-C Nova ADR blog in the Main forums forums; Wow, what a difference a day makes. Those of you who've been on the forums for a while will ...

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Old 04-02-2009, 04:04 PM
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Default C3-4, C5-6, C6-7, T1-2 ProDisc-C Nova ADR blog

Wow, what a difference a day makes. Those of you who've been on the forums for a while will already know a lot about my situation. I'll be having this very unique surgery on Tuesday. For anyone facing large multi-level cervical issues, I'll blog too much here.

I have been avoiding the surgery for several years because it was a 3-level procedure that spans 4 levels. C3 to C7 (leaving C4-5 alone). I've maintained that "I'm too high functioning to consider such a big surgery." When things would get worse, I'd seriously consider the surgery, but before pulling the trigger, they would always get better. While my pain has rarely been more than mild to moderate, it's been pretty constant and really has impacted my life in a serious way. Last fall, I scheduled the surgery for late January, but by the time December rolled around, I chickened out and cancelled.

About 7 weeks ago in mid February, I had a setback that really kicked up the symptoms, including substantial L chest and L arm pain. (Yes, I had my heart worked up.) New cervical MRI showed that everything in the known bad 3 levels has advanced. It also turned up a thoracic disc herniation with spinal cord compression. (For those of you with too much time and not enough to do, or if you are particularly interested in this type of case, here are some relevant threads:
My c-spine acting up again... (discography results) and
http://www.ispine.org/forum/ispine/1...hest-pain.html.)

I had already been planning a trip to Germany with clients for their surgeries in mid May, so I scheduled my surgery for the end of May. Spinal cord compression can be severe and completely asymptomatic, or it can be mild and highly symptomatic. I've been lucky as I apparently have a lot of room in my spinal canal, so even though my films have looked pretty ugly, I've not been in severe pain and don't (didn't) have any of the scary neuro symptoms. A couple of nights ago, I had my entire L leg go numb and experienced very large patches of numbness that moved around my upper body. I’ve been watching the difficulty I have standing on my L foot w/eyes closed for some time, but recently when the symptoms are worse, I cannot even come close to maintaining any balance for a second. R foot is not great, but I can manage to do it.

With the rapid onset of more symptoms and knowing how quickly things can go bad in a hurry, I realized that I could not manage a trip with clients and I should not consider waiting 2 months for surgery. With spinal cord compression, the risk of permanent damage is not insignificant or tiny. After some conversations with Dr. Baumbach (neurologist) and Dr. Fenk-Mayer, we decided that I was not an emergent case, but I was urgent. I’m now scheduled for surgery on Tuesday.

As we’ve been watching the pathology worsen for years, there have been borderline contraindications that I hope have not progressed too far. I don’t know how much my odds of success have changed over the years. The only relevant data will be known in a few weeks or months. We are here… it is what it is. I made my decision to wait, because we did not know what the timeline was. I believed that I would have surgery, but imagined that it might have taken many more years to progress. Now, I believe that things could get better, but even when things are ‘good’ my life is still too severely impacted. As things have progressed, I believe that there is no realistic way to avoid this, so now, sooner is better than later.

The thoracic herniation is new. We don’t know (and will never know) which symptoms are related to the new pathology, but it’s clear that T1-2 must be included. The only question is C3-4. I believe it’s got to go, but would love to shorten the construct by 2 levels if possible. With cervical ADR, coming back for a later operation is not as problematic as it is with the anterior lumbar surgeries.

Oh well… here we go. I’ll post too much detail here. I hope it’s not too boring. (Actually, I hope it’s very boring… go there… get surgery done… come back… all is well… END OF STORY!)
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
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Last edited by mmglobal; 04-02-2009 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:00 PM
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Mark,

My prayers are with you, please keep us all posted.

Todd
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:29 PM
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Talk about fast, Tuesday is just days away! I'm so sorry you find yourself in this position again but you know what to expect with surgery or what lays ahead if you do nothing. I know you were hoping to avoid this but the fates were against you .

I know you'll try to maintain a work schedule but now is the time to concentrate on you. I hope you remember this when you're pulled in all directions. So please be sure to take it slow. Now is a time to walk the walk.

Is Diane going with you? Or who? Please take care and I'll be with you in spirit. Good luck, Dale
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:41 PM
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Jeez...Mark a 4-level...yikes. You're in great hands. (BTW, we are in the same "category"--not emergent, but urgent [I'll be scheduling surgery with Dr. B tomorrow].)

Well, it's good that you are getting done as waiting started to take its toll. I have a few minutes now...give my cell a call if you get the chance.

You'll be a (unfortunately) cool case discussion at SAS.
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1994 Football Injury
1997 Snow Skiing Injury
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1999 & 2003 MVA (not at fault both times)
Grade V Tears L4/L5 & L5/L6
2-Level ProDisc® L4/L5 & L5/L6* *lumbosacral transitional vertebra (11.15.03--23 years old)
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:44 PM
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WOW Quick surgeries for the both of you. This is great and I hope you both are fixed better than Humpety Dumpety.

Please keep us posted.

Terry Newton
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:09 PM
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Things seem to be getting much worse very fast. I'm still functional, but upright time is limited and gets more and more painful through the day.

Note that leg numbness is not thought to be lumbar related as a few people have thought. It does not follow a lumbar dermatome and is much too broadly dispursed, entire leg and large patches of numbness on L upper body.

Whatever you do to muster the good karma... pray, meditate, commune with nature, or as Dr. Zeeers just said, "I'll turn on the candles for you." Please do it. Gil and Paulette, ski a run for me! Dieter, do a skydive for me! Doreen, take a hike... no don't take a hike... take a hike for me!

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:26 PM
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I am very sorry to hear that you are getting worse so fast. E-hugs and E-wishes are coming your way. When do you leave? You will be in good hands for the surgery and hopefully as good as new soon. Rest as much as you can!
Phylly
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:16 AM
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Wow Mark and Justin, you guys move fast! That's probably good, from a mental standpoint, doesn't give you a lot of time to 'think about it' I'm a worry wart, so I tried to stay busy in the weeks before surgery. Godspeed in healing,
Kathy
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:26 AM
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Nwthat was indeed fast!

I wish you the very best. Knowing how excellent these healthcare professionals are I know you are in the best of hands and I almost wish I could have gone with you.
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Old 04-03-2009, 03:54 PM
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Default re your c spine/t spine

Mark,
When I read about your c spine and I remember back when you started to mention some symptoms tho not necessarily pain it makes me wonder about waiting until there are full blown pain and other symptoms re not just cspine but l spine.

The only thing I can do is what you've asked re good vibes, good thoughts, prayers, mantra, chants.. the whole bit for the best possible surgical results and recovery.

As mentioned above by Fuzzy it's great than you can be in the best of surgical hands. That has to be an enormous comfort.

Will you be the man/person with the most ADRs to date?
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:33 PM
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By all accounts you're in the best of hands and you're being attended to quickly. Sounds good.

I'll be rooting for you and I wish you a the most boring recovery ever logged onto this forum.

Good Luck
Adrienne
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:19 PM
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Booking tickets less than a week out was exciting. When I started looking, flights that left too late on Sunday were $600, but flights I could use were $1600. I poked around and kept checking. I finally found flights that left early enough on priceline for $600.

I've never used cheapoair.com, but a client told me she found dirt, dirt cheap for May.

Mark
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2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:06 PM
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Mark,

Really sorry to read your news. I am (and will be) thinking of you and wishing you and your surgeon a successful op and as painless and smooth a recovery as possible.

All good wishes,
rosedee
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2/04 Acute episode became new baseline - Housebound & severe pain
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:37 AM
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That's the way to do it! Schedule it, pack, travel, get your new spine, and then heal. No time to think about it or chicken out. I'm sorry that you have to have the surgery, but I am glad that you are able to go to the best! I will be praying for you, sending you positive mo-jo and lighting a candle for you.

Take care and keep us posted.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:39 PM
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Default Praying for You

Mark,
I am praying for you, and will continue to do so.

Please keep in touch. Pauline and I care very much for you.

-Jeff
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Three level lumbar Charite (L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1) with Dr. Zeegers in Munich, Germany: 2/25/05 (successful)
Two level cervical Mobi-C (C5/6, C6/7) 2/2/07 with Dr. Zeegers (successful)
Laser Facet Coagulation (left side: L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1 & sacral) 11/04/10 with Prof. Dr. Reul / Beta Klinik (significant reduction in remnant lumbar & sacral pain)
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:28 PM
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I felt pretty good yesterday and started to have the "do I really need to do this" thoughts. Thankfully, I feel pretty bad now! The questions are gone.

This is harder than I thought. I posted about Diane's poignant moments with Zoey the night before we left for her surgery here: Diane's surgery blog. I'm feeling that way too... I don't know what the future brings and feel kind of like I'm saying good-bye to everyone.

I got to see a local doc under my new HMO on Thursday and he agreed to do my follow-up. I have no idea what the insurance ramifications are. I have no out of network coverage and hope that follow-up won't be a problem. I tried to reach my GP and let him know what was going on, but never heard back from him. (Although he's been great at getting the things I needed done!)

Gotta run... Zoey's 2nd b-day party starting now. More later,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:28 PM
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Default your follow up

Mark,
It's good to hear that you managed to get someone to state they would follow you up. I'm sure your GP would have to deal with any medical ramifications that would ensue should any re your insurance. Spinally is another thing tho that should be interesting to hear you report on. I think in an emergent situation you'd be covered in terms of assessment and whatever could be done with the HMO plan. **edit to say I thought of some other things that I always consider when thinking of surgery abroad and settling w/WC tho then I think of what I wrote below..

Oh well, you are choosing the best path possible so forward you go!

Good thoughts and prayers Mark!

Last edited by Maria; 04-05-2009 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:39 PM
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Mark, I sent you that video because I know you too, will get back up, and claim victory after this unavoidable next surgery. I have no doubt about it. You are in all of our prayers and absolutely in the best hands with Dr. B. We will see you on the other side friend. God bless.

Cindylou
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:01 PM
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Mark,

Just returned a message to Dr. F-M and added: "May God bless the hands and minds of all at Pro-Spine during "Mark" and "Justin" surgeries". I am positive that you are both in great hands and amazed at the great work these doctors do.

I have to smile, (and feel for you) to read that you worry about your surgery. We all forget that even after all the surgeries you have observed, all the information you have consumed (and given), all the top notch docs you know, you are just like the rest of us.

You are in excellent hands. We all know you will come out on the other side pain free and continue to be our poster boy for ADR's.

God will take care of you, he knows that besides Zoey and Diane who need you, there are many hundreds of spineys that need you as well.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you. Be positive.

Sandy
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**PM recommended, meds, PT, massage therapy, chiropractor, injections
**Dec. 2007 numbness and weakness in left arm/thumb, x-rays, MRI, discs at C4-7 pushing on spinal cord, fusion or ADR out of country
**April 7, 2008, discogram at C3-4, surgery 4 levels, Prodisc-C, Dr. Bertagnoli, Germany
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:39 AM
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Mark,

It's been a few weeks since I have been on, what the hell happened? This accelerated very quickly, I know you were having on going problems but wow, I'm stunned.... I'm so sorry. You know I am only a few blocks away, let me know if I can do anything, okay?

Regards,
Larry
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:05 AM
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Thumbs up good healing

Mark,

I wasn't on here for a few days and so i was surprised when you said that you were leaving in a few hours to fly to Germany.
You know, leaving on a jet plane...
I have had a few surgeries and can pass on a few tidbits. I just try to calm myself and be at peace. I am sure you will be fine and that is what you think about going into surgery is that you will be doing what you need to do and you will come out on the other side fine.
Think about those beautiful crystal rocks in Laguna Beach, if you want, anything that calms you.
I will be praying that everything goes well.

Kim
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:10 AM
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Wow, did I ever miss this from not being online for a while!

I wish you my very best. Sending you my best thoughts and vibes of sacred places to you.

Allan
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:00 AM
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Default good luck!

Good luck mark. If it makes you feel any better, my 3 level cervical ADR prodisc nova is going very well. 5 weeks post op and I continue to make improvements. I'm mostly off pain meds and sat through a movie, sat for mid afternoon lunch, 20 minutes treadmill, then another 2 hours dinner with friends at chili's, no meds and such a full day resulted in minimal discomfort. I'm very pleased so far and I'm only 5 weeks out.

Thanks for all the support you have provided for many of us here, we'll all be hoping for the best.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:24 PM
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Thumbs up Almost on the other side...

Hey Mark,

Your date is almost here. I saw your text about SAS...I'm sure you'll be there in one form or another. I'm interested to hear about the approach for T1-T2.

Anyway, I wanted to wish you the very best. Drs. Fenk-Mayer and Bertagnoli are miracle workers, as you know.

Keep us posted.
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1994 Football Injury
1997 Snow Skiing Injury
Laminotomy L4/L5 (3.7.97--17 years old)
1999 & 2003 MVA (not at fault both times)
Grade V Tears L4/L5 & L5/L6
2-Level ProDisc® L4/L5 & L5/L6* *lumbosacral transitional vertebra (11.15.03--23 years old)
Dr. Rudolf Bertagnoli -- dr-bertagnoli.com
Pain-free for the last 4.5 yrs.
5.14.09 DSS with Dr. B.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:50 PM
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Default Best Wishes

Hi Mark

I wish you the best, keep me posted on your surgery,

Keep moving forward "Walt Disney"

take Care

Gil
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:34 PM
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Default Only the Best for the Best!

Mark,

I'm so glad I got to talk to you before you were too relaxed tonight with that wonderful pill. If it could get me to sleep, you'll be rested for the morning. I know you may not get a chance to read this for a day or so, but the way I see it is that since I took your previous surgery date, you now have mine. So logically that can only mean that you will have the same outcome I had. The stars aligned perfectly for me. From finding you online, using your date in January and having a superlative recovery and outcome. I truly believe that they will now do the same for you. It's interesting to read your posts about how hard the decision became-it's like reading my thoughts from late last year before I committed to the date, really deja-vu. You were there for me through it all. I wish so much that I could be in Germany right now, if only to help you or Diane out in some small way. It'll just be like a dream before you know it and you'll be "on the other side of it" feeling soooo much better. You are capable of creating that reality, with just a bit of help from Dr. B,
Sweet dreams,
Jennifer
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:14 AM
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7am in Germany, Tuesday morning. Mark here, posting under Diane's ID.

Yesterday was pretty hectic, arriving with little sleep and heading straight for the hospital. I've been running around saying, "I'm glad it's really hurting." It's easier to head into the surgery with all the symptoms lit up and reminding me that I have few options. There is no question in my mind about needing the surgery. I have wracked my brain to think of ways to make the surgery smaller... which levels could we leave out and only do later if needed? The answer is none. So here I go with my 6-level approach and 4-levels of ProDisc-C Nova.

Bertagnoli came by and answered all of our questions. The Nova looks great and while the enhancements are significant, the function of the prosthesis is unchanged, so I don't feel like I'm test flying new equipment.

Emotionally, this has been an interesting process. You want to say the things that one should say before leaving on an uncertain journey, but it seems like saying good bye... so much is left out in the interest of keeping good karma going into the surgery. I hope to write more later, but I guess I should wait until I'm not well into the effects of the 'loopy pill' that everyone who's been through this knows about.

Wish me luck! Hopefully, I'll be back in a day or two. Diane will update when she can.

All the best,

Mark

PS... to everyone on the patient community, new and old... this has been a big part of my life since I discovered Braintalk in 2000. Thanks for all you do to help one another. YOU ROCK!
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:12 AM
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You have more than a "good luck" wish from me. I'm glad that you were pleased and that Diane w/keep us informed. Best - Allan
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:51 PM
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Oh, Mark, I'm just glad that you are there, with your wife for support, in the good hands of Dr. Bertagnoli. We'll hold vigil, till we hear from you or Diane on the other side. God bless!

Cindylou
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:14 PM
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Default Good luck!

Mark, I wish you the very best. You'll be on the other side and on the road to recovery in no time. I look forward to your updates and inevitable success.
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-Justin
1994 Football Injury
1997 Snow Skiing Injury
Laminotomy L4/L5 (3.7.97--17 years old)
1999 & 2003 MVA (not at fault both times)
Grade V Tears L4/L5 & L5/L6
2-Level ProDisc® L4/L5 & L5/L6* *lumbosacral transitional vertebra (11.15.03--23 years old)
Dr. Rudolf Bertagnoli -- dr-bertagnoli.com
Pain-free for the last 4.5 yrs.
5.14.09 DSS with Dr. B.
I'm here to help. Only checking PMs currently.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:39 PM
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Good Luck Mark. May the Force Be With You!

Terry Newton
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1980 ruptured L4-L5
1988 ruptured SI-L5
1990 ruptured C5-C6
1994 ruptured C6-C7
1995 Hemi-Laminectomy C5-C6, C6-C7 Mayo Clinic
Bicycle Accident 2004
MRI, EMG, Facet Injections, Epidural Blocks, Lumbar Discogram.
Stenum Hospital Surgery November 4, 2006
Prestige Disc C5-C6, C6-C7
Maverick Disc S1-L5, L4-L5
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:22 PM
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Default your surgery

Hey Mark,
I couldn't sleep last night and realized that you guys are a day ahead of us here so wasn't sure if your surgery was Tuesday USA or Tuesday Germany.. ok so we know that the drugs really get hold of my mind!

Truthfully I was just wondering how ya doin'??? I'm glad to see that you posted and of course as you know the spine community is rooting for you and all the other good things we'd be doing in wishing you well with your surgery.

Your experience and knowledge is what gives me hope for my future and your own personal surgical endeavors are what really allow me to trust you/your thoughts/opinions/recommendations.

Rock on Mark and have an excellent surgery/recovery
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:24 PM
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Mark, Was thinking about you last night before I went to sleep (knowing that Straubing is about 6 hrs ahead of me) and imagining your thoughts while being prepared for surgery. It's Tuesday evening in Germany, know you made it through with flying colors. Can't wait to get the good news. Sandy
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**Accidents, active life-style, always some back/neck pain controlled w/ibuphrofen
2004 excessive pain, x-ray, PT, MRI diagnosis cervical DDD
**PM recommended, meds, PT, massage therapy, chiropractor, injections
**Dec. 2007 numbness and weakness in left arm/thumb, x-rays, MRI, discs at C4-7 pushing on spinal cord, fusion or ADR out of country
**April 7, 2008, discogram at C3-4, surgery 4 levels, Prodisc-C, Dr. Bertagnoli, Germany
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:04 PM
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Mark,
I am also thinking about you and hope this goes very well. I am so glad that you have your wife there. Best wishes,
Phylly
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Fall on tailbone causing sciatica and back pain April 05
Conservative Treatment and PM for 2 years
Discogram concordant pain @L4-S1 Aug. 07
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Continued problems and back pain worsened
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:19 PM
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Mark,

You were/are in our thoughts all day yesterday and again today. Don't know when your surgery was scheduled but you're probably already on your way to recovery. I know you'll post when you can.

Know we're all thinking of you and sending all we can from the States.

Dale
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:38 PM
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Thinking about you Mark, and hoping to hear an update as soon as you or Diane are able (thinking it will likely be Diane). You are in great hands, with the best care possible. Hope everything went well, and that you are well on your way to recovery.

And I also want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me, before heading off to Germany. It really eased my mind.

Wishing for the best outcome for you!!
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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 04-07-2009, 11:04 PM
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Drag your butt out of bed, to the computer and post already, our sanity depends on it! Ok, so maybe don't really do that; but we all can't wait to hear how it all went. You are on your way to being pain free again.
Glod Bless, Kathy
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1/06- In wreck with 18 wheeler
Numerous MRI's, PT, chiropractic, accupuncture, TENS therapy, massage therapy, facet injections, epidural injections, Nerve study, Discogram, confirms pain in L4/5, IDET, decompression, Bi-lateral neurotomy L3/4/5, denied by insurance twice, in Active L clinical trial, had surgery March 17, 2009 in Miami, FL- received Active L disc
Had Baby #3 after ADR!
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:36 AM
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Thumbs up UPDATE: Mark is doing great!

Mark is doing great! He's in the ICU as planned and he's still pretty groggy. He said it's hard to tell which way is up now , but all seems to be well so far!

This is GREAT news indeed! I hope this eases everyone's mind.
__________________
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1994 Football Injury
1997 Snow Skiing Injury
Laminotomy L4/L5 (3.7.97--17 years old)
1999 & 2003 MVA (not at fault both times)
Grade V Tears L4/L5 & L5/L6
2-Level ProDisc® L4/L5 & L5/L6* *lumbosacral transitional vertebra (11.15.03--23 years old)
Dr. Rudolf Bertagnoli -- dr-bertagnoli.com
Pain-free for the last 4.5 yrs.
5.14.09 DSS with Dr. B.
I'm here to help. Only checking PMs currently.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:50 AM
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Thanks for the report Justin, I've been checking on and off to hear the results.

Regards,
Larry
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:55 AM
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Default YEAH! Thanks For Posting - Go Mark Go

YEAH! Really happy to hear the good news!
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:01 AM
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Smile Great news!

Yahoo!!! Thanks so much for posting Justin! I've been home all day and checking every hour or two, driving myself crazy. I nearly had an anxiety attack last night with all the deja vu. I'm 10 weeks out since being in Dr. B's incredible care, so it's all a bit fresh in my memory. All my friends and family who prayed for me and sent their magical vibes worked overtime for Mark too.
Now I can sleep tonight.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:42 AM
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Thank you so much, Dr J! Hope all continues to go smoothly and Mark finds which way is up!
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:01 AM
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Default Appreciate the update on Alpha Mark

Thanks for the update Dr. J. and I hope Mark leaves ICU ASAP. Keep him groggy though otherwise he'll try a parachute jump in a few weeks! Wishing you the best Mark.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:56 AM
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Default mark ICU

Hi Everyone,

Sorry it's taken me so long to post. I found Mark in ICU about 5 PM last night. I knew it would be a long surgery. I was relieved to find him stable with his pain under control. He was groggy, but able to speak with a raspy voice. Of course after greetings his first question was did Dr.B.do all 4 levels and then have I posted. His computer was locked away in the other room and I was worried with the change of shift I wouldn't be let back in past the visiting hours. I guess my priorities were different. He forgot about the posting and fell back into fentanyl land. He would wake up occasionally and comment on how well he was doing without medication. I had to remind him that he was on a Fentanyl drip. He made great progress and within a couple of hours his color was back and he was drinking water. The night shift was wonderful and allowed me to sit at his bedside. They even found me a comfortable chair. What a relief to have the day behind and Mark on the road to recovery. Having been a spine patient, I know the difficult day and hours before surgery constantly wondering if you've made the right choice. Once your under it's the care givers time to worry until they see you again. I was totally exhausted by 1 AM and Mark was well so I headed back to the hotel. I was very impressed with the ICU and Mark was connected to all the monitors so I could rest peacefully. More later.

Thanks for your support
Diane
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Endoscopic discectomy L5-S1, Dr. Hoogland, AlphaKlinik, Munich, Germany - July 2007
2-level (L4-S1) ProDisc ADR, Dr. Bertagnoli, Bogen, Germany - March 2008
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:59 AM
ans ans is offline
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Thank you for the update Diane. How nice to sleep or rest by your man's side and what's better than this: to have a seasoned nurse to watch out for him. I"m glad is on the other side and I wish both of you my best. I hope that you too can get some rest also as it'll be a haul. I haven't been onboard lately but hope that your pain/neurological issues have resolved. Take care of yourself and pls. say hi to Mark - which he'll only forget later on. My best - Allan
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:15 PM
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Thanks so much for posting Diane. I'm so glad Mark is doing well. I also hope you can get some sleep too. Please tell Mark that Tyler and I wish we were there to take a video for Youtube, I can't wait to hear more from Mark later in his recovery. I know he's going to follow his own sage advice and do spectacular!
Our warmest wishes to you both,
Jennifer, Tyler and Tom(HappyhusbandDC)
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:08 PM
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Diane and Justin,

Thanks for letting us know how Mark is doing. Can stop checking :-). Looking forward to detailed news about the surgery.

God bless Mark and his speedy recovery. Sandy

p.s. Tell Dr. Bertagnoli and crew, job well done as usual! We need a list of Dr. B's patients, can't believe there are so many of us.
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**Accidents, active life-style, always some back/neck pain controlled w/ibuphrofen
2004 excessive pain, x-ray, PT, MRI diagnosis cervical DDD
**PM recommended, meds, PT, massage therapy, chiropractor, injections
**Dec. 2007 numbness and weakness in left arm/thumb, x-rays, MRI, discs at C4-7 pushing on spinal cord, fusion or ADR out of country
**April 7, 2008, discogram at C3-4, surgery 4 levels, Prodisc-C, Dr. Bertagnoli, Germany
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:40 PM
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Thumbs up

Good to hear Mark is fine and in ICU.
I don't know about Germany's ICU, but IMHO, in the US that is the best place to be when you are recovering (of course, I am biased having been an ICU nurse).
Hope Mark has great ICU nurses taking care of him.
And he stays comfortable.
Thanks for posting.

Kim
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:23 PM
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Mark here, 4:20pm Straubing time. I can only post if you promise not to tell Diane. I'm just over 24 hours post-op. I was sprung from ICU about 9 this morning as I had very little difficulty last night. I thought I was having a best ever kind of recovery. Dr. Schaaf put me on the PCA and I said I didn't think I"d need it. Well, I didn't realize how much I was getting on a constant flow fentanyl pump... when they switched it out for the PCA... bam.. It's been a tough day, but we are figureing it out. I can't believe how easily I move... many of the danger signs that I look for are not present. However, I have some swelling around vocal cords and am raspy voiced and have to move a lot of air to speak. I've seen this many times and am not worried... It should go away in a few days, or weks. Gotta run before Diane sees me on the computer. Don't tell her!

All the best,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:46 PM
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Hi Dian and Justin

Thank You for the update make Mark take it slow and easy we will wait for him to post when he back down from space

Thanks

Gil
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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
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:10 PM
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Yes Gil;

I am sure the comment he made about leaving his wife for that pretty little German Nurse, named Helga, was just part of his drug induced stupor.

She only weighs 250 lbs. but, set a world record in the Woman's Power Lifting Contest last year in Straubing, lifting a record 500 lbs.

Be gentle with her Mark as, you have to understand your limitations after such major surgery.

PS: Get well soon.

Terry Newton
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1980 ruptured L4-L5
1988 ruptured SI-L5
1990 ruptured C5-C6
1994 ruptured C6-C7
1995 Hemi-Laminectomy C5-C6, C6-C7 Mayo Clinic
Bicycle Accident 2004
MRI, EMG, Facet Injections, Epidural Blocks, Lumbar Discogram.
Stenum Hospital Surgery November 4, 2006
Prestige Disc C5-C6, C6-C7
Maverick Disc S1-L5, L4-L5
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:30 PM
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Default Progress post op

I can't remember when I checked back here yesterday tho think it was in the evening so I was very glad to see that both Diane and Mark had posted.

Diane, thanks for your update re Mark..if you felt his progress and care was so good as to be able to go get some much needed rest then it sounds like things were going well! Locking up his laptop sounds like it was necessary too!

Mark,
Very glad to see you posting and have to smile when you say that about going off the Fentanyl drip cuz it's just amazing the power of the drugged brain re pain alleviation.. glad to hear you're working it out and doing as well as you are and of course wishing you the best! Till you next post...
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:36 PM
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Mark,
I am so glad to hear that you are now out of ICU and Posting too! You are a bad boy. Take is easy and slow. No competition! You already won on levels. Take care and we wish you a good recovery.
Phylly
__________________
Cervical fusion C4-6 March 2002
Fall on tailbone causing sciatica and back pain April 05
Conservative Treatment and PM for 2 years
Discogram concordant pain @L4-S1 Aug. 07
Prodisc ADR's at L4-S1 November 2007
Foraminotomy July 08 for Sciatica
Continued problems and back pain worsened
Prodiscs removed and discs fused at L4-S1 Feb. 09
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:54 PM
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Mark,

So glad to hear surgery went well. What a relief for you, Diane, your family and every poster on this forum. Hope your days get easier and please, take is easy. Let your body do what it has to do before you do anything.

Dale
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Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:03 PM
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Thank-you Diane for posting on Mark's behalf. We do so appreciate it. Like someone else already stated, keep that computer locked away from him, till doctor okay's it's use. We will definitely keep you both in our prayers, and now you can call your sweet granddaughter and let her know her Papa is going to be ok! Heal, heal, heal, is the name of the game now Mark. And........take it slow! We're watching you!

My best to you guys,

Cindylou
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:44 PM
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Hi Mark
This one totally slipped under my radar.. I knew you were considering further surgery but didn’t realise it was a done deal.
4 levels - that’s quite some surgery. You must be so relieved to be on the ‘other side’.
Wishing you a speedy and uneventful recovery.
Take care and all the best
Tim
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:54 PM
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Mark....put......down......the.....computer. Fentanyl is wonderful via IV. Take things slow.

PS Terry, that was hilarious!
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-Justin
1994 Football Injury
1997 Snow Skiing Injury
Laminotomy L4/L5 (3.7.97--17 years old)
1999 & 2003 MVA (not at fault both times)
Grade V Tears L4/L5 & L5/L6
2-Level ProDisc® L4/L5 & L5/L6* *lumbosacral transitional vertebra (11.15.03--23 years old)
Dr. Rudolf Bertagnoli -- dr-bertagnoli.com
Pain-free for the last 4.5 yrs.
5.14.09 DSS with Dr. B.
I'm here to help. Only checking PMs currently.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:25 PM
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good deal mark! remember take it easy mark slow and steady.
get well soon dude.
chuck
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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
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:14 PM
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Default Tough day, then turned the corner!

I could not believe how quickly I began to feel like myself! It was like someone flipped a switch. I'm sure I'll pay for the activities, but I've definitely come around the bend.

My good friend Dr. Baumbach came by for a visit... There seems to be so much to laugh about whenever we get together. Do I look taller?



OK... on to the real stuff.

I'm disappointed that the tinnitus is not gone. Nobody thought it would be... just an outside chance, but I would have loved to get some peace and quiet.

There is MORE numbness on my face than before surgery. I'm sure this will fade... but these journals should be 'warts and all' for the benefit of those who follow.

It's too early to tell about the T1-2 pain because it's still painful. Same for other pains... it's all been recently hammered and pounded. None of it was discogenic, so I'm not sure I expected it to go. I had let a lot of severe pathology go too long. I hope I didn't wait too long. Only time will tell.

In any case, I'm a happy camper because the recovery seems to be going so nicely. We'll see what the next few weeks brings.

At least I can eat... Diane is off picking up a pizza now. Don't tell her I'm on the computer again.

FC Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich on now... cool stuff!

All the best,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org

Last edited by mmglobal; 04-08-2009 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:46 PM
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Well, I am so happy to hear that every thing went so well Mark. And thanks to Justin and Diane for letting us know as soon as was possible, how it went.

Mark, I am so glad that you feel like you turned a corner, but I hope you don't end up paying for it later. Nerve pain is bound to take longer to heal, but I will be hoping for it to heal quickly.

Rest, and take it easy Mark. And I hope you enjoyed the pizza , I think I would go for ice cream instead .
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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 04-08-2009, 10:07 PM
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Hospitals are different here. Diane and I remarked about it after our walk on the pre-op night. Patients wander all around. You can got to the cafeteria or gift shop and have some wine or a few beers. Being responsible for yourself, what a concept.

So, there was nobody there to tell me not to put the whole pizza away... I hope I don't get sick!

Mark



Man am I hopeful... I feel great!
__________________
1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org

Last edited by mmglobal; 04-08-2009 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:16 PM
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Good to see that all went well so far, will be following your updates.

Wishing you all the best, take care.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:20 PM
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Default my kind of place!

Beer and wine and free to roam post op?! Wow.. I've got to have surgery there!

Bring on the stool softeners/laxatives re whole pizza downage if still on constipating paing meds. Don't want to strain that well surgerized area at any cost!

Great to hear your recovery is going as well as it is Mark tho watch the overdo tendency!
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:37 PM
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Wow, I can't believe you are doing so well, so quick. I didn't get out of bed and walk until the second day. I refused to get up surgery night, because my pain was so out of control, I could barely breathe, much less move! And I only had 1 level done.... I'm a sissy, I know. Well, stay off the computer, enjoy your 'surgical vacation', TAKE IT EASY, and happy healing. Can't wait to hear the nitty gritty details and see the x-rays!
God Bless,
Kathy
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1/06- In wreck with 18 wheeler
Numerous MRI's, PT, chiropractic, accupuncture, TENS therapy, massage therapy, facet injections, epidural injections, Nerve study, Discogram, confirms pain in L4/5, IDET, decompression, Bi-lateral neurotomy L3/4/5, denied by insurance twice, in Active L clinical trial, had surgery March 17, 2009 in Miami, FL- received Active L disc
Had Baby #3 after ADR!
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:11 PM
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Mark,

Okay, now you've finally got me posting on iSpine!(Be careful what you wish for, you never know what you'll have to go thru to get it.)
BTW, Tyler is impressed that you are recovering with pizza and SOCCER! You're an inspiration! I look at those pictures and it's like total deja-vu, except I looked WAY better in those compression stockings. I'm so happy for you, you can't imagine. Now it's my turn to give advice, "go slow"-but enjoy yourself. My fast recovery at St. E's was due to the following: 1. Great surgery/surgeon/staff, 2. Great family, 3. Great attitude, 4. Great friend and advocate(that would be you in case the anesthesia is affecting your memory).
So, you're in good shape because you've got all that plus friendsxinfinity!
Jen
p.s.-Tyler says "come back soon so I can come and see you in CA and don't enjoy yourself too much".
p.s.s.-Tom says "get out of there and go to Rapunzel's!"
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:15 PM
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Default welcome to the cervical ADR club

Hi Mark,

So glad to hear you are doing so well! In my experience cervical surgery is much easier to recovery from than lumbar. You'll be back to parachuting, skiing, tennis and whatever chores Diane has in store for you in no time at all.

From the look of picture of you and pizza....no major sore throat issues? That is good news!

Keep posting when Diane isn't around to stop you. All of us want to know as much as you want to share about how you are doing!

Gentle hugs.....
Melody
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Melody
12/29/08- 3 level ADR Prodisc C in Seattle
12/21/07-Revision surgery, fusion L4/5 L5-S1
1975-scoliosis surgery,Harrington Rods, fused T2 to L4
Felt great in 20's and 30's....late 30's started having chronic neck and lower back pain. By 40 pain worsened enough to begin seeking surgical solutions.

ADR surgery much easier recovery than fusion!
This site has been a great source of information for me! I would be happy to help anyone who has questions.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:17 PM
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Great to read your posts, Mark.

I hope you're not too much taller - I always got neck ache looking up to you anyway

Make sure you put your own recovery needs first for the next while.
All good and healing wishes to you,
rosedee
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1980-2004 50 acute episodes. DDD
Lots of osteopathy, pilates, exercise, injections etc plus:
‘82 Laminectomy + nerve root adhesions removed
‘87 Sclerosant injections
2000 Spinal fusion L4/5 L5/S1 – left with internal nerve damage: permanent leg Pain & impaired mobility.
2/04 Acute episode became new baseline - Housebound & severe pain
6/06 Discogram +ve L3/4,L1/2. + SI joint problem.
10/07 ADR L3/4 (Active L) Dr Zeegers - no impact at all
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:19 PM
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Mark:
Great to hear from you and get to see you, too!
The collar is very becoming! And you must have an iron stomach!

Wishing you all the best in your recovery and looking forward to all the details.

Barbara
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:20 PM
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Hi Mark and Diane,

How weird to email someone in a hospital who has just went through an amazing one of a kind surgery. Few people understand the world that we spineys exist in with having Mark to post us from his amazing adventures in spinal surgery. Let alone a going through personal experience like this one.

First, I am thankful to God for answering our prayers for you, Diane and your family for this apparently successful surgery. I am relieved for you.
I know the rigors of recovery, however is pizza the new litmus test for a success?

I hope you can make it back here to speak with me on the 22nd at Biola. You would be awe inspiring with that neck wrap, let alone some cool new incision scars. Maybe you could make some students faint! I am being dramatic of course. I am so relieved for you my friend.

You are in my prayers. I am thankful to our loving God for this wonderful news. I pray that from here you continue to recover to a painfree full recovery. Enjoy your stay in Germany now that the hard part is behind you.

God bless,

Willie
mrbee

2003 ruptured L4 L5
Imediate surgery, hemilaminectomy
Second surgery 5 days later ditto, disc removed due to instability
Third surgery 3 days later hematoma at L4 nerve root in foramen
ADR surgery (fourth surgery) at Stenum, 6 months later, 2 level L3-4, L4-5
Immediate subsidense at L3-4
Revision at Stenum (fifth surgery), ten months to day from first. To explant and impant new ADR at L3-4. Complication post surgery occulsion left iliac artery, 13 attempts made to open using angioplasty, all failed.
Invalided, awaiting aorta-femoral bypass surgery and subsequent surgery to remove L3-4 ADR that was improperly placed.
God performed an impossible miracle...April 26th 2005.
No surgeries, no more drugs, a complete total instantaneous miraculous healing that still boggles my mind.
4 years post miracle, husband, Dad, little league manager, softball player, author, living and loving life though His will.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:36 AM
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Shewww, great to see you posting so soon. I let out such a sigh of relief that I almost blew out your candle LOL!

But seriously, I am so happy for you. Still a little jealous, but earnestly thrilled that you had the ability to get the care you needed.

Please keep us posted wen you can, and don't over do it.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:23 AM
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Wow Mark, you look great (if not a tad loaded on the second picture) after such an extensive surgery. I hope that this surgery permanently fixes your pains and I never knew they operated much on the thoracic level. I admire your taste in cuisine but secretly wondered if you went poo-poo but I'll keep that to myself.

Hard to believe you just had an extensive surgery!

Best - Allan
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:53 AM
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Its great to see you made it so well through this surgery that you arranged so quickly. I know it means a lot that you did this knowing everything you do and it very important to me to see you do so well and posing with Dr. Baumbach so shortly after this mayor surgery. I wish you the best and I am following very closely, trust me, I have a feeling I will be in that same room one of these days and I will remember your recovery and hope I can even get close to doing so well.

I hope we will learn in the future regarding your thoughts as to whether you waited too long for this or if the timing was appropriate all things considered. It seems you were prepared to go into action when time is right and I am sure yours was as good as it could have been.

And the pizza, I can make you a bet that I could not do that 1 day after a mayor neck surgery, yes you must have a iron stomach!


You got a great support crew here!
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:22 AM
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OMG, Mark,
Pizza.
That is a picture that most of us won't get out of our minds for a while.
I hope it was yummy.
You do seem to have turned the corner.
FYI, I have tinnitus. Developed it last year, 2007? Result of losing some of my hearing in both ears (who knows why). I kind of just decided to block it out and usually that works. It is still there but more like white noise.
Did you finish the pizza off with some beer?
Follow your advice, and don't do too much too soon.
Sounds like a cool hospital.

Kim
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:17 PM
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Mark,

Thanks for the update!!

Looks like your enjoying the pizza.

Todd
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go to -----> www.youtube.com

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or ... http://www.maverick-disc.blogspot.com (my picture & movie updates)
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:30 PM
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Glad to hear its going well.

Best of luck and can't wait to see the xrays.


Cheryl
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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 04-09-2009, 03:34 PM
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Talking Pizza Man

Hi Mark

Glad you are doing so well, Please take the time to rest and relax this will be the only break you may get before we want to hear more about your surgery and xrays,

Take it SLOW,or I will tell Diane

Gil
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L5-S1 lam 1994
L2 to L5 DDD
L3 -L4 hern Dec 2007.
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L5-S1DDDDD
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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
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:04 PM
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Diane and I are back at the hotel. There is a cool breeze blowing across the balcony and the setting sun has the golden statue in the stadtplatz glowing so beautifully. They took such great care at Saint Elisabeth, but it's great to be here. They now have adjustable beds in all the rooms at the Theresientor. Diane is out getting some groceries. I'm sneaking in a few minutes to get my films up.







T1-2 gets lost in my shoulders in the lateral view. I'll see if we can bring that back out.
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:25 PM
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Default nice photo

Mark,
You and Diane look really good and you look even straighter/taller which I guess is because you have to hold your neck sort of rigid/the collar and such. Beautiful background setting which I hope one day I might get to see first hand.

The films look good too~ much better than before the surgery!

Looking forward to hearing/reading more whenever you're able to post at that length (future).

How're the symptoms?
take care~
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:49 PM
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Hey Mark,

Is it wrong to be jealous of you? Not only did you out-do me getting out a day earlier, but got the new and improved Pro-Disc-C-Nova and now the adjustable beds! Sounds like a bit of favoritism to me, Now you need to go to the mall up the street and get a cool haircut like Tyler did(just kidding) and have some gelato and your trip will be complete. I hope you have the time to spend sight-seeing and relax with Diane without a care in the world as you get better and better before you fly home.
(Any chance of you posting the pre-op xrays for a fellow medical info fan?)
Get some rest and enjoy the food!
Jen
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:00 PM
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I would suspect that there are others who are jealous too. I certainly am. I want so badly to have surgery to look forward to, hoping to get my life back, but no plan yet. Just waiting for surgeons to call and discuss it with me.

But I am very glad that you were able to get your surgery done so quickly. You really needed to have it done, whereas I can get along okay for the time being.

Please do take it easy though Mark. You don't want to mess up the wonderful job that Dr. B. did. Did the pizza go down all right? I can't imagine being up for eating pizza so soon after surgery. I am amazed that you did.

You look great though, and I hope that is a reflection on how you are feeling. Thanks so much for keeping us informed on your progress. I hope it continues to go extremely well. Enjoy Germany, and what looks like beautiful weather.
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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 04-09-2009, 08:47 PM
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Hi Mark!

Wow, you look great for just a few days out. That’s incredible! How long before you fly back? Keep up the heal fast! Again, let me know if there is anything I can do when you get back into town.

Regards,
Larry
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:54 PM
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Hey Mark,

Looking good for just having a major 4-level procedure. Those films are beautiful. I've very curious about the T1-T2 approach (when you have time, of course).

Be well...
PS Check your email when you get the chance...
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1994 Football Injury
1997 Snow Skiing Injury
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1999 & 2003 MVA (not at fault both times)
Grade V Tears L4/L5 & L5/L6
2-Level ProDisc® L4/L5 & L5/L6* *lumbosacral transitional vertebra (11.15.03--23 years old)
Dr. Rudolf Bertagnoli -- dr-bertagnoli.com
Pain-free for the last 4.5 yrs.
5.14.09 DSS with Dr. B.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:23 PM
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Looks great, Mark. Facinating xray. You 2 look great and its nice weather!

I am jealous as well .
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Last edited by fuzzy; 04-09-2009 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:31 PM
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Mark:
You are looking great! I hope you and Diane get to enjoy the rest of your stay without overdoing it.
The X-rays are amazing! And I took a closer look at your collar: it's huge!
Compared to yours, mine would be a spaghetti strap! I was going to suggest the cut-off tube socks for a cover, but they wouldn't work!
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:02 PM
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Great Job Mark.

Can you believe how many of us are jealous of you?
__________________
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 04-10-2009, 07:13 PM
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Default 3 days out

Friday evening, 8pm in Straubing. It's hard to believe that I'm only about 40 hours post-op. A picture is worth a thousand words... here is the obligatory iced cafe' in the stadtplatz photo. Dr. Zeegers and Branca came by to spend the afternoon. There was much to catch up on.






It's not all sunshine and roses. Since I'm not opioid tolerant, the meds have been very effective, but it's really effected my bowels. I'm still pretty wiped out so our lunch out early in the day seemed like too much too soon. Later in the afternoon after a good rest, the time out with Zeegers and Branca was much more pleasant. Diane is not having a good time trying to keep me down. I don't sit still very well and really need to be taking it easy. I could not be in better hands... she's great!
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:21 PM
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Mark,

I'm so glad to see it working out for you. You look fantastic in the shot with Diane. I like the self-responsiblity concept of the hostipal, are you eating the pizza and beer in the recovery room? I hope they did't starve you with boullion soup for 3 days like they do for lumbar at the Alpha Klinik. Has doctor B said anything about the angle of the upper c3-4 plate in the AP view. Probably it's just the way you are. Reminds me of Doreen's lumbar shot. Not that it matters if you feel good, just curious.

Awesome, awesome, awesome,
Can't wait to see you in Cali,
Jim
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:54 PM
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You look amazing! I am so happy for you. Take it easy, I know that is hard but it will be worth it.
Phylly
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:39 PM
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And that smile says it all.

Keep up the good work. Rest when you need 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 04-10-2009, 09:46 PM
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Mark, you look terrific. I knew you wouldn't stay down but you must set the example and practice what you preach!

Message to Diane, get some rope

When are you coming home?

All my best, Dale
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:48 PM
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Default Grrreat photos

Hey Mark,
You don't look like you're in pain Just had to say it!
Tell Diane I said to get some "4 point restraints" on you!

Maybe you best change the diet a bit and veg out plus hit up some laxatives like Senakot S or whatever they have there that's like that plus some Miralax/Polyglycol 3350 or whatever it's called..

The 2 are da bomb for me even on Methadone plus eating the right types of food of course. Pizza is delicious tho stays with me about 3 days to a week.. so nix on that!

Anyway looks like you're having a good time and I hope you'll now get some rest. Diane might have to put a choke chain you (somewhere other than your neck) to hold you back from yourself!

Really like the photo updates ~ thanks mucho
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:56 PM
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Mark: You look fantastic and nobody would guess at the magnitude of your surgery a few days ago. It's almost unbelievable. Hope you and D. catch up on your sleep in b/w having fun now. Best - Allan
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:57 PM
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WOW, Mark. You do look unbelievable for only 40 hours out. Amazing. You take good care of yourself and listen to your sweet, wonderful wife. We're pulling for you all the way. The downloaded x-rays are remarkable.

Slow and easy buddy,

Cindylou
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Old 04-11-2009, 02:07 AM
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Hi Mark, you look excellent. How do you feel?


Greeting to Dr. Z. if you see him again!
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Old 04-11-2009, 07:31 AM
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Default be well my friend

Hi Mark

So nice to see you on your feet but I don't care what anyone says you sure don't look like your happy spunky self. I can see the pain in your eyes so take it easy and listen to your own advice time will heal you and get you through this so you can at least try to kick my butt on the hill again. Your are in my prayers for a speedy full recovery.
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ProDisc L5-S1 W/Dr Delamarter Aug 23, 2005
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T-12 Compression Fracture 10/04
C-7 Spines Process Fracture 5/99
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You are my Rock God in you I can do anything
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:46 PM
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Default Day 4

11:30pm Saturday night. Today was day 4 post-op, 2 days out of hospital. The morning was great! I was treated to an amazing moon set / sunrise from the balcony of room 501....



I was up early, so I went down for breakfast myself and made Diane a tray to bring back to the room. I wish I'd remembered that it was our anniversary, I might have gotten more mileage out of bringing her breakfast in bed.

I felt great through the morning. We went for a long walk. We did not expect it to be so warm so we needed to buy some shorts and sunscreen. After a short rest, we were out again for lunch.

Pretty early in the lunch outing, I hit the 'crossover' point. You are feeling better and better. You are taking less and less meds. Your activity levels are getting higher and higher. Well, it all caught up with me. After lunch, I came back to the room and pretty much slept the rest of the day.

I still feel better than I did before the surgery (an amazing statment for just a few days out!) However, some of the symptoms that were gone are back (at low levels). I have some new symptoms that I'm sure are just due to the rearrangement of my systems. All muscles, ligaments, etc, are being asked to support me in a completly new configuration and some of them are not happy about it.

In any case, I think I'm still way ahead of the game.... just back down closer to earth than I was.

More tomorrow...

Mark

PS... in answer to the question on another thread... after 4-level cervical, 3 days seems perfect.
__________________
1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 04-12-2009, 05:51 AM
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Men aren't idiots, they're brainless, above the waist!
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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 04-12-2009, 01:52 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Upper Marlboro, Maryland
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I would say you're right on target, Mark. The statement you made about the new configuration of your neck and its effect on the soft tissues is exactly what I felt around the same time. Now at nearly 11 weeks post-op, my neck feels essentially "normal". In other words, not changed in terms of alignment, though I'm sure it is better than pre-surgery as evidenced by the xrays. It's a much better feeling from a functional standpoint especially.
I'm wondering when you and Diane will be passing thru Dulles? Or if you have much of a layover? Tom and Tyler and I were toying with the idea of driving out to see the new and improved Mark, but I mostly want to meet Diane,
Hope we can make it work,
Jen
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:34 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 284
Default Happy Anniversary

Mark, happy belated anniversary to you and Diane.

It sounds like you are doing really well. Keep it up.
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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 04-13-2009, 08:18 PM
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Default Day 6.... did I really miss a day?

It's Monday night, 9pm in Straubing. I posted on Saturday that I'd hit the crossoverpoint and it seemed something like a setback. We laid pretty low on Sunday... it was a good day and the setback that I was afraid of never quite materialized.

Today was amazing, not for anything to do with me, but because of who we spent most of the day with. I've overdone and it's time to rest... I'll blast this out and retire.

After breakfast, we started the day with a walk down by the Donnau in order to scope out beer gardens for lunch with our important visitors. It's official, my height advantage over Diane is vastly improved. I wonder if I can dunk now?


I've known Alan and Ingrid for a couple of years now and his story is one of the most amazing I've ever been involved in. He spent 6 years of his life completely disabled after a long litany of spine surgeries. He could barely speak because of the effort it took and the pain it caused. They will come and tell their own story... I'm just going to post these shots so I'll continue to marvel at the transformation I was able to witness. I'll write more another time.



After a wonderful lunch, I took a break while Alan and Ingrid explored Straubing. We got back together for the obligatory iced cafe in the town square. Remember... this is good luck!





As you can see, the day was filled with smiles and laughter. This was quite a long outing, so I took another break and Diane met them at Rapunzel to pick up dinner to bring back to our room. The warm and sunny day turned breezy and chilly as we wondered if we were going to get rained out. We were treated to a light show, as the evening sky seemed to change by the second. We were even treated to a rainbow.



I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep up with everyone's posts... time on the computer is still somewhat limited. Still nothing but good news from Bavaria. I don't want everyone to think this was easy. The good recovery is still very tough, it's just nothing like the difficult ones. Whatever the few weeks after surgery are like, there is only one thing that matters - long term outcome. I still cannot unwind some of my pre-op symptoms and post surgical pain. I will not know for weeks how complete a recovery I'll have. I'm just pleased that I'm not worse and things seem to be going so well. More as I know it.

All the best,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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