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Surgical Outcomes and Blogs Discuss runner's surgery blog, L4/5, 2008 in the Main forums forums; Just had to say Terry that last week was my birthday. Now I am a year older. Was able to ...

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  #101 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:45 AM
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Default 12-16-2008

Just had to say Terry that last week was my birthday. Now I am a year older. Was able to sit at movies without much difficulty on my b-day.
Went to PT today and worked hard. I wish the hard work would show up more.
Lots of tingling and pins and needles today.
It also poured cats and dogs today and it was not a good day to be out. Cold and rainy.
Hope the injections today went well.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:30 PM.
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  #102 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:46 AM
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Default 12-16-2008

Hi runner:

The injections I received were in to the Sacroiliac joint on both sides. That is the area that the doctor diagnosed was problematic. I also got a bump back up on my pain medications until the injections take hold. I am feeling somewhat better today so I hope that is the injections working rather than the bump of the pain medications. I was almost off of the pain medications entirely prior to this bad patch.


Happy Birthday Runner (BELATED)

I hope your day was special besides the movie, though. being pain free for awhile is enough to be grateful for, some days.

Hang in there.

Terry Newton
__________________
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

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:31 PM.
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  #103 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:47 AM
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Default 12-16-2008

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THANKS TERRY.

Well SI joint injections are probably better than facet or epidurals, huh??
Or maybe not.
Hope you feel better soon. I know when I got the epidural and facet injections, things were real inflammed for a few days. It took me a while to recover from the injections.
I spoke to other people and they didn't have the same effects as I did.
There was initially an increase in pain.

I am not in a whole lot of pain compared to before surgery but I have this nagging low level pain that Tylenol just doesn't quite cover and some breakthrough sciatica here and there. I am sleeping okay--a little too much. I am still very tired from the Gabapentin.
Getting ready for Christmas is a new thing because I don't have my usual energy.

Rest up and feel better,

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:32 PM.
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  #104 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:49 AM
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Default 1-7-2009

Almost at 10 month mark...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am just shy of my 10-month post-op mark and posting about what is happening.

Went to spine doc/surgeon on Monday and now we are going to see if the facet joints are giving me pain. I have been having sciatica problems and increased numbness since Sept and now am going to have another round of a doc poking needles into my backside.

I have gotten facet joint injections before so I know the drill. Last time, before surgery, the facet joint injections did not improve anything. Hoping this time that they work.

My back must be getting ready because today I have had increased back pain, which has left me mainly regulated to the couch. I wish the NFL playoffs were on. I really felt good when the San Diego Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts (my apologies to people on here that are Colts fans).

So that's it. I go back to the surgeon in three months for the 13-month (3,000 mile) check up and get to meet a new pain doc. This one is an anesthesiologist and my last one was a regular pain doc. The problem was that the regular doc has not done injections on ADR patients and this doc has. No brainer there.

I am disappointed things aren't going better at the moment but hey I remember how they were pre-op and there is no comparison. This life is better.
Also I am still reminded by several people that I am still "early days". Remember that, you guys out there that have even newer ADRs.

My doc did not offer much of an explanation for my situation except that I was just healing slower than expected.
Oh, well. The job searching and interviewing and such will have to wait. And it's not like I have nothing to do as I have to prepare for my next medical exam in one month. And I have the children and my husband to take care of.

Happy New Year, everyone. May this year be a good year for us.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:50 AM
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Default 1-7-2009

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well said Runner. I hope 2009 gives answers and remedies to everyone's pain issues. And I certainly hope these facet injections give you relief. Good luck and keep us posted on how you respond to them.

Best to you,

Cindylou
__________________
CindyLou
bicycle accident 6/19/01
2 compression fractures sustained, T12, L1;
vertibroplasty @ above levels, 9/15/01
4/06 right hip labral tear repair
4/07 Lumbar ProDisc replacement by Dr. Bertagnoli, 3 levels; L3-6
7/2/08 ALIF and Laminectomy of L6-S1
7/30/08 Removed bone cement that leaked thru onto S1 nerve root.
8/7/08 Diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion. Hospitalized 1 wk.
Wear bone growth stimulator 2 hrs per day.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:23 PM.
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  #106 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:51 AM
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Default 1-8-2009

Thank you,
Cindylou.
Hope you are feeling better.
The only thing I dread about injections is that I get more pain when I first get them and it takes a while to go back to baseline.
IV's, injections and such do not bother me, but what does is if the freakin doc gets close to those nerves, that is an ouch.

Talk to you later.


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Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:37 PM.
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  #107 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:56 AM
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Default 1-10-2009

Thanks for all the good wishes.

I am doing okay, the facet block was better than the one I had pre-op.
Had injections on Thursday and now resting and feeling better than on Thursday and Friday.
I know it takes up to seven days to get the full effect, so I am hoping.

I think this was a much better experience than before. I went to anesetheologist, who is a spinal treatment specialist and knew what to do with ADRs. I told them how the last time i had Versed it didn't help and they gave me another sedative drug in addition to the Versed, Propofol (Diprovan) which really helped. I only felt the needles coming out at the end. If this works, I think they are thinking of burning the nerves, and if not, next step, epidural.
The surgical center staff were great.
For the most part, camping out on the couch, taking pain meds and my Gabapentin and not in too much pain.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:38 PM.
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  #108 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:58 AM
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Default 1-10-2009

Runner,

I know it sounds like a broken record and you tell others the same thing - stay positive, be patient.

Hope those kids and hubby are taking care of YOU. Mom's don't have to do everything.

Here's to a much better year for all of us. Off the meds and able to have a drink of choice, a little , lots of and all the other stuff that gives joy and happiness.

Sending many hugs to everyone (need an icon for hugs), Sandy
__________________
**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

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:38 PM.
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  #109 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 08:59 AM
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Default 1-11-2009

A broken record...?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I know, I know, I have told people the same on this forum...take it slow and easy.
The slow ones win the race, be patient, etc...

I am laying down, icing my back every 30 minutes or so, even taking the dreaded pain meds, just to get through this the right way.

I have resisted the pile of dirty laundry and just letting the steroid take effect, if it will.

You know at first, it really seemed like six months after surgery was a long time to wait for recovery, then I started hearing that a year, 18 months to 2 years was more likely.
I do understand.
I only pushed for the facet injections because I have had the four months of sciatica. Eventually, I think they will find the source of my pain and things will pan out.

I am being cautious now because I know I reacted strongly to previous injections and that is just the way my body works.
The doc put Betamethasone in the facets so I hope that will calm things down. I like to be in control and i am not in control anymore. I wouldn't call myself a control freak but I am particular about my health.
I don't let the docs do anything without really thinking about the pros and cons, first.

I have a good feeling this pain doc knows what he is doing and he is well-qualified. This puts a new slant on the idea of being patient.
May 2009 be a better year than 2008. We lost our cat on Jan 9. So it hasn't started with a bang or maybe it did, because our neighbors let off a M-100 on New Year's Day.
I keep thinking about what has happened in 2008 and before and there are a lot of positive things. I have spent more time with my children since i have been unable to work, my daughters and I have had some incredible experiences. I would not like to go through surgery again, but i did get the experience of undergoing a major surgery and dealing with a complication, which will serve me well when I deal with people in the future.

There are a lot of positives, I have made a lot of "spiney" friends and I hope I have helped people.
I think the only way for people to understand back pain is to undergo what we go against day to day.
I feel fortunate that I don't have the same kind of back pain I had before surgery.
I know this is not a killer disease, like cancer, and through my travels, I have met a cancer survivor who is still fighting this awful disease, a mother who lost her daughter, helped a friend in her journey to get more people registered as bone marrow donors, so people can be saved, and gotten an e-mail that a boy that fought his insurance company and won, lost his battle for his life.

So this isn't the end, it is more like a journey and patience has to be what I practice. I also preach it. "Easy does it".

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:43 PM.
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  #110 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:00 AM
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Default 1-18-2009

Well, guys, the facet block didn't work.
My facets are apparently fine.
I saw the pain doc in his office, and he thinks L5/S1 is causing my symptoms.
So my surgery disc looks good.
Going to have an epidural next.
Been having computer problems that aren't fixed yet.
Hanging in there, but upset I have another painful? disc.

Runner

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 08:44 PM.
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  #111 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:02 AM
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Default 1-29-2009

Well, guys, the facet block didn't work.
My facets are apparently fine.
I saw the pain doc in his office, and he thinks L5/S1 is causing my symptoms.
So my ADR looks good.
Going to have an epidural next.
Been having computer problems that aren't fixed yet.
Hanging in there, but upset I have another painful? disc.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:24 PM.
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  #112 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:04 AM
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Default 2-17-2009

Update
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11 months and a few days post-op.
Saw pain doc last Thursday and expect to get another epidural this week. They have to schedule with the surgery center.
At the appointment last week, I spoke to the doc's office lady and then his physician assistant (P.A.).

The P.A. checked a few things and then had me cross my leg over my knee and she was testing for piriformis entrapment of the sciatic nerve root.
She told me that she was dragging her leg with sciatica with pregnancy and I told her that I had sciatica with pregnancy and the sciatica I have now is totally different. I told her this is 10 x's worse. It is a knife-like pain and different. I told her I had one day after the cortisone epidural that I felt 50 percent better and that I felt maybe 15 percent better overall. Not much change.

She said based on that they would try another epidural and some cortisone in the SI joints. She finished and I asked, "That's it. Don't I get to see the doctor?"

So I got to see the doc. I really wanted to ask him some questions about where I was going with these epidurals and such.

He told me he plans to do two to three more epidurals and see after that. I asked him what happens if epidurals don't get rid of the pain and he told me that we really need to have them work. If they don't, he said they would do more invasive tests. He said in that case, they would consider my problem more seriously. He wasn't downplaying things he was just telling me that a surgery after the first surgery would be more complicated.

So that is where I am at. Calling tomorrow to see when I can get in for the epidural and it seems like they never call me and I have to call. So I will call. I have a friend who may be able to take me to the surgicenter this week and drive me home so that is good. I don't want my husband to miss too many work hours.

Not too much numbness today and some sciatica and back pain is so-so. I am more worried about the back pain because I have been getting shooting pains on my left side. I asked the doctor if he thought it might be discogenic pain. He isn't sure and neither am I . I did get a percocet prescription for nighttime. I told her I hadn't been sleeping too well. I told her I didn't want to take anything stronger during the day than the Darvocet I have.
I don't want the brain fog although I think I already have some. So that is what it boils down to. I have a pretty normal looking MRI (except for some bulges) and have definite compression of nerves and gradually increasing back pain. This has been going on for five months now.

Will update after the epidural.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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  #113 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:05 AM
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Default 2-17-2009

Oh, runner, I totally feel for you and believe I know what you are going through. It's so tiring and frustrating just trying to get to the "pain source." And weeks, and weeks, and weeks can go by from one procedure to the next, trying to get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, it's not as if the pain is going away. I see my pain management doctor tomorrow and after we talk he'll decide if he's going to try another round of bi-lateral SI joint injections or an epidural. He's leaning towards the epidural. So, let me know what your results are after your appt., and I'll update afterwards too. Hang in there. I know, so much easier said than done.
__________________
CindyLou
bicycle accident 6/19/01
2 compression fractures sustained, T12, L1;
vertibroplasty @ above levels, 9/15/01
4/06 right hip labral tear repair
4/07 Lumbar ProDisc replacement by Dr. Bertagnoli, 3 levels; L3-6
7/2/08 ALIF and Laminectomy of L6-S1
7/30/08 Removed bone cement that leaked thru onto S1 nerve root.
8/7/08 Diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion. Hospitalized 1 wk.
Wear bone growth stimulator 2 hrs per day.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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  #114 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:06 AM
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Default 2-17-2009

Thanks CindyLou,

I told the doctor that I knew I had to go through this conservative care in the hopes that it works. I still have the sciatica but maybe the numbness is down, it is hard to tell.
My back pain is more. Went out for a walk today and felt sore afterwards but I have to keep moving. I reduced my PT to twice a week to kind of stretch it out since insurance only covers 24 visits a year. They are a****.

Regarding the injection procedures, each week, I have trouble getting an appointment and end up having to call the doc's office. Last week, they told me to call the surgery center if I didn't hear from anyone. So I was on the phone today and got the number for the surgical scheduler and of course, they haven't received any orders so I am not scheduled.
She is supposed to call back soon after checking with the doc's office. I hope I can get in this week so I am one step closer to getting better if the epidurals do work.
Then I am scheduling an appt. with my doc for two weeks after the epidural.

Geeze what a roller-coaster of doing this and that. The difficult part is the increase of pain after the injections. Hope you feel better after your injections, whatever they are. I will post later.


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Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:44 PM.
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  #115 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:08 AM
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Default 2-17-2009

Runner,
I am so sad for your continuing pain. Pain is sapping and it is so hard on you. Also, that laundry would drive me batty too so I know the urge to do it is strong. DON'T DO IT! Leaning over is so hard on your back. Can your older kids help a little? I hope your series of epidurals goes well because we know the next more invasive tests are not that great. I am continually thinking of you but right now it is hard to be on my computer too long. I am trying to catch up on everyone's threads. I will think positive thoughts. I am glad you like your PM doc, that's so good too.
Phylly
__________________
Cervical fusion C4-C6 2002
Fall on tailbone April 2005
Discogram positive at L4-S1 2007
Prodisc ADR surgery L4-L5-S1 November 2007 Dr. Delamarter
Decompression surgery L4-S1 for left sided sciatica July 2008
Continued back pain, looking at possible fusion
Removal of Prodiscs and L4-S1 fusion February 2009

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:45 PM.
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  #116 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:09 AM
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Default 2-18-2009

Thanks Phylly,

Yes, you shouldn't be spending much time on that computer. Rest.
I do laundry with the grabber.
Today, was mostly pain-free until I sat a while. I was going through my papers for an appt I have tomorrow and needed to sit at the kitchen table--now I am hurting. I was also reading the notes I took when I was fighting the insurance company at full throttle. That is enough to cause pain.

The next epidural may be on Thursday. The surgery scheduler hasn't confirmed yet. I will call her in the morning. At least they give you the good stuff at this surgery center. I don't care what they say on other sites, epidurals can be uncomfortable and painful.

It is just a pain to do the appt. Today when I called they didn't have an order. I don't really understand how this keeps happening but hopefully I will get in on Thursday because I just want to get this over with.

A lot of times, I don't think my pain is that great until I am saying, ouch, ouchy. That is mostly the sciatica. Overall, still a lot better than before I had surgery.

I am sure there are a lot of people on here that are in more pain than me. I am still functioning and was able to go on my almost-daily walk today but had to run (figure of speech) back in and grab the umbrella since it was raining. At least I don't have to worry about watering the plants.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:10 AM
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Default 2-24-2009

Update
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ESI update:

Had another one on Friday (2-20). This time hit the Right Sacrolliac Joint, and then the cath-directed Bilateral Epidural at L5 and S1. What a mouthful to say.

I am becoming a regular pin cusion. Today, Tuesday, 2-24, was ok, getting back to normal. The cortisone injection really does a number on my sleep cycles. I was just revved up all weekend, kind of like I was taking trips to Starbucks every hour. I think Monday was the best day, symptoms are trying to sneak back today and late yesterday. I went for a walk this morning and just had numbness in my left foot--so not too bad.

Overall, seems to be better regarding the numbness, tingling and pins and needles, but still have back pain. I really took it kind of easy today. Got caught up on the posts and such. Still have sciatica--it just doesn't seem to want to go away.

Otherwise, we are booking, getting little things done each day and trying not to be impatient. Of all the information i have read about ESIs, there is really no concensus about how it works and why and for how long. Go back to pain doc next Friday and see what is next. Otherwise, I am not in a whole lot of pain, or maybe I am kidding myself. Sometimes it is at a higher level, and others, not.

Time for a nap, before the President's speech on health care. Those money-grubbing insurance companies need to be taken down a notch, you know? Our health care system is so seriously broken.

I am getting evidence of benefits stuff from B that says my pain doctor is out of network and I owe $2,300 for each ESI (and they paid less than a $1,000). No way they are going to get away with that. If they had approved my surgery when it needed to be approved, I think there is a good chance I wouldn't need ESIs now.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:13 AM
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Default 2-28-2009

how are you doing?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What's new? Have you gotten relief from the last set of shots? Any more news on your back? I hope that you are feeling better. for some reason I feel better now after this surgery on both sides than I did with the last back only one. Maybe I was so prepared for pain that I have gotten used to it. Of course I am on more meds so maybe that's it too. time will tell. Keep in touch!
Phylly
__________________
Cervical fusion C4-C6 2002
Fall on tailbone April 2005
Discogram positive at L4-S1 2007
Prodisc ADR surgery L4-L5-S1 November 2007 Dr. Delamarter
Decompression surgery L4-S1 for left sided sciatica July 2008
Continued back pain, looking at possible fusion
Removal of Prodiscs and L4-S1 fusion February 2009

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:14 AM
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Default 2-28-2009

Hey Phylly,

I seem to have less numbness and tingling.
A little less sciatca pain??

Hard to tell.
Went to my daughter's singing performance last night. She is in a high school performing arts school within her regular high school and I was super uncomfortable with the sitting.
I got up and walked around and there were intermissions and such but I went from being a little uncomfortable at first to being in a lot of pain. Took the Darvocet and the Percocet (I didn't drive) and still hurt. Now the left side of my lower back is painful.
So whatever that means.

I do have relief with my SI joint. Able to do bridges without bringing on any pain. That is a positive thing.

This is a far cry from how I felt during the summer that is why I am convinced there is a tear in my disc, just don't have the test that shows it.

I need to get out and walk also. Just not feeling like it but I know I need to keep exercising. Sounds like you are doing great.

Don't be in a rush to get off your medications as you know, you heal better when you are not in pain.

I just feel real tired and have trouble being motiviated. Seems like I have bursts of energy where I get things done and then feel like a limp worm the rest of the time. I just want to heal up and get on my way. I want to take care of an errand today so I am not taking any pain pills right now, which probably contributes to me feeling sluggish or not wanting to move very far.

I am glad you are feeling better with the fusion. You know now they are doing facet joint replacements along with ADR so the facet joint hypertrophy some people get with ADR will be a non-issue in the future.

Feel better

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:15 AM
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Runner,
Just wanted to check in with you and your recovery. we are coming up on a year and I'm not where I expected to be. My docs not willing to go down the ESI route, I asked my surgeon and PCP. both said no but did agree to rx relafan which is helping with the vicodin during days. Still taking gabapentin, muscle relaxer and sleeping pills to deal. Want to be off this stuff and work FT like normal. Instead I'm barely working Part time at expense of more aerobic exercise. Mostly still stretching and working on buidling core strength, obliques are the the weakest right now.

Anyway, just wanted to see a comparison with you. ARe you trying to work yet? How is it feeling.

I'm not using a grabber so much anymore, but mostly because of the hard core PT and individual pilates work. One of my rolfing sessions offered a decent breakthrough in my range of back movement but still no miracle to get back to normal.

LBP
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Injured 9/01
Annular tears L4/5 & L5/S1
denied adr by insurance for 2 level charite as well as hybrid fusion at L5/S1 with Charite at L4/5.

New ins paid for 2 level lumbar prodisc surgery on 4/7/08 (at age 39) with Dr. Westerlund, at Core Orthop

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:16 AM
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Hi Amy,

I have been meaning to PM you, but I just seem to be taking extra long naps (and forgetting). I am too tired.
It took a while for my doc to send me to the pain doc I suppose because they want to wait for that one-year mark. Yes, I am coming up on it too. Ten more days and I will be at a year. Not quite what I expected either.
Why do your docs not want to go the ESI route?

I started the ESIs in January and have had an increase in back pain the past two months that they are attempting to alleviate. Even now, my legs are periodically sounding off with the sciatica knife-like pain. It is time for my last Gabapentin of the day. I know the Gabapentin is really doing a number on my body but I don't think I could function without it. Still taking 1800 mg a day and taking Darvocet sometimes during the day and percocet (5 mg) at night. They just added the percocet when I said I wasn't sleeping too well.

I cannot work for a number of reasons. One, being that I am taking narcotics, two, the Gabapentin and three, the laying off doing anything during the ESIs.

Any work has to be done at home. This is one time I wish I had an office job.

I am doing the PT and exercising on my own. My core muscles are a lot stronger. I just cannot do as much as I would like to or I was doing back in August. It is pretty discouraging.

I have another appointment with the pain doc (who is really good so far) on Friday and then it will probably be another round of epidurals the following week.
I am keeping busy with a few projects and the kids but I am limited in what I can do mainly because of the pain.


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Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:17 AM
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Runner,
I just wondered if you should be doing PT with all of your pain? I know that when I stopped for awhile some of the pain got better. Walking is good but sometimes you get pushed a little too far by the PT therapists and I found the pilates really irritated the sciatica. You probably feel it would be a step backwards but you might try backing off on the exercise and give the nerves a chance to rest. Once they are irritated it takes quite a while for them to settle back down. I hope that the next round of epidurals helps. What do you think they will try next? I am really hoping that you can get some relief and get back to feeling better. Once your nerve pain settles down you may be able to back off the nuerontin. I know that sluggish feeling you get once you are over 1200 mgm. I am on 600mgm every 6 hours and I am not sure when I will cut down but I would like to get back to a lower dosage also. Take care, I know this is discouraging for you. Sometimes the ADR is just the first step and the recovery can be just as long as a fusion even though we hope for a faster recovery. Let us know what is next.
Phylly

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:19 AM
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Hi Phylly,

Thank you for your concern.
Now, I am only doing PT twice a week. Since B only allows 24 visits a year, I thought I would stretch it out and do some more exercising on my own.
I am not allowed to do Pilates; haven't been on the reformer since I "hurt" my back in August/September. My PT won't let me do much. I was doing the ellyptical trainer and now I am just doing the plain old treadmill. If anything causes pain, we back off. Plus it takes me a few days after the ESIs to be able to go back to PT.

I have pretty much backed off anything I used to call exercise. I walk and I do the home exercises.

I figure that the stronger my core muscles are, the better.
The problem is that my nerve pain isn't really settling down, however, there seems to be a little less numbness. Thanks to the ESIs?

I really don't believe this is a flareup.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:20 AM
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Skip the above message, it was interrupted by dinner.

The full message is this:

Hi Phylly,

Thank you for your concern.
Now, I am only doing PT twice a week. Since B only allows 24 visits a year, I thought I would stretch it out and do some more exercising on my own.
I am not allowed to do Pilates; haven't been on the reformer since I "hurt" my back in August/September. My PT won't let me do much. I was doing the ellyptical trainer and now I am just doing the plain old treadmill. If anything causes pain, we back off. Plus it takes me a few days after the ESIs to be able to go back to PT.

I have pretty much backed off anything I used to call exercise. I walk and I do the home exercises.

I figure that the stronger my core muscles are, the better.
The problem is that my nerve pain isn't really settling down, however, there seems to be a little less numbness. Thanks to the ESIs?

I really don't believe this is a flareup of my surgery level (l4/5), and neither does the pain doc. Rather there is definitely L5/S1 nerve (root) compression. The back pain is almost what I had before the big op, except this time, I have killer sciatica. So I don't really see myself getting off the lovely Gabapentin anytime soon. The back pain has slowly been increasing since Aug/Sept. In Jan/early February, I saw Grand Torino (using minimal drugs) and last Friday, I could barely stand sitting (using more drugs). (Is that an oxymoron, how can you stand and sit? Hee, hee, hee).

I know what is the coming feature for the pain doc appt, which is Thursday, now instead of Friday. Can you give me an "E", give me a "S" and give me an "I". What does that spell? ESI.

The pain doc already told me what he plans to do. I am not exactly looking forward to having another ESI next week. I don't know about what they do to you, Phylly, but with me they mess up my sleep patterns. It is like the opposite of the Gabapentin. Ten cups of Starbuck's best caffeinated beverage here we come.

Don't worry I am laying on my giant ice pack quite regularly and behaving myself. I know that the better shape I am in, the better it is for my back so I am watching what I eat, getting some exercise and getting help around the house when I need to. My husband has been sick this week so he has been laying low too.

I just keep thinking that I have been out of work for almost two years. Not exactly what I envisioned at this point in my life. Anyway, got to eat dinner. I made a dish that is a cross between fettucine alfredo and beef stroganoff. Yum Yum.

Phylly, please take care of yourself because you know what they say, you are early days. Don't do too much.

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:22 AM
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LBP

hi
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I have no clue why both the pain mgmt guy and my surgeon's colleague poo poo'd the ESI??? Luckily the Relafin does help as well as H wave in PT. I've been a lot better with segmental bridges since. I've had a long standing stiff area of lower back and it's finanally softening up a little. I also think rolfing helped. I just finished the 10 series. I have not been able to return to work FT, still not even close to that goal, and even working from home and occasionally the office more than 10-15 hours has really been difficult. I'm doing PT 3x per wk, with Pilates 1x per wk. PT was trying to add some more exercises that just killed me at night with pain, so we've stopped those. I wish I could afford to not work and then have private pilates 3x /wk with a commerical grade hwave machine for home, and just keep going to my rolfer and massage therapist...oh if $ wasn't an issue! It's been really hard to find a seriously quality PT this time around..way too much juggling multiple patients and not enough hands on work by the PT. It really irritates me because I know that the ins world is driving this crazy pt system of packing in as many people at once to make $, and skimping on the deep tissue work. I am convinced that my place strongly discourages use of ultrasound because it ties up one person per one patient for a whole 10 minutes. I get tired of demanding good healthcare treatment. Why is everything such a battle!
__________________
Injured 9/01
Annular tears L4/5 & L5/S1
denied adr by insurance for 2 level charite as well as hybrid fusion at L5/S1 with Charite at L4/5.

New ins paid for 2 level lumbar prodisc surgery on 4/7/08 (at age 39) with Dr. Westerlund, at Core Orthop

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:25 AM
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mad as ....
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi.
Almost a year out. Soon it will be a year.
Have ESI number three tomorrow and not exactly looking forward to it.
I just want my normal life back and it just doesn't seem like I am getting it.
I'll have to talk with the pain doc tomorrow who is doing the ESI to hear what to expect next or the "where do we go from here?" talk.
His physcian assistant last Thursday really threw me off. Well not completely off; it just made me mad.
She just ignored the fact that I could have something wrong at L5/S1 and that L4/5, where I have an ADR, could be fine. She told me that I should go back to the neurosurgeon because "you have had just about everything done" and "if he finds you are a non-surgical candidate, you have two options, take more pain medications or consider a spinal cord stimmulator."
Being in the medical profession, I just don't get why a PA acts like this. I told her that an SCS was not an option. I also told her that the pain doc had told me differently.

Next time, I have to speak to her, I think I will tell her she is full of c%^p. I didn't even see the doctor who I was supposed to see because "he was not in".
Next time, I make an appt, I am going to make sure the doc will be in.

That's all. One more thing, tomorrow is a national call-in day to your representatives for support of a single-payer health insurance plan. We are so far out of balance with our health care, please speak up if you support change from these crazy insurance companies to a better plan. This is in my humble opinion of course.

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:26 AM
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Hi runner!

Been following your latest trials. Seems as if we are heading the same trail. You are definately plowing the road for me. I am waiting for the consult on L5/S1. I too want my life back. I turned 49 last week and want to move on already. I hope the ESI's are relieving some of the discomfort.

Paul
__________________
MVA on 20AUG07 at work
L4/L5 Annular Tear
One failed epidural 12OCT08
Discogram 10FEB08
ADR Prodisc L 10JUN08

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:26 AM
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Runner,
I agree with you. It makes me mad when they give up on you w/o considering another disc being bad. The PA was awful and I hope you tell her. I bet your doctor will have another take on your problem. Hang in there and I hope the epidurals are helping a little. What about another opinion? More pain meds is just not the answer because we get used to the new dosage and it makes it harder to taper off. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get some relief.
Phylly
__________________
Cervical fusion C4-C6 2002
Fall on tailbone April 2005
Discogram positive at L4-S1 2007
Prodisc ADR surgery L4-L5-S1 November 2007 Dr. Delamarter
Decompression surgery L4-S1 for left sided sciatica July 2008
Continued back pain, looking at possible fusion
Removal of Prodiscs and L4-S1 fusion February 2009

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:28 AM
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Hi Paul,

So you have problems with L5/S1??
We are only three months apart (surgery wise). I would have posted back earlier but I have been recovering from the latest ESI.
Happily, i don't need to see the spinal pain specialist for two-and-a-half weeks. After having four injection procedures since the beginning of the year, I am ready for a short break.
I can't believe how crazy the steroid in the injection makes me. The first night I could barely sleep. I was not myself. A lot of side effects and increased pain. Today, I woke up to take care of my eight-year-old, helping him get ready for school. I was awake for a short time before I fell asleep with my four-year-old happily snoozing next to me. We slept for hours and I woke up feeling much better. However, after my "nap", my right foot has been "sleepy" all day.

I took less pain pills today with the goal of getting off pain pills this weekend. Well not completely off but just being able to take medication at night before I go to sleep. I don't know if I can do it but will try. Since I have been taking the "heavier" pain medication this week, I have been suffering from the brain fog. Tonight, I couldn't remember how to cook rice--that is the ratio between rice and water in a saucepain--and had to go on-line to look it up.

What kind of consult are you having on your L5/S1? Did you go back to your regular surgeon or are you consulting with the pain specialists and what tests have you had?

I think with the last ESI I got some relief in terms of the numbness, but the sciatic pain felt just about the same. Now my main concern is this increasing back pain. Back pain is just so fickle. Now, i have to wait and see what this Tuesday's ESI has in store for me. I know that there was a lot of steroid or medicine in the ESI because I was just about a crazy person for two days and looked like a red lobster. I don't know why I have a huge increase in pain after the ESI but it is no fun.

I do like being put asleep (conscious sedation) for the ESIs. After having them the other way (no sedation) before my surgery, I definitely don't miss the idea of laying there quietly as needles are put in your back.

So here we are, I feel like I am coming off the "roid rage" and have to wait and see. That is all we seem to do, wait and wait.

As for the P.A., well she really can't relate to how I feel as a patient. I ask myself whether I am imagining back pain and numbness and sciatica and know that i am not. Maybe P.A.s are less intuitive than us patients. They always taught us to treat the patient and not the machine. So i really don't care if my MRI doesn't show much. I know how I feel and it is not normal.
I can see why a lot of people with back pain seem to be written off. I hope all this back pain is treatable, otherwise I don't like what the future holds. I think that would be the worse, having severe pain and having very few options about what to do with it.

Hopefuly, for me and you there are some answers and we will be on the road to health soon. I know it is frustrating but you have to hang in there. The toughest part is the crazy waiting and telling people you don't quite know what is wrong with you.

Well, I have to go to sleep. I am watching Rachel Ray's vacation episode on Food Network while I type and I am salivating. She went to Las Vegas and was eating this huge lamb chop and boy it looked delicious.

Please keep me updated on your progress. I'd like to know how your docs are treating your condition.

Good night


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Old 04-05-2009, 09:30 AM
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Phylly,

Hope your recovery is going smooth and you are feeling better each day.
I know how much surgery takes out of you and I am praying that you regain strength every day and this surgery was the answer for you.

The doc's PA just cannot relate to how I feel. I think some people just look at tests and don't see the whole picture. It is good to observe how PA's and nurse practioners handle patients as I am looking into that role for the future.

I do have less pain today (Saturday) but I am so tired. I have tried drinking a Starbucks frapocchino or whatever you call it to counteract the effects from the Gabapentin and the pain meds. It works a bit but I think today I just have to lie down and rest. It says on the paperwork from the surgicenter that you can resume regular activities the next day after an ESI but that is quite impossible for me. Today does seem like a better day so I guess we will see.
I just have trouble concentrating and I am sure the Gabapentin has some depressive-effects because it is tough to get going when you are on it. I seem so detached from everyday things. I just don't think about things that were important to me at one time. Well my bed is calling me. I just have to take a nap--I feel like the old people that need their nap in the middle of the day.

No offense to anyone.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:31 AM
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Hi Runner,
I was thinking about you being pain free after this last injection! I hope it gives you relief. The reason that lamb chop looked so could was that the steroid makes you extra hungry for awhile. I could not stop eating when I had my injections along with the red face too. I really hated when I was given the SCS option. It so pissed me off because I am sure these Drs. also some financial gain from the company. Failed back syndrome =SCS. WAITING IS SO HARD TO DO! I cannot believe how long things can be dragged on. You almost want to have appointments made prior to you treatment so you can get o the next step.
Paul,
I am also sorry about your pain and hope that you are able to find out what is wrong.

As for me, I am being blessed right now with some very good days. My only concern is that I am still on quite a bit of meds and even though I am decreasing them, I still do not know what no meds feels like yet. I want to take things really slowly. I have been on meds for years and it may take me months to wean off. I really seem to need the nuerontin right now because when that wears off I still have some nerve pain just not nearly as bad as before and I also get sleepy. i never napped before but lately I have had an afternoon nap. It feels so good. I have taken some short drives, done a bit of shopping and am religious about my walking except for today. I will keep you posted. Hang in there.
Phylly
__________________
Cervical fusion C4-C6 2002
Fall on tailbone April 2005
Discogram positive at L4-S1 2007
Prodisc ADR surgery L4-L5-S1 November 2007 Dr. Delamarter
Decompression surgery L4-S1 for left sided sciatica July 2008
Continued back pain, looking at possible fusion
Removal of Prodiscs and L4-S1 fusion February 2009

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:31 AM
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Runner,

Sounds like a tough road to go down. I just came from dinner so the Lamb Chop has no appeal at the moment. I had no luck with ESI's and agree that you must have the sedation to make it through the injection. Since I can not sit they did a CT and the discoveries were unremarkable. A 2mm bulge of the annulus at L5/S1 into the spinal canal which does not displace the thecal sac or nerve root. My feeling is there is some issue because I can see it on the previous MRI from 07. At T12/L1 it stated degenerative changes in the thoracolumbar junction with slight anterior wedging of T12. You can see this in the original MRI also. I researched the thoracolumbar junction and the area can be responsible for low back pain. The surgeon that did my replacement has the report on his desk and I await his call to discuss the best course of action. I continue to do core strengthening at home and will know more when the doc calls.

Paul
__________________
MVA on 20AUG07 at work
L4/L5 Annular Tear
One failed epidural 12OCT08
Discogram 10FEB08
ADR Prodisc L 10JUN08

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:33 AM
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I would love to know what he says Paul. Please let me know.
Phylly
__________________
Cervical fusion C4-C6 2002
Fall on tailbone April 2005
Discogram positive at L4-S1 2007
Prodisc ADR surgery L4-L5-S1 November 2007 Dr. Delamarter
Decompression surgery L4-S1 for left sided sciatica July 2008
Continued back pain, looking at possible fusion
Removal of Prodiscs and L4-S1 fusion February 2009
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:35 AM
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Phylly,

I guess you just have to take it easy and not worry about the pain meds too much. After my surgery, it took a while to get off the pain meds and I weaned off them slowly according to how my pain levels were and not someone else's or a schedule.

I know the ESIs encourage my appetite but that lamb chop did look good. Right now I am hungry for shrimp cocktail---I love seafood. And then throw in the Gabapentin and you want to eat the refrigerator.

I am glad that you are feeling better, seems like you are making a quick recovery.

So you got hit with the SCS too? I never thought I would hear those words. Of course, I never thought I would have backpain that I couldn't get over and then have surgery and have the pain come back. Actually, i should say that the pain I had before surgery is gone and a new one is in its place.

Unfortunately, I don't feel any great relief from the ESI so far. When i was at church today, sitting in the chairs, I still had my feet and legs falling asleep and had backpain. I did cut back on the medications I was taking for 3-4 days after the ESI but I am still taking the pain medications. Just a few months ago, I didn't take pain meds every day and now I do.

Things do progress slowly and I feel like I am in some kind of time warp, waiting to start my life sometime in the future. It is difficult to plan when you don't know how you will feel next week or next month. I am keeping busy with other things and I have my kids to keep me busy as a new "crisis" pops up here and there.

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:36 AM
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Paul,

Your problem does sound similar. I don't know how big my bulge is on the MRI, but I am sure it is fairly small. When do they start measuring bulges??

Have you had current ESIs or were you referring to ESIs before the ADR? I have never had an ESI work miracoulously like they are supposed to work. I have just had little improvements which are enough to do more than one. I have spoken to people that got great relief from an ESI. This last one, I did not have any backpain for a short time (from the pain medication mixed in with the cortisone). That felt pretty good and different. You get so used to back pain that when it is gone it feels quite wonderful and then you realize how much it was bothering you.

I am keeping my sitting to a minimum and like today when i need to sit (like in church), I do end up needing pain medication to be able to sit. I do get discouraged because I feel if there was a big smoking gun to point to, this whole process would be easier. I don't have that but I am sure there is something. I just get this awful sciatica which is like a knife in my glutes or hamstrings. Then there is the numbness and the increasing backpain.

I don't have my surgeon appt until beginning of April so at this point, I can just kick back until it is time to see him again. After this last ESI, the pain doc told me to come back in three weeks (end of March). I am sure i will know more about the next course of action when I see the pain doc. I generally get the idea that the pain doc and my surgeon are working in concert like they should be.
My pain doc was nice enough to increase the dose of Percocet for me. The 5 mg was really low and not doing much. He upped it to 10 mg. That dose helps.

I just feel like I want to shout from the rooftops that I have pain and I need to get it fixed. I do not want to live with pain. I have taken my Percocet tonight and my night pills (muscle relaxant and gabapentin) and am still in pain. Right now, it is mainly the sciatica which is hurting on both legs). I want to throw the sciatica over the gangplank of this boat and get on with other things.

I have insomnia tonight (and several other nights) and just remembered that my doc had told me that Percocet can upset the sleep cycle. No wonder. It can also do a number on your memory. Oh, what was I starting to say?

Paul, if you wouldn't mind, i would like you to mention my case to your doc and tell him that my MRI only shows small bulges.
Now, that is if you have time when you speak to your surgeon. Besides the MRI, the relevant information is that I "hurt" myself in PT (felt sharp pain in lower back at least three times, two different occassions at approximately 5 1/2 month mark), then two weeks later, I woke up with sciatica (much stronger than before) and slight increase of backpain. Back pain has been increasing in intensity since then. One facet injection and 3 ESIs. I have also been told I have DJD at L5/S1.
That is it in a nutshell. My hope is that maybe since our cases are similar that we can glean some information from each other that will be helpful in our treatment course. Of course, I realize that your doc may not want to discuss that info.

Some docs like to talk and others don't. My pain doc wouldn't even discuss what he meant when he said if the ESIs don't work, he would do more invasive tests. My former pain doc told me at our first appt about the discogram. I remember thinkiing that there was no way I would do that test. Hee, hee.

I was wondering why your doctor didn't go ahead and do a myleogram since you were having a CT? I know myleograms aren't done routinely, but just wonder about the reasoning behind that.
You also have to remember that the docs don't seem to want to do much of anything before one-year anniversary of ADR surgery.

OKay finally sleepy,

keep me updated please.


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Old 04-05-2009, 09:37 AM
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Paul,

You still out there?
I had a "sucky" day today as the pain I have been getting on the left side seemed to come back and intensify.
I keep getting this sharp pain that comes and goes like a muscle spasm. I tried not taking any pain meds for a few hours but that didn't work.
I am fighting a sinus infection so I didn't exercise today. Hopefully, I will feel better tomorrow.

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:39 AM
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Default 3-19-2009

Results??
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Runner!

Well I spoke with the surgeon on Monday and have been a quandry since. His response was everytning looks "normal"!! He asked me if I could live with the pain? I was not completely caught off guard but was a bit concerned at such an odd question. He said my facets are normal and then went on to say that maybe a facet block would do the trick.

I asked him about this T12/L1 anterior wedging. I said I could see from my previous MRI that there appeared to be wedging prior to surgery. He stated that this is something fairly normal to see. He then asked me about the results of my original discogram and what the L5/S1 revealed. I told him that the original surgeon did not place a needle at that site. He then remembered that. I told him as far as I am concerned open me up fuse or replace the L5/S1 and be done with it. I told him I knew the ADR was successful and that the only discomfort was at the next level down. I told him I do not want a block and want to get this process accelerated. He said he would set up a discography down near his office.

I have had only one ESI and it was placed at the L4/5 area and did not work. I do not beleive a bandaid approach is very useful. I have found that I was not proactive enough with the original surgeon and placed too much trust in their judgement as to whether the original disco should have included L5/S1. Don't you love 20/20 hindsight. LOL!!

As to why they did not include a mylegram. Good question for which I do not have an answer. When I was scheduled for the CT I inquired about that with the imaging center and was told it was not ordered.

I apologize for not reading on Monday or Tuesday. I would love to hear what he would say with regard to your current condition. I am sure I will have the opportunity because my employer is reevaluating their position on this case.

When I spoke to our claims agent and mentioned that another discogram was being ordered he stated he could not approve it and it would go to the medical director for consult with the surgeon. He asked if the surgeon had discussed Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) with me and I told him no. The claims agent was very scattered and was hesitant to discuss anything directly. I would guess at this point they are looking to medically retire me to cut their losses and move on. It makes sense because they are already into this for about 300K between compensation and medical bills. I told the claims agent I would speak with him today regarding any progress they have made toward resolution of this case.

Sorry so wordy! I will keep you informed and I know Phylly was looking at this information because we both went to the same surgeon.

Paul
__________________
MVA on 20AUG07 at work
L4/L5 Annular Tear
One failed epidural 12OCT08
Discogram 10FEB08
ADR Prodisc L 10JUN08

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:40 AM
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Exercise and spasms
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Runners,

Do you raise your legs when you lay down? I sat in the "wrong" chair a a car dealership yesterday morning and paid for it all day. After about an hour of light gardening I laid down and propped my legs at the knees. Within 1/2 an hour no spasms and was up and about again. I continue to core train at home and did it last night. I feel bad when I do not exercise. I hate pain meds and avoid them for as long as I can tolerate the pain. Now I notice a gin and tonic are helpful sometimes too!!

Paul
__________________
MVA on 20AUG07 at work
L4/L5 Annular Tear
One failed epidural 12OCT08
Discogram 10FEB08
ADR Prodisc L 10JUN08

Last edited by runner; 06-09-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:42 AM
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Default 3-20-2009

Hi Guys,

I had a "good" day today after having an awful day the day before. Go figure. Paul, interesting story.
Back when I had my discogram, I wasn't aware of everything that involved it. So don't beat yourself up for not having L5/S1 tested, although you should have. It wasn't your fault.
I am like you Paul, I want to get things going. I exercised today to see how my back and legs would react and they did ok. I think when I exercise, I get the euphoric feeling and it blocks out a lot of back pain but I still felt some pain but it wasn't that bad.
I will see how I feel tomorrow and when i go to physical therapy.

So you are already getting a discogram while I wait. No I am not jealous but I have had to go through four injections since January and I am feeling a little needle phobic. I will probably end up having a discogram again if these symptoms persist.

I don't have a doctor appointment until the end of the month and then my surgeon appt in early April so I have a break from being poked and proded.

Well, Paul can you live with the pain? That is not such an unusual question as I read that, he is asking if the pain is not so bad that you don't want to pursue different avenues like surgery and the pain is liveable. Meaning it is not intractable pain.

As for failed back syndrome, my understanding is that if another disc degenerates near the repaired level, that is called FBS..
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:45 AM
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Runner,

Sorry to hear the injections didn't work. Mine didn't either. Does it look like you'll have to have another surgery?

As for failed back surgery syndrome, it was explained to me that the surgery didn't reduce the pain significantly (regardless of the procedure). I guess it's a catch all term so the surgeon won't have to shrug his shoulders.

I hope your discogram sheds some positive light on your pain source.

Bob
__________________
04/06 L5/S1 Rupture
05/06 MRI shows DDD @ L2-S1
06/06 Diskectomy/ Laminotomy L5/S1
04/07 Recurrent Disc L5/S1
3 Ortho and 1 Neuro Surgeon, 3 MRIs, 1 EGM, 1 Myleogram & 9 EDIs later:
03/27/09 L4/5 & L5/S1 Maverick disc at Stenum
03/27/09 Thanking God for giving Dr. Ritter-Lang his great skills

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:48 AM
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob and Phylly and Paul,

I don't know if the ESI didn't work because I have had two days of relatively low back pain. Sorry about my last post, I was falling asleep and not making sense and mis-spelling words galore. Later, I tried to go edit spelling but learned I have to edit within 60 minutes of a post.
Oh well.
I don't have a discogram scheduled but I am pretty sure I might go that route. Currently, I am enjoying not taking narcotics during the day and subsisting on tylenol and my gabapentin and flexeril. For two whole days!
This might last a week or less or more, who knows?
I am hoping that it lasts through my trip next week with my oldest daughter to go to the Supernatural convention. She got me turned on Supernatural (WB on Thursdays) when I was recovering from my surgery. Now, I am taking a trip with her for the three day convention. I almost like Supernatural as much as my beloved ER--which is ending this year.
I would like to get off of or decrease my gabapetin dose but I don't know the likelihood of that since I still have numbness in my legs and feet and sciatica. I might try reducing myself if I was adventurous but that would probably be foolish.

I am thinking of going to a movie today and sitting. Something I wouldn't have done 1-2 weeks ago.
My other daughter has begged me to take her to the movies. She can be tireless in any pursuit she undertakes.

Paul, you have to tell me the results of your discogram when you get it done. Your spine doc does not do them, does he? Do you have the radiculopathy and sciatica like I have?
Or just plain ole back pain?
Your doctor certainly is interesting. From my take, he seems like he does not deal with the "failures" as well as the "successes". I would be offended if a doctor asked me, "How much pain can I live with?" Come to think of it, I think one ortho surgeon did. I think he was trying to sway me away from fusion. I would come right back, explain my pain and ask him, if that was you, could you live with the pain? Doctors are interesting, I think I really admire some that I know and despise others. You have got to remember they are human and they do make mistakes. Some are arrogant and others can be quite humble.

I almost became one if not for my sub-par grades in my original stint at college. I was deadset on premed when i was a senior in high school. That was my dream, but alas it was not meant to be.
Paul, I would be really frustrated with him. At least, you got him to agree to a discogram. I don't know how you reacted to your last discogram but with me, the pain got worse after the discogram.


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Old 04-05-2009, 09:51 AM
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Default 3-25-2009

After a few good days and some moderate ones, I kind of crashed today and had a lot of back pain and sciatica tonight.
I just wish the insurance companies (the bad ones such as the Blues, and United) would start covering ADRs and listen to the results with patients. But I know they do not care for anything but their bottom line.
They sure do like covering fusions, but they are in the dark age when it comes to the newer spinal surgeries.

I am getting ready to go out of town--to the big city of Los Angeles, and am making the list in my head of what I need to be comfortable or relatively comfortable at the convention I am going to. My ice pad, my meds, my muscle stim unit, my Lidocaine pads, and the list continues.
I am hoping nothing gets significantly worse but I am realistic that things don't look particularly good. I just want to enjoy the weekend and went to the store and got my little supply of candy and was shocked how much the Sweet Factory raised its prices.
I felt like I was robbed as I didn't notice that they changed the way they priced their candy and we came up on the short side. So what was $18 for the whole family candy stash back in Dec., was twice as much now.

Then I see on TV that candy sales are up because of our economy.
I have to concentrate on other things so I don't go crazy with worries about my back. And I have been distracted plenty by car problems and money seemingly going out faster than it should.
I feel we are lucky because we have a house and can pay the mortgage, but like everyone we are one or two steps from disaster and especially since I am not working.

Thankfully, we have forums where we can bitch and moan or share great news and feel like we are not alone.
Well, that's it for now.
got to hit the hay,
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:53 AM
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Default 3-28-2009

a supernatural day

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well guys I am at the convention.
Steel, I am in your neck of the woods (being Los Angeles).

The sitting has been tough although I got up and took breaks as much as possible. The sciatica continues to be a bear, just like if someone was knifing my glutes or hamstrings. Luckily, I can take pain meds as I don't need to drive anywhere for the next few days and I will probably have my daughter drive home.

My daughter is surprised on how obsessed some of the Supernatural fans are. But there are plenty of normal fans too. I am really enjoying listening to actors talk and being around a large amount of people. Being a former reporter, I just like hearing people's stories and just finding out tidbits about people.

I am not happy that I look so fat with this protruding stomach but I try not to think about it too much. Since I am busy with stuff since late afternoon, I am less concentrated on pain and my problems.
Might be actually enjoying myself--what a concept.

Listening to the planes take off and land at LAX. We are on the 15th floor of our hotel. Looking forward to drifting off to sleep as the biggie pain med (percocet) is taking effect. I tell you, I am getting more back pain but also the Gabapentin does not seem to be holding the sciatica in check.
At home, I was looking at my journal about back pain and realized my pain levels were higher than what the doctor noted at my discogram in 2007 prior to surgery. My L4/5 was 8-9 and my L5/S1 was 7-8. My old pain rehab doc had my lower disc at 5/10. It pays to write things down after appointments and treatments. And no, I wouldn't have gotten this incorrect because I was not put out for the test and nurses don't mess up pain levels.

The world is paved with "if onlys". Now, I guess that the next step will be to find out exactly what is wrong with the disc. Next week, at my appt, I hope my pain doc does not mention spinal stimmulator. I would like to throw the PA, who spoke to me about that at the last appt, under a bus.

Well, that's it for now. Lately, been having more difficulty concentrating and remembering things, especially since started back on percocets.

Tomorrow is another day.



Oh by the way, Oprah last week on her Dr. Oz episode, had Montel Williams on the show, speaking about Multiple Sclerosis and the pain he has with it. Sounded kind of familiar about how he has nerve pain and how it effects him. It is worth a listen (go to Oprah.com - Live Your Best Life - Oprah.com) as how he has dealt with it and how he tries not to let it get the better of him.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:56 AM
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Default 4-3-2009

wasted day
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update of sorts:

I traveled up the road a bit to see my pain doctor in his other office (appt was changed) and I consider it a wasted trip.
It was on April fool's day, btw.
Anyway, turns out the doctor was not there again although I checked when I made the appt, apparently that is not always foolproof, and I ended up speaking to the P.A. again. Mostly, she told me that I should see what my neurosurgeon says. She gave me a new script for Percocet (refill) and wanted me to try Flector patches (antiinflammatory).
She told me I am at my max of ESIs. Not very informative here
So at the end of the appt, she informed me the Dr. was not in. Well, I kind of told her that I was upset at this happening again and that I wanted to see him, not her and "I did not trust her".
She replied that she was not in on Tuesday's at the office closer to me and that I should make my appts then.
She then said to see my surgeon and then see pain doc in one month.
I think she is not in touch with back pain (back pain patients) because why the heck would I want to wait one month? How stupid can you get? I am having a whole lot of pain, but why would I want to wait three weeks after I speak to my surgeon? Hey, i am not getting any better here.

I got an appt next week. I really want to talk to the pain doc before I see surgeon (next week also).
But what I really want to do is stop seeing docs and getting back to normal, but that does not seem to be happening.

I am at a conference to keep up my skills (thinking ability) and although I love this conference although I missed it last year because of my back, I am having a lot of trouble with the back pain.
So this conference is not the best thing for my back but kind of reinforces the idea that things are not right in that department.
I have had some extreme back pain after yesterday's session and that has increased my worries but I am trying to remain calm and not freak out. i need to have a clear head for the upcoming doc appts and do some more research so I am more informed and prepared.

Until next week...

On a side note, more protests against the insurance companies, who want to force us (Americans) to sign up for mandatory health insurance and tax our employee health benefits. Rally set on Monday, April 6th

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:57 AM
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Hi
What you are going through is nuts. I hate hearing about the loop of Drs. you are in. Having been there and done that I would certainly get another opinion. Surgeons do surgery. Pain guys give shots. It is really frustrating. There are Drs. that look at overall health and posture etc. I have the name of one that is like that I never went to but he sounds great. Email if you want the name. You probably need to see the surgeon to get the ok for the test, perhaps that is what the PA is saying. I would definitely make another appointment and why wait a month? (oh I reread the post and I guess you did make one sooner) You have the right to make an appointment when you want to. I hope that things will work out for you and you can get on with more important activities in your life besides Dr. appointments.
Phylly
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Fall on tailbone April 2005
Discogram positive at L4-S1 2007
Prodisc ADR surgery L4-L5-S1 November 2007 Dr. Delamarter
Decompression surgery L4-S1 for left sided sciatica July 2008
Continued back pain, looking at possible fusion
Removal of Prodiscs and L4-S1 fusion February 2009

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Old 04-05-2009, 09:58 AM
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Default 4-4-2009

DR. Circle J@#%!!
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Hey runner,

Just wanted to chime in with Phylly about the docs. I became politely proactive and was able to expedite what I wanted. They scheduled the next disco for Wed. this week. I said no to shots. I want to know if there is a problem or not as should you. Good luck and I will keep you informed.

Paul
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Discogram 10FEB08
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:00 AM
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Hi Phylly and Paul,

Hey guess what? I had my post all about finished and then i accidentally deleted it. Didn't push the delete button but somehow, I push some stupid button on the laptop and into thin air my words went.

I only have one problem with my pain doc--ha ha--and that is the P.A. I didn't know that she wasn't in on Tuesdays, so now I know. I will not be seeing her if I can help it. She suggested I take the Gabapentin in 900 mg divided doses twice a day. But i told her when I oversleep and take two when i wake up, it doesn't seem to be any more effective so taking them that way is not needed. I think because I am a smart person, I can handle taking meds in divided doses (She asked me to tell her when I took them), plus my surgeon told me to take them six times a day. I do think it is more effective as the medication is spread out over time.
She also suggested Lyrica, but I told her I went over this with Dr and his office staff, who have not gotten my insuranceto pay for Lyrica for any of their patients. The main problem with Gabapentin is it makes me sleepy but Lyrica is known to do the same. She said they had gotten Lyrica for some patients with it. I seriously doubt that unless they had the Plantium kind.

I did try the Flector (diclofenac epolamine) topical patch but i doubt it will help what feels like discogenic pain. It may help with the muscles but who knows, I am giving it a try. The problem is this chick can not relate to the pain I am in. Holy cow, this can really hurt. I don't think she understands that kind of pain and throwing meds at a problem instead of finding a solution is not going to help. I am of the opinion that she is a dimwit. She asked me to refresh her mind if I had had an MRI. How many times did we go over that since I started seeing the pain doc in January? Read the H & P, lady.

I am of the opinion that the pain doc is very good. Before, he explained things to me clearly and answered all my questions. I just expected to see him last week, so I could see if he wanted the test and see if I could get it scheduled next week when it is spring break and I have less of a babysitting problem. I believe the epidurals helped a little and do not regret doing them. They are a pain, but as you know, insurance looks at conservative care carefully. You have to show you have done everything you can before you even think of surgery.

As for Dr., he hasn't seen me for three months, but he has never downplayed any pain I am in or my symptoms. I also don't believe the pain doc has to ask Dr. permission to do a test. The pain doc may want to defer to Dr. , however. I get the impression they are collaborative.

So Thursday, I get to see Dr. and can tell him how I have been doing. Don't worry, I won't be put off. I will get answers.
This is my 13-month postop appt. So that means I am getting x-rays before. I wish doctors could just look at x-rays and tell what is wrong with your back. Wouldn't that be easier.
I was speaking with my husband last night to talk to him about where my back looks to be heading. I guess i will just have to cross that path when the time comes.

What are you going to do Paul if your discogram is positive? Have another ADR, fusion, do nothing???
Sometimes surgery can make things worse--I know that and I hope you know that too. I have felt this in my gut for sometime that things are not right. I kind of hope I am wrong...i.e. go on the idea that it takes more than 12 months for healing and such. I am almost back to the point where I was when i first scheduled surgery. This is having a big impact on my life, again.

So today, I am resting. Both my feet are numb and burning as I lay on my bed, typing but the back pain is better than yesterday. I am pretty much taking the pain pills all day and the sciatica comes and goes as the Gabapentin wears off. Two hours into my last dose and my butt hurts and my right leg hurts (that reminds me i have to tell the doc about the little toe shocks I have been experiencing on and off). I know that the nerves are pissed off but I still cannot get my mind around the fact that a little bulge can do this.

Paul and Phylly, i did come across some info that may or may not be helpful towards understanding our backs. There is a site with a question and answer format on back questions.
it says in part, regarding, bulging discs: "Bulging discs are never normal. They represent degeneration of the disc with some softening of the annular tension. You can have a bulging disc, however, which is not causing any symptoms."
Dr. Kenneth Pettine of Colorado, another well known doc, says this: "The answer is a resounding yes. Studies have shown that 50% of people over the age of 50 have bulging discs at multiple levels in their spine, but never report any symptoms other than the occasional backache following strenuous exercise."

Dr. Christopher Urban of Maryland says, "As intervertebral discs age, they undergo degenerative changes that cause "bulging". In most cases, bulging discs are considered normal because they do not cause symptoms. Many people are unaware that they have bulging discs. In some situations, such as spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease, a bulging disc may produce back or leg pain. It is essential to correlate a patient's medical history, physical examination and imaging studies (MRI) to determine whether or not a "bulging disc" is actually normal."

The docs on there are all well-known docs but they don't even agree about bulging discs. That is the problem there is no consensus among the docs about the different back problems and that is why patients get so confused!

I have more than one bulging disc in my lumbar spine, but I doubt that all of them are causing pain.
Those little buggers...

Paul, so the disco is this week? Ready for it?
I am at the point where I welcome something else. Must be crazy, huh?
Well, that is it for now.


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Old 04-05-2009, 10:13 AM
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Smile as the page turns...

Okay, guys,

This is the start of the new blog, everything from now on is on real time.
I cut a lot of the blog to make things more slimmed down and some posts I didn't put in.
Now it is time to nod off.
I am a bit wordy sometimes.

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Old 04-05-2009, 01:36 PM
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I am so sorry that you continue to experience problems. It is horrible to have your hopes end up being a yo-yo when all you wanted was to get fixed and get on with your life. I hope the pain management doctor will get you settled down with your pain until the next course of action is found. God be with you and your family.

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
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Maverick Disc S1-L5, L4-L5

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Old 04-05-2009, 04:19 PM
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BCBS is weird in that when hub had BCBS of Ma they wouldn't pay for the Forteo for my osteoporosis but BCBS of TX had no prob with it and paid all of it but $40 I think.

BCBS of Mass was really snotty re answers to questions and acted too bored, steered me to BFE re answers that should have been easy enough to come up with I thought and BCBS of Texas is like speaking to people from another planet as they are so nice and helpful! I couldn't believe the diff!

Now I have to work on getting Tricor and Zetia approved for my cholesterol..

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Old 04-06-2009, 01:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maria View Post
Now I have to work on getting Tricor and Zetia approved for my cholesterol..
I am on that same cocktail and it works fabulous. I was on Statins previously which damn near killed me from the side effects. The Zetia and Tricor keep my cholesterol and triglycerides nicely under control. Good-luck on getting these approved as, I believe, they are great for people that have spinal issues.

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 04-06-2009, 07:44 AM
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Default hello again

Terry,

Thanks. It is weird having an increase of back pain. I went to church today and spent the rest of the day recovering from sitting. I didn't feel like doing much of anything and eventually went to my bedroom to sleep and slept for five hours, I think.
It is easy to sleep, being on Gabapentin and Darvocet. Plus I stayed up late on Saturday night, might have something to do with being tired.

I don't really know why my back pain is increasing. I am wondering if I further herniated a disc or this is just degenerative disc disease. It is different pain then what I felt before my operation. The sciatica is a lot worse and really hasn't changed since my three ESIs. I don't think it is L4/5 because my symptoms are all L5/S1. So I will wait to see what the docs say this coming week.

I am watching Oprah (of course) and Michael J. Fox who has Parkinsons disease and Dr. Oz and i feel lucky just to have back pain. There are worse things but I feel kind of like that wrestling with this back and leg pain. They were talking on the show about stem cells and fighting disease and hopefully, stem cells may one day help DDD.

I found out some interesting things at the seminar i attended last week. One of the lectures was about spine and peripheral nerve injury and there is a material that has been developed to span nerves. It is complicated, sort of, but this material allows axons to reconnect. The lecturer said that they can use the material in a lumbar laminectomy. She said doctors are using it to wrap irritated nerves and the nerves like to be wrapped as this material helps nerves heal. I may have this a little mixed up because the notes are not very complete. But I think this material was originally developed to help burned skin heal.

Boy, i thought if people are having posterior fusions, I wonder if the doctors are using this to wrap those nerves and help them heal. If you can use it in laminectomies, why not fusions?

Hopefully, there are more therapies in the future for DDD that don't involve surgery.

Maria, I have given up trying to figure out insurances. They are a powerful company that doesn't seem to mind sticking me and others with outrageous bills. If my current doctors and surgical centers didn't accept the provided amount and adjust for it, we would probably be broke. We have to be easily paying more than 500 dollars a month for stuff. My husband said my medications are about 400 dollars alone. I think it varies. I could save some dollars but I don't take the generic for my Zestril, blood pressure medicine, as the brand works and I don't want to fool around with it. I was trying to explain to my husband today how generics can vary.
I just keep getting medical bills and evidence of benefits statements from insurance.

I know one thing, back pain has totally changed my life and I don't think it is for the better but eventually maybe i will.

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Old 04-06-2009, 09:24 AM
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Runner, I've been trying to catch-up on your long story. I'm sorry that you're not as well as you "should" be. It's rough when you have to be philosophical in dealing with pain/limitations re:

" know one thing, back pain has totally changed my life and I don't think it is for the better but eventually maybe i will."

I certainly hope there'll be a resolution to your pain. Look at the new developments e.g. Mark's forthcoming/almost now surgery device, etc.

Best Regards, Allan
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:46 PM
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K, I truly hope you can get this sorted out soon. It sounds like you've been through the ringer as well. The uncertainty of what's really causing your pain must be frustrating. What's the next step? Good luck, keep your head up and keep us posted.
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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 04-07-2009, 07:19 AM
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Unhappy watching the runners go by...

Hello Allan and Justin,

Went for a walk today and had to watch the runners pass me by.

It will be a big week for me as far as doctor appointments. Tomorrow, I get to have the conversation with the pain doc that I hoped to have last week. I met with the P.A. last week while I hoped to speak to the pain doc but apparently he was awal. Now, I can ask him what we are going to do now that the ESIs have not worked all that much. I love speaking in the third sense.

What are we going to do doc?
Or What's up Doc? Isn't that Donald Duck?

In all seriousness, I hope he has more to say than the P.A. Who told me that I should go to my neurosurgeon appt and see what he has to say. I saw my podiatrist today and i told him what she (the P.A.) said about refreshing her memory whether I had an MRI and he said, doesn't she look at the chart before she sees you?

Apparently not. Luckily, the pain doc seems to be more on the ball. So soon is the pain doc, who actually seems very good and then the neuro on Thursday. Hey, my right foot (heel) has been hurting since a long time and the podiatrist believes it's caused by the nerve root pain and now today my left one is hurting (a lot). Have you guys experienced something familiar?

THAT'S ALL FOR NOW FOLKS!!! (Justin you may be too young to know where that comes from).

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:11 PM
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Runner;

My feet ached after my surgery. Right afterward, I would stay awake at night with my feet burning all night long. I had to wake up my poor sleeping wife and ask her to rub my feet. I slept with compression socks for awhile and that helped some. I had horrible cramps in my calves that would shoot me out of bed like a rocket. I was lucky I never killed myself flying out of bed the way I would. It felt like my leg muscles were going to pop through my legs. Horrible. The feet thing got resolved with massive doses of Lyrica. I was up to 400mg per day but have been off of that for well over one year. So feet and leg issues seem to be fairly common after these types of surgeries. I used to have planters fasciitis and had orthotics made for my shoes. Since my ADR surgery I have switched to wearing MBT shoes and have never had to use orthotics again. The Lyrica was a miracle drug for me and made all the difference in the world to my comfort level.

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

Last edited by Terry Allen Blackburn; 06-27-2009 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:00 PM
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Terry,

I am on that other miracle drug, Gabapentin. I can really tell when it wears off. My left foot pain is minimal compared to the other pain. It is located right in front of the heel area and is just probably related to the nerve pain or is part of the nerve pain.
Yes, it feels like I have plantar fascitis in both feet, except the right one is enjoying the cortisone shot now.
Thank God, I haven't had those jump out of bed cramps for quite a while.
Saw pain doc, basically he thinks sciatica/numbness is definitely from L5/S1 and not L4/5. Disconcertingly, my patellar and ankle reflexes were almost nil. Waiting on what my surgeon says.
glad to hear you are feeling better and cracked up at that "let the force be with you" comment to Mark I just read.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:12 AM
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Post

Saw neuro doc today.
X-rays of ProDisc at L4/5 look "fantastic"
I should be doing great he said.
He agreed with the pain doc.

runner
(but not running at the moment, should call myself, walker).

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner View Post
Saw neuro doc today.
X-rays of ProDisc at L4/5 look "fantastic"
I should be doing great he said.
He agreed with the pain doc that I should have a discogram to see if L5/S1 is a pain generator.
So discogram soon.

runner
(but not running at the moment, should call myself, walker).
Good news about L4/5 "Walker." Kimmers can you describe your pain--where you feel the pain in your leg/foot?
__________________
-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 04-11-2009, 07:02 AM
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Angry Pain

Sure, I can take a stab at it Justin.
I don't have the same pain as I had with L4/5, which was a "take your breath away pain" at its worst and had surgery for 2008. But when I first "hurt" the other disc, I did feel that pain, where I almost dropped to my knees. It did stop me in my tracks, as I was doing Pilates and felt the pain, ignored it sort of, and then was walking with a stretch band on my ankles, felt it again, and had to stop (I felt this pain three times).
Exactly two weeks later, I woke up with sciatica, much more severe than I had with L4/5 and it increased until I called the doctor to request getting back on Gabapentin (I was off both narcotics and Gabapentin). At that point, I could not get off the couch without feeling serious hurt. I started on 900 mg of the drug as I was on before and then that wasn't enough and gradually increased it to 1800 mg.
The sciatica, which can be described as a knife-like pain in the glutes and hamstrings, is a 24/7 pain, which is muted by the Gabapentin. At the same time, i also had a resurgence of the plantar fascitis-like pain in my right foot. I have a history of plantar fascitis but it was mainly caused by working on hard floors and some running. When I didn't work or run, it was not there, but I tore my plantar fascia again in April 2007. Of course, I woke up with back pain in May and the plantar fascitis flared again and I was not working, not running and my podiatrist figured out it was related to sciatica (L4 nerve root). He also noted I had soreness where the nerve ran down to the foot. (I got cortisone shots, which helped)
Fast forward to post-op in August and I was off Gabapentin and narcotics and did not have a problem with plantar fascitis. It came back with the new back pain.
I also have had right toe pain, that woke me up at night and fairly recently intermittent pain in my toes on both feet. I have had pins and needles pain but not everyday and only in my feet.
Along with the sciatica, I have had numbness in my legs and feet. I have had my legs fall asleep (usually only one) when I am standing or laying down. My left foot regularly goes numb especially when driving and currently when sitting. When driving, my right foot tingles and does not currently go completely numb. On 4-6, bottom of left foot started to hurt.

Right now, it is 11 pm and I took my last Gabapentin at about 8:45. I am laying on the couch with my laptop. My feet are burning across the top of both feet and on the lateral sides of my ankles and calves and there is some burning on my medial side of my left calf. I also have some burning on my right thigh and on my right hamstring (they call it posterior thigh??) and I am getting intermittent glute and hamstring pain.
the gabapentin is wearing off.
My back pain is about a 4-7/10 and I have taken Darvocet and tylenol earlier in the day. And it is left and right-sided. Seems to be more right-sided today.
The back pain has gradually increased from when it started. Around mid-February (Valentine's Day) I was able to sit comfortably at a movie with medication. By 2-27, even taking Darvocet and Percocet (10 mg), I was unable to sit at my daughter's performance comfortably. I was squirmiing in my seat. My sitting tolerance improved and then declined.
I went to a conference on April 2 and was basically sitting on and off, but there were a lot of breaks. It went from 7:30 to about 4 pm. Afterwards went back to my room and was in a whole lot of pain, so took a Percocet.
I was taking Darvocet during the day (prescribed for four times a day prn).
I rested and then walked a short-distance to a restaurant and had about 7/10 back pain even after the percocet and darvocet had time to take effect and so I did a no-no and had a large beer. Got back to hotel room and still had severe pain and had taken all the meds allowed. I was also icing my back as much as possible.
Yesterday, I went and got x-rays and waited about 50 minutes. Went to neurosurgeon appt, about 40 minute wait and then in and out. At night, had severe pain. took Darvocet and Percocet together, sat on ice pad. Had back and leg pain and could not sleep because of the pain. Took sleeping pill (rare for me) and that did it.
I am sure some of my pain and numbness today is due to yesterday's sitting.
I have had one facet block and three ESIs since January. Before the last ESI, I almost fell down when I got up quickly from a nap (phone was ringing) and my left leg was asleep and right foot was numb too. Got two day "relief" with that ESI.
I have gone from taking no narcotics, only Tylenol, to taking narcotics 3-4 days a week to taking them everyday. The back pain has gradually increased as the leg pain has remained mostly the same.
The back pain ranges from spasms to burning (like tenditinitis) to a deep pain. I also had thrown into the mix some SI Joint pain and my SI joints move out of place pretty regularly. Was out of place today and put back by PT.
Pain doc told me he thought sciatica/numbness was from L5/S1. Not sure about back pain so disco on Thursday next week. I am nervous but ready. Seven months of this is too long.

This is pretty lengthy but you asked me what the pain felt like.
Be careful of what you ask for.

runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 04-11-2009, 03:22 PM
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runner,

Thanks for your detailed reply. Seven month is too long. I'm so sorry that you are going through all of this. With your description, it definitely sounds like L5/S1 is implicated in your pain. (Of course, this is my personal opinion.)

I do hope the discogram reveals, or it least confirms, the culprit of your pain. I wish you the very best and please keep us posted after Thursday of next week.

Keep your head up--we're here for you.
__________________
-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 04-11-2009, 07:08 PM
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Arrow

Thank you,

Justin. It means a lot that you and others on here care.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:46 PM
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Kim,
I had no idea that you had a 'new injury' so to speak. I had thought that your back pain had never went away after surgery. You had ADR on L4/5, right? I usually have to read and re-read everybody's signature so I can keep up with what level (s) goes with who. Anyway, let us know how the discogram goes. I hope you find something out soon.
God Bless,
Kathy
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34 years old-
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 04-12-2009, 04:18 AM
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God Bless you Kathy.
I have had these crazy sciatica/numbness symptoms for a while and despite the conservative treatment, nothing much has changed but the back pain is getting worse and worse.
Yes, before this, I was on the road to recovery and I could not believe it. I was still tired, and had some little symptoms like slight tingling in my lower legs and feet. Nothing above that and I was doing good, just recovering slowly. Sore, tight muscles, but my surgeon was pleased.

The problem with back surgery IMHO is that things are rearranged and nothing is the same so things flare up and go down and it is the normal recovery process. So back in late October, after a pretty-much normal MRI, and some treatment, they thought it was just normal recovery or some irritation from micro-motion at the back of the disc.
Finally, in January, I asked the doc to check into the facets and then I was sent to a pain management doc, who has dealt with patients with discs. My previous pain doc had not. I got the facet injection and like my pain doc said the other day, i got no relief, even in recovery right after so the facets don't look like they are the culprit.
Then the ESIs, which gave me some brief relief, but not enough. This has led to them getting the next test done.
From what I have seen and heard, I think doctors really look at your one-year mark as a milestone. This is just the realization of what I have feared all along. You just know something is wrong, but you don't know what because the back is so darn complicated.
Got to go, "Gabi" is wearing off and my right leg and foot are "tickling" right now.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:22 AM
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I am sorry to post this guys but unfortunately I was rear-ended on Tuesday after taking my children and others to school.
This was the very last thing I wanted to happen, but it did and although it wasn't at high speed, it messed with my back a bit.
I had pain afterwards but the lady who hit me didn't want me to go to the ER (go somewhere else instead to get x-rays) as she wanted to keep the car insurance company out of it.
I didn't want to go to ER too, but my doctor's office finally told me that my dr. said I needed to. My doc was not in the office. So not to confuse people, the office told me to go to the ER also the first time I called them, I am just a reluctant ER visitor.
I pulled my oldest daughter out of school, dropped off my youngest with grandma and went in.
Luckily not too long of a wait, got out of there in four hours.
Had x-rays and nothing major so was released after having two shots of dilaudid. My teenager wasn't too happy, she does not like hospitals.

I think I just stirred up my painful disc as I had some sharp, shooting pains from my right side.
Just in time for my test on Thursday.
So goes life I guess. The dilaudid caused nausea which has finally passed. I did get some sublingual Zofran but that didn't work completely.
I tried to apease the lady who hit me but I was unable to and unfortunately for her, this will go through the car insurance route.
One of the things I was thinking was too bad she hit someone with back problems. Ugh.
That's it. I will post after the test.

Runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:31 AM
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Cool It's always something...isn't it?

K,

Sorry to hear about the accident. It's good to hear the xrays came back OK.

I'll share this so you don't feel alone in all of this: when I traveled to The Texas Back Institute in 2003 for my stateside ADR evaluation I was rear ended on the way home from my appointment with Dr. Guyer. My rental car was not hit hard, but when I got out of the car to speak to the woman that hit me she acted like it was no big deal. This really pissed me off because she didn't grasp how I was already suffering from back pain and this accident flared me up instantly. The next day I went to my discogram that Dr. Guyer had already scheduled.

I agree with you: too bad lady, this is going through insurance--good for you.

Best of luck on the 16th...I've been crossing my fingers and toes but it's getting a little difficult to walk around like this.
__________________
-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 04-15-2009, 08:38 PM
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Wow, that sucks. I know I am always afraid of getting into a car accident, and causing worse problems with my back.

I hope your back calms down.
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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 04-16-2009, 03:13 AM
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K,
This sucks, so sorry. The same thing happened to me, 6 months after the first wreck. Same thing, sorry to file on insurance; but you just re-hurt me (I was actually feeling better as I had just had injections the week before). Because of the second accident, it let the first one off the hook for anything beyond that point. My attorney said it is called an 'intervening accident' and that the second person is now liable for everything beyond that. I had an MRI after the second one, that showed the L4/5 tear, so it did cause new damage. It makes you just want to choke the person that hit you, knowing that you are going to be suffering more because of their carelessness.

Glad you have your discogram scheduled, hopefully no new damage to the back and you can find out what is wrong. Will be praying for you and your surgeon, Kathy
__________________
34 years old-
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 04-16-2009, 05:41 AM
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Default you find humor in the weirdest places...

Thanks,
Justin, Cathy and Kathy,

It was pretty funny today when I took the minivan to get an estimate on repairs and the little "tap or bump" actually imprinted the lady's license plate into my bumper.
Still sore today but better than yesterday but I rested most of the afternoon.
Pretty soon will be disco time and I am not quite ready to dance.
Talk to you later,

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 04-16-2009, 04:40 PM
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Sometimes, even seemingly minor accidents cause major injuries. I'm glad you went to the ER if for nothing other than peace of mind. I agree with avoiding trips there, I hate it but it does serve a purpose.

Your disco will hopefully be definititve and you'll have a more complete picture. I wish you good luck,

Keep us posted, Dale
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Old 04-16-2009, 08:03 PM
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Default whoops...Justin are you out there?

Oh now, I am all upset and don't know what to think.
I had a lot of pain during the test, but all I could say was where it was and it was "moderate". I never say that!
How stupid am I?
I wish they had given me a 0-10 pain scale. Here I am a person and I don't know how to describe pain. I did raise one of my legs when I felt bad pain.
It hurt but unless it is unitended child birth, it is not a 10/10. I didn't have a 10/10 with my first discogram before my ADR surgery in 2008.
This one, today's, also hurt like my back pain hurts and I had some leg pain too and hip pain.
I think I failed my test.
All the pain doc could say afterwards when I asked him was that he had to put a lot of pressure in the disc to produce pain. He said the pain wasn't "impressive". "See what the CT shows."
OMG. I told him moderate to me means 7-9 pain but he didn't really listen and now I am wondering what the heck is wrong with my back?
I am wondering if there is any hope of a cure.

The anesthesiologist, who put me out with the Propofol, then gave me 60 mg? Toradol IV before the pain doc injected the discs with the dye. Does that have any effect?
I was in pain ( a lot) after the test and then during the CT too. Now I am just a frozen back as I have my giant ice pack on my back (I also was given 10 mg Percocet).

This disco was different than my first one of course.
However, this "whole" pain episode has been different. I have just as much pain but it is a different quality and it started differently. I felt searing pain back in August and then I had some back pain, leveled off, but the worse was the leg pain and then my back pain has slowly been increasing until it is as the same or worse than the leg pain. Plus the stupid numbness.

I wonder if I am crazy. I told my husband if I don't have a painful disc, that means there is probably nothing I can do about the pain and I would rather die than live like this.

I got the CD of the CT and looked at it. I compared it to my disco on 10-2007, but both disc nuclei look different. Nothing looks like it is outside of the disc and I am confused because on the CD disc, it looks like L5/S1 appears first and then L4/5 (easy to spot because of the ADR) and then L3/4. Looking at it that way, L3/4 looks like a mushroom cloud and L5/S1 looks like a crumpled up piece of paper that is oblong. They both look contained.
I have no clue as to what is going on.
My husband doesn't understand, I was telling him that the cutting edge treatments for DDD are 5-10 years away. He was like you could go into a trial.
I haven't been imagining this pain, WHat the he** is going on? I am going to see the pain doc in one week, but i already feel it is a lost cause. If they cannot find what is causing this pain, I am going to start working out. I haven't been happy since I stopped and what the heck, this is one activity that brings me pleasure.
As for sitting, that has been killing me since mid February.
So I can't sit, maybe I can walk.
If anyone understands me, I want to run away from this back stuff.
I am sick and tired of it.
Oh, on top of it, they asked me to take off my cross necklace, that I just got at the conference, and I dropped it in my belongings bag. Well, I was so goofy when I left that I left the necklace in the belongings bag. They told my husband that they would go through the trash and try to find it.
But that just takes the cake.
My necklace is probably gone too.

runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:00 PM
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Runner,

I just logged on. I am so sorry about your day. However, I would not base if a disc is bad solely on being "contained." It can still have incredible internal disc disruption. Did you see any obvious tears (the disc not holding the dye)?

Even if you didn't describe your pain correctly, you can clarify this with your referring surgeon. 7-9/10 out of 10 is severe---a 10 is you are dead on the floor. It doesn't matter (in my book) what adjective you used to describe your pain.

What matters is if this disc is a pain generator even at increased pressure levels. Your quality of life has suffered greatly, and I know you have explained this to your surgeon and PM docs many times.

You are NOT crazy--you are living in chronic pain.

Pain is very complex and a lot of times it is tied into a very unique pathology, especially concerning back/leg pain.

Don't throw in the towel before you see your surgeon and you guys discuss your discogram in detail. By the way... even if you are a nurse, pain interferes with every aspect of your life, especially describing pain. I do stupid stuff all of the time because I'm in so much pain...I put things in the fridge that should go in the freezer and lately at home I forget if I've washed my hands 2 seconds ago and have to wash them again. My wife just stops sometimes and looks at me in utter amazement, as she has no clue what the heck I just said.

Keep your head up and feel free to email/PM me...when can even talk by phone if you like.

EDIT: the propofol does make a difference--even if it doesn't provide any analgesia it can still affect the way you may interpret pain... just an FYI
__________________
-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.

Last edited by Justin; 04-16-2009 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
I told my husband if I don't have a painful disc, that means there is probably nothing I can do about the pain and I would rather die than live like this.
Runner, I know you probably don't mean this literally--more of an expression about your situation, right? I would stress this feeling to your surgeon and if you do have any "dark" feelings, please share them with someone you love (like you did with your husband) and/or seek out a professional to share such feelings with. Sorry, not trying to point this out but I've been trained to take language like this (even if it is in "passing" or in a "joking" manner) serious.

You will not be in pain forever and you will be able to do something about it. However, it is taking much, much longer than you want it too. You will find relief soon...I truly feel that in my gut, as you are turning every rock.

BTW...I am sorry about your necklace.
__________________
-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 04-16-2009, 10:39 PM
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Thanks Justin,

I am going to the darkside.
I did send you a PM (Please keep in mind I have had a lot of drugs today).

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:57 PM
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Default Almost there

kimmers,
I just tuned in--Whahhhhhhh! It was an awful few days for you. Don't you feel like moving to Australia. you know the book, it was a no good very bad day and I think I will move to Australia. You must tell the pain doc that moderate is severe. And please don't read your own films, wait for the radiologist. This is why nurses and Drs. are bad patients. They know too much.

i have a pain therapist that woks in San Juan Capo. She is awesome and takes BC. Please PM me or call if you need her name and number. She is a wonderful lady who listened to me when I wanted to die from my pain and said the same as you about not wanting to live like I was. I could go in and sob for a whole hour. You may not mean it but you are probably feeling a bit depressed at this point and talking to an objective person could help.

I am so sorry for all your pain. When do you see Dr. Palmer/and or Dr. Pain. I m not sure that running will make things better but what the heck, the worst that could happen is back to bed for a day. I am thinking of you and sending hugs.
Phylly
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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 04-16-2009, 11:13 PM
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Phylly,

Thanks.
See Dr. on May 7: see Dr. Pain on April 28. Dr. Pain did say a week from now but I called the office and they said April 28 was ok (as long as I had enough pain meds). I will see about the pain (and whether I have enough meds). I am pretty iced up right now, but still have a lot of the numbness in my legs.
I'd rather go on a tuesday anyway, to avoid the P.A.
Dr. Pain is real hard to read. He just shut down and didn't say much. I have read that if you have any severe pain that means it is positive.
Maybe it is not the disc and it is some weird Australian thing that has implanted itself in my body. (hey, folks, that is the drugs talking).
No, I haven't read the book, Australia.
I have stopped looking at the films as both discs look funny.
BTW, no running today.

runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:21 PM
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sorry to confuse you, not the book Australia, the kids book by Judith Viorst. It was one of my favorites to read. I will find the exact title I may have been paraphrasing. Any help out there from other old folks? My age is showing.
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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 04-17-2009, 02:55 AM
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K,

You had hard day. You're fearful your response wasn't enough for your doctor to convince him you have a painful disc. My discogram revealed NO pain, not mild, moderate or severe, at L2/3. Even moderate pain indicates the disc is a pain generator. So no harm in your response. Losing your necklace was unfortunate but did nothing but cap off a lousy day.

Second, I agree with Justin. A friend of mine killed herself over cervical problems. She had no money, no insurance and couldn't work. She saw no way out. She gone. Another friend also saw no way out. She was actually planning her suicide. That was 2 years ago now and she's mostly pain free with most of her old life back now. I take 'the dark side' very seriously. Please calm down and pm me if you want to talk. I'll be happy to help you in anyway I can. We don't even live that far apart.

Keep in mind, there is a solution out there. You will find it and pain free days lay ahead. Some doctors will work harder than others and often it's simply a matter of finding the right doctor. It would also be helpful if your doctor prescribed anti-depressants. They can make a huge difference.

BTW, my husband used to love to run. It cleared his mind but his knees had other ideas. He now rides a bike. Almost as good!

You don't have to go through this alone. We're all here to help. Just a hint and we'll jump at the chance because we all know about your pain and the darkness. Well you hinted and I'm jumping. PM me and I'll call you.

Dale
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Old 04-18-2009, 02:50 AM
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Runner- I am so sorry you had such a crappy discogram. Sounds like Murphys law was in full effect that day. Don't be hard on yourself because you are a nurse and should do better. The drugs really jack up the brain (or the shell of it in my case). I say and do some really stupid shit sometimes, in my drug fog. My hubby is always like, you need to get off all that crap. Like, sure, I'll just quit taking it and just lay in bed and pray for death all day! Sounds like a plan to me. No one can understand the pain that we live in EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES. Even if it is "only" a 3 or 4 with medication, it is always there. It is extremely frustrating when the it'll be all right attitude or the famous, get over it, see this great dr and they can fix you. I have been exactly where you are right now. I was scared of what I might do, I knew that I was close to having that moment of insanity and ending it all. I didn't care that I had a family, kids, a life to live (cause it really didn't feel like much of one); I just wanted the suffering to stop, to be done. I didn't want to live in this kind of pain, who does. I felt like my family would be better off without me, that they could be rid of the cost of my medical, get a 'new' mom and have life insurance money and it would all be fine. I now know this is just insane; but seemed pretty rational at the time. I was and am very fortunate to have a good friend who has suffered back pain and depression, that I could talk to and be honest with (and she didn't think I was crazy). I'm sure your just venting; but please tell your doctor how you feel. I have found that the only time they take your pain seriously is when you let go of your inhibitions and let it all out. I have sat and cried, whined, complained and flat out told the doctor that I wanted to die and that it was a good thing I did not own a gun. This is when I finally saw action and compassion, they saw my desperation and realized that something had to give. This is so against my nature, as I hate to be 'debbie downer'; but the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Go in and let it ALL out! Let em' have it, promise it will get results I'm praying for you and I am here if you need someone to talk to, yell at, cry with, or whatever. I totally understand what you are going through. Hugs, 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 04-18-2009, 09:24 AM
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Kathy,

Despite what my husband thinks I am not a whiner. He has also told me to get off all the crap.
Maybe my husband and yours would get along.
Does yours like beer?

In all seriousness, I do usually let the doctors know how I feel. After becoming a health care provider, I felt empowerment and told them how i felt. It is just sometimes, I am just so tired that I just want to get things over and go home. I have often said that after going through a major surgery, I cannot believe that I have gotten like this again. That I am having as much pain as I had before the last surgery. I think overall, I am.
I was just real disappointed yesterday, because I want some sort of resolution and when my pain doc clammed up, that really made me upset.

I did have a good part of the day yesterday. My oldest daughter came over to the couch and hugged me, and told me, "Mommy, you are so brave. You have done so many things, you are a lot stronger than me and you amaze me." Well, something like that. Totally, out of character for a teenager.
Today, i found my necklace in my shoe.
I piddled around the house today after I woke up as some neighbors took the boys off my hands today. Folded laundry and such. I think i feel a lot of pressure because i have so many things to do and am not up to doing them. It is very frustrating.
And for this to go on day after day, it is depressing.
Thanks for your concern.
It is funny from your picture, I thought you were a short, little petite thing, but to find out you are 5-10. Wow. I was 5-9 after surgery and I think i have lost some height, but I thought I was tall.

Runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:33 AM
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Phylly,

Your doggies are so cute. No wonder you brought them home. Sent you a PM.

Dale,
I PM'd you too.


Runner
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Old 04-18-2009, 04:50 PM
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Runner- You are funny. Hubby does like beer, maybe they should get together and complain about us! Anytime my hubby says his back hurts or is sore, I tell him to toughen up and suck it up! How's that for paybacks! He has been pretty empathetic lately.

I'm glad that you are feeling better (emotionally). I usually have my day or two of sadness, then dust myself off and get up again to fight the fight.

That is hilarious that I looked petite! Never had that said. Guess cause hubby is alot taller than me, it makes me look small. I need to measure myself and see if I grew after surgery. My grandma did say that I seemed taller. I had 'shrank' pre-surgery from 5'10" to 5' 9 & 3/4" Maybe now I am back to 5'10" My daughter Emma, 5 years, is the youngest in her kindergarden class (mid-July birthday) and is the tallest, even taller than all the boys.
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34 years old-
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 04-18-2009, 10:14 PM
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Kim,
Got your message and answered. How are you today? Please keep in touch all the time. This is just another bump and you are going to make it through. I kept believing that there had to be an answer to the pain. You will find out what is wrong and be able to get better. What a nice thing for your daughter to say. They sure come through when you need them to.

BTW cute doggies pull really hard on the leash even through they are small. I am icing my back right now. The dog trainer can't come soon enough for leash and poop lessons. Husband is NOT happy.
__________________
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 04-18-2009, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phylly View Post
The dog trainer can't come soon enough for leash and poop lessons. Husband is NOT happy.
Maybe I should have called a dog trainer when I was potty training. My youngest, when she was 2, would poop in her diaper and then use the carpet as her toilet paper. One time, she came down the stairs on her butt and crap was rubbed all the way down. It was oh so much fun to clean. Hence why hubby ripped all the carpeting out of our house and put down hardwood and tile.

I don't even attempt to walk my dog anymore, he pulls so hard it is killer. That is, when he isn't biting the leash like he has never been walked before.

Kids and dogs, gotta love em'.
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34 years old-
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 04-19-2009, 09:01 PM
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Thumbs up It is a new day...

To all of you who reached out to touch me,

I just wanted to post that I am feeling better today. I was in the deep bowels of despair on Thursday and I am sorry i scared some people. I am truly frustrated, but I know things take time.

Went to church today, and one of the members there told me his wife had something for me after church. I had no idea what it was.
Apparently, he had called my husband on Friday and my husband had told him I had lost my cross. Well, his wife gave me a gold cross of hers. (my husband forgot that I had told him that I had found my necklace).
I am really touched and I realized that, hey when I wasn't happy on Thursday, I could have called someone from church, but I didn't. People do care. Our pastor's sermon was on discouragement, of all things. How appropriate for what I am going through.

The back is feeling a little better today but I don't think i will be doing much on Monday either. My legs are hurting too, despite taking the Gabapentin and the narcotics. I still have back pain on the right and the left but I really didn't expect it to go away, but you can always wish. The discogram spots feel like bruises but occassionally i will get a sharp pain there too.
I have no idea if that is from the discogram, or the accident or the disc.

I thought about the pain I felt in the discogram and my pain doctor saying the pain wasn't all that bad and i realized that even in my first discogram where the disc did look worse and it was extravasated and the pain was different, i didn't sob or cry. It has to be something really painful and I guess my 10/10 is a lot higher.
I was thinking today, that I probably said the pain was moderate, because I just wanted to get the discogram over with. I was also somewhat surprised waking up out of the propofol haze. I don't think I was awake enough when they did the disco. It was like, "We are starting, you feel pain, where is it, how much and we are done." Just like that.

I guess I am dwelling on this too much, but my biggest fear going into the discogram was that they would find nothing or the test would be inconclusive. (Therefore, there would be no solution for my pain) I did feel pain and it was concordant and i know it had to come from something so it does sound like the test was positive. Several people on here have told me if you feel pain when they inject a disc that means the disc is a pain generator.

Maybe the pain doc is used to peeling people off the ceiling. Hey, I guess I don't do ceilings.
I did lift my leg up, however, which if I think i was in my right mind I would not do. I remember in the disco in 2007 that I reminded myself not to move my legs because, jeez, I have needles in my back.

My boys are upstairs making a ruckus. I am too comfortable to check what is going on, laying on my ice pad, and my husband is also upstairs so i think I can relax a little bit because if something crashes down, he will go investigate.

So yesterday, after speaking to someone from this forum, I did clarify with my husband if he knew I am probably facing another spinal surgery. He told me he already knew. I should really give him more credit, but when anything medical comes around, he usually defers to me to explain it or whatever.

When I see the surgeon, I will also explain to him that after the discogram I had a hard time sleeping Thursday and Friday because of the pain. If that makes any difference.

That's all for now,

Runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:53 PM
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Hi guys,

I had discogram on Thursday and then developed right thigh pain late Sunday night.
I am taking more pain meds for the pain and it is fairly bad. I did call the doctor and my appt was moved up.
Now, I have had a disco before and it caused increased pain, but I have not experienced right thigh pain before. An area near the right knee would be painful when my back pain increased but that is it.
It seemed a little better today so I increased my activities slightly (set the sprinkler to water the lawn) and then it increased again so I went back to lying down. It hurts more with standing.
I figure it is disc related but it is constant. My back pain now is controlled but I tripled my pain med dose so my baseline is probably worse. My back did hurt pretty bad Thursday through Sunday.
Anybody have this happen?
Just wondering.

Runner
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:04 PM
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Kim, I have L4/5 and L5/6 (or L5/S1, depending on who's talking) disc degeneration. I have had pain that runs from my hip then down the front of my thigh, toward the inside of my knee. I think this pain is from the L5/6 disc. Where exactly is the pain in your thigh and knee?

And I also had much more pain after my discogram, so bad that I could hardly walk. And it got extremely bad in my knee, I felt like a poker was being stabbed into my knee. I also started having some slight numbness and tingling in my lower leg and feet, as well as around my knee, after the discogram. It took about a week before it started to feel slightly better, and that was with taking more pain meds.

When do you go see the doctor about the discogram results? I wouldn't be surprised if you do have problems with L5/S1.
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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 04-22-2009, 06:05 PM
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Hi Cathy,

I have pain on my right thigh from the back/hip area to mostly the outside of the thigh (the right side is from where the needles were put in). I already have tingling and numbness and sciatica. I guess the pain kind of goes to the inside but it starts from the outside at the hip/back.

I see the pain doc on Friday and if things are the way they are now, i might come limping into the office. My main concern now is getting rid of this pain as I cannot even go for walks.

I have been uncomfortable sleeping, partly because I cannot sleep on my side due to the pain. I am spending most of my time since Sunday, lying down as when I stand up and move around, the pain increases. I do have to get up now and then to take care of my boys.
My thigh feels so tight, that I kneed it trying to get it to relax, but it doesn't work. I am still taking the increased pain meds and they wear off before the next one is due.

It makes me feel better that you have had right thigh pain with problems at L5/S1. This particular (thigh) pain is new to me.
BTW, L5/S1 is the suspect disc.

Thanks for answering my question,

runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:08 PM
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Hey Runner,

Sorry you are still struggling. Just an FYI: most people has increased symptoms / "new" symptoms after a discogram for ~2-3 weeks. Inherently the discogram tries to replicate your pain and in doing so it irritates many elements in your spine. The "new" symptoms sound like L5/S1 to me.

Look at this map of dermatomes:



I hope things start to subside...
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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 04-22-2009, 07:15 PM
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I should say that for a very long time I had pain that went down the front of my thigh, from my hip. But more recently I have pain that goes down the side of my thigh, like you are describing.

That is a great dermatome map Justin. Though I know sometimes people can have symptoms that don't exactly correlate with the dermatome maps.
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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 04-22-2009, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treefrog View Post
I should say that for a very long time I had pain that went down the front of my thigh, from my hip. But more recently I have pain that goes down the side of my thigh, like you are describing.

That is a great dermatome map Justin. Though I know sometimes people can have symptoms that don't exactly correlate with the dermatome maps.
Yeah, that is very true. This dermatome map is "most likely" in the general population; however, we have unique anatomy for sure.

Interesting fact: close to 15% of Asian Americans have their piriformis muscle bifurcated by the sciatic nerve. (I'll have to pull that study up some day from my pile of papers).
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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.

Last edited by Justin; 04-22-2009 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:45 PM
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Thank you, Justin and Cathy,

It seems like my nerves are in a major state of being ticked off.
It is like L5/S1 is raising its head and saying, "you didn't pay enough attention to me and so here I am".
I keep telling my kids to stay away from me as them jumping around is like the last thing I need.

I think i am going to have to ask to increase or change the meds because I am in a lot of pain, especially when the meds wear off early. At least until things calm down. I am not functioning too well. I am running the house from the couch.

In 2007 with the disco, my pain did increase for about 10 days or so, and I recovered and then things started slowly sliding downhill.

Justin, I was just wondering if because the doc put a lot of pressure in the L5/S1 disc to produce pain that that inflamed the disc more. In 2007, the pressure was stopped earlier because pain was elicited earlier at low pressures.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:44 PM
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Default well, an update of sorts...

Just more confusion.
According to my pain doc, my pain was not what he expected during the discogram last week. Also the CT didn't show what we expected.

So my pain doc and my neurosurgeon have decided to go back to the facet joints and do another diagnositic test by numbing the nerves.
I told the pain doc that I had strong pain during the disco but I really don't show pain well, that i don't scream during a procedure, that I didn't do that with the last discogram which was obviously abnormal.

So it seems he did not listen to me, but he doesn't know how I tolerate pain so I can see where they want to make sure it is the discs.
But I am still not happy because I don't think the facet injections will work because my pain goes past my knees. (facet pain usually does not go past the knees).
I told him how I had plantar fascitis pain in both my feet and he said that could be from last time before the surgery and it could come back. But I developed the left foot pain recently, never had it before.

I can see why they have to inject the facets again because they don't want to do surgery on the discs if the facets are the problem.
However, I did tell him about the right leg pain that I still have and he didn't have an answer for why that is a new symptom that developed after the discogram. Other than facet joints can cause pain in the thighs and hips.

I was just in a lot of pain at the appt and they are not dismissing my pain but i don't think they see it. My blood pressure was 153/117 and I told the person that took it that it was because I was in pain.

I spoke to my PT yesterday and he thinks the pain is coming from the disc and wonders why they are going to inject the facets again, when it didn't work last time and agreed with me that my pain goes past my knees.
So that's it. I have got another procedure next week with the facets and then I will see what is up.
This is getting old fast.

I spoke to my PT and he thinks the pain is coming from the disc. He reminded me of the little shocks I get in my toes along with the sciatica.
So next Thursday, i wiil have my sixth procedure since january. Oh fun.

Runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:15 AM
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Kim,

I know it's tough. I know you're in pain but finding the correct diagnosis is the only way to get rid of it. I realize you think it's the discs and your symptoms kind of sort of sound like it too. Your pm agrees with you but...

Don't give up. Make a nusance out of yourself if you have to. Living is pain is horrible but it won't always be like this. I'm here if you want to talk.

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 04-26-2009, 06:16 AM
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Hi Dale.

Actually my PM disagrees with me but he is turning out to be an ok doc so I know I have to have the facet injections and that would be nice if that was an answer. I was thinking back a while ago that I would never burn a nerve as they are unpredictable how they come back.
But that would be the simpler "cure" for my back problems.
Because I have this new leg pain, I think it is from the disc, but I could always be wrong.
It is just my intuition that I am right.
It would be easier if it was cut and dry but it is not.
Yes, I may give you a call tomorrow.
I thought yesterday that I was turning the corner with this leg pain but it came back and i was stuck back on the couch.
Now, I would like to go back to how I felt before the discogram.
Ugh.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:54 PM
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Default moving along

Well I did the facet thing on Thursday and bottom line it did not work.
My PM doctor does not believe that my facets are causing me pain.
I had four levels tested, which is eight injections.

I did not take any pain pills prior to the test in order to see if the facet injections would work and so when i arrived at the surgery center in the morning, I was in 7-8/10 pain. After the injections, it was a bit worse as I only had the Diprovan to put me in conscious sedation and no pain meds through the IV (so they would not distort the results). Afterwards, we waited a little bit to see if I got any relief with the facet injections and I did not.

Before the injections, I put it out of my mind that I thought they would not work and just gave it up, that maybe they would. Unfortunately, they did not. Before I left the surgery center, I was given Toradol through the IV to help with the pain. I was also given permission to up my Percocet dose by one pill.
That extra 10 mg has really helped me be more comfortable and able to sleep.
I still have that "extra" leg pain which developed post-disco, but that has seemed to calm down a bit today.

I dug out my relax the back, leg thingeroo to prop up my legs and that is really helpful. I was going to return it because I got the wrong thing, but I am glad I didn't because this is perfect for resting in bed and sleeping with. Since i have been unable to sleep on my side, I slept with this last night as I slept on my back and I was comfortable.

Dr. appts this coming week. Will let everyone know what is going to happen.

Ciao,

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:49 AM
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Location: Dallas, TX
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K,
Sorry the injections didn't help you. I guess the news that it is not the facets is good, since that can be an issue after ADR, so there is an upside. But, then you are left not knowing what is going on. Has your dr told you what your next step is? Or told you what he/she thinks the pain could be from? I know it is extremely hard to be in pain and not know what is causing it. I went through almost 3 years of pain, before finding out what was wrong with me, up until that point, I felt like the crazy woman who hurt and no one knew why; not an easy thing to go through. I will be praying for your pain to improve and you to get answers about what is going on.
God Bless,
Kathy
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34 years old-
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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  #198 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-2009, 06:55 AM
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Thanks Kathy,

I would think the disc at L5/S1, that produced pain during the discogram, is the culprit.
I don't know what the next step is because I don't see the doctor until Thursday.
Up until then, I'd just be guessing what is the next step.
I trust the doctors and I am sure they will have a game plan.
I will have my list of questions, of course.
My PM doctor told me he would talk to my surgeon.
I just came from my daughter's final high school musical and was able to sit mostly comfortably with the help of pharmaceutical aides.
The newly acquired, different leg pain seems to be less today.

Runner
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  #199 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-2009, 05:28 PM
treefrog's Avatar
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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I also had 4 levels tested with facet block, 8 injections, and like you had no effect. Have you looked at your back afterwards? I felt like a Frankenstein monster , with all these holes on either side of my spine.

I hope your doctor has some good answers for you on Thursday. I think your instincts are good, and that it is the L5/S1 disc that is causing the pain. I hope your surgeon agrees that something needs to be done.
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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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  #200 (permalink)  
Old 05-04-2009, 07:05 AM
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Thanks Cathy,

I think i am at the point where something needs to be done.
I have exhausted all conservative care, now.

I think I'm in denial about how bad my back is. It seems to have gone downhill rapidly. Laying down on my bed with my feet up, seems to be the most comfortable thing to do.

I'm getting those occasional sharp pains on either side but mainly have this deep, achey back pain besides the sciatica and the numbness, which doesn't seem as bad as it was. And the right leg pain which is still here.
I wasn't this bad when i saw my doc about 3 1/2 weeks ago.

I had eight little band-aids along my back but several have fallen off. I think he used small needles to place/inject? the anesthetic into the nerve root. So you had eight little pokes and they didn't work?
Then they focused on your discs?
Just wondering.
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