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Surgical Outcomes and Blogs Discuss runner's surgery blog, L4/5, 2008 in the Main forums forums; Well, I had had several ESI's which only gave me very limited relief (a week at most). I was ...

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  #201 (permalink)  
Old 05-04-2009, 03:00 PM
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Well, I had had several ESI's which only gave me very limited relief (a week at most). I was trying acupuncture at the same time. Then my PM decided to try a facet injection, which had similar effects as the ESI's which she thought might have been significant. Hence trying the facet block, but it didn't do anything, nada, zip. That's when I asked for the discogram, I was done with conservative treatment.

I hope you have a good talk with your doctor.
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Cathy

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

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

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

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:42 PM
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Cathy,

I hope so too.
Things are just getting a bit overwhelming.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:21 AM
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Post new news

Well,

It looks like i am facing surgery again.
My doctor did listen to me and I am either going to have surgery in June or early July. I am still kind of in shock even though I knew this was a possibility.
I haven't quite wrapped my mind around this.
The first thing I thought when I got home was, "Do I need this?"
Then I had back pain tonight and the knee pain from the discogram seems to be raising its ugly head and i know I had to eventually do something.
So it looks like ADR at L5/S1.

Runner
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:02 AM
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Smile to answer your question.

Funny, Maria.
Now I am confused.
I think you are mixing me up with Phylly, after all we both look alike. LOL.
I had L4/5 ADR in 2008 (DDD).
Started with new symptoms just short of six months post-op. All L5/S1 related.
L5/S1 is a bad boy and now need ADR surgery there.
I have exhausted conservative care.
You made me laugh. Because the way you were thinking, no, it would be quite impossible.
That's ok.
Every time, I got an ESI, I would just go crazy from the steroid (I am not saying you are crazy, just talking about my experience). I never got instant relief like that one video says, "bathing the nerve in steroid." Or whatever the voice on the video says. LOL.

(used to be a) Runner.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:56 PM
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Default ah ha!

Runner,
thank you for clarifying that and I went back again and looked at the post that I thought had your sig on it and saw that the header had your name or you had posted it but had pasted Phlly's post on there and it had her sig!

Ok!!! Yep.. I was thinking .. Wow.. where'd this girl go to have that kinda work done?

RE the ESIs.. there was a time when I got a steroid high it seemed and was either just feeling crazy but very happy and alleviated of the pain immediately and then the first week afterward I would literally explode at my husband over nothing. My emotions were askew!

I think the surgery center stopped using epinephrine with me...

I've read that many people get that steroidal nuttiness.. and yes, I feel crazy much of the time anyway w/or w/o
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Old 05-11-2009, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner View Post
Well,

It looks like i am facing surgery again.
My doctor did listen to me and I am either going to have surgery in June or early July. I am still kind of in shock even though I knew this was a possibility.
I haven't quite wrapped my mind around this.
The first thing I thought when I got home was, "Do I need this?"
Then I had back pain tonight and the knee pain from the discogram seems to be raising its ugly head and i know I had to eventually do something.
So it looks like ADR at L5/S1.

Runner
New news! Well, I have to say that it probably is good news. Normally having to have surgery would not be considered good news. But when you have pain that won't go away, the prospect of surgery can be good news, as you know.

I hope, now that some time has passed for the news to sink in, that you are looking at surgery as a good thing. It gives you hope that your pain will be resolved. And you've been through this before, though I'm sure you thought at that time that it would be the end of your pain.

It must be very frustrating to have developed this pain, after just having surgery. It's a real shame they didn't catch the L5/S1 level at the time, so you could have done them in one surgery.

Who is doing your surgery? Is insurance going to cover it?

I really hope this is it for you.
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Cathy

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

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

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

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:14 AM
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Red face re: the new news

I hope so, too. Cathy.
The news is beginning to sink in as I have my first pre-op appt with my primary doctor tomorrow so I can be medically cleared for the surgery.

Now I am worrying about how I am going to get this paid for and covered.
I cannot consciously do fusion when I know ADR is the better surgery in terms of outcome, recovery, adjacent disc disease, etc...

I got my surgery date today and it is later than I wanted but maybe it will be for the best. It will be on July 7th.

So fireworks, my husband's b-day and then surgery. Yeh!!!
It comes out to eight weeks of waiting.

I think the L5/S1 problem just was under the radar. The only indication was a pain response at L5/S1 in my 2007 discogram. Then, it was thought to be referred pain from L4/5.
Since I first felt that awful,, familiar pain in late August, 2008, it has been eight months of increasing pain and that other stuff, numbness and sciatica. Today was not good.

It just seems like you do the discogram and things go downhill.

My mood should be good but besides the thought of undergoing a second major surgery is the worry about getting ready for it.
My hope is that after this surgery I will be able to go back to work and live my life like it should be led.

My surgeon is a very talented neurosurgeon in my area.
Yes, he did my first surgery and he placed the Disc right on the money. It is working great. I love it when the doctors marvel at my range of motion but that is what you get with motion-preserving technology.
The vascular surgeon assisting him is a well-renowned doctor and so nice. I will probably even get the same anesthesiologist.
It will be like old home week in the OR.

There are pluses. My PM doc said last week that I still have a lot of strength left in my legs and feet, although it is not what I have had in the past. There is the possibility that the numbness might go away. Hopefully, the sciatica will be erased for forever. I know my reflexes are not good but they might get better. Who knows.

I have thought of delaying the surgery and then realize that will not be a good idea because if this just gets worse it might preclude me from having a disc. I don't want to be in pain and just deteriorate. From last time, I realized they cannot tell you how bad the DDD is before they operate.

So I try to get my house in order before the big event. And I figure out the logistics. Must of spent three hours or more on the phone today.

You are coming up pretty soon, aren't you, Cathy?

Runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:24 PM
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Yes, I am leaving for Germany a week from Thursday, and my surgery is on Tuesday May 26.

Is your doctor going to do ADR at the L5/S1, or fusion? I was a little confused by two different things you wrote.

I know you know this already but....because you have the ADR at L4/5, even if you have fusion at L5/S1, you won't have to worry about adjacent segment degeneration. The segments adjacent to L5/S1 below are fused segments, and above is the ADR which will protect the levels above that. But I understand preferring to have ADR if possible.

And you reminded me that I want to go out and buy all the greeting cards I will need over the next several months. Just one little thing I won't have to worry about, if I have difficulty getting around. With everything that has been going on with me, I've forgotten two birthdays in the past couple of months . I know they understand, but I felt bad when I realized I had forgotten.
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Cathy

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

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

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

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:22 PM
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Cathy,

I am having ADR.

There is an adjacent segment underneath L5/S1 and that is your SI Joints. Unfortunately, from what I have read, fusion puts a lot of loading pressure on the SI joints. If you have SI joint dysfunction, you basically have a problem.
I have a history of having problems with my SI joints. They do go out of place and can cause SI joint pain.

Also, although, they do not say there is much motion at L5/S1, there is some motion and motion-preserving technology is the best available right now for the patient that meets the criteria.

I spoke to my physical therapist today and he agreed with me.
Also with fusion, there are potentially more problems. Fusion will take longer to recover from and then you might need an additional operation to take out the hardware. I have a fair number of friends who have needed their hardware removed. That is one more surgery. One person I know had fusion and one level didn't fuse. That person also had the BMP used in the fusion, work too well, and encapsulate her nerve roots.

From all my reading, fusion overall success rate ranges from 50-60 percent. Now, some people do perfectly well with fusion. I think I made up my mind if this was going to come to pass that I would want ADR if available, when I met two people waiting for injections at the surgery center last month. They were husband and wife and he was there getting an ESI, I believe. He had two-level fusion and still had major problems with gait, mobility. She also had had a two level fusion but had a spinal cord stimmulator put in.
Their doctor was the same doctor I have. That opened my eyes.
I have a problem but it is not related to the disc I have.
Wow, you are having surgery pretty soon. Yeah, as much as you can pre-plan ahead the better. I didn't go as far as b-day cards though. I think people kind of realize that you have your hands full with your recovery.

The most surprising thing after surgery is how stiff I was. I couldn't put on my own socks. It was quite different. Now, I can put on my own socks now but I am still not as limber as I was before surgery.
I wish someone had told me how you might feel after surgery. You realize that you can not bend, lift and twist (BLT) but you don't expect your muscles to be different.
But, boy waking up from surgery and having the pre-surgical pain gone and waking up with no numbness in my legs, that was priceless.

Take care in Germany.

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:50 PM
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I totally agree that ADR is the way to go (even at L5/S1), and I was very happy when Dr. Bertagnoli told me two level ADR instead of a hybrid. I have a partially lumbarized S1 (which the Germans are calling L6), and I thought there might be a possibility that they might want a fusion there, to account for possible extra movement because of the transitional anatomy.

But like you, I know that fusion is much harder to recover from, and lots of people have problems with the hardware. I want to avoid fusion if at all possible. Which is why I am going all the way to Germany, and spending my own money to have ADR.

I think you are wise to fight to have ADR. I really hope you are able to get insurance to pay. Did they pay for your first surgery?
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Cathy

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

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

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

Currently taking Opana-ER (tapering off) and oxycodone
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:10 PM
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Default re hybrid

edited as necessary

Last edited by Maria; 05-17-2009 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:16 PM
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Cool

Cathy,

When I am finished this year, I will look like you, ADR-wise.
We paid for my surgery.
It is a long story.
I still consider myself in a fight with my insurance. I won't stop fighting until they are eliminated from this earth.
They can go sell and administer policies on Mars, for all I care. When i can get different insurance, I will.
They are the worse of the worst.

Maria,

I think you have a good idea going to Dr. B as the surgeons here do not seem to have ADR experience with osteopenia/osteroporosis bone density.

I had a lot of pain before surgery and I know I lost disc height, because, duh, i lost height period. So before the surgery, I had to sign a consent for fusion and went into surgery praying that i got ADR.
I just would NOT surrender to get fusion. I knew the odds of adjacent disc disease and i knew that in the right people, ADR was the way to go. I understand that it is better for certain people to go with fusion (people with stenosis, spondylolethesis, advanced facet hyperthrophy, etc...).

Well, got my tooth fixed yesterday and woke up this morning with right knee pain again. So i was thinking and realized it must have been that two hours in the dentist chair yesterday. I was reclining and put a pillow behind my back but my disc is not a happy camper. I am disappointed because the PM doc said the knee pain should go away.
Like maybe after surgery?
I am laying low, again. At least, surgery is only seven weeks and some days, away.

(was a) runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:47 AM.
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  #213 (permalink)  
Old 05-16-2009, 11:37 PM
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Default re L5S1 fusion

Runner,
I guess if screws weren't used I'd feel much better about fusion w/ADR at the level above. I was even told that screws didn't have to be used but I was afraid I might wake up with them in anyway..

The dental chair is bliss for me all the way back with almost a touch of the head being lower than the rest of the body.. then being numbed up.. it's almost sleepy time except when the drilling starts!
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:48 AM
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Smile

Hi Maria,

Yes, we really don't know what we will wake up with because in surgery, if one thing does not work, they'll use or do something else.
I really didn't know if my surgeon would do the ADR. I was prepared to rethink what I was going to do or get a second opinion. I had all my rebuttal questions prepared.

Don't wait so long that you time yourself out from doing an ADR. Are you getting any treatments for the bone density? I have heard, too, that they will do surgery with mild to moderate facet hypertrophy and then i have read that MRIs may not be the best test to determine facet hypertrophy.
It is very controversial.

So if you were told screws did not have to be used, then they would have done an ALIF and just put in cages?

The dentist chair for me was uncomfortable, when I had them put an extra small pillow in the small of my back, it was better. However, it must have really irritated my back. It is funny, I can be laying down and not much seems wrong with my back and i will get up and walk around and start having back pain. The pain has been increasing and I notice it when the pain pills wear off. I walk slowly and carefully because of the back pain. Now, I get pain lying down, too, and not just with sitting and walking.

I am just hanging in there until the surgery date. It is surprising how fast the pain can increase, but I really should have expected this increase of pain post disco because this is what happened last time.

This time, the dentist didn't completely get the tooth numbed, but he tried. All I was thinking, was, "Come on already, get out of my mouth. Don't be such a d@@n perfectionist." I was also thinking how I could have used some nitric oxide or something. I don't know if I am hypersensitive or what but it takes a load of anesthetic to put my teeth to sleep.

I know when i had my last surgery that my surgeon thought my post-op pain levels were on the high-side. But here they cut your abdomen open, move things, scrape out your disc, rough up the endplates, and then cut into your veterbral bone to put the keels in. Yeah, that hurts.

I know you have to consider your father, but is there anyone else to temporarily look out for him while you have surgery? You say that you can function with the pain but you have to look at physiologically, and not just mentally, what the pain does to your body. Pain is not good for us.


Last edited by runner; 06-17-2009 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:59 PM
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Default Just asking

Memorial Day weekend,

Just about six weeks from surgery.
I was just wondering if anyone had a similar symptom to me. For the past couple of months, I have been experiencing different leg symptoms. I know that my reflexes (patellar and ankle) have decreased but besides the numbness and sciatica, my right ankle has started turning by itself. It happened again today. I was standing talking to someone and I wasn't moving and all of a sudden my right ankle turned out. I was on dirt so I naturally looked down, thinking i had stepped in a hole or an indentation in the dirt and there was nothing. It also happened when i was locking my house door and just standing there. So it has only happened a handful of times but my ankle is sore afterwards because essentially it is like spraining an ankle.
I told my pain doc but not my neuro doc and I am really not concerned about that. I hope it is something that goes away after surgery.
I presume it is from the decreased reflexes.
Someone told me it could be a component of foot drop.
Anybody else out there have this happen to them??

Runner

Last edited by runner; 06-10-2009 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:55 PM
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Unhappy

Five weeks and counting.

Oh boy, I am anxious to get things moving.
Not sleeping great. Had a disturbing encounter with some people and my whole family was effected. So I did not sleep that night. Made up some hours with a two-hour nap, however.
Last night, I tried to get to sleep early but got looking at my hs reunion stuff and then I had constipation issues which kept me up. I got to sleep late and had a hard time functioning today.
I have a list of things to do and I am crossing things off that list. Slowly but steadily.
I think June is going to be a busy month.
I need everyone's prayers and good wishes that things look good for the next few weeks. I had a horrible week last week and need things to go my way or at least good things to happen.

Runner
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:17 PM
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You have whatever you need from us, many times over. The waiting game is filled with its own set of problems but getting through them is easier if you keep posting and telling us what's going on. Jumping out of your skin and living on the edge is part of parcel of this whole experience. Hang in there, not that you really have other choices but you will get through.

You have our support and well wishes. More important, we're with you, every step of the way.

Dale
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:44 AM
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Dale,

Thanks. I have been off the board for a short while and didn't see your post. It means a lot.
Time is creeping by.
Three weeks and five days to go, but who's counting.
I had another big increase in back pain today and the meds are not holding me today. I called the PM office but they didn't call back.
He is out of town (I think) and i am thinking if I don't get a hold of the office staff, that I will call my surgeon.
I was not too comfortable. I was supposed to see the PM guy on Thursday but they had to change that (due to his being out of town that day). Now, it is next week and I think i cannot wait to see if they will change the meds.
I feel like I will be bothering my surgeon, but I think I need to be on the longer-acting med with short-acting coverage for breakthrough pain.
I want to get some stuff done and I spent most of today lying down.
Personally, things went better the past two weeks. They couldn't have gotten much worse.
Happily, they got better.
Yes, I am starting to periodically "freak out".
I think it has more to do with my daughter's upcoming graduation than anything like an upcoming date in July. Yeah, sure.
I just have an incredibly large amount of things to do and little energy to do it. I have deadlines and such.
I have to order a flower lei, and I have to do this and I have to do that...
I mean it never ends.
Seem to be dealing with a lot of stress. I will have to see how I feel in the morning--which will be here soon. Try to get some sleep. I didn't expect the pain levels to go up again and that is preventing me from thinking clearly.

Thank you for your support.

Runner
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:04 PM
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Runner, my best to you with your upcoming surgery. I think the last few weeks waiting are the hardest. You just start hanging on by a thread. That's how I felt, anyway. Hang in there as best you can. My thoughts are with you.
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:47 AM
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Thanks CindyLou,

Doing ok. In a lot of pain today.
Am kind of looking forward to surgery.
Start all my preop things next week.
Like giving blood for the surgery and preop tests.
I already had an EKG, but I need chest x-ray and blood tests.
See vascular surgeon on Monday.
Still it all seems unreal to me---I guess I am in denial and I don't mean the river in Egypt.
Monday, I have to stop certain meds and herbs.
So no more smooth move tea.
Since it has herbs that are verbotten before surgery.
My senior graduates in two days and I cannot get the things done, I was trying to get done. Too tired, in too much pain. Too much to do.
You know the drill.

Runner
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:21 PM
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Runner, you're still on for July 7th right? I'm thinking of you. Last year I had my L6-S1 fusion on July 2nd, and watched the fireworks from my room on the 4th. I'll likely not forget where I spent that 4th of July holiday for years to come. And neither will you!

Frankly, I am just so relieved for you that "an answer" and a "solution" have been found. I think that is about the most maddening thing, besides the pain, is the doctors NOT KNOWING. You definitely begin to realize that medicine is not an exact science when you become one of it's statistics.

Well, your time is near, my dear, and you have my well wishes and all the prayers I can muster for a successful outcome. You are way overdue. Believe me when I say I get it. But I am just now turning a corner after all these surgeries and that is my hope and prayer for you as well.

God bless you Runner,

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

Last edited by Cindylou; 06-30-2009 at 12:02 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:12 AM
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Thanks Cindylou,

Things are getting closer and closer.
i run the gamut from being calm to being nervous or jumpy, or whatever you call it.
I sent you a PM. Thanks so much for your wishes.
I have most of the preop things done.
I'd like to call you soon and talk.

runner
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:04 PM
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Runner,

I'm here. Absolutely. Call me anytime. You got my number? If not, I can PM it to you.

God Bless my dear,

Cindy
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:42 PM
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Cindylou,

I think i have it, but you better PM it to me as right now I am buried in papers. Too much to do.

Runner
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  #225 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2009, 06:32 AM
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Cindylou,

I left you a message but didn't reach you at either numbers.
Interested in speaking to you ASAP.
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:14 PM
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Runner, I sent you a PM. We'll talk this morning, k?
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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  #227 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2009, 09:41 PM
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Got it Cindylou,

Thanks a bunch for your help and well wishes.
Went to hospital for blood test, and I got nauseous thinking about the upcoming surgery.
Can you say i am a wee bit nervous??
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:00 AM
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No surgery done and don't know when or if it will be rescheduled.
i am not a happy camper.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:27 AM
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Runner,

WHAT HAPPENED???????
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:06 PM
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Did your insurance nix the surgery or your doctor? What the h--- is going on? And nothing on rescheduling? I'll save my nasty comments until you explain.
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:32 PM
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Waiting to hear from you runner. I am so sorry for this most unfortunate turn of events. I am curious too.....Doc or insurance drop the ball??
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:38 PM
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Default RE: what happened.

Cindylou and DShobbies,

Supposedly, it was my decision to have an ADR or a fusion (AlIF) at L5/S1, but my surgeon called me Sunday and told me he could not do an ADR.
Apparently, the surgery can be much more complicated than i realized with the scar tissue and if I had major complications, other doctors might have to be called in, etc...
The lovely people at you know who decided that i couldn't have an ADR, approved the ALIF reluctantly and told my doctor they would cover nothing related to the surgery if ADR was done. So that was an issue.
I had the hospital bill kind of taken care of and still my doctor was not comfortable doing the ADR.
So my choice came down to ALIF or nothing at all.
I could not undergo a surgery that is not the best surgery, according to my research and my doctor's opinion. Even if ADR and ALIF are comparable at L5/S1, there is still the issue of my SI Joints and the possibility of nonfusion and future surgeries. How could I do something that I may regret later on?

I am really upset, an understatement actually, but I was really caught between what I knew without a doubt was the optimum surgery (even though I could have problems from an ADR surgery, too) and a surgery i did not want if at all possible.

My husband talked to my surgeon Monday morning and the surgery was canceled.

I cannot stop crying. I feel better than i go down again. For whatever reason, my pain levels are way high. I am having trouble sleeping and I feel lousy.
I may lose weight, which is an upside, because my appetite for food is nil. I pray that something will break through, but it may take more than a year to even get approval.
The situation seems hopeless as I cannot work, go to school, drive, plan for the future, etc...
My back for whatever reason has decided it is in constant pain mode. Even laying down doesn't help. I probably will have to go up on pain meds, which i will discuss with the pain doc when i see him in two weeks. Maybe at that time, the back will have calmed down.
When/if I get approval, my doctor will do the ADR surgery.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:45 PM
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Runner,

I had 2 surgeries prior to my ADR and was told scar tissue makes surgery more diffiuclt too. However, in all the posts I've read over the past 4+ years, no one was ever denied and ADR because of scar tissue and I don't recall any post op difficulties blamed on scar tissue.

I have heard of ins. claiming no coverage for complications down the road but again, I can't remember this being an issue, though my memory is not all that reliable anymore.

Sounds like just another denial excuse. So what comes next for you?

Dale
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Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 07-11-2009, 10:41 AM
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Dale,

I think you misunderstood me. The surgery wasn't denied because of scar tissue; it was denied because of "no peer-review long-term studies, and not enough people in studies showing long-term effectiveness and safety".
A bunch of BS if you ask me.
It is "investigational," therefore not "medically necessary".

I would love to have one of them blow out a disc.
Last letter, said "replacement of my own disc with a synthetic disc". I don't even think they know what they are talking about.

What's next?
I wait.
I take one day at a time as I deal with increased pain.
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:40 PM
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Same bat time, same bat channel. Kind of makes you understand crimes of passion- rage.

I'm sorry - I also had my surgery cancelled 1 week before I was scheduled and know how you feel. Living is L.A. I was able to tap into my home's equity and went to Germany. I'm still both grateful and angry. What's your next step?
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Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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  #236 (permalink)  
Old 07-17-2009, 04:29 AM
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Dale,

My next step is to wait.
I have to write my appeal but first I need to finish gathering information.
I think I will get surgery within the year but I don't know for sure what kind it will be. It is more serious of a surgery than I understood, but I know I will be ready for it when I finally have it.
I am really restricted now with the back pain; it is a lot worse than last month and I started getting that pain out of the blue that stops me in my tracks.
I am discouraged, but I am taking one day at a time. Some days are better than others.
I am not giving up hope, I am just very tired and I went up on the pain meds and they are making me tired, too.
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:10 PM
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How you holding up, runner? I have been thinking of you.
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bicycle accident 6/01: 2 compression fractures @ T12-L1; vertibroplasty; 4/06: right hip labral tear & arthroscopic repair; 4/07: lumbar prodiscs @ 3 levels, L3-6 by Dr. Bertagnoli; 7/02/08: ALIF L6-S1; 7/30/08: reopened to remove bone cement, leaked onto S1 nerve root; 8/08: pulmonary embolism, double pneumonia, collapsed left lung, pleurisy, pleural effusion; ALIF fusion complete; 3/10/09: SI Joint Fusion by Dr. Stark; Jury still out.
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  #238 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2009, 11:05 PM
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Cindylou,

Thanks for thinking of me. I am doing ok. Some days better than others. Some days I get almost nothing done.
Seem to be able to stay awake and alert a little more today. The side effects of the pain medication kind of makes me drop off to sleep while on the computer or reading. It is weird and then i usually wake back up and this happens several times a day.
Things are moving along, though. I know one day this time of sleepy days will be a distant memory.
I keep saying prayers for you and others that you feel better each day.
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  #239 (permalink)  
Old 08-12-2009, 09:41 AM
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How's everyone doing?

I rescheduled my surgery for before the end of the year. I wish it was tomorrow but it is not.
I am in severe pain tonight and didn't do anything out of the ordinary today.
I feel like life sucks right now.
I am trying not to dwell on it.
It is hard to do.
If I could dig the disc out with my own fingernails i would do it.
Gross, but that is how i feel.
Otherwise, things are moving along. I saw my brother today as he has moved back closer to where I live and he asked of course if I was pregnant.
I just typically go out of the house, thinking that most people I meet up with probably think I am pregnant. Maybe that is why they are holding doors open for me?
I am sure I have adhesions which kind of makes another abdominal surgery kind of scary but I cannot continue to live in severe pain and taking medications that swell me up and screw with my memory.
That's all....keeping busy researching.

Runner
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:59 PM
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Default re digging out the disc

Hi Runner,
I spent many days in the past thinking of doing the same.. I think the last surgeon did a good job of doing a bad job. Then again my own body has it's own thing it's been doing for years. At this point I wonder how accurate whatever diagnosis made re pain generators would be and if I could truly escape pain surgically and ever be well enough to work again?!!?

I was just looking at wages for RN,MSN,NPs in California and sorely missing the fact that I cannot work and make that kind of salary again let alone just be out in the working world again amongst the world that I once knew and loved (now I'm not so sure as a patient for so many differing body parts).

Sorry to hear you're still in so much pain and I do hope there will be some relief for you so at least you can get out a bit and get some necessary things done. I'm so task oriented that it's a habit to run around and get things done when I have a good day and then of course we all know the kind of day that follows that (or week, weeks...).

take care and thanks for updating us. Hang in there
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:08 AM
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Yeah, Maria, I know what you are talking about.

Not having a good day today.
I took lots of med and still have this nasty pain coming through.
Just saw pain doc and I seem to be doing a lot better with the regimen I am now on but not so good today.

It figures that I would feel like this today, the day AFTER I see the pain doc. Trying to hang in there.
About all I can do.
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  #242 (permalink)  
Old 09-24-2009, 10:34 PM
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Default Update

Looks like I am pushing my surgery back further or forward may be the word I am looking for as I try to get ADR.
Still before the end of the year.
Hopefully soon as I am getting real tired of being in pain.
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  #243 (permalink)  
Old 09-25-2009, 12:21 AM
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Hey Runner, what is generating the forward or backward talk? Sorry things are so tough now... I hope you can get some relief.

Mark

PS... I've recently seen a repeat ADR case.... interesting similarities to your case. Feel like another art walk?
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:05 AM
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Thumbs up

Yeah mark.

Maybe up for a real short art walk.
PM me or e-mail me.
I sent you a PM.
Still waiting for surgery. It is getting real old.

runner
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  #245 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2010, 07:59 AM
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Smile update

Haven't been on here for a while. I have looked and peeked but not really delved into this site for about two months. Other words I was snacking but not spending my meals here. Just would check in and see how everyone was doing.

Still waiting for surgery. Been busy with trying to get surgery and doing other stuff like appealing social security disability.

Fun.

It has been a really tough time but hopefully it will not last forever and I will soon get surgery. Keeping busy with organizing my files and taking care of my children. Doing little things. I cannot do much without aggravating my back and sending my butt to the couch.

Hope people are getting better and moving on. Just wanted to update and will add more when i know more or something comes up.

Runner
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  #246 (permalink)  
Old 01-26-2010, 10:41 PM
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Default Hi Runner

I know what that sending my butt back to the couch stuff is like.. oh yeah. Used to live it every day all day!

Now the spine has tamed down abit and has allowed me a grace period from the type of pain I used to deal with when I was on the "gonna get surgery" quest. I guess I waited so long for it to be re-authorized by WC 4 years ago that my body sort of helped itself (finally).

I surely wish you Godspeed w/your pursuit on pain relief/surgery/recovery and am glad you popped back in or snacked recently just so we could hear from you.

wishing you the best and thanks for the update
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:27 AM
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Hey Maria,

I am going through that WC stuff too. I am sure you can relate.
I just miss working.
I am glad your spine has calmed down. Hope it stays that way.
I think by the time I actually get to surgery, it will be a piece of cake after all I have gone through. LOL.
I got to hit the hay.

Otherwise. Need to contact you. I am not ignoring you but my life is a bit of a mess right now. And I forget just about everything. Today I had to remember my five year old had to be picked up. I was afraid I would forget.
He just started preschool.
It is pretty bad--my mind. I am working with half a tank.
Good nite and thanks,

runner
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:21 PM
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Runner & all,

After my surgery, I had to take a variety of meds just about every two hours. I would always forget until my daughter-in-law showed me how to set up reminders on my cell phone. What a difference. Taking it with me wherever I went presented it's own problems

D
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Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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  #249 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 05:35 AM
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D,

You know what it is like. Crazy. Some things I remember, others I don't or it comes to me the next day.
I am sure it is the meds.
Like the other day, forgot what to call an "umbrella". "That thing for the rain."
Real descriptive.
UGh....not feeling so hot now, so got to go.
Thanks for your concern,

Runner
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  #250 (permalink)  
Old 01-29-2010, 01:24 PM
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Default thanks for the call

Hey Runner,
I am so beat down by this *thing* that I can't believe it.. sinusitis, ear infection, cough, plugged up ears, dizziness and whatever else so please excuse me I just am not up to speed health wise tho I can be glad my back didn't hurt yet from all the coughing and sneezing.. knock on wood and it should start hurting any second now that I said that!

Re getting back to nursing~ while I was at the hospital with my father there was an RN there that had hurt her back and she couldn't lift with the other nurses tho would come into the room to do her part of the job. I know she felt she had to do some of the lifting because she tried and my father weighed only 100 lbs at the time of admission. I really felt for her being in the position she was. I found that I definately couldn't do floor nursing anymore not only because of my spine ~ my feet were kicking up in pain with that tendonitis badly after a few days of hours standing around..


What I did see is that there is a possibility I could return to Administrative Nursing sometime down the road I believe if my spine continues to even out a bit and other ailments don't eat me alive...

The drugs no longer affect me quite the way they used to except for constipation being a serious problem at times in terms of leaving the house and yes I reach for words as well at times .. something simple and I cannot recall the name of it or like yesterday I went to see my OSS but could only think of my Vet's last name when saying "Thank You Dr...." I"m not sure he caught it but I stopped with Dr. since I couldn't remember his last name tho I had said it just minutes before!!!! Wow!

Well the head situation with this infection isn't helping my memory or thought process any.

Yeah, make it your mission to go up against WC. I'm probably going to have to do the same if the ESI isn't authorized this time I will have to find someone that will go to court for me and pray I don't lose the case~ I would hope any WC Judge would realize that someone taking on the system at this point when they stand to lose and have to pay out of pocket is serious about just getting treatment that is tried and true, works in the past and should be continued in the present. My OSS thinks I should take WC to court if the ESI is denied again tho I'll post this elsewhere.

Ok signing out and hoping I made some sense here.. still under the weather!
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  #251 (permalink)  
Old 01-30-2010, 04:08 AM
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Yes,

Once a nurse, always a nurse.
There are plenty of jobs available and different kinds for different folks. Like you, I will have to go on interviews again. Been 8 years since I last interviewed.
When you are better, please give me a call. I have that sinus problem too. Put it this way: It is a fairly constant problem. On antibiotics right now and need to be careful so I don't relapse

Constipation is the elephant in the room nobody talks about. I can't go to my husband and say wow I wish I had a normal BM. Last time I used Miralax, a couple of weeks ago, it made me feel kind of sick to my stomach. I eat a lot of fiber.

Had to laugh about your vet and your OSS--that is the worse when you are supposed to introduce someone or say Hi, and you can't remember their name. Can be embarrassing.

You hit the nail on the head about missing work. I felt it was my calling and now I am regulated to fixing my children's boo boos and reading about the world I was part of. I watch most of the medical tv shows. My oldest daughter always admonishes me because I will say, "That is not right. They are not doing CPR correctly." I have to remember to shut my mouth and not think aloud.

Runner
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  #252 (permalink)  
Old 02-04-2010, 06:17 PM
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Default recovering

Hola Chica!
I'm finally starting to feel better! Wow~ I can think again and even formulate a sentence vs. grunting!

We could have a real conversation now that I'm feeling better if you feel like it! My apologies for having been so out of it when we last talked! I can blame in *the bug*~ it's a nasty one so stay well all!
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:40 AM
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Maria,

Glad you are feeling better.
Probably Sunday or later I can call you.
It has been a busy week. Watching the Olympics right now and then have to put the kids to bed. I have to "chase" them down.

Runner
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:47 AM
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I'm not sure if it is a suitable option for you but if your disc problem is a leaking tear there are some minimal approaches emerging as first line approaches. This is one.
Biostat® System - Spinal Restoration
When successful, the results happen within weeks.

(a patient's comments copied from another forum. Name/details of person deleted by me.)
“ …I had my 2nd and hopefully last Fibrin injection the first part of February of this year (2009). I worked part time all summer at a hospital and have been working full time since the 2nd of September for ...................... I am doing well. The Fibrin seems to have held this second time. I never thought I would get out of bed again and it seems like a miracle to be working. I work for a bunch of great Spine Doctors. I would certainly try the Fibrin. You don't burn any bridges with it and I do know of people that have gotten relief from it even when their discs were less than 1/3. Some bone on bone almost. The docs I work for know Dr. Pauza and have talked to me a lot about it. I have shown some of them my films and they were amazed I am walking much less working full time. I don't get on here too much anymore because I work a lot but if I can answer any questions I would be more than happy too. I will try to set this up so I get notified if anyone writes. Best wishes and God bless.
XXXXXXXXXXX

10-02 - ProDiscs L4/5 and L5/S1 - FDA study - disks placed incorrectly which
caused problem at L3/4 and L2/3
01-05 - ProDiscs at C5/6 and C6/7 in Germany - seems to be working fine so far
Bedbound from 09-06 until 10-08 due to severe pain and weakness
09-08 - Had Fibrin sealant done at L3/4 and L2/3 After 6 weeks - much success!
Hoping and praying that the lumbar revision surgery that was scheduled with Dr. Regan can be indefinitely postponed......... ”
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  #255 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2010, 12:50 AM
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What? Everything on ER isn't real??? Dang it Runner... ya burst my bubble!

Hey, let's get a gathering soon.
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:08 PM
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Default how are U

Runner,
Haven't seen you post in quite a while so was wondering how you're doing? Hope you're doing somewhat better and or have heard something with regard to a surgery front. take care!
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:07 PM
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Default Update

Hi Maria,

No, I haven't been on here in a while. Let me do a quickie update (sort of).

Had surgery for L5/S1 in August, 2011. So I am a little less than two years--Oh, my how time flies--from my ProDisc L surgery. Yes, I got the ADR. I was in a lot of pain before I got that surgery, fighting for the surgery I thought would put me back in the game.

I have just been busy recovering, taking care of kids, doing things...

The surgery went well, but because they went back in through the abdomen (anterior), they encountered vessels that were -kind of stuck to the vertebrae bones ("scarred in"). My vascular surgeon was taking my iliac vein off and when he got to the last millimeter, the vein tore. He told me after the surgery, for a vein it bled a lot. He was able to repair it and what not. (I did have the dacron sheet over the bones but it did not extend down to L5/S1 so that didn't help.)

Indeed, I lost 3,200 cc's of blood. They were able to return half of that to me, I used up the unit of blood I had donated and whatever was left in the cell saver. My potassium level was down after that, they gave me K-riders to help that. Additionally, I spent a long time in recovery and I kept asking for pain control and some (sorry to say) stupid nurse gave me Valium injections instead of addressing my pain. I had a 7 am surgery, which I think lasted around four hours, and didn't get up to my room until around 7-8 pm.

My pain skyrocketed after getting to my room and it was way out of control. My day nurse, whose shift had ended, attempted to address the issue. The problem was that the PCA did not have a basal rate. And the PCA rate was low. This poor nurse, who didn't have the autonomy a critical care RN has, went the extra mile for me. She got a hold of one of the doctors that worked with my surgeon and got a basal rate. I was in so much pain and the next day, my pain doctor came in and took over. I was never very comfortable but things were better.

I was weak after surgery and had difficulty moving. And the mistake I made, was having surgery near a holiday. I was in the hospital a couple days and they determined I needed to go to rehab. So they have an in-hospital rehab that my surgeon wanted me to go to, but the rehab doctor examined me and decided I was not sick enough, so he would not admit me (mainly because of my insurance).
I had nurses, who obviously wanted to clear the floor because of the holiday, suggesting very strongly that I needed to get out of the hospital and go to rehab. They got me off the PCA--thanks a lot--barely weaned off, it was a joke--and onto P.O. meds.
Unfortunately, they wore me down. And off I was shipped to rehab. So, I get to rehab, they don't have my medications, my roommate has the loudest grating voice possible and there is no P.T. available. Since I had very little in terms of pain meds, I was up and down to the bathroom and was using my walker quite effectively.

Walking that much at night, I got very adept at using the walker and willed myself to get stronger. Yes, they did not have any of my medications and this is right after major surgery. They gave me I think one 10 mg dose of oxy or percocet from another patient and promised they would have medication soon. That first night, I woke up in the middle of the night because I heard loud voices. My roommate and a couple other people (staff) were talking very loud and I thought I was in some kind of dream. Then she kept asking for pain medicine repeatedly...I was going nuts.

I was there two days and they still didn't have my medication; I felt like an inmate from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. There was no P.T. person to help me rehabilitate, only an occupational therapist; I was getting Tylenol for pain and no other meds. So I planned my escape because I was in a lot of pain, I was not sleeping well and I thought I would go crazy. LOL.

I have never liked SNFs. Well, I packed my bags, got dressed and when my husband came to visit, I told him I was leaving. He was like, "No, no you have to stay here you are too weak to go home," etc... I told him, "If you don't take me out of here, I am hitting the streets and walking home."
He got quite upset at me because he had been told that I could not take care of myself.
Luckily, a couple from my church came to visit, and the wife was an RN and I spoke to them and she convinced my husband to take me home (AMA).

At home, I camped out on the couch and when the holiday ended, I called my surgeon's office to tell them my situation. I had no discharge papers, no hospital bed orders, etc...I spoke to the surgery scheduler/administrator and she was upset how I was treated by the hospital. She chewed them out for treating the doctor's patients like that (I was not the only one) and got me an in-home PT visit, ordered a hospital bed.
And that was how that part of recovery ended.

Runner

Last edited by runner; 03-27-2013 at 03:46 PM. Reason: syntax
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:09 PM
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Wow, that sounds like quite an ordeal... but how are you now?

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:11 PM
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Hi, Mark,

I am getting to that...something else happened after the surgery.

R
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:06 AM
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Default Recovery from L5/S1 adr

Recovery, Part II:

I did much better at home. The outpatient PT person showed me how to take care of myself at home, what not to do, went over my medications, and orders.
I got the hospital bed so I didn't have to go up and down the stairs in our house.

I was getting stronger by the day, but I still had a high heart rate (110-120 or so) and was wiped out.
So I was laying on the couch one day with my oldest daughter on one end and me on the other, watching Blue Planet, and I started feeling funny. It was about 25 days since my surgery and I started getting a fever.

I started watching my temperature because I did not have any cold symptoms, just a fever and feeling of being ill. When my temp went over 102 degrees, my daughter called my doctor's office and managed to get a message to the surgery RN. She called my daughter back and told us to go to the ER.
She told me to stop taking any medication, including pain medication, not to eat or drink, and go. So off to the hospital we went.

When we arrived at the hospital, it was busy, and we checked in and soon, I was triaged, a triage RN, takes your vitals and your complaint down. We went to a waiting room and I was able to lie down. By this time, I was in a fair amount of pain because I had not had anything for pain for a while. Nothing to drink either.
Eventually, I was taken back into the ER and they did blood cultures, and blood work and did a chest x-ray. Back to lying down and then finally, we went to a room. It probably was not that long but I was in pain. So it was a relief to get to lie down on a bed, ER bed as it was.

Once there, they hooked me up to an IV, gave me pain medication, and Zofran. The P.A. came in took down my history, my complaint and so forth. They ordered a CT and I did that. All this time, I was thinking this isn't so serious. Until they decided to admit me and the ER doctor came to talk to me. My surgeon decided I needed to stay in the hospital.
The ER doc told me they might have to open me up again as I might have a post-op infection. He told me that my WBC was elevated, my Lactate level was high (it was high normal) and some other labs were off. I had leukocytosis, which I didn't know at the time. Also a high CRP and sed rate.

Once back to the ortho floor, they started me on IV antibiotics, Vancomycin and other medications. All I could think about was how hard the surgery was, I could not go through another surgery. I was like, "No way."

This time, my nurses were great. My husband came to see me and I don't recall much else that night. It was weird being back in the hospital. I was in a private room, which struck me as funny. I was NPO after midnight that night.

Thank God, the next day's labs, my WBC was back to normal, so was my kidney function, my Creatinine, GFR, and Chloride. They discharged me that day, after getting another dose of antibiotic.
So I am leaving my room and I read my bulletin board and realize I was a rule out sepsis patient, that was my admitting diagnosis. I may be an RN, but I guess we can be dense too.

I feel like I dodged a bullet and I was never so glad to leave a hospital!
The blood cultures never grew out bacteria, but I knew it was an infection. I was just ever so happy not to go under a knife again.

So my recovery was difficult, and I was still in pain--but not as bad as before the surgery--and I kept saying, "Well, why am I not doing better,?" and my doctors would say, I had two major surgeries and it takes longer to come back/recover from two surgeries. However, I am happy to say, I started improving more the next summer, and at the one-year-mark and I just continued to make progress and was happily surprised. Eventually in 2012, my heart rate went back into the normal range and my stamina improved. And then my BP dropped out of hypertensive range.

Not only that, I was going to movies and concerts here and there and exercising. In September, 2012, my surgeon told me I was free to go and if anything ever came up, to give them a call, but I didn't need regular appointments anymore. First time that was happening since 2007.

I was planning to go back to school in 2013 and then back to work when I felt able to and you know how they say: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans, (Woody Allen).

New chapter in my life, cervical problems start for real, in Mid-October, 2012.

To be continued...

R
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:39 PM
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Runner i have been reading your current stories and i have had similar experiences. We should get together and entertain each other with our stories. So i was a really obsessed runner, when i live in Ca it has always been trail running. all this came to a hault, not by my back but by a hip replacement. But at this point i would never be able to run with this back of mine after 9 back surgeries.
Are you albe to run at all? Do you live in the LA area?
Judy
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2007 ACDF 4-7
2008 hip , knee scope, hip replacement
2009 thoracic T-5 thru T-11fusion
2009 VATS T7-8, posterior only T11-12. removal of thoracic hard wear
2010 lung surgery
2010 T2-L2 kyphosis correction
2010 Kyphoplasty T-3, T-4
2011 Cervical osteotomy ,revision C4-T5
2011 Foot surgery
2011 Revision fusion T7 thru L4/laminectomy
2012 Hammertoe correction left foot
2012 Revision fusion T-12 thru L5
2012 Revision fusion L4-L5
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:27 PM
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Hi Judy,

Yes, we should talk.
You have me hands down on the orthopaedic surgeries. I have only had two lumbar ones, two knee scopes and nose surgeries. Nothing on my feet, though I have had injuries there and plenty of running injuries.

I am sending you a PM.

Runner
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:15 AM
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Having surgery next Wednesday (10th) and it is two-level fusion.
Will explain more next time.

R
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:43 PM
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Default more surgery

Good luck with upcoming surgery Runner!
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:10 PM
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Good Luck with your surgery.
judy
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2007 ACDF 4-7
2008 hip , knee scope, hip replacement
2009 thoracic T-5 thru T-11fusion
2009 VATS T7-8, posterior only T11-12. removal of thoracic hard wear
2010 lung surgery
2010 T2-L2 kyphosis correction
2010 Kyphoplasty T-3, T-4
2011 Cervical osteotomy ,revision C4-T5
2011 Foot surgery
2011 Revision fusion T7 thru L4/laminectomy
2012 Hammertoe correction left foot
2012 Revision fusion T-12 thru L5
2012 Revision fusion L4-L5
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:32 AM
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Monday (4/8), my surgery was cancelled.
Didn't deal with it too well.
I am keeping busy otherwise I get upset.
I knew this was a possibility because I recovered from a sinus infection a few weeks back and went to my ENT doc before the surgery to make sure I didn't still have the infection.
And I did. Darn it!

My new surgery date is May 14th, with a possible date of May 8th, I am hoping. I have to be on antibiotics for two weeks before they check me again and my surgeon is actually out of town last week of April, so that is how I ended up in May.

Ugh, it is very difficult to plan for something and then everything is thrown asunder.

R
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:08 AM
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BTW, Maria and Judy,

Thanks for the good lucks.
Have to save them for the new surgery date.
Not exactly having fun now as pain is high again tonight. I am not sleeping well, waking up several times.

R
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  #268 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2013, 06:26 AM
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I'm so sorry runner, I have been in your situation before and all i did was cry. Mine was a refusal from my insurance company once and another time my surgeon decided i should have it done by the doctor, john regan who really messed up my lung capacity and spine.

It is no fun to be cancelled. but fortunatly time does go by fast and your new date altough it seems ages away will be here soon enough.
I just had my toenails and nail bed removed and have to keep these big, giant bandages on for the week until i see the doc. This is crazy. off my feet for 3 days for sure and then little only on my heals. I am wearing 2 of those black shoe things, .

I will be thinking of you
judy
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2007 ACDF 4-7
2008 hip , knee scope, hip replacement
2009 thoracic T-5 thru T-11fusion
2009 VATS T7-8, posterior only T11-12. removal of thoracic hard wear
2010 lung surgery
2010 T2-L2 kyphosis correction
2010 Kyphoplasty T-3, T-4
2011 Cervical osteotomy ,revision C4-T5
2011 Foot surgery
2011 Revision fusion T7 thru L4/laminectomy
2012 Hammertoe correction left foot
2012 Revision fusion T-12 thru L5
2012 Revision fusion L4-L5
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  #269 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2013, 11:28 PM
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Judy,

I tried crying at first. I think I yelled at the door. No one was home when the surgery scheduler called. I texted my husband.

This is not the first time this has happened, well, it is a first, and hopefully last, for the cervical. I have been cancelled before, most of them insurance related.
First, I heard it was a month and then when I spoke further, it may be just three or four weeks and then, surgery schedule full up, not til a month plus.
I am in so much pain right now, I am not really thinking about it, too deep. I am thinking about the pain, it is preoccupying my mind.

I had a pretty full week but that has come to a stop today. I just made myself some nachos out of leftovers from Taco Thursday. When I was munching on the nachos, I realized I was having trouble picking up the chips so that stuff is back today.
I went to bed last night after midnight, because I forgot to take the antibiotic before dinner. Then the pain woke me up after 2:30 and I never managed to get back to sleep. I went downstairs to read Sports Illustrated, but that didn't help.
I am going to try to nap after I finish here.

I have lost a few toe nails in the past, usually when I ran into something or dropped something on the unsuspecting toe. Not the most pleasant thing.
What did you do Judy? Did you drop a couple bowling balls on your feet?

Shoot me an e-mail if you can. Maybe with the extra time, I can meet up with you half way or something like that after you regain your mobility.

I am holding hope that I get that May 8th slot for surgery. Nap time.

Runner
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:39 PM
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I am happy to say that I will be having surgery on May 14th (or maybe a bit earlier).
My ENT doc cleared me for surgery when I saw him last week. Hopefully, there are no more road blocks in my way.
Pain is still up there and I am just trying to manage it until I see my pain doc tomorrow and sorry to say this, but really give it to him.
I am very pissed about how he did not respond in a timely manner to my calls.

I called Friday (I think I called every day for the past almost two weeks), and the answer was: "Cannot make change of medication over the phone".
Well, I knew that, should have had me come in, then.

Otherwise, just chillin. Because I am not working out, really. I am in too much pain and just completing little things, one thing at a time. Need to do a lot before surgery, but am not very motivated because of the pain.
Taking advil, in addition to the pain med, until I have to quit at the end of the week.
See my neurosurgeon, again, this Friday and hopefully, last time until i see his cheery face in the morning on May 14th!
Or May 8th, if someone actually cancels. In reality, there has been one cancellation, I didn't know it, but I was scheduled later in the day on the 14th, and now I am moved up to 7 am. Always feels better to be the first case of the day, if you can find a sunny side to surgery.

Runner
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:10 AM
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I agree with wanting the early time, i am at my one night a week job, but i will email you this week
judy
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2007 ACDF 4-7
2008 hip , knee scope, hip replacement
2009 thoracic T-5 thru T-11fusion
2009 VATS T7-8, posterior only T11-12. removal of thoracic hard wear
2010 lung surgery
2010 T2-L2 kyphosis correction
2010 Kyphoplasty T-3, T-4
2011 Cervical osteotomy ,revision C4-T5
2011 Foot surgery
2011 Revision fusion T7 thru L4/laminectomy
2012 Hammertoe correction left foot
2012 Revision fusion T-12 thru L5
2012 Revision fusion L4-L5
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:17 PM
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Okie dokie, Judy.

Yeah, I want my surgeon with his A game on. I think early morning surgeries are much better. Plus you don't have to be NPO for all day.
I went up on my pain medication, taking a more potent med and feeling better. I was in so much pain when I saw my pain doc on Tuesday. There was no way I was walking out of there without a better handle on the pain. Still in pain but it is better. My blood pressure is high again and after change in med, was high yesterday too. In the neighbor of 149/89. Hasn't been that high in quite a while I believe.
I am sure it is just the pain and am taking my blood pressure medicine so not much else to do. See my neurosurgeon tomorrow and I am getting closer.

R
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:25 AM
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Well,

Saw my surgeon last Friday and I moved a bit in the date of the surgery as it is now May 15th and I didn't get the possible cancellation for the week before so it is set now.
Don't have time yet.
Figure I will hear back soon as I called today as I am getting anxious about not knowing the time, LOL.

My potassium level is back to normal. 3.6.

And have two weeks remaining until op date.

R
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  #274 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2013, 05:31 AM
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Default Well, I have a pain in my...

tooth.


Yes, I have a tooth ache. I am just about 11 days from my upcoming surgery.
Saw the dentist about two-and-a-half weeks ago and a tooth in my upper right side of my mouth was sensitive to cold. So I made plans to fix the tooth when I was able to after surgery, at least six weeks after. Dentist said crown or filling needed to be replaced, depending on which tooth was sensitive. Well, of course, the tooth did not want to wait and became sensitive to cold and hot stuff on Thursday.
So called the dentist up Thursday afternoon and said, "I need to do something about this tooth". Of ccoouurrse, the dentist is not in Friday or next week. Made an appointment for the 13th to at least have him protect it until I could get it worked on. I figured I might make it until then, but of course, I came down with a bonafide tooth ache the next day.

Discussed my predicament with hubby and I decided to call the endodontist that morning, rather than finding another dentist, as my regular dentist, the one on vacation, is an hour drive from my home. I am no stranger to root canals, since I got these big fillings as a kid and one by one they have failed or needed to be replaced. I brush and brush and brush and floss and still, my dental hygienist declared my gums a disaster area at my last appointment. Give me a break.

So Monday I have an appointment with Dr. Endodontist. They will take care of it, I was told. I have a feeling or my tooth is telling me that root canal No. too many to count is coming up.

R
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:34 AM
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Runner,
Sorry about the tooth ache, those really hurt and suck. And right before your surgery. I've had a few root canals myself. I found them not especially painful when they are doing it, just seems like a long procedure. Good Luck tomorrow at the dentist.
Judy
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2007 ACDF 4-7
2008 hip , knee scope, hip replacement
2009 thoracic T-5 thru T-11fusion
2009 VATS T7-8, posterior only T11-12. removal of thoracic hard wear
2010 lung surgery
2010 T2-L2 kyphosis correction
2010 Kyphoplasty T-3, T-4
2011 Cervical osteotomy ,revision C4-T5
2011 Foot surgery
2011 Revision fusion T7 thru L4/laminectomy
2012 Hammertoe correction left foot
2012 Revision fusion T-12 thru L5
2012 Revision fusion L4-L5
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:47 PM
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Well, an update:

I did get my surgery done last year for my cervical spine. Overall, it was "easier" than my lumbar surgeries.
I was in new territory when I was trying to find out what to do about my neck problem. I had an anterior cervical disectomy and fusion at C5/6 and C6/7 with corpectomies.
Of course when my surgeon did get in there, poking around in my cervical spine that is, he found a very degenerated disc, especially at C6/7. It was bad so it was a very good decision that I had surgery.

My discs actually collapsed in a short time so there was no chance of getting ADRs at any of the two levels. I did ask my surgeon to explore that option and he did, but with new data, he flat out said he couldn't do it and then explained why, and that was after he had me go for an up-dated CT and x-rays. I would not gain any more motion in my neck even if he could slip an ADR inbetween the vertebral end plates, which he doubted was even possible, and so fusion was the way to go because those two discs had no motion. Remember, ADRs are motion-preserving devices.
I have been around the block enough with my surgeon, so to speak, that I trust his opinion and expertise.

I did get to get a fusion surgery without a plate and screws outside. My one-year anniversary was May 15 and at my last appointment, I found out my discs were trying to fuse but not in the middle like they should. I have heterotopic ossification, and the minute he told me what was going on, I knew what that was. I am not sure what it means for the future but I am doing pretty good with regards to my cervical spine. I have a little hand/arm pain but it is infrequent and most of the time, I get numbness in either hand/arm, it seems to be positional and I can get rid of the numbness by adjusting my neck.

My doctor told me the H.O., a short abbreviation for a complicated distinction, is like stalactites and stalagmites and they are trying to come together. I have bone growing where it shouldn't.

Runner
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:52 PM
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Really, my cervical spine is small potatoes compared to my lumbar spine. After getting my second ADR, which was at L5/S1, I started with new symptoms some 14 months post-op. I haven't gotten better, I have declined and it has been frustrating fighting my insurance company. It is a work comp case, but it is an insurance company I am fighting.

I made some head way this week, though. I have been on bed rest, with just quick trips to the loo, because I had a CT myelogram Wednesday. Since I have ProDiscs, which are made out of stainless steel, the ADRs throw off artifact when I have a test like a plain MRI or CT, and that obscures what a radiologist can see. I have had an EMG that has indicated that I have nerve compression at L5/S1 and when I underwent the test last September, it showed moderate nerve compression and a moderate loss of axons. So I have both objective "proof" and subjective proof and that adds up to nerve compression.

My subjective proof is my strong radiculopathy symptoms. I am in moderate to severe pain every day in both my legs and back. Never mind my numb toes and feet, a numbness that can creep up to my knees. My pain doc has tried working through the process with my wc company but they have been denying most of my care and they have doctors that point to my MRI results that were basically inconclusive because my entire lumbar discs could not be visualized. WC docs contend nothing indicating radiculopathy showed up on the MRI.
Really, the gold standard for people like me that have artifact-producing stainless steel ADRs, is to get a myelogram both IMHO, and according to what I have read in several spinal studies. It is a way to get around the artifact issue, so to speak.

Without going into the whole process, let's just say I got fed up last week, made an appointment, and went and got the myelogram anyway. Since February, when I found out that the hospital wanted minimum $5,000 for a cash-pay procedure, I thought I couldn't get a "self-pay" myelogram.That it would be too expensive. I got one outside the hospital and the terms were reasonable.

Now, I have to wait for the results but I am pretty sure the radiologist will find that I have a compressed nerve at L5/S1. It is a "no-brainer" to my docs and myself. With the results, I hope and pray that my neurosurgeon is able to do something for me.

So that is where I am at. I am sure that I can dig up some posts I have about my journey that can clarify things. (Or not on second hand, I already write too much so excuse the long blog) I can tell now that I feared getting a myelogram but did feel it was the prudent thing to do. The good news is that so-far I do not have the dreaded spinal headache, that I read happens to about 30 percent of the people who get this test.

R

To be continued...

Last edited by runner; 08-08-2014 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:43 PM
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Truthfully, I haven't been on here and I feel a little guilty. Some days I want to document this crazy spine odyssey and others, I don't.

I am doing something a little different here, I am attempting to document what to me is something I have been looking towards for a while. But first: Since November, 2012, I knew there was something majorly wrong with my spine. After a long recovery from my second major spine surgery an ADR at L5/S1, I had one noticeable deficit, the toes on my right foot would sometimes be partially numb. Doc said it was most likely permanent nerve damage, I wasn't so sure.
Then, they went permanently partially numb, in other words, I had some feeling in them.
Late Nov. 2012, in less than a few minutes, my toes on my left foot went numb. I had the misfortune at about the same to have my cervical spine became symptomatic. The numbness progressed and I started getting major pains in my toes, heels.

I always knew that my cervical spine may one day blow up. It started with my right hand cramping, so I went to an orthopaedic surgeon who was known to be a great hand doctor. Couldn't get in right away to see him, saw his P.A. Diagnosis: most likely carpel tunnel syndrome. Finally saw the hand guru, he suggested x-rays of my neck to see if that was the problem because I told him I did not have a great neck. He looked at the x-rays and told me the problem was with my neck. Told me to get an EMG study, then go to a surgeon right away. So I got the study, no surprise, my neck was a mess, much worse than I could even imagined. I called my surgeon back up and left a message that so and so told me to see you for my neck.

So, I had some thecal sac compression and I asked, "Could my leg symptoms be from my neck?" Both my surgeon and pain doc said, "No".
Well, like with my back, we tried conservative treatment. Finally,after I kept failing exercises in PT, my PT wrote a note to my surgeon, saying I needed surgery and he needed to evaluate me again soon. My surgeon was incredibly busy and they put me in the schedule as soon as they could. Then of course, the surgery was cancelled, and I waited again, until I had it in May, 2013.
As I recovered, I nudged my doctors, like hey, my back is giving me fits. I was politely told to let my neck recover, before we went back to my back. Too many problems at once.

My back kept nudging back, in August, my back started hurting again and then the next month, I had sciatica in both my hamstrings. AGAIN. I was taking pain pills more for my back than my neck. I was in another insurance hell, this time with WC.
My fears about my back were confirmed, September last year, by the doctor who did an EMG/NCS on my lumbar spine. She told me there, I had a compressed nerve at L5/S1. The worse part of the report was something was moderately compressing nerves at L5/S1 and I had a moderate loss of nerve axons.

I knew when I got ProDisc ADRs at L4/5 and L5/S1 if I had further problems, the discs would cause artifact on an MRI or a plain CT. My insurance company, denied I even had radiculopathy. After a bit of a fight from them, we (my two doctors and me) and a few other medical people, have kept on fighting.
On Wednesday, I felt like I had won the war when my CT Myelogram was completed.

R

Last edited by runner; 08-08-2014 at 10:46 PM.
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  #279 (permalink)  
Old 10-12-2014, 10:02 PM
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What is going on with the spine?

Seems appropriate enough of a title. Or What isn't going on with my spine?

The CT myelogram still had artifact at L4/5 and L5/S1. So now I get the picture that even with the myelogram, you are still going to have some artifact on the images.
The guy who did the test used in the report the words, as far as can be determined there was no...

Anyway, it did not show what I thought it would show. But I am not convinced that I cannot do anything for the L5/S1 level, yet. I asked my doctor if I could still have something that was hidden by the artifact and he said, "Yes".
He suggested going to get another EMG/NCS test to see if the pain/symptoms were coming from a peripheral source rather than the lumbar area.

It is all coming from the back according to the neurologist I saw. I have all kinds of funky nerves and some got a little better from when I had an EMG/NCS a year ago and some got worse. The gist of it is:

1. The electrodiagnostic study reveals evidence of moderate subacute-chronic left L5-S1 radiculopathy.

2. The electrodiagnsotic study reveals evidence of mild chronic right L5-S1 radiculopathy.

So one doctor thinks that there is nothing pressing on my nerves, although the neurologist said a year ago that I had a "pinched nerve" at L5-S1. I asked him what happened with the pinched nerve and he told me it must not be pinched now. In the absence of no treatment, I find it kind of hard to believe that I do not have a pinched nerve.

So I thought, well, I really need to speak to the neurologist in person and I went ahead and made an appointment for the end of this month, the first available that I could get.

All this is not exactly want I envisioned when I got my ADRs and for that matter, when I had fusion at C5-6 and C6-7 and have ended up with Heterotopic Ossification. ("kissing osteophytes").

R
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