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Surgical Outcomes and Blogs Discuss New kid on the block in the Main forums forums; I hope I'm posting this in the right place, if not, I apologize in advance. Greetings from Texas. My ...

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:34 PM
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Default New kid on the block

I hope I'm posting this in the right place, if not, I apologize in advance.

Greetings from Texas. My name is "J". I have spent the approximately the last month reading threads on here as well as others as they may or may not relate to my current situation. It's unfortunate that we need to be here, but I'm grateful that this forum exists, as I have found it to be very informative. I’m a 43 year old male that has spent the last 17 years with low back pain. I have done physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, massage therapy, pain management, injections, I guess much of what most people do before moving to more aggressive options. I’ve had countless xrays, which are always inconclusive. An MRI in 2000 or 2001 showed mild buldging in the discs in my lower back.

I retired from the U.S. Navy in Dec. 2007, and fortunately for the last 10 years I was in supervisory/management positions that allowed me to work at a desk and live with the problem as it progressed. Unfortunately, it has progressed to state of misery, where I’m unable to do even the easiest tasks. My final breaking point was when I took out the trash and unloaded the dishwasher and had to lay in bed for 1 ˝ days. Please bear with me as I attempt to be thorough, yet short and to the point. In 2008 at the advice of a friend I went to the Texas Back Institute. Xrays once again inconclusive, but the Dr. ordered an MRI. When I went for the MRI results the Dr had told me at that point that surgery was an option. However, he wanted to avoid that and would prefer more physical therapy. The thought of surgery scared the daylights out of me, so I agreed with him 100%. So, some more PT, and chiropractors, which did give short term relief. But, once again, at the first part of this year I reached my breaking point and returned to TBI for follow-up and potentially more aggressive treatment. Xrays, well we know what they are going to tell us, but I guess too much is better than not enough. However, the MRI this time showed worsening in as I now know to be the L4/5, L5/S1 discs. It was explained to me that there is a procedure called a Disco-gram that could be more exacting in determine if they were truly the culprits of my pain. Me being the silly person that I am told the doctor I could get up and dance right then and there and tell him that it hurt. He looked at me oddly, and I said you know “Disco-gram”, like a singing telegram, but I wouldn’t charge him. I was told honestly, that it was not a fun procedure. The way I seen it, no pain is fun, but if it is useful, then let’s do it. When I got home I read as much as I could about a Discogram, to almost scare myself to death. Most of what I read was horrifying experiences.

At any rate, I went through with it. Fortunately, although not something I would prefer to do again, my experience wasn’t as bad as I had read. The first disc that was pressurized caused no pain. The second on the other hand OMG, and the same for the third. As soon as I had my out of body experience from that pain the Dr putting the dye in my discs, said “That should be enough”. I thought that was pretty nice of him. Thank goodness there were only 2 discs that are gnawing on me like gremlins with sharp teeth and big hammers. I had to travel to a different location for the CT scan, but was medicated well enough that it wasn’t too bad. Blah, blah, blah. I must add that I was as hungry as a hostage, so my wife dropped me off and went and got me some food. When I returned to see the Dr at TBI for the results, he was very very thorough. He spent a lot of time explaining everything in terms that I was able to relate to. He drew pictures to give me a visual understanding. The tests also indicated subluxation above the damaged discs. He explained my options. 1. Was a replacement disc at L4/5 and fusion at L5/S1. 2. Was fusion in both. The downfall with option 2 was less flexibility, but I would still be able to bend and touch the floor. I don’t know much about backs or the surgery that may be done, so I asked for his opinion as to which would be the better option. I have to say, that I have a great deal of confidence and respect for the Dr. He said that for my situation option 2 would be best. He explained why, it got a little technical at that point, but again I have full confidence in his ability and trust that he would not guide me in the wrong direction on this. Well, I have scheduled to have the L4/5, L5/S1 fusion surgery be performed on the 26th of April. I’m nervous, yet anxious and excited to get it done. I’ve come to the determination that the potential results outweigh the risks. I must add that my friend that advised me to go to TBI in 2008 had surgery on 26 December 2008 and played a round of golf less than 6 months later. He currently lives pain free with the exception of some stiffness/soreness on occasion. He is 20 years older than I, not that it matters, but told me on Friday that I without question will not regret my decision.

The purpose of this post, is to get some other advice/opinions/words of wisdom, etc. etc. etc. from people that have lived through the hell of back pain and have had surgery. In closing I wanted to mention one story that has been inspirational if you will, and that is Kathy. I want to say congratulations to you for your success, and more importantly congratulations to you and your family on the soon to be new addition of a son to your already beautiful family. It is simply AWESOME that you have been through what you have and are now able to have another child.

Thank you all for allowing me to ramble on, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

“J”
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:33 PM
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Hi J and welcome,

Sorry you had to jump through hoops to get a diagnosis but most of us have similar stories.

TBI has a very good reputation. I do have a question though. Is there a specific reason your doctor recommended a 2 level fusion as opposed to an ADR on top of a fusion?

The reason I ask is two-fold. First, ADRs are specifically motion preserving and you move alot from L4/5. Second, with a 2 level fusion, L3/4 would have to take on the burden for L4/5 not moving and a common occurance would be that disc going bad too. This could also happen with and ADR at L4/5 but not as quickly and perhaps, in both cases, not at all - just more llikely with a fusion.

J, you have one chance to do this. Please ask your doctor why he recommended as he did. Since he said you could go in both directions - there seemingly are no contra-indications for an ADR so the question why is an important one.

Good luck, Dale
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:06 PM
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Hi Dale,

Thanks for your response and very important question. I will re-ask that question, but as I remember the situation it was that the subluxation above 4/5 was small concern or mention because of the motion. If I'm not mistaken, the ADR would possibly cause additional problems in the future because of the mis-alignment, thus fusion the better of the 2 options. Additionally, my insurance will not cover the approx $21,000 for the ADR. Again, I will re-direct the question. He shared A LOT of info with me and I may have something twisted here. No pun intended.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:06 PM
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Default re surgery

J,
First of all~ no one can guarantee the outcome of surgery so I'm sure you're aware of this and secondly different people have different surgical outcomes even with the same surgery and different healing timelines. Don't expect your timeline to be just like your friends or better just because you are 20 years younger. Hopefully it will be a good outcome and a smooth/good recovery for you and whatever procedure you have done.

My recommendation however would be to get a 2nd surgical opinion (and honestly I'd get a 3rd consultation as well).

The reason I say this is if for whatever reason the surgery fails or doesn't end up so well you will at least feel like you got several opinions (not from same doctor or someone in same practice) and did your homework/research.

I hope you will do as well as the surgeon hopes you will w/o any unforseen complications or problems however I do feel it's best to get a few opinions even in the most straightforward of cases.

Good luck. BTW I've had 2 spine surgeries and had 3 discograms and had at least 3-5 recommendations for ADR at 2 levels and/or ADR and fusion or multi level fusion. I had a long history of back pain and back probs and by the time this surgery was actually authorized again (WC) I felt better so didn't have another surgery.

Although I'm used to having flare ups with a day and half down time and don't think anything of that as I've had flare ups that used to last one to two months and spent that much time in bed (and that was after my 2nd spine surgery failed).

I'm not knocking surgery for those that it's indicated just recommend several surgical opinions. Good luck!

Last edited by Maria; 03-07-2011 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:10 AM
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Default Surgery

Maria,
Thank you for the response and recommendations. I certainly understand and do not expect the same outcome or recovery as my friend. It is just a positive re-inforcement for me as to my decision to move forward in a more aggressive manner. And a close personal friend of 10+ years sharing the experience of the process is comforting. Also, the unfortunate reality is that there are no gaurantee's as to what the outcome will be for myself.

You are 100% correct about getting 2nd and 3rd opinions. I have looked up some other spine specialists in the area and will be calling them tomorrow. I just wonder how willing they will be to see me if I tell them up-front that it's for the purpose of a 2nd opinion. I have the CD's with the results of my recent MRI and the CT-scan after the discogram. I would like to think that they would willingly review the material and give me their professional opinion. Thank you very much for bringing that to my attention, as I had tunnel vision of the light at the end of the road.

Sorry to hear that you had 2 surgery failures and continue to have flare ups that put you down. Hopefully, they are few and far between.

Thanks again.
J
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:52 AM
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Hi,
well my last 2 surgeries were pretty much no brainers, they had to happen. The last one in Jan (i am still in a neck and back brace) my head had actually fallen off the train .
In dec i could barely lift my head off my chest, my spine had taken a 90 degree turn and it was painful to try to lift it. I have to say that was a way risky procedure, the surgeon told me the OR staff told him they never want to participate in that type of surgery again. The surgery was totally successful in getting my head up (not to normal abililties but almost) and my pain down.

I have had 6 spine surgeries and 1 major complication of nerve damage . That is the nerve that controls respiration (no where near your lumbar spine) So i was left with only 45% lung capacity. I am going to see the one specialist i could find in the country who has done lots of research on this nerve on wed.
i have spent countless time in physical therapy so my therapist has asked me where i want to sit at his children's weddings (they are 2 and 7)!!!
Mostly helps after surgery, never did keep me away from it.
But i do say go for it. Keep us posted here to let us know your thoughts and how you do next month.
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 03-08-2011, 03:29 PM
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Default re 2nd surgical opinions

Generally it's standard practice re surgical recommendations to get a 2nd and whatever opinion. In fact when covered by insurance it's called "2nd surgical opinion" and most insurances do cover it but won't tell you that as they'd probably be happy if you didn't get it (use the coverage).

Most of my opinions knew they were 2nd surgical opinions (have had 2 spine surgeries). You can be up front or not. If you're using your insurance go ahead and inquire about 2nd surgical opinion and in network coverage or out of network coverage as if there is not an in network provider that can give a second surgical opinion it's usually covered to go out of network although if you're concerned about coverage/payment and/or the office is you'd want to make sure about that.

Good luck! You sound like you're ready to move forward. BTW actually my first surgery didn't fail just it left the discs above it in a weakened position (putting load on adjacent discs) and guess at least one (L4) probably had something going on and just was in a weaker position to carry the load. L3 had an anular tear that I have no idea what's going on w/it now as I've done much better with no surgical intervention since '92. Much better than where I was after the 2nd surgery failed that is and hence my decision re no more surgery yet. My flare ups are nothing like they used to be (thankfully!)!!! I'll "reevaluate" when my functioning is severely limited or I have neurodeficits or strong reason for surgery as perhaps you have now.

Last edited by Maria; 03-08-2011 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:45 AM
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Default 2nd Opinion Surgical Opinions

Hi All,

I had a 2nd opinion done on Wed. I arrived early to make sure paperwork was done, I had the results of my MRI and CT-Scan with me. Great office staff, then it was into the exam room. Put on the paper shorts that are provided and waited for the Dr. He came and and was very quick to get it done. He was not aware at that point that the purpose was for a 2nd opinion to surgery. He is also a Specialist in Neck/Back/Spine. He did the normal exam, touched here and there, the bend forward/back/side-to-side, reflects and the needle test to check for feeling. He then told me that he had reviewed my MRI and CT-Scan. Showed me the spine model and explained my situation. He said without the results of the Disco-gram he could not make a 100% recommendation, but his 35 years of experience would indicate that I needed a 2 Level Fusion at L4/5 - L5/S1. I was going to mention to him that those were the discs that were positive during the disco-gram. He stated: "You have nothing to say about the disco-gram, you were there but you were too heavily sedated to understand what was going on, so you have nothing to say". He said this while waving his index finger in a NO-NO fashion. He then said "You have obviously seen a specialst or these tests would have never been completed, why haven't they done anything?" I explained that there are alot of treatment options and that I was evaluating them before making a decision, a 2nd opinion. He said "You have mine, call me if you need me." and proceded to walk out. Well, I considered that a little rude, but it was ok. He had confirmed the problems that are present, and mentioned doing the same thing that I have scheduled. I had an appt with a phsyciatrist this morning. TBI requires all paitents to be interviewed prior to surgery because of the potential outcome and discuss fears and such. The jury is still out on that requirement, but I'm more inclined to think that it's a good idea, because of the potential emotional side effects during recovery, and the fact that it may not work. Additionally, because of the opiate based drugs that are used for many people during the recovery phase that may take months. Just my 2 cents about that. At any rate, I have one more appt scheduled for Tuesday. I consider myself VERY FORTUNATE to live in an area that has a large pool of specialists that I can go to. After Tuesdays appt, I will solidify my decision, which is leaning more towards having the L4/5, L5/S1 Fusion completed on 26 April. Then it will be on to questions about prepping for the surgery and recovery. Oh, by the way I'm also a smoker and will begin Chantix in order to listen to this Doctor was very convincing that it's in my best interest. Thanks again for all the info provided up to this point. It's appreciated.
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:03 PM
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Glad you had another opinion that confirmed what you are planning to do. Too bad this guy was so rude and did not value your input. I would definately not pick him for the surgery.
That is interesting that TBI has you see a psychiatrist.
Good luck and let us know about the last opinion.
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 03-12-2011, 03:23 PM
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Default re discograms

I had 3 and while sedated to a degree I knew which discs were super painful for sure! Some surgeons don't sedate at all to get a "true" response I suppose but for me I'd be so anxious I'd scream just at the thought of the needle going anywhere and probably have jumped off the table the way my L5S1 area felt upon a "sedated" discogram (I pretty much near screamed Stopppppp!!!!!). I was supposed to be able to respond during each one so I definately wasn't that heavily sedated!

Sedation is what I get when I have my ESIs and I don't know what's going on and it's over before I do!

Oh well he sounds like my first OSS who said the same thing to me when I asked him the results directly after the discogram or rather he actually said "you wouldn't remember what I'm telling you because you were too heavily sedated" and what I actually felt wasn't I wasn't sedated enough and I'm not sure L3 wasn't a "false" response from me just as it was the first disc tested and I reacted because I was so anxious! Plus my doc likes to make that kind of exit as well.. (I've had the same OSS the last 14 years or so and not had any surgery done w/him!)!

Glad you're exercising your 2nd and ? more surgical opinion options. For my last surgery recommended everyone agreed on the same thing (tho I didn't have the surgery). Excellent decision re quitting smoking and wishing you the best w/that. Sounds like you'll be ready for surgery end of April mentally and physically!

Last edited by Maria; 03-12-2011 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:30 PM
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TOP,

I'm glad you received a confirmation you were looking for but that doctor was more than rude, he was unprofessional. You pay for his time and he couldn't be bothered.

A knee surgeon once showed how disappointed he was that I wasn't a surgical candidate. He said, 'no fun for me. I don't get to cut'.

One would think a doctor actually wants his patient to understand their own condition for which a second opinion is ideal. But once he realized he wasn't going to get to cut, you were dismissed- done. Where did these egos come from?

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 03-13-2011, 04:05 PM
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That was so bad and very unprofessional for your knee doctor to say. Well they are only people and there are some very ignorant people out there too.

I was mildly sedated at my discogram, but let me tell you when my most painful disc was hit, i was moaning and crying it hurt so bad. I told him it was rated a 30 out of the pain scale of 1-10! The only problem is after that being so horrible some of the next ones were probably really bad , but in comparison, i gave them like a 6 or 5, not enough for DrRegan to try to remove them. So he only went for the 2 that i was crying at!!! But the sedation sure did not stop me from knowing what was going on.
When i left the facility a little while later, i was fine .
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 03-16-2011, 01:06 PM
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I agree with you Judy about the ignorant people out there. Dale's knee doc needs to be taken out to pasture. Although, I did have knee surgery last year, my doc was great.

During my discogram, they put me to sleep to insert the needles then woke me when pressurizing/putting the dye in. First one no pain, the next 2. HOLY COW! The doc then asked me to look to my right and he explained the xray to me, starting with the first disc and moving to the others that looked different, obviously. lol The doc that told me that "I had nothing to say about the discogram, was one of the very well educated and probably talented, very ignorant people that roam the earth by day and night.

Now on to my 3rd opionion. Didn't work out quite the way I expected but better. This is a family practice that I had been to off and on for the last 12 years. My original doc had moved on. My thought process was that I had 2 confirmations from reputable specialist. Now I wanted a regular doc to look and see what the thought was. I arrived early because I wanted to get it done and over with because I fasted the night before, because I turned this into a full physical, "TBI said that would be helpful for pre-op". The receptionist was awesome, could tell that I was not normal. She said, did you fast? Yes, Maam. Do you like coffee? Yes, Maam. Then she said excuse me, walked into the back and returned with a delicious cup of black coffee. She said, you look like you could use this. Best cup of coffee I've had in a long time. At any rate. I get called back to the exam room, the nurse does the normal BP and temp, and questions. A short time later the Dr. came in. Exchange of pleasantries, blah, blah, blah. Then started talking about why I was there. I handed her my MRI and CT-Scan results. This is not a young Dr. She told me "I will look at these, and explain to you what I see in the results. I'm guessing that you have been told something that you want to confirm. I have to let you know that I'm not a specialist. Recommendations other than potential physical therapy or chiropractic therapy should be discussed with a specialist in the area that is causing you pain"

I thought I was going to pass out. HOLY COW! No ego, and when she spoke to me she looked me in the eyes and it was evident that not only did she love what she did, but she really did care. She spent almost 1 1/2 hours with me. Very very thorough and had a calming effect. I now have a new primary care provider.

So, now my for my 3rd opinion, I'm going to go the the office that the Dr did my knee surgery. They also have a back specialist. My new Dr. recommended that talk to the knee Dr. prior to surgery. I have bone infarct in both knees. Basically my knees had heart attacks and died, and could potenially collapse. Another constant pain area, but not like the back. Thought my new Dr. had a great idea to have 2 different specialist discuss my situation and make sure that maybe knee replacement might need to be done first. Wouldn't be very nice to have back surgery and then one of my knee's collapse causing major probs or potentially failed back surgery. I'm sure glad that there are lots of people out there that are much smarter than me. LOL. Will keep you posted, and thanks for the replies. Hope all is well.
J
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:00 PM
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I am so happy that you found one of the good doctors. I have that in my spine surgeon, also my hip and knee surgeon. and my endocrinologists and my GI doc. Ok enough about my list of issues.
I had a hip replacement and although it was no fun, the pain is far less than from our back issues and surgery that is for sure. So i agree with you there. I have also had knee surgery , but not a replacement and both my knees hurt which makes it difficult to bend with your knees and not your back!!!
That was a great doc you had for the discography , i would have loved to look at the screen. Maybe mine did not suggest it do to my moaning and crying!!!

Let us know about this next meeting with the knee and spine doctor i wish you the same luck you had with this new primary care.
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 03-31-2011, 03:18 AM
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Default New Kid on the block

Well, I have my confirmed surgery date, 26 April. My other second/3rd opinnions all say the same. I have been trying to prep physically as much as possible. Working on not smoking. 3 packs a day and now I'm 1/4 pack or less a day. Trying to get my legs and upper body ready for the change, at least as much as possible. My sick mind tells me to do things that don't make sense. Endure pain now and strengthen unused muscles in order for hopefully an easier recovery.

I have been trying to be very positive going into this, and today I finally got hit with a few tons of brick. Afraid this may take me back to the drawing board.

Some years back I was diagnosed with early stages of osteoporosis. Last year severe bone infarct in both knees. Today my latest blood test shows a vitamin D deficiency significant enough for the Dr to prescribe vitamin D at levels that can't be purchased over the counter. Actually, the nurse said the Dr is very concerned.

The doctor performing the surgery did mention the possibility of an external bone similator. I believe that I shared my bone problems with the Dr, but maybe I didn't because I didn't think of any kind of relation. CRAP! 2 Level fusion. Hmmmmm. I'm 98 percent sure that they have 100 percent of my medical history.

I'm sure that all will be fine. I'm pretty nervous about the surgery, but very concerned about the bone probs I have. Is it possible for me to get a fusion? My first thought is yes, however there is reality.

I'm pretty disconnected from most of my family. Both parents deceased 20 years ago. Don't care much for my sisters. Easy family history on my fathers side. Working on my mothers side now, and hopefully be able to provide that to the Dr on Friday.

Sorry if I'm rambling. Guess I needed to vent.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:34 PM
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Good to hear you have your surgery date and looks like you are going with the 2 level fusion.

I did the physc test at TBI as well but at the time I wasn't ready to totally commit to the proposed surgery so think it was a waste of my time.

Wishing you the best of luck.
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2008 Back pain stared (M, 37, 185#, 5'11")

2009 MRI, Bilateral SI Joint Injection, PT, L4/5 Bi Lateral Facet Injection

2010 Acupuncture, Discogram, L4/5 and L5/S1 Bi Lateral Facet Injection, PT, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1 Fibrin Sealant Injections

2011 ?
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:16 PM
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Default have you had

A recent bone mineral density test? Any chance you have Celiac's disease? Sometimes it's linked to Vit D defiency I believe altho of course that's not all that uncommon w/osteoporosis. Did your doc recommend getting some direct sunlight like about 15 mins./day?

I'd talk to the specialist that manages your osteoporosis in terms of having multi level spinal fusion just to get that perspective on it if you have a significant bone density loss.

I was on an injectable medicine for nearly 2 years re osteoporosis. Need to get my BMD checked again. I'm late for this and wasn't fully compliant w/the medicine either (full 2 years).
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:38 PM
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ToP,

We all tend to start jumping out of our skin when surgery becomes 'real'. No one likes having surgery (or the need for it for that matter) but if you've done your homework and are satisfied you're making the right decision - go ahead a jump. You'll be on the other side before you know it, just with a lot of anxiety before the big day.

I know how difficult this is during the waiting time. Added to that is your cutting down on smoking which also raises anxiety levels. So if you need to vent or ramble or just want to get it out, we're here, waiting with you.

(un)fortunately time is seemingly moving rapidly. Your surgery will be behind you soon enough. Good luck,

Dale
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3 level Prodisc adr S1-L3, Oct 12, 2005
Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:42 PM
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Tired of Pain,
Me too., I am here to give you all the support you need. I am now fusing well after extensive work on C4 thru L2, yep all fusing. I have had osteopenia for years., I took fosomax for 3 then went to take a year break from it and have not gone back. I'm having bone density checked again on monday. My endocrinologist said with a few fractures (i've had i think 4 in my spine alone) it is now termed osteporosis. I live in socal and am always trying to be out exercising so i have no problems with low vitamin D. It is the sunshine . My endocinologist i volunteer in his clinic one night a week and there is a big push on vitamin D these days, He gives the prescription kind to almost everyone., He keeps checking my vitamin D aLL THE TIME. It did go down when i was home in bed a lot with the 2 major surgery's . But still pretty good.
I did wear a bone stimulator for my first 2 back fusions. I think becuase they were for 3 levels . These last 2 were for 13 levels and 9 levels so where to put the darn bone stimulator was probably more of a question. So just a lot longer in the brace. Lucky me. Well i can't complain, just glad I have a wonderful caring physician.
Normal to worry, i am starting to stress about another extensive surgery to try to repair my nerve that controls my diaphram muscle so i can go back to breathing like a normal person.,

anyway i have to run , not really, but need to go. Please write of worry or venting any time. I am here still recovering from the last one (i broke my neck.) and don't know how , talk about soft bones. I will be back on some medication after i am all fused the 2 don't go together well except for one type. Probably the type Maria talked about because it is a daily injection.
talk soon
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 03-31-2011, 08:14 PM
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Default re vit D defiency

Can be linked also to anemia. Not that you have this and I'm sure if you were tested for Vit D you were tested for anemia as I recall getting the most comprehensive blood work done by the specialist that manages my osteoporosis. He didn't think it was a good idea for me to be getting ESIs. I had already had nearly 10 years worth that helped my back pain greatly and I had osteopenia even at the beginning of ESIs as well as family history of mother, father, and older brother with osteoporosis.

The injectable daily medication is called Forteo. Then there's something given by IV once yearly to maintain bone density levels when the desired increased level is achieved although I've also read about the once/year tx being used to produce results like daily injectable medication.

Good luck w/whatever your plan is re surgery.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:14 PM
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Just something I heard, really know nothing -

The 'more often' bone density drugs carry less side effects than those taken less often. Daily or weekly meds as opposed to monthly or yearly meds?????

Worth looking into.
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3 level Prodisc adr S1-L3, Oct 12, 2005
Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:16 PM
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Hi J, After ten years of excruciating pain and exhausting all treatment options, I finally chose to move forward with surgery. As my bone density was low I didn't have the option of ADR. I had insurance issues also.

I had two level fusion L4 and L5. It is now about one year and four months. I'm really glad I did it. I still have pain but it is now bearable. It's been a long recovery for me but I've had many days where my pain is low. I have osteopenia (from chemotherapy) and that is why they did the fusion vs. ADR.

Please let me know if there is anything you would like to know and I'm wishing you the very best.
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Dancing accident in 96. tried PT, acupuncture, pilates, pain mgmt. nothing worked. Epidurals, facet blocks, caudal blocks, discogram. Opiates for ten years, oral prednisone, toradol inj. & more.

Two level spinal fusion with BMS, cages, hardware. due to bone density problems from chemotherapy, they had to go in front and back. Surgery Nov. 6, 2010. So far no regrets.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:02 PM
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Default 26 April surgery

Thank you everyone for the advice and sharing your experiences. It has been very helpful and calming. Yesterday I completed the pre-registration at the hospital where my surgery will be. Also went through the training that TBI requires and received my brace. I believe that my wife and I have made the necessary preparations for when I get home. Including me staying in our guest room for a short period, (we have 4 Westies, and I don't want to trip over them). My wonderful wife is taking the first 2 weeks off of work to help me out. I am now to the point that the surgery date will not come soon enough. I will post as soon as I can, thanks again.

J
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:02 AM
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Good luck. Fusions are a lot better than they were these days, and when you've got that terrible geuninely disabling discogenic pain, what else can you do but have a crack at surgery.
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:45 AM
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I look forward to reading about your success. Please say hi to Guyer for me!

Mark
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2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:51 PM
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Well, finally down to the wire. Surgery is Tues morning. Have to be at the hospital tomorrow evening to screen and tag my blood. Then early Tues morning is the big day. To say that I'm emotionally drained would be an understatement. But, I'm sure you all have been there. Scared *&^%less is the strongess feeling right now. Crazy thoughts like, just live on pain meds.... Mmmmmm crap that won't work. HA HA. Went to my primary doc, the new one that I lucked into getting. Needed chest xray as last item, because of my bouts with pneaumonia. We chatted for some time and she asked if I wanted some anti-anxiety meds. I declined because I'm hoping to one day live med free. And I'm on enough other stuff, I'm afraid of bad side effects. Kinda wish I had taken her up on the offer. Oh well, glad I found this site when I did. I know that there are others like me. Thanks for letting me vent. See you on the other side.

J
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:46 PM
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good luck , you will do fine. I am almost all fused and doing ok . I thought i would not be able to move at all. You will be fine, let us know how you are doing when you feel up to it.
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 04-25-2011, 05:07 PM
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J,

Right about now you're jumping out of your skin. Don't worry, it will all be in place when you wake up from surgery, even though some of it will be stitched together

Good luck tomorrow and when you're up to it, let us know how it went. You are in our thoughts.

Dale
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3 level Prodisc adr S1-L3, Oct 12, 2005
Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:16 PM
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Looking for good news here after your surgery.
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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 04-29-2011, 06:13 PM
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Greetins all. Well, my surgery is complete. Although I still have pain it is different than before. The morning after the surgery my surgeon came in to let me know that it went perfectly. I received phenomenal care at the hospital and my pain was well managed with meds. I'm now home and going to start the recovery. I have already been doing alot of walking and will continue to do so. I'm pretty exhausted but felt as though I needed to give you the update. More to come after my first post-op appt. Thank you very much for being here for me and providing me with the support and advice you have given to this point. This is a great site.

Thanks again.
J
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:54 PM
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Default re recovery

Hi J,
Glad you came thru surgery well and are doing well w/recovery to date. I look forward to hearing more about your surgery/recovery whenever you feel like updating as fusion will probably be the only thing available to me if it should come to the point/time surgery is indicated (it was I just chose not to do it).

Wishing you a steady progressive and relatively painless recovery! thanks for taking the time to update post op! Maria
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:46 PM
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top,

Very excellent! Glad to hear you're doing well. A word of caution if I may - take it slow. Several short walks are much better than one long one. The name of this game is slow and steady. I know there will be times you feel great and want to push - take my word for it, you will pay the price. However, we all learned that the hard way and I suspect you will too.

Congrats and welcome to the other side

Dale
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3 level Prodisc adr S1-L3, Oct 12, 2005
Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:44 AM
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Hello Maria and Dale,

Although I have read many times not to over due it, what do you think the first thing I did was. You guessed it. Over did it. I thought that I had my room for recovery all ready to go. Still needed a few more things. Also, had a sprinkler system installed in my yard while in the hospital. Of course I had to walk around the house to check it out. Needless to say.... OUCH!!!! My wife has grounded me and I'm only allowed to get out of bed with her assistance. She has taken the next 2 weeks off of work to help, so she wins. I guess all of the anesthesia had not yet worn off giving me a 100 percent pain free feeling. Also, the short walks are the only thing on my agenda for the next couple of weeks or more. Well, off to the land of pain meds and sleep. Weird how I had all the energy in the world before getting home and now hard to keep the eyes open. Will update again soon.

J
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:45 AM
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J
congrats on making it through the waiting game, which i find is usually the hardest part.
I agree with Dale i've been there done that at least twice!! And i sure paid.

Wishing you a great recovery and pain free ness!!!!
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 04-30-2011, 01:43 PM
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Default re over do

Hi J
I think that's how we all learn our limits post op and/or at various times in our spinal journey. It's good to take it slow as mentioned though during the initial recovery and not to chance "messing anything up." At least this would be my suggestion!

Now just listen to your wife and stay grounded for a bit! You'll soon earn your wings again! take care and keep us posted!
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:12 PM
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Hi J
I guess we posted at the same time yesterday. I am so glad your wife is home to take care of you. Listen to her,she has good advice. When you can't keep your eyes open sleep.! My most recent surgery did the same to me, i could sleep until noon easily for quite a while and did just that. Then i would still possibly take a nap and go to bed by 10. Lots of healing to do.
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 05-18-2011, 04:54 PM
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Greetings all. It has been just over 3 weeks and everything is still going very well. I did mess up and over do it again this past Friday, which left me on my back for Sat and Sun and half of Monday. All I felt like doing was laying in bed and sleeping. I guess I have to screw up twice before I really understand. So, now what I'm doing is acting like I did before surgery. Walk on eggshells in fear of the pain. My wife returned to work on Monday. I sure do miss her. I'm truly blessed to have such a wonderful wife. I want som much to do things around the house to help her, but she doesn't expect much and often asks me not to do anything just yet. My post-op appt went very well. X-rays were taken and everything is where the doctor put it. HA HA. I'm not required to wear the hard plastic part of the brace anylonger, but still have a brace. I still need the pain meds, but hopefully in a short time I won't. Will cross that bridge when I get there. The hospital gave me a really neat extension grabber that I can pick things up off of the floor without bending over. I'm easily entertained. lol Will post again soon.

J
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:47 PM
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OK, so you learned the hard way - at least you learned. Glad you're doing well enough for your wife to have returned to work. Caregivers are gold.

Listen to your doctors and pay attention to your body and you'll do great. It takes time so dont' rush it.

Dale
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Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:50 PM
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Default re helping

What a nice thing that you want to help your wife out w/housework except wait until you're well down that recovery path and then hopefully you'll be helping out without getting laid out!

Glad to hear you're doing so well and hope you continue to recover well, steadily and with as little added downtime as possible (or pain)!

thanks for updating us!
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:40 PM
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Default 2 Month Post-op

Greetings. I had my 2 month appt today and the doctor is very happy with the xrays and my recovery. He said I'm where he would expect or maybe a little bit better. Two weeks ago 2 of my grandkids ages 3 and 5 were here for a week. Both of them boys and if you could bottle their energy you could provide enough electricity to light up California for a year or more. When they left I was ready for a rest. I'm doing PT three times a week. Still taking quite a bit of pain meds, but I can see that changing in the near future. I'm able to do alot more than prior to surgery. I cooked dinner once last week, first time in awhile. I had to do it in stages but I'm ok with that. I try to walk about a mile a day. It's hard to do sometimes because my knees are bad. I sometimes get frustrated, as I'm sure most people do, because I want to do more. I have learned to relax and not worry so much about that, I feel confident at this point that as time progresses so will the complexity or difficulty of things I can do will change. At this point I couldn't be much happier with the outcome. Still a ways to go, but I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow I'm going to join our community rec center. They have some great indoor facilities that I can use. The heat here in TX is unbearable to walk in. I've been cleared to walk in a pool. Can't wait to give that a shot. Will be refreshing. Will keep you posted. I hope all are doing well and thanks again for the support.

J
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:43 AM
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I've been wanting to try to jog in a pool for a while now., I have to ask a few doctors if it is allowed!!
I hope you have a great time in the pool and continue recovering
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 06-29-2011, 05:46 PM
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TOP,

Glad that you're doing well. You probably know that taking is slow is the name of this game.

Now that it's pool season, I like sitting on a noodle and 'walking' in the deep end. I actually walk around the perminiter of the whole pool, including bouncing off my toes in the shallow end.

Keep up the good work, 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 02-06-2012, 03:47 AM
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Sorry it's been so long. I will be going to my 10 month surgical appt on 29 Feb. I had a high for a short period of time. A litlle bit of painting around the house, cleaning, vacuuming....all thses things cause me discomfort but I mad it through them. I was able to leave the house at least 3 or 4 days a week. That ended about 2 months ago. Now once a week for an hour or two and I get very uncomfortable. Now I'm haveing other problems, my hips and knees. Have had knee probs, hip probs are new. Back above L4/5 L5/S1 is starting to cause discomfort. Don't know if it's related but it may be. Also having major sleep problems, because the way I am now I will never be able to go back to work. Thats pretty depressing due to only being 45 years old. Right now the best I can do is feed my dogs in the morning, rest, then cook dinner for my wife in the eveing. Will see what happens in the next 6 weeks. Wish me luck.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:15 PM
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Default re pain

Sorry to hear you're experiencing pain above the fused areas. Sounds like the disc above is aggravated tho perhaps ESIs would help calm that down or an injection of 60mg IM Toradol (non steroidal antiinflammatory med) for muscle spasms (you might start out asking for this at your PCP/Ortho/PM) and if that stuff fails and you don't "have to" have surgery (as in emergent reason) then perhaps you could try a pain medicine to at least cut the pain.

Sounds like you have other things bothering you and I don't know whether they're related to your back or aggravating your back because they're painful.

Good luck on something helping or perhaps just more time. Try not to think that what you are living with today is your life's sentence as things may change with time and/or some intervention (not necessarily meaning more surgery).

thanks for the update wishing you better days
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:31 PM
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Hi Maria, Thank you for the response. My appt with the surgeon is at the end of this month. He is great and hopefully will be able to provide some insight. I'm still on pain meds and anit-inflamatory. I have taken hydrocodone for so long it's becoming less and less effective. But I don't want to take a med that will give me a high sensation. My next appt with the PM isn't until May. Will keep you updated. Again, thanks for your response. J
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:51 PM
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Tired of Pain, I am hoping that your pain all gets explained to you on the 29th. I have had hip pain since my scoliosis and kyphosis surgery in Oct of 2010. I woke up from surgery with it. I since had a few more spine surgeries , but the pain remains. I had my hips checked out, my right was already replaced. It is definitely from my spine.
sleep has been a problem for me for years, until i went on a medication called trazadone. My primary, psychiatrist as well as other docs have all told me of no side effects associated with it and it works pretty good to keep me asleep for about 7 hours. I couldn;t survive with out it.
I am still on percocet and have taken it since my hip replacement in 2008. I have had so many surgeries since then and am left with some pain/discomfort when standing, or walking. I seem to do better with hiking which i have recently started. Must be the extreme angle. As i cant really stand up straight.

About working, my doc thinks i should be on disability, but i do not qualify as i worked for the schools and we don't pay into social security. My life circumstances now require that i work . It won't be pretty is all i can say.

But i hope for the best for you in some way. Take care and write any time . I do a lot of venting on here and elsewhere. It seems to help!!
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 02-08-2012, 04:39 PM
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Default pain med so long

How well I know that one as I've been taking the same dose of Methadone now for 11 years! It works well for me tho so I'm very happy. I do have flare ups every now and then and also because I'm nearly 58 I have other things that seem to get aggravated and be a royal pain for a while sometimes lingering and sometimes not. Today it's my hands and a terribly arthritic or some kinda feeling that's making it hard to type!

Ok wishing you well and hope your doc's visit is productive in terms of answers! take care! Maria
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:09 AM
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Hi again. Not sure why I thought that my appt was the 29th, as it was actually the 26th. And it didn't go very well as far as I'm concerned. I have a great surgeon, but this time, he seemed to be in a hurry. Maybe I'm too sensitive or something. But they took xrays, and he came in and said that I'm not fusing very well, and he wants to put me on a bone growth simulator and give it two months to determine if another surgery is necessary. Needless to say, that was not remotely close to what I was expecting. He asked about smoking, and mentioned vitamin d. I was taking vitamin D supplements last year but quit. Guess that was bad. I was also diagnosed seven or so years ago with the early stages of osteoporosis. Although I do still have pain, I don't like the prospect of another surgery. If I don't get good fusion and that will be at the 1 year mark when I go back. Will surgery be a necessity. I have for the most part accepted that I will have some pain for the remainder of my life. It's a bummer, but it is what it is. I'm pretty limited now as far as what I can do, but other issues contribute to that as well. Sorry, starting to ramble. I still consider my surgery to be a success because it is better than pre-surgery. Any thoughts on the bone growth stimulator, and if it does not help with the fusion, is another surgery in my best bet. Thanks in advance for any response. J
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:26 PM
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When i had my very first surgery, my doc gave me a bone growth stimulator. I got more questions about that as i walked around town. If it is the same device i am thinking of, it has pads to put in the fusion area and a little piece you wear around a belt or attached to your clothes. I had no problems fusing with that. I have had problems now with fusing, but he has never prescribed one again. I have had additional surgeries to redo unfused areas too. But the surgery was not specifically for that purpose.

Sorry the appointment did not go as well as you were hoping, I have certainly been there too. I too , have accepted that i might be in a lifetime of spinal pain although as you said it is much better now than before 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 02-28-2012, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for the reply Judy. I hate to hear that you have to live a life with pain, and I think that's what I will do as well. But, I still consider myself fortunate because there are others that are much worse of than me. The thought of another surgery is disturbing, but if it's necessary, then that's what I'll do. I just hope the stimulator will work. Thanks again for your reply. J
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:39 PM
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I'm so sorry that you are still in it.

Are you in less pain than before your surgery?

Your surgeon says it's not fusing very well. Is the structure of the fusion good or is it collapsing?

Mark
__________________
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 02-29-2012, 08:47 PM
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tired of pain,
You have a great attitude. I also , always try to walk a mile in another man's shoes before feeling sad for myself. Even though it is difficult for me to stand up straight and walking is not the most comfortable thing, it could be a lot worse and i still can hike , at least short distances. That is all as long as i am on pain meds though. with out those i might have to be a couch potato.
I just hope this stimulator works for you and fusion is a success.
judy
__________________










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 03-02-2012, 12:48 PM
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TOP,
sorry to hear your surgeon's time seemed limited w/u and you didn't hear what you might have wanted to. I have osteoporosis and found out this year low Vit D and was advised to take 5000mg or iu of Vit D altho read that's excessive so stopped. I think I best check this out as I don't want to worsen my osteoporosis and I know I need the Vit D in order to help.

Anyway, I hope you won't have to have another surgery and that if you use a bone growth stim that will help or that fusion will happen even if more slowly than expected. I wonder if there are any rather alternative methods of helping with the bone growth stimulation. Sometimes I think we don't get the best information from our surgeons on post op appts. at least here in the US and care is fragmented so one has to find the right person(s) to give out information one might not otherwise get.

You might want to review your diet as well and read up on nutritional healing just as a factor in healing not necessarily a complete cure all altho you may already be pretty cognizant of what nutritional value there is in foods you eat.

Good luck and hope you will find some answers out there that will not lead to another surgery unless that's absolutely necessary.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmglobal View Post
I'm so sorry that you are still in it.

Are you in less pain than before your surgery?

Your surgeon says it's not fusing very well. Is the structure of the fusion good or is it collapsing?

Mark

Thanks for the reply Mark,

Fortunately, I am in less pain than before the surgery. Still pretty limited to what I can do because the pain will increase.

He did not mention the structure and I didn't ask, I think my brain shut down when he said surgery again. I'm hoping that the structure is good and that is why he is recommending the bone growth stimulator. But I will ask that question. Thanks again for the reply. J
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:34 PM
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Judy and Maria,

Thank you for your responses. I try to maintain a positive outlook because the worst place I can be is alone with myself in my mind. lol. I'm now taking 2000IU of vit D, and will hopefully have the bone growth stimulator. They called me last week and said they were awaiting approval from the insurance company. I try to eat healthy, and stay as active as possible. Unfortunately, I still take a lot of pain meds, maybe after I get better fusion that will change. I wasn't prepared for this last doctor appt, but I will be ready for the next one on 24 April. Thanks again. J
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:00 AM
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There are a variety of issues with problems fusing.

The fusion hardware is not designed to withstand the load of carrying your weight indefinitely. Once fusion occurs, then the hardware is redundant. In some cases, the hardware may be removed later. I'm talking about posterior instrumentation, such as pedicle screws and rods. Most anterior column implants are inside of the space that should fuse and cannot be removed later unless the fusion will be reconstructed..

With non-unions that remain structurally sound, there may be a problem with motion not being eliminated. If the painful tissues are still jostled around by ongoing motion in the segments that are supposed to be fused, it may remain painful.

I hope this helps you understand more about the issues you should be discussing with your doctors.

Mark

PS.... if you want to post your films, we can discuss them on the forum. If you 'd like to send them to me and discuss them privately, let me know. (no charge.) Contact me via the contact page on the GPN website linked below.
__________________
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 03-22-2012, 06:29 PM
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About the discogram I specifically remember them hitting the pain gen. in my discogram and I came off table cause my chest locked up and I could not get any words out to scream. Now I dont often remember any part of my ESI injections, but I definitly remember part of my discogram.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:20 PM
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Oh yes Aaron, i so remember my discogram. The pain was immense. My doctor uses general anesthesia for ESI's thankfully.
judy
__________________










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 03-30-2012, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmglobal View Post
There are a variety of issues with problems fusing.

The fusion hardware is not designed to withstand the load of carrying your weight indefinitely. Once fusion occurs, then the hardware is redundant. In some cases, the hardware may be removed later. I'm talking about posterior instrumentation, such as pedicle screws and rods. Most anterior column implants are inside of the space that should fuse and cannot be removed later unless the fusion will be reconstructed..

With non-unions that remain structurally sound, there may be a problem with motion not being eliminated. If the painful tissues are still jostled around by ongoing motion in the segments that are supposed to be fused, it may remain painful.

I hope this helps you understand more about the issues you should be discussing with your doctors.

Mark

PS.... if you want to post your films, we can discuss them on the forum. If you 'd like to send them to me and discuss them privately, let me know. (no charge.) Contact me via the contact page on the GPN website linked below.
Thank you for that info Mark it does give me a better understanding, and have started a list of questions for my appt on 24 April. I will also see if I can obtain the films from that appt and post them. I really appreciate that offer.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:32 PM
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Good morning,
Well, I have been very busy with lots of doctors appts hoping to get to the bottom of my numberous problems, i.e. ankles, knees, hips. My 1 year anniversary for the surgery was the 26th of this month. I'm hoping to find a specialist that can look into the whole person concept and tell me whether or not the surgery could be contributing to the other probs. However, a foot specialist this past week told me that it could be contributing to my ankles because the levels that were operated on are directly related to the feet. I have an appt with a doc on May 1st that specializes in feet, knees and hips. So hopefully, he can put together a treatment plan that will be beneficial, instead of having to see 3 different docs.

The most recent update on my back. My appt on the 24th was better than the last. The PA came in first and I mentioned my displeasure of the previous appt. She was very appologetic and so was the doctor. The xrays did not show any significant change in the fusion after the use of the bone growth stimulator for 2 months. So the doc ordered an MRI to get a better look to see what is going on before committing to any future treatment plans. That makes sense to me and I was glad to hear that. I had the MRI done on the 25th and now waiting for the call for follow-up with the doc. I wish I knew how to provide some of the pics on here for Mark to review because I have a disc with the MRI results, but it's a program and not just individual pics. I'm really hoping for a successful appt with the specialist on the 1st that can help me. Because at this point my mobility is very limited, and I'm too young to be stuck at home like I have been for the last couple of years. Even with that said, I still realize that I'm pretty blessed because there are alot of people much worse of than I am. As always, I appreciate everyone listenting to me ramble and respond with advice and encouragement. I hope everyone had a great weekend. J
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:18 PM
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I'm so glad your appointment went well this time. When do you see your spine doctor to get the results of the MRI?
I wish you the best for the appointment on May 1st with the specialist. It is difficult when so many body parts are hurting. I am in the same boat as you. I've recently had foot surgery which i consider a direct relation to the way i walk since my last back surgery. It is all connected. Just hard to figure out where it all started. I have also had a hip replacement. Knee surgery and i wish you do not have to go through these things. Sounds like you are on the right path by seeing a doc for all the parts!!!!
I also do not know how to show Mark any of my imaging.
Good Luck and let us know the outcome of the May 1st apt.
Judy
__________________










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 05-01-2012, 05:27 PM
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Hi Judy

I hope that your recovery from your recent foot surgery is going well, and it is giving you relief and your better off than pre-surgery.

Well, I went to the specialist today, and I'm very very excited. He asked alot of questions, and equally, if not more importantly he listened to me. He asked me which set of joints bothered me the most, it's best to start with one project at a time. LOL. Maybe not funny, but it was to me. After listening to me he ordered x-rays on ankles, knees and hips. Hips are a new problem, within the last 5-7 months, or maybe longer I just didn't notice that much because of the severe pain elsewhere. At any rate. After he looked at the xrays with me and expained things, he said that he was pretty concerned with my left hip. He showed me and explained, and I understood as well as I could. He said that it appeared as though there was osteonecrosis and he wanted an MRI to determine the extent and what treatment plan would follow. He said if it was a small area, then it could be treated with core decrompression. If it was a larger area, which he was afraid of, then it would require a full hip replacement.

He said that the hip could very well be a major contributor to my other issues, knees and ankles. He also said that we were going to figure things out and make me better. I almost broke down and cried, because I believed him. I'm waiting on the call to schedule the MRI, and can't wait to get it done. I'm hoping that hip replacement is not needed, but if it is, I welcome it.

As far as the CT scan on my back. I said MRI in previous post, but mis-spoke, it was actually CT scan. I called the Dr's office yesterday wondering if they had the results and if the Dr had reviewed them. They said that they do have the results, but the Dr doesn't review them until I'm there for an appt. I have mixed emotions on that policy, but it is what it is. So I have an appt on the 8th to go over it with him. I guess in a way it's kind of a moot point because I personally think that my ability to walk more with little to no pain should be a priority, because the biggest thing that was asked of me from surgery last year was alot of walking. I did what I could, and just maybe that wasn't enough. Your thoughts?

Again, I'm pretty excited with this new doctor, and going to drop the other 2 specialists, knee and ankle, because it sure seems like I have one now that can take care of it all. There was a couple in the waiting room, that said they will not go anywhere else and they consider this group of doctors to be the best in the country. So far so good. J
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:50 PM
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Regarding my viewing of the films.... it is an interesting exercise but I must constantly remind readers that my opinion of the situation is of very limited value. I am not a doctor and could be staring at something blatant and not see it because my frame of reference is very limited.

I'm pleased to hear that you are making progress and am looking forward to some good news from you!

Alol the best,

Mark
__________________
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 05-01-2012, 07:10 PM
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I am so happy to hear you have a good set of doctors. Nothing like a patient in the waiting room to tell you that. And he listened to you. Good deal.
The hip pain. Well i went through that in 2008. The doc as well as my spine surgeon did not think my MRI or Ct (i forget) looked bad enough for a hip replacement. But it did look like possible need for some repair of a labral tear. So my new hip surgeon did an arthroscopic hip surgery . When he was in there he found that both of my hip surfaces were worn away to bone. So i did try to see if the surgery would help at all (he did microfracture to try to grow some cartilage) It did not seem to be working so i had the right hip replaced in June 2008. That surgery , if you need it, has something like a 98% satisfaction rate. They really know what they are doing there. The usual pain from your hip is gone instantly., You do have surgical pain which gets better every day. At 3 months out i was back to hiking. At 3 weeks my doc let me swim and i was swimming a mile each day (about 5 times a week) So hiking for 7 miles then swimming , i was in the best shape . Then i did still have knee pain on that side so he did an arthroscopy and cleaned out the joint (lots of scar tissue) and did micr fracture to stimulate new cartilage growth,. It worked wonderfully

Boy sorry i am making this so long. Just don't want you to really worry about the hip replacement.

As far as walking with back pain, it is difficult. I now have pain when i am walking or standing in place. It sucks. Some lower around my hips too, but i know that is coming from my spine. I have a new lumbar fracture. I saw my spine surgeon today, i will be having more surgery when he gets back in town, he has not decided it he will extend the fusion to L5 or just fix the fracture at L4. I see him on June 4th after his vacation.
My foot is still swollen, although i can get it in shoes, just a little surgical pain , no hammertoe pain. Now for the other foot!!

Let me know what you find out on the 8th.
take care
judy
__________________










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 05-02-2012, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmglobal View Post
Regarding my viewing of the films.... it is an interesting exercise but I must constantly remind readers that my opinion of the situation is of very limited value. I am not a doctor and could be staring at something blatant and not see it because my frame of reference is very limited.

I'm pleased to hear that you are making progress and am looking forward to some good news from you!

Alol the best,

Mark
Mark,
I understand that you are not a doctor. On the other hand, I believe that you do have a great deal of experience and insight, based on what I have seen and read on this website. I'm truely greatful for this site as it has and continues to provide at a minimum, re-assurance in the processes and that other people such as myself have received relief from their spine/back problems.

Ooops. Rambling again. At any rate. It was appreciated that you had previously offered to take a look. I have no clue what I'm looking at, but you may have been able to give a response or insight (lack of terms) that I could more easily understand.

Thanks a million for this site. I really is GREAT!
J
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsewell View Post
I am so happy to hear you have a good set of doctors. Nothing like a patient in the waiting room to tell you that. And he listened to you. Good deal.
The hip pain. Well i went through that in 2008. The doc as well as my spine surgeon did not think my MRI or Ct (i forget) looked bad enough for a hip replacement. But it did look like possible need for some repair of a labral tear. So my new hip surgeon did an arthroscopic hip surgery . When he was in there he found that both of my hip surfaces were worn away to bone. So i did try to see if the surgery would help at all (he did microfracture to try to grow some cartilage) It did not seem to be working so i had the right hip replaced in June 2008. That surgery , if you need it, has something like a 98% satisfaction rate. They really know what they are doing there. The usual pain from your hip is gone instantly., You do have surgical pain which gets better every day. At 3 months out i was back to hiking. At 3 weeks my doc let me swim and i was swimming a mile each day (about 5 times a week) So hiking for 7 miles then swimming , i was in the best shape . Then i did still have knee pain on that side so he did an arthroscopy and cleaned out the joint (lots of scar tissue) and did micr fracture to stimulate new cartilage growth,. It worked wonderfully

Boy sorry i am making this so long. Just don't want you to really worry about the hip replacement.

As far as walking with back pain, it is difficult. I now have pain when i am walking or standing in place. It sucks. Some lower around my hips too, but i know that is coming from my spine. I have a new lumbar fracture. I saw my spine surgeon today, i will be having more surgery when he gets back in town, he has not decided it he will extend the fusion to L5 or just fix the fracture at L4. I see him on June 4th after his vacation.
My foot is still swollen, although i can get it in shoes, just a little surgical pain , no hammertoe pain. Now for the other foot!!

Let me know what you find out on the 8th.
take care
judy
Hi Judy,
Thanks again for your quick response and the re-assurance. I have heard nothing but good things about hip replacement. Although, that is not something that I would hope for, and still hope it doesn't come to that. But, if in the overall scheme of things it will benefit me with other joint problems I certainly welcome it.

You are very kind to always take the time to read and respond to posts. I hope that your surgical pain goes away very quickly and the surgery on the other foot is a complete success with faster than normal recovery.

J
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:31 PM
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Hi J
I actually found out i need to have more spine surgery for a fracture. UUGGHH. I can hardly believe it. My doc may just remove the screws in that area and put in cement or extend the fusion to one more level. He will decide and we will proceed when he gets back from vacation.
I don't think it will ever end with me.!!!
Keep us updated on your progress
judy
__________________










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 05-14-2012, 01:31 AM
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Well, it took me a week to reply with progress because things happened so very quickly. I had an MRI on May 2nd, then called by the doctors office the following morning that they wanted to see me that afternoon. When I got there the doctor told me he wanted to admit me into the hospital and replace my left hip the following morning. The Avascular Necrosis was severe and I had a stress fracture on the left side femoral head. He was somewhat surprised that I was able to walk and really didn't want me walking around much longer with that condition. He said that after recovery of the left hip, the right one needed replaced as well. Before releasing me from the hospital last Sunday, he said that he feels very confident that this replacement will reduce my knee and ankle problems considerably if not almost all together. I'm still in quite a bit of pain at this point, but getting a little better each day. I'm optomistic for the future.

I still have to get with the back surgeon to go over the results of the CT Scan to determine the next steps for the failed fusion. So, I still have a ways to go, but I can still see some light at the end of the tunnel. It's very unlikely that I'll ever be pain free, but I do believe that I will be better off than I was pre surgery last April on my back. Keeping my fingers crossed. And I do still know that there are others much worse off than me. But pardon the expression, but some days sure do suck.

Hope all the mothers out there had a Happy Mothers Day.

J
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:48 AM
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Hi jsewell,i am also patient of Total Hip Replacement surgery.But i am not facing any type of Hip pain after surgery.Now i am on bed rest of 3 months.So i can understand your feelings related care after and before surgery time.Good luck!!
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