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Surgical Outcomes and Blogs Discuss Diane's surgery blog in the Main forums forums; It's 10:30am, Wednesday morning in Bogen. Diane's surgery will happen this afternoon. It'll be a 2-...

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Old 03-26-2008, 10:37 AM
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Default Diane's surgery blog

It's 10:30am, Wednesday morning in Bogen. Diane's surgery will happen this afternoon. It'll be a 2-level ProDisc. We've been in Germany since last Thursday. I'm sorry that we weren't posting more... it's been VERY busy here and internet availabilty and the time to post were never aligned.

I'll do my best to keep everyone up to date over the next few weeks. Our room in KKH Bogen is very nice and has high speed wired interned. We are paying the extra 85 Euro for a private room, plus another 45 Euro for a bed and meals for me, as I'll be staying with Diane until she gets out of the hospital.

I'll fill in the blanks as best I can. I'm going to post things out of sync. so there will be a lack of continuity, you'll have to look for the filled out 'placeholders' if you want to get the full story. Much more to come...

All the best..

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
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Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:38 AM
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Default Getting ready to go...

Those of you who have been following Diane's story will remember that she did great after the July discectomy for about 2.5 months, then started having symptoms on the other side. By early November, we knew that the disc was too severely compromised, but it took her quite a while to come to grips with having more surgery. If she did nothing, she did not hurt very much. However, she learned that the threshold was quite low and a quite innocuous activity level generated substantial symptoms. It was hard to watch her progress as a spine patient. There is such a huge difference between someone who's new to this and someone who's suffered for years with chronic pain, but watching her discover what it's like has been quite difficult for me.

The role reversal we are doing is pretty amazing. As I went through this as a patient, I was discovering it all for the first time. Now that I've been through the surgical ordeal remotely with hundreds of clients and have been through it, up close and personal with about 50; I see things from a different perspective. Diane watched me through years of disability and everything that goes along with it, and she's watched what I do from afar... getting to know many of my clients very well. So now that she's learning first-hand what it's like to head down this road, we are both surprised by what we are discovering. I thought I understood caregiver issues better than I really do. She's learning things from the patient's perspective that give her a more thorough understanding as well.

As we approach this, I find it shocking that we consider her to be a 'newbie'. She's so far removed from the difficult cases and in such better shape than many of us who've had years of suffering with chronic pain. How horrible is it that being unable to work or function normally for almost a full year now, makes her a newbie? How horrible is it that a year of suffering and disability only qualifies her as 'not that bad'? It's an amazing perspective that we get when we live in the world of spine patients.

In November and December, Diane could not get used to the idea of coming for surgery. I had a trip to Pro-Spine with a client in late January and I thought she'd go then, but she was still having the typical doubts about surgery. When her pain would subside for a day or two, she'd think that she'd get away without surgery... then a simple walk on the beach would flare her up and she'd know that she'd be there sooner rather than later. With the severe collapse at L5-S1, it seems unlikely that she'll just be OK, and sooner, rather than later would seem to give her a better chance for a good outcome... before other elements of her spine degenerate further. (See other discussion about "auto adjacent segment disease.")

By late-January, she was ready to go. We ultimately decided on the late March date that was offered by Pro-Spine. We've both been to Munich, Straubing, and Bogen many times, so preparations were easy. Fast-forward to the night before we leave and there was such a poignant moment... Diane says it's OK to share. Tuesday night before we left, Diane asked Susan (our daughter) to take some pictures of her with Zoey (our grandaughter) so she'd have some pictures of them together to take on the trip. I knew that the pictures were for Zoey... not for Diane. It really brought home the depth of feelings that so many have at this stage.



More later... gotta run... surgery starting now... wish us luck!

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

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Old 03-26-2008, 10:39 AM
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Default 4 days in Munich

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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
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Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:41 AM
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Default Pre-op days (and discography)

placeholder
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
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Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:08 PM
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Default Surgery Done

It's over... Diane is in recovery room now. All went well. Details later.
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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 03-27-2008, 12:24 AM
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Mark :
(I hope it's okay to post on here--if not, please delete)

I am so glad the surgery went well. Please give Diane a hug for me.
And thank you for those eloquent posts.

Barbara
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:59 AM
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Default Some surgery details..

Taking a quick minute to add more detail. 2-level ProDisc done this afternoon. Surgery went as well as it can possibly go. Large anterior herniation at L5-S1 was somewhat inflamed. Very substantial defect in posterior annulus and PLL, dura visible through hole. Surgery confirmed what we only learned yesterday on discography... very severely compromised annulus at L4-5. Large circumferential tear... disc bulge/protrusion still contained by intact PLL, but this disc was severely compromised and based on discography, was painful. There are so many serious issues surrounding what we discovered about L4-5... I hope to write a substantial account of it... and we'll introduce a new term... auto-adjacent level degeneration.... Coming soon to a forum near you.

The good news is that Diane has been resting comfortably since the surgery. Medication level is VERY low compared to what I'm used to seeing. She rolls over without wincing too much. She's been sleeping most of the time, inspite of the low med levels. Both feet are warm and strong... not complaining of new leg pain or numbness (which can still come on in the days following the surgery). Recently, she's complaining of hip pain, which is also common and not something I'm concerned about.

It's still way early... but all signs are positive. Thanks for all your support... she'll be glad to see your posts.

All the best,

Mark

PS... I went to Giovanni's and got her a pizza, but she was asleep, so I gave it to the nurses!
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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 03-27-2008, 01:14 AM
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I'm so relieved to hear that Diane is out of surgery and not in too much pain. Please tell her my thoughts are with both of you and I wish her the best.

Dale
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:58 AM
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Glad to hear it went well!!! Thinking of you both.
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44 Year Old, mom of 3
DDD - l4-s1- woke up Feb 2005 and couldn't walk
Tried PT, Injections, Accupuncture, drugs, etc.
2 level Prodisc ADR L4-S1, Feb. 18, 2008 Dr. Bertagnoli - Straubing, Germany - SUCCESS -

Now I struggle with Neck Pain likely c5-7
PT, injections, rhizotomy.......MRI and CT Myleo not consistent with pain symptoms, waiting that out, keeping my passport valid
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:00 PM
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Default Day 1... less than 24 hours out...

For the "Friends and Family" reading this; in the online patient community, we discuss many details that may seem to be too personal. However, for the spine patient that is about to go through the same thing... reading about all the various scenarios can be VERY helpful.
_______________________________________

We are both breathing a big sigh of relief. Things are going very well. Diane's surgery ended late yesterday afternoon... it's just after noon now... less than 24 hours out. She had some nausea in the recovery room that was nicely handled in 2 ways. An anti-emetic was effective, AND since her pain levels were lower than average, they were able to reduce the opiates that were probably causing the nausea. They stepped it down by 2/3 and she still had very low levels of post-op pain and slept comfortably most of the night. When she would wake up, she would use phrases like, "I can't get comfortable", or "yes, I have a little back pain." She could roll over without distress. She NEVER took opiates on a daily basis, so the pain meds were way more effective for her... unlike me... I had 3 years on large doses of opiates... so the amount of medication that they gave her, would have been like an aspirin to me. She's the opposite of that. The (relatively) small flow of opiates was like an elephant tranquilizer to her.

The down-side of this was some lower blood pressure readings that had me a bit nervous... by the 3 or 4 in the morning, it had stabilized with more appropriate readings and I finally got a nap at 6:30. When I went to check on her at 8, things were still good and we talked about moving her to the ortho ward instead of the unit she was on. (She was not in the ICU, but was an a ward adjacent to the ICU. Telemetry? Step-down unit? All the beds have full monitors that are tied into the station.)

They moved her to the regular ward at about 9am and she continued to rest comfortably. She made me promise that I wouldn't let her stay down too long, so I wouldn't accept her, "I want to sleep some more", and I insisted that she get up and move around. We put the brace on her and called the nurse for help. (Always... for the first time up, or if the patient is unsteady at all... have the staff help.) I was so pleased that she could sit up just like she could roll over. Yes, there is some back pain and some incision pain, but she sat up... sat there for a while... walked across the room and back... sat on the bedside and ate a bowl of soup (after the nurse verified that she has bowel sounds).

We talked about what she is feeling now and the great news is that she has no hip or leg pain at all. (These were her dominant complaints, pre-op.) She had some LBP when laying down, but when she got up and moved around, it went away and she was left with only incision pain. She is still on the pump... AND... she's been in bed for a couple of days, so we can be faked out regarding pain levels, but this is all so very encouraging.

It snowed enough on Monday night, Tuesday, and much of Wednesday (yesterday), so there was still some snow on the ground last night. It's all gone now. It's been a bit of a gray morning, but the sun is coming out now. Diane is back to sleeping, listening to my iPod with a peaceful look on her face. We are so much more relaxed now... the days leading up to the surgery were tough.... even with our extensive experience with spine surgery, Munich, Straubing, Bogen, friendship with Dr. Bertagnoli... there were so many stressors that most people have, but were absent for us... it was still amazingly stressful.

It's still early... we are not out of the woods yet... but only good news so far!

All the best... love to everyone...

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

Last edited by mmglobal; 03-27-2008 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:23 PM
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Awesome new Mark. I'm glad you are both doing well and spirits are high. Before ya know it, you with both be home watching re-runs of Marcus Welby M.D.
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4-07 Fall down step holding daughter
5-07 L5-S1 buldge MRI
9-07 L5-S1 herniation W/DDD and annular tear MRI
3 epidurals / 2 nerve root injection / 6 weeks of PT

8/01/2008 L4-S1 Posterior Spinal fusion only, using the PEEK ROD system. No Vertebral spacer and disc is still there. So is the pain!!!!

4 More weeks of PT and things are worse now than before.
I must train again.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:55 PM
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Awesome news. You are doing a great job of putting the whole experience into words. The preop stress was more debilitating than the pain at that point.

So glad its going so well!!

cheryl
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44 Year Old, mom of 3
DDD - l4-s1- woke up Feb 2005 and couldn't walk
Tried PT, Injections, Accupuncture, drugs, etc.
2 level Prodisc ADR L4-S1, Feb. 18, 2008 Dr. Bertagnoli - Straubing, Germany - SUCCESS -

Now I struggle with Neck Pain likely c5-7
PT, injections, rhizotomy.......MRI and CT Myleo not consistent with pain symptoms, waiting that out, keeping my passport valid
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Old 03-27-2008, 06:54 PM
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Hoping for continued success for D and an end to her back and radicular (wow, so fast!) pain. - ans
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Old 03-27-2008, 07:24 PM
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I am glad to hear that all went well. I wish Dianne an excellent recovery. It sounds that due to your experience Dianne made the decision at the right time to go ahead and have this surgery.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:34 PM
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Thankyou Mark and Diane for sharing your experiences with us.

I'm sooo happy things are progressing so quickly and positively for you Diane. I hope and pray that this will continue and that your days as a Spiney will be well and truly over.

Take care and I'm looking forward to the next update.

Hucky
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1200mg of Neurontin.

In the last 3 years have seen 1 gen surg, 2 neurosurg and 1 ortho surg. All rec fusion, only 1 recommends ADR or fusion.

Have been off Neurontin since Nov 2006
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:16 PM
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Diane and Mark,
I'm so relieved to hear these good reports. Lot's of sleeping with minimal meds seems to say a lot about pain and anxiety reduction. Take care and I'll see you soon (I hope).
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:28 PM
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Default Almost 2 days out...

Friday after lunch in Bogen.

Diane continues to do well. Still moving slowly, but gets up on own... seems to be pretty functional. She's off the pump and on oral meds... feeling more alert...

All systems are go, so she can eat again.... mmmmmmm all that good hospital food!

While she's relatively long of step, we are still only going up and down the hall... every few hours... not a lot of walking, but a reasonable amount at this stage.

Everything still looks good. We are holding steady... recovery seems normal... above average from my perspective.

All the best... more later,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:31 PM
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Thumbs up

dianne
i am so pleased to hear you are doing well.
i guess you have allready been told this but slow and steady wins the race. and please listen to your body very important.
and one more thing recovery from adr surgery can be roller coaster ride. so please remember this STAY POSITIVE!!!!
i can't stress that enough. all will be well very soon.
heal well
chuck
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2003 mri,xrays,shots,emg
2004 discogram ouch pos l4 l5
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surgery with dr. bertagnoli aug 2nd 2006 in Bogen Germany Successfully ProDisc-L L-4 L-5
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:24 PM
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Default Diane's recovery

Hey Diane and Mark,
Glad to hear surgery is over and you're recovering nicely Diane! At least it sounds like the norm re recoveries as I remember the first few days after my open L5S1 discectomy and going in and out of sleep.

Ok, the low BP.. not sure what you were receiving re opiate medication however Methadone seems to yield a very low BP for me in the a.m. like 74/54 and so forth, and comes up as I've been awake. It's a bit scary as the diastolic has actually been in the low 40's before and I was afraid if I passed gas I'd bottom out!

I'm holding steady, needing an ESI to travel and not even getting an appt. with my Primary Treating Doc as WC is taking on a new technique to try to force me to surgery w Dr.D "right now"... I grow so tired of this and of course, want to have surgery there~

Walking already Diane?? Whoohooo! Well, take it easy and glad all systems are go~ wishing you a continued excellent recovery and thanks Mark for updating us~ Get some sleep!!!!

take care both~ Maria

Last edited by Maria; 03-28-2008 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 03-28-2008, 03:47 PM
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What wonderful news! You go, girl! I am still fighting WC, but ADR no longer looks like a possibility for me due to facet issues.
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:31 PM
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Diane,

I'm so happy for you... for your uncomplicated recovery and for making it to the other side. The apprehension can be stiffling and yet, here you are, 2 days out! You made it and hopefully, the worst is over.

Please take care, my thoughts are with you, Dale
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:32 PM
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I've been thinking of you, Diane, and I'm so happy that things seem to be going well. I'll continue to send healing thoughts your way.
Hope
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:42 PM
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Hi Mark,
Thank you so much for sending me the link to this thread. I am sorry to hear of Diane's back problems...but happy that she will be pain-free soon (said in faith)!
I don't think I have talked to you since you were so kind to call me from Germany when I had my surgery 2 years ago. Just wanted to let you know that I am doing GREAT after my 20 years of back pain.
I will keep Diane in my prayers for a quick, complete recovery.
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Old 03-28-2008, 08:10 PM
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Default That's good news, Mark.

Mark & Diane,
Pauline and I are so glad that the surgery went well with "no surprises".
We are praying for a wonderful recovery and a strong peace to see you through this physically trying time.

Now, when we go out for that oft put-off dinner together, the four of us will represent 10 artificial discs!

God Bless,
Jeff & Pauline
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Two level cervical Mobi-C (C5/6, C6/7) 2/2/07 with Dr. Zeegers (successful)
Laser Facet Coagulation (left side: L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1 & sacral) 11/04/10 with Prof. Dr. Reul / Beta Klinik (significant reduction in remnant lumbar & sacral pain)
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:11 PM
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Default Well Done

I do so hope that your wife's recovery continues as it has started. You are both such an inspiration to us all, and I hope you don't mind me barging in like this to say so.
Mary.
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:25 AM
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Diane and Mark,

Slowly but surely things start falling into place in every which way!!! I hope your feeling better and better....Zoey is so cute she's a baby doll!

See ya!
Myriam
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:48 PM
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Default The post I really wanted to make...

OK folks... we are here. It's day 3 and Diane is not yet 72 hour post-op. It's about 3:30 pm here in Straubing and Diane is taking a nap. We checked out of the hospital this morning.... got the full treatment. Control x-ray looks good... incision looks good... Diane is feeling good. Peter Hoch drove us from Bogen to Straubing. He's such a great guy, it's always a pleasure to see him.

I'm always worried about the get out of the hospital day, because just the process of packing up and moving is 1,000 times the activity level the patient has experienced since the surgery. We don't know if her pain levels are artificially reduced because she's been mostly in bed for several days, or if the higher than usual pain meds (which are being decreased) are keeping things at bay. But she's still doing great... It may be tough keeping her down as she loves to be outside and really enjoys everything about Straubing. I may have to handcuff her to the bed!

For those of you who had trouble re-mobilizing your bowels after abdominal surgery, or if you are a little squeamish... you might not want to read this. Yesterday morning, 1.5 days out, it was clear that all systems were OK, so last night when the hospital dinner was delivered, we decided that it was OK to substitute our own food. I went to Giovanni's and got some pasta, bread and salad. (Remember... we are cleared to eat... don't do this without clearance from the docs... ileus is serious.)

Today, after I got Diane settled in the room, I went out hunting and gathering. Fresh strawberries... pears... bread... several types of cheese... smoked salmon. Diane didn't touch the sausage and sauerkraut.

It would be a beautiful day here even if we were in a blizzard. This is all so wonderful. I was hoping to be able to post something like this... and I'm so pleased that Diane is doing so well.



All sunshine and smiles from Straubing.

Love to all,

Mark

PS... I know that less than 1/2 of us have such an easy time with the surgical experience. This is great, but it's not what matters... this is all about long-term success... and not all of us will achieve that either. While this is great, we are still only cautiously optimistic. I wish we could bottle this and give it away... nobody deserves to suffer the way so many of us do.
__________________
1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org

Last edited by mmglobal; 03-29-2008 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:41 PM
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Default Hi Mark and Diane

Hi Mark, it was good to hear from you the other day. I have been praying for Dianes quick and successful recovery. Its great to read the updates. Your description of Bogen and the hospital brings back great memories! My wife stayed in my room also, it's the only way to go. The room had a huge sliding glass door with a beautiful view of the hillside.
Diane, you had the best (Dr. B) , now just let your body heal and enjoy the new back!

Mark (Tennessee)
L3/L4/L5 ProDisc 4/29/05
Dr. Bertagnoli
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Old 03-29-2008, 05:36 PM
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Wow, I'm so impressed! 3 days out and already out of the hospital. Diane, you're doing so well, it must be all the TLC from Mark. I wish you continued improvement and am really thrilled for you. I know that you're still anxious but the worst is over and in the past. What a great feeling.

Dale
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:38 PM
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Default Wow

I can't believe she's out, made the trip to Straubing and looks so great!!! The leave the hospital day (which was 3 days later than Diane) was SOOOOO hard for me. I know you'll make her take it easy - I was really awful the day after leaving the hospital - I think that you even called me that day after you read how bad it was.

Where'e Dianes back brace? I can't see it in the picture.

Cheryl
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44 Year Old, mom of 3
DDD - l4-s1- woke up Feb 2005 and couldn't walk
Tried PT, Injections, Accupuncture, drugs, etc.
2 level Prodisc ADR L4-S1, Feb. 18, 2008 Dr. Bertagnoli - Straubing, Germany - SUCCESS -

Now I struggle with Neck Pain likely c5-7
PT, injections, rhizotomy.......MRI and CT Myleo not consistent with pain symptoms, waiting that out, keeping my passport valid
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:02 PM
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Mark great picture, both of you look very happy. HOld on to Diane she might get super powers now with those brand new discs Keep up with the excellent progress. Thanks for posting

Take care,
Myriam
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:04 PM
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Mark,
I`m sending you and Diane the "Best" from us in the UK and me personally for a good outcome.

I really cannot imagine what your feelings are seeing a "Loved One" go thro` ADR knowing all the "IF`s" that are involved.
Thinking of you both
Best
Alastair
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:17 AM
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Good Luck!!! Hope everything is OK!
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12/16/03 Work Accident
Herniation and DDD at L4-L5
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Epidurals and facet injections
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Trigger Point Injections, Medial Branch Blocks, Acupuncture, Weekly Deep Tissue Massage
10/27/08 Discogram (positive L5-S1)
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:22 AM
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Default Back to earth?

It's Sunday morning here. 3.5 days out... 1 day back at Hotel Theresientor. We were pretty good yesterday... only taking one outing, walking 1/2 the stadtplatz, just to the clock tower and back. Yesterday afternoon, Diane started getting some minor hip pain and pain down the back of her leg. She had experienced a little of this on Friday, but that was in one of the med transitions. We are trying to get the meds right... adjusting from the pain pump from surgery Wednesday afternoon, to off it and on hospital dispensed meds Friday morning, to our own meds on Saturday... transition is not perfect, but all in all... I'd say it was pretty smooth.

The good news is that on Sunday morning, it's clear that the activity on Saturday did not knock her back. She still feels pretty good. Obviously, still moving very slowly and carfully... still some incision pain... still some back pain... again some radicular pain. However... all of this is at relatively low levels. We'll be venturing out again, being careful to ramp up carefully and we know that we may not be able to ramp up to much at all.

We'll keep everyone posted... all the best,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 03-30-2008, 03:28 PM
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I just wanted to make a quick post in case any of you are facing a discogram. I know Mark has been keeping you updated and this may be disjointed. First, THANK YOU to everyone for your encouragement and well wishes; all were appreciated. THANK YOU to those who have posted and emailed in the past few days with success stories. It's great to hear the positive. It seems like before my surgery, all Mark's client's I heard about and posts I read were about complications. I've heard all sides of spine surgery and know the risks of general surgery, but of course, you hope it's not going to be you.

Back to the discogram. I think I was more apprehensive waiting for the discogram that I was for the surgery because of all the stories I've heard. It may just be my nature - one thing at a time - and the discogram was next. Honestly, it was easier than my epidural or CT Myelogram. Mark said he was going to tell me that it's like going to the dentist, but he remembered that I have not had good dental experiences!

I barely felt Dr. Bertagnoli insert the needle. When the disc was pressurized, I felt a sudden jolt of pain, but then it was gone instantly. Dr. Bertagnoli tested the level again and it was positive for pain and an annular tear. Mark gave a big, "YES!" when he saw the results, even before I jumped. He was happy that I'd get a 2-level disc replacement. The whole time, I'd been hoping for a single-level, thinking that the incision would be smaller and the recovery quicker. But, after the positive response, I was happy to be getting 2 levels done and some validation for my symptoms. Speaking with Dr. B before and after the procedure was so calming. I truly believe that he's a genius with the needles. No more thoughts like; "Should I do this now", "My pain isn't bad enough", etc... I was getting 2 levels done and in good hands, Mark's and Dr. B's.

Love,

Diane
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Endoscopic discectomy L5-S1, Dr. Hoogland, AlphaKlinik, Munich, Germany - July 2007
2-level (L4-S1) ProDisc ADR, Dr. Bertagnoli, Bogen, Germany - March 2008
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:02 PM
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Diane,

Wow! Another Prodisc Poster Girl!!! It is so good to see you posting on the "other side". I know Mark has kept us well informed of your progress - but it is always a good sign to see the recovering spiney posting.

It seems like yesturday being over there getting this procedure done. It is an experience that you will never forget.

My impression of your recovery is that you are doing really well. Regardless of the activity level at this point. There may be some bumps in the road ahead, but I think you are in the best of hands to travel this journey of recovery.

I hope that your GI stuff is controlled well enough soon to sample the local beer (I'm not sure about brats/sausage) before returning home.

Welcome to the other side fellow "Prodisc Sis"
Poncho (I mean "Ponchita)
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:44 PM
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Diane,

It's good to 'hear' your voice. You have such a positive attitude and have every hope for an uncomplicated recovery. Getting meds right can take a little time but all in all, each day only gets better.

I'm glad you posted about the discography/discogram. I know I've posted this before but it warrants repeating. I too shared your apprehension while waiting for the test. In fact, I would catagorize my feelings as outright petrofying fear. It overshadowed my decision making processes. I agree that I barely felt the needles until my discs were pressurized. And then by the time you feel that jolt of pain, it's already over. The pain lasts for less than a second. My fears were based on posts from others and were a waste of my time and energies. For others about to undergo this test, or needing one in the future, fear not. The pains we get from slamming our limbs into things or stubbing toes or cutting fingers are livable (and no one fears opening envelopes) and so is this test. If it's needed, go for it.

Diane, my best to you and Mark, Dale
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:07 PM
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Default thanks Diane re the discogram news

I've been thinking I will settle my case eventually and get this taken care of with Dr.B. vs. here in US.

I have my reasons but mostly it's because I just don't think I would get everything done here that I need to have done.

Vertebroplasty given I have lumbar osteopenia
My concerns re L3 annular tear
Just feel that if the best is abroad, then it's the best I want as I've settled before and live with results.

Anyway, since I've had 3 discograms I have been fearful of how I've heard they are done abroad.

Your explanation just allowed me a big sigh of relief~ thanks Diane.

Glad to hear you're doing as well as you are and best wishes for continued mimimally painfree recovery!
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:26 PM
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Thumbs up

Diane
just wanting to a big warm welcome to the other side.
my positive thoughts and prayers are heading your way for a speedy recover. and soon you will be able to play with your grand daughter again soon.
your adr buddy
chuck
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2003 mri,xrays,shots,emg
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:24 PM
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Diane:
It is SO wonderful to hear from you directly!
Don't have to give you any advice about taking things slowly since you have Mark to guide you; on the other hand, if he hovers too much, just let us know--we'll handle it!

Barbara
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:41 PM
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Diane its nice to hear from you it must feel kind of a relief to be on the other side Now its time to heal I'm glad you mentiond the discogram I've read how so many people have a big fear about having it done.

To all of you out there discograms only hurt for a few seconds just imagine being very uncomfortable for a little while before and afterwards and thats it.... its over!!! Don't let other people scare you

Take care,
Myriam
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L5S1 Activ-L, Alpha Klinik, Dr. Zeegers 4/08
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:07 AM
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Default Great to hear from you Diane

Mark and Diane, you sound a little "cautiously optimistic" like things are almost going toooo well ! Your description of how well Diane is doing is an exact duplicate of my experience. I actually can't remember any pain and they only gave me something like tramadol after I came off the pump. I had gone over mentally prepared for a few days of recovery pain, but it never came. I contribute that to Dr. B and the great care given there in Bogen hospital.
I only share this so you can rest in the fact that someone else has been there too. So relax and enjoy the recovery walks around Straubing. Thanks for keeping us updated.
Mark (Tennessee)
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:17 PM
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Hi Diane and Mark as well as the rest of the iSpine community.

Diane, I'm very happy your surgery went well and I'm wishing you all the best to a speedy recovery. Don't let your coach experiment with you. Mark's been hinting about bungee jumping as a work-up for the two of you to be the first tandem ADR husband/wife parachute team. As for the Brat and Kraut, you know the dangers of going there.

Get well soon and keep us informed when the opportunity is available.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:01 PM
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Great to hear from you Diane. I had the same experience with with you on the discogram pain. As soon as I felt the pain it was over. (I had 10mg diazepam prior).

Walking half the platz is a big deal!!! Good for you.

Cheryl
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44 Year Old, mom of 3
DDD - l4-s1- woke up Feb 2005 and couldn't walk
Tried PT, Injections, Accupuncture, drugs, etc.
2 level Prodisc ADR L4-S1, Feb. 18, 2008 Dr. Bertagnoli - Straubing, Germany - SUCCESS -

Now I struggle with Neck Pain likely c5-7
PT, injections, rhizotomy.......MRI and CT Myleo not consistent with pain symptoms, waiting that out, keeping my passport valid
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:09 PM
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Diane,

I am so glad things are still progressing well. Thank you for posting about the discogram. I too am absolutely terrified at the thought of (maybe) having one done and your experience is very reassuring, should this ever be necessary.

What a beautiful town to be recovering in. It looks wonderful from the photos that have been posted. If you do some more trips out, I'd love to see more of you recovering with the lovely scenery as a backdrop.

Keep on smiling

Hucky
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C6/7, MRI shows large right paracentral disc protrusion with extension centrally. Mild compression of cervical cord and obscuring the neural foramen and exiting nerve root. No uncinate process hypertrophy no facet joint degeneration. no left neural foramina narrowing.
1200mg of Neurontin.

In the last 3 years have seen 1 gen surg, 2 neurosurg and 1 ortho surg. All rec fusion, only 1 recommends ADR or fusion.

Have been off Neurontin since Nov 2006
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:59 PM
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Default Day 5

My day started early with a spectacular sunrise. I wasn't really ready to wake up, but when I opened my eyes and saw the the sky, I had to get out of bed and take a closer look.


I guess I didn't overdo yesterday because I'm still moving pretty well. At breakfast I was amazed by how much more comfortable I was than yesterday. I didn't need to rest after breakfast, so we went out and walked the entire stadtplatz. I napped most of the afternoon, not because I was uncomfortable, but I just feel the need for more sleep since the surgery. It was warm and sunny today and it felt so good with the windows open and a cool breeze blowing through the room. In the late afternoon, we went out again and walked about twice the length of the stadtplatz and wound up having to walk up a hill.

My incision has been hurting a bit more today. I guess it's partly because of the brace, partly because of my increased activity and also because I'm wearing regular clothes again. I think I'll go back to warm-up pants! I don't know how everyone is wearing jeans after their lumbar surgeries.

I made it out to Zum Geiss for another Zander special. Mark went down and ordered so I wouldn't have to sit for so long. Meals out here can take all night and half the next day! By the end of the meal, I was starting to get some minor low back pain; nothing bad. After the busiest day we've had so far, I'm pleased that I've stayed within my limits and am making such good progress every day.

Time for another nap!

Diane

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Endoscopic discectomy L5-S1, Dr. Hoogland, AlphaKlinik, Munich, Germany - July 2007
2-level (L4-S1) ProDisc ADR, Dr. Bertagnoli, Bogen, Germany - March 2008
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:20 AM
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I'm glad you are both doing well. I don't care if you are close to spine patients or not. It is different when it is someone you love. that is why surgeons are not supposed to work on someone they are close to even if they are the best surgeon for the job. It's been a while for you to be that close to someone.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:41 AM
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Wow, what a great picture. Diane, you do not look like patient! Best, Allan
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:46 PM
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Just a few notes...

In the discography, I did not yell - YOOHOO, she's a 2-level. I was not "happy that she'd get a 2-level"... it just that I was pleased that we would not be facing difficult decisions based on ambiguous test results. I the early days of ADR, we were very worried about multi-level procedures. While I'd rather face a smaller surgery if possible, being a 2-level does not generate the fear that it used to.



It's after noon on Tuesday. We slept late and had a pleasant breakfast. For 2 days now... Diane has wanted to walk down by the river. I would not let her try that because it's downhill there and uphill back. After breakfast, we walked a path down to the river that I thought she'd tolerate OK. Worst case is we'll call a cab for the ride back. We had a wonderful stroll... about an hour. Google earth says it's 1.5 miles... the loop down to the river... along the length of the stadtplatz... up the stairs next to the bridge... up to the gate opposite the Theresientor... then the full length of the town square.



Nice morning... she said her incision hurt a bit when we were done. No back, hip, leg pain now except for some hip soreness that may be remenant positioning on the table pain. Legs feel a bit tired and by the time we came back, she resisted the urge to window shop... save that for later... be smart and rest. She's in the process of reducing her meds too... so things are still going well.



All the best,

Mark

PS... see other post about lump on abdomen... nothing big, just an interesting discussion.
Egg shaped lump on abdomen after 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 04-01-2008, 01:51 PM
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Default Jeans still hurt me

Diane,

You look fabulous!!! I never saw the river post surgery - couldn't make it that far. I'm so happy this is going so well for you.

I still haven't been wearing jeans - although my incision is primarily healed there is a small part on the bottom of it that gets aggravated when I wear jeans if I don't cover it. So, sweats it is!!

Cheryl
__________________
44 Year Old, mom of 3
DDD - l4-s1- woke up Feb 2005 and couldn't walk
Tried PT, Injections, Accupuncture, drugs, etc.
2 level Prodisc ADR L4-S1, Feb. 18, 2008 Dr. Bertagnoli - Straubing, Germany - SUCCESS -

Now I struggle with Neck Pain likely c5-7
PT, injections, rhizotomy.......MRI and CT Myleo not consistent with pain symptoms, waiting that out, keeping my passport valid
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:22 PM
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Default Diane's surgery

Diane,

Wishing you a most speedy recovery! You have been so supportive and wonderful to us (the community), thank you so much for being such a giving person. We wish you all of the best and pain free days soon to come.

Best regards,
Dan
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:30 PM
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Another major hurtle cleared today. I picked up a car and we are now in Munich. I was concerned about how Diane would tolerate > 1.5 hour drive... I was anticipating having to stop many times so she could walk and stretch. Today brought a little extra pain from yesterday's activity level and from changes in the meds... but she talks about discomfort and minor pain.

We are staying back at Hotel am Markt, so there is plenty for her to do... I'll be working much of our remaining time here in Munich.

All the best,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:54 PM
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Default Thanks for sharing

Hi Mark. I'm so glad to hear that your wife's surgery went well. Reading about her recovery confirms that ADR is a superior choice to fusion when it is appropriate. As you know, it wasn't an option for me at L-4 to S-1 because of previous fusion and Harrington rods directly above the site. Although I am doing fine now (3+ months post op), there is no way I could have been up and walking around as quickly as Diane has. Out of the hospital in 3 days is amazing. Going for mile and a half walks and long car rides so quickly makes me feel a little envious, but I am very happy for both of you! It must be a huge comfort to her to have you and Dr. B. taking care of her. The pictures of Bogen and Straubing are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your story and the photos. Note to Diane....although our surgeries were different, our incisions are probably quite similar. I wore comfortable, loose sweat pants for at least a month after surgery. Maybe you should send Mark shopping for some dressy sweats that you can wear anywhere and still look fashionable. I hope the rest of your trip and recovery go smoothly. Melody
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:45 AM
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Default just getting back online, wow such news!

Dianne and Mark,
glad to hear the surgery went well, it's been such a long long time since we spoken i feel so out of it, as life seems to go on and on. but time to catch up, please call when you two are up to it, my thoughts and prayers are with you for a speedy recovery, look forward to hearing from you and setting up a meeting for lunch or dinner or anytime, i'm open!
gary
p.s. still cruising the hiways in my 73volvo with 4 on the floor
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:34 PM
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Sorry we haven't posted.... I'm back to running a marathon with clients... Diane has been mostly on her own for a couple of days. She's still doing well... able to take several outings per day with substantial walks. She walked all the way to Odeonsplatz yesterday... she sits through meals without difficulty.... spreading her meds out more. Hopefully, I'll get a breather in the next few days and can fill in the blanks...

Gary... nice to see that your back is still doing well... we need some photos of you in the sportster... one of the coolest cars ever.

(I never thought that I'd long for a VW Polo, but my reservation got messed up and I wound up in a Nissan Micra... Not fun on the autobahn in a driving rain and hail storm... not much tire on the road...)


More later...

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

Last edited by mmglobal; 04-04-2008 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 04-04-2008, 04:12 PM
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Default that's it..

I have to have surgery just to see if I can be part of the real world again and it has to be there.

Photos are GREAT!! Diane you are doing amazingly well~so glad to hear that you can walk, sit, and tolerate drives as well as you can so relatively shortly post op...

I dunno but I don't think surgery here would have yielded the same results ..some decisions are just so right on!!!!

Thanks for sharing your trip/experiences w/us. Absolutely gorgeous there and I miss traveling so much~ am wondering tho did that little car do havoc to you or Mark re some discomfort? it would be torture for me to sit in something that small for more than about 20 minutes while driving/riding. Bet it can sure dodge some traffic tho!

Last edited by Maria; 04-04-2008 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:54 AM
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WOW...just W-O-W!!
Mark and Diane, I am so happy to hear that all is going so well!
I have to say that you, Mark, and Dr. B saved my life, and then returned me to the "land of the LIVING".
Thank you Diane, for sharing your amazing husband with all of us! Mark is my hero. I know all of this sounds quite dramatic and appropriately so. It's a BIG DEAL. All my best in your continuing recovery...and that grand-baby is gorgeous.
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Old 04-06-2008, 04:21 PM
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Default Congrat's and best wishes

Diane and Mark,

Congratulations on your big step toward spine health. It's wonderful that Diane has had a relatively smooth recovery. Your experience really reminds me of my single level Charite nearly six years ago.

Remember to be VERY patient. You may still have some big set-backs, but, don't let them shake you. I guess that motion preservation spine surgery is like investing in the stock market. You need to ride out the "bear" days and enjoy the "bull" days. In the long run, you'll get better and better.

You are both very brave to travel in that little car on the AutoBahn! I always use the train to get from Bogen/Straubing to Munich and Frankfurt.

If you're still in Germany, have a good and safe trip back. Don't be afraid to upgrade to business class if you feel like it.

Keep us posted on your recovery at home.

Best,
Laura
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:20 AM
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Default Another ProDisc Sister

Hi Diane

So glad your surgery has gone well. I know you are in the best of hands. In so many ways. You have always been such a support to all of us and now it is our turn to give back to you. (although I have done a crapy job of that) Sorry I am so late with my well wishing post but please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Paulette
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ProDisc L5-S1 W/Dr Delamarter Aug 23, 2005
L5-S1 DDD Diagnosis 12/04
T-12 Compression Fracture 10/04
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:32 AM
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Friday morning.... Diane is 14 days post-op and continues to do as well as any lumbar ADR patient I've ever seen. Pain levels are very low... medications being reduced (but still far more than before surgery). The most amazing thing is the ease with which she moves. At 1 week post-op, she would get in the car like a normal person.... left foot and left hip in simultaneously while standing on right. It's pretty amazing how great these early days have been. It's been a long trip and we are so ready to be home... only a few more days. We are 23 days gone now... 3 to go... tired of eating out... tired of hotels... missing our family... It's been a successful trip in so many ways, but we'll be so very glad to be home.

I know so many people who think that a long recovery time here will be useful, but I think that for most people, an extended trip after the stressful surgical ordeal is not what's needed. Also, the motivation to sightsee may be misplaced... may still be too much for the patient.

It's kind of blurry out... my marathon is almost over... I hope to write much more later. It's been a while since the last update, so I wanted to let everyone know that she's still doing well. It's been great to reconnect with so many of you... (Paulette... you rock... don't go saying anything bad about yourself or my Charite's will come over there and straighten your ProDisc out!)


Muenchen StadtOper


Twilight from our balcony at the am Markt
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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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Last edited by mmglobal; 04-11-2008 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:14 PM
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Glad all continues to go well. I agree with you on not extending the trip - I too was ready to leave just at two weeks post op - it was time to move on to the next step of recovery. Although the plane ride even in first class was extremely uncomfortable. And I couldn't even think about sightseeing -way too painful. If anything, preop sightseeing might be the way to go. Although I suppose that depends how bad you feel going into it.

Good luck on your ride home.

Cheryl
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Tried PT, Injections, Accupuncture, drugs, etc.
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Now I struggle with Neck Pain likely c5-7
PT, injections, rhizotomy.......MRI and CT Myleo not consistent with pain symptoms, waiting that out, keeping my passport valid
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Old 04-12-2008, 03:46 AM
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Default Hello Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad,

We are so glad that you are recovering well. Can't wait to see you guys. Costa Rica was awesome and safe (no bites).

Love,

Jason and Naomi
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:19 AM
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Coming home today.... can't wait. Diane still doing great, but maybe overdid a little yesterday... some foot pain. (2 miles is good, 6 miles is better??)

Can't wait to see our house, rabbits, cats, dog, friends, family and oh, yeah.... Zoey!

Gotta pack and make our flight... more later... love to all,

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 04-13-2008, 11:41 AM
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Hi Diane and Mark
I'm so glad all has gone so well with Diane's surgery.
It must be such a relief now your packing up and heading off home.
Wishing you a continued smooth recovery.

All the best
Tim
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:40 AM
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First post home... it's Tuesday afternoon... 20 days post-op. We got home Sunday night after the long travel ordeal. We had a layover in Chicago and the flight to California was delayed. We were pretty exhausted after about 22 hours hotel to home.

Diane's ankle did swell up and hurt on the trip. We did not ask for any assistance, so she all the walking and waiting... pretty far through Munich airport... very far in Chicago. It was great to see the kids and Zoey when we got home. She was a little confused at first... not helped by the fact that she was almost asleep when we arrived. She warmed up quickly and we all played until Diane was ready to drop. She got in bed and said that she was exhausted... her foot hurt some, but her back didn't hurt at all. In the 2 days home, she's stopped opiates entirely and is only taking Voltaren. Remember that pre-op, she really didn't take them either.... after the surgery, she started 20mg/day oxygesic... after several days she stabilized on 15mg/day and stayed there until we came home (but was in good enough shape to forget doses.) Ankle is still a little puffy, but nothing like when we got home. The picture below says it all... Taffy really missed us... Diane loves the dog beach and takes Taffy there 4, 5, 6, 7 days/week. It was very hot here Sunday and Monday... today was a bit cooler, but still warm and sunny. It was wonderful to get to the beach and hear the kids playing in the surf... see the pelicans... surfers and kite surfers... palm trees... but most of all... Diane in her element.... We still don't know how good she'll get, but are so hopeful that she'll have a full recovery.

All the best... love to all...

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 04-16-2008, 03:05 AM
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Welcome home, Diane and Mark! Your family must have been so relieved and happy to see you! Sounds likes you both need some restful down time.
Be well.
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:56 AM
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Funny how there's nothing like home for some deep relaxing breathing. It was a long ordeal but sounds like some rest and tlc is in your future. Hope Diane's ankle doesn't give her too much pain.

Great to be home, huh?

Dale
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:41 AM
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Welcome home

So glad to hear you are home and doing well. Take it easy there is no rush and you have the rest of your life a head of you. I don't know what I would have done without you and Mark cheering me on so please know I am here for you just got my head into adoption resurch these days and not back stuff. I am so glad your back feels.

Take care and I will be following your progress
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T-12 Compression Fracture 10/04
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:05 AM
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4 weeks and 2 days post-op - 11 days since last update. Diane has hit a plateau, but it's a good plateau. She has continued to do well, and is off all meds except anti-inflammatory. She still moves well, sleeps well, is driving (but has difficulty turning to backup) and is generally functioning very well. She is in little pain, but higher activity levels still generate typical sciatica in a familiar pattern - down back of left leg and also has a numb spot on bottom of left foot. (Same as me... feels like something in my shoe... even when barefoot!). Egg on abdomen shrinking. Incision looks great, but is still tender. It also responds to the activity levels and when she does too much, that may be what is hurting. Standing still is not fun, especially when trying to work in front of her body... like doing dishes. (Anyone who's been through this knows exactly what we are describing.)

During the last few days, we've been able to spend some time with an old friend.... here we are with PCMguy... now 11 days post-op from STALIF L4-5 and ProDisc L3-4. L5-S1 was already fused and he also has a PCM cervical ADR in his neck. Hardware lineup here has 6 ADR's (5 lumbar, 1 cervical) and 2 levels fused. Hopefully, John will come along and tell his own story! (Taffy has no hardware yet.)
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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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Last edited by mmglobal; 04-27-2008 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:01 PM
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Default re brace

Mark,
It looks like Diane has a brace on.. does she wear it most of the day or just during activities? Glad to hear she has hit a good plateau~ hopefully all the rest will work itself out and activity level increase to a Lettski level or mmglobally going level)~ you guys all rock! Best wishes for continued great recovery Diane~
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:15 PM
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I don't think I ever lived at a Lettski level... she's amazing. Diane wears the brace whenever she's out and about. She's being quite conservative and is waiting till the magic 6 week date (1 week from today.) She wears it quite loose and has taken the stays out. It's more of a reminder not to do things... not really for support.
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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 04-30-2008, 08:09 PM
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Smile

Diane,

I very glad that you are doing well, you look great! I bet most of those pains will be gone soon slowly you'l get there
Best wishes,
Myriam
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:39 AM
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Well, we've been in Miami for 2 days now. Diane's activity level is very high. The flight over caused her L ankle to swell a little and to become mildly uncomfortable. We believe that is part of the sympathetic nerve issues mentioned in the 'warm leg' post. Along with that... her L heel is very dry, while her R foot is completly normal.

She's enjoying the conference and is able to sit and walk better than I. Standing still still gets her, but she manages quite well as I stop to talk to so many people at great length. We just got back to the hotel room, more than 12 hours since we left this morning. Tough, busy day... especially since we both started the trip already behind the curve with little sleep and high activity levels in the days that lead up to the trip.

So it's all great news still.

We had an amazingly warm moment this morning as we caught up with Thierry Marnay, the inventor of the ProDisc. He's used to seeing me at the conferences and was very pleasant as always. When Diane thanked him for inventing the ProDisc and told him that she was less than 6 weeks post-op, he said, "You've got 2 ProDiscs?" He was so very happy to hear our good news... he stepped forward and gave Diane the warmest hug. We talked for a long time about so many things... It was such a pleasure to see him enjoying this so much. I experience a small taste of this with my work, but for him, the gratification that he receives from moments like these must be enormous. This occurred in the back of the main hall and the moderator of the next session was clearly perterbed with us, because he was trying to get the next session started and Dr. Marnay clearly wanted to keep talking... and the next session was his!

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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 05-07-2008, 10:30 PM
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Default Plateau/schlateau

Ok, sorry but this photo with Diane and Dr.Marnay is blinding me with Diane's smile~ Ya think after a 12 plus hour day one can say they've plateaued? Sounds like your wife is on her way to Letteski living Nice photo BTW
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:30 PM
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I hope that we are coming to the end of the frequent posts... and this is just a few days later than, and so similar to the last one... but I think that this is wonderful and I want to share it.

I had a similar moment myself, when I got to spend some time with Karin Buettner-Janz and Dr. Zeegers together at SAS4 in Vienna... the co-inventor of my disc and the surgeon who implanted it. Well, the picture below was taken at exactly 6 weeks post-op for Diane. We were at a cocktail party at the very end of a very long day. You'll read about it on the SAS blog soon.


Dr. Thierry Marnay, Diane, Dr. Rudolf Bertagnoli

This was great for both of the doctors. They see patients when they have surgery or when they are in pain. It's not all that often that they get to see their handiwork wearing such a huge smile.

Diane and I are home from SAS now. No meds... no back pain... little sciatica with activity... but now her threshold for what constitutes too much activity unbelievably high. (Actually, she does not have to stop... she just has to put up with mild sciatica after an incredibly long day.) She has stopped wearing the brace with no ill effects.

I'll only post when there is something significant to post now...

All the best,

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

Last edited by mmglobal; 05-10-2008 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:22 AM
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Default That's Great!!

Hey Mark and Diane,

I would guess that a "congrats" or "that's great" does not begin to cover the feelings that the two of you feel looking back at this episode of your lives. What a blessing it seems that you have been able to be to each other through the trials you have faced TOGETHER. I am glad that you both had a great trip, and I look forward to seeing the morsels that fall from the plate as you go over your experiences in the next couple of weeks. Mark, I look forward to sitting down with you soon.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:16 AM
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Thumbs up picture perfect

Diane it must of felt great to stand in between two people who contributed of getting your life back. YOu look great and the picture is owesome

Best Wishes,
Myriam
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Old 05-13-2008, 03:47 AM
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Thumbs up Diane & I will have to compare x-rays

U.S. Trials vs Germany Prodiscs, glad to hear you both are doing well, It was great to talk with you on Mothers day! so when is the next west coast meeting of spineys? Another feat of mine, and a first in a very very long time, i change my own oil, tune up my old volvo, crawling under the car, leaning over the fenders changing spark plugs, something i could not do before my prodisc surgery, 6 years and still feeling great! Welcome to the Club Diane, it will be cool to follow your recovery from year to year!
gary
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:15 PM
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Default please..

Don't have another West Coast meeting until after June. I really want to attend but will be in Florida for nearly all of June!

Diane, you look radiant!! And the surgeons look nice too~ tho you've the implants and look the livliest! Hope you're doing well ~ beautiful beach weather coming up this weekend!
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:10 PM
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I agree: D., you certainly do look radiant. Congratulations and hope this is your last surgery ever. - Allan
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:07 AM
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Default 11 weeks post-up!

Its been so long since my last post I donít know where to start. Thank you everyone for your words of support. The Spine Arthroplasty conference in Miami was truly amazing and I was on a natural high. I was able to be up and about all day. No more TV!! It was exciting and rewarding to meet all the people who played a role in the artificial disk. I did have some swelling in my left leg and foot (from the sympathectomy) and was pretty exhausted by the last day. The first few days back home I caught up on my sleep. I find that even though Iím sleeping well I still seem to need more than 8 hrs.

I started picking my granddaughter up at about 7 weeks post-op. I started slowly, gradually increasing the amount everyday. I canít tell you how good that first hug was when I picked her up and the surprised look on her face. (I was good; I had been home for more than three weeks and hadnít picked her up once.) The past few days Iíve done a lot of babysitting so my daughter could study for finals. Today I have mild swelling in the left foot and some sciatic pain in my let leg. I was so busy running yesterday I think I forgot to take my Celebrex. Iím beginning to think going back to work would be easier than running after a one year old. I had some upper back and neck pain pre-op. It seemed to disappear post-op, but now that Iím increasing my activity and lifting it has returned. Iím hoping that with strengthening exercises this will abate.

Some times I forget that Iíve had surgery. Itís hard not to overdue when you feel good. I have even been thinking about going back to floor nursing. I think it would be possible if I could work 8 hr shifts instead of 12. When I get the left leg pain reminder after some gardening or an active day, I realize that floor nursing may not be a wise choice. Iím researching my options and taking it one day at a time. My activity level is not normal, but much higher than pre-op and better than I expected.

Diane
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Endoscopic discectomy L5-S1, Dr. Hoogland, AlphaKlinik, Munich, Germany - July 2007
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:49 PM
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Wink recovery

Hi Diane,
Your recovery sounds like it's going great if you've forgotten you had surgery or pretty much have felt that way.

I know you will make a wise choice with regard to returning to your career as there are so many opportunities in this field.

My experience keeping up with my niece and husband's nephews when they were in early toddlerhood was certainly much more strenuous than the jobs I held in the latter part of my career! Talk about wiped out and laid out to rest!

Stay well, glad to hear how well you're doing.
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Old 06-26-2008, 06:16 PM
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Default Great to hear of your speedy recovery

Diane and Mark -
It's been so great to follow your journey the past few months and I'm thrilled you are getting back to health.

Mark, you were so helpful to me in my journey 3 years ago this week, when I had my ADR surgery with Bertagnoli. I was inspired by how powerful it was to connect with other people like you who've been through health experiences that I founded Trusera, an online network for health where you can find and share real-world health experiences with people who've been there. I found when I had Lyme disease and then my neck problem that the power of community was a key component to a successful outcome.

Bless you both for your work and the inspiration you provide others who are looking to connect with others who've been through it.

Fondly,
Keith
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:54 AM
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Default recovery

Diane,
Just wondering how you're doing and if you are pretty much pain free and near as active as you'd like at this point. It's been awhile since your surgery altho not that long ago.. hope you're doing great~
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:00 PM
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Default summer progress

Hi Maria,

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply, but I haven't been spending anytime on the internet. I've been spending my time enjoying the beach and the last days of summmer. My activity level has been high with minor leg symptoms and some upper back and neck pain.

I tried to go off the celebrex at the same time I decided to hose off the house and clean the windows and pull out the morning glory vines. Needless to say, I went back on Celebrex. I haven't tackled the morning glories again, but I don't feel like my back limites my activities. It's wonderfull to be able to pick up my granddaughter and play or take a trip to the beach and then walk the dog in the afternoon. I dont' feel totally normal and my back will let me know when I've picked Zoey up too many times or carried her too far, but with a little rest I'm ready to go again without pain medication. As summer is coming to and end I'm looking for work. Trying to find something part time without a lot of lifting. Hope you've been enjoying the beautiful days of summer.

Diane
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Endoscopic discectomy L5-S1, Dr. Hoogland, AlphaKlinik, Munich, Germany - July 2007
2-level (L4-S1) ProDisc ADR, Dr. Bertagnoli, Bogen, Germany - March 2008
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:24 PM
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Default summer's end

Diane,
So glad to hear how well you've progressed! I too don't spend too much time on internet except to check out forums and email which doesn't take much time.

Mostly been out, walking the beach in a.m. and p.m. and now have Lola back this week so walks have included her!

Been able to be social, go to dinner, tried a movie and that was rough, but went to TJ numerous times this summer just bumping around having fun. Love to use my Spanish as much as possible even tho basically not needed in TJ.

Wearing heels has been out and I think I wrecked my feet/knees with some flippy floppy types sandels. Not so hot for my back either but doesn't seem too worse for the wear vs. the feet/knees.

Picking 19 lb Lola is possible and even carrying her which is pretty good for me tho she's a load for sure. Try to avoid it as she does have four legs for a reason!

Good luck with the work scene. Not sure if you'd be interested in Telephone Triage but that involves no patient interaction other than telephonic ~ of course I'm sure there's many other options with your experience. Wishing you continued GREAT spinal health!
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:37 PM
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I've been trying to nail Diane down for a 6-month update, but she never stops moving. So... here is my abbreviated version.



Diane's surgery was March 30th (L4-L5-S1 ProDisc w/Dr. Bertagnoli, Bogen, Germany). These pictures were taken 10/31 - 7 months post-op. This week, Diane is finishing her 4th week back at work as an RN, full time. She chose not to return to working on a surgical floor, because the 12.5 hour shifts doing the physical work that floor nursing involves may be too much. I'll leave it to her to describe her new job, but it's a grind with a little commute and a M-F job. It will be great to stop paying $1300/month for Cobra.

We talk about the grind, but we do not talk about back pain or leg pain. I'm not suggesting that she is pain free. There is some minor back and leg pain that is provoked by activity, but it takes a lot... she's very close to normal... as much as any 50 y-o w/2 spine surgeries can expect to be.



Sorry for the blurred photo, but Zoey is faster than a cheetah. Diane is still faster than her... but not for long. Both are faster than I am!



All the best,

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:58 PM
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Default Beautiful photos

This is good to read and see! Zoey is precious and Diane looks GREAT!
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:02 PM
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Mark, I'm glad everyone I doing well. But I'll tell ya what makes me angry for you is the Dollar / Euro exchange compared to where it was when she had her surgery.

But the most important thing is she is by your side and recovering beautifully.
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Martial arts for 25 years
Full contact MMA 7 years
Body building last 7 years
(no Problems)
4-07 Fall down step holding daughter
5-07 L5-S1 buldge MRI
9-07 L5-S1 herniation W/DDD and annular tear MRI
3 epidurals / 2 nerve root injection / 6 weeks of PT

8/01/2008 L4-S1 Posterior Spinal fusion only, using the PEEK ROD system. No Vertebral spacer and disc is still there. So is the pain!!!!

4 More weeks of PT and things are worse now than before.
I must train again.
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  #90 (permalink)  
Old 11-13-2008, 03:27 PM
mmglobal's Avatar
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Marty, Thanks! You forgot to say how cute Zoey is.
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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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  #91 (permalink)  
Old 11-27-2008, 09:36 PM
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Posts: 55
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That is great that you were able to head off the chronic pain spiral by early intervention. I'd take that route but worry about my spine being diseased for so long. I know there are others out there that chose ADR intervention after many long years of altered spinal mechanics, but chances of success are maximized with early intervention before facets are damaged from long term altered spinal loading. Awsome that Mark's knowledge and contacts were able to improve your quality of life.

John
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weightlifting injury 1990
Dx DDD 1994 L4 - S1
IDET 2001 - some initial relief but didnt last
Dynesys stabalization and decompression May 07
Removed Nov 08 Due to persistant debilitation bilateral nerve pain which resolved with removal
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  #92 (permalink)  
Old 12-01-2008, 11:58 PM
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8 months out yesterday. Dr. Bertagnoli came over for the usual 8 month checkup. He has the same problem that I do... he sees the patients when they are in pain, but doesn't often get to seem them when they are better. It was great for him to see the results of his handiwork as he watched Diane chase after Zoey (now 20 months old and is getting pretty heavy... fast too.)

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

Last edited by mmglobal; 12-02-2008 at 07:41 PM.
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  #93 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2008, 11:57 PM
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Diane,

It sounds like you are doing well -- congrats! I hope work is treating you well and I am sure Zoey is keeping your arms tied.
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