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Hi, first post

kiteecat75kkiteecat75 Posts: 5
edited 05/11/2015 - 6:03 AM in New Member Introductions
hi, this is my first post. i am recovering from a fusion as shown in my signature line. my third surgery total in the last 3 years. i am really focused on finding help with keeping a positive mental attitude, as i'm also quitting smoking now. my pain is finally reaching a place where the pain meds are making day to day activities possible again, just sitting and standing on my own, walking without help, using the bathroom, those daily things that really make the difference in seeing light at the end of the tunnel. looking forward to the next step on the ladder of recovery, not really sure if that is the meds going down, or just increasing the activities, but seeing the surgeon tomorrow and hopeful for a better understanding of the game plan. not sure if calling it a game plan is right, more like life plan. but we shall see. :)

welcome to spine-health

it would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. so many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. the more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong,

here are some questions that you should answer:
  • - when did this first start?- was it the result of an accident or trauma?- what doctors have you seen? (orthopedic, neurosurgeon, spine specialist, etc)- what conservative treatments have you had? which ones?- what diagnostic tests have you had? and their results (mri, ctscan, xray, emg, etc)- what medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)- has surgery been discussed as an option? (if so, what kind)- is there any nerve pain/damage associated?- what is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

please take a look at our forum rules: forum rules

please remember that no one at spine-health is a formally trained medical professional.
everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
as such, no member is permitted to provide
  • - analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie mri, ctscan, xray, etc)- medical advice of any kind- recommendations in terms of medications, treatments, exercises, etc

what could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
you should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

it is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). it is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are
i’ve had this for years, it hurts, i cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should i get?

diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. in many ways its like a game of clue. especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! then its up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. the doctor is like a detective. they need clues to help them move along. so, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. that is like it is here. without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

specific comments :

personal opinion, not medical advice :

--- ron dilauro, spine-health system moderator : 05/11/15 12:05 est
L4 to s1 fusion 4/30/15
Discectomy 7/18/14
Too many injections and radio frequencies in between the two surgeries to remember


  • I have had back pain issues since my early twenties. I would 'pull out' my back a few times a year and my family practitioner prescribed muscle relaxants, I would rest for a few days, take those and go back slowly to normal activities. When I turned 30, I started horse back riding, bought my own horse and eventually competed at our local shows. During those first 5 years, I had a lot of injuries from jumping, falls, falls with crashes into solid objects, etc. I did have several 'pulled' back issues during these years, but they always kept to the prior pattern. In March 2014, I pulled my back out, but this time it didn't heal. I was seeing a non surgical specialist who sent me to PT, said my insurance wouldn't approve an MR I until we tried weeks of that. On July 18th, I woke up, had a bad coughing spell and lost all feeling in my left leg. Went to the ER, they did the MRI, which showed that my disc at L 4 had 'blown', as in about a third of the disc wall had broken loose, was floating in the spinal canal. They did surgery that night, great nuerosurgeon, probably a 3 inch incision and they took out the floating piece of disc wall and removed the disc gel that had pushed out onto the spinal nerve. Basically left a vacuum space there which we hoped would fill with scar tissue over time. I was out of work for 7 weeks, the recovery was extremely painful, he gave me lortabs, 7.5 mg, 2 every 6 hours, which I took religiously. But even with that, for the first week, just trying to turn over in bed, or get up or down was painful enough to evoke screams everytime. Eventually it did get better, and life went on. Unfortunately, pain returned in January 2015. The surgeon said to go to a pain management specialist. He did another mri, which showed that the disc's below were herniated and torn. Surgeon reviewed, but said that it wasn't bad enough to warrant another surgery now, so we did injections with the pain management dr. 3 injections with steroids at disc's and then facet joints. When that didn't work, we tried a test block for nerve cauterization, I guess it's called RF. The test block worked and I was so excited, I had 3 hours that afternoon where I was able to walk, bend, touch my toes again. It felt like I was 10 years younger. So we scheduled the RF for April 28th. Unfortunately, on April 17th, I had a dog emergency, and I ended up lifting a 65 pound dog. (I know it was stupid for me to do, but it was an instinct reaction move) After it was over, I knew something had gone seriously wrong. I spent the next day in bed resting, hoping it was just muscles. The next day, I couldn't feel the skin on my thighs, so I went back to the ER. I guess when you say pain management there is a stigma attached, they did a simple check of the pulse in my ankles and sent me back to the pain management doctor with a percocet. I now wish I had refused the percocet, maybe they would have taken me seriously. The pain Dr saw me that same day, but he basically said, well, let's move up the RF and see if that fixes it. So we did that on the 22nd, it didn't work of course, I was back on the 23rd crying and trying to explain that the pain was different and so much worse, and the numbness was spreading. So he ordered a new MRI. The insurance Co denied it, and the Dr's office said that was normal, and they we reapply, it would just take some time. By 27th, I couldn't walk more than 5 minutes without my entire right leg going numb and not just can't feel the skin numb, like it wasn't there and it would buckle underneath me. I fell down once, and after that, I was just hanging onto counters to drag my leg around. I called the Insurance Co myself, they put a nurse on the line, and she said to go to the ER again. I did and the MRI was done this time. And when I was coming out of the mri room, the tech asked me how much pain I was in, I told her and asked if she could tell me what it showed, she said that the radiologist would have to do the report, but that there was a very good reason for how much pain I was in. The ER doc came back to the room a short time later, and said that the radiologist called him to say that he was still writing the report but that it was bad, and they needed to get neuro asap. Unfortunately that hospital (different one from where my surgeon was, since that was the ER that sent me home the week prior without doing anything) is not a great place. I ended up being admitted, but neuro never came to see me. So the following morning after multiple requests went unanswered as to what the mri showed, what the surgeon there wanted to do, I checked in with my surgeon from the 2014 surgery. He had me transferred via ambulance to his hospital. He showed me a few pics from the mri, and one showed my spinal cord going basically at a 90 degree angle out toward my back, where the disc wall that was left from last year's surgery had blown out so far. It was really bad. So no choice but surgery at this point. But since that disc was beyond saving, and the one beneath it was basically ready to blow as well, we agreed that it was time to go to fusion, we had talked about It in 2014, but at the time, Dr said that it's always better to have that be last resort. I am not sure I agree, but no point in worrying about that now. They had a guy measure me that day for the body brace, they did a cat scan to get measurements for the internal hardware, and I went into surgery at 730 am. Was out and back in room at 3:50pm. I have 5 incisions, 1 small higher up and then 2 about 5 inches each on each side of my spine at the disc level. They harvested bone from my pelvis, along with pieces they shaved off my vertebrae (basically they said they took the facet joints off completely which while I'm still not sure I understand, that seems like a good thing as I had stenosis and severe arthritis in those, and if the aren't needed, why have them) and the removed the 2 discs, put the harvested bone into little cages and put them where the disc's used to be, and then put 6 screws and 2 rods into the 3 vertebrae.

    That was done on 4/30. I went home on 5/2. This time, I am on a lot more pain meds, which has really made a huge difference. The nurses loved me as I was up and walking with the walker the night of the surgery, I made 5 laps around the floor the following morning before the surgeon's pa even came to check on me. He sent me home with high levels of pain meds, and at our follow up yesterday, he said that I am way ahead of the curve in terms of the amount of walking and being up and around and not in bed or on the couch all day. We debated the topic of whether being on more pain meds this time is worth it in terms of being able to do not just his ask of 5 minutes of walking per hour, but more like 25 minutes. I think it's a trade off as I have to really be careful and make sure that I am working to wean myself down. He did send me back to pain management but really just for the purpose of the meds, and being able to step it down and not just finish what he sent me home with and then try to go straight to just tylenol.

    At this point, I'm almost 2 weeks post op, and I can handle being out, going to stores, walking around for 30 minutes, and just overall not being in bed or on couch for 5 hours at a time. Which the Dr says is all really good in terms of rebuilding the muscles and overall healing. I do still have leg pain and my foot is still numb, I was standing barefoot in grass the other day and did not realize I was on an ant bed and they swarmed my foot until one reached about my knee. So that's not great, but he said that it will take time to determine if the nerve can or will heal. He said it was quite compressed so if I now can walk again, at least that is improvement.

    So that's my long long story. I am married, and have a wonderful husband, thank goodness. We actually bought our dream home in january, a farm, 7 acres, and brought my horse and another home to live. Which gives me a lot of happiness and beauty to look at and lots of room to walk. Unfortunately, we have been renovating the house itself so it's in a total state of chaos with only the bedroom and bathroom actually done, and everything else is halfway in between so some rooms have no flooring, the kitchen is a crazy patchwork with extension cords to appliances. And of course, having the horses home meant I was mucking out 2 stalls every day, picking up and stacking bales of hay and bags of shavings, and now all that is on my hubby, and he Is now back at work, and it's just a lot of stress. I am looking into getting help so he doesn't go crazy. I am hoping that joining this site will be a way to share stories, get some tips and be able to help others maybe if anything in my story is helpful.

    I have already gotten a grabber. I am only allowed to handle 10 pounds right now but the grabber allows me some independence, picking up small things, etc. I'm slowly working on moving things around so I don't have to ask for so much help.

    Anyway, thanks for giving a place to share.
    L4 to s1 fusion 4/30/15
    Discectomy 7/18/14
    Too many injections and radio frequencies in between the two surgeries to remember
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