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360 degree 2 level lumbar spinal fusion

Hi, my name is Madelyn. I am 19 and have had a Laminectomy, and a fusion split into two surgeries. 90% of my spinal canal was crushed during a car accident, L4-L5 and L5-S1. My last surgery was 10/5/15 so I am about 4 months post op. I am still experiencing nerve pain going down my left leg, along with lots of stiffness in my lower back and general aches and pains when trying to move, also my right hip is giving my problems. My surgeon has scheduled a nerve test and a nerve block to see what's going on, but I feel like it's too soon for there to be anything wrong, maybe I'm just really raw from the surgery? My surgeries were pretty huge, my stomach incision is 7 inches long and my back incisions are 5 inches and 4 inches. I feel like my body is still under so much stress and maybe I should wait on any tests. I'm trying to decide if this pain is something I can live with or not. The only problem is, my insurance is up in March because the insurance holder was laid off, and I can't currently work because of my back. Has anyone else felt like this? Any advice or stories from your own lives would be helpful. I'm so scared to take these tests, I'm so tired of being a patient, I just want to enjoy my last year as a teenager. I'm also experiencing a lot of depression and anxiety because of all of this. My scars have brought down my self esteem a lot, plus I've put on 30 pounds since this all began. My boyfriend (who I live with) has had to be my nurse through all of this and I hate that he's had to see me like this. It has put such a strain on our relationship. I'm just miserable honestly.


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,264
    Wow! Sounds like you have had extensive injury and extensive surgeries!
    And most of us here will understand the disbelief that we have to deal with our painful situations as our plans for our lives need to put on hold!

    You have a lot going on.
    You addressed your fear of testing. I had EMG and for me, it was very revealing and helpful to doctor to address my issues. I did not find it painful at all, although variety of members on this site have had variety of responses, to uncomfortable to painful, and others like myself, no problem at all.

    It may be helpful to you to use the search on this site, upper right on page.
    Typing in your concerns, for ex...EMG, you may be led to current or older posts or to the medical side with articles and or videos. The video library is huge!

    Sometimes as I have searched, I find more questions that I jot down for doctor.

    As for you insurance running out and you unable to work.
    It does not have to be a forever thing, but I used a Disability attorney and was approved within six months.
    Mine is permanent...but they also have temporary. Temporary to help you until your back in your feet.

    There are also other resources out there that a social worker would easily be able to help you with.
    I work with a social worker in my township, and she knew of all sorts of help available to me.
    There are also social workers within the hospitals.

    I should probably say I live in the States..and not sure where you are and if it works the same.

    Going through all you have, and all you will, it's not uncommon to get to feeling a shock to the self esteem, and your right about body changes, due to our limitations, medications, or who knows.
    Please mention your emotions to doctor just as you explain all your other symptoms.

    Give doc a chance to see if any of the meds, or such may be contributing to feeling miserable, emotionally.
    There are also some meds out there for pain and depression.....although, please know, I'm not saying you have depression...but as you imply low spirits. Again, treatment for symptoms does not have to be a forever thing..just to get you to your healthier you!
    Let doctor guide and or reassure you.

    Please keep us posted on how you are doing and or feeling.
    You found a supportive community here! You're not alone!

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Thank you so much savage for your comment. Reading this made me tear up knowing that there are people as supportive and understand as you out there. Thanks for the info about the EMG, I am so nervous to get this done. Did you have this done on your sciatic nerve? Could you explain your experience to me if you don't mind? 
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 995
    edited 02/11/2016 - 9:14 AM

    Hey Madelyn...

    Your surgeries were MAJOR surgeries and the recovery process is a long tough road for most of us. It could be that you are just experiencing nerve healing... but it also could be that there are some remaining nerve compression issues... so I think the tests your surgeon has suggested are a good idea.  I'm sure the tests won't be as difficult as the surgery... and they should give you and your surgeon good confidence about the possibility of any lingering nerve compression issues that you may or may not have.  After my second fusion surgery it took me nearing 5 months to get relief from the nerve pain down my right leg which was almost as bad as before surgery.

    Experiencing depression is something we all go through after such major surgeries with long recovery roads.  I find that reading and talking to other folks around the world with similar experiences and healing challenges provides good relief... kinda like AA therapy for busted backs.  Using this site and forum is also very useful to help better understand the technical details of the problems we are having with our backs and our recovery.

    You are a young and strong girl... that will come through this like a million bucks...  the scars from your surgery are nothing to worry about. Your boyfriend is in love with you and your heart... not your skin. 

    BTW... I've had an EMG test... it's a no brainer and a good test to help your doctor pin point where you might still have some nerve problems.    

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,509

    You have gone through a lot.  But you have found new friends here that can relate.  I think that depression and anxiety are normal to some extent as we go through the process of being diagnosed, treated and healing.  This forum is a great place to discuss with others that have been there.

    I had an EMG test on my arm, it felt odd, but wasn't painful for me.  It did help my doctors to diagnose my condition.  It probably makes sense to do it now before the insurance runs out.  Knowledge is power.

    If it weren't for the support of my wife and children, I don't know how I would have gotten through this.  Remember how important that your boyfriend is to you, and treat him that way.  He may make mistakes, sometime painful, but hold your tongue or offer kind suggestions on how to do things differently that would be less painful.  Remember to thank him often for helping you.

    Scars do get better over time.  My wife has scars on her face from a car accident 30 years ago, I think that they are character marks - and actually they have almost disappeared.   And heck, I have so many scars.


    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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