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I can totally relate with you.
Started waking up with bad back pain almost 4 years ago. Saw my Gp, had x-rays done and was told simply that I had a curved spine in my lumbar region. He told me to try physio and some anti inflamatories. I did that for about 3 months and it just got worse.
I saw my Gp again and he put me on the list for a ct scan ( I live in Canada) I had to wait about 6 months for one. Once that was done, they discovered that there was more of a problem and I should see a specialist/ortho surgeon. I was put ont the list for that and was told it would be about 3 months for my first visit, it took a year!
Even though I still didn't have a proper diagnosis I was sent to see another specialist while I waited to see the other one. He decided that I should do some ESI's. Those did nothing for me, in fact for the first few days afterwards I was in way more pain than usual. I also had a bone scan. Finally like I said, it took a year for my first visit with the surgeon.
At that appt he ordered an MRI and we discussed possible surgeries. It took about 3 months for my MRI and then I met with my surgeon again. At this appt he told me had had spondylolisthesis with an L5 S1 fracture, mildly curved lumbar spine and suffer from sciatica. He thought that maybe because of my age (23) the best treatement would be non surgvical. I agreed as I did not want to under go surgery. I felt that the odds were not that great and I would be better off if could avoid it all together. It was also my worst fear to have surgery and most of all a hospital stay! So we decided to try some more physio. This time we incorporated accupuncture. It wasn't something that I can say gave me much relief. After a session sometimes I felt a little more lose. However, certainly no cure. After another 3 months of this every 3-4 days. I decided I wasn't getting anywhere and needed another appt with the surgeon.
At this appt he still was uncomfortable with surgery and thought there may be another way. So we looked at all angles and decided that more therapy of a different sort as well as a bit of weight loss could make a difference. I was not that over weight but I went from being a very active person to someone with next to no activity because of pain. So naturally I gained a little bit.
So, I went to a type of rehabilitation clinic. It was something I did 5 days a week in the morning for 6 weeks. There was no massage or anything like that. It was simply a matter of having a trainer and she showed me how to live with pain. How to move, bend, twist etc. She showed me how to strenthgen the core (which I strongly believe in for anybody, especailly those of us with back problems). We did weight training, yoga, all sorts of things. I was quite enjoying it even though once I go home I was pretty much done for the day as my pain was through the roof. But I thought it has to get better before it gets worse so I kept going.
I guess you should probably know that my insurance company was the one that was paying for this and of course wanted to rush me through everything. So they decided that because I was making a little progress that they would start making me carry heavy weights and do things I was not comfortable with. The pain was getting worse and worse and I kept telling my trainer that but she didn't care and there were threats that if I didn't co-operate I would lose my benefits etc. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and my doctor stepped in and told them to cut it all off and I scheduled another appt with my surgeon.
It took a couple months to see him so during that time I maintained a regular therapy session each morning (at my home) based on the positive things that I had learnt from my rehab clinic. I walked every morning on the treadmill , I did a lot of excercises for my legs, back and stomach. I did weight lifting and some excercises with the ball. This was all in moderation but I was losing weight and gaining major muscle. Even though I was still in a lot of pain and sometimes more. I was started to feel my legs do more of the work than my back and I just felt lighter on my feet. I was able to move around and know what do do when I sat down to not hurt my back further when I was doing it. It's hard to explain but the building of the muscles is a very important part in regards to our problems. Not only was I hoping to help myself non sugically but I knew that if it came down to it and surgery was absolutely neccesary than I knew I would be better off and stronger than most because of all this hard work.
At my appt the surgeon decided that even though I worked so hard and made such drastic improvements, I could only go so far and I was maxed out. It was time for surgery. I was scheduled for an L5 S1 fusion with autograft form my iliac crest. I was scheduled for January 24th 2006. The date was changed several times but it ended of being on the 26th of this past January. I am now 4 weeks post op.
Now for the month and a half up until my surgery I continued with my at home therapy almost everyday. The surgery was approaching and I got more scared everyday. It had always been a life time fear of mine and I was being forced to conquer it. I was crying all the time but I didn't want to people around me to see it so I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone about it. Anyway I then just got myself excited to get my life back. I hadn't been able to work for 4 years and everything in my life was limited if not gone all together.
Well the day of surgery came and I was surprsignly strong. I didn't cry that much. My surgery was scheduled for 1230pm and I had to be there 2 hours a head of time. During those 2 hours I was kept busy, there was paprer work to fill out, I had to change, do some blood work a urine sample, get an IV going etc. When they finally wheeled me in the OR, everyone was so friendly. There were a lot of them and it was a bit over whellming but it was also very comforting. I was not a wake for long. The anesthesiologist came up to from behind as I layed on the bed and he gave me a mask that I was to breath through. So I took a few breaths got dopey and just remember waking up in the recovery room.
For the first night I was part of a study for a new drug so I had 2 nurses with me all the time. It was actually comforting even though they had to keep bugging me. I remember seeing my family for the first time and knowing that they weren't telling me everything. But I was too doped up to care and knew that I would find out in the morning.
It ended up being a 6 hour surgery and a very complicated one at best. My surgeon was expecting to go in minimally invasive and do a standard fusion with bone from my hip. Well it ended up not being MI because once he made the first incision he saw that there were too many complications. He made an incision about 3 inches long. My nerves we apparantly twisted in knots and all over the place and instead of the "hair lign" fracture that it was suppose to be it was a sorts of little breaks throughout my lumbar region. None of this was seen on any of my tests. So, because of all the extra bone he didn't have to do a bone graft (which was positive). He took the extra bone and did the fusion, he got the screws in but coudn't not get the plate in because I had a nerve that was laying directly across where he needed to go. He untangled all the nerves and cleaned everything up. He decided that to get the plate in he would have to do it the the front through my tummy. So he closed me up. I had been through too much already and decided to finish it would have to be another surgery.
My hospital stay wasn't too bad. I slept most of the time. So my surgery was on a Thursday afternoon at 1230 and I went home on the following Sunday at around noon.
I was in a lot of pain a was extremly swollen in my lower back, I did not reconize my back, it was weird. It took a couple of weeks for it to go down too. So when I got home I knew that I had an appt to see my surgeon and to get my staples out in exactly 2 weeks time. For the first 2 weeks it was rough. I did have a lot of pain however, the best thing of all was that I no longer had the sciatica and no pain in my my feet. I thought the surgery was worth it just for that! I was so happy! So, I was on a lot of meds and was sleeping a lot but for no more than about 2-3 hours at a time. I was able to shower but my incision had to be covered up so it couldn't get wet.
After the first week or so I started to get pain in the left side of my butt. It was familiar pain which I use to experience with my sciatica on the right side. It kept getting worse and spreading throughout my leg and into my foot. I finally saw my surgeon and got the staples taken out.
He was very concerned with my pain and got me in for an x-ray and then 2 ct scans that same morning. He was concerned that a screw was hitting a nerve. There was no obvious sign of that though. So I was given some nerve meds and was sent home for 3 weeks. I now have 1 more week left on these meds and then I see him next friday. The pain he now in my right side just like before and my feet are being affected as well. So that part of it is rather dissapointing. However, it may not be anything to worry about. It could just be that the nerves were manipulated during my sugery and are in the process of recovering.
Anyway, I know that this is really long but trust me this is the quick version of it all. I hope I was able to answer some of your questions. I am definitly here if you have more or if I missed some, which I am sure I did.
As it stands I am happy that I went through with it. I don't have a date for my second surgery as it has been put on the back burner until my nerves get sorted out and I expect to know a lot more next Friday.
I look forward to hearing from you. Kristy. ;)
Hi Cancerhead and Krystig

First, Krystig I read your **** and have been thinking about you. Sorry to hear that your surgery was so complicated and I wish you a continued good recovery.

When I read your stories it reminds me of mine. I am 30 years old and I have had problems since I was 13 - confirmed by xray when 18 years old. I have from time to time had serious back pains but never pain in my legs. I have always been in great shape and been working out my entire life until age 23, and at moderate levels afterwards. I started 2 years ago to work out again, bike riding and running. Started to train for the Marathon BUT THEN IT HAPPENED!!! Everytime when I had been running for 2.5 KM then my left leg fell asleep, and I llost almost all control of the leg. After 10 minutes the feeling was back. It then got worse, everytime I lifted heavy things or even had sex it resulted with me having back pains for 3 days. At times I also felt numbness in he back of my lower left leg.

I started special training with a fysiotherapist (sorry for the spelling I am from Denmark), and that actually helped with the daily numbnes, as I could do some specific strecthes and the numbness disapeared. But that was all, I could not run, ride the bike or other fun stuff ;)

I was then offered surgery, L5-S1 fusion with allocraft, with my own bone from the back of the spine (like in Kristygs case (no hip). The surgery though did not involve any screws or cage. Instead I was to wear a brace or corsage for 3 months. I red a lot about the surgery and the risk was low and the particular surgeon had done these kinds of surgeries for 10 years. I decided to do it.

My surgery was on 29 Nov 2005, in the morning. The surgery took 2 hours, and the surgeon was very satisfied. I had a lot of pain, due to two reasons. Since I always have been an active person then I had very large muscles which suffered since the surgeon had to move these aside during the surgery. Secondly, my epidural was not perfect so my right leg was "dead", so they had to turn the epidural off. The first night my back really hurt, then I got some morfin and it all was fine :angel: I was walking already same day as surgery, but just a few meters. The day after it was even better. I could do everything, that did not involve bending. Sitting was a problem and I only sat when eating. I was released two days after surgery.

The first week was tuff, as I was soar in the back, eventhough I walked around at home and then laying in bed with my laptop, tv and books. 5 days after surgery I was off all pain meds, and started to take outside walks for 30 minutes one or twice a day. From my release I was doing small exercise two times daily, this has helped increase the stability of my spine. Two weeks after surgery my walks were for no less than an hour. Let me say I was doing great. Then I started to sit more and more, BANG it back fired!!!! so to speak :o

Suddenly I had numbness in my heel, back of my knee or back thigh depending if I was laying down, sitting or walking. It has stayed with me from time to time, and actually two weeks ago it was the worst ever. Currently I do not have any issues. :D I have been told that the numbness is most probably internal wounds located close to my nerves, and during the heeling process they will disturb the nerves. Hopefully they are right and it will go away. I then stopped sitting for longer periods of time.

On tuesday I am going for my check-up, and I feel very well. :)
I have already decided to start at work on Wednesday. 10 days ago i started to sit for longer periods of time. I can now without problems sit for a whole day, and have no pain at all. Now I am optimistic, and looking forward to my checkup.

It is difficult for me to state what your expectations should be. f you are in good physical shape then I think that it will be easier, eventhough my muscles was swallen for 2 months. For now I am satisfied, but my true test will be when I start running in a month or so. I will report to you again.

I hope that my "little" story has helped you, if you have any questions, I will answer them. :)
I find it kind of an omen that I found this ste tonight. Back in 2000 I discover that I had stage 4 spondylothesis with 2 bulging disks and 3 fractured vertebrae. I was a an ex extrodanarie fotball player in high school and I could not be hurt. It was a godsend that I had somethings happen that kept me from playing d1 fotball at a big shool. I had a ride anywhere I wanted to go but instead tried to help my father and lost my oppurtunity because I had to struggle to keep a roof over my head. I always had pain in my back and legs but always gritted through it. Until one day at work I went from standing position to laying flat on my face in about .2 seconds. I was misdiagnosed, as I am told alot of people with back problems are, with a pulled muscle. After a week I was sent to see a pain specialist and to make along story short the rest is history. I was taken on a backboard out of a MRI center to be reviewed by a nationally reknowned surgical group. They told me all would be well. Well that was monday night and surgery was set for Tuesday morning at 530 am. I woke up wednesday morning in the post op not knowing what had happened. I was paralized from the waste down and my arms were in deep sleep. I raised my arm to only slap myself in my face when I could no longer hold it up to get attention. The surgery took 18 hours. I had to have 2 disk removed and reinforced and the three fractured disks were cut to pieces and reshaped with wire. I had 2 large plates and 6 screws installed. They dug not only one hip but both to get enough tissue or marrow r whatever to complete the cementing (fusing) of my spinal column. After three day s i had feeling back n my arms and definete feeling in my legs. They burned like a blow torch. I could barely move let alone walk but somehow they got me on my feet and with the assistance of a walker and my father (I am 6'3 290 at the time he is 6'9 245) i could move enough to get out of the hospital. He had to help alot if not do it all. i was at home for two weeks and made little improvement. About 2 and a half weeks later i could move enough to drive myself to the corner store that had a drive thru. The first trip on the way home i lost all feeling in my left leg 9 I stubbornly mad ethe drive myself to feel less helpless, I can be a real dumbass). Little pain thanks to morpine and duragesic patch ( I will never let myself take either again, they just masked the pain). i slightly crashed my car into my house and my father and his friend came out and carried me into the house. The ambulance was called and so was the surgeon. Operation 2 happened the next morning after a night filled with xrays mris and ct scans. The doctor convienently left a one inch piece of broken vertabrae laying on my nerve that controls my leg (L5 I think, head to cloudy to think). He removed the bone fragment and accidently cut the nerve. tells me with help i will recover fully(********, covering his butt). Mypain doctor arrives at hospital and gets into fist fight with surgeon in my room. He forbid me from seeing the surgeon again. I have had multiple injections to the nerve through caritic canal ( i think spelling is right, canal above pelvic bone) with no avail. Accept when doc touched needle to nerve and I had cardiac arrest from the pain. I learned to live with pain and with having drop foot and one calf and thigh 6 inches in diameter less than the other. I am a big guy and it is very noticeable. I have returned o a normal life for a while now. I have moved to PA from Texas thought all was behind me. I was wrong. For the past three months I have been in worse pain than ever even before the surgeries. I dont trust the doctors even though my mother runs a hospital. I dont know what to do. I pick fights with my fiance so she turns her back to me in bed so she doesnt see my cry myself to sleep. I dont know what to do. I can handle tremendous amounts of pain and have letters from doctors stating that. They estimate I played football with this condition for 4 years. I feel helpless and alone. I dont know what to do. I found this web sight tonight while online looking for home remedies to help make me fall asleep faster so the pain subsides for an hour or so until it wakes me up. I cant go on like this. Has anyone been through this and if so please tell me that there is help out there. I need it. Does anyone know and have experiencewith a good doctor in middle pennsylvania that could help. Supposedly I had the best surgeon do the first 2 surgeries and in my opinion he sucked. Maybe it was to bad for him or actually too bad for me. Can someone please point me in the right direction. I have gained wieght eating very little because if i exercise or walk to far or do anything it takes me a week to recover and I am now about 340 pounds. I have been making myself throw up my meals trying to lose weight. (I eat to apppease my fiance, she is skinny and tells me i have to eat to keep strong). I really need to get this under control but I guess I need reassured from someone that has gone throught the same that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The light keeps going out on me and I dont know how much longer i can take it. It is affecting every aspect of my life.

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