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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


So I am 21 years old and in may of 2007 I got diagnosed with spondylothesis in L5/S1. Apparently I have isthemic (sp?) spondy. I guess I fractured my back when I was little and it healed weird and my vertebrae slipped. I was being treated by a very good back doctor. . we started with conservative treatment. . Physical therapy to strengthen core and a series of 2 cortisone shots that did absolutely nothing. Finally my pain has gotten so bad I have seriously thought about suicide. .then realized that is rediculous since there has to be some other option. The back pain turned into severe nerve pain radiating down into my legs and hips. I can't stand, sit, walk, etc for more than a few minutes. I learned my nerve is being crushed by my slipped vertebrae.

To make that long story short I finally told my mom I needed to see a surgeon. . Luckily one of her clients is a lung transplant specialist at cedars (world famous hospital here in los angeles) and he set me up with the director of the spine institute there. Tuesday I saw him and he basically told me what I was already fearing. . my disks were healthy and my slip was stable but every move I made was crushing my back. I learned I developed a sway back. . Now that I look, it completely shows in my posture. My sister thought I was just sticking out my belly. He told me surgery was a good option for me. I am so young he said it would be a quality of life issue. Nothing would fix it except surgery.

The surgery he does is simultanious anterior/posterior surgery. He said I do not have to donate bone from my hip. . he said "we have all these cool tricks". They do an incision in my belly. . remove my disk (i think) and insert bone. .flip me over and then insert a cage (or something) and some screws. It involves a FIVE day hospital stay!!!

So to get to the point. . I am petrified. June 13th I had arthoscopic ankle surgery and now I am facing back surgery! I understand this will most likely solve my problem. . he said life should be back to perfect after 6+ months. I am just so unbelievably scared. 21 yrs old seems so young to have back surgery. I have a very loving family that waited on me when I had ankle surgery but I feel like such a burden on them. . not to mention how depressed I got when I was helpless for just 7 weeks!

I don't know what I am asking for. . I guess I am just reaching out for support. No one gets it. . I am almost 4 years sober in AA and besides being scared for surgery, I am scared about being on pain killers for such a long time. Anything from anyone. please help!

-Kate
Kate,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier, but I have been moving my daughter into college which is a story in itself.

My daughter had congenital spondy, she was born with it. She did many of the treatments you did, except for her pediatric dr doesn't give shots to children. At the young age of 15 she had a two level fusion, L4 - S1 for grade II spondy and stenosis. It was sad to see such a young girl in pain daily.

Most posters have given you info about the recovery. As a mom I was terrified of putting a young teenage girl on narcotics. Well her dr guarenteed me that she wouldn't get hooked, which she didn't. She took lortab and was very lucky that she was off all narcotics at ten days. I think that is rare. She has a real problem that most narcotics make her nauseous. The morphine pump in the hospital made her itch. So she is very sensitve.

She had posterior, TLIF, performed by her pediatric ortho and his adult spine partner. She came home on the fifth day. The first two weeks were her roughest, mainly because we were trying to get the nausea under control. About the tenth day that stopped and she began on the up swing.

She followed her dr's orders to a tee. no bending and twisting, the lifting limit, and walk, walk, walk. As I've told other posters, we would mall walk daily and that began to cost me $$$. Her dr used titanium screws, rods and spacers during surgery. He used cadaver bone instead of bone from her hip. (That was kind of a mix up since I thought he was using hip bone, but she fused that's all that matters.) She did not have to wear a post surgery brace. Each dr is different with this. She did not have to go through physical therapy afterwards, she did prior to surgery. When she got clearance to take tub baths we would go to the Y and just walk in the pool. She loved that.

I didn't rent a hospital bed, but I did put a twin bed in our family room for a few months since at the beginning she was allowed to go up and down the stairs once a day. This just made it easier. She didn't have any restrictions about sitting. That didn't seem to bother her. She returned to high school full time 2 1/2 moths later at the end of summer vacation. BTW, she had her surgery on the first day of summer vacation. She had to donate three pints of her own blood prior to surgery just in case they needed it. Her dr did give it to her the day after surgery since we had it and some of her counts were down.

She is doing great. She is 26 months post op. Most restrictions are lifted. Her dr has told her to take care of her back and think smart. She really shouldn't ride amusement park rides and stuff like that. She has been horseback riding once since surgery. She went slalom water skiing again this summer. (We checked with her dr prior to doing these.) So she has been very lucky and is feeling great.

She must have a black cloud hanging over her. She was at her university two hours and missed a step coming down from a loft bed and broke her wrist. I was worried about her back, of course. They set the wrist. It was still unstable and she had surgery to have three pins inserted three days later. We keep orthopaedists busy!

Any questions just let me know. Best of luck. cas
Kate I had TLIF fusion for spondy and ddd last march. Mine has been a longtime problem since I was 19 and fighting surgery every since. It started out as disc problems, went to ddd, then final phases went into the spondy. I to got so depressed as you speak of and similar sounding pain.

It was a hard decision to have this surgery. Or maybe just accepting it. But, you have to look at your life, think of all you can't do. If you've tried every single other alternative....and if you have..I looked at it like this.

If this is my only chance at getting better, I have to take it. I am 37. I will tell you this is not an easy surgery to recover from its a mf. But, with the help of everyone here, it made it a zillion times better. I got a laptop the week before my surgery thank god.

Everyone here supported me through every step of the way and still does at five months post op.

I really don't know how others make it through it all without this support system cause the doctors sure leave alot to the imagination.

My surgery they used my hip bone, which I guess is like a whole other surgery and it was very pain ful. I guess from what I've read you have better chances of bone growth this way, but I thought it was because of my insurance. Either way its better now.

I am doing alot better than I was before the surgery. My advice is to think positive, go into it thinking the best, keep striving for recovery. You have to fight your way through this one. Walk walk walk, (after surgery) stay here and talk to everyone about all of your quesitons or concerns the whole way.

Hugs to you. vette
I had a mix of BMP and donor bone. The BMP has a very good track record of getting bone growth going. I started showing bone growth at only 6 weeks post op. That's very unusual. It doesn't usually even start showing until at least 3 months. Like Yvette said, the bone graft from your own hip does cause a lot of pain for you and takes a long time to heal. The benefit is, you're only getting your own bone, nothing foreign. I'm glad, though, that I don't have to deal with that extra pain in the hip, and the BMP and donor bone did very well for me.

For constipation, Colace works great for me. I still take it twice a day, as I still take pain meds everyday. In the beginning, when I was taking more, I also ate 5 or 6 prunes in the middle of the day. They're not so bad anymore. They have cherry essence and orange essence prunes that are pitted and not all dried up, like the kind we grew up with.

If you get the Colace, there are two kinds. One is just a stool softener, the other is also a laxative (I think that's what it had, but whatever it was, it had something else added besides the stool softener). I recently asked my family doctor if I was hurting myself to be taking Colace long-term. He said absolutely not, as long as I got the kind that's only a stool softener. You can take that forever and not worry about any complications.

Take care,
Emily
This is so incredibly hard and painful. I am now 9 days post op and life seems so grim. I stayed 6 days in the hospital bc I was vomiting a lot and having a lot of problems getting out of bed. I didn't even have a bowel movement until today. (About 10 days--my belly was HUGE) Did everything. . Metamucil, stool softener, extra fiber foods, miralax, suppository. Finally today I did but I still look like I am pregnant.

I don't know what to do about the walking or pain or any of it. Being so dependent on others is making me miss my ex even more (I know I deserve better). I am on percocet and valium and the percocet doesn't touch the pain and my evil doc won't give me anything else bc he said I'm a "drug seeker". I am a recovering addict but I never liked pills I just don't want to be crying all day! Is it abnormal to still be in a lot of pain 9 days post op? They say I need to be up and walking as much as I can but I feel like I'm dying. I could go on and on about how ****** I feel.

I got a 360 two level fusion so I am feeling twice the hurt. Luckily I didn't need a harvest from my hip. How long until you guys felt relief from your incisions? Mine are starting to itch and my mom said that's a good thing. How long do I have to do this log rolling thing (its really, really hard!!!) I still can't figure out how to wipe myself without bending a little to the front or side (sorry for the graphic nature). I think most of the time I get up from the toilet and chairs and sometimes my bed in a way I am not supposed to.

I don't know if I can handle this. I don't feel strong enough. Basically all my friends are gone. They send ******* messages, texts, IMs, etc but no one offers to keep me company. Thank god for my mom.

-KT
So I called my surgeon once more to ask for more meds before calling a pain management doctor because I knew he wouldn't be happy if I saw a PMD. He must have been having a good day because he said to take 2 percocet every 4-6 instead of 1. So its 15mg of oxy and a lot of tylenol. He said not to worry about tylenol overload for now. I took two and it helped. So for now I am taking it a day at a time because since I am taking double percocet I will run out in a few days and then who knows. If I think about it I stress myself out and get upset.

I've been having a lot of hip/butt pain. I'm told its normal but its gotten a little better in the past day or two. I see my surgeon on the 9th (?) for my first x-ray.

I'm worried about the pain but taking it a day at a time. I just wanted to update everyone.

-Kate





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