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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

[FONT="Century Gothic"][SIZE="4"]I have been reading this forum for about a week now and boy oh boy...I feel so sad for so many of you posting here with your multiple surgeries, long-term back pain and adjusting to a life of ongoing disability.

On the other hand; I am impressed with the strength and honesty, the optimism and willingness to open up to others to help them. In my mind (what is left of it), that is what a forum is truly about.

My story is a bit different than many I have read here. I NEVER had back problems until about July of this year. My husband, on the other hand, has suffered from back problems for decades. Though he has never had surgery, there have been many times he has been totally incapacitated by the pain. It has always been so difficult to see him when he is suffering so.

This past April I had a gastric bypass and have lost 80 lbs. That's the good news. I had been obese for decades. Little did I know what this was doing to my back. As I mentioned before, by back never hurt (except for the occasional ache or pain here or there), though I did have both knees replaced; one in 2004 and one in 2006.

The bad news. In July I woke up one morning and could not get out of bed as my back was so painful. I crawled on my hands and fake knees (which added to the pain) to use the bathroom and made it back to bed. My husband came home and the first thing we tried was the chiropractor. After a few "adjustments"; he gave up and sent me to my personal doc. She sent me off to physical therapy. This just made it worse. By now I was on oxicodone (having a gastric bypass changes the way you metabolize medications so you can use some pain meds and others not so much...this I could get in liquid form). Then I went to a PA who specialized in lower back pain. I got an MRI; which showed a large synovial cyst down at the bottom of my spine...well, actually within the spinal canal. Ah ha! At least we knew what was causing the problem.

So now off I go to a neurosurgeon who takes a few x-rays, orders a bone scan and sees that below the cyst there is evidence of instability of the L4-5 level and also severe facet arthropathy at both the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels (bone scan). He advised me that the cyst probably was a result of this instability...and the cyst should come out and then he would do a lumbar fusion. For sure on the L4-5 level and when he got inside to "explore"...the decision would be made to fuse the L5-S1 level.

All I could think of was get the cyst out, do the fusion and ta dah...all would be find and dandy. I went in for surgery on Nov. 24 and thought I'd be going home on the 26th. WRONG. I stayed in the hospital for 8 days. The cyst turned out to be much larger than expected and was all intertwined in the spinal canal and attached to the L4 nerve root. It took 2 hours to get that out, and he almost gave up because he was worried about doing more damage than good. But the thing finally just "popped" out and then he did the fusions.

I woke up in the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. For three days I think I cried and moaned continually (thank goodness I was in a private room because I'm sure if I had a roommate they would have shot me to put me out of my misery and to get some rest). Then I found out that the nurses were only giving me HALF of what the doc had prescribed for me for pain meds. They were worried I would stop breathing. These were nurses!! I have never had such a group of sadistic nurses in my life. But when my doc found this out (which in my opinion he should have found out much sooner) he gave those nurses hell and they sure were nice to me from then on.

So I got home and I have to say, this has been the most depressing and hard surgery I have ever had. I just don't know how many of you have gone through this over and over! I really don't have much pain and am already slacking off on the pain meds (though I'm afraid I'm already pretty dependent on them as I am already getting withdrawal symptoms).

It's the boredom and the dang "turtle shell" brace that is driving me CRAZY. I'm not even sure how long I have to wear it. No one has told me if I should be walking or what. I do the exercises in bed that the PT showed me and I do try to walk up and down our hallway (we live in a very teeny, tiny house so there isn't much walking space). Have only left the house a couple of times. My husband has used up his "family leave" and some of his vacation though I can do pretty well on my own. My lovely daughter-in-law and son came over and put up our x-mas tree and decorated and cleaned for me. They're having US over for x-mas eve dinner so I don't have to cook.

I feel so blessed to have this help.

I am also thankful for this forum and reading everyone's various experiences with back pain and surgery. What a group of courageous people.

So that's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Thank you so much everyone. Have as good a holiday as possible and a much better new year than your last.

Huge hug...HadEnuf[/SIZE][/FONT]

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