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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Been there, done that. I have had 2 surgeries before my fusion. I too put my fusion off as long as I could because I had no insurance and most Doctors wont even speak to you without it! I used the emergency room to get pain medicine scripts. Finally I got a job that offered health insurance but only after you've been there 3 months! Longest 3 months ever. Then 2 days before my
scheduled surgery, my Doctor took an unexpected leave of absence and not known if he would return...ever.

I about cried. I have been waiting forever for relief and believed it was happening soon. NOT! They did however, find me another surgeon who could perform the surgery in about a month or 2. Bad news was this surgeon was located about 350 miles away. I had to meet with him before the surgery (obviously), so it took 2 months to get my surgery. In the mean time. I could not work due to my disc L/5 was blown and L/4 (that I did not know before) was also tore and could not be repaired (something to due with L/5 being so bad. He wanted to take and fuse L/3 as well, because "L/3 does not look good and is expected to tear or compress due to the extra strain of the fusion below it. I said NO!!! In hindsight, I thinking I should have done it as he was right about that disc, it causing more pain then I need right now.

When I woke from surgery, I was in so much pain, my left leg was on fire! and the sciatica nerve was more painful then before surgery ( which I thought was impossible). My Dr, said, Well you have to realize that the nerve were irritated because of the surgery and the pain should subside in a day or 2. I was in the hospital 7 days, and the burning leg was still burning. Of course I had to use a walker and the molded, hard plastice, back brace that weighed more the me. I went back for my follow up about a month later. During this time, leg still on fire, both legs and feet were swollen every morning to the point I could not walk until the swelling went down. It was a horrible month! At my appointment, I informed my Dr. of my terrible month, the swelling of my feet and the leg pain not changing. He said...What are you saying? I am telling you that the surgery went terrific and its just going to take time to heal. The next followup was the same as before, only this time I brought pictures of my swollen feet. When I showed him the photos, he said and I quote "Ok, I see the swollen feet, but how do I know their your feet?" My wife and I looked at each other in total shock Did he say what I thought he said? So I asked him if he actually said that? He then realized how ridiculous that question was:dizzy: And tried to cover it by saying "Not that you would do that, but I have had patients try to fool me." I wondered why his patients would want to "fool" with? Anyway after many more "conversations" with him, he agreed to have a "emg"{I think that's what it is called}. When he read the results to me, assured that his skill as a surgeon should never be questioned, it stated that I had Chronic Radiculopathy. I asked, "Will it go away eventually?" I realized what a stupid question that was, being that "CHRONIC" means constant. ongoing, FOREVER! Now my life consists of watching TV, occasionally I will take a trip to the grocery store with my wife and drive around those "electric scooters" that they have for those who can not walk for very long. I have to take a massive amount of pain meds and some for depression because this type of life can be a bit too much some days. I am a 48 year old man, I worked everyday since I was able to get a job, from paper boy as a child, to 3 jobs working McDs in the morning, Jack in the Box in the afternoon and finally the Anaheim Drive in at night. My adult life, I worked for a State as the Disciplinary Administrator. Finally a career that I don't have to bust my butt off and worry about irritating my back. Unfortunately, after the surgery was completed, I was NO LONGER ABLE TO PERFORM MY DUTIES. It destroyed me. I could not imagine not ever going back to work. I loved my job, my plan was to retire at 55 with full benefits!:wave:. IT WAS NOT TO BE!:mad:. Instead I had to hear about my job as Administrator was given to somebody that I really did not care for. I will be honest, there are days that I think about how crippled I will become in 20 years:confused:. It terrifys me to no end. Everyday I wake and pray that it will be a good day.
Not everyone has this type of out come, in fact I think the success rate is pretty good, BUT sometimes it causes even more trouble. Its a decision you do not want to take lightly, if you can get a second opinion, get it!
Good Luck to you and anyone else debating, or are going to have the surgery done.
Sorry so long Its just that I want to share my experience with spinal fusion surgery.

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