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[QUOTE=TingleFoot;4776705]this is the key. well it was for me. not sure if you saw my thread, but you can follow my story there.

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=769465

but it got the point where i couldn't wait to get home from work, sit on the couch, pull my knees up to my chest and wait for bed time. i was in tears driving home from work. i felt like life was just passing by. i fought for two years and finally gave up. i decide at 41 years old, this is no way to live. i put it in someone else's hands. i interviewed 3 surgeons, two orthos and a neuro. i couldnt quite decide...then i ran into someone who had a way more serious problem and recommended a nero that 'changed his life'. so i made an appointment to meet her and knew right then, she's the 'man' for job.

nothing could prepare me for what comes after surgery. the pain is off the charts. thank goodness for meds. there was immediate relief from the pinch being taken off the sciatic nerve. but man, that ain't nothin!

i'm 3 months post op now...and i feel great *knock on wood*. recovery is tough. it can be brutal at times. but, and this can't be repeated enough - do what your surgeon, their assistants, and your PT tell you to do! i realize it's still early...and i'm kind of a rare case to feel this good this early...and that things could turn. i could react to the hardware, etc. but i can't help but to smile. i feel better, physically and mentally, than i have in years.



this is great advice.

...well, 'cept for the sandwich restriction. what's up with that? :dizzy:


good luck, gimme a PM if you ever need a pep talk...hang in there.[/QUOTE]

I'd like to ask a few questions, if you've got the time. Let me warn you now: I have a tough time editing and condensing my thoughts sometimes, so this is likely to be long. I'll try to make it a little interesting, at least.

I read your posts and in many respects, felt a real sense of deja vu. I don't have spondy, but ever since my last surgery for a ruptured disc (L4L5), my pain/tingling/odd sensations in back and right leg were a problem. I took my medication, did my PT, and learned to live with it. For the next few years, things stayed the same, more or less. I learned what would cause the pain to get worse and stopped doing those things. Like you, I'm in my 40s (47, so not quite as young as you), so I'd like to be active. I'm not a mountain climber or stuntman, but I like to play golf, go skiing, hiking, shoot hoops -- things that most active people enjoy. I don't do much of that anymore, because I know the price I'll pay.

Because of this, my back pain has remained at a level I can pretty easily handle and usually only escalates when I do something I know I shouldn't, like jet-ski or hike while on a vacation. I take pain meds for my back pain (no crazy amounts like some folks, but a significant dose twice a day).

For the right leg, the pain and numbness are mostly in the outside calf and across the top of the foot, into my big and second toe. I tried neurontin and Lyrica. They helped some, but my brain felt like it was running at half-speed all the time. So, I stopped that stuff and learned to deal with the symptoms.

That started to change about six months ago. For no apparent reason, I began to have symptoms in both feet. Tingling, pins and needles, sensitivity to touch (I sleep with my feet outside the covers), and cramplike feelings (but no actual cramping) started and gradually got worse. Not so bad in the mornings, but by 10 or 11 am, my feet were not happy. Things get better when I lie down, but standing or sitting (especially driving), will set things off.

Some days are much better than others. Most days, my back pain is nothing I can't handle. The nerve pain, however, can be bad and seems to be getting worse. Like you, I worry a lot about nerve damage. Every doctor I've seen says that my L5 nerve root is being compressed and the neurosurgeon showed me where the L4L5 disc space is really dark. He said that means it's not offering much support at all. There is tearing and degradation at both levels. There's no evidence of herniation, just a lot of problems involving the nerve roots themselves. I don't claim to understand much of all the diagnosis, but it seems clear that the nerves are being compromised, which needs fixing. The longer I wait, the more damage might be done, some of it permanent. Just how fast is this happening and to what degree? Nobody really knows, although the symptoms are sort of an indicator.

So -- do I wait and see what happens? Maybe my problems resolve themselves with time. Perhaps the damage isn't permanent and I'll get no worse -- maybe even better. But that's uncertain and I'd hate to postpone my surgery and regret it later. On the other hand, fusion is a big deal, as you well know. This is why the surgeon left the decision to me. Wait and see, have a double discectomy to treat the leg and foot pain, or have the fusion and hope to treat all the bad stuff right now. It's a tough choice and it's clear that you made the right decision. For me, if I have the surgery and things aren't any better, I'll be OK with my choice. If things improve, that would be fantastic. Maybe the best thing for me is to hear what you went through in your post-op days.

Surgical pain I can handle (I think). I had abdominal surgery a few months ago and it was no fun, but meds and time heal most things. What was your first day or two like? What was it like waking up after surgery -- was it tough to do everything? I'm assuming things like a catheter are used at first to help with some areas, but can you sleep and/or move around? Does the medication help? Is movement of all types a big problem? How long does that last?

You get the idea, I hope. I think that information is a good thing, most of the time. The internet is full of horror stories. I'd like to hear an honest account of what it's like to have a spinal fusion.

If you've read all this, thanks -- and I apologize for being so wordy. I have a tendency to go on and on in class, too. My students love to encourage it. Please, any details you can give would be valued. Thanks!:):):):)





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