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[QUOTE=teteri66;5038330]I am a combination of both. The first surgery of any type that I had was a PLIF at L4-L5 for spondylolisthesis and extreme stenosis. The surgery was a success in medical terms, but by nine months post surgery, I had concluded that it was like I had never had surgery. I had the same amount of leg pain and my lifestyle was just as severally restricted.

Then it took me almost two more years to figure out what was causing the pain. They had taken care of what appeared to be my pain generators, and I know the stenosis was, but, I was still in pain and could not walk to the mailbox to get my mail, nor stand long enough to chop an onion.

The problem was that nothing showed up on any imaging. When a surgeon performs surgery and it is medically successful, then nothing shows on MRI that is anything but normal looking, it seems that the surgeon is at a loss as to what to do next, and generally passes the patient on to pain management.

I was told by several surgeons that my only option was to try an implanted neurostimulator. However, I wasn't willing to give up on finding a surgical solution, and, two years later, I did. And I was rewarded for my persistence and having a surgeon who didn't give up on me either. He had told me too, to try the neurostimulator, but I just kept going back every month and ask: "what shall we try next?"

When I finally had surgery, when he opened me up, he quickly discovered what the problem was. My facets at L3 had almost completely worn away and were just little nubs, which were allowing my spine to slip and slide into positions nature had not intended! He did some reconstruction at that level, took out my old rods and screws at L4-L5 which were not compatible with the new hardware, and then put in longer rods and screws to connect me from L3 to S1.

Then began a very long and slow recovery which took two years...because he was determined that I not do anything to cause even a moment of sciatic pain. So the PT could only work me up to a certain point and then we would stop for months as my body caught up to what he wanted me to do. I started and stopped PT probably 4 different times...but I am doing great today.

I can walk as far as I want. I was given the green light to do some gardening this summer (my surgery was June 1, 2010). Last weekend I planted two trees, with some help from my husband, and yesterday I planted 4 good-sized shrubs in a new foundation planting I am doing along the front of our house. I pace myself. I don't allow myself to get overly tired and I am careful. I am sore by evening and I am stiff the following morning, but I don't have a bit of sciatic pain or nerve pain of any type.

My back is almost never out of my thoughts. I consider every move I make and evaluate whether it has the potential to harm my fusion...and I am very mindful that L2 and my SI joints are now the first areas of my spine that can move...and as such, are I don't take big lifting limit is 30 pounds, so I buy my gardening stuff in smaller bags or shop where they will put it in my car. I did give up ice skating because I am afraid of falling, but other than that, I can't think of too many things I cannot do.

I was lucky as revision surgeries are higher risk than regular spine surgery, and I give thanks every day, and think my surgeon is a magician.[/QUOTE]

Dear Teteri,
I read your post; I can't imagine how similar our problems/surgeries are! The only thing my second surgery was b/c my upper levels gave up on me. L-2 and L-3. My second surgeon told me this is common, people want to live their lives, no matter how careful you are - still fusion/hardware is too hard on above levels. My second surgery was 2 years after first one, I also was coming to my first surgeon office every month asking what can you do to help this pain; what can you do to help my dropped foot? Pain Management. I was very persistent and when second surgeon told me the problem i have (luckily they were able to see problem during discogram; no other tests showed anything, as well as in your case.) I was told surgery is a must.
I write this to you just to let you know what I was told. You say you allowed to carry 30 pounds. I was told to never carry more than 5-10 pounds. I was told to never do any labor which requires you to bend. I can to squat, not bend.
Another thing, I really and truly happy for you. I love to hear success stories, but you are very smart for watching and remembering to be careful. I was told since you had your first spinal fusion you can't never forget you must be careful.

Keep up with good job girl! I know your garden looks great and I am a little jealous you able to do it. ;) Every spring I thing maybe miracle happens and I will be pain free, walking well and will be able to take care about my garden too. But no miracles for me; so my garden has "masculine" look since only my husband takes care of it. You just can

Hugs and best wishes

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