Has my surgeon has blown a gasket?

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colerg back again
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/14/2008 1:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello all, it has been quite sometime since I have been back here. Since that time Past April, I have had a surgery to remove the metal rods and screws from my back and have it re-fused. Then in Dec. this last year I had to have my SI joint fused. through the whole ordeal my surgeon was great about helping with pain control/meds. I even weened off them before my last surgery. My SI has healed with no pain now. But,....here is the big problem, My lower spine around the L5-S1 on both sides I am having extreme pain. I have been religious with exercise, massages and pool therapy. I have even been off the pain meds for a month!  I went to my surgeon for this THREE times, all in two weeks. and this is what he said "... everything looks good, I can't see any reason for the pain..here is what I want you to do is say to yourself 100  times a day that I am well, and I am getting better..." My jaws just hit the floor! Since I have been in really extreme pain!
I went to the ER this past weekend because it was bad, the docs in there said to get a new doc for pain management.......anyone out there ever had this happen to them
Sorry so long, peace  COLERG

Disce Pati
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 4/14/2008 2:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Colerg,

Really sorry to read about your back surgeries.

I do not have any experience with the type of surgeries you had but I do have experience with chronic pain, surgeons, ERs and pain clinics.

I have not heard those words said to me in the context of a post-op follow-up for unresolved pain but I am sorry to say it doesn't surprise me.

There is no doubt that positive thinking is very helpful for recovery and rehab but there is no way that a person can think his / her pain away! And for a surgeon or physician to say that in the context of pain to the degree you are experiencing it is a violation of everything that the "fifth vital sign" campaign is trying to teach docs - he has failed miserably!

However, coming from a surgeon it doesn't surprise me. They, of all doctors, are trained to only believe what they can see, feel, hear or touch. And pain cannot be "proven" - it is based on faith (as we all know). And secondly, to a surgeon, pain means that they have failed. Even though we are not accusing them of doing anything wrong, what their brain hears when we say "I still hurt" is "I am still broken". And being still broken implies he has failed you in some way. Taken together and to the extreme, the doc looks at the x-rays, looks at his handiwork and is convinced that nothing is "wrong" anatomically - that his handiwork is perfect. So if you still feel pain, its gotta be in your head and you just need to convince yourself that you really are well - that is what he looks at it.

Personally I disagree - my own experience with surgeons and chronic pain has taught me that pain has no logic. Your pain is very real and is a result of processes that are not fully understood. That is why it is considered the fifth vital sign: untreated pain is considered a disease in and of itself. Going to a pain management clinic may be your best option at this point - it basically saved my life. Good pain docs will take your pain seriously and offer many, many treatment options (some pharmacological - including narcotics if appropriate, PT, massage therapy, activity counseling, etc).

Positive thinking has its place and is a valuable component to pain management - but as the sole treatment option "prescribed" by this surgeon, well that is just not good doctoring.

I hope you have a good PCP who will help you get the pain management you need or the referral to a pain clinic.

colerg back again
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/14/2008 3:06 PM (GMT -7)   

Disce Pati,

Thanks for the reply. I can tell you how really helpless I feel again. Knowing that my surgeon is one of the best in the nation ( no kidding) it just blows my mind that that was the response to my ailments. I am an EXTREMELY possitive person and I have a bus-load of faith to get by, but it has really hit a new low point in my life, it has taken a hold of my wife now. She is a rock, but she feels SO HELPLESS that she can't help me when I am at my worst. My heart just hurts with dispair for the pain she sees me in. Time for a new pain doc I guess. The hard part  is my surgeon is also a friend of the family and a business associate! Big Quagmire there!...oh well he loses in the end not me I'm sure of that. take care and stay in touch

peace, colerg


Boxerlover
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 274
   Posted 4/14/2008 4:17 PM (GMT -7)   

Colerg, I'd love to see these docs in pain, I bet they wouldn't follow there advice, they'd be at those meds so fast! I have cancer, a few auto-immune diseases, and some related pains and in response to my pain, a doc told me buy granny shoes eyes mad !  Now why didn't I think of that!! What an idiot!

Melissa


ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 4/14/2008 5:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Colerg:

I can sympathize with your plight. I have chronic pain following a back injury which the docs say cannot be helped by surgery (which I am a little relieved about to be honest). But they cannot find the reason for the pain so they have yet to find an adequate treatment. After countless procedures, shots, tests, and trial runs w/medications I am left still with pain that has taken over nearly every part of my life. I too am a very upbeat positive person, and though I am greatly discouraged by all of this, I really don't believe myself to be depressed. Even so, I have readily and whole-heartedly attempted every treatment (including anti-depressants and counseling) that they have suggested. All to no avail. At that point, my docs have also seemed to shift from "I'll do whatever I can to help you" mode to "You must be imagining this" mode.

You should definitely get a new pain doc. And if that new doc doesn't help you, find another. It is true, I think, that most patients have been through numerous waiting rooms before they finally find the doctor who will recognize and treat their pain. You hear that all the time, but after going through it myself I've become a believer! It's that hope that keeps me going some days.

I hope you will find someone very soon who can help you!

Ry

colerg back again
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/14/2008 6:58 PM (GMT -7)   

Ryand,

thanks for the post! I appreciate you outlook. I just got off the phone with my father, a massively respected doctor's doctor in the research world!!  He told me very close to what everyone has posted,,,,,, he said that in FACT that back pain is he hardest diagnosis to have....there are SO MANY factors that surgeons don't look at..  they believe " a chance to cut is a chance to cure..."  needless to say he was disgusted with the "oh it is in your head diagnosis"..... also he said .... you get a new doc! Oh the dilemmas we face....I hope everyone has a good night. peace and relief to all!!!no matter what!!

colerg


Muzz
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 395
   Posted 4/14/2008 10:30 PM (GMT -7)   
that doc needs to see the movie The Doctor with William Hurt, it's terrific! about a doc on the other side of the desk and he finds out how it is to be a pt and is blind-sided by the fact that he has been a cole, unemotion doc not concerned in any way with pt's feelings. It's an oldie, 80's I think but def a goodie yeah I had my reg doc ask me "have u ever tried Advil?" Uhhhh, hello, like a million of them, prob y I have an ulcer. I asked him if he's ever had chronic pain and he said no and I proceded to tell him how it affects every aspect of a person's life. He seems a bit more considerate after that.
I am not my pain, it does not own me.


Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17100
   Posted 4/15/2008 12:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Colerg, just wondering...Did your doctor give you a pair of ruby slippers so that you could click your heels together when saying, "I am well and I am getting better"?  I agree with everyone here.  You do need another pain doctor.
 
Have you gotten a second opinion, since  you actually didn't get a first opinion for this recent pain?  I'd keep searching until  you find someone who will help you.  Back pain is one of the worst pains you can have, but I don't have to tell you that.  Hope you find someone soon.
 
Sherrine
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


colerg back again
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/15/2008 2:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Muzz,
I have seen that movie several times, believe it or not my father was one of the first to teach med students how it looks through the patients eye. This was back in the 70's, he would put them in the hospital for three days to a week, ivs, catheters, blood taken all the time, no cutting of couse but he REALLY knew how to do it. Now you'd be put in jail for that type of teaching. shame really! I have a great ally in my corner...nothing like being a doctors son to rattle the cages of the docs.....shoot I sometimes think I know more about anatomy than they do!



Sherrine,

Yes I have an appointment tomorrow with a new Pain specialist!!! WHOO HOO!!!!! let's hope there can be some relief!! I did look around the surgeons office for the ruby slippers, all I could find was the docs EGO. I talked to one of his minions in his office today and I told her to watch out for flying houses and that they don't land on witches such as herself....too funny! the nurse asked if she could do anything to help, and I just laughed in the phone, and told her to run...run as fast as she can.......and that she was also fired! Boy that felt good! You guys are great, humor is the best thing for me right now...keeps me going.Peace all
keep posting I appreciate it!

Colerg

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/15/2008 2:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Colerg,
Your father sounds like one of those MD's that we wish there were more of. I hope he's still teaching in some capacity, even if he can't do the things he did - which, by the way, I think should be mandatory in terms of teaching docs. Feeling like your power and identity are stripped from you when in the hospital, and let alone the issues with outpatient care.

I think I'm a bit envious of you having such access to such a knowledgeable source. And knowledge is power - look how you were able to deal with your FORMER doc's office! I'm sure youll keep searching until you find a good match, and your father can help guide you (and scare the bad ones off).

Good luck - although I don't think you'll need it!

PaLady

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17100
   Posted 4/15/2008 2:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Gee, Colerg, I think your old pain specialist is singing, "If I Only Had a Brain" right about now!  tongue
 
I'm so happy you are seeing another doctor tomorrow!  I'll be praying for you.  Let us know how it goes!
 
Sherrine
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


Muzz
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 395
   Posted 4/15/2008 4:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Good luck Red....I'm on my 2nd "pain specialist" and so far don't see anything special about him.
I am not my pain, it does not own me.


colerg back again
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/15/2008 5:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks guys!!!!

It is a blessing to have doctors in the family, but another having them live far away. Get a load of this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just now got off the phone with my "OLD " surgeon... we ranted, or at least I did for a good hour........OK HERE IS THE BIG ONE>>>> I unloaded everything I thought was wrong with him and told him he was just another scalpel jockey, and then asked him if he has ever been in chronic pain before ..HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is all I heard, then ..NO! OK I said I rest my point! ( oh that felt good) Oh then Disce Pati mentioned the " fifth vital sign " in a past post...PATI I owe you one....I accused him of not listening and looking for this.....I think I heard him wet his pants....there was a BIG I mean BIG PAUSE!!!! HEH HEH I thought to myself..........OH what a cathartic experience!!!! PATI you get a medal from me you will sleep so well tonight knowing you helped me put an uncaring doc in his place...I am at you every beckoning call......I am you most humble servant......

Anyhoo, the doc said "ok then this is out of my range...". ( ok, now imagine my head turning around like in the Exorcist......) He said I'll refer you to so and so.......I said ok...It just so happens this is the pain doc Im going to tomorrow.... I guess we'll see what we see....... I have to give him credit for calling me at home listening to my EVERY word, and admitting it was out of his league. Now I shall go do my victory dance with my beautiful wife, and enjoy the night...hopefully with out too much pain! Rest well all, tomorrow is a new day!!!! I pray so hard that it is a good one for all of us. You guys are the bomb!!
Peace, colerg

Disce Pati
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 4/16/2008 10:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Colerg,

I am glad that you had the satisfaction of "educating" your surgeon! And that I was able to give you some of the ammunition to do so.

Hopefully, because of the good points you mentioned concerning his willingness to speak to you at home, etc he will genuinely learn from this experience and delve into the research regarding chronic pain and be better able to treat future patients. In my opinion, if a physician or surgeon is willing to learn from his / her mistakes he is redeemable. And it seems that there is reason to hope for this in his case.

Let us know how your appointment goes with the pain doc - If yours is like mine, you will be on your way to finding a management plan. You may not be able to "cure" the pain but you certainly should be able to find a way to manage it - using meds, behavior modification, life-style changes, therapy, etc. There is alot of synergy for healing to be found in a good pain clinic and I hope that is what you are going to experience!

colerg back again
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 4/16/2008 2:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Pati,

Today went like a dream.......I was very nervous at first, but a bit in I armed with my trusty and lovely wife We finally had some validation that no it is not in your head and that I have in his terms" ...been through the ringer.." he looked at my chart and his eyes opened up. I have had L5 S1 fusion, Fusion failed then #2 fusion L4,5,and S1!( this is when they made me bionic with all the metal thingy doodads....Boy did I set off department store alarms...I had fun with that too....then just last AprilI had all the fun metal thingamajigs taken out, and in December had my SI on my right fused with really cool looking titanium space-looking radiation eating barrel screws... So we agreed on PT, some counseling ( don't need that really my wife is a shrink..she comes in pretty handy.) And to top it all off I'm back on the Fentanyl patch, and to top it all off some good ol percocet for the breakthrough pain. I AM ALIVE AGAIN!!! WHOO HOO!! I have some new found inner peace.
I'm warm and fuzzy inside all over again...Thank GOD!! Oh and my old surgeon got an education through me via PATI,( thank you again) and my new PM doc. Life is rich. Time to plan my new Phoenix rising plan!

Here is to the power of renewed faith!!
peace all.
Colerg

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17100
   Posted 4/16/2008 2:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm so glad  you had such a good meeting with your new doctor.  Life begins again!  YEA!
 
Sherrine
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 4/16/2008 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Colerg: I am SO happy for you! It sounds like you've found that diamond in the rough doctor, and good for you for telling the other doc exactly why you were finding someone better! I hope and pray that this is the beginning of a very short road to recovery for you.

Ry

Muzz
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 395
   Posted 4/17/2008 11:25 AM (GMT -7)   
colberg, that is sooo good to hear! A caring doc makes all of the diff!
I am not my pain, it does not own me.

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