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PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/16/2008 7:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
Just curious as to how your recovery is going. Are you about 4 months out now? I was trying to remember the date of your surgery, and I kept thinking January but I could be wrong. I sure hope you're continuing to progress.
And please, quit sending that cold air down from Canada! I'm ready for at least regular temps in the 70's! yeah

PaLady

Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 5/17/2008 6:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Lady! Great to hear from you! I can promise to send you some lovely weather---we had 70 & sunny yesterday & so far today...so get those shorts & tank tops out!

Re my recovery: I'm about 16 weeks out now & the fusion is doing well (saw neurodoc on Wed & he checked it visually & felt around it & said "Seems nice & solid") My main concern is the return of my sciatica & leg numbness, which had been gone until about 3 weeks ago. He seemed a little concerned too, so he ordered me an MRI for Monday. Said it could be scar tissue on a nerve, or some new fusion bone growing into some area that may be affecting the L4/5 nerve roots, etc. Or just muscles trying to find new places to be, etc. So the MRI, with contrast, should help distinguish between any scar tissue or other stuff...he said not to worry, as fusion recovery is all over the map, symptom-wise and to concentrate on the good news that I sm fusing & just go easy, rest, walk, etc...no PT yet or any deep massage, as he doesn't want anything to "move" in there yet.

It's not as bad as the sciatica or leg numbness/pain as b4 my fusion, so that's good. He said this stuff can "come & go" for up to a year or more port-fusion...and then it can "just disappear" on its' own"...he agreed that the back is a mysterious thing & it's very hard to pin-point exactly where things originate, etc...Did say it could be the disc below the fusion, now hurting b/c of the lack of mobility above. but said when I'm ready, some core exercsies and PT could help that. (It's DDD at L5/S1, we knew that, but I wasn't a candidate for an artificial disk & he didn't want to do a 2-level b/c of the greatly limted mobility you're left with) So I'll just let him be the doc & figure this out!

So he has me back on diluadid (morphine-type meds) 4'xs a day again + valuim for the back muscle spasms that go all the way up to my shoulder blades sometimes + now that I'm 4 months out, he said some Avdil can help w/ the achy-ness in the operative site & also reduce the muscle pain.

So over-all it was a good report...the MRI will reveal anything to be concerned about, but he said "Maybe not---pain doesn't always show up on MRI's" and ain't THAT the truth!

My fusion surgery was Jan 11, so he said "Oh, 4 months is NOTHING on the recovery time-line" too,which made me feel better. Said it can take up to 18 months for things to "settle in & become comfy" w/ the new arrangement back there. "Fusions are big deals" he said. Also said that just when you start to feel better & get an increase in activity levels, that's the dangerous time. "Continue to rest more, do less, and see if that helps too".

Time! Patience! Hard to adhere to!

So how are you doing? I think we had similar situations. Hope you are holding steady, not getting worse & hangning in there! It's a much longer time-line than I first thought---the 6-9 months they tell you is just the BEGINNING...!

Have a lovely weather day---I promise if not today, you WILL get some good stuff soon! :) Great to hear from you! sorry I haven't been around lately--lots of pain, but should find out more on Monday what's the cause. Thanks for asking!

~~Lakeside
Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. Good relief from sciatica & leg/nerve pain, tho some residual CP--hope to be "Healing Well"...


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/17/2008 12:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Lakeside,
I'm so sorry to hear about the return of your leg symptoms. I was hoping the reason you hadn't been posting much was that you were out walking the beach. But I will continue to remain hopeful for us both!

I, too had another MRi I think back in January, and that's when my surgeon told me I was one of "one or two" people for whom the minimally invasive surgery didn't work. Therre was some "soft tissue" that was probably responsible for continuing leg/feet pain. I had a double level fusion (L4-S1) and honeslty, loss of mobility from surgery has never been the problem. But I'm continuing with meds and even my surgeon said -as do they all - this could take up to 2 years. That's because nerves can take that long to regenerate. But from what I've learned and read in the medical literature, whaterver you have at the 2 year point is what you'll have to live with because the nerve tissue that hasn't regenerated by then probably won't. Ah, these spines!!

I am back to wearing my SI joint belt. That's one thing that I noticed doubles or triples my pain - when my SI joint is out and fortunately my physical therapist gently rolls it back in. It was staying in place, with a little daily exercise until I had my surgery. Then I had to stop the exercises. I've been able to start doing those again (just kind of isometric-like - nothing major) along with wearing the SI joint belt and that's got my pain levels back down to where they usually are. Of course, that's with a ton of medication!

I'll be looking forward to that sunny weather. Right now it looks like a fall day out over the lake, with storm clouds moving in. I kind of enjoy watching that, especially when it's not snow! But I'm getting a little tired of wearing turtle necks!

Take good care of yourself - and don't push too hard! You're so right, this takes MUCH longer than they tell us!

PaLady

Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 5/18/2008 4:35 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Lady, again!

In spite of the recuring sciatica stuff, I HAVE been beach-walking, as walking does feel good & helps make the fusion strong. It's just that doc was concerned about the sciatica & leg/foot numbness starting again now, after almost 4 months w/o it.  He said tomorrow's MRI might show the cause, but maybe not--he admitted that, as usual, our backs can be total mysteries---as we so well know!  Stuff can show up that looks bad but causes no pain or vice versa...but he just wants to see if it's scar tissue, or perhaps an over-growth of the new fusion bone infringing on a nerve, or whatever...

I will let HIM figure it out, as he's the doc!  I just take my pain meds, walk the beach and tell myself "Que sera, sera" b/c what else can you do?  Does no good to worry ahead, or even after....just take the cards you're dealt & try to make a good hand!

And yes, 18 months is the "magic" timeframe (he said) Whatever you have by then, that's about it, good or bad.  I am still just 4.5 months out, so there's a lot of time for things to either improve, get worse or stay the same....meanwhile, it's a waiting game & I'm trying to distract myself w/ the lovely flowers, birdsongs & upcoming SUMMER thrills of longer daylight, sunny weather, the thrill of wearing shorts/tank tops/going barefoot, etc.....we really do have so much to be thankful for, truly.  And if my darn worn-out back wants to be good/bad/in-between, well....I'll treat what I can & try to ignore the rest, so long as I continue to fuse.

As my G.Ma used to say "Life is what you make it."  So I will try to do that, bad back or no!

Sending you some lousy weather, but better by mid-week!  Keep those tender plants inside yet---frost here tonight! Sorry!

Hope you are holding out OK, pain-wise! Always a pleasure to touch base with you, Lady dear!

thanks again for thinking of me & asking how I'm doing!  Still kicking! (Ouch!) tight hamstrings, haha!

~~~Lakeside


Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
 
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
 
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. 


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/18/2008 8:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Good luck with your MRI tomorrow. When you get a chance, let me know what you learn.

PaLady

Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 5/19/2008 8:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Lady, I will! Hope it's what they say "unremarkable".....! Which is not to say things don't hurt, but just that there;s nothing serious that's causing it. As I said, he mentioned scar tissue, bone over-growth, tempermental nerves, etc....all stuff that could settle down on their own, or at least not need anything aggressive/invasive to remedy. Our main concern is the integrity of the fusion, so it'll be interesting to "see" how that's doing, b/c there was nice bone growth showing in March, so hopefully there will be more to see after today's MRI w/ contrast.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY here today! Sending it along to you by Wed! Going out for a walk, while I still can, haha! I'm a little bit aprehensive over the MRI itself, tho they assured me I won't feel any discomfort in the hardware site, maybe just a little "tingling"...will take my dilaudid/valuim b4 (my daughter is driving me to & from) just so I'm nice & relaxed going into that "cigar tube"....they said this one could take a bit longer (about an hour) also b/c of the hardware & all the views he's ordered.

I'll sleep well when I return home, I'm sure!

Doc said he'll read it today & get back to me by Wed...I'll post w/ the results. Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts & for your good wishes!

~~~Lake
Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
 
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
 
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. 


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/19/2008 11:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Ok, I'll be waiting to hear what you learn!

The MRI with contrast I had wasn't any worse than the others prior to all my hardware!

PaLady

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/24/2008 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Lakeside,
Haven't heard from you all week. Did you hear about the MRI? Let us know when you get a chance.

Nice sunshine today and great weather coming!!

PaLady

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/3/2008 10:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Lakeside,
I see you online right now and was wondering how you were doing. Haven't heard from you since you had the MRI.

PaLady

Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 6/3/2008 10:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Lady! Yes, I'm usually outside at noon, taking one of my 3 daily walks, but the weather today is LOUSY...sorry, you'll be getting it!

I just posted to a query from Cary about fusion sugery & posture. You can read that for the details, but short version: MRI came back just perfect! Report read: "spine in normal anatomical allignment" and no nerves are impinged & there's nothing being compressed. Oh, the usual endplate errosions & 2 bulging discs elsewhere (but not bumping into anything--yet---) so when I spoke to my NS, he said all the "new" pain, including the foot/leg/sciatica again is due to the straightening-out of the whole spine & everything now trying to get used to being in allignment. Sort of like tooth braces! Whew! What a relief! No more surgery, at least for now....MRI report was funny: said "At this point in time, all allignment and attenuation is within normal range" At this point in time.....well, how about 5 years from now?! LOL Can't worry about that---just have been totally cramping and spasm-ing in whole back, sides and even my abs as my body tries to get used to the "new & improved" me--MRI also showed more new bone, but NS said no PT yet, as w/ my 2 priors & everything in there so fragile yet, he's being really conservative.

So how are YOU?! Sorry to be away so long, but I;ve just been miserable---but now I know why, it's "healing pain" and hopefully will get less & less as my body adjusts to it. I had spondy for over 8 years...imagine how all those muscles compensated for that fwd slip---and now I'm OK, but it's less than 5 months yet....long way to go! Hope you are a bit better---maybe you have a similar situation? NS said the pain can last for up to a year or more. So don't get too discouraged!

Great to hear from you!

~~LAke
Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
 
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
 
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. 


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/3/2008 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
I wish I could say that some of my pain was better, but the only thing that has improved is the extra pain my SI joint causes when its out, and it doesn't stay in play 100% of the time. When it's out of alignment the pain and all the symptoms in my feet runs up to an 8 or 9 and that's with meds! But when it's in place the pain is more around a 5 or so but again with meds. No real improvement in my sciatic pain and foot symptoms since the surgery, but my MRI showed "soft tissue" possibly still compressing the nerve, although that's actually what my NS told me after he looked at the MRI. The MRI report just noted an area of concern. Since I'm not about to have "traditional" surgery, I'll just have to get the best pain management i can. I can't see additional surgery being helpful at this point, and don't even want to consider going through it and healing. Living alone and healing from the minimally invasive fusion has been all I can handle.

Better get off my pitty pot for now!

I hear really hot and humid stuff coming our way by the weekend. From one extreme to another!

PaLady

Post Edited (PAlady) : 6/3/2008 2:30:11 PM (GMT-6)


Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 6/12/2008 12:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Gramps for the sweet thoughts! Yes, I hope this "healing pain" stuff moves along quickly! I see my NS next week & he may suggest some mysofacsial release & deep tissue massage (he wants no PT yet until the fusion's solid) & I think that would greatly help the tightness & spasms etc as I know it did after my 2nd surgery. But to know I'm now in proper allingment is soooo exciting! Helps me to better endure the "new" pain of standing taller & stronger! (I gained a l/2 inch of height...I'm now 5' 10' + an extra 1/2 "!! Big deal, huh! But I thought that was neat!

Lady, so sorry to hear you're still hurtin'! And this weather won't help you, sorry for that too! You got our hot stuff, & now you're gonna get this cold/damp/rainy stuff....have plenty of ice packs on hand...I ran out last weekend & resorted to sitting on 2# of frozen peas! LOL!

~Lakeside
Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
 
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
 
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. 


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/12/2008 6:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Lakeside!

Good to see you post. I miss our weather forecasts. LOL I am so glad the terrible heat is gone, but I guess will be back tomorrow. Difference is the guys are coming in the early am to put my A/C unit it. Thank god!!!! Last weekend without it was torture. Good thing I was working only the few hours that I do, or I'd never have made it.

So there's cold and rainy to come? We're having a weird spring/start to summer aren't we? It's going to go fast once it finally gets here for good.

Hugs,

PaLady

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/13/2008 6:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Lakeside,

So I just get my A/C put in the window this morning and it's going to be 90 degrees today cool but back in the 60's later this week?? eyes

Maybe it will level out by say, uh, September? LOL

PaLady

Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 6/13/2008 7:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Lady, we had torrential storms last PM, a tornado sighted & over 3" of rain in one hour.... so batten down yer hatches!

Today is mild, overcast & warmer---and there is standing water everywhere. If you watched the news, central Wis has been delcared a federal disater area...people have lost homes, farms, etc....we are so lucky here to have the Lake protecting us...imagine losing everything you own in 10 mnutes....kind of makes my back pain insignificant when I stop to count my blessings over having a dry & safe place to live.

Glad you now have A/C---Lake Michigan is OUR A/C! Get a NE wind & it'll drop the temp 20 degrees in 5 minutes! :)

Take care! Yes, that weather-related pain is miserable! As I said, we all need to move to Arizona!

~Lakeside --actually "swamp-side" until Wisconsin drys out........
Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
 
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
 
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. 


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/24/2008 9:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Lakeside,
Haven't seen you on since all the bad weather started to hit up your way. Are you ok? I hope you aren't in the path of any of the horrible flooding!

Drop a note when you get a chance.

PaLady

Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 6/27/2008 2:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Lady! And my other spiney pals!
No, I haven't been "swept away" or anything---just packing for our trip to Montana/Wyoming coming up next week---no, I don't feel all that much better, but as I said to my sweetie :  "I feel lousy here, I may as well feel lousy out there looking at the Rockies & Tetons!"
 
I'll be semi-reclining in the back of the Silverado, looking like Cleopatra on her barge & once we get there, I can walk, swim, move around....I just can't put my life "on hold" forever...NS said MRI looked fine & all the on-going pain, numbness, tingling, achy-ness etc is all normal for the amout of work he did & for the 2 priors I had...in fact he said "Don't expect to feel much better for a year yet..maybe even next Spring."
 
So Montana, here we come!  I do plan to teach this fall & have also spent time setting up my room, etc.  It's a great distraction!  So life goes on, CP included & so I walk, rest, ice, take my valuim/sleepers but off the morphine (take Advil, but doesn't do a lot) so I can enjoy my wine again....so think of me drinking some Chardonnay in the mountains & for a few weeks, anyway, distracting myself from this weary & worn-out back!
 
Rain today, my dear, but we sent you some good stuff this week!  And next week is July already! 
 
How are YOU doing? Any improvements?  (Just by way of consolation, I still have some minor sciatica & foot/leg numbness..NS said "You'll probably always have that on & off."  Yup, just part of the whole "fusion fall-out" thing.  (But I did show continued bone growth, so the other stuff, well, maybe that will diminish in time....)  Hope springs eternal!
 
~Lakeside
Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
 
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
 
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. 

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