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Posted By : skeye - 5/30/2017 10:10 AM
Hi all,

Been meaning to post an update for a while, but honestly up until now there hasn't really been much to report.

I'll start with the good: I passed my veterinary boards, and unofficially graduated from veterinary school (my official graduation is pending the completion of 3 more months of clinical work -- the accumulation of the time that I've had to take off for my ketamine infusions for my CRPS -- however, the school still let me walk at graduation with the rest of my class this weekend).

The bad: I just got back from my follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon, and I definitely do have the have back surgery after all.

I have improved somewhat since the first 6 weeks post-herniation. But unfortunately, I still have significant pain all down my left leg and partly down my right, as well as a partial foot drop on the left (that has not improved at all since January), and neither he nor I thought that I would be able to resume/survive on clinics the way that I currently am.

Surgery will be a microdiscectomy at L5/S1, and is scheduled for next Wednesday, June 7th. Unless there are complications, it should be outpatient. It sounds like recovery will be at least 10 weeks, but he will likely keep me off clinics a month or two longer, as he wants to make sure that I have rehabbed really well/have really good core strength, etc, before I return to work, since my job is so physical, and the last thing we want is a reherniation or a herniation at another level.

I was more or less expecting this outcome, but it's still a lot to take in. However, I'm just glad that things are going to work out with my insurance, and I can have the surgery done with the NS back home and stay with my parents, rather than have the surgery done up at school. I have so much more faith in this NS than I did in the first one I saw. There is a night and day difference between bedside manners, plus, not only has this NS operated on other family members and friends (with good outcomes), but my parents, who are both in the medical field, have been seeing the outcomes of this guy's surgeries for 30 years, and only have good things to say! Can't say I'm looking forward to surgery, especially since I'm at a higher risk for post-op complications with my CRPS, but with some precautions I should be fine, and I definitely am looking forward to getting better!


Posted By : (Seashell) - 5/30/2017 2:06 PM
First, Congratulations are in order on your graduation and successful completion of your veterinary board exams. That's a Big Deal and a major milestone life accomplishment.

I am sorry to hear that you are facing surgery for the lumbar herniation but agree with the assessment that conservative measures have run their course and that surgery is then the necessary option.

The micro-disectomy has been refined over the years and has a solid track record of success for nerve root decompression.

I know your CRPS ups the ante of concern for post operative problems. If it helps you feel any better, know that I had a L5-Si microdisectomy
with allograft fusion when my health was particularly frail . . and I sailed through without a single glitch. I am glad that you are having your procedure at the more comprehensive hospital and more qualified surgeon. That will place you in a better position for a positive outcome.

Many people on this forum will be holding you in their hearts - me and my tea-cup Maltese, Molly, included.

Sending you healing wishes and get well tail wags,
- Karen -
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

Posted By : skeye - 5/30/2017 5:21 PM
Thanks, Karen! Glad to hear that you had a good outcome from your surgery. I'm hoping for the same! The neurosurgeon said that I may experience substantial relief of my leg pain right away, or that it may take a few weeks before I start noticing any relief. It all depends on how badly the nerves have been damaged. I'm definitely hoping for at least some relief right away, though!


Posted By : White Beard - 5/30/2017 11:18 PM
Hi skeye BIG Congrats on finally graduating from Vet school! I'm sorry about you having to have surgery I do hope this all works out well for You! I will continue to keep you in my prayers!

Good luck to you Skeye!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

Posted By : pitmom - 5/31/2017 5:03 AM
Congratulations on your accomplishment!

Best wishes for a successful surgery and a strong recovery!
multiple surgeries for rotator cuff both shoulders with residual chronic impingement syndrome, ulnar nerve transposition, carpal tunnel release, wrist ganglionectomies/denervectomies/tenolysis, multiple herniated discs, tarlov cyst, whiplash, bursitis of hips, tendonitis, torus, 3rd degree shoulder separation, torn labrum, ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors of the uterus

Posted By : straydog - 5/31/2017 7:25 AM
Congrats on finishing your schooling. In spite of all the bumps in the road you did it!! That is something to be very proud of.

I wish you great success with your pending surgery. Just behave yourself & do exactly as your dr instructs you, lol.

Take care.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : rocckyd - 5/31/2017 2:43 PM
WOOT WOOT! Congrats on passing your boards. I've watched friends study, stress, pray, stress, and study to pass, so I know it's a huge accomplishmentsmile

Back surgery is one that I've never had to consider, so I can't give any medical or patient advice, but I really hope you are able to find relief, and that it's successful.

After all, you've got bigger and better things to do, so your back better get itself together!
Single mom to my little man 11yrs old
39yrs old. JRA since a kid. Chronic Uveitis, pleurisy, pericarditis, intersticial lung disease, sjorgrens syndrome, Cushing's Syndrome, gastroparisis
Bilateral TMJ replacements due to bone fusion, port-a-cath, g/j feeding tube, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome(my blood fights itself) epilepsy, MCTD, dysphagia(unable to swallow correctly)

Posted By : skeye - 5/31/2017 5:07 PM
Thanks for all the well wishes, everyone! I talked to my PM today and he is going to coordinate things with my neurosurgeon in regards to the anesthesia, so hopefully the risk of my CRPS spreading will be reduced. I'm definitely going to listen to all my post-op instructions and do the best I can to come back strong from this surgery. At 29, and having a very physical career, the last thing I need is for these issues to haunt me for the rest of my life! I already have more than enough other problems. Just looking forward to getting this over with, getting back to school, and finishing up my last few months of clinics so that I can graduate for real and move on with my life!


Posted By : skeye - 6/16/2017 12:03 AM
Hi all,

So I had my surgery 8 days ago (L5-S1 microdiscectomy). Everything went well with the surgery itself. In the words of my neurosurgeon, the herniation was "HUGE!" It sounds like it is a very good thing that I had the surgery done when I did, as not only was there severe compression of both of my L5 nerve roots, and less so, both S1 nerve roots, but apparently the whole disc was literally about to burst any second. And according to my NS, if that had happened, I would have had major, major problems, and it sounds like I probably would have needed a fusion (which is the very last thing that I want at only 29).

Unfortunately, though, I had some post-operative complications with the anesthesia. It's a long story, but basically, the anesthesiologist was very ignorant in regards to how to properly administer ketamine, and was too arrogant to listen to me or to call my PM for clarification of his instructions, despite both a letter from my PM encouraging him to call with any questions/concerns regarding his orders, and me literally begging him to call. So because of that I ended up spending 8 hours in the recovery room, and my outpatient surgery turned into a 2 nights/2 day stay in the hospital.

We also had a very hard time controlling my pain post-operativly, and it wasn't until my NS called and spoke to my PM that we were finally able to get me on a pain management protocol that worked well for me.

It's not been an easy week, but I am doing a little better each day. On a more positive note, though, my pre-op pain in my left leg is about 90% improved, 30 - 50% improved in my right leg, and my foot drop in my left leg has also improved about 90%. So now I'm mostly just dealing with back pain from the surgery itself, which is great. I still have tingling all down my left leg, and some in right, and my entire left leg is very weak in general (despite the pre-operative weakness being better). But I had my first post-op visit today, and the PA said that the weakness, tingling, and altered sensation in the leg/foot are all pretty normal post operativly, and should improve over the next few weeks.

So now it is just a matter of being very carful, taking it easy, and recovering. Think it is going to be slow going, as I'm not allowed to lift, bend, twist, or sit for > 20 min for the first 6 weeks. Which pretty much means that all I can do is lie down and walk as much as I can. But I'm just glad that surgery is over and I am finally on the road to recovery!


Posted By : (Seashell) - 6/16/2017 9:05 AM
What a harrowing ordeal. At least the worst of the situation with the treating anesiologist is behind you, in your rear view mirror.

I understand that the grievences and mishandling by the anesiologist weighs heavily on you and crowds your mind, as it would mine. But find the strength to toss the worst of the circumstances over your shoulder like Teflon. Ruminating about the horrors of the anesiologist will imprint the experience on your mind - PTSD.

I have been on the receiving end of more inept medical care than quality medical care. That I suffered an extensive perforation of my intestine was due to a medication dosing error (where I received 120 mg of prednisone a day). I called my MD the day preceding the acute rupture of my intestine telling him that I was "going to pop" because my abdomen was distended like a football. My concerns were discounted. And "pop" I did - my intestine perforated like the long unzipping of an zipper. I was hospitalized for 56 days and experienced a near death experience.

You did the best that could have done to inform the attending anesiologist of your particular and specific needs. Your pain management physician preemptively did what he could in writing a protocol for the ketamine.

Having fragile health myself, I know that I make it a point to have all of my care centralized at one hospital. In this growing age of depersonalized health care, extending outward from one's core providers when you have unique treatment needs comes with its own risks.

You made it through. Breath a sigh of relief.

Your lumbar nerves are showing good signs of recovering from the extended pressure and decompensation. Cherish your body for it's amazing abilities to recover.

Take some gentle and relaxing walks outside and in the company of nature. Innately healing.

Look forward more than looking backward.

Sending you tail wags from my little tea cup Maltese, Molly. She is doing fairly well, bless her heart (Molly is 14 years of age with Chron's IBD). You are going to make an awesome veterinarian.
- Karen -
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

Post Edited ((Seashell)) : 6/16/2017 9:08:43 AM (GMT-6)

Posted By : skeye - 6/17/2017 9:16 PM
Thanks, Karen!

I am finally starting to move past the whole ordeal, but it was quite emotionally traumatizing (as I'm sure what you went through with your perforation was, too -- yikes). Wish I could have all of my care centralized in one place, but living in 2 different states, plus having my PM be located in a third state makes it pretty hard. Hadn't had a surgery at this hospital since my very first surgery ever (eye surgery) 17 yrs ago!

I'm definitely doing as much walking as I can. Been walking up and down the driveway or around the backyard 3-4 times a day, and I'm up to about 2 mi total/day now. It feels good to get outside and do something, even if I am just slowly limping along.

I had a really tough day today. I had been doing pretty well, but last night I coughed, and ever since, I have had significant pain all down my left leg, as well as worsening pain part way down my right leg. It's not quite as bad as it was pre-op, but it's pretty close, and is bad enough that the pain kept me up all night last night. I'm trying not to worry too much at this point/am telling myself that it is just inflammation/irritation of the nerves. But I am afraid that I might have re-herniated, especially since my foot drop on the left is now back, too. I'm going to give it a couple more days and wait to see if it gets better. I did have to stop my NSAID yesterday, too, as I was throwing up blood yesterday morning and most likely have an ulcer. So I'm sure that that is not helping, either. However, if I'm not any better on Monday or Tuesday, or if I continue to get worse, I will call my neurosurgeon's office and speak to one of the PA's (NS himself is unfortunately out of the country for the next several weeks).

Glad to hear that Molly is doing better! I know she was having a tough time earlier and you were rally worried about her! My dogs have been the biggest support throughout this whole recovery process. My boy, especially, has hardly left my side/let me out of his sight since I got home from the hospital. He is very in tune to me. Apparently he even slept in my bedroom all by himself the two nights I was in the hospital (whereas my girl -- who is much more oblivious -- slept with my parents in their room).


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