wanting advice and opinios,please

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 4/4/2009 5:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I am new to this. I am excited about the opportunity to share about myself, get opinions and suggestions and offer support to others as well.
I am scheduled for my first surgery on April 22nd for a laminectomy. I have herniated discs L4,L5 and S1. I have been dealing with this for 9 months now. And I simply can't take the pain anymore. I hurt every minute of every day. The back pain is bad enough. But the pain in my left buttock,hip and left leg in what is unbearable. I work fulltime in a pediatric office as a nurse, have 2 children. I go all day with no meds. I can't do my job and be on pain meds,too. I have to work. I walk like my left foot is broken. I have pins and needles in my buttock and foot most of the time. I have cried many of tears,nothing seems to help. I have had 3 epi injections-the last one lasted a total of 11 days. I take percocet,flexiril and elavil. Most of the time, it doesn't help. I want to be able to wake up in the mornings ready to face the day again. Now I wake up with dread knowing what my day will be like before my feet even touch the floor. This has effective every aspect of my life.  I can't play with my children (girl,4 and boy,11) anymore. Relations with my husband are almost nonexistent. Shopping for groceries even, I have had to almost stop. When I call my patients back to the exam room and they get there before me, it is  just embarassing as well as humiliating. I am scarred to have the surgery. The what ifs have almost sent me into panic attacks. I always said that back surgery is one that I would never have. I have heard too many times that a person never just has one back surgery. I want my life back. I am tired of the pain and the depression that goes along with it. Also, my husband also takes the percocet. I live in the fear that I will be without. I sleep with them in my pillowcase so I won't be without. It is just a bad situation all the way around.
I am sorry this is so long and drawn out. i would like your opinions on this surgery coming up in 18 days. I am open to suggestions. Thank you so much for reading this.

Becoming undone
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 927
   Posted 4/4/2009 5:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome Anice...
Surgery is always scary...it helps to get it off your chest...
What is your support system for post-op? Is your husband going to help? Do you have other resources as well?
I am just concerned for you...It is not a good thing to have to hide things from those that are supposed to care for us...
I am wishing you the best...(((((((((((hugs))))))))))))
"The earth laughs in flowers"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/4/2009 5:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I want to welcome you, but am sad to learn of all you're facing. Right now I'm not feeling too well, so I can't write much.

I had a lumbar fusion L4-S1 about a year and a half ago. Mostly because of pain down my right buttock, leg and numbness/tingling in both feet. Unfortunately, it didn't help. I'm almomst 60, though, so DDD plays a role. I get a sense you might be younger.

You're a nurse so you probably know all about 2nd opinions - did you get one for the surgery? You sound unsure. Surgery is not to be taken lightly, and you know that, but it also might be good not to wait until you have long term nerve damage. Did you try any other modalities like PT? I have found a lot (not all) of my right buttock pain is related to an SI joint that won't stay in place.

Anyway, make sure you feel comfortable with your neurosurgeon, and you still have 2 weeks if you feel you need a 2nd opinion. There may be time to get one.

Your husband and the percocet is another issue, and you're a nurse so you know it's not ok.

Like Becoming asked - what supports and resources do you have?

We're here and will help in whatever ways we can.


White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3699
   Posted 4/4/2009 6:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to this Chronic Pain forum, It sounds like you are having a very difficult time right now! Trying to cope with your job and raise a family and worrying about your husband and then trying to cope with the constant pain! Sounds to me like you need to rest a bit, but from the sounds of it that is not an option!

First are you going to have the surgery the 22 nd of April? It does sound like that might be your only alternative, at least for right now! Because how much longer can you continue the way you are now? The problems with your leg will only get worse, I do hope that there is no permanent damage to your nerves. So if you need to have the surgery please get it done!

You know you just can not continue to do it all! You need to start looking out after yourself because if you don't who will? One thing you definitely have to stop doing is the "what ifs" those will get you every time! They solve nothing, you can't live your life on the "what ifs" so do yourself a favor and stop with the "what ifs" You will be much happier!

The only thing I can say about your husband taking your meds, ...........no I won't say what I am really thinking,........ but my God doesn't he even care at all about you?......... This really angers me! You are not the first one who has posted that they have had a boy friend or spouse that has done that! I can't can't begin to tell you how mad that makes me! I know it is not your fault, that he takes them from you, but you shouldn't have to hide them or live in fear that you won't have enough because he is taking them! That is just not right!!!  He needs his "butt' kicked is what he needs!   anice do what ever you need to do to keep your meds out of reach of your husband!

I do wish you all the best, we are all here to listen and support you and give what ever help that we can!
Good Luck to You!
White Beard


I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

Post Edited (White Beard) : 4/4/2009 5:31:25 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1037
   Posted 4/4/2009 8:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Just know that you are not alone..I,too have had a Lamenectomy (L3,L4) in 1999, and Spinal Fusion (L3,L4,L5,S1) about 3 years ago.  I'm not sure how true it is, but I think it's pretty accurate that people usually have more then one surgery.. I wish I had waited on the fusion, then maybe I would have other options right now...like Disc Replacement..instead of having to take all these pain meds.. (ohhhh,that would be nice!) yeah
And, another thing we have in common is that I had (not anymore) friends that would steal my medication and leave me in pain without a thing to take... It happens sometimes. But why do u let your husband take yours? I understand he might make you feel bad if he's in pain, but have him go to a Pain Management Clinic like the rest of us...He should think about YOU for a change..
Sorry, but I know what it's like to go without because of others.
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the Lamenectomy was...I was up that next day.  Of course it's much better now!! They do it outpatient surgery and you go home that day.  The pain wasn't that bad either.. So, don't panic just because you don't know what to expect...
Good Luck with the surgery and hopefully it will take care of the pain in your butt (and I don't mean your hubby) ha ha ha

We are all in the same boat...unfortunatley it seems like it's sinking...
Post Lamenectomy Syndrome
Hemi Lamenectomy/Spinal Fusion(Lumbar)
120 mg. Methadone daily /15 mg. Oxycodone as needed
Type 2Diabetes : (March 16, 2009)
Metformin 500 mg. twice daily
ME. (Rhonda)                                                                    


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 4/4/2009 8:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the board! I am glad that you found us, but not glad to read why. I understand your fears about surgery, but there are good outcomes out there. You just don't find many of them posting on boards like these because once they recuperate, they are back to living their lives.
Did you get a 2nd and even a 3rd opinion, prior to consenting to this surgery? Is your surgeon a qualified spinal neuro or ortho surgeon? I have found that spinal neuros tend to do better/have better outcomes when there is nerve damage or the possibility of nerve damage than orthos...just because they deal with the nervous system as a general trend in their every day practices. If you have not seen a spinal neuro, I would suggest that you get that 2nd opinion there. It may help to reassure you that you are making the right decision if you have done that.
As far as your husband goes, number one, what he is doing is illegal, but you know that and I'm sure that he does as well. Secondly, he is a heel if he is taking your meds, knowing that you are in pain and need them, and thirdly, what he is doing may very well put your own medical needs in jeapordy by stealing your meds if you are tested for blood levels or urine screens. And what about your medical license? Can you get in trouble for his diversion? Especially if you wind up blacklisted at your surgeon's or PM's office for not taking the proper amount of meds? If that is the case, he needs to be told to stop immediately and then make sure that he can not get his hands on your meds.
As far as surgery goes, you are going to need support, both physically and mentally once you have surgery. Is he capable of being a good support for you? Or are you going to find yourself having to do for your kids and yourself , and possibly him as well , too soon? If that is the case, you need to lean on some friends or co workers so that you don't undo the good of the surgery....
Hang in there.....I wish you nothing but the best.
PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/5/2009 9:37 AM (GMT -6)   

Hopefully the surgery will mean you need less meds, and perhaps you will do extremely well and be off all your meds altogether. It's certainly true that there are people who don't get much relief from this sort of surgery, but remember that these are the people you're going to hear from - the people who do well simply move on with their lives and we often don't hear from them. This is worth remembering.

I agree with the above posts; your husband shouldn't be snagging your meds. If he has pain issues himself, then he'd be well-advised to seek a medical opinion. In the meantime, you need to take steps to safeguard your meds, and I would suggest a locked box; if your husband looks insulted at this move, you can simply tell him that it's a requirement of your doctor's new drug contract (many doctors have patients sign these and some request patients to keep their meds in locked boxes for exactly this reason, as well as to keep them away from children, and to help prevent theft in the case of a break-in).

In the meantime - and this is perhaps a bit sneaky - you might consider switching out your percocet into a different bottle, and replacing it with regular tylenol, if you can find a generic brand that looks the same. I did this once when I suspected someone was dipping into my meds, and discovered that there were always some gone after my cleaning person had been. I bet your husband will lose interest in the new "percocet" when he discovers he isn't getting much of a buzz off them. Still, it's a shame that it's come to this. If he openly admits to taking them, then it's worth discussing this with him. It may be that he has addiction issues, and needs help himself. At any rate, this kind of behaviour is only going to erode the trust in your relationship (if it hasn't already).

If you end up needing meds even after the surgery, you may want to ask your doctor about the possibility of switching to a longer-acting formulation. The reason you feel you aren't able to take meds at work is because you don't take them regularly. A low-dose, long-acting opioid taken perhaps twice a day, may be a better choice than gritting your teeth and suffering through the day and then medicating only "after-work" - because you don't take meds regularly, you may not be aware that the spaced-out "stoned feeling" we associate with opioid therapy disappears with regular use. Opioid therapy gets a bad rap, but it's worth remembering that, far from preventing people from doing their jobs, these medications often allow people to return to work and to live productive and satisfying lives. Again, it's the horror stories we tend to hear of, not the successful ones.

Certainly, I'm not suggesting that you take more meds if you don't need them - what I'm suggesting here is that you find a way to get through your day without a level of pain you find debilitating. How you do that is up to you, but there's no mileage in suffering if it's at all avoidable. Once your body acclimates to regular meds (it does this rather quickly) you are likely to find that it doesn't interfere with your ability to do your job. This has certainly been my experience, and the experience of other pain patients I've known.

I am a physician myself on low-dose, long-acting opioid therapy for an inflammatory arthritis, and it doesn't affect my skills or clinical judgment at all. In fact, it was the medication that allowed me to return to work after a painful 10-month hiatus off work a few years back. Like you, I was initially reluctant to take opioids on a regular basis - as a nurse and physician, you and I both know the stigma of these drugs only too well - but in my case, they've done exactly what they're intended to do - they've managed my pain and given me my life and livelihood back (and believe me, with $150k in med school loans, I could ill-afford to not-work)! Of course we hope the surgery will obviate the need for all this in your case - but it's worth knowing their are still options should the pain persist.

Best of luck with your surgery. Positive thoughts going in - we always anticipate the worst, as though that will somehow steel us against disaster; how about anticipating the best for a change? A future with less pain and more mobility... and your husband having to find his drug-of-choice somewhere else! Cheers to that!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 4/5/2009 11:19 AM (GMT -6)   

Welcome to the Chronic Pain Forum of Healing Well. I'm glad you posted.

First of all, I can totally relate, I was a nurse working in a hospital thirty years ago and had bulging discs in my lower back. Like you, I said I would never have back surgery, but after four years of suffering and things getting totally unbearable, I did have a laminectomy. For a year after, I went to PT to strengthen my muscles back up and had some pain, but after a year I was good. Sometimes I have sciatica, but it is not common at all. Do believe in positive outcomes. They can happen and did for me.

I am here on this forum mostly for my fibromyalgia pain which is pretty exhausting. I suffer mostly in my feet and legs. And I do have to take percocet for it.

So keep a good thought and I will pray for you.

Moderator Chronic Pain
Believe in yourself.  Be kind to fellow humans and animals.  Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.
And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help.  I will be there.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 4/5/2009 12:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome Figlet!
Glad to have you join us. I totally agree with the idea of the lock box. They are available through pharmacies and mail order companies. You can carry the key around your neck if need be to protect your meds from your husband.
I also agree with Figlet. Once you are on a stable dose of pain meds, the "fogginess" that comes with some of them seems to go away and you don't experience the constant highs and lows that come with taking short acting meds. It may be something to consider and allow you to return to work and not be in so much pain that you can't function at the end of the day.
Long acting meds don't seem to cause that fogginess that comes with shorter acting meds either. Some of them are supposed to last for 8-12 hours and one of them for 24, so it is something to consider discussing with your PM at your next visit. Especially if he thinks that you may be on pain meds for some time. Much easier to function on the long acting ones than short acting.
Anyway good luck to you. read Figlet's post again and again, he posted some really great advise for you.
PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 4/5/2009 1:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Anice, Welcome to this forum. As others have mentioned, you will find listening ears and general advice he that is very helpful. I had a very similar surgery 14 months ago. I put off surgery for 11 years after my injury. I underestimated the fusion surgry. They told me 6 to 8 weeks off after the surgery and knew I would be able to tolerate the pain and start back to work and household chores sooner than they stated. Bad move. I wanted my life back just as you stated you want your bac. Mine is now classified as a failed back surgery. Many people on this forum are here because surgery did not solve the problem. People that have sucsessful surgeries normally are not posting here. Listen to your doctor about what you can and cannot do after surgery. Don't push it. You will need help on a regular basis after surgery. Help doing just about everthing. My wife had to help me take a shower, go to the bathroom, get in and out of bed. My 17 yearold daughter was home with me every day to make sure I did not do anything stupid (something I am prone to do). You will have to let people help you even if you are the type that takes care of others. My surgery helped with my back pain but not with my butt, leg and foot pain. That is because I had too much nerve damage by waiting so long. If you have specific question, I or others will be glad to share our experience. I pray that you are one of the one that surgery offers a major help to. Blessings!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/5/2009 3:35 PM (GMT -6)   
It's interesting how much help you needed after your surgery. I'm not "dissing" that by any means, but because I live alone I had little choice. I spent 6 days in the hospital after my fusion, and my cousin drove me home (a 3 hour drive from the hospital), set up my high hat toilet seat and shower chair, made sure I was comfortable, and left. I managed alone, with the help of my cousin bringing me things, and the community nurses. Thank goodness I had the cane next to my bed, though, as it was a real challenge to get up to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night when I was on so many meds! I nearly fell the first night, but afterwards took more care.

I guess part of it is in what we learn to expect. Those of us who live alone and don't have other options learn to somehow figure it out. It takes a lot of advance planning, though, and the health care system as it exists is not very good with helping with that aspect. Everyone tells you to wait until after discharge, but when you're alone you can't!

All of this is to say to Anice it may vary. If you're having a minimally invasive approach, it certainly won't be as bad. But that doesn't mean you can push your recovery time. I also was told 6 weeks, which was a joke! I barely sat in my car after 6 weeks, and it took me 3 months to get back working even part time. So expect a longer recovery time than what you're told, and take care to let yourself heal properly so you can get the most from your surgery.

I hope my earlier post didn't add to your anxiety. When I suggested a 2nd opinion it was to help you decrease your anxiety, but if you're sure of your decision, you've done your homework and know it's your only shot at decreasing or maybe eliminating the pain, then relax and go for it. Even though my back surgery failed, I often asked myself if I regret having it. And the answer is no. Because I would have always wondered if it would have helped, and my back was just getting worse anyway, so I like to think the fusion maybe has helped stabilize it in some way. And like fatherjohn, I probably waited too long and the nerve damage was irreversible. So you're better off going at the 9 month mark than waiting years. I think I remember reading in some of the research (of course after I had waited!) that if conservative measures don't work in 6 months it's better to look at surgical options before the nerves are damaged.

I wish you all the best and hope to hear a success story from you after your surgery!


Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/8/2009 2:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Anice:

I'm sorry to hear that you're gonna have to have surgery. Just know..you aren't alone.

Will you have help after the surgery?

A laminectomy is a pretty straight-forward procedure. That's not to say it isn't a big surgery..you have a every right to be nervous and you are a trooper! But this type of surgery is performed all the time with great success.

Did they tell you how big your scar will be? Are you have a discectomy too??

Finally, why the heck does your husband take your percocet??!!


Author of Chronic Stimulation- a blog about living with chronic pain and a neurostimulator


Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 4/8/2009 9:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Wanted to wish you well on your surgery.
Hope everything goes good and that you get some much need pain relief!
lots and lots of soft hugz....
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines


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