Straydog, yes, you are reading my post correctly. I'd have to go back and reread my previous medical records, but if I went through with it I'd be fused from approximately T2 or T3 all the way to the bottom. I current portion of my fusion, which extends down to L2 (I believe) was done in 1992 to correct for severe scoliosis. Four years later I herniated a disc below the fusion in a dance class (I'm still upset that I was told it was safe to go back to dance class). The discs below the fusion, three in total, have gotten progressively worse since then. A second disc herniated, or at least became severely herniated, a little over two years ago. The third one happened this year. The second and third herniations weren't brought on by a specific injury. Instead, I believe they were brought on by a combination of continued degeneration of those discs, plus the added strain to my back that came along with becoming a mother. My daughter is now 3.5 years, so it became hardest on my back once she reached 9-12 months, and continued until she got close to 3 years old. It's getting a bit easier now, mostly because I rarely need to carry her.
This surgeon said that there's nothing else he could recommend that could help. I've tried all the conventional conservative treatments, e.g. injections, PT, TENS, meds, etc. It does seem weird that he wants to do a discogram first, but he basically said that he always does that first basically as a final confirmation that that is the source of the pain. So basically, since all three discs below my current fusion are herniated, he doesn't think treating one but not the others would work. That's why he suggested the full fusion.
He asked me at the end of the appointment if I wanted to go ahead and schedule the surgery, but I told him that I couldn't make such a big decision on the spot like that, which he totally understood. He suggested I go online to get more information about
the surgery, and that he could also put me in touch with former patients of his that had the same surgery if I want.
Getting a second/third opinion is probably a good idea. Is the best kind of doctor for me an orthopedic surgeon, which is what I saw today, or should I consider seeing someone in a different surgical specialty?
If any of you know of any good resources for information about
this type of surgery, I would be very grateful if you could point me in the right direction.
BreezyP: Tramadol was the first medication I was given when the pain dramatically worsened two years ago. It helped, but it's not that strong. It's actually hard for me to tell how much it's helping now since I have taken it 3x/day for 2 years, so I don't know what I would feel like without it. The Lyrica did help with the sciatica in my legs, but unfortunately caused a significant amount of weight gain, which was not good for my back pain. My PM doc recently switched me to Topomax (I don't think I updated my profile, sorry), which is actually helping a bit more than the Lyrica did. Unfortunately, Topomax had the side effect of causing extremely nausea at first for me, and continues to cause decreased appetite and has even made certain foods that I used to love completely unappealing to me. It's very strange. But for the sake of my back, this has resulted in a 20 lb weight loss so far (~2 lb/week). I told my doc about
the side effects, but he said that as long as I could live with them for now, it would be better to stay with the Topomax for now since it has been helping more plus the weight loss should also help my back. One added benefit is that Topomax is much cheaper than Lyrica.
Damgaluna I had to edit one word. As keeping with the forum rules we have to keep the language clean as we never know the ages of some of the readers here at the forum since it is a public forum.
Post Edited By Moderator (straydog) : 11/16/2010 12:15:39 PM (GMT-7)