Finally saw Orthopedic Surgeon (Kinda)

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misterkatamari
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Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 2/25/2011 5:32 PM (GMT -6)   
So I finally saw the Orthopedic surgeon today. Kind of. I actually only saw his PA, but I still got some answers at least. Although they're not quite that helpful long term, really.

The PA told me that I had a 'huge' herniation that was impinging my nerve root on L1-2. She acted as though they had thought of surgery, but she noted that surgery would be very complicated. She didn't actually say I could NEVER have surgery done, but that it would probably be very last resort (if that, even).

I guess the problem is that the herniated disc is right where my scoliosis curves the most. Right where the farthest degree of it goes, and it is basically bearing most of my weight--which is likely why that particular disc herniated first. So, surgery--she said--would be very nasty because if they simply removed the disc the rest of my spine would be ridiculously unstable and would require 'massive Reconstruction'.

So instead I'm being put on oral steroids (Medrol). Then I am to see a pain management specialist who they want to try some injections on me.

So the good news is they didn't jump in to just do surgery...but that's also kind of the bad news, I guess. This isn't a quick fix. So now I have lots of questions which I felt like I should have asked then, but didn't. I guess because I was so caught up on surgery that when I didn't have it looming over me so much that I kinda forgot about the rest. I did ask if this would be a long term thing, and she said that if I can control the pain I can go back to my normal routine.

But I do want to ask what the long term effects of this could be. I mean the herniated disc would still be there regardless of how many drugs or injections I take, right? I just want to make sure I don't cover up my pain and then run into something even worse or something like that. The other question I have is even if this does help short term, say, what if it flares up right after? The fact that this particular area of my spine is bearing this weight makes me feel like it is at risk to happen again. So I want to ask about that too.

So I have to wait again, basically.

Still no idea if I can go back to school this fall, or work. Or if I should even plan to. That's the worst part for me right now, this uncertainty. If the pain subsides I can do normal things, so I hope one of these things DO help. The pain drives me crazy and keeps me up at night. My life has been altered so quickly, it's really hard to adjust to this stuff all at once. So if I get any relief at all, I'll be grateful, even if I still have trouble with my normal routine. Some help is better than none at all. I still worry, though, of being stuck with this pain long term.

So, yeah. tongue

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 2/25/2011 6:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Pebbles.

I hope these things help too! I'd rather try stuff like this before surgery anyhow, I just wish I knew what was ahead of me. lol

momtofourangels
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Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 2265
   Posted 2/26/2011 1:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Paula. I hope that the shots and the Medrol works for you too. I don't have scoliosis or a herniated disc, so I don't know what you're in for. I do know what the chronic pain is, and I hope that this plan makes you feel better.

love and hugs
Loretta

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 2/26/2011 8:43 AM (GMT -6)   
When it comes to discussing something like surgery I would frankly, much prefer to talk with a qualified doctor.
Alcie
 
 

Screaming Eagle
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Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 2/26/2011 9:05 AM (GMT -6)   
 
    I'm going to agree with Alice on this one. For me, if I was going in to see a surgeon and especially on my spine, a PA would not cut it for me. I also know that it would anger my PCD if he sent me there in the first place.
 
      I have had this happen before when I had melanoma cancer. My PCD sent me in to see a specialist, and a PA actually saw me there. When my PCD found this out he went through the roof! Melanoma is nothing to mess with either, and can become deadly very quickly.
 
     Many members here would also advise you to seek out an second opinion as well.
 
       Keep searching please!...and Good Luck to you!
 
         SE wink

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 2/26/2011 4:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone.

Honestly, I didn't really care that it was a PA when I realized I didn't need surgery immediately. It would have been very bizarre if the surgeon who was supposedly going to cut me open and preform spinal surgery didn't even speak with me before hand. If I get no results--and even if I do perhaps--I intend to get a referral to a neurosurgeon so that I can compare what I am being told.

I'm on day 2 of this Medrol stuff. My legs ache, but it could just be from the weather. No other affect yet, though, good or bad. Been sticking to its directions.

I also will prolly be contacted soon by the Pain management specialist office, so I can ask some questions there too I hope.

The biggest problem around here is that I am sort of limited in my choices. Due to insurance and location. Many of these providers are directly related to one another by hospital affiliation or what not. For instance, the neurologist I saw seems to be directly involved with the orthopedic surgeon's office and their umbrella company. So it seems kind of weird.

Regardless, I am hoping for the best...but preparing for the long haul.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16804
   Posted 2/26/2011 5:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mister, hopefully the steroids will kick in and help get some of the inflammation down which should help with the pain. The steroids have to build up a little in your system and then will kick in. Who knows between those and the injection you may possibly respond very well and end up pain free.

My sister had a pinched nerve at the bottom disc and was totally miserable. She got sick and ended up on Medrol Dosepak. She said a few days after being on the Medrol she woke up one morning after being on them a few days and the first thing she noticed was her back pain was gone. She called me all excited thinking she was cured, I told her not cured the steroids just took care of the inflammation with the nerve. She said well at least now I know what to do if it happens again.

Keep us posted on how you are doing and take care.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

spinal soldier
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Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 687
   Posted 2/26/2011 7:21 PM (GMT -6)   
the Medrol will more than likely help but you must watch any fluid retention, weight gain, or over eating because it will give you the muncies. then you end up back at square one with high blood sugar. since you have scoliosis (lumbar?) you have a real barrier to overcome but your only out will be strengthining your "core" muscles, mostly upper core at the L1 level. front abdominals, lower front abs, obliques, lower-back muscles: paraspinalis, also your hip flexors, hip abductors and adductors. it is not as much or as hard as you might think and you can do it on a mat on your floor, whats the worst thing that can happen; you need an operation. exercise will cause pain even if you use perfect form so ask for the appropriate opioid pain medicine and maybe a NSAID or muscle-relaxant (Soma,Flexeril) it is better to take analgesics as directed and exercise to try to form a solid muscle brace around the bottom of your mid-back/top of low-back. when that fails and injections fail (injections not effective for anything but the relief of symptoms) then consider surgery and i have seen a couple great scoliosis surgeries recently. i know you can push the curve out with core work because i took X-Rays along the way and my T12,L1 area straightened. now my laziness has let my gut go back to flab but i'm trying to crack down. if your interested i have a book with core exercises for spine people. a couple supplements will assist: L-carnitine, conjugated linoelic acid (CLA).

cogito
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 2/27/2011 3:51 PM (GMT -6)   
misterkatamari,

I just posted on another thread pertaining to spinal surgery. I would have just PM'ed you to draw your attention to it, but I don't think this forum has this option. so, check out:
http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=16&m=2040000

retiredmom posted a link to a study on spine surgery:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_109148.html and the data is frightening.

Regarding your reflections about work/school, I've mentioned it before, but keep in mind online courses. Some universities offer 100 or so different courses online per semester and you probably can make it through much of you degree that way.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs)
RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10-15mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .5mg ativan as needed for sleep.

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 2/27/2011 7:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks again.

I'm hoping to get some relief from the combination of all this stuff. My concern is just that even if I get this under control, what am I to do if it flares up again for several months again? Either way, I am in awful pain now, so anything is a blessing.

The worst part is just the uncertainty. Cogito, thanks for your information and advice again. I'm completely open to taking classes online. The only problem is that I don't know if I NEED to take them. If I have a chance at being pain free or tolerable, then there is no reason for me to start taking online classes when I was already registered at a physical college. But since I don't know if I am going to be well enough or not, it's just really up in the air. I have been doing some research on the matter, though. The other question, however, is if I end up dealing with this pain for years or so--and this is just me being super worst-case scenario, I guess--what if I take all these classes and can't even really do the career work that I am aiming for? I was planning on being a teacher, but obviously as I am right now I can't even go to school to learn let alone teach. lol

I guess the other thing is that I just don't know what to expect in terms of pain relief? Will I be able to drive again? Will I find a medicine that will lower my pain without rendering me super loopy or tired? I'd do almost anything to lower this pain, but I just don't know what to expect in terms of how this all is going to affect my daily life. I suppose that I could have a better idea of that when I see the pain management doctor. I just wish there were clearer answers, but I suppose there is no real hope of that. Just have to try out these things and see what happens. One day at a time!

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16804
   Posted 2/28/2011 1:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mister, well if the steroids and the injection work on the pain and gets the pain level way down thats great. Yes there is a real good possibility that you will have another flare-up but no one can say when. If you were to have another flare-up at least you and the dr would know what to do to get you some relief. Keep in mind this is not a cure of the problem.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

misterkatamari
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 3/1/2011 9:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Straydog, yeah at least we have some idea of what is wrong and eventually will have some idea on how to treat it.

Only two days left of the oral steroids, and I just sent information to the pain management doctor so I'll have a call for an appointment soon.

Still waiting, trying to take it easy. Hope everyone is doing ok.
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