Post count: 13

Thank you for responding so quickly! I had to post my success status, post spinal-fusion because I believe it’s so important to circle back around and let people know there is life after fusion and the success stories are sometimes harder to find. I believe your forum and email responses helped me finally come the decision that no one else could make and I felt educated, informed ( anxious but, ready) when I went for the surgery. I cannot understate the importance of your information and how it helped me select an amazing surgeon at JH (since I live in MD and insurance wouldn’t approve out of state treatment by you in CO).

Again, I want others to know that I had L4/L5 spinal-fusion and Day 1 is the absolute worst and excruciating BUT, Day 2 the pain starts to morph into very tolerable incisional pain; I felt immediate improvement and no longer had the debilitating pre-surgical pain. All the hip, leg and foot pain I’d suffered from for 2 yrs had all but, disappeared…only latent numbness in bottom left foot, which was there before and might not go away or, just take longer– Amazing! I want people to know that you were 100% accurate with your advice and if someone still has questions –just weigh them against your current quality of life. I had none prior to this surgery, unless I was medicated, and for me it wasn’t an acceptable quality of life. My chronic pain affected everyone around me -my 12 yr old son, especially. I wish I’d made my decision sooner!

The MVA on 1/30/14 – I was sore a few days; luckily it was a “mild impact” and my doctors advice was to wait a few days –the muscle soreness disappeared after 4 days and intimately, no changes to my walking routine of 3-5 mi per day.

The fall on the following Friday, 2/6/14 was different. I was in the air long enough to have 3 distinct thoughts about how to try and save myself. While in air, I felt an extreme pull at left lower back –more than once (only on left, not right side) – after landing and initial shock, I got up quickly to ice but, I just knew –in that moment and way that only people who’ve lived or, are living through this, just know that something bad just happened.

I emailed my neurosurgeon ASAP and his response was immediate — said give it a few weeks (probably because I hadn’t complained of extreme, shooting pain because I didn’t have it immediately – I just reported the fall, the back pull/strain and that it did hurt a lot). I emailed again Monday to explain the new nerve pain in toes -no response. Tuesday, emailed and included the additional new pain that started deep in my back (feels almost like a bruised bone –one small, very deep, consistent, gnawing pain on left side) and also, I’d been released for out-patient PT this week and so, I asked if I should stay on course with that – still no response.

I took it easy that week, ignored the pain and I try to be positive –perhaps convince myself it’s a temporary setback and to push through it (reasonably). Went back to old routine; less walking. However, basically, I’m only able to function by aid of pain meds – again. Devastating, really, as I thought these days were over for me, after 2 years.

Finally, after a week with increasing pain….lightning bolts in 3 middle left toes, combo of heat & burning and numbness in left bottom foot, inability to sit anymore than 5 min without significant pain to both legs (mostly left left and foot), can’t walk up/down stairs or drive anymore without massive pain and then, the walking not just helping at all, was the last straw for me. I emailed the JH team again.

For some reason, I really had to push them to give me orders for X-ray & MRI (which, I finally received yesterday) and the PA also, ordered a full Epic (not sure what that is). Then, the secretary & PA emailed me frantically afterwards to tell me only have the X-ray right now and not to use the MRI order yet.

I’m back to sleeping in a recliner (made for my type of recovery) and this morning I woke with an extreme muscle spasm in my left inner thigh. I’ve never had this before and it scares me to death. What could the inner thigh spasm be from?

I’ll have the X-ray on Monday but, not sure why he wants to wait on the MRI. I can barely get around why not have all imaging done at once, especially if my insurance will cover it?

Why would I get push back for these tests? Should I get the X-ray and wait for his response? I want an MRI. Maybe nothing can be done…maybe something can –how do you know?
Should I still try some PT in the meantime or just walk for now? Walk though the pain?

Should I consider seeing a more local Orthopedist in the meantime for long term care? I’d wanted to see him for knee and drop foot – they have a PT dept., as well. Just seems like with the Neuro’s is once you leave the hospital, you’re done unless you need more surgery.
I don’t know what is right to do in my case but, I do know that my left leg is getting worse day by day – severe pain, entirely new spasms, more foot drop and numbness.

I started all of this back in March 2013 with the L4/L5 disc herniations and 2 mico-discektomies (different NeuroSurgeon). Then, went an entire year under care of a pain management specialist who kept giving me stronger medications after cortisone shots, epidurals, didn’t work. Aug 2014, I insisted on an MRI because I still had extreme pain – it showed the enormous 3rd herniation at same level. My JH neurosurgeon said, post-surgery, that he hadn’t seen one so large and it was absolutely crushing my L5 nerve. He couldn’t believe that I was walking at all – lots of meds just masked the problem. I don’t want this to happen again.

Thank you for your advice and support. Navigating these waters is so scary and lonely. I don’t want my neurosurgeon to be upset (I know I’m high maintenance) but, I can’t let it go so long this time. I had a sliver vision of my old life and I just want it back for my child.

Thank you again!