BLOG – L4-5 Spinal Fusion Surgery

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This topic contains 131 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  Mona 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #38628

    Fritz
    Participant

    I had my MRI done yesterday.
    I get the results today.
    Either it shows nothing more, in which case they’re going to thing I’m crazy;
    or it will show a herniation at L5-S1;
    n which case I’m going to need surgery.

    Either way, I’m screwed.

    #38633

    Navchic
    Participant

    Hi Fritz,
    Did you get your results? A few months after I had surgery I had a major flare up – thought I had undone everything, but was a flare up becuase I was moving again, even though I was doing what I was told. (It did all settle down again).
    Hope things go okay for you today.
    T

    #38634

    Fritz
    Participant

    MRI results are in:

    Everything is inflamed but nothing is out of place.

    They’re going to do a caudal epidural to calm everything down.

    Hopefully, it’ll work and I can get back on the recovery track.

    Steve

    #38635

    Jan Sadler
    Keymaster

    What a relief. I hope it all settles down very soon.

    Jan at PainSupport

    #38636

    Navchic
    Participant

    So glad to hear that, recovery is a scary time.
    T

    #38640

    Di
    Participant

    Glad to hear nothing disastrous has happened. One step back, two steps forward.

    #38686

    Fritz
    Participant

    Well, ladies and gentlemen,

    I’ve been back in hospital for a week now.

    Whenever I stand or sit, I get sciatic pain from my right hip down to my right knee and into my right calf.
    At this point it turns into pins&needles until it gets to my foot, which is completely numb on the right side (outside) of my right foot. Not to be outdone, my left foot joins in the fun by having pins and needles up and under the middle three toes. I also have urine retention and have had a catheter since admission.

    Upon clinical examination, I couldn’t lift my right leg off of the bed but could lift my left leg up to 60%.

    For those with more than one brain cell, this indicates that my L5-S1 disc has herniated to the right posterlateral aspect and is crushing the S1 nerve root.

    My orthopaedic doctor told me that the supine MRI they carried out on Tuesday showed “no mechanical reason why I should be in such pain.” He has offered a caudal epidural on Monday morning.

    For those who remember my previous blog called ‘another journey’, those were the exact words used by an orthopaedic consultant when he reviewed the standard MRI of my L4-5 disc, prior to an upright MRI scan I paid £1100.00 for which clearly showed my L5 nerve roots being crushed under the pressure of my body weight.

    So I find myself in a familiar position, i have clear symptoms of an S1 nerve root compression. I have an MRI which was taken in the supine position that doesn’t show the compression of the nerve root, and an orthopaedic consultant who won’t do more than an injection to “see if that works.”

    I don’t have £1100 to spend on an upright MRI scan this time and I’m terrified that, without the diagnostics of an upright MRI, I won’t get the right treatment this time and my symptoms may become permanent.

    #38688

    Navchic
    Participant

    Hi Fritz,
    Do you think you will go ahead with the nerve root block on Monday? Are you currently attending the same orthopod that did your fusion surgery? Did he use the upright MRI scans for planning etc? Does that surgeon think the upright MRI will show somwthing different? It must be a fairly new procedure – they don’t have them here at all.
    Perhaps the block will help?

    #38696

    Fritz
    Participant

    I’m going ahead with the caudal epidural but, since I cannot wee (they tried removing the catheter for 12 hours and it didn’t work so they put it back), I’m going to ask them to do the upright MRI to see if that picks anything up. Whilst I wait to see if the CE works.

    #38797

    Fritz
    Participant

    Well, they did the caudal epidural. For the first couple of days it did appear to have worked. But then the pains and pins and needles slowly disappeared. So I was glad with the result. All I had to do was wait for bowel and bladder functions to return and they let me home on Friday evening.

    Now, you’ll have to forgive my vernacular and crude sense of humour displayed at this point, but on the third day after the epidural, the pain team sent along a psychiatrist to see me. She arrived shortly after I had been given an enema to try and release the blockage. I suffer PTSD as a result of a work incident in 2011 so I didn’t think much of it until she kept being coy whenever I asked a question about her presence. So I asked straight out why she was there. She said that the ‘pain team’ had decided that I was exhibiting too much pain based on the MRI images they had seen. Now I know that a lot of you would agree that it really doesn’t matter what appears on the diagnostic images. The pain is what the patient says it is. Having had to spend over £1000 proving my disc had crushed my nerves in December 2014, I felt a little grumpy with her plum-in-mouth, doesn’t- know-a-thing-about-real-pain attitude. So, when she revealed exactly why she was there, I got a little angry. And forgot what I was waiting for. So, just as I told her I thought she was an uncaring heartless woman, thinking that my pain was in my mind I shouted at the top of my voice, “your kind of people just make me want to sh*t.” At which point, the enema finally worked and she quickly left. I never saw her again.

    I’m now back at home, and I feel pretty well, all things considered. The caudal epidural did the trick and I’m gently easing back into daily walking and swimming.

    I have an appointment with the ‘pain team’ on the 12th. I can’t wait!!!!

    #38807

    Navchic
    Participant

    Hi Fritz,
    Just to give you a laugh – before I had my SCS I had to have a pain psychologist assessment, to check that I understood that the device wouldn’t cure me and would just help manage my condition.
    Anyway, I met her, talked for about 15 minutes, She asked me about my job and very breifly about my life. She seemed hung over to be honest, but needs must, so I just answered the very basic questions (similar conversation to one you might have with someone in the waiting room). When she was done with the chatting she said that she’d have no problem recommending me for the surgery and that she hoped that everything went really well with the surgery and that I got married and had a baby!!! And they were checking that I was the sane one! I smiled and said thanks, She smiled and said that will cost 200e for the report.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!
    At least she wrote the report……

    #38809

    Fritz
    Participant

    There’s a good phrase for persons on positions of authority who cannot accept their fallibility – professional arrogance. Far too much of it is in public service, not just the NHS.

    On the good news front, it would appear that jarring my back again, the two week hospitalisation and the caudal epidural has been a blessing in disguise.

    Today I picked up my guitar and played it loud and bad for nearly an hour and a half. My fingers were getting sore so I stopped and went back to the house, realising on the way that my back wasn’t hurting at all.

    Haven’t had that since I started playing it!!!

    #38825

    Fritz
    Participant

    Another pain free day!

    I’m going to stop the MST completely over the next two days and see if I can be drug free too by the end of the week!

    #38876

    Fritz
    Participant

    today I realise that I have left my old adversary : pain.

    I need no more drugs in my system to mask him. I no longer have him making representations in every decision I make. He is not around to blight my light. He is no longer there if I should wake in the night.

    I can no longer feel him about to strike me when I bend down to my laces. He no longer forms any part of my plans for the day’s races.

    For those who get it, he has had to return all the spoons he stole from me 18 months ago.

    I know that he could return if I am not careful. One bad twist, one bad lift, one bad bend and he’ll jump straight back into my life without hesitation or care for my feelings.

    I have now learned to make sure he keeps away. I no longer twist, I turn slowly. I don’t lift, I ask for help. I don’t bend, I use levers and thought.

    Pain used to be my everything. My life, my overbearing guide and uncaring killjoy.

    But now I have control over him. I know his secret ways and I know now how to avoid them. I know how to quickly turn him away should he come knocking at the door.

    But now, where pain once was, is a void of conversations, talk of limitations and unaccepted invitations.

    Now comes the difficult part. Learning to be me again. Learning to hug without fear of pain. Learning to join in without fear of pain. Learning to let go of the one thing that defined me for so song.

    Learning to be me again.

    I hadn’t thought this through. The goal was to be pain free.

    I am now.

    Now, how do I be me?

    Steve T
    May 2015

    #38877

    Jan Sadler
    Keymaster

    A lovely piece of prose. I think the road to be ‘you’ again is a challenge you are well up to, especially if you remember all you’ve learnt recently. You are still you, but you have more of life’s experiences under your belt. Make the most of the New You! And let us know what ‘he’ does.
    Jan at PainSupport

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