5666209 tn?1372165799

Facing my 5th Back Surgery Need Advice

My surgical nightmare began in 2008 when I had a simple Laminectomy surgery that was performed at the wrong level and then I ended up blowing out the level that the surgery was performed at. This eventually led to a two level fusion of L3-4 and L4-5 in 2009, hardware removal 2010 and then a more extensive Lumbar fusion at the same spot in 2011. I've made it just over a year with a constant worsening of bilateral leg pain and back pain (legs are worse). Just had another MRI done and my L5-S1 Disc is collapsing (which makes sense with the solid fusion putting extra pressure on it) and there is some lipmoma something down there, but now the level above my fusion L2-3 has spinal stenosis  and is degenerating. My surgeon who has done my last 3 surgeries I love. I heard a lot of "ugh but you are so young" I am 38, as he is contemplating what to do with the logical thought of fusing my bottom level and not knowing what to do with my top level. I thought that fusing my bottom level would be the end of this nightmare. I  am scared as to how fast my L2-3 level which was perfectly normal in my MRI just over a year ago has deteriorated. I don't know what to do. It is like once again okay fuse the bottom, but then the top is still messed up. I am tired of having surgery seeing I have had one a year since 2008 (well made it through 2012 lol) and then having to go back having another one. They debated initially doing a 3 level fusion because of what obviously is occurring now. I understand surgeons want to do least amount as possible, but I am scared I will have a 3 level then be stuck going back for the 4 level fusion. I know the surgeon is trying to obviously look at the quality of my life in the future, and right now he is simply going to do a diagnositc injection at L5-S1 to see if that helps and then if it does he will recommend surgery. He said if it doesn't help, he isn't going to necessarily take surgery off the table.  What would you do?  I am tired of feeling like I am being put back together slowly with bandaids. I am scared I am going to end up in a wheelchair by the time i am 40. I am currently disabled. The pain has become so severe that my massive amount of medications don't help and it is taking a huge toll on everything in my life.. I have resigned to the fact that I will never be pain free, but I have to do better than what I currently am because I just can't function like this. Has anyone had a 3 level or even 4 level fusion? Did it help? How has that affected your life? Are your limitations much more severe than a 2 level fusion? I am just a wreck. As a single mom of a 6 year old, I can't handle her seeing me like this. I just want this nightmare to end. At this point if I could even become 50% better I'd be so happy. Any thoughts?
2 Responses
Avatar universal
I'm your age and in 2006 I started having surgeries on my back. My last was was a fusion and I was told I would be out of pain if I had it done... What a bold face lie!! I'm worse off now, disabled and cannot work. I'm in constant pain and have been told nothing else can be done to correct the problem. I even had a second and third opinion before having the fusion. All my surgeries were done by the same doctor. Because I didn't get better he dropped me as a patient saying it was in my head! I have been thru all sorts of treatments and medications. Like yourself I'm terrified of being worse off then I am now. I can at least walk and do my daily activities even tho they are painful.  My thought process is this... There is always someone out there who has it worse off then myself.  I have a warm moist heating pad, I go to acupuncture and massage sessions along with monthly pain management visits.  I've had the steroid injections and physical therapy sessions that didnt help. My suggestion would be to find a combination of things that help alleviate your pain if your wanting to avoid anymore surgery.
Good luck to you!
Avatar universal
I know how you feel. I had a three level cervical fusion with hardware due to blown discs as a result of auto accident. ( Rear ended) My life was taken away from me. The surgery I was told, was to alleviate the pain I was in. Yeah right! I now live in constant pain and dependent on narcotics. I too am disabled. I have tried everything from massage therapy to steroid injections and nothing works. I have no social life and hardly ever get out of the house. The only position that I can tolerate for extended periods is laying down. So my bed is my life now. I too have herniated the level above the fusion c3/c-4 but unless and until there's spinal cord involvement I will definitely not consider surgery ever again. May God help you and Bless you.
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