Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back Surgery - June 2013

I have been suffering from back pain since I was nine years old. Some of the readers may be asking, "What took so long to get it checked?" And that is a GREAT question.

I have had my back checked several times over the years. Many doctors said it was just stressed muscles or wearing the wrong shoes. Twelve years ago, I found a doctor who listened. Even though X-Rays were inconclusive (according to the radiologist), he suggested I see a chiropractor.

I went to our local chiropractor. He was awesome. He had just opened the business and was very personable with his patients. He held educational seminars prior to the first treatment and even called after treatments to ensure things were okay. 

The X-Rays he took showed definite problems in the lumbar. I started treatment, and all was working out well. I would get adjusted, do my exercises and end on the "traction table" (I call it the rolly table, because a wheel rolled up and down my spine.) 

Eventually, as it happens with medicine and just life in general, new technology was introduced. It was a machine called the turbosonic. The job of the machine was essentially to vibrate a platform at varying frequencies while I stood on it for 10 minutes. Easy peasy, right?

Well, after doing that for a few months, a couple times each month, I went back to the rolly table after those 10 minutes on turbo. The first time back on rolly, the wheel got to my lower back and it went POP. I had my kids get the office admin who immediately turned off rolly. Doc had to help me off the table and after paying my co-pay, I went home and took the PM version of extra strength acetaminophen. 

We continued turbo for a few more months, and again, a really bad day, and I tried rolly, once more. This time, the POP was heard by my daughter and drew tears from my eyes. Repeat the above post rolly for that day.

I continued to see my doc, because I trusted him. We continued adjustments and turbo, until I could no longer handle feeling my clothing rubbing on my skin during the 10 minutes of bouncing.

I then found my rheum doctor. Have I told you I love her yet? Well, I do. After we tamed the RD symptoms, we discovered my back was in more pain than I had thought originally. I could not walk more than 10 feet without pain, nor could I move my toes without tears falling down my cheeks because of pain.

She sent me to PT, but it didn't work. She then suggested I talk to my primary care doc (who works with my rheum and is just as awesome) to see what could be done. Primary care doc set me up with an orthopedic surgeon (who, also, is spectacular). He took X-Rays, then evaluated me. Before he gave me the diagnosis, during the evaluation, he noticed my lack of balance. So, I went back for neck X-Rays. 

The result from my back: I had Spondylolisthesis. A familiar word to me, as I had seen it written on a sticky note on my chart at the chiropractor's office. He said, not only did I have that, but my disk was gone between L5 & L6. SERIOUSLY?

The result from my neck: Because no one listened to my cries about RD before my current rheum, I have sever damage above C1. To top it off, C3 and C5 are pushing C4 out of the family. He said this could be taken care of at a later date.

As for my back, Our first try at fixing this was an epidural injection in the lumbar. I was supposed to have three treatments, but after two, and talking to the doc who administered them, we concluded they were ineffective. 

Option two was surgery. My hubby said, "Get it done as soon as you can, probably right after school ends."

So, on June 24, 2013, I had surgery on my back. He went in through my ab to remove and replace the disk and screw it in place. I was then turned over and he straightened out my lumbar, screwed and hinged it.

Within three months, my rheum, primary care doc and orthopedic surgeon were elated at how well I healed and the progress I made. Even the physical therapist I saw couldn't believe what I could do. Every single one of these individuals attributed it to one thing - my positive attitude about the entire situation.

So, that's the surgery in a nut shell.

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