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Thread: Surgery in next few days

  1. #1

    Default Surgery in next few days

    This last 5 weeks has gone by so fast. I awakened in the middle of the night then with excruciating pain and it was severe enough to cause me to black out. As soon as I could I had my wife drive me to our doctor's office. We did not call for an appointment, we just got there as they opened. They took me right in, got me some pain meds, muscle relaxers, and a big shot of steroids. He also set an appointment with a nuerosurgeon. It would take five weeks to get in, so I asked him to get me someone else in spinal issues. He got me an appointment with a nice ortho spinal surgeon. He ordered X-rays, MRI,and blood work to see exactly what we were dealing with.

    When he got the results from the MRI he was pretty shook up. He was shocked I could still walk and had any bowel or bladder function. He wanted to do surgery right away. I knew how bad it was but I also knew I had to talk to my wife and kids (all grown) before I was going to set surgery. In addition, I did want a second opinion and had an appointment with the original neurosurgeon in a matter of days.

    I saw the nuerosurgeon Monday afternoon. He was as shocked that I had any function and said surgery would have to be done in days rather than weeks. He also took my case to a meeting of spinal specialists this morning to see what suggestions they may have. I have some complications due to earlier spinal fusion and some nerve issues that were obvious. He would get back to me today or in the morning.

    This afternoon I got a call from his office. His partner wants to see me in the morning and see what we are dealing with. They will then tell me what all they are going to do and how quickly I can get into the surgery. The center for spinal surgery is one of the top 5 in the nation, so I know the facilities are top flight. They specialize in spinal surgeries only.

    What needs to be done from earlier discussions is to undo the original fusion. They need to get the old hardware out, then restore the curvature to the lumbar spine. They will then fuse the several vertebra together in one larger fusion rather than several smaller ones. They will have to do a lot of work on the bone both to undo the original fusion and to open the pathway for the spinal column. My cord is almost completely cut off from the damage in L3-L4 as well as damage to nerve roots there and in other levels below. This is complicated by Caude Equina issues from the previous surgery.

    If they do what they have indicated it would be a 10-12 hour surgery. It is a lot of work but they are confident they can restore my function and eliminate the pain. Most likely I will have better function than I have had since before my first spinal surgery many years ago. That would be so great and to see life restored to a higher level than I have had for so long!

    I will know exactly what the plan is tomorrow. My family is pretty shook up after the results of the last fusion (paralysis) so getting them on the same plan as me has taken a bit. My wife has attended all the appointments with the surgeons so she is pretty comfortable with things. In addition, she has seen me go down hill daily and my kids don't see me often and they really don't know how little I can do. Her comfort level has been good for them and they are less stressed as well.

    The first surgeon we saw was willing to do the surgery, but he was not too excited about it and was happy to let anyone else do it. He was not excited about how long it would take, and how complicated it would be. In addition, he operates in the smaller hospital in the suburbs. It is a nice place, but not really set up for surgery this complicated. They only do a few fusions a year, and none this complicated. My family and I were not excited about that. Going to the Spinal Surgery Center where it is only for spinal surgery makes us far more comfortable. They are trained and equipped to handle any situation that may come along.

    I would appreciate your prayers over the next bit. I will keep you guys informed as I can. Have a Great Day!
    Joe

  2. #2
    Distinguished Community Member
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    Joe, I just woke up from a two day sleep and see your post. I will keep you in my prayers and hope all goes well. I have gone through the talking to my family as it includes them when we have such big surgeries. I went through a 11 hour lumbar fusion and the best news, besides it is still great after 15 years, you don't know any difference than if it was only 1 hour. It is much harder on our spouses and family to set through it for so long. It sounds like you have a great team for this surgery and I hope all goes much better this time.
    1979 spinal issues, 1993 lumbar microdisectomy L3-4, 1996 360 3 level lumbar fusion L2-5, 1999 open thoractomy fusion T8-9,
    2002 C3-7 herniations and T4-7 herniations, 2004 total disability, a new limited life

  3. #3

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    Surgery is next Thursday (20th) in Nashville. I am looking forward to getting through this and being pain free and able to walk somewhat normal again. I am excited about the surgeons that will be doing the work. I really think this one will be a great success. My wife was a bit reluctant to discuss more spinal surgery when this became acute about five weeks ago. She has seen my function decrease so much day by day that even she is excited to see it get done. I did the pre-op phyical and blood work today and even got fitted for my back brace. We are all ready to go! Thank all of you for your prayers!

  4. #4
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    Joe, glad to hear you are in great spirits for this surgery and your wife is now looking forward to it. It makes a big difference, I think, to the end results if you expect good things. You have everything ready for the surgery so now it is just time to wait for the day. Good luck and I will add you to my prayers.
    1979 spinal issues, 1993 lumbar microdisectomy L3-4, 1996 360 3 level lumbar fusion L2-5, 1999 open thoractomy fusion T8-9,
    2002 C3-7 herniations and T4-7 herniations, 2004 total disability, a new limited life

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    Good luck to both of you. My prayers are with you both.

  6. #6
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    Joe, wishing you MUCH luck and success in your surgery. Your response to me was very helpful and I wish the best for you. My surgery is scheduled for Oct. 28. Please keep us updated on how u are doing.:o

  7. #7
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    Joe, good luck with your surgery. I found out I was a week early for when you go in. I hope this week goes fast for you and the family as waiting isn't easy to do.

    Carol, I wish you good luck too. It seems you and Joe have immediate needs for surgery and I hope both of you get great results. I hope you have someone that can post under your name and let us know how you are doing following surgery if you are unable to post. The 28th will be here before you know it.
    1979 spinal issues, 1993 lumbar microdisectomy L3-4, 1996 360 3 level lumbar fusion L2-5, 1999 open thoractomy fusion T8-9,
    2002 C3-7 herniations and T4-7 herniations, 2004 total disability, a new limited life

  8. #8
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    Jeez Big Joe -- I just saw this and I'm shocked! I guess I didn't realize all the trouble you've been having! I'm so sorry this is going to be so complicated. But I hope you KNOW that you will be in my thoughts & prayers! You've been thru so much -- you certainly don't need this.

    Keep us posted -- and I'll be thinking of you! Hugs, Lee
    Recovering alcoholic, sober since 7-29-93;
    severe DDD; sciatica; osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, 2 spinal surgeries, SCS implant & removal, morphine pump trial-didn't work, umpteen injections/epidurals/trigger points,rhizotomy, Racz procedure, etc., therapy, 4 more herniations, now inoperable; lumpectomy, radiation therapy~breast cancer survivor,fibromyalgia;depression; heart attack. On disability.

  9. #9
    New Community Member Frost's Avatar
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    Hang tough, Big Joe - as you've always done!

    You'll pull through this latest chapter of that Spinie Soap-Opera "As the Lumbar Turns" with flying colours. You have the right doctors, it's the right time and you've got the right attitude. And as we all know, attitude is at least 75-80% of the success equation in any situation.

    What's there to go wrong?

    Take extra-special care. I care!
    ACDF C4/5 - 1998
    Hemi-Lam/Discectomy/foramenectomy C5/6 - 1999
    Occupation: Door-to-Door Anvil Salesman
    Mood: Usually chipper. Underwear: Black

  10. #10
    Distinguished Community Member puddykat's Avatar
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    Hey big Joe, I've been in hibernation and sick so just saw the news. Glad you finally found a grea team of surgeons and a date set for your surgery. Know you'll be so happy when this waiting is all over, deed is done, you'll be back to your old self. Wishing you the best, many prayers to follows!! hugs, my man, kat :)
    TMJ/shoulder/parotid tumor surgery, Scoliosis, Lumbar fusion for Spondylolithesis; now in entire spine. Herniated cervical disc, no surgery, high risk/Vascular Dementia (VaD), Breast Cancer survivor 12 yrs, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis. Rapid transit small bowel/no weight gain, IBS, 'cusp'/Crohns; Diviculosis; myoclonic dystonia. VaD, my 8th yr, causes tia's, seizures, strokes, Parkinson's, Lewy Body Dementia

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