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New Member Introductions If you just joined, please introduce yourself here. Please add a signature describing your spinal history (use the "User CP) and ask us how we can help you get started.


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  #1  
Old 01-29-2011, 09:04 AM
marmca marmca is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 7
Default Mac - TN

Good Morning,

I just joined the ADR Support Community yesterday and this is my introduction. I am already grateful for this site. I will quickly introduce myself and then provide a summary of events that led me to this community.

I am 44 years old. I have a wonderful wife and 3 boys ranging from ages 2 - 16 years old. God has blessed me in more ways than I can possibly begin to mention.

My back pain moved to a whole new level in the Fall of 2008 when I was working in the yard, installing 110 bushes and 5 trees. I had intense pain in my low back, buttocks, and my feet. There was no pain down my legs which had my local neurosurgeon stumped. An MRI a minor buldge but no compression on either of my two nerve roots. My doctor said that he didn't think my pain was related to my back. He thought my problem wass more general, maybe a nervous system issue. I stayed with this doctor for 2 years, had several epideral shots with no relief. I began conservative programs (i.e. chiropractor, physical therapy, etc.). Over time I could tell that there was a direct correlation between when I aggrevated my back and my foot pain intensifying. So I KNEW that the two were related despite what my doctor was telling me. Recently (Dec. 2010), I changed doctors and my new neurosurgeon put his finger on the problem in 3 weeks. As confirmed by a discogram, I have Internal Disc Disruption in my L5-S1. The nucleus of my disc has been leaking out onto my nerves and lighting me up. My doctor recommended that I have a posterior disectomy lumbar fusion at L5-S1. I scheduled surgery for Thursday, Jan. 27th. While waiting for the fusion, I reached out to an orthapedic doctor in Dallas. A doctor there was kind enough to return my call. After the call with him, I called and cancelled my fusion surgery and flew to Dallas to learn more about Artificial Disc Replacement. In the literature that I received from this doctor was the site for this support community. So here I am.

Here is what I hope to get out of this support community:

- I want to help others who come to the site who learn that my symptons are like theirs.

- I need help determining if ADR is right for me.

- I need help in determining when is the right time for ADR.

- I need help to determine how to pick the right doctor for ADR surgery. I think I may have found the right doctor, but I want to confirm that.

- I need to know which ADR device is superior. I do know that my insurance will cover Charite and Prodisc-L.

- I need to speak to people who have had their ADR for the longest periods of time so I will know how they are doing over time.

- I would like to know how Harrison is doing since his surgery in 2004. I got his update message 6 weeks after surgery, what about now?

- I want to help others in any way I can. I don't want to simply get my benefit and disappear. Helping others is paramount.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. This is the my first posting on any site and I'm glad to do it.

Mac
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2011, 11:11 AM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,860
Default Welcome, Mac

Hi Mac,

Welcome and thank you for your eloquent introduction. I’ll respond to a few of your questions:

1. I am active and pain-free now, almost seven years post-op. I was lucky to have only one diseased level, and a partial corpectomy that removed all of the diseased tissue that might have caused residual, post-op pain. I have no physical limitations whatsoever; and I’ve shoveled more snow this season than I care to admit.

2. The Charite and the ProDisc have the most history and largest studies to show efficacy. Now that you are a member, you can (and should) review as many post-op topic stories as you can; there are now more than 450. But people are considerate enough to describe their procedures in their topic titles to make browsing easier for newbies.

3. Your probably saw this important topic already, but here it is in case you’ve not read all the pages: http://www.adrsupport.org/forums/f51...ications-9620/

There’s more, but I’ll defer to the other helpful members to address some of your other concerns…
__________________
"Harrison" - info (at) adrsupport.org
Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
Reborn June 25th, 2004, L5-S1 ADR Charite in Boston
Founder & moderator of ADRSupport - 2004
Founder Arthroplasty Patient Foundation a 501(c)(3) - 2006
Creator & producer, Why Am I Still Sick? - 2012
Donate www.arthropatient.org/about/donate
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2011, 11:38 AM
kennethhoff kennethhoff is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 71
Default

Mac -

Sorry to hear about all your back issues. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Look at getting the video "Getting Back on your feet" that Harrison made. It's on this websites homepage and talks alot about ADR, others experiences, etc ... It's quite good.

2. Talk to a few EXPERIENCED doctors who do ADR and get multiple opinions.

3. As Harrison said bellow, look at the link for ADR Risk, Complication and Disqualifications. Much of my research has shown me that the people who do the worst are those with co-morbidities (very overweight, smokers, other health issues, etc ...)

4. Learn as much as you can about back anatomy, ADR, and make a list of as many good questions for your doc going in to see him/her

5. You will find just as many success stories for Charite' as you will the Prodisc. The key to a good outcome (I believe), is the doctor performing it, and then your outlook, support, and determination to get better. How many has the doc done? how many with the particular disc your getting? what is the docs background? Talk about pro-op getting ready, and post-op recovery?

6. No one can tell you when the time is right. You will have to know it inside. When the pain overtakes your quality of life, then I would think it is time. Can you live with effective pain management, or will surgery possible dramatically improve your life function and abilities.

7. I've heard that a fusion at L5-S1 is Ok because it has the least movement, but my gut still tells me ADR is still the way to go. Too many open issues about adjacent levels, less mobility, etc ...

8. Good luck !!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken
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  #4  
Old 01-30-2011, 08:02 PM
scduggan scduggan is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 47
Default

Dear Mac,
Welcome to the Website and I am sorry you have to be here. I am about three weeks away from my one year ADR anniversary. You can see the details in my signature. Ken made some great points....especially about knowing when it is time for surgery. It is quite terrifying because back surgery is usually considered elective. I am your age and I also have three boys (WooHoo). The difference is I am female and my issue was L4/L5. Before deciding to go forward with ADR I had also tried all kinds of conservative treatment.

Are you by chance seeing one of the docs at Texas Back Institute? I had a wonderful experience there. I have heard a lot of folks on this website say they will only have ADR with a surgeon with LOTS of experience. I am better than I was before the surgery and I would do it again. In a strange way I still think I am improving. I am finding I am still learning what to do and what NOT to do. Mac, I will close now and I am feeling like I did not answer very many of your questions. Everyone wants to help, but this spine stuff is a nightmare with not a lot of crystal clear answers. Like Ken wrote, the majority of the negative ADR outcomes resulted from improper patient selection or surgeon error. You will learn so much from just snooping around the forums and reading LOTS of surgical outcomes. Good Luck!
CD
__________________
44 yr. old female
DDD at L4-L5
low back discomfort for several years
LBP for 2 to 3 years-much worse since April '09
44 visits to chiro in 6 months
PT & ESI (failed)
Discography/CT -positive at L4-L5, annular tear & bulge
three denials from UnitedHealthcare for ADR
Surgery 2/18/10-Freedom Lumbar disc L4/L5
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2011, 10:17 AM
marmca marmca is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 7
Default

Harrison,

Thank you for the insight. I will follow your advice. Like you, I have only one diseased level confirmed by a discogram that "lit me up" like the 4th of July. Have a great day and I will be checking back in with you soon.

Mac
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2011, 10:36 AM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,860
Default

And thank you Ken and CD.
__________________
"Harrison" - info (at) adrsupport.org
Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
Reborn June 25th, 2004, L5-S1 ADR Charite in Boston
Founder & moderator of ADRSupport - 2004
Founder Arthroplasty Patient Foundation a 501(c)(3) - 2006
Creator & producer, Why Am I Still Sick? - 2012
Donate www.arthropatient.org/about/donate
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2011, 11:11 AM
marmca marmca is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 7
Default

Ken,

Thank you for the informative response. Let me ask you this.... I have been speaking to a doc that has done 350 ADRs, has done 10 years of clinical experience, and has been involved in many studies related to ADR and Fusion. Does this level of experience I describe strong or not? My problem is that I have not a benchmark from which to measure this by. Thanks!

Mac
44 yr old male
Internal Disc Disruption at L5-S1 only
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2011, 11:16 AM
marmca marmca is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 7
Default 44 yr old male, Internal Disc Disruption at L5-S1, Considering ADR Surgery vs Fusion

CD,

Thank you for your response. Yes, I am talking to a doc at Texas Back Institute. My gut tells me he is a solid doc for ADR but I need to confirm that further. I'm not sure if it is ok to name a doc on this site so I am being cautious. I'd like to know who your doc was if it is possible to share that information. Please advise.

Mac

44 yrs old
Male
Internal Disc Disruption at L5-S1 only
Cancelled fustion surgery on 1/27/11
Flew to Texas to learn more about ADR
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2011, 11:22 AM
marmca marmca is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 7
Default Patience

You guys excuse me while I'm learning how to navigate on this site. Initially I was replying to each person separately (quick reply) who sent me a message. Now I am addressing the group at large. I need to figure out the automatic signature thing when my work slows down. When I say I'm a newbie, I mean that this is the first time I have ever communicated on a site like this. I'll get better. Hang in there and build in forgiveness.

Mac
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2011, 12:58 PM
Harrison's Avatar
Harrison Harrison is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,860
Talking

Mac, no worries. I am happy to help you later today!
__________________
"Harrison" - info (at) adrsupport.org
Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
Reborn June 25th, 2004, L5-S1 ADR Charite in Boston
Founder & moderator of ADRSupport - 2004
Founder Arthroplasty Patient Foundation a 501(c)(3) - 2006
Creator & producer, Why Am I Still Sick? - 2012
Donate www.arthropatient.org/about/donate
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