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  #1  
Old 08-10-2011, 02:06 PM
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Azhure Azhure is offline
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Unhappy New member; post ADR L4-5, Dr. Kenneth Pettine

Greetings,
I'm a new member, so I guess this is the part where I post my history, and where I am now...
I'm a 24-year-old female, married, mother of one hyper 6-year-old son. I'm an Air Force Wife, and a Marine Corps Veteran. I'm too young for this. I used to run 10Ks and half-marathons, I used to be a competitive figure skater, I used to be SO active. I type this from my bedroom, three weeks after rolling the dice in a surgical gamble to GET MY LIFE BACK.
I herniated my L4-5 and L5-6 during boot camp in 2006. I got discharged. I went through physical therapy, got to a manageable point.
In 2010, I fell down a flight of stairs that kick-started this sickening downward spiral of pain and now, surgery.
I was uninsured in 2010 when I had that fall. In December, I got new insurance, and immediately set in motion the paperwork to get a new MRI, as my last one was from 2007-ish.
Before I could get the MRI done, Dr. Carlton Reckling tried to convince me it was SI joint pain and cortisone injections would be the answer. I knew he couldn't possibly be right... insisting, without any diagnostic tests to back it up, that it wasn't my back.

The most recent MRI, finally done in May, showed severe DDD at L4-5, and L5-S1. I am fortunate enough to live within reasonable driving distance for Dr. Kenneth Pettine in Loveland, Colorado. I immediately set up a consult with him at the recommendation of the great guys at the VA Hospital in Cheyenne. Dr. Pettine took one look at me and said. "ADR, cortisone, or live-with-it." My insurance, TriCare, doesn't cover ADR for those not on active-duty at the time of the surgery, so my only option for ADR was the Freedom vs. ProDisc-L study. It took my husband and I about 3.5 seconds to make that decision. Problem: I had potentially 3 bad discs, and the Freedom study is only open to those with 1 symptomatic level.
Next up... discogram. By some grace of God, I only had one symptomatic level - L4-5. The others, though degenerated, weren't causing pain. Surgery was scheduled for three weeks later.

I'm a Freedom recipient... the disc that's in trial (I'm assuming most people are familiar with the trial at this point). I had surgery on July 20th. The abdominal pain was so bad, but now, 3 weeks later, and I'm wondering how this pain could GET any worse right now. I guess it's healing bone, I mean, they did kind of chisel into my spine.... but I'm at the "wean off the narcotic" phase, too. I literally cried yesterday, wanting to die because the pain in my spine was so unbearable. And it's a totally different kind of pain. It's not the pain pre-op... that was nerve pain and numbness and tingling. This is "someone took a Louisville Slugger and hit me square across the back" kind of pain.

For those who have been there... please tell me this goes away?

This post isn't as eloquent as I wanted it to be... I'll update more at a different time.

Oh - and here's a link to my public facebook album with all my MRI pictures, etc, for those who are interested.
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Surgeon: Dr. Kenneth Pettine @ The Spine Institute, Loveland, Colorado
Freedom vs. ProDisc-L Trial Participant

2006: Initial disc herniation/spinal injury at L4-5, L5-S1
2007: Physical therapy and manual chiropractic rehabilitation to manageable level.
2010: Fall down flight of stairs, re-injury.
07/20/2011: L4-L5 Freedom ADR Surgery

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  #2  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:02 PM
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MeggieLynn MeggieLynn is offline
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Hello Azhure,
Welcome to the forum. I haven't had any lumbar surgery but I have some questions and comments to sort of get the ball rolling, until others that have have had this type of surgery can respond. Have you had a post-op visit w/ the surgeon & what does he/she say about this continuing pain? Have you had any x-rays post-op? I've heard that these lumbar surgeries can be extremely painful and my only thought for now is that it could be very severe muscle spasms. There are many layers of muscles in this region. Are you taking any muscle relaxants? When I had severe spasming in my lower trapezius muscle that was exactly how I described it - "like somebody had taken a bat and beat me in the middle of my shoulder blades." I hope your able to get enough rest being a mother of a hyper six year old - If you have any extra friends or family around don't be timid about asking for help if you think you need it. You'd be surprised. Even some people you may not know very well are often happy to help out with some things.

Take care,
MeggieLynn
__________________
*C4-5 and C5-6 Mild & moderate posterior broad-based disc bulges w/small posterior end plate osteophytes, mild spinal canal stenosis.
*C6-7 Broad-based posterior disc bulge w/small focal posterior central protrusion mildly indenting the anterior thecal sac, no canal or neural foraminal stenosis.
*SI Joint issues, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofascial Pain, Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
*Tx's-PT, 2 ESI's Interlaminar & transforaminal, 2 SI Joint steroid injections, Failed LBB for SI Joint

Last edited by MeggieLynn; 08-10-2011 at 03:05 PM. Reason: missed word
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:04 PM
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laid up doc laid up doc is offline
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looks and sounds like you have quite advanced disc disease for your age... i'm 33 but just 1 bad disc, and my bones are somehow just fine (meaning, no OA or facet issues). so sorry to hear. from what i have read, the first 6 wks or so can be very rough after ADR, so hang in there.
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US non-spine MD - laid up no more!!!
had recurrent annular tear L5/S1, failed everything
M6L done 10/19/11 w/ Dr Clavel getting back to my old self more and more every week!
laidupdoc@gmail.com if my PM box is full

The content herein represents my professional thought and opinions in a general sense only; they do not constitute professional advice or services. if you need medical advice, please consult a licensed physician.
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:09 PM
grzz660 grzz660 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 17
Cool

I hope you recovery goes better, I am going in for Pro Disc L on Friday Aug 12th in Billings, Mt. I guess I know what I'm in for now.

Thanks,
Grzz660
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Jan 08' l5-s1disectomy
Jan 11' pain started again
May 11' 1st epidural lasted 1 month
June 12th ER visit, 3 morphine, 1 flexerol, 2 dilloted and 1 shiney new walker,
June 13th second Epidural, no results, 1 month at home on chair.
July 8th, on the way to pre op and BCBC said it was Not medicaly necessary?
July 9th, 3rd Epidural worked,
Aug 12th 2011 Self Pay Pro Disc L Can't wait!!!
7-19-12 Almost a year! won BC/BS and still no pain!
Grzz 660
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:14 PM
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Azhure Azhure is offline
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Hi MeggieLynn,
I've had that one set of post-op x-rays they did in the hospital the night I was in recovery. Next set is in three weeks. I was on Percocet 5 every 6-8 hours, and Valium for muscle spasms. I was only given 10 days of Valium, and forced it to last until just this week. I'm waiting on a call from the docs office today about maybe going back to Vicodin at a more frequent dose than the Percocet at a longer interval and adding the Valium back to the mix, at least for now.
My husband took leave and only went back to work on the third, so he was a huge help, and my neighbors are usually happy to have my son visit for a few hours during the day (school is still 2 weeks from resuming, here); I don't like imposing, but I know the kid is probably bored since we're normally a mountain-biking, hiking, go-and-do kind of bunch (even pre-surgery, I braved some of the "easy" mountain bike trails because I love the sport and the Rockies). He's trying to be helpful, and it's cute. He keeps bringing me milk because he realized something's been done to my bones and made the milk = bones connection. It's cute.

I think I'm just at that place that I'm pretty sure everyone gets to when they've been "in recovery" a little too long, but not long enough to "be recovered" and you just want to scream. Which I've done. Actually, that screaming part helped, but did scare my dog under the bed.

The sudden onset of pain may be related to the muscle spasms and my lack of muscle relaxers. I'll check whenever the nurse calls me back. That would explain a lot. I figured I didn't need muscle relaxers at this point (I assumed since the "muscles" they messed with were primarily my abs, those were what the relaxers were for... but if the muscles in my back are reacting... that would explain a thing or two....
__________________
Surgeon: Dr. Kenneth Pettine @ The Spine Institute, Loveland, Colorado
Freedom vs. ProDisc-L Trial Participant

2006: Initial disc herniation/spinal injury at L4-5, L5-S1
2007: Physical therapy and manual chiropractic rehabilitation to manageable level.
2010: Fall down flight of stairs, re-injury.
07/20/2011: L4-L5 Freedom ADR Surgery

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  #6  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:16 PM
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Azhure Azhure is offline
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Grzz660 - I promise, it's not this bad every day... the first 2 weeks were actually.... pretty easy. I was also drugged. I guess, thoguh, don't expect a cakewalk. For some ridiculous reason, I expected it to be some kind of simple recovery (I had foot surgery in like, 2004, and was limping, but back to normal pretty quick). You don't realize how EVERY SINGLE MOVEMENT involves your spine.
__________________
Surgeon: Dr. Kenneth Pettine @ The Spine Institute, Loveland, Colorado
Freedom vs. ProDisc-L Trial Participant

2006: Initial disc herniation/spinal injury at L4-5, L5-S1
2007: Physical therapy and manual chiropractic rehabilitation to manageable level.
2010: Fall down flight of stairs, re-injury.
07/20/2011: L4-L5 Freedom ADR Surgery

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  #7  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:19 PM
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Azhure Azhure is offline
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@Laid up doc:
My mother has this spine that would inspire horror movies. She had her first fusion at 19 years old... she's 54 now and it's.... a nightmare. She has lots of facet problems (which, knock on wood, I've yet to have). I have a feeling there's a genetic link to my spinal weakness, but until last year, I refused to believe I was anything but bulletproof. Plus, I blamed the military (75+ lb ruck sacks and whatnot) for the problems I DID have, and when I was pregnant, I explained it away then too.

Part of me is "glad" I'm getting this surgery now. IF it works like its supposed to, then maybe I'll have a normal spine from here on out?
__________________
Surgeon: Dr. Kenneth Pettine @ The Spine Institute, Loveland, Colorado
Freedom vs. ProDisc-L Trial Participant

2006: Initial disc herniation/spinal injury at L4-5, L5-S1
2007: Physical therapy and manual chiropractic rehabilitation to manageable level.
2010: Fall down flight of stairs, re-injury.
07/20/2011: L4-L5 Freedom ADR Surgery

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  #8  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:19 PM
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MeggieLynn MeggieLynn is offline
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Posts: 114
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I think that sounds like a good plan. Also ask if applying any heat or ice to area would be helpful or contraindicated.

ML
__________________
*C4-5 and C5-6 Mild & moderate posterior broad-based disc bulges w/small posterior end plate osteophytes, mild spinal canal stenosis.
*C6-7 Broad-based posterior disc bulge w/small focal posterior central protrusion mildly indenting the anterior thecal sac, no canal or neural foraminal stenosis.
*SI Joint issues, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofascial Pain, Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
*Tx's-PT, 2 ESI's Interlaminar & transforaminal, 2 SI Joint steroid injections, Failed LBB for SI Joint

Last edited by MeggieLynn; 08-10-2011 at 03:19 PM. Reason: missed word
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  #9  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:21 PM
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Azhure Azhure is offline
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They keep telling me heat will help my back... but I've had more relief with the ice.
__________________
Surgeon: Dr. Kenneth Pettine @ The Spine Institute, Loveland, Colorado
Freedom vs. ProDisc-L Trial Participant

2006: Initial disc herniation/spinal injury at L4-5, L5-S1
2007: Physical therapy and manual chiropractic rehabilitation to manageable level.
2010: Fall down flight of stairs, re-injury.
07/20/2011: L4-L5 Freedom ADR Surgery

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  #10  
Old 08-10-2011, 03:41 PM
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laid up doc laid up doc is offline
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well the other discs won't magically become normal, but taking care of the most symptomatic level and then returning to better physical health, maintaining a good core and nutrition etc etc... is the whole idea. best of luck to you!
__________________
US non-spine MD - laid up no more!!!
had recurrent annular tear L5/S1, failed everything
M6L done 10/19/11 w/ Dr Clavel getting back to my old self more and more every week!
laidupdoc@gmail.com if my PM box is full

The content herein represents my professional thought and opinions in a general sense only; they do not constitute professional advice or services. if you need medical advice, please consult a licensed physician.
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