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Old 12-16-2010, 03:55 PM
BleednBrntOrange BleednBrntOrange is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
Default New to Community

Hello y'all!

I am a 27 year old female that's suffered from chronic low back pain for about 13years.

At 14yrs old, I experienced sever pain in my lower back when I was getting of the gym floor for golf team pictures. After several doctor visits, physical therapy, mri's, etc. my doc at the time decided surgery was necessary, but cancelled surgery on my pre-op visit due to my young age. I was told I had the spine of an 85 yr old hard-working man. They couldn't understand how I was even walking. (My life saver has been my EXTREMELY high pain tolerance, but that's another story.)

I suffered through high school and basically became a couch potato in college due to the pain. After graduating, I took an internship where I sat for 8 hrs in an office, and then walked on concrete floors for the duration of a baseball game. This killed my back. It got so bad that I couldn't even lift my left leg to walk in 2005.

I met with Dr. Adametz, a neurosurgeon in Little Rock, and based on my history and MRI, he performed a discectomy on L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1. These three discs were pressing on nerves in 5 different places, so it ended up being a MAJOR surgery.

I was relatively pain free for almost 5 years. In June of 2009, I started feeling pain in my left hamstring. I thought it might be a muscular issue and had my fiance stretch my leg out. After stretching, I experienced numbness down my left calf and into my big toe.

I'm a little ashamed to admit that the issues from my first back pain experience made me reluctant to go see a doctor about my new issues. I hoped they would work themselves out. I was also in the middle of planning my wedding, going to showers, and getting a new job because of education budget cuts in CA. Not to mention that I was the sole breadwinner, and my husband was in graduate school. Eventually (in 2010) I saw a Physician's Assistant that ordered a new MRI and prescribed me some Hydrocodone (which did nothing but make me sleepy).

At this point (May 2010), my husband and I were preparing to move to Texas. I decided to wait for our move and go to the Texas Back Institute for treatment. It took a few months for my husband to get a job and for us to get our health insurance switched (so everything would be in-network), so in the meantime, I mailed my MRI and medical history to Dr. John Regan in L.A. and had a phone consultation with him. He did my mother's fusion in the early 90s at the Texas Back Institute and I trusted him to know all the new treatment options. He suggested a possible fusion/ADR hybrid or stem cell injections and recommended that I see Dr. Guyer at the Texas Back Institute.

Dr. Guyer has been great in helping me so far. He prescribed Gabapentin to try and help the numbness in my leg, as well as major anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. He also prescribed 4 weeks of physical therapy. None of these things reduced my pain or helped the numbness in my leg. I then tried facet joint injections. This did not help either. I then had a discography where I rated 2 levels 10 out of 10 for pain and one level 9 out of 10. I also had some leakage in L5-S1.

At this point, Dr. Guyer said he would normally suggest a fusion, but because I had 3 levels and I was so young, he said he would never do a 3-level fusion for me. He was also reluctant to do ADR because BCBS TX won't cover it. Because I have 3 levels causing problems, I was not a candidate for the stem cell injection trials. Desperate for any relief (I was basically bound to the zero gravity chair my mother loaned me), we asked what he would do if money was no option and he said he would suggest a fusion/ADR hybrid (just like Dr. Regan). So, thanks to my parents and my in-laws, that's what I'm going to do.

They are paying the up front costs so I can have the surgery, scheduled on December 21st, 2010. Woohoo! I will be having a fusion done on L5-S1 and I'm getting the Prodisc-L for L3-L4 and L4-L5.

I purchased Laurie Todd's book, and I'm doing research to try and get reimbursement from my insurance company. I seem to be a unique case with the number of levels causing the problem and my young age, so I think I have a good case. But...I can't seem to find any precedent, and I'm having trouble finding studies done on the Prodisc.

This experience has been extremely trying on me over the past year. As a newly-wed, it's been especially hard, and most of the joys of being a newly-wed have been overshadowed by my debilitating pain.

I've read several of the posts here and I'm thankful for all the information available. If anyone can offer any suggestions, or point me to anything that might be of help, I would be so grateful!!

I am excited that I am getting the surgery, but I'm worried about the amount of money I will owe my family.

1997 Fall, first disc problem at 14yrs of age; upon my pre-op doc visit, doc cancelled surgery due to age.
2005 September - L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1 Discectomy due to Multilevel DDD; little to no pain for 4 1/2 years
2009 June - pain in leg, numbness in calf & big toe, non-surgical treatment-exercise, pain meds
2010 June - move to TX, New doc
2010 Sept-Nov - PT, Facet Joint Injections, Pain Meds
Surgery schedule for 12/21/2010 - L5-S1 Fusion with L3-L4, L4-L5 ADR (Prodisc-L)
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:55 AM
Harrison's Avatar
Harrison Harrison is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,921

Welcome, Andi. Sorry you are here, but I hope we can help you during your next steps. It sounds like you've done your homework, and I am glad that you have a supportive husband!

Eat healthy and take good care of your teeth the next few days...good luck on the 21st (first day of winter!). When you wake up on the 22nd, the days will be getting longer as we inch toward spring...

"Harrison" - info (at)
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
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:43 AM
Jstuckey's Avatar
Jstuckey Jstuckey is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 305

Good luck Andi. Hopefully you will have some relief and resolution for a Christmas gift! I am 44 and should have done something at your age, when I was having significant symptoms. You are right to address it now, and not compound your problems with years of additional stress and damage. Very best wishes!
Joey Sue - 50 years old
9/28/2011: Hybrid STALIF TT interbody fusion at L5-S1 and M6-L ADR L4-5 with Nick Boeree, UK - forever grateful to you Nick! Still doing great.
Prior to the fix: Severe DDD L4-5 and L5-S1 with moderate facet degen at L5-S1, but only mild facet degeneration at L4-5.
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:30 PM
jss's Avatar
jss jss is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,411


What a terrible story. Well, good luck on the 21st. I work in Richardson and am only a few miles from one of the TBI facilities. Please update us when you are able.

BTW: when looking for information on the ProDisc for your appeal, there is a LOT of clinical data out there. If you will Google "multilevel arthroplasty", you will find multiple clinical studies; many of them studying ADR with preexisting fusion. The clinical study publications don't typically use the terms ADR and fusion, but rather arthroplasty and arthrodesis.

Good luck, Jeff
C4/5 - ACDF in 2000
C5/6 - ACDF in 2002
C3/4 & C6/7 - M6 ADR, Nov 2009, Barcelona
Conceded defeat to a manifestly disingenuous BCBS-TX in my quest for reimbursement, Jan 2011
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:36 PM
tooyoungforthis tooyoungforthis is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 99
Default Welcome!

I hope your surgery went well! I private messaged you but not sure if you got it in time! I sent you my phone number and my email. I tried to call TBI after your surgery, but with not knowing your last name.. I did not get far! I would love to catch up soon!

Take it easy! Remember that recovery is a journey! I hope your relief comes SUPER soon! Thinking of you during this time!

Sending you extremely light hugs!

29yrs old. No known trauma
Chiropractics, Ortho, PT, surgeon to neurologist to new surgeon.
6 years chronic pain and newer spasms.
MRI's, CT's, EMG, ESI's.
S1 nerve root deviation
Positive DDD L5-S1 discogram VAS 8/10
7.14.09 Signed up for Clinical Trial at TBI
for either a Prodisc-L or Freedom Lumbar Disc
Surgery: October 1st 2009
Recieved Prodisc-L
04-2010 Rhizotomy
12-2010 Rhizotomy #2
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:54 AM
Harrison's Avatar
Harrison Harrison is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,921

Jeff, that's helpful, as your posts always are! Beth, that was sure nice of you to call Andi! Well, Andi, it looks like you found some new friends here, that's great...

Please let us know how you are doing when you are strong enough. Hope your tummy is settled and your GI tract is "waking up" without too much drama...

"Harrison" - info (at)
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
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adr appeal, ddd, fusion, multilevel adr, prodisc

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