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Old 12-19-2016, 11:00 PM
Big_A_2246 Big_A_2246 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 64
Default New member Intro

Hello all,
I am a 36 yo male from Indiana. I am a Firefighter and Paramedic. I have been experiencing lower back pain and right sided hip pain for almost 3 years now. For the past 2.5 years I have been going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out this pain. I have had 3 rounds of PT, spinal injections, paravertebral injections, SI Joint injections, MRI's, X-rays, Bone scans, CAT scans, 100 days of antibiotics and even a Frenectomy. Yes, I said Frenectomy! On the suggestion of a pain doctor that came highly recommended, he stated that all of my pain was coming from being tongue tied. So against the ENT's better judgement he did it for me. Don't hold your breath everyone.....It didn't solve my back pain! I do sleep a little better but my back still hurts. I have been in silent agony because I did not want my work to find out that I was in this much pain. So I would take it all out at home. This doesn't fair well with the family. I hate making my kids and wife so miserable.
Right now I can walk as far and as long as I want, but as soon as I stop I lock up and can't move anymore. Sitting does not bother me but laying does. As a fireman we do get down time after hours. I lay in bed and then a call comes in. I have to walk out to the truck hunched over and barely able to breath because of the pain. In bed at night I have to have my wife help me roll over. And this is often because I am never comfortable.
It is so confusing because I have good days and think that it is over and then I bend to wash my hands at a sink or something and start crying because of the pain. I have stopped all activities with my kids and wife and constantly rely on everyone else to pick things up off the floor for me.
The only thing that has helped so far was when the 3rd doctor gave me Naproxen. That took almost half the pain away.
So I finally made an appointment with a doctor in Chicago instead to Indiana. He was at Northwestern, he told me my only option was a spinal fusion. L5-S1 by the way. He also said that I would never be a fireman again. This was heartbreaking. I would rather deal with the pain then never be a firefighter again. So I sought out another opinion, this time at Rush. I made the appointment and told the secretary that this was my 4th opinion and she grunted and said the Dr would not like that. I also said that I did not want a fusion. The appointment was 4 weeks out. 2 days before she called me and stated that he is not refusing to see me. He said if I did not want to discuss a fusion that he was not the Dr for me. Another devastating blow. She refered me to another Neurosurgeon out of the practice. She said that he takes the cases that no one else wants. I finally saw him today. He recommended a ADR. I was ecstatic hearing this. He explained that no one would do it for me because they don't know how. He stated that he is one of few in Chicago that do it. Surgery is set for 2-28-17. 2 months out because he said that I need to lose weight before surgery.
I am excited to share my story as reading all out your stories has given me hope for a brighter future. I know it was long winded but thank you for listening.
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Old 12-20-2016, 03:25 AM
MaggieG's Avatar
MaggieG MaggieG is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 57

Hey, sorry to hear you're having a tough time. I've shared my story on here and I am also a firefighter. I blew a disc at the L5-S1 level at a house fire 2 years ago. I had a disc replacement 8 months ago and I'm running and training to get back to work 1 year post surgery. I'm confident I will do my job again and trust me, I've cried at the thought of never doing what I love so much. I also work with a bunch of blokes who have had spinal fusions and after about 12-18 months of rehab are on full duties once again. I'm a 40 year old who is down but not out, don't be discouraged. I can't help you decide what path to take, but I can confirm that things are 80% better for me already and I'm excited about it getting even better!!
Message me if you want any other info. Good luck with everything.
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:14 AM
Big_A_2246 Big_A_2246 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 64

Thanks for your Reply Maggie. My surgeon told me that there is no reason I will not be back on light duty after a month (unfortunately we do not have a light duty policy) and full duty after 3 months. He also stated that he does not plan on sending me to PT. I was very surprised at this. He stated that he has done several police officers and firefighter who have met this timeline. It will be interesting to see.
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:23 AM
FutureRobot FutureRobot is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 104

Back on light duty after a month? Sheesh, that seems a bit farfetched given what I've seen and heard about this operation. Make sure you take it easy.
HIZ tear at l5 s1 with mild disc height reduction and mild dehydration.
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