Showing posts with label L-5/S-1 surgery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label L-5/S-1 surgery. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When "Radiology Reports" come in and say you had a "prior" laminectomy BUT you NEVER had LUMBAR Surgery~ - Really???

I have a VERY ODD Question for everyone.... Have you ever heard of someone having a test done on their lumbar spine, for instance as I did last Friday, AN when the Radiologist read and typed his his report, he says several times there appears to be "such and such" from a "PREVIOUS" laminectomy????? I have NEVER HAD LUMBAR spine surgery... NONE! So, was he SEEING something that could be "further damage" I have, that for some reason made him think I have had a laminectomy before? I've tried to think of a way to "google" the question, and just can't get it worded where I can find out why this might be. So, if anyone has ever heard of this. or knows anything about it, feel free to post. I GOT my reports from the discogram done on Friday. My Orthopedic surgeon has NOT gotten back to me, but the reports were already up on my personal "patient portal" this morning. So, I could sign in, see and print them. So, I already know what the tests say, but this business about him saying something several times about a "prior" laminectomy has thrown me for a loop....   ( can also be spelled laminotomy)  and can mean "partially removed" or "fully removed" depending on which was done... YET NEVER HAD I HAD THIS DONE???

More later.... but if anyone has an answer... or how to look this up so I can get an answer... feel free to post, post on my Facebook page, or send me an email... I am so curious as to "why" it "appears" I've had an operation on my "lumbar spine" when I never have....

I went ALL WEEK LONG, well since Monday KNOWING that my Orthopedic surgeon HAD the "discogram" results. I had "pulled" them myself on Monday afternoon, from my "patient portal" and printed both the discogram and the CT afterwards so I could read more about them.

FINALLY yesterday   REALLY??? I get a call from his office! (About time Huh)? So, of course he wants to "go over" the results with me... I can fairly well guess what that will entail. If what I am reading is how I interpret it, I am sure I will be going through at least a "1 LEVEL" "fix" between my L-5 and S-1 discs... so that maybe actually "2" not sure how they were looking at it.

Well, so happens Mom has an her appointment with Him next week also! So, I asked if there was anyway, they could fit me in either before or after her.... well some times things actually DO work out! Unless something changes he can see me right after seeing my Mom, on that same afternoon..... YES!!!!!!!! What a thrill... not of course getting to the results, for either of us, but at least NOT MAKING 2 TRIPS to thSAME DOCTOR in DALLAS in the same week!

I am still quite in a quandry about this "prior" lamenectomy thing. My suspicions are either since I had the CT back in early May, I believe, due to the osteoporosis, "something broke off" thus creating it to appear I had a "prior" removal of that part in my lumbar spine.... either than or the guy is a total nut!! Which also could be true!!! I'll keep you posted here and on FB... I appreciate as always the kindness I receive from so many of you.....

Fingers crossed that IF I DO have to have SURGERY, it will be more of a "micro" thing, without a huge ordeal of very invasive operating.... but time will tell......

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lots of thoughts and prayers needed now...

I can't really go into lots of details at the moment, but there are some really life changing things going on at this time for myself, and my family.

When you are chronically ill, and or in chronic pain... at the first you may never have the thought about HOW MUCH your life can change. Then as the doctors visits, medications, tests, surgeries, fatigue.... and so many things change, physically, emotionally, mentally... all aspects of what used to be "normal"... can be gone within a breath's space...

Then you have two people, one that has been "healthier" that could stand in for the other, when illness or flares hit... and all of a sudden that person is also either as ill as you, or even worse. So, that is when nothing is the same... you may think things will improve, we will find a "new normal".... and it just takes time, patience, tenacity... will power, respect, and love to finally find whatever can go on in the future. Yet, a "dam" appears... the river of life that you felt was so awesome, suddenly turns into a raging force, driving one in one direction, a fork you may say, and the other, suddenly winds up in the opposite direction.... and that is when "trying to piece back your life" can either be not really going to happen, might happen, or usually you finally KNOW, things must change... and change drastically, for both of your sakes...

As I said, I can't go into lots of details, and for now, I think those that do know me, and have an understanding of all of the drama, the illnesses, surgeries, doctors, and pain... from the physical, to the emotional, mental, and daily life - has all bundled up into a huge knot, and you just cannot manage to go on that way.

We are NEVER guaranteed anything but to "live" and then to "die".... in between things can be smooth, even, rocky, a landslide, and so often we are left wondering why the hell this happened? All of the questions, why am I being punished? Am I a "bad" person? Why can't I just have a break? Why can't something be "easy" for a change????

None of us know that answer. And throughout my entire life, most EVERYTHING has been a challenge. There are not many things for me, that have came "easy"... I worked, fought, crawled up the mountain, as the stones dug into my knees.... and slid back down again.... and I do know that only through FAITH and HOPE can I continue to one step at a time, moment by moment, then hour by hour, day by day.... week by week... and then months... years... and one day when I am no longer on this Earth... then all shall be revealed.

So, I WILL continue on with my 3rd book... and hope to finish it up on schedule by the end of the year. I WILL continue to be a voice, activist, advocate, and ambassador...
Lord willing, and my health continue to half way act right.... and hopefully the brain fog, pain and suffering may hopefully have something done about soon... either by surgery, by new medications... and so forth...

I shall give more information as the next days go along... so PLEASE continue to come and join in on my blog... and for those who have always been here to support, encourage, provide strength, faith, and prayers... I am so very grateful for all of you....

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Second Guessing Your Autoimmune Disease(s), Is there a "real remission" to some of AI's - Sjogren's, Lupus, RA, and more...

As I have waded MANY times through the entire "list" of autoimmune illnesses, diseases, syndromes and disorders, again I go back to the spot where I have to wonder: #1. Is my diagnosis correct? #2. Is there another 1, 2, 3 and so forth of AI's that I have, and if so are they being "managed" by the other medications I am on? #3. Are my entire entourage of physicians correct and have they done the proper testing, given me the right medications to help me gain me "control" over further degeneration, more pain, and one day truly feel like I have possible remission? Is there even anything such as "true remission" on some and/or all of the AI's? Is "this" (whatever stand in time I feel I am "at my best as far as being symptomatic) and I will just go onto endure all that is not alleviated as far as pain, future health issues, more pain, and less of a way to fight these illnesses? Does the medications that I am on now, or the ones I had been on, and other types of treatments, therapy, surgeries, and so forth truly mean my "health future" maybe "brighter"? Or I am, along with my physicians and so on, really making a true difference in how I am effected in the long haul of the future?

I KNOW for myself, and I will say probably the majority of patients, caretakers, spouses, families and friends ALL have these thoughts go through their minds. If like myself, this happens quite frequently; especially if you feel you have not made much progress in getting symptoms, fatigue, inflammation, pain, and others where you feel you have reached a comfortable level of relief. As any pain specialist, or probably any type of physician will tell you, there is ONLY so MUCH that can be done. For some, like those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), it appears there are many more available treatments, more doctors that are familiar with the disease, and you hear fairly frequently of MS patients going into remission, and some for years.

Yet, as far as RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, Raynauds, Diabetes 1, Pernicious Anemia, Addison's Disease, Still's Disease, and the others, not so much. Usually those of us especially with "multiple" AI's never seem to feel as if the diseases are under control. We may feel that way for a week, or even a month or two, yet for me, each and every morning I put a foot to the floor, the RA pain is there. Now some days are better than others. We also know for a fact, weather, stress, jobs, family, and what we do, all have an effect on just how much "relief" we have from one day to the next. Brain Fog is one of those that rather than feel as if I maybe moving forward, I seem to be regressing further into the fog. Month after month I can tell by the way I do things on a daily basis, that the "fogginess" of Lupus, RA, Sjogren's, and such tends to get worse, not better. I am making many more lists, I must go through and reread paperwork over and over again. At times, even seeing something online, I can't recall it, or I walk into a room, and can't remember why I am there in the first place! I tend to leave things "half done", only later to come back and see, "Oh, I didn't finish making the bed", or I never watered all of my plants... possibly Mom asks me to look something up, and if I do NOT write it down, it's as good as gone by the time I leave her house and drive a whole 6 or so blocks to my home. Of course, there are many more little "things" that either I do, or don't do.. and I realize it is due to the Lupus Fog...

As far as the 2nd guessing, I am quite sure I have probably took my symptoms, as they come up, and now several new ones are popping up, and go all the way back to "square one" to research the entire ordeal. Do I really have Lupus, RA, Sjogrens' Raynauds.... and so forth... OR do I have Myasthenia Gravis, some type of "regional pain disorder, compression fractures in my lower back causing severe pain in my hips and legs. Maybe I have a hip that is totally worn out or getting that way. Much like my knees, I've had one hip give me "the blues" on several occasions. Enough that it sent me to my Orthopedic Surgeon so he could put a huge needle full of corticosteroid in it. Usually, that would work. My knees, shoulders and elbows were much the same way. I would have a huge bout with my shoulder or elbow, or knee and I would go in, get an injection into the joint, and I may do well for a day, week, month or years! OR like my knees and shoulder did, after so many injections over the years, and several arthroscopic surgeries on them, I had to have both knees totally replaced, as well as my right shoulder. My elbow has had surgery and has screws in it, and I know it has torn loose and really needs a "scope". I fear though it would be just like my knees and shoulder, the doctors does a scope, and he sees it is totally worn out, totally degenerated.. so "fixing" it is impossible. So, like my knees and shoulder, I went for years, as long as I could stand it, and the injections helped, then I had them completely replaced. You reach a place that you know there is no way you can put up with the severe pain, the loss of range of motion, the weakness, the inflammation... so you make your choice.

I've never regretted ANY of my joint surgeries. Each and every one, from the scopes, until the total replacements, gave me the relief, more strength, better use, no inflammation, and was a great deal better, than not having them replaced.

But, any type of joint surgery, even with the arthroscopic ones, there is never a guarantee you will be "better".... it could mean it may not help at all, OR you have complications, or possibly it feels worse. Now, once you have a TKR (total knee (joint) replacement) that does provide relief, stability, range of motion etc.

But, with the scopic types of surgery, as incredible as they are... and also as incredible as our CT scans, and MRI's are.... NEVER did ANY of them give my doctors the "real story" in my joints. Once they "opened" the joint up, then is when they discovered my joints were totally gone, in no way able to be repaired or "patched" up. I've had my Orthopedic surgeon tell me that over and over again. As good as our tests are, sometimes they do not give the big picture.

My neck was a prime example. I went for YEARS with severe neck pain. I was not able to turn my head very much, or bend it forward or backward. I constantly had severe pain in my shoulders, especially my right shoulder and shoulder blade. I went through numerous tests, from the MRI's, the CT Scans with the dye, regular X-rays, and even a couple more tests to check for nerve damage... EMG's and so forth. They found some nerve issues, both in my legs, and down my arms, yet I jumped from one specialist to the other, with every test, every scan, all of the tests they done as far my nerves.... yet it took me forever and a day to finally CONVINCE a very astute, very stubborn and head headed, yet the very BEST SPECIALIST in the area of not only joints, joint surgery and replacements, BUT he also knew spinal surgery, better than any other doctor I can remember.

After FINALLY getting him to do the "reverse shoulder replacement" on my right shoulder, the first 8 weeks I was truly amazed......

It was not long after that, my shoulder blade on that side, began to feel as if it were burning. Of course I had the shoulder totally replaced, so the "searing" pain (unless something happened like an infection) should not be giving me problems.

Again, back to the same Orthopedic Surgeon, who just DESPISES "educated patients". He just think HE is the "master" over all things "ortho" and we as "layman" don't know "crap"...

I've told my own story over and over about his horrid "bedside NO manner"... as before when I went in to tell him what was happening, he swore that the pain should not be coming from my neck. Well, I totally knew unless like I said there was an infection in the joint replacement, OR the huge bundle of nerves that run right along in that area, and out to the shoulders, shoulder blades, arms, and so on had something wrong. Which "could be" but was not likely.

Again, we go through a special "scan" of my neck. It comes back with C-3 through C-4, C-5 and C-6 having issues. Exactly how much, well from the pain I was having and looking at the CT scan with contrast, showing "bulging, and a few other issues, the 4 level "replace 2 discs" and fuse the other 2, is what was decided. He was set even with my shoulder, that if he got actually into the "joint" (right shoulder) and he didn't see nearly enough damage then he would "repair" it and not replace. But, all cards on the table, said "reverse replacement". So, the "new shoulder" was waiting for me before the surgery. Sure enough, after being able to "see" the severe damage, there was no question a reserve total shoulder replaced.

Albeit the same with my cervical spine. There was a great deal more damage "inside" that the scan didn't pick up, which meant he (and I) were right on with the "replacement/fusion) discectomy. By the time I came out of the anesthesia, I already knew I was 100% BETTER!  Even though it was the quickest surgeries for me, as far as very little pain, etc after surgery, it was 6-8 weeks before I could do much of anything but walk. Which kind of was "bad". Because it "felt" so much better, I had to be careful and watch myself. It was a miracle.

Later he came in to tell me what he found etc, and that I actually was pretty "right on" with my own "diagnosis"... thus that kind of helped for the both of us as far as NOT feeling like he needed to make me feel crappy just because I do my "homework".

Now of course is a totally different type of problem. Not one that is easy to face, nor easy to diagnose, and also one that many, MANY times said "I WOULD NEVER" have my lower spine operated on. Due to ALL of the bad things, from online, from people you see and know... it was something I never wanted to even have to give thought to. Well, here I am once again wondering what will have to be done in this case.

So, that is why I am questioning EVERY diagnosis, every thing I have read, researched, been told, by both other patients and doctors also... whether remotely that I even want to have the "discograph" or whatever they call it. Yet, even sitting here now, I feel that "pain" that is so very familiar. If I sit for a while, it begins that burning in my lower back, butt, and down my legs. I still feel like my hips are a part of the puzzle, but he insists my hips aren't causing this kind of pain. Of course he takes an X-ray, that basically says the same thing that the CT Scan I had about 6 weeks ago says, thus this stupid invasive "discogram" will probably also show the same... The TESI (Transforminal Epidural Steroid Injections) worked for a few days, thus that "tells them" that are hitting the mark. That is "a part" of this. Yet, I am still convinced my hips are also a part of it also.

So, the "gram" is set up at the end of May around the 27th. Everything else going on left me with no choice but to make it a couple of weeks off. First of all, again I will have to have my son drive me. I can't drive after having it done. And Jim can't drive and no way my Mom could drive in Dallas. She does well to drive to the market and back in Ennis!

So, I am now kind of "fed up" with all of it. My hopes are the pain will cease and desist, so I can go on and enjoy my summer, and not be down with a freaking major surgery.

Plus who the hell is going to take care of me, and the house, etc??? Jim can't do a lot of things as it is, and no way would I have some stranger coming in to help us, while I recover.

So, there are lots and lots of things to consider, before jumping head first into this quagmire of tests and surgery!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

What do you do when you just don't know what to do? Discograph, CT Scan, and just FED UP!

I've just about had my fill of physicians, medications, tests, evaluations, scans, and everything else that falls within and in between the realms of "chronic illness and chronic pain"....

It is like no matter how hard you try to do ALL you can to make things run smoothly, you can bet someone will be either rude, hateful, or other words I guess I won't say here in this post, but it rhymes with "witch"...

I've been on the phone with the different doctors offices this morning, TRYING to make their job a bit easier. Both times, and it was both the doctors main nurses, that decided rather than be "nice" they were going to be jackasses.

The first one, has always been a jerk. I don't even know why she continues to be a "nurse".  Her personality along with this particular doctor's as about as kind as a brick. You feel like you are little kid being punished over something you didn't even do. I tried to ask her question, as she began rattling off to me what "the doctor said"... and rather than her give me a moment to ask if he "has all of the records" from my pain doctor that did the injections, and did a follow up, she told me, it matters not, and I don't have "time" to dig through your chart to look! What an ass! Well, if those records are NOT there, then it could be that the doctor does NOT have the whole picture. In the first place, my pain specialist, who has known me now since about 2008-09, I TRUST! When he told me last week a "discogram" was redundant and not really necessary since the injections helped for a few days... that if surgery is needed, then get it done, and don't wait. He is usually "conservative" but his main issue is that he fear with the insurance I have, if I put it off and it gets worse, my insurance may "buck up" and give me hell having it. Thus he said before I have worse problems, worse pain, that he recommended to go ahead and have it. It is just one "level" for now, which should not be nearly as "less likely" to do well, than if I were either older, or something else happens like I get a compression fracture from the osteoporosis. In fact, he said that I could already have one or more but, things could get worse. As usual, each time I've had a joint surgery, when they actually get into the joint to see, it is a freaking mess. I've been told that with EVERY joint replacement I've had. Every time it seems it is much worse than what any scan, MRI. X-ray etc every shows. Last time all of the "damage" was deeper into the joints, thus no scan would have ever shown it. They had to go by symptoms, amount of pain, and kind of figure from everything I could tell them what was going on. And each time I've been right. It is always worse than it was on a scan.

So, to now want to put me through yet another, much more invasive "scan" or discogram, he should be aware of me also... that I am not the "usual" patient. There always has to be something "different" with me... I am always the complicated, never know until you know what is going on.

So, now today (May 7th, 2015, I get a call to "schedule" the discograph, gram - whatever they call it, which is by more than one name... and they tell me I can have it done anytime, just tell them when. Well, this week is totally out of the question. I will again have to see if my son can take me. This will be done at Medical City in Dallas, at one of the "specialty" radiology places there. So, as I look at the calendar, and of course I am hurting today bad enough to scream, but this weekend is Mother's Day and if the WEATHER will act right, Mom and I are going to the Casino... but of course the weather is showing to be not so great Sunday and Monday, so once again, I maybe cancelling the trip. Plus here it is Thursday and I have not even began to get ready. I don't have anything thought out to wear, both my nails and toe nails need to be painted, and I need to decide what to pack and so on, and so forth. The weeks tend to go by much too quickly. It is Monday, and before I blink it's Thursday!!!

So, next week it out. Plus that is really not enough time to give my son a chance to work it into his schedule. So, the followng week I already have 2 doctrs appointments in Dallas. My Rheumatologist on Wednesday and then my pain pump refilled on the Thursday of that week... so they already have me plenty booked for that week. Thus that leaves the last weekend of the month. Which again seems like forever when you are hurting, and after I hung up I said Damned maybe I should have scheduled it for next week... but again I have to have someone to drive me home... so I have to give him time to schedule that in also.

It sucks now, because there is no way, no how, Jim nor Mom can drive... and Mom not at all in Dallas, hell it is already bad enough in Ennis....

So, now I have this thing scheduled for May 27th at 7:00 AM and they will do this at 8:00 AM. I've got to look some things up. No one mentioned insurance and so forth. So my though is she was the "nurse" who schedules everything, and someone else from the business office will be hitting me up for insurance and money.

I hope to Christ it is about what the injections were, which still is NOT cheap.

Yet after the article I read about Spondyliti, now I am wondering if this should be an issue I take up with my Rheumatologist anyway before I start having an invasive test. It could be that there is damage there and the tests don't see it, as usual on me, OR if I do have this, then it maybe 7 to 10 years before the evidence shows on any type of scan... here is the URL to the article:

Which if that is the case, then this could be something that a medication change or something may help rather than going on with a test that could lead to very lower lumbar/sacra; (L-5/S-1) surgery. As I say, say and say again I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO FACE LOWER BACK SURGERY!!! It totally frightens the hell out of me. I've heard TOO MANY "failed" back lower surgeries, that either put people in worse pain, in wheelchairs, or lead to other back surgeries to fix the first one. 

Of course I did also say that about "cervical neck surgery" also. Yet, when it came to knowing I would have "RELIEF" from the horrid shoulder blade pain I was in, I was ready for anything to take it away... thus as soon as I came out of the surgery, the pain was basically gone... so there are times that any kind of "back surgery" that can give a pretty good rating of helping to reduce pain and give back motion is something to consider, but also consider very seriously about all things involved... so I cannot say NO, I WON'T .... because if that is what it takes to rid me of this pain, where I can move forward with my life, and writing my book, then I may not have any other choice but to go along with it. 

I will post some information about the procedure in a bit. Again, I am hurting having to sit and type... so it's time to get up and move around for awhile....