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jsully
11-11-2010, 08:20 PM
Hi everyone. I am 5 months post today. I am still having a lot of pain in my lowest disc space. Most of the time it travels around my right hip and down my quad. I have been working full-time for over 2 months and the pain from doing this is weighing me down terribly. I missed 2 12 hour shifts last week due to jury duty and felt soooooo much better. I thought I was finally improving. Now after I am back at work the pain has returned. I can make it well about 6-7 hours into the day and then the pain starts and I literally drag myself through the rest of my shift. I can't take it anymore and don't know what to do. I am considering switching to nights or to another ICU with a lower ratio of patients or just going back out of work on short term disability which if 50% my pay. This is all very depressing......I don't like change but I am torturing myself. No one at work is really sympathetic anymore I am afraid to mention it for fear they will think I am whining. I am however holding myself up better on a good note. The only time I bend over is when I am very busy or very exhausted (which is often but much less than before). Has anyone else dealt with this?? Did it improve?? Should I consider fusing to my pelvis?? Should I wait and see?? What should I do about work?? I have been exercising 2-3x a week when the pain is not too bad. I started seeing a Chiropracter 2 weeks ago. Then today I got a massage. Still not much relief. I realize I am being incredibly impatient I am just at my wits end and full of disappointment, regret and depressed.
Thanks,
Janet

JenM
11-11-2010, 08:34 PM
Hi Janet-

I just wanted to say I totally understand how you are feeling. I was 5 months post op on June 8 and am feeling depressed as well. My shoulder blade pain is awful and is not getting better. I am depressed because I feel like I traded one pain for another with this surgery. I don't know how you are working because I am having a tough time just staying at home, taking care of 2 small children, and doing all the household stuff for my family. Maybe you should go back on disability and try giving yourself a rest for a month or so and see what happens. Also, maybe try to give it another six months to see if the pain goes away. If it doesn't, then maybe after a year or so you can talk to your doctor about fusing to the pelvis. I am giving it another 6 months, and if my shoulder/neck pain doesn't go away, I am going to try an epidural injection in my neck. My shoulder blade pain is coming from my neck so maybe by having an injection it will ease the shoulder blade pain. Just telling you this because maybe you can get one in your L5-S1 area (the area that's unfused) and it will take away some of the pain.

Also, I totally understand how you feel about how you don't want to seem like you are whining. I totally stopped talking about my pain recently because I don't want people to think I am whining all the time. People think that I had the surgery so I should be "all healed" by now.

Anyway, keep me posted. I hope your pain goes away soon and continues to get better.

JenM

kyra2004
11-11-2010, 09:36 PM
Hi,
Just wanted to say i give you a lot of credit for working your shifts for this long. I'm an ICU nurse in the Pittsburgh area. I do not have scoliosis (my daughter does) and i can feel my back and feet hurting after a twelve hour shift. So i can only imagine how you feel. Are you able to maybe work part time? If not, would you be willing to think about an office job? Something not so physical? What has your surgeon said? My mother had a fusion twenty years ago and works full time as a waitress. She is always in pain and does not want to listen when i tell her that she needs to think about another line of work. You are most important and if you are always in pain, you cannot care for your patients. I would think about contacting your surgeon or trying even a pain management clinic. Bottom line is you cannot continue to be in pain everyday. Hope you find a solution that works well for you. Please keep us updated. Take care of yourself.

jsully
11-12-2010, 09:30 AM
I talked to my DR. He does think the pain is coming from the lowest non fused disc. He said I can try a injection with not much hope that it will work. I also could try switching jobs or just go ahead and have my lowest disc added on with pelvic fixation. I am leaning to the later decision because my insurance is changing in January to a 75/25% PPO and currently I have a HMO that I would only have to pay $250 co-pay. Also, I can't see why I should prolong the inevitable and my Dr. agrees. Tell me what you think.
Janet

leahdragonfly
11-12-2010, 11:01 AM
Hi Janet,

I am so sorry to hear of your continuing pain and depression. I truly know how hard a bedside nursing job is physically, so I am amazed that you are making it at all on 12 hr shifts. That's brutal.

I think if I was in your position, and my surgeon felt the additional surgery was inevitable, and it would help/relieve my pain, and I had insurance incentive to not wait, I would probably take the plunge and get it over with. Your current situation seems unbearable, and I feel so badly for you. What does your family think about about things? Do you have support for another surgery so soon. I imagine it would be an easier recovery than the first surgery since it is just one level added on plus pelvic fixation.

I suppose you could try the injection if you needed to think you had tried everything, on the other hand, if the surgeon says extension to the sacrum/pelvis is inevitable, that says a lot. I can't imagine a chiropractor could help at this point.

Good luck with your decision. I feel for you.

Gayle

JennyRN
11-12-2010, 01:34 PM
Hi Janet. I just wanted to pop in and say that I was amazed that you were able to go back to work full time as soon as you did. I just started true physical therapy today after doing water aerobics for a month. After all my complications, the doctor is taking my return to work slow and I appreciate that. Right now, the plan is for me to return the first part of January. My family (not my husband though) I feel like is starting to get frustrated with my slow recovery and I get the feeling that they think I am "putting on" at this point. Like you said, since I had the surgery I should be healed by now. I don't think I realized that the recovery process would be this long and drawn out. I surely didn't realize the emotional toll it would take on me either. I don't have answers to any of your questions, but I just wanted to know that you've got my support!

Doodles
11-12-2010, 02:13 PM
Janet--
I agree with all of the above. There is no way I could have gone back to work for a LONG time--let alone 5 months. If you go for the longer fusion, I hope you can get an extended time off to heal. Sorry for your problems so soon after your first surgery. I hope the answer is out there for you. Janet

JenniferG
11-12-2010, 03:36 PM
I also agree with those before me. And with Doodles, in the hope that you can have enough time off after the surgery to fully heal. I feel that will make a huge difference to you and to your feelings about the surgery generally. I don't know how you've coped with those 12 hour shifts.

The very best of luck!

titaniumed
11-12-2010, 03:51 PM
Janet

Wow, wow, wow.

I posted on one of the threads here about individual disc mobility per Dr Moes book. I believe that the L5-S1 was approx 20 degrees, which is worth trying to preserve. Iím so sorry that you are having a tough time with this.

I donít like to recommend surgery, but you do bring up valid points....which makes me say wow, wow, wow.

I will reiterate what the others have said above. I took 18 months off work.
If you do this, you need to take it easy some how.... seriously. Fusion takes 12 months....you shouldnít be working the way you do.

Even though I am a advocate of Chiropractic, I donít think this is a good idea for you right now. Hot water yes, Chiro for one inflamed L5-S1 level no. You also might not be fully fused on other levels, I would stop the Chiropractic adjustments.

It would be best to slow down, boil in a hot tub, get some bed rest, and try to plan this out some how. There is a resolution ahead, and it will work out. Hold your head up.
Ed
titaniumed@hotmail.com

lray
11-12-2010, 05:34 PM
Janet
As others here already commented, I too am very surprised at how much you were working so soon after your surgery. I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering from so much pain.

I really hope that you find the answer so you can be on your way to being pain free.

naptown78
11-12-2010, 07:02 PM
Janet,
I give you all the credit in the world for working so soon after your surgery. 12 hour shifts are brutal even for non-fused nurses! I could not go back to work after my first surgery for 5 months, and my nursing job is not a bedside nursing position. My job had more flexible hours where I could rest when I wanted and no lifting, pushing, pulling, bending etc that I remember from my ICU days. I found that I've had to give up any thought of going back to hospital nursing and 12 hr shifts, for a job that is not so physical. Part of recovery is rest...maybe you haven't given your body a chance to adequately rest? I agree with others, if you do decide on additional surgery, you will definitely need to be sure to have enough time off to recover...I'm glad to hear that you are standing straighter now. Good luck in your decisions.

jsully
11-12-2010, 08:24 PM
We will have to see how it goes. The Dr thinks I will recover even faster from this. I am, unfortunately the main provider for my family so I have no choice to return in about another 12 weeks or they could terminate me because I have already taken 12 weeks off in a rolling calender year. My STD is only 60% of my pay and it will be hard to get by on that. All I can do is cut the boys' after school care (80 a week) and have them take the bus while I am off. The reason I WANT to have surgery is to get back on a normal work schedule ASAP so I can provide for my family. My boss mentioned me switching to case management which I may do eventually at least I am not bending over people all day. I do not want to switch companies I have been working for mine for 10 years and I won't be able to match my benefits or pay anywhere else. My husband's company doesn't even have benefits and he works for the Chamber of Commerce and makes little for the amount of work he does. I am just thankful we both have jobs right now. I am a tough cookie and I think I can do this if the surgery helps. I can never stay put in pain or not. People mention to me just getting disability. This is not a option. I just have to get better...
Janet

JenM
11-12-2010, 08:35 PM
Janet-

Have you tried any prescription NSAID's? I went to a local doctor today, who is not my surgeon, and he put me on Relafen. Last time I saw my surgeon in October he said I could take Advil/Aleve or any NSAID's. This will cut down on the inflammation in the body, which we are currently producing more of since we just had a major surgery. I was thinking you may still have alot of inflammation down around your lower back/last disc and it could help. You may want to try something like that for a month or two to see if the pain decreases before having the surgery. You may want to ask your doctor about this to see if it is an option for you.

Hope this helps. I will be starting the Relafen tomorrow. I'm interested to see if it will take my neck/shoulder blade pain away!!

Take care and keep us updated!

JenM

kennedy
11-12-2010, 10:11 PM
janet i was like that during my month of recovery at home before i chold go back to school

ShariMSU
11-14-2010, 07:04 PM
Janet - I am in awe of what you are able to do. Unbelievable that you work such long days and all you must do for your family. I will keep you in my prayers.
If you can find any way to increase disability pay by combining work insurance and Social Security, I would sure recommend it.
At 6 1/2 months I am still working only 4-5 hours a day. My work has been so understanding. I carry small copies of my before and after xrays and I show them to anyone who will look. I feel when we say we have had back surgery, they think oh yeah lots of people have back surgery. But we have BACK surgery. Once they see the xrays, and most all want to see them, they try to pamper me more than I even need.
You are not whining! I hope you find some pampering in your days!!
God bless you!! and take care of yourself!!
Shari

Confusedmom
11-15-2010, 08:53 AM
Jen,

Did you check this NSaid thing with Dr. Boachie's office? I'm pretty sure I read not to take these while you are still fusing b/c it can interfere with the fusion. Maybe you are far enough out from surgery that it's okay? I sure hope you are getting some pain relief!

Evelyn

JenM
11-15-2010, 09:39 AM
Hi Evelyn-

Yes, I checked with Dr. Boachie himself. I am very hesitant to take the NSAID, but since he says it's ok, I'm going to do it. The shoulder blade pain is very bad and at this point I'll try anything if it doesn't interfere with the fusion!!!

Thanks for the post,
JenM

mbeckoff
11-20-2010, 08:14 AM
You are not wrong about the pain. I am 6 1/2 months out and still in much pain. I could not imagine working now. If your surgeon feels that you will be fused to pelvis and the insurance issue, I would have the surgery now

You are in my prayers

Melissa

JenniferG
11-20-2010, 05:18 PM
Melissa, I see in the other thread that you have fibromyalgia. Could your pain possibly be caused by that rather than the fusion surgery? Just a thought though I'm sure you've already considered this. Perhaps the surgery worsened your fibromyalgia? What treatment are you on for this? I'm so sorry that things are not improving for you yet. Wishing you the best.

majo
11-20-2010, 06:08 PM
I suggest doing sports specially swimming. :)

mbeckoff
11-21-2010, 07:05 AM
Melissa, I see in the other thread that you have fibromyalgia. Could your pain possibly be caused by that rather than the fusion surgery? Just a thought though I'm sure you've already considered this. Perhaps the surgery worsened your fibromyalgia? What treatment are you on for this? I'm so sorry that things are not improving for you yet. Wishing you the best.

I take lyricia and cymbalta for my fibromyalgia. I am sure that some pain is from that but not all. Before I had the surgery, I had fibro pain and that is still there. I am pain in my back where my rods are and that is not form the fibro.

Melissa

JenniferG
11-21-2010, 03:54 PM
You're suffering a double-whammy Melissa. :( I hope the pool work gradually starts helping, rather than hindering. I believe it's worth trying, but slowly. Let us know how you go. Hoping for the best for you.

mbeckoff
11-23-2010, 02:16 PM
I went yesterday for visit #2 and today I am feeling better than last week.
I go again tomorrow so we shall see how twice in one week works. They want me to go 3X a week.

Funny story - yesterday when I went to pay my Copay $11.06,I hand her my visa card from my checking acct. There is a line of people behind me so she gets very quiet and says that I have to read the paper. I said don't you mean sign it? She says you have to read it. It says that it was declined, which I could not understand as I had $200 in my acct. She had put down $11060.00 as the amount. I said to her that I know health care is costly but this is really out of the ballpark. She reads and starts to laugh

Have a good day

BadKitty
11-23-2010, 02:54 PM
Melissa, that's hysterical! I used to work in medical reception, and I know how she felt, not wanting to embarrass you in front of a line of people - but she ended up being the one embarrassed! I would have just DIED laughing! :D

Hope you continue to feel better with every visit!

mbeckoff
11-23-2010, 07:52 PM
Melissa, that's hysterical! I used to work in medical reception, and I know how she felt, not wanting to embarrass you in front of a line of people - but she ended up being the one embarrassed! I would have just DIED laughing! :D

Hope you continue to feel better with every visit!

thanks. I hope that I do as well. People say that aqua therapy can work well

jsully
11-30-2010, 05:20 AM
I went to Universal Studios this weekend and walked and stood in line for 3 days straight with very little pain. Then back at work yesterday after some light bending and lifting It starts again. I see the Dr tomorrow. I am starting to think I need a switch positions to case management so I don't have to do patient care. This depresses me but I don't know how much it will help if I add on L5-S1 with pelvic fixation. Can people fused down that far bend somewhat without pain fused to pelvis, after healing? I wish all of this wasn't such a sense of urgency but my insurance is changing with a max out of pocket of $5000 which I am sure I would have to pay for 3 days in the hospital at 25% copay. Also, I can't keep living in pain.
Janet

JamieAnn
11-30-2010, 09:43 AM
I went to Universal Studios this weekend and walked and stood in line for 3 days straight with very little pain. Then back at work yesterday after some light bending and lifting It starts again. I see the Dr tomorrow. I am starting to think I need a switch positions to case management so I don't have to do patient care. This depresses me but I don't know how much it will help if I add on L5-S1 with pelvic fixation. Can people fused down that far bend somewhat without pain fused to pelvis, after healing? I wish all of this wasn't such a sense of urgency but my insurance is changing with a max out of pocket of $5000 which I am sure I would have to pay for 3 days in the hospital at 25% copay. Also, I can't keep living in pain.
Janet

Janet,

What does your surgeon recommend between the 2 options - temporarily changing positions at work or extending the fusion? I think that MAYBE you might be over-doing it with the bending at work and perhaps if you let your body heal a little longer, by changing departments, you might find that you never need the additional fusion?? Just a thought. I think that way at least you give the non-surgery option a chance.

I know the insurance thing is weighing on you and that makes you want to have an immediate answer. Do you think you could also get another opinion on the surgery to help the decision process?

naptown78
11-30-2010, 09:53 AM
Janet,
What type of bending and lifting do you have to do on a typical day? I am fused T4 to Sacrum with pelvic fixation. I can bend but deep bending as in getting down to the floor and then getting back up isn't the easiest thing. Possible but not easy. I wouldn't want to do it all day long. I also avoid heavy lifting. I am also only 8 months out from my revision though...I did bedside nursing for years prior to my back surgeries and cannot imagine doing it now with all the lifting, pulling, pushing, bending that is required. My back would be on fire and throbbing when I went home from those 12 hour shifts! I admire you for what you have accomplished in such a short time. Why the urgency for the surgery? Maybe in a year you will feel much better? You've made alot of progress even since June.

jsully
11-30-2010, 07:48 PM
I don't do too much deep bending just forward bending. I always get help pulling, pushing and turning patients. For the most part I think I should wait.....except for the fact my pain very well may then go away. Worked today and it was very slow and still had pain :(. I am so indecisive.
Janet

mbeckoff
12-01-2010, 07:28 AM
Have you had a second opinion regarding the surgery? If you wait too long then the decision will be made for you regarding insurance.

I was on the fence regarding my neck surgery that my surgeon suggested that I have. When I saw another surgeon and he said exactly the same thing, then I know that I had to have my neck surgery

Melissa