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A Positive 14 year back journey and cane question

Started by Sunshine002 on 09/30/2017 6:25pm

Back to this life saving forum that has always helped me. It has been over two years since my last fusion, of 3 and I'm thrilled to share some happy news and would like advice on my latest flare,

Female, 44 year old awesome saucin mom, wife and worker
Short recap:
2002 PLAF L4-5. Complete success. Off all heat, ice pain management within a year
Stupidly thought I could run marathons, (no regret, just probably didn't do myself any favors..awww youth).

2011 Legs hurt and left leg would go out. Used cane, injections, discetomy, heat ice and pain medicine.

2012, PLAF L3-4. Complete success and resumed moderate behavior 3months post, off pain management.

2014 Long walks (walked marathons instead of run) dancing and working would eventually lead to left leg go out again. Ended up having right leg pain and bed bound for half a year. This forum got me thru. Used cane, injections, discetomy, heat ice and pain medicine and blessed sleep number bed.

2015, 360 L5-S1, removed all hardware except stuck pedicle screw at l4. Other screw had fallen onto iliac vein and thus required 360 and vein specialist. Vein was stable. Considered a medical miracle didn't bleed out. Feeling pretty lucky I was! Completely changed my lifestyle to a mild approach.

Mild approach to life? I'm a seriously happy person. I'm the friend in your group you can't always be around because I have happy and energy bursting. So how do you live a pain free life with that approach? IT IS SUPER HARD. No more running after 2010, no more walks after 2015. My doctor recommended hydrotherapy following last fusion (every fusion patient should do) and then to care for myself like I am 88. Sooo I did and I do. And guess what? It works! I can wiggle in a pool and giggle with my friends, I can laugh and focus and lead in all aspects of my life. I made a serious disciplined approach to everyday move slow, but to always move. My best friend is God, my heat pad, my family. Without any of these I could never have recouped each operation. The pain was beyond. As many deliciously describe it: it was exquisite. Incomparable. But then it was gone with dedication to hydrotherapy/physical therapy and heat pad at end of the day. I walk with a limp but no pain. I don't go far or use stairs. I use disability permit on rough days. But I'm pain med free . Bottom line, every surgery has been a success. The journey hasn't been easy. I have the stories, I had the depression. I got help from family, a therapist and me.

Last week, back pain, bad, middle to left side, legs stopped working for me. Back to being bent over and pronounced limp. Blessed to get help at er with morphine injection x2. Had not been on meds in two years so hit me strong. Sent me home with prescription for oxycodone and to see general dr asap. I took the oxy that night and no pain, but dear lord that medicine was way too much for me to handle. Lucky to get into awesome GP next day and turned in the oxy. She gave me ibuprofein 800 and hydrocodone instead and it manages the pain just enough to tolerate limping. Have to stay diligently on pain mess but love my smart phone, I set strict reminders. That coupled with Heat pad rest and then MRI this past week. I see neurosurgeon in a week and a half. Grateful. Hopeful for this to be a flare but initial report from radiologist, S1 nerve root compressed bilaterally especially on right side-interesting because I favor that leg when I limp.

I wonder if anyone else has had this kind of journey? I can't be alone. I'm trying to decide if using the cane would help me until I see the neuro? It helped before but I'm a more conscious care-taker of my gait and movements. I have to think it is better than my limp. I want to try to go into work each day this coming week. I don't want to fall and I want to last at least 2 hours a day before returning to work from bed/laptop. As I type this out, lol, I realize there I go again, trying to control an uncontrollable. So maybe just getting out of shower and into car might be my accomplishment, we shall see. But still wondering-how did any of you handle this - do you use the cane?

I don't know what is next. I know I can handle it and overcome it. I hope my story helps someone as much as yours have saved me. And the cane- I'm a young 44 with 88 year old spine. I've swallowed a lot of ego/pride in the past when I had to use it. But I think I'm still struggling with the idea of using it again. Anyone else?

Do you find this discussion helpful?

2 Responses


Hi, Sunshine002--we are so happy you took the time to share your story with us. You've been through so much, and yet your positive attitude is shines through your words.

Our best advice on your question about using a cane is to do what has worked before. As you put it: "I made a serious disciplined approach to everyday move slow, but to always move." Go with your gut on this one. If the cane helps give the support you need to safely move, use it. Of course, your doctor will be able to provide you the best advice in terms of how/if you should use it or how much activity you should do.

Again, thank you for your post. We enjoyed reading your story, and we wish you the very best!


Thank you! I was able to go in to work for an hour and a half! Was wonderful to be able to help my team even a bit. I came home exhausted. Tomorrow if all continues I will go again and this time use the cane. While I was at Work I used a small rolling chair as a cane and it helped so will either bring the cane or the walker. Thanks for listening, you are a comfort.