The Never-Ending Back Story–Chapter 2

The lumbar region in regards to the rest of th...

The lumbar region in regards to the rest of the spine.

It has been a while since my last post. I have no reasons to give other than I was in somewhat of a funk. There was nothing new to say so I had nothing to say at all. However, all that changed after confirming I would require further surgery on my lumbar spine on August 07. In fact I have been toying with this entry since then. What really threw  me off and is still making me feel ill prepared was the phone call I got two Mondays ago. I was expecting to have surgery around November or December, but they decided I needed it now and on August 27th they informed me I was scheduled for surgery on September 06th. On top of the surgery being scheduled early there is also the fact that I moved five hours away at the beginning of this month, so essentially I paid close to $600 to stay at a place for three days this month. Urgh!

I have had a few weeks to process the whole needing more surgery thing, so I am much more level-headed now than I have been the last little bit. I am still terrified, after all I have to go in for another spinal fusion, with all that entails.

Failed Spinal Fusion | Pseudoarthrosis of the ...

Failed Spinal Fusion

For those of you who are new readers I will explain why this is such a big thing to me. – not that back surgery isn’t a big thing for everyone. I herniated two discs putting down a box of bleach in February 2010. At the time I was a physically fit twenty-four year old so my prognosis was positive. Go to physio and tone my core and the pain should subside. I threw myself into working out, getting my core strength up to 300% of my age range norm. After eight months of recovery with very little improvement I agreed to go for a surgical consultation where it was agreed my best course of action would be a two level spinal fusion with hardware.

I went for the operation March 03, 2011 and to make it minimally invasive my surgeon decided to use a coral compound instead of harvesting my own bone. While the coral compound has a fairly high success rate, I was one of the ten percent whose body rejected the coral and therefore my spine never fused. In order for this surgery to be called a success the vertebrae operated on needed to become a solid column of bone rather than separate discs.

Although I threw myself into rehab and physio once again and managed good results even with the non-union pain, which my GP described as one of the worst types of pain you can feel, my spine was never strong enough to really challenge myself. Seven months post-fusion I had reached a holding pattern once again. My pain level has been fairly constant since my nerves regenerated in my left leg and allowed me to feel the burning hot iron poker pain of my damaged nerves. Although it sucks that I have nerve pain all the way down my leg and out my toe, my L5 and Sciatic on the left side were dead before surgery and I had a hard time with things like weight-bearing and reflexes. So all in all feeling, even if it was pain, was a good sign and I thought that if I kept at it eventually all my pain would subside and I would be able to live a normal life again. All the signs were positive, and so I too tried to remain positive. I have tried so hard to maintain that attitude since.

And failed miserably.


I plunged into a depression whose depths I have not yet discovered and whose vulnerability I have yet to find. Despair, intense and unrelenting, rivalled my usual tenacity and ability to overcome.  I was a shell of my former self, even the post-injury, pre-surgery self I had strived to nurture. With the last shreds of my self-preservation I reached out for help. I am still reaching out. I am still trying to find my way out of the darkness. But there is still the vilest villain, which will be my most daunting challenge yet, awaiting me around the next corner and I have very little faith my spirit will survive intact if I do not find pain relief with this surgery.

*I am in the process of writing another post about how I feel post-op but thought this one has gotten long enough. Stay tuned for The Never-Ending Back Story – Chapter 2 part B. Open-mouthed smile

As always, thanks for reading!
xo – S.

20 thoughts on “The Never-Ending Back Story–Chapter 2

  1. I have been thinking about you and very much wonder how you are doing post surgery.

    • S. says:

      I am okay, so no worrying about me. Still not as centred as I have been, but it will come with time.
      I wrote you an email a few weeks back… Did you get it?
      Tons of light & love!!
      xoxox – S.

  2. I actually just thought of you today and wondered how you are doing! Must be a psychic connection. I’m so sorry you are struggling. Been having a difficult time with the depression myself, and can’t image that kind of physical pain on top. I hope it helps and you find relief soon, both physical and mental. Sending lots of love and warmest wishes for your recovery. If you ever want to email with a friend, I’m here. Xo

    • S. says:

      Hi Darling TMS,
      I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to comment and the well wishes. I wish the same for you and hope you find your sunshine. Tons of love, darling. You are a special, special woman and you have been an inspiration to me. Your ability to keep going has fuelled my own.
      xoxox – S.

  3. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about you as well. I’m liking this post, not because I like that you are in pain but because it takes courage to write something like this.

    Hope the second surgery went well. Sending you healing thoughts and hoping for the best

    • S. says:

      Thank you so much for your wonderful words, SSG. I will gladly accept all your healing thoughts and send then back to you as well! 😀
      xo – S.

  4. Tracy Rydzy, MSW, LSW says:

    Wow. Incredible post. I’ve had two Lumbar surgeries which were so rough

    • S. says:

      Hello Tracy,
      I sincerely look forward to prusing your blog at my leisure. Any advice you have, I would be grateful to hear.
      Thanks for taking the time to come by and comment. Really, thankyou.

  5. benzeknees says:

    I am a new reader, so I was not aware of everything you were going through. I was born with Spina Bifida Occultis in the lumbar region & have suffered back pain my whole life, so I can certainly sympathize.

    • S. says:

      Hi Benzeknees,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to share. Empathy is a powerful thing.
      I am not clear on what spina bifida occultis is and would love to be enlightened. This is my second fusion in a year and a half and it has definitely taken a heck of a lot out of me to deal with the constant ups and downs, believing I will get better, then accepting that I was not getting better, going for surgery and getting a tad better, but then staying really bad, and another surgery. I am still trying to believe I will be better but it is harder the second time.
      Thanks for coming by!
      I hope this note finds you well and happy!
      – S.

      • benzeknees says:

        Spina Bifida Occultis is where the vertebrae in your back are not completely closed around your spinal cord. I have 4 vertebrae in the lumbar region open toward my skin which means a hard knock on my back in the right spot & I could be paralyzed for life or so I’ve been led to believe. Because I was born with a spinal deformity, I had back problems from a very young age & so I developed osteoarthritis from a very young age as well. By the time I was in my early 30’s I needed 2 canes to be able to walk. None of the doctors could offer me any hope until I found a sports doctor who put me on a steroid treatment for 6 weeks. I got an extra 20 years of mobility because of it.

      • S. says:

        Thank you so much for the information! I am always curious what other back issues people deal with and how they deal with it. Unfortunately at the time of my first surgery, I was losing the weight bearing capabilities in my left leg at an alarming rate… Where I go from here, I have no idea. Workman’s comp thinks back to work, so we will see how that goes!
        Thanks again for commenting, it makes me feel less lonely to know there are those that understand.
        xo – S.

  6. Caroline says:

    Oh my poor wee lamb! I’ve been thinking about you a great deal over the last few weeks and wondered how you were. I sensed that all was not well.

    My Skype offer is still there if and when you want it and when you feel you’re ready and you want to talk..

    Lots of hugs to you. Your brave and you will get there. I just know it.



  7. I had a friend who was an undercover police officer and injured in the line of duty when he was chasing down (on foot) a man who had just raped and then bashed in the face of a young woman. His injuries required 13 surgeries and, ten years later, he is still in pain. Riding that rollercoaster with him and seeing how much his pain robs him of his usual good nature has been agony from a distance. I cannot imagine what it must be like to deal with personally! You are very brave to face it so rationally and to share it here with others who may beexperiencing similar struggles. I hope the surgery went well and you are on the mend!

  8. […] Pain & Spine Conditions: Part TwoCoping With Flares (i.e. What to do When Life Slows You Down)The Never-Ending Back Story–Chapter 2 #header { background: […]

  9. skeletoes says:

    Oh no! I cue out and retreat into my little hole and look what I missed! I’m sorry hon! I hope you’re doing okay and keeping your chin up!! 😦 Shoot me an email if you need to talk!!

    • S. says:

      Thanks, Love. I hope you are doing okay as well. I saw that you have your horrible gastro surgery to look forward to. I think you have the right attitude though, the surgery will be hell and the recovery shitty, but think about the sickness free, in your case, and pain free in mine, states we could live in shortly!! Tons of love, and email me if you wanna or need to chat as well. xo

    • S. says:

      I am alright, and wildly happy that you are doing so well – er minus the whole surgery thing, for which you have my sympathy and support. As always, let me know if I can do anything at all even if it is just to provide you with tons of reading material for the hospital!
      xoxoxoo – S.

  10. […] updateThe Never-Ending Back Story–Chapter 2 #header { background: […]

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