For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Jul 25, 2013

The Long and the Short of it...

This post is mostly for people who have back pain and sciatica. I hope my experience helps you. I went back for another post-op exam/discussion this morning.

The PA greeted me saying, "Are you still glad you had back surgery? Do you want to know why you still have so much pain?" That was unexpected. I like my doctor and his PA very much and was dreading telling them that I have the same pain as before surgery, thinking that made the surgery unsuccessful. I can't walk and I can't stand for any length of time--same as before. I was feeling like I would be a disappointment--I know...crazy, but I really didn't want to tell them I didn't think the surgery was successful.

It seems I have been since they first saw me, an atypical case (what else is new). I *should* have had excruciating pain down my legs. I didn't and I don't. The PA's statement was, "We don't operate on backs to fix *back* pain, we operate to fix *leg* pain. Ok, so why did we do surgery on you? After the MRI, we were scratching our heads not understanding why you didn't have leg pain. That was the reason for the dreaded Myelogram to back up what we saw on the MRI and maybe something we didn't see. Your nerves were so compressed that we didn't have a choice, leg pain or not. Frankly, your back is a mess."

The long and the short, the fat and the skinny is that I will have to take medication to manage pain for the rest of my life. When the pain becomes unbearable, they will do another study to see what, if anything, can be done with other means including more surgery. So there you have it. I guess I would have been better off having the sciatica because it would have been fixed. The surgery I had was to stabilize the lumbar spine and to take pressure off the nerves. Over a period of time, however, this can sometimes cause more stress on the vertebrae above the surgery (sounds like the domino effect) and nerve pressure can occur, again. Any leg pain, I am to call them. Hopefully, I'll continue to be atypical, and that won't happen. Most of my pain comes from severe arthritis. Thanks, Doc, see you in October.

I've been taking less medication than prescribed which is not a bad thing he said, *IF* it's managing the pain. However, there is no reason to "suck it up" and not to take the prescribed amount. When the dose I'm taking doesn't work any more, they will increase the amount.

There's a new law in Georgia. Anyone on narcotics has to take a drug test every three months (which I did). When they started getting tough on pill mills in Florida, it seems they moved north. They shut one down in my town, recently. Oddly enough, this particular test tells them when you ARE NOT taking narcotics as well as when you are. They are more interested in the people they test at Orthopedic and pain clinics who DO NOT test "positive". They have already caught a few people who are getting prescriptions for back pain (very common) and selling the medication. Who knew? The test is the way they flush them out. Before surgery, I had to sign all kinds of papers; one stating that I will not use any druggist other than the one they have listed, and that I won't see another doctor (except for a second opinion) for back pain. 

I can't say I'm shocked by the news, today. I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed because I was hoping that I would be able to walk Jack, again, and hike...that part of my life is over. At least I know I'm not crazy...yet, and that it's not anything I did or didn't do to be in this situation. It doesn't change my determination to get back out camping in October. I'll be able to get his exercise in when he plays with the other pups and swims in the lake. Maybe a few very short walks. Knowing the group of women I'm meeting, they'll probably take him along when they walk...they are wonderful friends and I can't wait to see them all. Of course, it goes unsaid how thankful I am that Susan loves Jack as I do, and she walks him as much as she can. She even gets up early to get him out before the heat of the day when she can.

And what would a post be without a picture of Jack, and his nephew, Bogey?

I think I'll get off the couch...
On second thought...I think I'll go back to sleep...

Don't get attached, Nancy. I have a home with Michael. When Laura is home she walks me a couple of miles a day and lets me run at the dog park.

Jack shares the couch with me. I think he's a very gentle guy...I'm trying not to run in to him, I really's's just that I can't contain my enthusiasm.


  1. Nancy I am very sorry to hear this. I too was hoping you would be back out hiking. But I think your plan to still go camping and with your wonderful group is a good one. It just makes me irritated that you have to do drug screenings because too many people are abusive. What is wrong with people these days that they would sell their pain medication or take medications not prescribed for them. They clearly have no respect for their bodies.

  2. I feel so badly that you did not get relief. I had spinal fusion on L5-S1. I am so blessed that it took all the pain away...leg and back. I will keep you int prayers Nancy that you will be able to begin a new adventure come October.

  3. Oh Nancy, not what I wanted to hear for you. I know someone who has a golf cart and walks her dogs while she rides in the cart. That would get both of you out of the house. Or even a motorized scooter thingie would work. Just a suggestion. I am glad to hear that you are still going in October. You know they will take good care of both of you.

  4. I am so very sorry to hear this. Back pain is the absolute worst. My sister had multiple back surgeries to stabilize her spine but was still in a lot of pain. Finally got a pain pump and I would not recommend that either!! I agree with Sandy that a scooter might be a big help for you. If you are on medicare they should pay for it if you have trouble getting around inside the house - for some reason that is an important point with them. You might have to fight for it but it would be worth it to be able to get around better.

  5. As everyone else said.... hate to read this, Nancy. Hopefully, you'll fool the doctors. It's been done. And the scooter or golf cart sounds good.

    I tell you that Jack is a mighty handsome fella... and his nephew? is that the camera color of his eyes or for real, his? gorgeous.

    October is always such a gorgeous month ... and I bet you'll take no nonsense from your back. Hate medication ... but thank goodness it is available.

  6. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'm a ways away from a scooter and I'd get killed around here in a golf cart. I can walk or stand for 5 minutes or sometimes a little longer on a good day. So I live my life bobbing up and down. I can still handle my own housework. The vacuum never gets put away as it gets used in 5 minute increments, but it has adapted. My house is not as sparkling clean as it once was, but I figure the dust will start piling up the day after I'm gone. I tried having someone come in to clean the house, but until I become complete immobile, I feel guilty spending money that way...would rather give it to the charity.

    When I camp, Jack will have the lakes and streams for exercise. I can get him out long enough to relieve himself, and at 11 years old he's content as a people/dog watcher at the campsite. I still drive/ride in comfort so I'll just have to enjoy the views from a distance. I'll hitch up the same way I vacuum. I truly wanted to take my pup for long walks, but I can't complain when there are so many people worse off than I am. I was always a very mobile person so I was about to go out of my mind when all this began. I had high hopes in as much as I had three disks replaced in another surgery and it got rid of all my pain. Gettin' old ain't for sissies, that's for sure!

    Again, thank you all for caring. I need to get back to my blog reading tomorrow.

  7. Your news is really distressing. The only thing I can say is that I hope new treatments will become available in the future that will help. Keep your spirits up, too, from everything I've read, that really does help. You have lots of people sending prayers and good wishes your way, including me.


Thank you for visiting. Have a great day.