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Too many spinal surgeries, but what now?

Started by Betty Jo on 04/30/2017 9:22am

I have had 8 back operations. I just had a hip revision surgery. I have a plate in my neck due to herniated discs. This second hip revision is due to the 'Stryker' metal cup loosened up and he also had to move a muscle that was getting caught in between whenever I walked. I've tried 3 attorneys' as this type of implant has been recalled. They each say it is not the 'right' Stryker. My point is: It is still a 'Stryker' from the same manufacturer and did not last but only 5 years.

The first doctor I went back to every 6 months for 2 and 1/2 years telling him something was wrong...I tried to make an appointment last August for one more try as the pain was so bad I couldn't leave my house without assistance. I was informed he was no longer with the medical group. I and two attorneys have not been able to locate him, but fortunately my records were left at the group's office. Still made no difference with the attorney's.

So, I was fortunate enough for find a very good doctor to do the revision. I just had the revision 3 months ago. Now my back is so bad, I can't leave my house again......I have an appointment with my spinal surgeon next week, but the last time I saw him, he told me he could do nothing else for my back. I know there is something seriously wrong. Plus my neck is cracking and when I turn my head to the sides or up I get a strangling feeling and vertigo. We know our bodies.

The spinal surgeons put rods and bolts in, took them out, then the last one put them back in which now covers over half my back.

My other issue is, every time I have a surgery, my blood pressure drops and I end up in ICU. After my neck surgery I had a minor heart attack, they did a catheter and found nothing. The blood pressure dropping has happened after the past 5 surgeries and landed me in ICU each time, one time needing 5 pints of blood as my body for some unknown reason kept losing it....

I've had 19 operations total....Don't let any children you know do gymnastics. I was in gymnastics when young, won a spot in Nationals and a spot to tryout for the Olympics....That said, they gave me a wheelchair 18 years ago and told me I'd never walk again. I am still walking, if that's what you want to call it right now. I am only 61. I've tried to stay fit, but as you all know it is almost an impossibility.

Now my family can't help me anymore, so I have to start looking for a place to live. Disability is very, very low, and fear has set in that I might even become homeless. I have no social life, no friends, no phone calls, and feel like every person, even my doctors have just given up on me....

Very lonely feeling, I will be back to post what my doctor says about my back and neck. He did both. Hopefully he will order the tests to show what is going on in my back..

Please take care everyone...I feel you....

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1 Response


Hello, Betty Jo--we are so sorry to read about all you've been through over the years. We can't imagine the amount of pain and frustration you've had to endure.

Reading your post, we kept thinking about how back pain isn't just physical--it affects your emotional and physical health, too. You mention a loss of social relationships and a loss of independence--those two things are so key to quality of life. Outside of your spine surgeon, what other medical professionals are you seeing? Has your doctor recommended physical therapy to help you regain your mobility? Perhaps you could ask your doctor about ways to help manage the emotional side of your pain, too.

We'd like to share a few articles with you that we think you'll be interested in. The first two are about failed back surgery--which, like you, so many of our Community members have experienced. This information might not be new to you, but we think you will relate to it. These articles describe how you should expect to be treated after a failed back surgery and what non-surgical options you have to reduce your pain.

( Treatment for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome )
( Non-operative Interventions for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome )

We'd also like to share this chronic pain letter with you ( How to Support a Loved One With Chronic Spine-related Pain ). You might consider sending this to your loved ones. Your family can't understand the pain you go through, and that might make them feel helpless. But, this letter could be a starting point to shed a little light into your world with them.

Betty Jo, we know it feels like everyone around you has given up on you, but please do not give up on yourself. You have real feelings and real pain--and we fully believe there's an answer out there for you. You just haven't found the right doctor yet. Please keep searching for the right way to manage your pain, and keep reaching out to loved ones--we bet you matter more to them than you know.

Keep us posted on how you're doing. We're rooting for you!