About Spondylolisthesis Stories ...

Welcome! Spondylolisthesis Stories is a compilation of personal stories involving individual's diagnoses, experiences, surgeries, and life with Spondylolisthesis.

My hope is that this site may offer a voice and platform for those with the spine condition to share their personal stories with the medical community, fellow Spondyo patients, and the world as a whole. Spondylolisthesis Stories also provides a wide array of information, personal knowledge, support and ideas for those with Spondylolisthesis. Whether you were recently diagnosed, learning to live with the condition, making difficult decisions regarding surgical interventions, in the early phase of recovery following an operation, or further into your journey, this site covers it all!

In addition to general stories about this spine condition, personal stories which focus on the subject of Spondylolisthesis & Pregnancy may also be found. These shared experiences detail the matter of labor and delivery, and include women with both unfused slips and those whom have had surgery prior to pregnancy. It has been my experience that this topic is one which is shrouded in some mystery. By sharing these stories I hope we may be able to shed some light on the subject; offering guidance and ideas to those females with Spondyo who would like to become pregnant but fear the unknowns which this condition can create.

I am always seeking new stories and would love to hear yours! Let your story and voice be heard! Please contact me (Brenna), at spondyostories@gmail.com, in order to share your story here. If you are seeking additional help and support from others with Spondyo, please ask to join the "Spondylolisthesis and Retrolisthesis Support Group" on Facebook. *This group is closed, and therefore, offers a higher level of privacy and comfort for all members to share openly and without fear of judgement. It is open to anyone with Spondylolisthesis (or a family members of those with Spondylolisthesis) to join.

Below the Spondylolisthesis stories you will find several survey questions. If you have Spondylolisthesis, please take a moment to review these questions and select your answer(s). You are also encouraged to join in and participate by interacting in the "Community Answers" board, located at the bottom of the page. Feel free to post questions and comments, share stories, answer the questions already presented, and ask your own questions! I greatly appreciate your participation and look forward to reading your answers and comments!

Spondylolisthesis Stories ...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spondylolisthesis Story #2: Dena (Grade 5)

Dena - Spondylolisthesis Story (Grade 5)

Hello, My name is Dena and in 2002 I had an Anterior/Posterior Spinal Fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from my own hip (2 cages along w/2 titanium rods & 6 screws.) 2 Disks were removed and everything was fused together to stabilize my spine. I have Isthmic Spondylolisthesis Grade 5. My vertebra had slid off of the track completely & was holding on only by nerves...this happened over the course of my life. I was unaware until finally pain that wouldn't go away caused me to seek a doctor. I was 32 years old at the time of surgery.  I am 42 now. This September will be 10 years since my Spinal Fusion. I could write a book!

The Surgery was 100% successful, but going in I knew that they wouldn't be able to put my vertebra back into place, as they would have paralyzed me from the legs down.  For me the only hope was immediate surgery! They couldn't believe that I had no bladder or bowel problems or any other problems except for the lower back pain that was daily getting worse (I had lifted a heavy box at work and after that felt I pulled my back but the pain wouldn't go away and was getting worse). My X-rays and MRI...had the techs asking me if I had been in a terrible car wreck or fall) I was told if I didn't have surgery ASAP I would start having bladder/bowel problems, pain, numbness, tingling, etc until finally I would be in a wheel chair with too much damage to be able to correct. I found the top Neurosurgeon at The Mayfield Spinal Clinic here in Cincinnati OH. I live in Northern KY, close to Cincinnati. He met with a team of doctors because he told me I was the youngest patient and had the most difficult spinal problem he had ever seen and it was going to take more than just him. He wasn't sure on what the best way to go about my surgery. So after 2 weeks of meeting with these doctors they came to a decision. That neurosurgeon (brain surgeon as well) and an orthopedic & vascular surgeon spent 8 hours doing surgery on me. To this day I continue to see the Neurosurgeon ...he is my hero!
Jumping forward to how I am doing after the surgery...I have no bladder/bowel problems, I can walk fine no problems, I am in a lot less pain then before surgery. I was also told I would always have pain as they couldn't FIX my back only stabilize it from moving anymore and getting worse. I had to sign a bunch of papers releasing them of responsibility because of possibly damaging nerves causing me all sorts of other problems.

I am not in a wheelchair. I do however after the surgery have numbness in my right leg and tingling in my foot only when sitting or standing too long in one place. I have to get up often or it gets really bad. I have a lot of stiffness in my back when I don't do my exercises. Also if I walk to much I start feeling tingling stinging pain in my buttocks and back of my legs, so I can't keep up with some of my friends when walking. But I have to keep pushing forward and never let it get me down! Always reminding myself how lucky I am not to be in a wheelchair and lucky not to be wearing depends diapers. I also remember having a 1 in 500 chance after surgery to drag my foot when I walked and a good chance cant remember the numbers on that one but a good chance to be in a wheelchair anyways.  So now I manage my pain with meds and keep moving and exercising and being smart with taking care of my back.

I had two young children at the time of my surgery and have had another lovely child after my surgery....so yes it can be done! (I went off all meds while I was pregnant) I was in a back brace specially made for me...for 4 months after surgery and in a hospital bed in our spare bedroom for 3 months. I could not bend my back for that duration for complete correct healing! And let me tell you I did everything my doctors told me to do!!!!!!!! I had to relearn to walk and I had to borrow all of my grandfather’s things such as his Walker, Grabber to reach things, The raised Toilet Seat, Portable Potty...it was a very hard experience that I could go on and on about. I couldn't shower by myself, put clothes on or even tie my own shoes. I couldn't even roll over in bed or get out of the hospital bed without my husbands assistance.  Something as simple as brushing your teeth at the sink is hard to do when you can't bend over to spit. I did however wipe my own butt after I came home from that week long stay in the hospital! That is a great feeling to be able to do that own your own!!
But 10 years later...Scars from my middle of my back to my butt crack, my belly button to my pubic area, and a 3" scar on my hip....I still have a sway back....and the daily back pain...I just remind myself what COULD HAVE BEEEN if I didn't have the surgery.
Please take care of yourself, get 2nd opinions, get the best doctor, do what they say, do your exercises, stop smoking (it interferes with bone healing), get the extra weight off, all those things will help your pain! IT is amazing how much less pain and stiffness I have just when I exercise daily. Walking is the best...and swimming. I would be more than happy to answer any questions and I remember how scary that road was to travel...but I did it!!
Thanks for reading my story.  I look forward to being a part of this Group and talking with everyone.  I can remember back before my surgery I found great relief to going to the Message boards and chatting with people facing the same fears or having the surgery...it was very helpful...so I think just talking to someone can be the best medicine!

-Dena (From Northern KY)

Dena - Post-Op X-Ray Fusion L4-S1
Dena - Post-Op X-Ray Fusion L4-S1

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Share Your Spondylolisthesis Story!

Would you like to share your personal story and experiences involving Spondylolisthesis? I am currently seeking others to share their respective experiences with the spine condition; including symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, surgeries, and all of the details in-between. Have your voice be heard & help make a difference in other's lives by telling your story here! If you're interested, or would like to inquire further regarding this project and website, please contact Brenna through the Spondylolisthesis Facebook Page: FB.Spondylolisthesis, or email Brenna at spondyostories@gmail.com! I look forward to hearing from you and getting your story posted!

FB Comment Box. Please use this box to elaborate on your survey answers seen below.

Spondylo Polls

Please take a moment to review and answer the survey questions below! If you'd like to further elaborate on any of these polls questions/answers, please comment in the FB Comment Box or participate in the "Community Answers" section below. Thanks!

What grade is your Spondylolisthesis?

At which vertebrae is your Spondylolisthesis slip?

What is/has been most helpful in treating your pain associated with your Spondylolisthesis?

Have you had Laser Spine Surgery to treat your Spondylolisthesis?

Did one or more pregnancies cause your slip to progress in grade?