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NeedanAngel

Joined: 01/27/2014
My Story:
Hello,

First, let me tell you that the beginning of my story should be - I am surrounded by friends and family who love me and who have stood by me. For that, I am eternally grateful.

I am from the southern US, and, my passions are reading, writing, and quilting. I learned to quilt while visiting my Great Aunt who lived in Raliegh, NC during the winters and summers who was Cherokee. When I was very young, I sat on the floor underneath the quilts her and other ladies would quilt, until, I became old enough (and experienced enough) to join the quilting circle myself. Hand quilting is a tradition I am happy to carry-on.

My back problems started when I was very young, right after puberty, at twelve. I can remember even at that age, getting what we would call a 'crick.' Which was muscle spasms. I started going to a chiropractor as young as fifteen. I was a very active teenager, interested in sports especially track and cross country. I continued this into college, until, I started having so many back injuries so frequently I had to give up running.

I had a horrible car accident when I was twenty-six. I was stopped at an exit which had built up bumper-to-bumper traffic. While at a stop, I saw a lady in a silver BMW coming at me fast and not paying attention to me, but, to her cellphone. She hit me doing 81. It caused extensive damage and I was confined to the bed and given intravenous steroids while in the hospital which caused me to swell and gain 80 pounds (I am happy to say, I have lost that and 40 additional pounds). After I got out of the hospital, I went to a neurologist who - told me everything that was wrong with my back, but, said I was not a 'viable' candidate for surgery because I was so young. I accepted this answer, because, at the time I was helping my father who was fighting cancer. And, most of my attention was focused on him and his health anyway. So, I continued to go to the gym and do low-impact aerobics, which, I did everyday. Once an athlete, always an athlete in some way/shape/form. Also, at that time, I could take ibuprofen and on rare occasions, a muscle relaxer before bedtime and be fine.

What led to my surgeries, and, extreme nerve damage in both of my legs from the knee down was something extremely benign. I was always taught to be independent by my father. And, so, being a fairly athletic person, when it came time to pack up my house and move I did most of the moving and packing. I bent down to pick up a box and suddenly, could not get back up. I was in tears and the most pain I have ever felt in my life. I was driven to the nearest ER. After an array of tests, I was told I had 3 herniated disks and they would cause more nerve damage if untreated.

So, at the age of 29 I had my first back surgery - a laminectomy, which did nothing for me. And, so, I had a fusion on L4-L5. And, when I was still in extreme pain, my doctor finally fused L5-S1 (he told me, he did not see what nerves were being pressed until this surgery - I have extreme nerve damage now). My fourth, and final surgery was for a SCS in the hopes of it helping my right leg not feel like it is in a vat of hot oil 24/7. But, as my surgeon who put in the SCS already knew from the first surgery, I heal extremely fast and create a lot of scar tissue. And, I have found - scar tissue is definitely not my friend. And, it is definitely not a friend to an SCS implant. Also, I never did have UPPER back pain until I had this surgery. So, when the battery dies, I will have it removed - I am putting off that surgery.

I am now approaching forty and I have tried about every alternative pain method there is - and, even, up to try new ones! Although I have a great support system, it is hard to find people who understand the aches, pains, doctors, medications, emotional stress, etc. I am hoping to find that here. Thank you for reading this.

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For more information, visit the Duke Health Spine Center