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Bad News

Discussion in 'General' started by PJF, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Just wanted to let everyone know I have a pretty severe back injury. An L5-S1 disk herniation (Google that) and a large one at that. Apparently, I did this on the piano or by running. Probably the combination of the two did it.

    Anyway, I won't be around for a while as I'm in awful pain most of the time and will be having surgery either this week or the next. At this point in time, I'm bedridden. The surgery does have a 90% success rate; so I'm looking forward to being able to do the simple things again, like walking. I'll probably never run another step in my life and my time at the piano will be drastically cut.

    This may be one of those life changing things.

    PS: This sucks!!!!!!

    :x

    Pete
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    you could always swim and play the violin instead :wink:

    good luck petey.


    I'll add you to the list of inactives:


    John Mar
    Nathan Coleman
    Tobias
    Pete
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Sheesh Pete, it is one thing after another with you ! Seems like you've really misused your body somehow (though how one could damage one's back playing piano is beyond me...). Or perhaps it is neither of theze things but just something you're prone to. I hope they can fix it, and afterwards, you'll really need to take care of yourself and not run and/or play until you drop.

    All best and do keep in touch :!:
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    So sorry to hear this, Pete. It must have been all the running. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    p.s. you can still go on your computer though, right?
     
  5. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    OH NO!!!! That's exactly how my back issues started, Pete!

    Hope surgery does go well! The nerve pain is excruciating, and painkillers just don't cut it! Make sure you do the physical therapy afterwards ... it's nightmarishly awful, but gives you back mobility. My therapist has me playing the piano as part of therapy.

    keep us posted!
     
  6. sarah

    sarah New Member

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    I am so sorry to hear this news, Pete! Heal up and hair over soon.
     
  7. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks a million (or these days, I should say thanks a trillion!) for the well wishes! I doing fine now that I've undergone a relatively minor surgery, a discectomy. Unfortunately, I'll be out for the rest of this semester as my job involves an awful lot of sitting. Oh well. My prognosis is excellent. The orthopedic surgeon ordered me to never run again. (In his opinion that was the sole cause of the injury.)

    And yes, it greatly affects my ability to sit at the piano or the computer, until I'm fully healed (6-8 weeks) Sitting hurts...A LOT! So I'll be around very sparsely for awhile. I also can't drive or be a passenger in a car! This is more inconvenient than can be imagined! Thank God I have have a good support system of family and friends!

    I had surgery on 2-23 and so far it is a resounding success; I'm virtually pain free (of course the oxycontin helps :lol:) and back on my feet. My doctor says it's lucky I caught the injury so soon as there is no nerve damage which can occur with prolonged pressure on the sciatic nerve from to the bulging disc.

    To add insult to injury, my insurance didn't cover the surgery, so it set me back about 50 grand. I had to sell stock at a loss! AHHHHHHHHH!

    This is the procedure I had. No fusion of vertebrae was necessary.

    Open Discectomy

    Open discectomy is the most common surgical treatment for ruptured or herniated discs of the lumbar spine. When the outer wall of a disc, the annulus fibrosus, becomes weakened, it may tear allowing the soft inner part of the disc, the nucleus pulposus, to push its way out. This is called disc herniation, disc prolapse or a slipped or bulging disc. (See discussion of herniated disc for more information.) Once the inner disc material extends out past the regular margin of the outer disc wall, it can press against very sensitive nerve tissue in the spine. The disc material can compress or even damage the nerve tissue, and this can cause weakness, tingling or pain in the back area and into one or both legs. Open discectomy uses surgery to remove part of the damaged disc and thus to relieve the pressure on the nerve tissue and alleviate the pain. The surgery involves a small incision in the skin over the spine, removal of some ligament and bone material to access the disc and the removal of some of the disc material.

    Open discectomy has been performed and improved over the course of the past 60 years. Over time, the procedure has been refined, and improved diagnostic tools—such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans—have allowed physicians to gain a better understand of which patients will have the best results from the surgery.

    Who is a Candidate for Open Discectomy?
    Not all patients with herniated discs are candidates for the open discectomy procedure. Most people find pain relief with nonsurgical treatments such as rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and epidural injections. However, sometimes the pain does not respond to these therapies and may require a more aggressive intervention.

    If back and leg pain does not respond to nonsurgical treatment and continues for four to six weeks or longer, the physician may prescribe diagnostic tests, such as X-ray imaging, MRI or a CT scan, to verify the source of the pain. If a diagnosis of herniated disc is confirmed, open discectomy may be recommended.

    Currently, spine surgery is undergoing a revolution in the way certain surgeries are performed. Discectomies can now be performed arthroscopically, that is, through a smaller incision using specialized tools with local anesthesia. In some simpler cases, this type of surgery may be recommended. However, open discectomy is still considered the “gold standard” by the spine community for surgical treatment of herniated discs. Open discectomy allows the surgeon the greatest ability to see and explore the surgical site.

    The Procedure
    Open discectomy is usually performed under general anesthesia (the patient is unconscious) and typically requires a one-day hospital stay. It is performed while the patient is lying face down or in a kneeling position. During the procedure, the surgeon will make an approximately one-inch incision in the skin over the affected area of the spine. Muscle tissue is removed from the bone (lamina) above and below the affected disc and retractors hold the muscle and skin away from the surgical site so the surgeon has a clear view of the vertebrae and disc. In some cases bone and ligaments may have to be removed for the surgeon to be able to visualize and then gain access to the disc without damaging the nerve tissue. This is called a laminectomy or laminotomy depending on how much bone is removed.

    Once the surgeon can visualize the lamina of the vertebrae, disc and other surrounding structures, he or she will remove the section of the disc that is protruding from the disc wall and any other disc fragments that may have been expelled from the disc. This is often done under magnification. No material is used to replace the disc tissue that is removed. The incision is then closed with sutures and the patient is taken to a recovery room.

    After the Procedure
    After surgery, you may feel pain at the site of the incision, and the original pain may not be completely relieved immediately after surgery. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to ease you through the immediate postoperative period. You will be instructed on deep breathing techniques and encouraged to cough in order to free your lungs of any fluid buildup that may occur due to the general anesthesia. It is recommended that, with supervision, you begin walking as soon as you are fully recovered from the anesthesia. This will aid in your recovery.

    Before you are discharged from the hospital, a physical therapist may visit with you to help you feel comfortable performing activities such as climbing stairs, sitting and getting out of a car or bed. Once you are discharged from the hospital, your physician may prescribe a physical therapy regimen suited to your condition.

    At home, you may have some minor restrictions such as not sitting for long periods of time, lifting objects more than five pounds, or excessive bending or stretching for the first four weeks after surgery. Also, you should not attempt to drive an automobile until you have been instructed to do so by your physician.

    Walking is the first physical activity you can attempt—in fact it is widely encouraged. Walking will allow you to maintain mobility in your spine as well as decrease the risk of scar tissue forming at the operative site. In a few weeks, you may be allowed to ride a bike or swim. Formal physical therapy may maximize your recovery.

    Most people with jobs that are not physically challenging can return to work in two to four weeks or less. Those with jobs that require heavy lifting or operating heavy machinery that can cause intense vibration may need to wait at least six to eight weeks after surgery to return to work. Again, physical therapy may have a role in your recovery.

    Anyway, at least I still have my wits about me. :D

    Sybil
     
  8. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    FYI, JG, I ain't inactive! :evil:
     
  9. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Luckily, I'm blessed with a hairless back. :lol:
     
  10. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm doing pretty well, all things considered. It's a good thing I was already in top physical shape and very lean when this happened, doc says that will speed my recovery.
     
  11. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    It was all the running. Yes the last two years have been one long physical purgatory; (my previous shoulder injury in 2007 was due to a fall from a bicycle, during which I cracked the helmet!) All the MRI's and X-RAYS I've had say I should be non-prone to these sorts of things (degenerative disc disease and the like.) My orthopedist says I have the bones and joints of an 18 year old, save the ruptured disc. (I'm 29) :? I guess I'll just have to find that balance to avoid overstraining things. I've always been mentally very strong. (I once ran 48 miles just to see if I could do it...I could. :lol: )

    And just when I'm "back in town".....GRRRRR!

    I'm learning a lesson from all this.
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Glad you are on the road to recovery, Pete. And now that you have all this time on your hands, you can plan our next game. :)
     
  13. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh boy. :?
     
  14. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Glad to hear everything went well ... hoping only the best for you and the spine!

    When i came home from first surgery, one of kids looked at scar and said, "They made your booty go all the way up, Dad!" hehe

    do the physical therapy!! It gives you someone to hate! :lol:
     
  15. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    My wishes of a speedy convalescence, Pete.
     
  16. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I like my physical therapist. :lol: (I've always been a glutton for punishment, which is probably what got in this position to begin with.)

    And thanks, Alf; I think I'm recovering faster than average.
     

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