The latest update from the endocrinologist -the specialist here in the Lower Mainland that handles all patients on Forteo has agreed to handle me…I still have to think about it.

My last bone scan at St Paul’s hospital showed a T score around -1.5. Lion’s Gate Hospital got their own machine finally and so the results cannot be compared. However the first scan from LGH showed a bone density of +3. Come on- no one can take that seriously. The lumbar spine had pretty collapsed on itself so it showed up as a nice piece of bone. They put me on Fosamax after the scan (2006) and I had a repeat done this Feb 09. It shows a 10% loss of bone mass in the lumbar spine. That’s the reason they want to put me on Forteo. However, the L spine is not even osteopenic. The hip and forearm are normal for my age…so how about the 3 back surgeries that took bone out of the lumbar area- wouldn’t you think that would show a bone loss. I had bilateral laminectomies at two levels. Microdiscectomies at three. 

It just seems logical that there would be less bone…Less is more in this case.

Into Week 4 of L2/L3 Laminectomy and L5 Microdiscectomy

Progressing still. It’s a lot slower than the other surgeries. I’m being patient. :-) I’m up to walking 20 min twice a day and I follow that with the few exercises the doctor gave me. Then I put on the ice pack for 20 minutes and usually lie down for an hour.

I found a staple in my back yesterday. I was worried about getting it out because the longer it stayed in the more the scar tissue would anchor it down. Managed to pull it out and everything was okay. I didn’t have a staple remover because my sister didn’t want to keep one – being a nurse and thinking about germs. But let me tell you that the staples do indeed go in the exact way they do into a piece of paper. I was under the mistaken impression that they just went straight in without clipping under. No way. I really don’t want to think about how they did that.

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3 Weeks after the L2/3 Laminectomy and L5/S1 Microdiscectomy

How the times go by. I’m doing well, managing to taper off some of my long term pain meds. :-) I’ve cut bad to 45mg MS Contin in the morning and 60mg at night. I feel like I could cut back to 50mg morning and night now as it has been two weeks. My brother in law suggested that a steady blood level was more important and that going down in 15mg amounts would put more of challenge on my body. In other words 50/50 is bettr than 45/65.

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Post Op L2/3 Laminectomy, L5/S1 Microdiscectomy

Doing well, resting and happy to be home.

Please visit Viddler at to watch the video.

Take care.

Surgery is Done

Hi all

Just a short post. THE l2/l3 decompressive laminectomy and L5/S1 microdiscectomy is finally over. I spent one night in the hospital. I’ll write more about the stay in the hospital later but it was not pleasant.

The Decompressive surgery went well, no unexpected complications or findings. Also no doubt about the amount of compression causing probems.

In the area of L5/S1 the S1 nerve looked okay compression wise but L5 was a bit of mess. LOTS of scar tissue. In fact, because he had to scrap off so much scar tissue – the incision ended up being the length of L2/3 all the way to L5. It looks like that was part of the reason that I was so bent over – the scar tissue was pulling me down towards the hip on the one side.

Anyway, it hurts like heck. I have staples in this time because of the amount of work. Lucky my sister is a nurse and can take them out or I’d have to go sit in my GP’s office to have the job done.

Managing the pain well at home. Sleeping well and resting. 8 weeks of inactivety except for walking….then occupational and phsyio therapists.

More later. :-)

L2/L3 Bilateral Laminectomy & a Right L5/S1 Microdiscectomy is a Go

Well, it looks like the surgery is definitely going ahead. My Mom and Dad’s anniversary (and my niece’s) has taken on new meaning. Video posted on Viddler

Trying to make all the arrangements. Dr. Gul will be doing the surgery. They have one brand new neurosurgical OR at Lion’s Gate Hospital and I’m hoping I get slated there. Apparently there’s a nice big screen to show the MRI and whatever else is going on.

Dr. Gul wants me to see the anesthesiologist again because this surgery is going to be longer. Bill’s worried, I’m worried, my sisters are worried…be glad when this is done.

I found out that it’s about $22/hr for someone to come in and do stuff around the house. Emptying the dishwasher, making meals, changing the bed, light housekeeping, that sort of thing. 2 hours is their minimum and I figure that’s all I’ll need them for. And maybe just a couple of weeks…

Thelma is going to come down for the surgery. She wanted to know if she should come the day after the surgery so I could have one more day of “care” from her. I kind of think that she should decide if SHE wants to be here then. I’ll be lights out. Bill would certainly appreciate it but it’s a bit crazy.

I was looking at flights and it’s about $500 with taxes. If she stayed one extra day, the fair was $80 plus taxes cheaper but she couldn’t manage it. She does have the office and her hubby. No kids.

I guess should be appreciate that she’s coming. It is the third time… I don’t know why I don’t feel more grateful…something’s bugging me.

Joan is coming out from Holland, too. I think that she should come around Bill’s birthday. It’s going to be different when she’s here. She doesn’t know how to get anywhere. I’m totally happy that she’s coming but I need to be a little stronger than right after the surgery.

She was there in Holland after I had a 7 hour operation. That was too weird. The operation. I lost one whole day…woke up at what I thought was right after the surgery and it was one day later. I was still right out of it. And everyone was speaking Dutch – which I don’t speak-so that helped me feel like I was in outer space. Don’t get me wrong- the nurses and all the patients could speak English but of course they spoke their native tongue when they thought I wasn’t part of the conversation.

Anyway, Hannah aka Joan, did a great job of taking care of me. And it was almost 18 months. I was sick, sick, sick and that translates into crouchy, unreasonable and just plain rude. :-)

OK- that’s enough for today. Bill just called and he’s on his way home. Stopping at the liquor store to pick up his booze for his 3 day getaway. I’ll be curious to see if he needs a crane to lift it up. :-) Just kidding.

More later.

Video of Upcoming Surgery

If this doesn’t automatically play, then click on this link or cut and paste it into your browser.

Take care

L2/L3 Bilateral Laminectomy

Well, I did my best trying to get stronger and hoping that things would improve. They did but not enough. Dr. Gul ordered another thoracic and lumbar MRI along with a contrast at the end. I was in that darn machine for 1 1/2 hours. No moving. It was ugly.

I tried to get them to put me in feet first because I had some claustrophobic last time That was weird and unpleasant. Unfortunately, there was no option to do that. I had them put a towel over my eyes and I just braced myself for it. I have had way too many MRI’s and never had an event so I hoped I could just not think about it. It snuck up on me before. Well, that worked but it still was not a pleasant experience.

I can hardly believe how soon I got MRI. I saw Dr. Gul in his office on June 24. I had the MRI 2 weeks later and a repeat appointment on July 22. Unheard of! Usually you can expect to wait at least 6 weeks and that’s if you are on the urgent list.

Anyway, long story short L2/L3 has bilateral blockage of the nerve roots. So that means a bilateral laminectomy. I sure hope it’s better than the L1/L2 laminectomy that I had Oct 17. That’s what is causing the problems with the lower extremities. Apparently the stenosis is also a problem because there isn’t sufficient blood supply getting to the lower nerve. Geez.

At the same time, the L5 nerve is compressed. That explains why I have so many symptoms on the right. But just to be sure that the surgery at this level will help, Dr. Gul wants to do a steroid injection. Really don’t want that. However, they are doing under fluoroscopy which is pretty safe. The sound of it is enough to give me the willies.

Anyway, if I feel some relief after the injection, he will do L5 on the right at the same time as the laminectomy. Recovery is going to be tough.

When I was leaving the appointment with Dr. Gul, he had the nurse do the pre surgical admission. Right. I phoned his secretary and she said that the doctor that does the injection is off for a week but that once I get the injection, my surgery will be around 4 weeks after that. So September sometime….

This is really a lousy situation. I was hoping to go back to work in September…Forget that. And Bill and I were working towards going back to San Miguel in October. Forget that.

You know, sometimes life just sucks.

Good News but more Magnesium Citrate :-(

Had a second x-ray. Really started cramping and my doc wants me to see a surgeon. YUK! Went to see her again because nothing from the surgeon – I could sit her forever in pain waiting. Because of the cramping now she was able to give me meds that have helped tremendously.

The second x-ray totally ruled out a blockage which is fantastic. Still wants me to see a surgeon. Could be twisting in the lower colon from the surgery I had in 1994…

Ordered a second purge and clear fluids though to clean out the colon. Still too much stuff hanging in there. Have to contact the neurosurgeon now to make sure it’s not the result of complications for the Laminectomy…

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Up and Down, The Yo-Yo Syndrome

Woke up feeling pain in my leg and hip. I had trouble walking yesterday and Bill noticed it in the house. I’m not sure what is going on.

We got up at 4:45AM. I was having trouble sleeping because of my hip and Bill is still having trouble getting used to day shift instead of graveyards.

I went for my walk just after Bill left for work at 7AM. Very soon after starting both my hips starting giving me trouble. I ended up walking a short 20 minutes and that was too much. I was hoping to get all my walk in (an hour) because it’s going to start raining very hard in a little while.

I got home and took 2mg dilaudid but that didn’t help. I’m getting up and down a lot. Basically I’m doing some computer stuff and then going into the kitchen and doing stuff there. Making Bill’s lunch, preparing dinner. We’re having Shepherd’s Pie tonight if I can get all the carrots and potatoes peeled. Otherwise we’ll have roast chicken and I’ll finish the shepherd’s pie then.

That’s basically how the


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