30-MAY-2006 12:30pm EST:
I suddenly realized that despite the fact that my back pain controls 99.9999% of my life, that I haven’t really documented a brief history of it. So….. here goes:
1996 – 1997 (approx): Injured my back lifting things by myself that I shouldn’t have. Nothing specific that I can think of, except for a few events over the course of maybe a year that weren’t smart. Was diagnosed by primary care physician as having two herniated discs: L4-L5 and L5-S1.
1998 (approx): Was rear-ended in my car. I am sure that didn’t help.
1998 – 2000 (approx): Went through several cycles of having ok times with my back, and then having really bad times with my back. This was followed up with traditional drugs + physical therapy route. Pretty sure I had at least on epidural at some point in time. During this time-frame, also started riding / racing motorcycles, which I am sure didn’t help much either. Normally, I just barely made it through the pain. Few minor scrapes on various bikes didn’t seem to hurt my back at the time, but I bet also didn’t help much.
2003: Saw article on cnn.com about ADR. Knew that was the surgical procedure for me.
2004: Stopped living my life the way I wanted to (no more motorcycles, heavy prescription drugs, and no travel unless absolutely necessary!) and realized that I could no longer handle my back pain (if you look carefully, you will see that I haven’t really updated my photo gallery since August, 2004). Towards the end of 2004, began my search for a doctor to perform ADR surgery on me.
2005: Started my ADR journey with a couple of neurosurgeons that weren’t performing ADR yet, and endured the most painful discogram ever performed on a human being. Found ADRSupport.org, and went to an ADR neurosurgeon in Columbus, OH area, where I had my 2nd discogram of the year (yeah me!). Neurosurgeon recommended waiting at least another year, which I decided against. Consulted with Global Patient Network, and ended up visiting an extremely experienced ADR surgeon in New Haven, CT. During this time, I also made the mistake of not realizing how much pain I was in, and how distant I was becoming. This, in turn, ended up pushing away the one person that I really didn’t want to push away/lose.
May, 2006: For some bizarre reason, I continue to wait in the U.S. for FDA approval of multi-level Prodisc use, even though I can go to Germany and have one of the two most experienced ADR neurosurgeons in the world perform the procedure. I continue to be severely limited in the activities that I can do on a daily basis, even considering the amount of prescription drugs I take for the pain (…and this doesn’t even include my borderline depression that I realize I am in…)
November, 2006: Finally took the plunge! Scheduled for 2 level ADR with Dr. Bertagnoli on 14-NOV-2006 (7 days from today).