Friday, September 23, 2016

Much Needed Update - 6 Years Into the M6-L

Hey guys! Thank you all for all the comments and e-mails. I've tried to respond to everyone; I've even had a few skype calls with prospective patients. You may all be wondering how I'm doing, so here's a quick update:

I'm doing GREAT. No issues whatsoever. I've managed to control my facet pain by working on core exercises, with the added extra benefit of having a nice 6-pack, so cheers to looking good naked! As always, I stay away from long runs, squats, jumping, and any impact sports. When my back feels stiff, I do a bit of stretching and move on with my day.

A word of warning to prospective patients though: despite me being happy with the surgery, some of you might not be as fit as I am. I'd consider this a warning: you might end up with facet issues.

Cheers everyone!

10 comments:

  1. Hello sir. I'm considering Regenexx SD procedure for disc bulges and annular tears.
    Do you regret trying Regenexx?
    Did it help you at all?

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  2. Hello sir. I'm considering Regenexx SD procedure for disc bulges and annular tears.
    Do you regret trying Regenexx?
    Did it help you at all?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Mike,
    Nick did my surgery in May of 2011, so I'm just over 5 years into my *dual* level ADR (I had M6s placed in my L5/S1 and L4/L5). I was a reasonably healthy, 46 yr old (now 51) male, non-smoker, etc. Overall I've done pretty darn well (not in a wheelchair, which I probably would have otherwise been in by now). I walk about a mile every morning at 5am, swim about a 1/2 mile every afternoon (that's the BEST part of my day as it really stretches out and opens things up). In addition to massive disc degeneration, I also had a significant case of facet arthrosis, which, of course, has not gone away and is still a source of regular pain. Some days are better than others, but rarely do I need more than iBuprofen for the pain. I just had my 5 year reunion MRI and am actually shipping off a copy to Dr Dare (Nick's successor at Wessex) today. I'm a bit alarmed at where the disc in L5/S1 appears to be, but there's ZERO sign of adjacent level stress in L3/L4 so that's a good thing.

    Nick and I became friends (he was an Apple computer guy, I owned a chain of Apple dealer stores in the US at the time) through our experience together (often trading Mac advice for back advice) ... and I keep in touch with Joan and some of the other nurses from my time there. Obviously Nick's death was just devastating.

    You mentioned something above about controlling your facet pain by working on core exercises. I'm VERY interested in these exercises because that's where a bunch of my pain is. I also have *daily* soreness along the iliac ridge (where those muscle groups attach). To be clear, the pain I'm in now is *NOTHING* like the pain I was in before surgery (I could barely work 4 hours/day, I couldn't walk, I was in constant, severe pain), but it is frustrating (and depressing) to always feel one moment away from being back in that place. Meditation helps with the depression and frustration, but if you've found an exercise routine that helps with facet pain, please DO share specifics! :-) DB

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    Replies
    1. Hi,,i am cosidering havin the m6 l done in 2 locations, what did the dr say when u thought it had moved? cheers

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    2. Phil, my first concern was based on the 2014 xrays that I had done in hospital at Wessex (I happened to be passing through the UK on a trip that summer and made arrangements to come in for a "3 years post op" check up. We looked at the x-rays together and Dr Dare assured me that everything we were looking at was completely normal. I have sent the 2016 MRI and CT scan info to them (it is in transit and I haven't heard back yet). It is *possible* that some of what we're seeing (and keep in mind that I am NOT a trained physician or radiologist, just someone who has been studying and listening to this stuff for years for obvious reasons) is the result of the way my body is positioned while the MRI was in progress (when you lay flat on your back, there is a tendency for S1 to flex downward a bit).

      On the whole, I have VERY positive things to say about my M-6L experience. Most importantly, I'm walking and not in a wheelchair (which I feel I pretty much would be without the surgery). I'm aware that they will, eventually, be little more than VERY expensive spacers for fusion, but that's hopefully *decades* from now and the time these will have bought me in the interim is very valuable to me. Almost everyone I know who has done the surgery had a great experience (one had a bad one, but she apparently had other issues going in and I'm kind of surprised they agreed to take her as a candidate). I do have soreness pain regularly along my iliac ridge and the bottom of my ribcage (the connecting points for the muscle groups that have to work a bit harder) ... and of course the surgery wasn't supposed to do anything for my facet arthrosis (which is why I want to hear about Mike's exercises) ... and that's where most of my residual pain is. Keep in mind that this pain is NOTHING like the pre-op pain (when I could barely work 4 hours/day, spent most of my days working from bed ... it was BAD). One final oddball thing about my surgical outcome (and they did not promise me this but did tell me it was a possibility) is that, prior to surgery, I had a worsening case of scoliosis and some definitely visible spondylolisthesis. The latter is slightly better, but the scoliosis is MUCH better post surgery. I don't have a good explanation for this (and frankly neither do the Doctors ... again, they absolutely did NOT promise me any changes but did note that some patients showed some post surgery improvements in related problems like that ... well, even just one year later, my improvement was pronounced and easily visible in xrays etc.

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    3. Hi Duane - great to read your story. Does Dr Dare do the exact same M6-L surgery as Nick did or does he just look after Nick's post-op patients? And how expensive was the surgery for two disc replacements? Thanks.

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    4. Trauts,
      Dr. Dare does the same work that Nick did. The surgery in 2011 ran me about $40K (US), but with a more favorable exchange rate today, you might pay the same or even a little less. Figure another $5K for travel etc.

      One piece of advice I STRONGLY recommend: fly First Class on the way home (both ways is ideal, but the way home you'll NEED it, your body is still recovering and you'll NEED to be able to lay flat for that trip). Also, and the hospital will REQUIRE this: you MUST wear pressure socks on the flight (they are *manic* about DVT risk in the EU). FWIW, I thought this was stupid, but I did it anyway (good pressure socks usually run like $50/pair). I now NEVER fly without them, the difference is AMAZING. :-) DB

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  4. Oh, and another thing, about a year after surgery I determined that some of my long term pain had to do with my weight, so I began a long term. slow burn diet. I dropped 50 pounds in about 9 months, and I've kept the vast bulk of that weight off ever since (I weigh in EVERY day and my weight has moved up and down within no more than 2 pounds of a mid-point for ... well, for coming up on four years now). It definitely relieved the stress on the discs and on my lower back, but I am again concerned about muscle stress ... so share those exercises!

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  5. Mike, Please friend request me on facebook and check out my you tube channel. I read about you problems with M6 facet joints which is why I now have LP-ESP disk. Pretty crazy, I also found out i have osteopenia and Celiac https://youtu.be/J5Wfcvl2_hc?list=PLWq3I2kyl2XhgvVun6Jy1YxMEa1XahQYU

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mike, Please friend request me on facebook and check out my you tube channel. I read about you problems with M6 facet joints which is why I now have LP-ESP disk. Pretty crazy, I also found out i have osteopenia and Celiac https://youtu.be/J5Wfcvl2_hc?list=PLWq3I2kyl2XhgvVun6Jy1YxMEa1XahQYU

    ReplyDelete