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Time Lost

  • By Joni Lyver

    I just read an article called “Time Thieff” and I am really feeling it! I just had a hip replacement and now 6 weeks later I’m planning a spinal fusion !im trying to just go with the flow but some days are pretty tough! I’m lucky and thankful I recovered quickly from the hip surgery and building my body up to handle the back surgery the same way. Anyone else going through these kinds of surgeries that take up so much of our time?

  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Wow Joni! You’ve been through the ringer lately. I always figured that hip replacement is a bear because of the invasive nature, major “remodeling” being done, and the rehab on all the related soft tissues. I’ve had a surgery every year for the past five years but not that close together. What kind of spinal fusion are you having? Is it minimally invasive? How many vertebral levels are they fusing? My latest surgery last May was cervical fusion in C5-C7. It took me a good 2-3 months to get back to some level of normalcy. But my surgery was from the front of the neck where there is little impact of muscle tissue helping in the recovery. Spinal surgery is always from the back/posterior. I always feel like some of the recovery process is just the shock of the process on your body and emotions.

    Hope everything goes well for you and it’s your last surgery!

  • By Jennifer

    Hi Dr. Lumpe,

    I noticed you had had a spinal fusion and I wanted to know a little more. I was diagnosed with RA and several back “problems” that cause me great discomfort!! The main issue is a herniated disc in my neck. My pcp said I would need to see a neurologist b:c I have neuropathy and nerve impingement (most likely causing neuropathy!!??). My injured area is c6&7. Any info you could give me would be greatly appreciated!!


    Jennifer wines

  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Hi Jennifer, sorry you’ve been having neck problems. A neurologist can run a series of nerve conduction and muscle tests to check for the source of your problems. Have you had an MRI of your neck? That can give a lot of information about what’s going on. For most people with nerve impingement, conservative treatments like PT and steroid injections can provide relief. You can read more about my experiences in this article.

    RA can be a Literal Pain in the Neck

  • By Susanf

    Oh my, this is a personal topic for me and the time lost issue is so rarely referenced. Until 3 yrs ago, post retirement, I was living a dream retirement plan, one I actively trained for 6 years, traveling all over the country with Red Cross disaster Services, and as a new EMT, volunteering with the Rescue Squad. I’ve had RA for 25 years, but I occasionally went in remission and could do EMS AND RED CROSS deployments during good years. I hoped to go on to paramedic. It all came crashing down when returning from a month in Minot ND 3 years ago, helping with their floods. I was 2 inches shorter in a month and could barely walk through the Minot airport. I had “out of the blue” dislocated my left hip getting into a car with some other disaster workers. I had to immediately drop off the Rescue Squad and Red Cross deployments. I learned my toes had all dislocated and I was walking on bone, and I had degenerative disk disease as a result of progressive RA bone deterioration and long term effects of prednisone et al. So now I lose my life’s time. I’ve had within the past 3 years to right foot reconstructions, the 2nd this past April. 18 months ago a spinal fusion with a nice titanium cage with L4, L5, and S1. Tomorrow I see my wonderful surgeon who I just love, to schedule my right shoulder rotator cuff repair for a tear and hole in the muscle and a right shoulder replacement. I have lost 3 complete years since stepping off the plane from Minot. We are keeping an eye on the left hip which is next on the list. My husband who has been a saint through 25 years of RA, my close wonderful girlfriend, 3 fantastic sisters, and my 4 fantastic adult kids, although never complaining, I know are getting exhausted. I would have never guessed that I would acquire a plethora of splints, shower chairs, 4 different walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, and 6 canes.

    • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

      Wow Susan! You’ve been through the ringer. RA does have a way of changing our plans. It’s so wonderful that you have such a strong support system. Hang in there!

  • By LisaInMinnesota

    Yes! The amount of time going from doctor to doctor, test after test, treatment and meds is outrageous. So much so, I stopped for a long time because it all got so overwhelming. Just started up treatments again. My back along with other joint areas is horrible!

  • By Richard Faust Moderator

    Thanks for writing LisaInMinnesota. The time involved in pursuing treatments can certainly add up. Every individual has to make the decisions on what to pursue or not for themselves. Of course, all of the information out there can sometimes get overwhelming and actually get in the way of making choices. In this article one of our contributors writes about this issue of choice impediments:

    In this article, one of our contributors looks at evidence based medicine as a way of tailoring treatment to the individual, while acknowledging the problem of the amount of information out there to deal with:

    Finally, at the risk of putting too much information out there myself, is this article from one of our contributors on her decsion to be on meds:

    I hope that your new treatments provide you some relief. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)