Lately I've been reading through the forums, specifically on surgery recoveries from Microdiscetomy's and am beginning to have second thoughts.
Long story short, i injured my back 5 years ago doing deadlifts at the gym. I have been dealing with severe sciatica pain ever since. Over time it moved from my lower back down into my left leg and finally into my ankle. The pain was so bad that i could barely put on my underwear and or socks. At one point, leaning forward to brush my teeth over the sink was awful pain. I couldn't sit in class when i was in college, i actually had to drop my morning classes due to the pain, ache, and tightness i would feel in my hamstring. I would rate the pain I've lived with over the years as a 8-9/10, it would break me down some days, but my stubbornness would push through. I didn't let it stop me from going to the gym either, i actually competed at one point with the pain. I continued to snowboard as well each year, up until recently.
Back in November i was doing legs at the gym (Monday), Tuesday went in and got my acupuncture, which had helped me the most out of anything i had tried. My mom had actually pushed me to it and finally i caved and decided to give it a go, it was the best decision of my life. My pain had gone from 7/10 to 2/10 over the 3 months of consistent acupuncture. My mind was blown away from it. On Wednesday morning i woke up and started to walk to the bathroom to start to get ready for work (4:30am) and then just hit the floor in the most pain i have ever been in, in my life. 911 pain, and i have a HIGH tolerance to pain from the last 5 years. I had to yell for the girlfriend to get up, i was legitimately terrified and did not know what to do. It took me 15 minutes to push through the pain and crawl back to the edge of the bed where i propped myself up, shaking and trembling. She grabbed me 800mg of ibuprofen which i took and waited it out before i went into work. Driving was rough, walking around at work was rough (I work in an office, at a computer, and can stand all day if needed). I made it through work, taking baby setps everywhere i went and i could notice my legs shaking as i stood still sometimes.
Over the next couple days the pain continued to decrease, however once it completely went away and i mean 100% pain free with zero sciatica pain, my 4th &5th toes in my left leg where completely numb, along with the side of my foot, my ankle and my hamstring. I also can no longer stand on my tippy toes with my left leg and couldn't flex my calf what so ever. I've experienced numbness, tingling, and i had already partially lost feeling in my hamstring, but never went 100% numb like this and 20% strength in my calf/foot, if that. I can press my clutch in on my car, i can point my foot just fine, however i cannot walk up stairs very well or run. Sitting is completely fine, bending over to put on my socks is now pain free, i now sleep through the night without any pain. There was a 9 month period where i couldn't sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time. I would wake up and have to take ibuprofen to fall back asleep due to the pain.
This is when i knew i had to go in. I was finally granted an MRI from my insurance and low and behold, L4-5 L5-S1 herniated discs and the doctor (Orthopedic Surgery) and the best in my area for that matter, says i need a noninvasive microdiscetomy. I was quick to say lets do it and get me fixed. I am now 2 weeks out for surgery, just got my blood work done, and have started reading into recovery timelines etc. I will admit i assumed since its such a small incision that recovery would be a breeze, but after reading all the threads in this forum, I'm honestly contemplating opting out of surgery and living with the lack of strength and feeling in my foot to be pain free and to be able to sit, ride a bike, lift weights, pain free. I may not be able to run, or do squats at the gym anymore, but at least i have zero pain. At least that is my rational right now.
I'm honestly lost in what to do. I just made an appointment with my doctor to speak to him more about the surgery and what to expect for life after it. I am an extremely active person, i snowboard, lift weights, im building a motorcycle which i would like to ride. Without this surgery i would still be able to do all of that, with this surgery i have a strong feeling that i could be in pain the rest of my life.
The Doctor said that numbness and strength returning is uncertain during my first consultation with him.
I don't know what to do at this point, I can't be out of work for months on months, that is not an option i am willing to gamble with. I would rather not walk right, then to lose everything and go into debt.
I guess the reason for this post is to hear from other opinions on people who have gone through surgery or avoided it. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I have an appointment with my Doctor to discuss my concerns on April 10th.
I appologize is this post is information overload and all over