Sciatica, surgery and so much more to come

spy147sspy147 Posts: 5
edited 09/13/2019 - 3:41 AM in Recovering from Surgery Forum

(I already had a post here but it was erased by someone so here goes again with greater input since it’s been almost three months post surgery)

Back and leg pain began in January 2018, had MRI (confirmed herniated disc L5S1 on the right side) took meds, did physio and seemed to get over it by June. Dug a hole for my dog on all fours and on the 10th of June I was broken. Rushed to emergency but was cleared to go home with medication. Had probably the hardest 40 days of my life with sleepless nights and excruciating pain. Finally got epidural on the 25th of July and things sort of calmed down. Pain was there always though. Spent most part of the winter with pilates, walking, exercising and was almost good to go on February. Then I played some 95% painless three or four rounds of golf (which I painfully regret) and from the beginning of March my right leg is a neurological mess. Muscle spasms, calf cramps, electric shocks, numbness, atrophy etc. It was so bad that I just laid on my back or stood up straight. Anything else gave me symptoms. Finally I had a microdiscectomy on the 25th of June where the neurosurgeon who operated did so for three and a half hours because the disc had calcified around the nerve and was damaging it as he said but everything went ok according to him. Woke up from the surgery and nothing changed, to be honest the symptoms were a bit worse and in the 80 days that followed until today remain so. I have good days where I think I’m recovering followed by bad days where I ask my self if I actually had surgery. My body is as stiff as it gets, I cannot move my legs in bed without getting all sorts of dysesthesias and when I walk I get an audible crack each time my bad leg goes forward. And I still cramp at any given moment. Now I know that nerves heal slow (I’ve read a lot in this forum and the surgeon told me so) but I haven’t had a single day of total relief since my surgery and my mental state was falling apart. Something inside me didn’t feel right whatever I read and whatever everyone was telling me. I was swimming, I was walking, I was being careful but nothing seemed to change for the best. I was slowly losing my mind. Until I decided to get an MRI with contrast on my own without even asking my surgeon. I paid for it and I got it on the 3rd of September and guess what? Three neurosurgeons (not mine) said there is a disc fragment on my nerve. Now one of them said reherniation but he wasn’t aware that I wasn’t symptom free not even for a minute post surgery. Now here’s the tricky part. Another neurosurgeon (a good friend of mine who unfortunately doesn’t do backs but hands microsurgery) who works at the same hospital with my surgeon looked at the MRI, told me there is a disc fragment on my nerve and somehow found out that during my surgery the surgeon didn’t cut all the disc that was strangling the nerve but left some disc because he was afraid he would damage the nerve and closed me nevertheless. A piece of information that neither he or his assistants thought was important to mention. I was told by them that everything went ok and was sent on my merry way. Right after surgery, at the one week appointment (assistant showed up) and at the one month appointment with the surgeon who actually charged me for it! 

I’ve been having light physio everyday with some results but there are days like today that I’m having lower back pain on both sides, right leg symptoms as always plus mild left leg symptoms.

I’m on Lyrica 150mg per day and lorazepam to sleep due to the stress this has put me under although since I had the MRI and was sure about what is going on my mind was put at ease that I was not crazy after all the past two months. I was operated upon badly,  and left to believe that I was healing under the very slow rythm that the nerves heal. 

I have booked an appointment for Tuesday with my surgeon where I’ll show up with the MRI [edit] I’m not sure how to handle this. Even if he gets to admit that he closed me unfinished what will he say about not telling me?

What will he have to suggest from now on?

Will it be a revision surgery? Like  I’m having it with him again!

However things go on Tuesday I’m done with him.

But what does the future hold for me? It’s been 21 months now living with this plus a botched surgery. Where do I go from here? I haven’t given up. I’m going to physio, walking, working, living my life as best as I can but nothing is being resolved. There is always something inside me aggravating the nerve (and as I said recently on the left side as well).

Sorry for the very long post.

Edited by ~Liz Veritas-Health Forum Moderator Removed doctor bashing]



  • You have been through a lot, before your appointment, write all of your questions down, if possible take somebody with you, another set of eyes and ears is always a very good thing, by the way, as bad as you may want to, punching him is probably a bad idea.


  • spy147sspy147 Posts: 5
    edited 09/13/2019 - 3:42 AM

    Hi Chip, what you’re saying is good advice for my next surgeon. I’ve totally lost confidence in this one. I don’t even know why I’m seeing him. Let’s see what he has to say.

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  • I would bring a dictaphone to record the session. A doctor will be less inclined to lie on record. Not sure if you can do this in Greece, but in the US you can.

    Nothing but sympathy. I hope you find recovery in your near future

  • So I met with my surgeon today and as opposed to five other doctors who have seen the MRI and all of them said disc fragment he insists it’s scar tissue and that twi months after surgery isn’t a sufficient amount of time for an MRI to show if it’s scar tissue or disc fragment. 

    So in a week it will be three months from surgery and he told me to get another MRI? And for what? To prove him wrong? 

    I told him that I didn’t feel relief not for a minute after surgery compared to pre surgery and I also asked him how quickly does scar tissue form? Five minutes after surgery? Because when I woke up I and right up until now I’m exactly the same. He then started talking about blood that he thought would compress the nerve and that’s when I left.

  • I hate to hear that you are having such a hard time, good luck with your decision on what the next step is.

    Take care and heep us posted


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  • Ok, so I thought I’d update this post since I am again in pain in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which makes things a lot worse (mentally for sure). Spent the whole winter with physio but the symptoms did not subside. It got a little bit better maybe because I masked everything by smoking cannabis every night before bed (only taking Lyrica once a day since I have a bad stomach and cannot down many meds). Mind you, I walk as much as I want with no troubles but cannot sit down for more than ten minutes without the calf throbbing or shooting pain. It’s like I never had the surgery in the first place. I cannot relax, I cannot sit on a sofa without trouble or lie in bed as I wish. I have to be very careful each time that I won’t get that shooting pain in my calf. Furthermore the back of my thigh is totally useless when I try to lift my leg backwards (trying to place my heal on my buttock from a standing position, a universal stretch). Just like ibefore surgery. To top it all off my neck has started aching and this time whenever I twist it to make it feel better my whole spine aches whereas last year the problem eas only from the waist down. And now with the COVID-19 restrictions I can’t have my physiotherapies three times a week which kept me at bay. Doing some exercises alone doesn’t help much.  Staying home a lot with the restrictions and all which isn’t helping since I can’t relax as I should. And watching the news and the coronavirus death count isn’t helping mentally at all. Never thought I’d lose my life but guess what? It happened and I don’t know how to get it back. My energy and mood levels are less than half than what they were two years ago I probably need a new MRI and a new neurosurgeon but the previous surgery experience has me scared. I’ve been semi-depressed over this for over two years now and I don’t know how to resolve it. Second surgery? What if it also goes wrong? I won’t be able to bare something like that a second time but staying like this isn’t an option either. I would appreciate an input from those who had a bad first surgery but went on to get saved by a second surgery. The emotional phases one goes through would help. I must admit that I’m afraid that if I go through with it and I wake up still being the same I’ll be devastated. Who am I kidding? I’m scared to my wits!!!

  • After my first surgery 35 years ago, I had very little if any relief, 3 months and 5 days later the doctor operated again, that surgery lasted for 30 years before I finally had to have fusion surgery on that level.

    Take care and keep us posted


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