Recently, my dad had back surgery to eliminate the pain down his leg with a scrape of the vertebra and partial removal of the disc. He was walking 2 hours after surgery and came home that same evening. He had the same symptoms I'm experiencing. So, when I had my appointment with the spinal surgeon yesterday, I was expecting to make a surgical appointment for the same procedure.
To give you a little history, I had an MRI done in 2000 for back pain shooting down my right leg. It showed a herniation to the disc and so I went through about 3-5 months of physical therapy and shock treatments which seemed to work. Through the years, however, I would continue to experience pain now and then off and on and gradually it would get worse and the time span on the pain longer. It lasted up until this past July or so when it was becoming nearly every day with pain, only it's in the left leg now. After the 2nd MRI, there seems to be deterioration between the L5 and S1 vertebra and the space between them has become smaller, not by much, but enough where it's noticeable.
The first doctor I went to was a retired surgeon which my primary failed to mention. His recommendation was a complete removal of the herniated disc and leaving something behind for a cushion so the bones would not collapse.
So, when I went to the second doctor he highly recommended me to, I was expecting the same results.
No to be.
This doctor said that because there is degeneration of the disc that is obviously present, removal of the disc would only temporarily fix the situation. Eventually, due to more degeneration (may be months, may be years), my vertebra would indeed collapse and I would be looking at permanent nerve damage. So, his recommendation is for the removal of the disc followed by fusing the two vertebrae together leaving a space in between or for a Transforminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (commonly known as TLIF).
80% of patients have had a successful fusion while there is 15% that have failed (estimate). I don't want to be part of that 15%.
Honestly, I'm terrified of this procedure, but I also know I want my life back. But, there's a chance this might not work and that's what is scaring me the most. What if I get worse? But, in the mean time, I'd be able to walk again with having to rest after like 20 minutes. I can sleep in my own bed (which cause tremendous pain currently - and it's a new softer mattress). And the pain shooting down my leg is most likely to stop happening.
I am a 40 year old mother of 2 beautiful and willing to nurse me back to health girls, ages 12 and 10. My husband is being very supportive. I work at home on my computer almost 46-50 hours a week. I know I can still work but need time for getting up every hour to walk around for a few minutes at a time. Can't go outside for a walk in Michigan in the middle of January unless I wanna freeze everything.
The negatives that are possible? The domino effect could happen over time where the next two vertebrae become herniated and so on and so forth. The fusion might not work or growth doesn't happen within the bones and I'm back to square one only worse cause now I have now disc left. A rare instance but still possible: the doctor makes an error and I'm paralyzed for life.
I honestly don't know what to do. The last two weeks I've been nearly pain free. It's like my back decided to get better or else like a child. I know the pain will be back, it always does, but do I fix it now when I'm fine? Or do I wait and run the risk of possible nerve damage that could be permanent the next time around?
I would really like more opinions on this and if it helped them or not.
I'm begging for help or advice. I haven't been myself since yesterday cause I have a date already scheduled and it's in a little over two weeks (the 28th). I'm scared, yet a part of me knows this is a good solution of preventative maintenance for later in life. But there's that part of me that says NO WAY.
Sorry for venting all this out, but I've always been told no question is a stupid question and you won't find anything out unless you ask.
Thank you in advance for your words of encouragement or discouragement.