I am happy that I have found a place for those suffering a similar fate as myself. My story is a pretty long when, especially considering that I am 26 years old now. When I was 13 I started to have pain that radiated down into my right leg. Sure enough after seeing many doctors and eventually an MRI I was identified as having a bulging L4-L5.
At that point, now some 13 years ago, I did all of the conservative treatments including physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and finally a chiropractor. I managed to play varsity sports through high school with some degree of pain. I remember at that time having a prescription for Celebrex. After the issues came about with that medicine I switched to purely over the counter solutions. I was pretty good through college, being less aggressively active but still active enough. After graduation and becoming a grown up brought about some issues.
I think I can only blame myself and a lack of physical activity for the degradation in my in back. Over the past few years now I started to have some numbness and tingling in my feet which I never had before. I also fell on ice two years ago which cause me some severe pain. At the time I had just started working again and had no health insurance. Happy to have a job I kept working for the next two years with occasional pain in my back, and numbness in my feet.
Fast forward to Oct 2012. I am now a manager at work and the other manager I work with goes on vacation for three weeks. Between the stress and increased hours at work I noticed a lot more pain coming on. Being busy and the only manager I kept working through it until Thanksgiving. Most times in the morning I ended up tiptoeing into work but after being on my feet for a few hours felt pretty good. During Thanksgiving I got on a plane for the first time in quite a few years. By the time I reached my destination I could hardly walk. I made it a point to go and see a doctor as soon as I got home.
After seeing my primary care doctor and having x-rays done I was told I had a bit of degenerative disc disease and I could keep taking pain killers for the intense pain and to just go easy on it and it will eventually get better. I persuaded a referral to a specialist. The first available appointment was January 4th. I was examined and immediately had an MRI ordered with a follow up appointment a few days later. At that follow up appointment I was shown the MRI and told it was pretty bad. I could start with conservative treatments, physical therapy and try a epidural spinal nerve block injection. I scheduled a consultation with the pain management doctor for the next week.
Now at this point I was still coping with the pain on a daily basis. I was put on Flexeril, Diclofenic, Gabopentin, and Vicodin. At this point I had still been working 6 days a week and was able to get through it. A few things transpired against me in the next few weeks however. The consultation with the pain management doctor turned right into scheduling an injection and a consultation with a surgeon. Also at this time my job moved from being 17 miles away to 30 miles away meaning almost twice the amount of time in the car. My first injection was January 29th and it did not have the outcome that I expected.
The first day after the injection I felt pretty good. I didn't really do much but though I noticed more numbness in my right leg and back and a bit of a lack of pain. However on the second day afterwards I went outside to retrieve an empty garbage can and when I turned to come back into my apartment felt pain, a whole lot of pain. Pain in both my legs, weakness in my right leg, pain on both sides of my butt. I barely made it back up the stairs to my apartment. I went to work that day figuring I had just aggravated it a bit. Well when I came home that night I got on the couch and I haven't gotten off the couch since.
My first few phone calls were to the pain management doctors office explaining I was in more pain and was it possible that the shot did this or that I hurt myself more. The told me not to do anything but to wait a week to see if the shot had worked. Well a week later I was still laying on the couch. This conversation went a bit differently. Essentially they passed me off and said 'Oh well I guess the injections don't work for you. You should probably speak with a surgeon'
I spoke to the surgeons office and got a call back from the surgeon himself later that evening. He explained the procedure to me again, a microdiscectomy, and said we could probably do it at the end of the week or early next week. Excellent. I was told to expect a call from the surgical scheduler the next morning. I did get that call early in the morning at which paint the scheduler said the surgeon was scheduling out into March! A quick call to the surgeon himself and I am scheduled for this coming Tuesday February 12th 2013.
I already had my pre-op appointment which was literally unbearable. It is extremely painful just to stand up to go to the bathroom, let alone get in a car, walk around in a hospital, wait in a waiting room, go into an exam room, wait in an exam room, then go to different part of the hospital, wait in another waiting room sit in another exam room. The getting up and sitting down and walking almost made me pass out. I was in pretty rough shape by the time I got home. I don't remember how I even got back in the house.
I will update this thread hopefully daily up to and after the surgery. I am very upset at the turn I took for the worse after the injections and wish I had avoided them all together. From the conversations with the doctors the rupture/herniation is very bad and has actually started to drip down. If someone had just told me how bad it was and recommended surgery from the start I may have avoided these extra two weeks out of work and on the couch. My hope is that this setback does not hurt the effectiveness of the surgery. In a few days we will have an idea. Thank you for reading my story and I will keep everyone up to date as we progress!