I am new to this and sharing a bit about myself on a forum. My doctor is actually the one who told me about online groups that can connect me with other people who are going through similar things that I am.
So, here we go!
One morning I woke up to go to work and had really bad back pain. I just figured that I slept funny and over the course of the next few days I tried stretching, heating pants, my boyfriend cracking my back, and an epsom salt bath to try to get some relief. Five days later it was still bothering me but we had already booked our vacation in Colorado so we were going! About two hours into our drive my back really started to hurt. Then it got even worse, I was having muscle spams, sciatic pain shooting down my left leg, and I literally felt stuck sitting in the seat. We stopped and I tried to get out but I was completely hunched over. We had to do something so we found a little town that had a chiropractors office and stopped in there. They gave me a gel pack that was frozen and some biofreeze. We tried that as we continued to drive and it didn't help one bit. An hour or so later we stopped again at a Walgreens and purchased those thermacare things you can wrap around your waste. A couple more hours of driving and nothing helping to relieve any of it we stopped again to get some tiger balm to place on there. I was still hurting pretty bad but sucked it up until we got to our cabin. That night I took a hot bath with epsom salt in hopes that this would go away and not ruin our vacation. That night I was waking up screaming in pain from the severity of the sciatic pain shooting down my leg and the stabbing in my back. We woke early that next morning and headed to the Emergency Room. I could barely walk and I was hunched over completely at the waist. The doctor I saw said I had just pulled a muscle and gave me a trigger shot in each hip and medication to help the pain. Nothing helped over the course of a couple days so we made the painful journey back home.
The day after we returned home from vacation we decided to go to an urgent care since I did not have a primary doctor. This one told me the same thing and gave me more trigger shots and different pain medication. It would take me going to a total of FIVE different doctors before one decided to send me for an MRI. The results from the MRI showed that I had a herniated disc, a bulging disc, and extruded disc material floating around in my spinal cord. They said the damage to my back looked as if I had been in a severe car accident. It was scary to hear that and also confusing at the same time because I had no idea where this came from and it all started by me just waking up with my back hurting one morning. At this point I had been out of work for two and a half months. The doctor decided to send me to a pain management doctor to have three epidural injections done. We met with the pain doctor and he explained how I would be put completely under and he would inject the needle in a specific area of my back which would help reduce pain. I had also done research on it and I was very nervous but decided to go ahead with it. After my first epidural injection I didn't feel any change or improvement. Two weeks later I went in for my second epidural injection. Once we got home I was still kind of loopy from anesthesia and I stepped out of the passenger side of the vehicle. As I put weight on my right foot to get out of the car I felt as if someone had stabbed me from the middle of my back and just drug it down my entire right leg and I screamed bloody murder as I fell to the ground. I could not put any pressure on that leg, I felt like I couldn't breathe as I was crying from the immense pain I was in. My boyfriend had to carry me inside and we called the doctors office. The told me to give it time and it would subside. Over the course of the two weeks leading up to my third epidural injection that sharp stabbing pain that drug down came and went. I really did not want to do my third injection but my doctor advised me that I really needed to give it a try. I did the third one and felt no change from the situation I was in from my last one.
We set up an appointment to see the spine surgeon a couple weeks after I completed my epidural injection. He sent me to go get x rays done before my appointment that same day. As we met the doctor he performs some strength tests, asks what is going on and then views both my MRi and x rays. He tells use that on a couple levels in my spine the discs are pretty bad and I really need a discectomy to fix this problem. I was really scared of surgery but we agreed because at this point it had been almost five months of me being out of work and nothing else working. In May of 2014 I had my surgery and it was a complete success. I felt immediate relief and I was elated!
After surgery I had my aches and pains here and there but felt much better than I had in a very long time. As the months go on I start to feel like I am "stuck" at times causing me to have to army crawl out of bed in the mornings. I would take a hot bath, and stretch and it would subside after a couple hours. I just blew it off thinking it was the change and weather. June 26th 2015 was one of those mornings where I had gotten stuck, I army crawled out of bed, took a hot shower, stretched and head off to work. Though my back was achy I felt fine. About two hours into my shift at work I bent over to get something from underneath the counter and that was it. I was completely unable to move and frozen in the worst pain I had ever felt in my entire life. One of the people I work with had to drive me and help me into the emergency room. Upon seeing the doctor he pulls up my left leg and I just felt burning, stabbing, shooting, spasming. My heart rate monitor and blood pressure machines started going off and beeping like crazy and I was screaming in agonizing pain. The doctor said you need an MRI but Im not going to give you one you need to have your surgeon do that. I pleaded with him and he would not budge. The gave me some morphine, then medication to lower my heart rate and blood pressure medication. My boyfriend was driving from out of town and could not come get me from the hospital so I had to take a cab home and the cab driver had to help me both in the car and into my home because I could not do it myself. A few hours later my boyfriend comes home and sees the full extent of what I am going through and we head to another ER. We run into the same problem here they refuse to give me an MRI and give me the same drugs the other hospital did. I am not able to see my surgeon until June 30th. That day comes and I am screaming bloody murder trying to get into the doors of the office. The moment my doctor sees the condition I am in he sends me immediately for an MRI. I get the MRI and we are heading home. We only live two streets over from there and we did not even make it home before the phone rang and it was the surgeon saying I have emergency surgeon scheduled for the following morning. The MRI showed that I have three discs two of which the previous 13 months he performed the discectomy on had completely herniated straight into my nerve which is what paralyzed me and was causing my immense pain. During the surgery he had to perform a fusion, use cadaver bone, put in two fake discs, and he just completely removed the bone and disc at the very bottom as I didn't need it. It was a disaster in my back when he got in there and the surgery lasted 6 hours.
I was having a very hard time recovering from my second surgery. The pain was so bad. The sciatic pain going down both legs, the back pain with muscle spasms. I began having the sciatic pain so bad it would cause muscle spasms down my legs and sometimes even cause charlie horses. I felt like I was living in hell. After three months the doctor sent me for another MRI to figure out why I was suffering so much. I had yet another disc that was bulging and extruded disc material floating around, and a lot of scar tissue. We went in again for surgery on October 28, 2015. If I thought my pain couldn't get worse it did. The surgeon said there was nothing else he could do for me.
We then began trying to find other opinions from neurosurgeons. The first one I went and saw sent me for new MRI's and CT scans since I had not had any of those performed after my surgery. He said there was nothing else he could do for me either. We then contacted a big institute that just focuses on spines. They stated that they could help me and I went in for a consultation. They said that they could for sure help me and it would be a minimally invasive surgery. This sounded to good and I was so hopeful. Insurance would cost us $10,000 for the surgery where we live or we could drive to another hospital that the institute has that was 7 hours away that would only cost us $1,000. We made the decision to drive all the way there. We laid down the seats in the back of my suv and put down a mattress for me since I can not sit for long periods of time. It was a really rough time traveling that far but we did it. I then went through a couple days worth of tests, had a nerve block performed, and more x rays. We got up on April 9th to have my 4th back surgery. We are waiting in the doctors office and he comes in and says that he can't help me that I need open back surgery with a fusion on multiple levels. I was dumbfounded since we drove all the way there because they said they could help us. I was just sobbing at how the hope that I had just was taken so abruptly from me. We then headed back home.
When we get back home I contact another neurosurgeon and we met with him two weeks ago. He wants me to get an EMG to test the nerves to see how they are working or not working since I have weakness on my left side. He also said it appears I have now two discs that are bulging and am looking at another fusion.
Here is what I suffer with. I have sciatic pain down both legs but my left side is worse. I have drop foot and can not squeeze my toes or move them up or down. I can not move my foot as a whole up or down. I have mid to lower back pain with constant muscle spasms. My tail bone continually feels as if I have just fallen on it. I am currently taking six medications a day to help control my pain, I still feel a lot of it and am low to non functioning. I sleep with a pregnancy pillow as Ive found its the only thing that can help stabilize me while I sleep. I can only sleep a couple hours at a time since the sciatic pain gets so bad is causes charlie horses on whichever said I am laying on. I am constantly flipping back and forth. It is a nightmare that I don't wish upon anyone. I am only 27 years old. I had to take my long term disability package from work and I am no longer employed there. Yes, it guarantees that I have healthcare however It only pays me 60percent of what I was making before. And if I ever get better I don't have a job to go back to, one I loved. I just want to be able to find someone who can help me and help me find relief. This is just such a frustrating position to be in and to go through. I feel alone because no one understands what I am going through. I stare at the same 4 walls everyday not able to even drive to just get out of the house. So here I am now, I found this forum and I am giving this a shot at finding people who are going through the same thing as I am, and people I can relate with.
I'm sorry I wrote such a long story but this is what my life has been for the past two and a half years and quite a bit has happened.