My initial diagnosis over 2 years ago, was very similar to yours. MRI looked similar as well. My L4/5 is now almost non-existent (new MRI just 3 weeks ago) and my L5/S1 is getting worse as well.
I was in a car accident 15 years ago, which started my back issues. I'd been good for a long time after rigorous work with a physical trainer to find workouts to strengthen my core.
8 years ago, I had my first child. During that pregnancy, I developed severe bilateral sciatica, which has never gone away though it got better for years. Now worse than ever before.
3.5 years ago, I had my second child. During this pregnancy, my SI joints became, well garbage basically! Terrible still.
2.5 years ago, while working out, I hurt my shoulder. Realizing I needed surgery to shave off excess bone, I had to stop exercising immediately. I had this surgery a year ago - aftermath hurt like hell for a few days. Now good as new! Have been since about 3 months post-op. Way better after about 3 weeks.
Then 2 years ago on Thanksgiving (October as I'm in Canada) my back started to get sore in the morning & was unbearable by evening. I took Numerous medications, knowing what my pain can become. This time, the pain did not diminish at all. In fact, it kept getting worse. Finally I went to the doctor. They took X-rays - said it was inconclusive. Then I was sent for an MRI, it showed a few pinched nerves & 2 disc herniations (1 broke open allowing fragments to float about).
I was referred to 4 different surgeons equal distance from me. Though I live in a decent sized city, we do not have back surgeons here. I saw the specialist for the last 1.5 years (including the week before last) He referred me to a surgeon, after exhausting every other feasible option, back in march 2016. I was told I would hear in 2 years!! Finally just in September, the specialist said I was getting so bad I need to see the surgeon ASAP. I see her on Wednesday (in TWO days).
I am terrified for a number of reasons:
1. What if she says I'm not a candidate for surgery? I've been living on narcotic-strength pain meds for over 2 years. We've tried to lessen the amounts, but then I can't move at all and in even more excruciating pain. I can not live like this. My poor kids don't even have a mom right now. I can't tuck them in, or play games with them, etc. It's just terrible.
2. I have no clue what surgery will be suggested, if one is.
3. What is the recovery period like? No holds barred. Tell it like it is. I know how much shoulder surgery hurt after - I refused the extra pain meds I was offered, lol! I can imagine (I doubt I can to be honest) how bad back surgery will be.
4. Now I've been told they are also checking for spinal stenosis & kyphosis...any clue what that means?
I am so lost with all of this. I am praying for back surgery, as I don't think there's anything else to try! I've done physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, cortisone injections (SI joints & epidural blockers - 3 full rounds of all of these shots), medications (I swear over 20 different kinds to get best result). The last epidural injection I got a couple of weeks ago was horrible! I could barely bare being in the car (1.5 hours drive) to get home - hubby drove me. Then I was in serious pain for the next week plus, not able to move more than a few feet at a time, crying the whole time! Then I had 1-2 days of lessened pain. Back in full-force now. I won't do that again!
Any thoughts, suggestions? Sorry this was so long 😳