Excruciating pain & upcoming surgeon visit!

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 😳

2 Replies

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  • Hello,

    I am sorry to hear that you are living with so much pain.

    For me, it sounds like you are totally fed up with living in pain and this is a totally normal reaction. No doubt this is increasing your stress levels which in turn increase your pain levels.

    I am not a surgeon and they are the ones best placed to offer you guidance and opinions about the potential outcomes of any surgery. If it were me, I would consider speaking to two surgeons in order to establish what the common ground is.

    Another important thing to consider is caring for your mental health as well as your physical health when it comes to living with long term pain. You may wish to do some research around this subject in order to get some ideas about what could work for you.

    Please remember that you are the expert on you. You know how much you can take and how your body is reacting to pain so do not be afraid to speak up.

    I wish you the very best of luck with whatever course of action that you decide upon.

    Best wishes,

    Dave

  • Thanks Dave :)

    You are so right! I am fed up with living in pain. I sick of needing others to do things for me. Of not being able to play with my kids. My son...he doesn't even know me as a mom who plays. I can't get down to play cars or pick him up to wrestle, etc. It sucks!

    I have now seen 2 surgeons & am going ahead with surgery. I'll find out the date on Monday (less than a week until I know something lol)!

    I just want the surgery so I can finally be on the mend. Finally start to see improvements, instead of draw-back after defeat after extra hardship.

    I am ready to begin living again! Enough with just surviving already!

    Thanks so much for the reply & lending me your ear :)

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