Hi. This is my first post here. I am so glad to find this place. I used to use another message board and somehow it just disappeared. Anyway-
I have had two L5/S1 surgeries, one in 2004 and one in 2005. The second one was a 5 1/2 hour surgery that should have been 2 hours. The scar tissue from teh first surgery was the worst this University Doc. had ever seen. The scar tissue had wrapped itself around the nerve, completely encasing it. Well, I'm a year out from that surgery and still in daily pain. While I'm not on the major pain killers, I am still taking them.
In the past year, I have done everything right, and then some. I've lost 26lbs. I've incorporated MUCH healthier eating habits. I walked up to 3 miles a day, did my PT exercises like a good little girl. And yet-
About a month ago, I noticed symptoms that had held pretty steady, worsen. I had a bout with bladder trouble (which was present before second surgery) and at the same time started to get that old familiar numbness creaping from butt down leg and shooting pain to foot. My back was tight. So I cut waaaay back on my walking...back to 1/4 mile and it's holding steady again. But I cannot tell you how upsetting it was when my doctor just ordered an MRI and it shows another herniated disc at the same place. I absolutely cannot believe it.
I am healthier by far than I've been in my life. I've adopted a vegetarian lifestyle, cut out white flour, soda pop, and now eat lots of whole grains and nuts, seeds, vegies and fruits. It just seems unfair that there isn't a payoff. No one told me there would be. But I just believed that these surgeries were a wake-up call. I vowed to be a healthier person living a healthier life. And I have.
So now, I will go through another bunch of PT as the doctor ordered, but feel pretty hopeless that anything will work. BUt I DO NOT want another surgery. I wonder if there is anything legitimate that is an option for me. If not, I might as well just book surgery every summer for the rest of my life because I seem to build scar tissue and herniate a disc at a rate of once every twelve months.
When the nurse called to tell me about the MRI results she said the report didn't say how bad the bulge is. It did say that it wasn't impinging a nerve. She said she wished it was written so real people could read it. So I asked her to send me a copy. I think it sounds strange that the doctor who read it wouldn't say if it was "tiny" or "huge" or anything to indicate what I can expect.
I guess I'm here to rant and rave. I think i've survived thus far, thanks to denial. Denial is a wonderful thing...it lets you believe that only so many sh***y things can happen to one person and then fate will take a turn with someone else. It lets you believe that if you just learn your lesson and don't take your health for granted, that you will HAVE health. And it lets you have hope, when everything within you is falling apart. The problem is, that when reality smacks you in the face, in the form of an MRI, it really knocks you to the ground.
If anyone has advice on non-surgical methods I might try, I'm open to just about anything that is legitimate. I'm not even sure that surgery should be called "legitimate"...for me anyways.
Sorry for the not-so-happy post. I'm really not always like this!
Dear Lavinia, I'm so sorry to hear that you are hurting again. I read somewhere that most reherniations have absolutely nothing to do with what we do. Oftentimes another fragment will just escape from the original tear. The place where the disk ruptures has little, if any, blood supply, so it takes a very long time to heal. You are doing all the right things, which will make your recovery smoother. Remember, most herniations heal with time, on their own (although I'm not well-versed on reherniations after surgery).What kind of surgery did you have? Did the surgeon say that you must have another surgery if you herniate again? I am on my 3rd herniation (actually having a micro-D tomorrow) and chose surgery rather than waiting months or years with possible nerve damage. God bless you, and let us know what happens.
I sure do understand your frustrations. I have recently begun to realize that I have been 'nursing' the fantasy/hope that once I get through this 3 year long-and counting- ordeal, I will be restored to the old me. Well, I'm 3 months post-op from a 2nd attempt to fuse, have nerve damage, no signs of any fusion going on - yet, new medical problems cropping up every week, and finally, finally, it is sinking in that this hopeful dream is just that. Trust me, when I really think about it, I'll be happy to settle for less if I am not in pain. But it did knock me flat when I finally woke up, as they say.
I was a fly on the wall for a very interesting story that sums up the problem with thinking we buy ourselves protection from health problems with a life-style change .... A doctor was approached at my gym/Y by a friend and they shared information about a mutual friend who had just had a heart attack. The heart attack survivor was a woman just 50 years old who had a strong family history of heart disease and had had a diagnosis herself since her early thirties. This woman was a devout physical fitness nut and always had been. She ate healthy and was a model patient. And yet she had had a heart attack and a very major one, too! The one friend decried the unfairness of this and wondered what all the fitness had been for since it had failed utterly. The other woman, the doc, turned in surprise and said something to the effect of..." You're kidding right? What had all her health nut stuff gained her? I have no doubt at all, given her family history that had she not been in such fantastic shape going into this, she would never have survived the heart attack!"
And that is the other side of the coin. I've never forgotten it and I tell myself to keep that perspective. I often say, just think of where I'd be now if I hadn't been aerobically fit when all this started and where would I be now if I gave up and started to eat junk? Well, maybe I should clarify and say 'too much junk'. Oh, and I exclude ice cream because after all, ice cream is very nutritious in certain aspects and .....
I do hope you feel better soon. Best of luck- Suzy-Q