First off, it is great for me to hear that I am not the only one with a heartwrenching story to tell, and all posts have mentally helped me...THX.
My story began last year when I gave birth to our child (3/20/06). I had an epidural for the pain, and when they went to remove it, it snapped and coiled back into my back and spine. 45 minutes later they wheeled me into the C-section room to remove it, which failed. I was then shipped off for X-rays. I finally saw my newborn 6 hours later. Two weeks later (4/3/06), I had a surgery for its removal, which was successful. I was told that it would just be an in/out surgery. I didn't know that I was going to be immobilized for a solid week, and with a newborn that I couldn't even hold. It was stressful and upsetting, to say the least.
So, here I am a year later, and I have been through 2 surgeries, physical therapy, an ESI shot in January, and a bilateral lumbar facet block two weeks ago. Nothing. No relief whatsoever, and my physiatrist told me yesterday that I have exhausted my medication options (NONE of them worked, and I tried 5 muscle relaxers and a pain medication). So, I sit here now with a 25-lb baby, a twisted vertebrae at the incision site, a torn disc at L5-S1, and no relief in any form (i.e. meds). Let's just say that my days are long and painful, and I do a fair amount of crying. I should be having a discogram in the next few weeks, with the possibility of surgery. I am at wits end.
**Can anyone tell me more about what a discogram entails (I have done research online, but that doesn't really tell you the 'true story'), and how long it could be between having a discogram and having the surgery??**
Sorry to hear of ur pain Bax... trust me I know the feelin after 3 herniations over the last 20 plus yrs. I have not had the discogram but from what I've read & what people say on the boards it is somewhat painful but can be very neccessary in pinpointing ur pain generators prior to surgery.
If you are scheduled for a discogram, u are being considered seriously for surgery & I would not think it would be much longer past this (to sched surgery) as this is considered a "final test" prior to surgery.
Where is ur pain (ie - back, legs, feet)?
I assume u've tried a heating pad but if not give it a shot as it has really helped me thru the years.
Take care & keep talkin... it's really helped me w/peace of mind... Dave!
There are generally two ways to do the test, with and without anesthesia. I had with, but think without is best, even though it hurts a lot worse. It is a somewhat subjective test used to determine a disc that is a possible pain generator. If you are zonked it makes it harder to get acurate results.
The truth of the discogram is that none of this online prep can truly prepare you for it. I did research galore and until I had mine done.. not a clue did I have. I knew the procedure, how it was done, etc.. but the experience is a unique one to say the least.
First off, I had NO sedation at all and only two levels were checked. There was no need to check a third level with what they found.
It was extremely traumatizing and very very painful for me, but I would do it all over again. And no.. im not into pain. But by not being sedated there was no doubt in my telling my doctor if the pain he was generating was the exact same pain I had been having for over 3+ years, only 100x intensified of course. That is what they need to know and hear.
But the best part of doing the discogram in my situation is that what they found was a total surprise to the doctor and would have stunned all the other doctors as well. I have a bulging disc at l5/s1 which has been appearing since age 18. I am now 45. All the doctors for the last 3+ years "assumed" it was that disc causing my pain. It was the only one bulging and other than just a ever so slight degeneration at l4/l5 it looked healthy on all my MRIs.
Well the bulging disc generated no pain by discogram, but the l4/l5 sent my pain into the outer stratusphere! The disc was full height, but had a huge gaping hole in it and was just a shell. The fluid/gel was all but gone and the doctor was stunned it was still holding up.
I had my fusion done a few weeks later. The surgery was already scheduled before the discogram was done, it was just to confirm we were infact doing the right disc, and again.. SURPRISE.. we did a different level because of the results of the discogram. So there is no standards of time between surgery and discogram being done.. you will have to discuss a date with your doctor.
So this test is worth it's weight in gold and worth the bit of pain for the discoveries/revelations/diagnosis it provides.
What got me through it was to think that I had been in high level pain for over three years, and if a little more can find my problem and give me a chance at ridding of the pain.. it was worth it. I WAS RIGHT!!
All the best to you and let us know how you are doing and the results of the discogram. Tammy
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt
L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!
Thanks for your input! I pretty much figured that it wouldn't be too much longer after the discogram that a date for surgery would be set, but wasn't too sure of the timeline of things. As for a heating pad, yes, I do use one when I'm feeling particularly tight in my back, which is usally in the AM and late afternoon. At this point, I can't stand going to bed b/c I just know that I will just roll around all night trying to find a position that won't further bring about my back pain. I have a torn disc at L5-S1, so my pain is primarily in my lower back. Occassionally I do experience a touch of sciatica/shooting pains down my leg, but not all the time (thank gosh!). I just can't wait for this to go away, or at least lessen in intensity.... I can't imagine having 3 herniations in 20 years like yourself, either! Pardon the pun, but what a pain! I feel so much better after having found this site... I was certainly on my way to losing my mind (just like going around and around in a circle, and not getting anywhere). Thanks!!
Baxx, don't wait too long after the discogram, you will be more uncomfortable after. I waited 2 weeks and looking back I wish I could have done it the next day. There is a post not to long ago with allot of info on the discogram.
Thanks, picnica for your opinion. I was reading about someone who said that she went in for a discogram, and before even finishing the procedure, the doctors were setting up a date for the surgery (not saying that this is what I may be facing b/c her situation was a bit worse than mine). I just want to put this all behind me, it's just totally affected every aspect of my life, and in ways that I've never even thought about. Just depressing, but everyone's input and support helps!
Thanks for all your help, and I am hoping to know what the plan is for the discogram by Monday (not soon enough), and then just go from there. Yes, considered a 2nd opinion, but I'm already seeing the best. Plus, just looking at my MRI, I know that there is a problem there that needs to be addressed. And hopefully we're just on our way to solving/fixing the problem....