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Old 03-25-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
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Location: MN,USA
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megss HB User
Nerve Injury Sustained During Surgery- Recovery Time

I haven't posted in a long time. I am 2 months post op L4-S1 2 level fusion, my second fusion in less than a year. For once I am noticing a huge improvement in the bone pain, but my left leg is another story all together. I found out at my 6 week check up that my sciatic nerve was cut by a surgical tool accidentally during my last surgery. Unless someone told me this while I was in the hospital silly on a Dilaudid pump, I didn't know about it. When I woke up from that surgery I had zero sensation in that leg. Now I have numb spots, but a lot of pain and really really uncomfortable feelings. My skin around my foot feels sunburnt to the point that I cannot wear shoes or socks most of the time, I get charlie horses, painful electric feelings and buzzing, and excruciating pain. I am told that this is going to take awhile to heal, like a long while, but when will I start noticing improvements? I mean, I guess it is an improvement that I have any sensation at all in my leg, but sometimes I honestly wish it were still numb. It really gets bad. I am still on a lot of meds: Valium for the cramping, Oxycodone 2 pills 4x a day (8 total a day), and 150 mg Lyrica twice a day. I had alaso been on Oxycontin but stopped taking that 2 weeks ago because that med scares me. Don't worry, I told my doctor I wanted to stop and they weaned me off of it. I am still in a back brace and walk on my treadmill when I can stand it. On a good day I can get up to or close to a mile, only done in 3-4 different sessions. I start PT next week in the pool, but they also want me to do nerve flossing at home, which I dread. I just want to feel better by the time I can start working in my garden, because that is my favorit hobby.
Anybody else had something similar happen? How long did it take to heal, or at least start noticing improvements in the awful feelings? I am not going to sew or anything. I know mistakes happen, not to mention I probably signed off on forms listing these possible risks. Normally my surgeon would have you off all controlled substances by 6 weeks post op, but he is still taking care of me knowing I do need the meds to maintain any sort of sanity, plus he knows he messed up big time. It makes me shutter to think of not having anything but Tylenol to take, the pain is untollerable still at this point. At my 6 week check they said I would need them for awhile yet. While I am thankful he still prescribes, I am sick to death of taking them as well. The Lyrica doesn't help much unless I take it with pain meds.
On a positive note, my back pain is much much better than it has been in 2 years. Sorry for ranting, but please someone tell me a positive story after having something like this happen!!!! I need good news and encouragement. I am only 28 and have already been through way too much, in addition to putting my husband and daughter through too much. I want my life and body back!


L5-S1 360 Fusion April 7th 2009
Gallbladder removal November 30 2009
L4-S1 Fusion January 23 2010

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Old 03-25-2010, 01:04 PM   #2
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Re: Nerve Injury Sustained During Surgery- Recovery Time


I'm so sorry for your mishapp. I'll give you some hope. I had surgery to replace three discs. The day after the durgery, when they got me up to walk, my back broke above where they had done the fusion. NOBODY listened to me when I told them something was wrong. My surgeon was out of town so they got me up to walk, twice a day for a week with a broken back. I lost use of my left leg and had no feeling in it.

Fast or actually it seems slow forward to today, five years later. Areas of my leg, hip and small of my back are still numb. I still don't have total use of my left leg, but I can walk with a walker or a cane most days. I can kick backwards better than forwards-LOL-and most of my pain is gone. The bummer of lal this is that I will live with some degree of pain the rest of my life. But at least I am alive and CAN walk.

Keep your chin up and keep at the exercises. It takes time to heal, but you will get there. If you don't like the Lyrica, try one of the other drugs for nerve pain.[/COLOR]

Old 03-25-2010, 07:38 PM   #3
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megss HB User
Re: Nerve Injury Sustained During Surgery- Recovery Time

Thanks, and so sorry to hear about what happened to you to!
I use a walker. Before surgery I used a cane. Even though there was a nerve compression my leg is far worse than it was before either surgery, but I guess I should be grateful most of the feeling has come back and I can walk. I used to be on Gabapentin for nerve pain but it really wasn't any more effective for me than the Lyrica, and the side effects are similiar in both meds.

Any other stories?

Old 03-26-2010, 05:11 AM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Kelliew HB User
Re: Nerve Injury Sustained During Surgery- Recovery Time

Hi Meggs,

Not sure if you remember me but I had L5S1 Fusion 5 weeks ago and you were talking to me about it, I have been concerned about you because it has been so long since you have posted, well anyways i just read your post and i had to re read it twice because i have the same thing going onright now.

When i was in hospital my pain was not under control so i did not really notice it till i was home for about week because it took that long toget pain under control. I will just tell you what i felt it has always been my right leg that had the pain but after surgery the pain in leg was far worse than before and the numbness i had was only in my calf now or i should say right after surgery my foot was numb + calf and worse than before. I went in around 3 weeks after surgery and told doc about it and he had told me that it should get better in time and yes the numbness is getting better now but now i have cramps in my lower calf and foot that are so bad that i cant walk called doc last week and he called is scrip for muscle relaxer. So i try to walk as much as i can but as soon as the cramps start just cant walk, I also have the same sunburned feeling on the top of my foot the numbness is still in my calf and my big toe and the one next to it I have no strangth in the big toe at all and hard to have anything on my foot, even a blanket i have to have my foot on top of it.

I am happy to hear that your back pain is better mine well it is getting better but just maybe still early it is a different pain it is now like an achey kind of pain still cant sit for very long but every week i can sit a little longer than the week before. Well i dont have any idea how long it will take to get full feeling and have the burning feeling to go away I hope not too long.

Thats all i have for now hope you feel better very soon...Kellie

Old 03-26-2010, 07:14 AM   #5
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Linda_in_NJ HB User
Re: Nerve Injury Sustained During Surgery- Recovery Time

megss, it's nice to see you back posting on the boards but sorry about your nerve problem. It sounds like everything is going well for you regarding your back, but that nerve problem sounds like it's bothering you big time. I am 2 months post op and doing well. Legs still get weak when I walk too much but nothing really to complain about. Hope your problem resolves itself soon. I don't know anything about nerve problems except they take a long time to heal.
Hope you get better real soon. Linda

Old 03-27-2010, 09:26 PM   #6
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megss HB User
Re: Nerve Injury Sustained During Surgery- Recovery Time

Thanks everyone for your responses!

I just noticed within the last week that my back pain has gotten so much better. Kellie- I can't stand to have blankets touch my foot either! LOL!

It is just so frusterating because this whole mess for me has been going on for so long and this surgery was supposed to be it! But has made me feel a whole lot worse in the short term anyway. My surgeon's fellow who saw me in the hospital said it could be permanant, but if not it would take a year. I just want to feel improvements but so far the only improvement is that my leg is not completely numb anymore. I couldn't sleep until 5 am the other night because of my leg. I took 3 showers in the middle of the night because showers help. My pain meds work better on it that the Lyrica, but sometimes it gets so bad that nothing works. The pain meds do nothing for those painful electrical shocks. Valium works really well on the charly horses. I can limp around ym house just fine but don't leave my house without my walker. As a 28 year old with a walker, I unfortunately get a lot of stares, especially from children. I try not to let it bother me though.

One of my huge concerns is never being about to handle being pregnant again. I know that, no matter what, a pregnancy will cause pain, even if my pain was 100% gone by the time I got pregnant (I know it will never be 100% gone). My OB and I are already under a mutual understanding that I will be having c-sections from now on if I decide to withstand the pain and get pregnant. (I have large 9 lb babies). I wonder if you are allowed to take pain meds every once in awhile during pregnancy, or if my OB would feel comfortable prescribing if I needed them.

My friend and neighbor ironically has almost identical back problems as me. A fusion was the next step when she accidentally got pregnant. She is now about 25 weeks and really miserable. She has had to go to the ER a few times and finally got her OB to prescribe vicodin, as long as she doesn't take it on a regular basis. She also finally got a special pregnancy brace. I just feel so bad for her. She cannot take gabapentin or lyrica or anything.

Kellie sorry I disappeared right before your surgery. I was hoping to offer you some support. I just started struggling a lot once the feeling in my leg started to return. I'm sorry you had a hard time with pain control initially. I did too so my clinic sent me to the ER at 1 week post op. There the er doctor called my spine clinic and they came up with the plan to add Oxycontin to my med regimine. It did help.

Linda glad to hear you seem to be doing well. It's just a nasty surgery with a long, painful recovery. If it weren't for my mutilated sciatic nerve though, I think I would be doing really really well. After my first fusion last April, I just never got better, ever. I never had any moments of feeling as though the surgery had worked.

Anyway, thanks again everyone and glad to hear from you! I will try to post more often as I miss all you guys!

Old 04-01-2010, 07:36 AM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Illinois
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Kelliew HB User
Re: Nerve Injury Sustained During Surgery- Recovery Time

HI megss, i had to cal my doc about the leg and foot pain and asked if i could get back on Lrycia the pain in my foot the stabbing like pain wa so bad it was like a pin was poking me under my toe nails and the burning pain on the top of my foot was getting worse every day so he said yes to get back on lrycia. I has only been 2 day since i started taking them but it seems to help i still hurt but not as bad as it was, I can walk alittle better but it still hurts. I hope that you start to feel better I am 6 weeks post op now and i really hope that what i feel in my back is normal still cant sit for long so no long car rides Easter is sunday and my mom lives like 45 mins away so i dont think i can go i talked to her about it and she said cant you lie down in the car I amlike yes i could but i just dont know it just if i want to out myself through the pain all day.

Anyway btw megss when i started the lrycia again i started to have my mucels twitch it is not just one its my leg than my hands my toes even in my butt tis so werid and i did not have this untill i started the lrycia i had been on it before the surgery for 7 or 8 months but after surgery doc said to stop taking it i did not hae the twitching before.

Well hope every thing is going good for you...kELLIE

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