I'm new to the boards but have been lurking around in the shadows reading everyone else's posts, trying to educate myself and mentally prepare myself as much as possible.
I'm 28 years old, was diagnosed with DDD and Lumbar Stenosis with an L4-L5 bulge (2-3cm) in 2006. I went through a round of pain management, and finally got fed up with taking 10 pills a day (lortab, tramadol, and motrin 800), and my GP recommended chiropractic therapy. I went through a round of this and it actually did me some good, but I was going 2-3 times per week and not long after I stopped, the pain returned. I did multiple rounds of physical and occupational therapy with no relief, tried another round of pain management with pills with no relief, and finally my GP referred me to a neurosurgeon about a year ago. I got another MRI done shortly after which revealed the disc had herniated and was protruding 5-6 cm now.
After a consultation with the NS, he sent me for an epidural injection to use as a diagnostic tool. Either way, I got about 2 days of relief, then I was back to the pain I was in before-hand, plus some. Another meeting with the NS and he basically said "you're young, this is obviously affecting your quality of life, you're taking very strong pain-killers, and I'm not going to TELL you that you need this surgery, but I'm going to recommend it and leave the ball in your court. If you want to schedule it, I will tell you that you have a very high chance of a good outcome."
I talked it over with my girlfriend (whom I live with) and she begged me to do the surgery, because she sees on a daily basis what this does to me. She said she would work every day if she had to in order to make it work, because I don't have any PTO/Sick Time to use. I scheduled it, and I'm set to have the surgery in 6 days (4/23/12).
I've read over a lot of good advice here on the boards and plan to go out Thursday, which is my only day off this week (I've been working almost non-stop), and get all the things I'll need post-op. My girlfriend's mom is going to come over and stay with us for a while so she can help with the kids (2yr old and 5 yr old) while my girlfriend is at work, and help me if needed. I even set up a ride home from the hospital with the company I work for (free ambulance ride home). I'll take that over getting in a car that sits low to the ground and dealing with all the bumps and sitting up, then getting out and into the house.
So anyways, I'm currently taking usually 3, but up to 4 percocet 10/325 per day, some days only 1 or 2, but usually about 3. I absolutely can not wait to get off these things. I'm forced to take them at work and it clouds my mind and makes me groggy, but without them I wouldn't make it through a 12 hour shift here.
As far as the pain goes, and even though I hate using the pain scale, I'm usually at a constant 5 or 6 out of 10, and some days up to a 9 or 10. The pain is a stabbing pain on my spine near the herniation, and radiates outward to one side or the other, sometimes both. I have sciatic nerve pain, mainly down my left leg but sometimes my right. In the left leg, it goes down the back of my leg, usually just down to my knee, but sometimes it goes down into my foot. I get a little relief from laying on the floor (any hard/flat surface), or standing for a short period if i've been sitting. Fortunately the dispatch consoles at work raise and lower to accomodate standing.
Sorry it's so long...just a lot to talk about I guess!