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  • Will I be able to work ever again?

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    Old 07-09-2008, 05:01 PM   #1
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    Will I be able to work ever again?

    I have had two discectomies in the past 2 years on my L5. The last herniation was so large that I now have what they think is permanent nerve damage. My right buttock is numb along with the back of my right thigh and also areas on my right groin. I have severe sciatic pain down the right leg as well. The last surgery was in Oct 07.

    Epidural injections and vicodin are the only things that get me through the days. I am currently a stay-at-home mom with my 2 and 3 year old. I had to give up my freelance work as a graphic designer because I cannot sit at my desk for more than a few minutes without being in terrible pain. (I tried to stand and work, but it just didn't work for my type of computer work).

    I want to pursue a nursing degree, but have been putting it on hold until I get my back pain under control. I would like to take a few courses in the next couple years to start the process. I can study in bed if need be. BUT, I don't know if this dream of becoming a nurse is possible. My doctors have me on very tight restrictions : no working out, no lifting over 20lbs, no heavy just about anything. My L5 is currently buldging again along with L4 now. I also have DD in both discs. My last MRI also showed an annular tear, but my doctors have not mentioned anything regarding this.

    Does anyone have any advice on this? Will I be disabled for the rest of my life? Will I ever be able to pursue this new career choice or even be able to return to my current field which requires me to sit at a desk for extended periods of time?

    Thanks for listening.

    Last edited by 10sox; 07-09-2008 at 05:02 PM.

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    Old 07-09-2008, 08:06 PM   #2
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    Re: Will I be able to work ever again?

    I have had the exact same restrictions and similar pains for the past 3 years. It is very tough to get use to such a different lifestyle. I have been taking classes on line and it has gotten so hard, since I can not sit long enough to write a paper or to take my tests, but I keep class at a time. It would seem to me, that you would be able to learn something new and start a different line of work, but I just don't know about nursing. I guess as long as it were say in a drs. office rather than in a hospital where you would have to lift people etc. I am thinking about occupational therapy and working in the school system with special needs kids.

    I wish you the very best in your new adventure in life. Please keep us posted as you proceed with your studies.


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    Old 07-09-2008, 09:46 PM   #3
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    Re: Will I be able to work ever again?

    I really think the person to ask this question would be your doctor. It is very frustrating to be down and not know what the future holds for you. I have been injured since 2004 and gave up work in 2005. Unfortunately, I have not returned to work and it looks like I won't. It is very difficult accepting this and trying to figure out what I will be doing with my life down the road. I do understand your concern and must admit your thread pulls at my heart strings. (((HUGS)))

    Personally, I do think nursing will be very difficult for you. Even if you have an office job down the road, you still have to be able to work your clinicals which will include rotations in a hospitals. I suspect this will be extremely difficult on anyone with a spine problem. Good luck and I pray that things work out for you and that you simply only need more time to heal.

    Old 07-09-2008, 11:03 PM   #4
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    Re: Will I be able to work ever again?

    In the immediate future I do not see nursing as a career choice but in the long term that may still be possible.

    If they took all the nurses out of the hospitals that have bulging or herniated disc there would be hardly anyone on duty. You have one level that seems to be reherniating. That does not make you unemployable in the future. There are plenty of people out there that have gone back into the workforce with your problems.

    Your surgeon is probably going to suggest a one level fusion if your disc is reherniating again. If it is only bulging surgery may not be offered. Nerves can take up to two years to regenerate so try to stay positive. It has not even been a year since your last surgery which was not a fusion. I do speak from a lifetime of back problems and I know how difficult it can be to deal with the pain but try to stay positive and realize in the long term things can improve.

    Do as your doctors advise and rest. This does not have to mean a lifetime as an back invalid it simply means they are seeing if conservative treatment will help things settle down. A fusion will probable be the last choice as it is extensive surgery but none the less it may be the best option with a disc that keeps reherniating.

    I have had several herniations that have settled down over the period of two years and have actually shrunken back as my body has reabsorbed the herniation. The trouble with back problems is that it takes a long time for things to settle down. It seems to me that your doctors are waiting to see if your problems start to resolve on their own before considering another operation.

    So try to keep your spirits up. Things can get better and I know that from experience.

    Pooby Gal

    Last edited by pooby; 07-09-2008 at 11:04 PM.

    Old 07-10-2008, 07:00 PM   #5
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    Re: Will I be able to work ever again?

    I had anterior/posterior surgery with fusion and hardware in March of this year. And when i went for the checkup 2 weeks ago i asked about working and i was a CNA and he flat out told me i would never be able to do that again but if i could just sit there and maybe adminester meds he would give a work release for that. But where would you find a job like that? After my first surgery in 2002 i didnt want to accept what they told me i have always worked so i did what a CNA did and picked people up from the floor and everything well i found out in 2007 my prior fusion never healed and screws were broke. So needless to say i know better now I want to so bad but i know i just cant afford to.

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