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  • 3 days post-microdiscectomy L5/S1

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    Old 10-10-2011, 04:40 PM   #1
    Tuff Girl
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    3 days post-microdiscectomy L5/S1

    I am new to message boards - read many, but never participated & joined... Well, now I feel like I need the support of others whom have or are going through what I am, so here I am....
    I am a previously highly active and in decent shape 44 yo female. I've had relatively minor back problems my entire adult life that has been well managed with stretching, exercise, occassional chiropractic care, & message therapy. Well, this past year, my life has been insane, with not only helping take care of my dying father 1500 miles away, all the while also trying to maintain a career & return to college.

    During this year, I've had low-grade low back pain I chocked off to a potetially getting too old bed - at first it was well managed with a stretching routine. Well, 3 weeks ago, it seemed worse than usual one weekend. Just when I thought this was reallly annoying, & it was time to finally attend to it now that my father had passed a month before, so therefore did not have to think about anymore last minute traveling or leave of absences to help care for him, that I would finally get this looked at professionally - but I never made it through the weekend I had that thought. I woke up that following Monday morning not being able to move without extreme pain down my sciatic nerve of my right leg, & tingling in my right foot (but the back pain was gone - wow!). Needless to say, fast forward through past the subsequent ambulance ride, ER fiasco, & follow-ups by my doctor, I'm told via MRI that I have a HUGE (exact words of radiologist) herniation of L5/S1 that is compressing the sciatic nerve..... When my own doctor, who is very conservative when in comes to invasive treatments for a anything, & whom bellieves in alternative & adjunct therapies, tells me this is reallly pretty bad, & I could be looking at permanent nerve damage if I wait on taking care of this surgically as soon as possible, I KNEW I was in trouble. He sends me off to the neurosurgeon that he says he'd trust with his own back, & before you know it I'm scheduled for a microdiscectomy by the NS.

    I know that what these physicians were telling me was very true in regard to potential permanent nerve damage - & since the effects I was feeling was very disturbing, I didn't hesitate.... The NS tells me that though this is big, he felt confident that with microdisc surgery that I should be back to doing everything I did before the injury within 3-6 months (if I follow the plan to the "T" that is). Well, long story short (right!), I'm now 3 days out of surgery, & wondering what the heck has all happened..... Surgeon told me after surgery the impingement was worse than he expected, & I would have lost that nerve for sure it it would not have been attended to. He said it took a lot of a manipulation of nerve on his part to clean it up, thereby why my numbness was now worse than pre-surgery, rather than better, as I had been personally told by a few people who've had the surgery for similar injuries had experienced (they experienced complete resolution of nerve symptoms & all pain immediately after surgery!).

    Surgeon tells me he still thinks I'll be fine, but nerve recovery will take longer than expected.... I know I still need to have faith & a positive attitude, but I am horribley scared right now. First day after surgery was horrendous, with pain ALL over my torso like I'd been hit by a truck (but leg & sciatic pain completely gone!) - &, of course with this horrible neuralgia; second day better, with still no leg or same type low back pain to speak of - but neuralgia same; today that's all even better, but still no improvement in numbness at all, & my surgical site now hurts from laying on it all the time (minor swelling with no heat, redness, or drainage, so doc's office says it's to be expected & fine). If it wasn't for this horrible numbness, I'd have more faith in doc's prognosis, but it's very hard when I can't feel my foot very well....

    Prior to surgery, I used alternative therapies recommended by my regular doctor during the waiting period, to include acupuncture, message, & laser therapy. If really seemed to help a whole lot in those couple weeks I waited for surgery: pain in nerve went down, & numbness was getting better - so it made me believe it was all working - even had another MRI 2 days before surgery to ensure it did cause a healing miracle, but MRI showed it didn't -So, once I am cleared by the physician, I intend on resuming these therapies, now in hopes that this nerve heals perhaps better or faster.... And trying to just take 1 day at a time right now.... Well, folks, this is my story..... The long & short of it!

    Why I joined this forum is simple: I need encouragement... I DON'T need words of discouragement, failure stories, or negetive people responding - no matter how compelled you are to share your story. I realize I'll probably go through a roller coaster of emotions over the next few months, but I need the positive folks to keep me focused on every day's little accomplishments and achievements that will hopefully help me reach my doctor's most positive prognosis. I believe in the power of a positive attitude, & know it may be very critical for this recovery. Please, I solicit any words of encouragement, success stories, and the like. I know the failures are out there, but I just don't need to hear them right now.... Anyway, anyone who's got some good news to share, please do! And thanks for listening!

    The following user gives a hug of support to Tuff Girl:
    JJane (10-13-2011)
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    Old 10-13-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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    Re: 3 days post-microdiscectomy L5/S1

    Hello Tuff Girl!
    May I start by saying that you have to be Tuff Enuff....but don't let anyone guilt you into feeling bad about using pain meds. They are there to quiet your nervous system from screaming at you...something you don't need now. My sister was a nurse and gave me great advice to get a morphine pump as soon as I woke up from anesthesia. The reason I did it was so I could stay up all night while I was in the hospital, push the button and WALK!!! I didn't have my nervous system yelling because of the morphine, and I new if I didn't get things moving quickly, things would stiffen up.
    I ALSO had numbness.....WHO CARES???? Compared to the terrible pain???? I do too, just MAKE SURE TO WEAR SHOES!!!! You don't want to end up with a problem with something in your foot and your not knowing.
    Now, to get things moving...... It is IMPERITIVE to get moving as much as you can. THAT is WHY you can't feel guilty about taking the meds that allow you to do so. You want to move as much as you can as early as you can because the muscles will want to contract to "gaurd" the area. Don't OVERDO it....but don't lay around on the sofa.....BTW.....GET A NEW BED.....LOL
    If you can't afford one.....put a piece of plywood under your matress. It will help firm up your mattress some. Be mindful of how you sit and stand. ALWAYS try to pull your belly button to your spine. I still have some numbness...but It doesn't bother me at all. I wear shoes, I stretch, I keep my legs strong by biking.....or water aerobics. You want to do things that aren't a big jolt to your spine.
    If you are overweight, it is definetly something you MUST address. There is another reason to walk. Talk to your neurosurgeon about an all around plan for your strengthening of your core. Do you have a YMCA that is close and affordable? Most of my exercise has been done with friends. It can be as simple as a silly walk where we take turns stopping and deciding how to stretch on a sign post or lunges. Anything to make it fun, because sometimes ya gotta make it fun with friends!
    Good luck! I know you appreciate the fact that your pain is gone. I am happy for you. Most of my sensation came back, and I'm sure yours will too! : )

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