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I haven't posted for some time but thought it was about time I posted an update - as you'll see from title I am now 4 weeks post op!
For anyone who hasn't read my previous post here's a short recap:
After years of back pain which I was always able to work through I was suddenly hit last August 2016 with excruciating lower back pain that spread within a day to horrific pain from left hip right down my leg. I was in agony, fainting with pain and was rushed to hospital where I was admitted and had range of scans and mri's, query ces. In short, they discovered I had large paracentral broad based disc prolapse L4/L5 (causing the significant pain) with further prolapse further up (which wasn't causing me any pain at that time). I spent a week in hospital on morphine and was then discharged on 2 elbow crutches, on gabapentin, paracetamol and dihydracodeine, was referred to orthopaedic surgeon and physio.... I was then referred to neurosurgeon and was seen in December. Physio was unable to help, after trying variety of treatments, surgeon advised I needed surgery without this there was less than 5% chance of any further recovery. My surgery was cancelled twice (at very last minute while lying in bed in theatre gown etc, fasted from night before etc!) and finally went ahead on 3rd may after being off work almost 9 months.
The surgeon advised me that I had a larger piece of bone removed than he anticipated in order to remove the disc which had bulged right out and up the back, he said to expect to feel pretty rough as a result. My blood pressure was very low for several days which made me very dizzy and sick and although a lot of the leg pain had settled the lower back pain (where my back had been opened) was very painful, tight and stiff which made it very difficult to mobilise in the first few days in hospital. I pushed myself with tiny goals - walking to the toilet in the ward myself, having a shower, sitting up in chair, walking to put rubbish in bin! The physio in hospital was fab and explained the importance of moving - walk for a few mins, sit for no more than 15 mins and lie on side (taking presssure off spine) the rest of time and to slowly and gradually increase walking. No BLT!!! Bending/LiftingTwisting!!!! Was her mantra!!! And sooo important! I got home on day 6 and got the staples (11 staples) out on day 10. Travelling in the car home was tricky... lie front seat as flat as poss and bring a pillow! I found the first week at home tricky but if I'm being honest this was mostly pain from the surgery as the leg pain had settled. First few weeks I found it hard to sleep, woke up if I moved or turned. But that's loads easier now. I am walking without crutch, although walking slowly I have gradually increased distance, again I can't stress enough importance of setting yourself tiny goals. I started walking along garden path to gate and back, then few days later along path outside etc. I am now walking just under half a mile. Prior to surgery I could walk about 20 steps with crutch before having to stop. Still on range of medication although have managed to reduce baclofen and gabapentin by one. Started physio last week, full assessment. Physio advised me that I have significant muscle weakness from buttock right down my left side to toe and nerve damage. Still can't bring my foot up or move big toe. I have tiny exercises to do to begin weakening up the muscles. I see her again next week, she advised me to keep up painkillers to keep me moving for time being.
I have been getting lots of niggles in my left leg, sharp jaggy pain, not on scale it was but if I do too much it's there, also sharp buttock pain (on both sides) again if I overdo it slightly. It's a long haul but I am slowly getting there and I hope this maybe helps others. Friends and family say I don't look in as much pain and that my face looks more relaxed. Not sure about when I'll be able to return to work, physio thinks will be August before I'll be strong enough. Anyone with any questions, please just ask.
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