8 months post op

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Hi all, just found this website and thought I'd put my two penneth in.

23rd June 2007, worst day of my life. Awoke with severe paid in my right leg at 1.30 in the morning, didn't know what to do with myself. Two days before my holiday and I'm in agony. Got up and watched the clock go round until 8 am when the doctors opened. Made an appointment, was late arriving due to the fact that I couldn't get dressed for the pain in my back and leg. Eventually got to surgery with the help of two sticks and a helpful taxi driver.

Following an examination, prolapsed disc and sciatics were diagnosed, sent packing with extra strength parcetamol. Which I might add were as much use as a chocolate teapot!

My symptoms were cronic back ache, and completely numb right leg. When I say numb, I mean to the touch, couldn't feel the back of my leg at all nor my foot, however, I certainly felt the pain, it was more than a person should have to bear.

Six weeks and two stone lighter following regular visits to my doctor I called for an ambulance, as the overwhelming desire to top myself was winning over the 'it will get better in time' theory. They advised me to get the doctor to increase my pain relief, after a phone call from them to my doctor I eventually got tramadol, which I might add did relieve some of the pain, but not all.

Back to the doctor and requested a referral to a specialist, after being told there would be a 4 month wait, I decided to pay to see a consultant privately, two days later and 150 quid lighter, I got to see a specialist in backs. He confirmed that I had a severe prolapsed disc S1/L1 region and recommended an MRI scan, which I had four weeks later. Surgery was the option and was referred to Hope hospital in Manchester.

December 20th 2007, 5 pm into hospital ready for surgery the day after.

Wasn't scared in too much pain for that.

December 21st, down to theatre at 1 pm, hoping and praying for some kind of relief from the misery I had been in for six months.

4.45 pm, woke up PAIN FREE!!!! Looking back it was probably the morphine I had been given during surgery. Within 15 minutes from arriving back on the ward I was walking round, morphine drip attached pain free feeling on top of the world. I felt so briliant they let me out the following morning.

The staples came out 10 days later and I felt great, a little discomfort in my back but I had the use of my leg back and most of the feeling back in my leg, although my hamstring and calf muscle still wouldn't do as they were told.

Underwent Physio, and was given plenty of back strengthening excerises to do, which I did with ghusto.

For about 4 weeks I felt great, went back to see the surgen and was told how successful the op had been. He told my I was on a long long healing curve and that it woud take at least a year for the nerve to heal.

Eight months on.......

I'm doing OK, BUT, the nerve in my bum is still causing severe pain, not every day and not the same agony as when I first started with all of this, but still enough to make me wonder if life is worth living. My leg muscles are still misbehaving, cramping up if I point my toe, or feeling very tight, still cant stand on my toes and still suffering from mild sciatica. After a day at work (admin so I sit down all day) I come home and some days can hardly walk. Still taking the tablets as they say, both strong paracetamol and tramadol, which do manage the pain.

I keep thinking to what the surgeon said about being on a long healing curve, but wonder if at the end of a year the pain will dissapear and I will be back to full fitness. I don't know whether the symptoms I am having now is normal, or whether there has been some permenant damage caused by the prolapsed disc. I am being a active as I can, dog walking, exercise biking, general back exerices etc but it only makes the pain worse, so I end up on my back on the settee in the evenings. Pain killers and hot baths seem to be the norm when you have this condition.

I have read some of your comments and for those of you who have just started this journey, my heart goes out to you, all I can advise is to badger your doctor for increased pain relief. Apparently we all have different pain thresholds and they (the medical profession) need to find out by trial and error what that threshold is on each individual. The only way to get relief is keep going back and telling them.

For those of you who have had the op it does get better, but I'm not sure if it gets easier.

If there are any of you out there the same post op period as me with the same symptoms I would love to hear from you. I have questions such as

Is it me?

Am I just being soft?

Will it all go away after a year?

Will I be like this the rest of my life?

Is this normal?

What will I do if it doesn't go away?

With best wishes to all back sufferers.

Chris

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Chris and welcome!!!

    As I was reading through your post, I thought here is someone else who has been through hell. Then I got to the bit about you being so well after surgery.......a happy ending!!!! But then I read the next bit and felt sad that you are still struggling!!!

    I too had a microdiscectomy in December 2007 at L5/S1, but they botched it up and I needed another operation less than four weeks later. In between, I had been admitted via A&E for a week, before being discharged, just to be brought back in again. Putting the complications aside in terms of recovery time we are both at about the same stage. I too haven't had a straight forward recovery, which I guess is why I am still here!! Other people that were on here that had their operations months ago are generally happy with the outcome, off meds and getting on with their lives. And no you are not soft! It does sound though that all this has bought you down. I know that pre-op, I was totally focused on how this operation was going to make everything okay again. Yes, it would take a while, but it would all be worth it, in the risk versus reward stakes. Soon after the operation(s) I started getting pains in my butt and leg again. I also had a lot of pain in my back and like you took to spending time lying down on the settee to get some relief. The pains in my leg, were more towards the front of my leg this time, and I had a band of pain, horizonally just above my knee and across the top of my foot. Then the inevitable happened and it all turned to burning and numbness. My whole leg, apart from a small area, the length of my inside leg. Nightimes were and are difficult. Back then I used to lie in weird positions to cause pain in my leg, because to me that was better than the burning and numbness. A few months ago I started getting bad cramps in my leg, mainly in my thigh but in my calf as well. It would really hurt, but if it was a day when the burning/numbness was really bad, then it was like feeling the cramp through 10 duvets. Really weird. I am still on the same meds that I was on pre-surgery, which really pees me off. My toes are still completely locked up and standing on my toes has got worse, not better, in that now it seems to be that I can't do two feet at once now!

    Because of the \"complications\" from the first surgery I have had lots of contact with the hospital post op including another MRI scan, which shows that the next disc up is bulging (but apparently causing no symptoms) and I still have nerve compression at the operated level. Except that it seems they did the wrong level first time around! So I'm not sure if what am going through is the sciatic nerve recovering from the op, or new compression causing mischief!!! The hospital put me in touch with their Musculoskeltal Specialist, who I saw for acupuncture every week. I saw him in April. Prior to that I had been offered no physio whatsoever by the hospital or my GP. It was also the first time that [i:53eb85dd4f][b:53eb85dd4f]ANYBODY[/b:53eb85dd4f][/i:53eb85dd4f] had examined me post surgery. Having done my back in January 2007, my muscles were a real mess and the acupuncture did help with that. Once the muscles were doing their job properly, then it would help the nerves too. I had to give it up because I am changing hospitals now, but I'm glad I did it. And it was really useful to me just being able to tell someone what was happening, because the goalposts were forever moving and the combination of numbness/burning/cramp and pain seemed to change weekly. In the end he had done what he could, but he felt that there were nerve issues too. I was also referred to their pain consultant but never got an appointment through because they knew I was changing hospitals. The acupuncture guy wanted me to get different medication, because although I still have a lot of symptoms it is generally not straightforward pain.

    You do not say what support you have had from the hospital recent

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  • Posted

    Hi TFU

    Thanks for listening, and thanks for the advice.

    You guessed correctly when you said I hadnt seen the surgeon. Only once 4 weeks after surgery, he cheerfully told me the op had been a success and I would be fine, that was of course after he finished telling me about the long healing curve.

    Like you, my GP is hopeless, in fact, there are four doctors in the practice and I don't rate any of them. The general concensus is if you go having cut off your finger, it is because you are overweight! Get the picture.... mmmm thought you would.

    Consequently I havent been back to see them, good idea of yours ringing the surgeons secretary, but will they see me or just refer me back to the doctor? I thought you had to go back to your GP surgery before you can get referred again. My fear is that if I go back and see the doctor they will only tell me that it hasn't been twelve months yet and to wait and see what happens in the next few months.

    I think I'd rather talk to you lot, who lets face it, are all probably more experienced in what I am going through than all the GP's in the country put together.

    From reading through this website, I know that you have talked to loads of other sufferers. One of my main problems now, apart from the leg pain etc is when I am at work because I am sat down all day (not literally, I can get up and move around), but I can feel the main nerve in my bum like its been surrounded by neon flashing lights saying cooooeeee

    I'm still here. Yes I stand up and walk around, but as soon as I sit back down off it goes again. Work have been fab and paid over a grand for a special chair with a seat made from special stuff so its soft to sit on which does work to some degree but by the afternoon its agony. Wondered if you've ever come across anything that I might add to the chair to make things more comfy?

    Take care.

    Best wishes to all sufferers with big hugs.

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  • Posted

    Hi Chris,have just read your post and felt i must reply as my experiences post op are almost identical to yours.I had a micro discectomy on Jan 30th and like you was almost pain free for about 4 weeks.I did not see a physio but was given exercises to do at home which i did.

    After 3 months i went back to hospital for a check up with the nurse practioner who said i wasnt doing quite as well as expected but she said it was early days and that it could take up to a year for things to settle down.

    Well, almost 9 months post op and the leg pain is there almost every day,some days worse than others but nowhere near as bad as it was before the op.My back aches most days and now it aches further up my spine and the last couple of days i have had to take dihydrocodeine to get some relief.Like you , i also get strange cramps in my leg and foot and more recently have started getting pins and needles in my left leg if i sit too long.My left foot is still partially numb but i can still feel the stabbing pains which come and go.

    I certainly do not regret having surgery,the pain was so so bad that there was no alternative but at this stage of recovery i feel a little dis-illusioned as i cannot see that everything is suddenly going to disappear and be fine again in 3 months time :roll:

    It was good to read your experiences as i felt maybe i was expecting too much at this stage.I have an appointment with my GP(who is wonderful ) next week and i will ask her advice as to whether i should contact the nurse practitioner again at the hospital.

    You take care...hugs to you and everyone out there.

    Linda xx

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  • Posted

    [quote:66697c8527=\"Chris4Dex\"]Hi TFU

    Work have been fab and paid over a grand for a special chair with a seat made from special stuff so its soft to sit on which does work to some degree but by the afternoon its agony. Wondered if you've ever come across anything that I might add to the chair to make things more comfy?

    [/quote:66697c8527]

    Its not just about your chair its the whole work station set up, I have a new chair, foot rest & screen adjuster and its made a great difference. If you have a health and safety department gt them to come out and do an assessment.

    HTH

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