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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello SH. I had a L4-L5 discectomy on November 26, 2008. Leading up to the surgery I was seen by about four doctors. Three of which said I need to lose weight and I sprained my back etc. After several long days and nights of crying and not understanding how I was supposed to exercise I decided to get another opinion. We tried the med dose pac and volteran with no luck. In fact my pain was so bad that I could not do anything anymore without extreme pain. Once my doctor gave me an MRI, it all came together. I had a large disk herniation and surgery was my only option. My doctor’s exact words were “you will feel great in a week or two after surgery.”
He was half right, I woke up from surgery and walked to the bathroom right away. I was in an out of surgery and the hospital in less than 4 hours. Even the next week or so went well. Then…
I started noticing the numbness in my lower leg that I did not notice before surgery. It could have been there but with all the pain it’s impossible to know.
My surgeon continued to tell me this was normal and it could just be from residual nerve damage. He asked that I give it more time to heal. I gave it a few more weeks until I was walking and my knee gave out. I lost my footing and broke my ankle/foot. The sad part is I did not feel the break and the pain with the break, I just heard it. What a bummer.
Since then I have explored the numbness and pain in my right leg. EMG shows acute chronic nerve and muscle damage. The doctor who did these tests told me that I will just need to get used to it and it seems permanent. GREAT!
I have electric shock pains, stabbing pains (just to name a few) and when it rains I literally have pain from my head to toes. My calves hurt really bad, they are sore when I walk and very sensitive to touch. I would really like to know why? Also, can some of the veterans recommend what I should do now about my ‘permanent’ nerve damage? I am willing to do whatever it takes! Thanks.
One last thing, can anyone offer some advice for how I should communicate with my employer about ALL my problems. I thought I would be back working after two weeks following surgery (per my surgeon). They are being understanding but they same some pretty heartless things at times when I need off for doctors appts. Also, they expect me to heel fast so that I can return to work full time (I remain on part time duty). The fear of losing my job is very real!

All the post I have read at SH has really helped me. You all are so strong!

Kim :)

L4-L5 discectomy 2008 (after 4 opinions)
Broken foot and ankle 2009
EMG: Acute Chronic Nerve and Muscle Damage
3 epidural injections (L4 and 2@ L5)
Meds: Darvacet 500mg 3xd, Skelaxin 800mg 3xd, xanax as needed, Neurontin 900mg daily
PT: Massage therapy, aquatic therapy, psychological treatments, nutrition therapy, and a fair amount of love and respect for myself.



  • Welcom to the little spiney village on the web! bummer on the broken ankle. be honest at work with the people who count, its the best policy if not always the easy one.good luck on your spiney journey and welcome to the family!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • :H hi kym, if you cant say it why not write it down in a letter and hand that in, trouble with our problems is normal peeps lose it by the 3rd L3 ! :))(
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. have you tried any of the nerve pain medications for your leg pain? :? Lyrica really helped me alot.. :D talk to your doctor about it! :-C good luck and i hope you find pain relief soon! :D Jenny :)
  • Sorry about your ankle and continued pain in your legs and back. I had a hypersensitive leg also and screamed during the EMG. I've found doing my recumbent stationary bicycle everyday has taken down the swelling and the pain just to keep the circulation moving. I also use a cane for walking to keep me steady and keep the pain off the one leg as well as using the infrared heating pad on it as well. I would ask your primary Dr for more referrals to NeuroSurgeons or OrthoSurgeons. I'm awaiting my 3rd opinion NeuroSurgeon as well as I've had a 2nd referral to a Pain Management Dr. I also had the 50 pound weight gain from being immobile when first injured. There is a diet group here where we share ideas and no obligations to give your weight or anything other than support each other. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Kimj,

    Welcome to SH :H I do to have permanent nerve damage in my back and there is nothing in the USA that can repair my nerve damage at this point. I have found that the heating pad helps my back pain. I have found taking short walks sometimes helps the pain in my leg. I also take Lyric 300 mg's a day. As for as your job, talk to your doctor. As long as your doc provides a note to your employer with the start date and end date you can keep working part-time. As far as taking time off for doc appt's if you can get the first appt. of the day that is best when you can and make-up your work time during the week. Also is working from home at all a possibility for you? Feel free to pm me any time. :)))

  • I went through a very similar situation as you did. The thing about coworkers and employers is that some tend to think that everyone fakes being sick or injured just to try and get out of work. On top of that add pain, something that can not be seen and lots of folks are heartless about it. Do you have any type of STD or LTD through your job? Have you considered that you may not be capable of full time work anymore? Good luck to you.
  • hi kim did you say that you were in and out of hospital in 4 hours does this include your operation? my leg is hypersensitive and i carnt stand clothing on it {i only wear baggy soft shorts all year!} welcome to the group
  • I take Neurontin 900mg nightly for my nerves. I also take darvocet for the break through pain. I currently swim a little to keep my blood flowing. Also, the hot tub is great for me.

    Kate and Grey, you touched on work issues. I have exhausted my STD (ending 5/26/2009) and my LTD just denied my claim because of a 'pre-existing condition' clause. I am going to appeal it but I do not know how far it will go. My job has accommodated me with a part-time schedule. Which I think is so funny to consider it an 'accommodation.' However, I will just accept it and be grateful for now.

    I am an HR Specialist for a very big defense contractor. I have always been on the other end listening to victims with disabilities and I am always so understanding and helpful (as I should be). Now I feel like I need someone just like me to talk to at work! :) Because I may not receive benefits through LTD I will have to try and work part-time in the office and part-time at home. Fingers crossed. Sorry I am rambling, I just keep thinking about 'what if' over and over again. I have more medical expenses than money which I know all of us here have the same problem. If I cannot receive a full time salary I am not sure how else to survive. I'm not giving up, I just have to keep thinking about the 'what ifs.' And try and remain positive with pain.

    When I walk for more than 5 minutes I feel like I have a knife in my side (butt/hip) so I think it is sciatica. Sometimes my leg cramps and I feel like I cannot take another step. Also, when I drive I have these crazy shocks when my foot is on the brake.

    I have read some of the post from the 'how to deal with family/friends.' All of it is really good advice, I just have a really hard time communicating with my family. I say things like "I am in a state of pain 24/7" when my mom asks that I run an errand for her. Then I end up doing it because that is what I have done my whole life. That is part of the reason I was in and out of the hospital within 4 hours. My surgeon took one hour to operate and the rest of the time was pre-op/post-op stuff. When I woke up from surgery I just wanted to get home and get back to my life. I convinced my family and friends that I would be good as new in no time. Now they cannot understand what went so wrong.

    Again, sorry for the rant. I feel like no one really gets this but you all. Thanks for your very good responses and kind wishes! This week I will follow up with my ortho surgeon and I will be seeing a neuro surgeon just as soon as I can find a 'good' one that participates with Aetna ;)

    L4-L5 discectomy 2008 (after 4 opinions)
    Broken foot and ankle 2009
    EMG: Acute Chronic Nerve and Muscle Damage
    3 epidural injections (L4 and 2@ L5)
    Meds: Darvacet 500mg 3xd, Skelaxin 800mg 3xd, xanax as needed, Neurontin 900mg daily
    PT: Massage therapy, aquatic therapy, psychological treatments, nutrition therapy, and a fair amount of love and respect for myself.
  • In and out of the hospital in four hours; that's basically outpatient surgery. When I had a microdiscectomy, I woke up in recovery in a great amount of pain. My leg was aching badly and I had painful muscle spasms. My surgeon said the nerve was inflamed and very swollen and it would take time to heal so be patient. I stayed for 3 days.

    I had a difficult time trying to recover because the pain was hard to deal with. Then it all got even worse and I was sent to have an MRI which showed I reherniated at the same level 4 weeks post op, and I had other problems going on as well; see below.

    11 months ago I had a 2 level fusion which didn't relieve the pain. I also found out that I have permanent nerve damage on the right S1 nerve and I was given the option of a morphine pump trial to help with that and the constant, severe back pain. I also have scar tissue to contend with. I chose this because my back to leg pain ratio is 60/40 and my doctors recommended this.

    I do hope things go smoothly at your job. You have an advantage because you already work in HR and know all the ins and outs. I'm sorry to hear about your nerve damage and that it happened so soon. Don't give up; it can't be reversed but there are meds to help manage this, PT, or trying out a neurostimulator. Maybe you can get a second opinion to see what else can be done. Whatever happens, you'll have friends here who relate to your situation and will be there for you. Take care
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