Six weeks ago I saw my NS, who reviewed my latest MRI with me and said he wanted to see me again this past week because another surgery was likely in order because a disk fragment or a piece of cartilege or "something" showed up on the MRI that is pushing on the nerve 3 mm. (I saw the fragment (or whatever) myself and have the radiology report). He was concerned about my right foot, more specifically, my inability to stand on my toes on that foot alone (in other words, to stand on one foot, on my toes, with my leg straight).
I had my appointment last Thursday for him to discuss surgery options. Let me preface this by saying that he had told me on my last visit that the surgical procedure would be pretty much the same in the surgery -- go into the same incision site and remove the fragment, same recovery time.
I arrived (with my mom for support) on Thursday for my appointment, and the secretary had no record of it. She literally got defensive and rude, saying it wasn't her handwriting on the appointment card I showed her. They said the NS could still see me, which was good since both my mom and I took off work to be there. I didn't tell the secretary this, and I didn't get upset with her.
The doctor came in, and saw that my foot is a little stronger -- I still am not perfect on standing on one right foot, on my toes, but I can do it a little more since I've been practicing the past 6 weeks.
I don't know if it's because he wasn't ready for me since they didn't have my appointment, or what was the deal, but he was completely different in this appointment in terms of his thoughts about surgery. Last time I saw him, he said it was likely eminent, and it was bascially the same procedure. This time, he went into how there was a wider cavity around the nerve after the microdisectomy, which is always a concern, and he said they might have to do surgery down the road, and it would be exploratory surgery. He said they would go in and "remove more bone" and look around and do a laminetomy (sp). This really confused me, because they didn't do this last time. I mentioned the MRI and his statements last time. He still said he would see me in a few months (in August), and that I can lift up to 30 pounds -- this was weird because I have been on an 8 pound limit since my surgery, and the last time I saw him he said I needed to be even more careful. Otherwise, same restrictions -- nothing jaring, no running, be careful.
I told him I was concerned because I was only able to sit for 20 minutes at a time and spent much time lying down, that I haven't worked a 40 hour week since the surgery, and I wanted to know how long until I could have a normal life back. He said it would be at least 6 more months living like this because they didn't want to operate.
I was really confused by his statements because all along he has always said the MicroD went well (the disk itself looks good), and when we review the MRI last time, he said going in to remove the fragment (or whatever it is) wasn't a big thing and would get me on my way. Yet now when I see him, he talks like surgery isn't something he's interested in, that this pain is going to be long term, and that my life is going to be more of the same of lying down on my couch and being limited. Like that's no big deal.
He made other comments too that confused me. He said, matter-of-factly, that my reflex would never be normal again in my right leg (I had him repeat it because he said it like it was no big deal!). I asked him about the Lyrica -- which his nurse had said he wanted me to take (and I started taking 2 months ago) because it was supposed to help my nerve damage from my last surgery actually "heal." Well, when I told him I was concerned about the continued side effects, he told me I could go off of it -- he said it does NOT actually heal the nerve and wouldn't make any difference.
He then talked about other pain killers he could write me scripts for, and again I was confused because the whole goal was to move toward not being on the pain killers. I am worried about this being ongoing indefinitely, and the fact it's just fine with him that I have no life and have ongoing pain.
I'm weaning off the Lyrica because it makes me too fuzzy to do my job. The pain I had before going on the Lyrica wasn't serious enough to start it, in my opinion, but I went on it because the NS's nurse said it would help "heal" my nerve damage.
I am scared about just leaving things up in the air -- I don't want further nerve damage if that is a possiblity from the disk fragment being left in there.
I apologize for the long post, but I am really confused. I had braced myself for immediate surgery, and now it's like he's not interested in doing it at all? Part of me wonders if he was blowing me off as a patient, and I should go try and find another NS? I would think he was so pleased by my ability to stand on my toes a little bit that he doesn't want to operate, but everything he said about the sugery procedure was "off", making me think he wasn't really focused on the details of my particular case at all. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! (That is an understatement!)