Hello! I posted a bunch of questions in one forum, and it probably should have gone here.
I will explain what's happening, going from most recent to oldest... I wish I could underline so it would be a little easier to read.
To begin, I have been told that I have scoliosis, and that my left shoulder, all my life has been visbly lower than the right one. My father had scoliosis, and his mother had one leg shorter than the other. So, it is in the genes. Perhaps the scoliosis, or who knows, what other factors could have caused the most recent problems over the past few years. I am in my 40's which I guess is an age when things can start "disc degeneration" but I see here on this site that others much younger have DDD. It helped give me courage over a year ago when DDD showed up in the first MRI of my back a couple of years ago.
MRI of this week was post second surgery (see MRI info below - L5-S1 issues). Now, the most recent MRI is the most difficult to understand. There are things in it that I have not seen before. I am waiting now, for the surgeon's office to call me back. I guess the MRI center did not fax them a copy of the report, even though they said they would. Bottom line is, be sure to get your copy of the MRI and films, so they are availble to you and for any appoitments! I faxed the report to them within the last half hour. So after I get the call, I'll pass the info on in a posting after this one.
It was my my primary who I saw and who ordered the MRI of the lumbar spine. I knew I would get an appointment sooner with my primary rather than trying to get one with the surgeon. I was hoping my primary would order the MRI and she did. I am having a lot of pain in my back like when laying down, and getting up in the morning. This pain has been for a good few weeks now. However, for about a little over a week, there has been increased nerve pain in both feet, front of right thiegh, buttocks, etc, etc. It is good that the MRI came this week, and not the end of last week. It may have caught the issues causing so much nerve pain and other "weird nerve things" going on, that so many of you reading this probably experience, too. I did not do anything unusual. The nerve pain has creeped up so fast over about a week! I can't believe how fast things are changing and that's what is a little scary.
MRI in April 2009 said disc desiccation at the L5/S1 level and mild disc disiccation L4/L5. Basically, both L4 & L5 desiccated.
Also the MRI of April 2009 said T11/T12: slight loss of intervertebral disc space with mild degenerative changes and a small disc bulge w/o foraminal narrowing or spinal canal stenosis. I had surgery this past June, and it was needed as one disc - L5 was again impinging the sciatic nerve. Surgeon decided to leave the other disc alone as it was just plain desicated and it was not interfering with the sciatic nerve. I wonder if it is aggravating the sciatic now and causing all of the nerve pain, even though it does not show up on the current MRI!
I had another MRI around January 2008 which was post a severe rupture of L4/L5 which occurred in December 2007. It was L4 that severly blew. My right leg was very much affected and I could not drive after it finally finished blowing that very early morning of Dec 5th! I asked my husband to call 911 as I could not move since the pain was so bad. I was by the sink, and literally, it was like my hips moved forward when the blow occurred. 911 arrived and told me what I could take, which I did actually have on hand, and they told me I did have to move, despite the pain. I managed to with my husband's help. My right leg was so painful and weak, I could not believe it! 911 left, as I was OK at home. I never experienced anything like that before.
That MRI said it was a very bad rupture and that it was impinging the sciatic nerve. Surgery was March 2008. The surgeon said the day after surgery that he could tell that the rupture actually happened one and a half to two years previously. I did have lots of back pain, and never thought of getting an MRI. I also had a lot of hip bursitis which occurred then and there, too. It made sense that the hips were taking extra stress from the unknown blown disc. L4 - Disc material went into the Dura Surface and the surgeon gently removed what went there.
I have permanent nerve damage from that blown disc. After surgery, I had to go home with a catheter - even though getting into Easter weekend with family coming over! It made a bit of an appearance! Gladly, I was able to get rid of it one week later. To back track to when I was in the hospital for this surgery, they would not let me go home for a few days. I kept asking and the nurse just said she was trying to get urology but they never came. Finally, the day they let me go, it was explained that the bladder was "asleep" which can happen post surgery. Also, that the nerves for the bladder are right there, which I found out, the day they let me go home. Such issues can happen as the nerves for the bladder are right there in the area of the L4. But, it can happen less often to people in their 40's! I guess maybe it also depends on how much the nerve for the bladder was affected by the ruptured disc and repair. There are just so many nerves packed in there.
I did not take much pain medicine, and they could not believe I was not using the morphine pump post surgery. They removed it the second day. I mentioned that I do have a high pain tolerance. I also have Inracranial Hypertension from a prednisone taper, which can give anyone a high pain tolerance!
After plenty of PT, and determination, I was able to drive fairly quickly after surgery. And, little by little over time, my right calf that was so badly affected did strengthen and now looks much like the left calf in muscle size. However, I still do have the issue of the right calf trying to contract every now and then when my foot goes downward (when my foot drops). I have night splints, and do wear the one for the right foot. Even then, sometimes the right calf contracts, but it is not as bad as when the right foot went downward before, especially when sleeping.
So, that is my story, so far. I am grateful to everyone who prays for me when things have acted up, and to God that I regained my ability to drive and be able to walk well, and so on. Also, that I have to remember to take one day at a time even if it is in small increments. Everything takes time, and patience!