My situation is probably somewhat different than most people around here. I have had mild, treatable with Advil lower back pain on and off for several years, mainly since I injured my back in 2006. I didn't think anything much of it; lower back pain is very common, so it was mostly annoying when it cropped up. Occasionally I would get pain down my legs, but it would go away in a day or two. No biggie.
I was having that sort of pain when I went to my neurologist for a check up for my seizure disorder, so on the spur of the moment, I mentioned it to him. He mentioned several ideas such as anti-inflammatory meds, epidural steroids, or an MRI. I decided to do the MRI, as I'd never had any imaging of any sort done back in 2006, and I thought it would be good to see what was going on in there.
Imagine my extreme surprise (shock?) the day after the MRI when my doctor called me and said that the MRI showed what he called an "epidural mass" in my spinal column. He was referring me to a neurosurgeon whose office would call me later in the day.
The neurosurgeon filled me in on the details, and I've had a biopsy done. What I have is a benign neurofibroma or schwannoma spanning from T12-L2. It's been growing in there for years, probably earlier than 2006; the pain from this is actually different than when I hurt my back, it's higher up, for one thing. It's actually reforming bone. It's grown out of the spinal column and pushed the bone out of the way as it's grown. This was one of the things that indicated that it was benign even before the biopsy.
Obviously, we're doing surgery. If it stays in there I will eventually be paralyzed. Luckily I'm stable, so we'll do it in May, after I'm off contract at the theater where I work. Then I'll have the summer to recuperate.
This can't be done with mimimally invasive techniques. He'll have to make a large incision and probably remove bone to get at the thing, and then do a spinal fusion. I'm rather amused at the irony of having more back pain after the surgery than I did before.
I've never had any sort of surgery before. I don't think the stitches I had in my finger count
I really like the list of suggestions for stuff to have in the hospital and at home while recovering.
Anyway, that's my story. I'm looking forward to participating here.