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JagJJag Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello, I'm a 38yo registered nurse. I had back surgery in 2009 after slowly herniating a couple disks. I have screws, rods, a cage and a hinge that goes from L3 down. It didn't heal. I've had ongoing pain issues with my lower back that have spiraled out of control since the surgery. No one was able to control the pain. They found that the connective tissue in my back was 'gone' which is causing more disks including one in my thoracic spine to herniate. It will be an ongoing problem. I also have other autoimmune health issues that weren't diagnosed until after my surgery. My heart has been racing since the surgery, so I'm on meds for that. They don't know what all is involved yet.

I continued to try to work as an ICU nurse... missing several days of work because of my back pain. I'm on several narcotics now, but still in pain. I had a spinal cord stimulator placed in April. However, they told me that they could get it out of my legs, and they can't. I can't work with my legs buzzing all the time because I already have peripheral neuropathy and the buzzing drives me nuts. I get spasms from the stim, also. Due to the extreme fatigue I am unable to do ANYTHING but work. This has left the rest of my life in shambles. I can barely make it through the shift, and have to take a pill to stay awake due to possible stroke. The narcolepsy came on all at once. My body is just... done. So now I've filed again for short term disability and I'm hoping to get long term disability and file for federal. I'm not happy with this, and I'm scared that I'm going to lose everything in this process. However, nothing has worked and my body is just telling me to stop.


  • Sorry to hear about your pain and have to go out on STD and LTD. There are a few members to give support with your SCS as well as those who have had surgery. I haven't had surgery yet but am on LTD now for 2-1/2 years since my back injury. Is the narcolepsy from your heart racing or meds? I'm sometimes so exhausted suddenly and feel like sleeping but have not fallen asleep just feel so tired. I was going to mention it to my Dr. next visit as my blood tests are all normal. Take care it's a great support site here. 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 and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. it sounds like you need to give both your body and mind a break.. is there no way to get some time off?? i am surprised you can work at all!! please think this over and realize that there is only one you!! take care of her!!! all the best and i hope you find some pain relief soon! Jenny :)
  • We get a day off for each month we work. This goes into a 'bank' and is used for sick time, vacation time, etc. I haven't been able to take any time off for vacation since I got sick the end of 2005 as it all ends up going towards 'sick days'. I barely made it to the one year mark of employment to qualify for FMLA. I used those 12 weeks for flares (they go on for a month at a time) and intermittently lost days so I ended up with less than three weeks of FMLA when I had the SCS placed. I'd just gotten back some time in late August when I went into another flare which includes a large increase in back pain.

    The meds I was on at the time the narcolepsy began weren't different than the meds that I'd been taking for over a year. They put me on meds that work on the brain to keep you awake, but I didn't like taking them. It wasn't until I hit a semi on my way home from work that it was clear that I HAD to take something to work. When I'm not working, I rarely take them. Instead, I end up sleeping more than ten hours a night and doze on and off through the day. The exhaustion from all of this is just over the top. I'd love to be able to get off all of these meds. I've had issues with blood flow to my brain and was put on plavix for it... but it didn't help with staying awake.
  • I feel for you.. I hope the relief you are looking for is right around the next corner. Welcome to the forum :)
  • I have been an LPN for over 30 years. Back in the 80's, I was one of the LPNs they trained to work in the units...the days when there were no protocols for LPNs not to be there. I am amazed you are able to work in such a stressful environment! And, that stress I am sure is increasing your pain and fatigue.

    I am encouraging you to apply for short-term disability so that you can have some time to recouperate. Then, go on from there. One step at a time....

  • Sorry to hear about all the issues you have and your pain. We are here to support you. I know it probably feels hopeless most day. Hang in there and please reach out to us!

  • hi jag welcome to the forum ,as a nurse i am sure that you will be able to bring along some good advice .there are a few nurses on here ,{and i am married to one!} i was interested in reading your post because i think that my thoracic spine is starting to herniate too .i have already had 2 lumber spine operations and i am due for a discography 23 Sept ..from what i have read its very common for the thoracic spine to follow in the path of the lumbar spine regarding disc failing .i just hope that i am wrong
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