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I'm new here and looking for advice

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Hi everyone! I'm hoping I can get some advice or hear from those that have something similar, and what the outcome was for you.

A little background on me...
I'm 25 years old and have been suffering from lower back pain for over a year. Last October, I herniated 2 discs (L4 and L5) while I was painting and lifting furniture on my own. I went to my PCP and was put on viccodin and flexeril and told to take it easy. The next day my pain was even worse, os my doctor called in prednisone. Over the weekend, I ended up in the ER and had tordal shots and put on valium and percocet because the muscle spams were so intense that I was vomitting and my back was convulsing.

After having a MRI, the herniated discs with found, and I was sent to pain management for the epidural steroid injections. I had 3 rounds of injections and then put on skelaxin. I was feeling great from 12/09-8/10. I woke up one morning in August with intense leg pain in my left leg. My entire left leg from hip to toes is NUMB. I was sent for another MRI, and the results are as follows..maybe someone can make sense of it for me.

L1-L2 normal
L2-L3 mild circumferential disc bulge causing mild effacement of the anterior thecal sac. Minimal inferior right neural foraminal narrowing is noted.
L3-L4 mild circumferential disc bulge with moderate effacement of the anterior thecal sac with mild foraminal narrowing.
L4-L5 large central disc protrusion, as well as facet joint arthropathy causing severe central canal stenosis. Bilateral neural foraminal narrowing is noted.
L5-S1 a large based disc extrusion is seen, which extends into the left paracentral region. Fragment of disc is seen seperate from the large protrusion is seen to the left of midline, measuring 8x4mm, and is suspicious for a sequestered disc. Facet joint arthropathy is seen. Findings cause severe central canal stenosis, as well as moderate to severe left foraminal narrowing and minimal right foraminal narrowing.

Multilevel degenerative changes seen through the lumbar spine, most prounced at L4-L5 and L5-S1 with large disc protrusions causing severe narrowing of the spinal canal. There is also a suspicious sequestered disc seen at L5-S1.

After this MRI, I had another round of steroid injections, which did not help at all, and then sent to an ortho spinal surgeon. He sent me for a bone scan of my entire body and a 360 of my spine because he thought there was something wrong with my bones. I have lost the function in my left leg. The circulation is poor and muscles are beyond weak. He said that the DDD was genetic from family history. He then sent me to KU because he didn't want to take my case because it was "too critical and too unique."

I went to KU and had a horrible experience. I never got to meet the surgeon, only the PA. I was told that there was nothing wrong with my left leg, that it was in my head. And then I was given two options for surgery. I was told I could do a disectomy and laminectomy, however since I had both leg AND back pain, that I would end up having a fusion, or I could do a 2-3 level fusion, and then in 3 years have a second fusion. The chocie was mine, the surgeon didn't know which one to do. Then I was told that I was too heavy for the operating table. That the limit on their table was only 175 so once I lost 50lbs to call them and tell them which surgery I wanted to have.

I was devestated because I was in so much pain and cannot walk, yet I'm supposd to lose 50lbs before I can have relief. My PCP said it was BS about the weight limit being that low. He said it is usually 350-450lbs, that it was there way of washing their hands of me and my case. I was then put on 1800mg of neurontin, norco 10 hydrocodone/325 tylenol 2 pills 4 times a day, and relafen 750mg 2 times a day.

Last week I developed a new symptom in my left leg. Although it is still numb, there is INTENSE sciatic nerve pain that is preventing me from doing anythin except lay in be. The pain medicine I am on does nothing to dull the pain that is deep in my leg and running from my hip to my heel.

I am now at a neurosurgeon that is willing to take my case. I just had a myelogram and CT done on my spine, and it was VERY painful. As soon as the dye hit the nerve that is being compressed, my body went into convulsions and spasms. I felt as though I was being burned from the inside out.

That is all I know for right now. I'm waiting on results. Has anybody had anything like what I've experienced? If so, what surgery did you have and how was the outcome? I'm really nervous and scared, and I just need some support from someone that has been through this.

Thanks for reading,


  • Emily big hugs for you >:D< ,

    You have been put through the ringer and it sounds like you have some serious doo doo that your living with right now. I am sorry. Mean people Suck!

    This new NS that did the meylogram did you get good vibes from him? Does he have a good reputation with multilevel fusions? Bed side mannor is important to me. One of the reasons I love my NS so much.

    I just had a CT meylogram but them numbed me up pretty good. I didn't have alot of main except when the needles was being twisted for the CF collection (MS test I was also having done). Did you take any medication (pain meds) before the meylogram? I did. Went in with heavy dose. It helped me tremendously. Do you think your body had a reaction to the dye?

    Um my first lumbar fusion i was about 220, after I was healed a little I started loosing weight because I am an active person. Then the neck injury I got plump again not being active waiting for the ACDF I think I spent 4 months on the sofa waiting for approval and went up another 10# to 230# Not one time did my NS say Julie your too fat you got to loose weight before I will operate..... I have lost almost 50# since June and starting Topomax for migraines- sideffect is weightloss (just in time for the upcoming thoracic fusuin). It definately helped but now my appetite is nothing like it was. My huband things I am starving him...

    I hope you get along great with your new NS and start getting this behind you. You have a long roafd, but feeling better is so worth it >:D<

    Feel Better,


  • May I ask what KU is? Are you from the states? or the UK?

    You certainly have been through a lot for a young woman. I do hope the neurosurgeon will be the one to help you with your spinal problems.

    Best wishes,

  • I did have a good vibe from this NS. He completely understood my pain and frustrations. He did a reflex test and pin prick test on my left leg and of course I felt nothing. He seems pretty concerned with the weakness and circulation. My leg is really cold and a greyish purplish color. Not good huh!

    I did not take my meds before my myelogram. I take such a high dose (20mg of hydrocodone/650 tylenol) plus the relafen (750mg) and nuerontin (600mg) all at one time that it makes me vomit if there is nothing in my stomach. Of course you can't eat after midinght the night before, so I decided to not take it. Perhaps I should have!

    I'm not sure if I had a reaction or not. Is being paralyzed and feeling like you're being burned alive and then vomitting several times a side effect of a reaction? Did you have that feeling with your myelogram? I'm not sure what's normal as it was my first one.

    How long did it take you to heal after your lumbar fusion? I'm really scared about the recovery process. I have a strong feeling that the fusion is the surgery I will be having. I'm just trying to prepare myself for what is to come.

    How long were you off work? I had been working through the pain and numbness until last week when I was at school (I'm a 4th grade teacher) and my sciatic nerve was being severely compressed. The pain was so intense. I couldn't stand, walk, sit in a chair, even with meds I had no relief. I've already missed work for 7 days, but how long will I be off after surgery? Again, just trying to figure out how many weeks of sub lesson plans I will have to have ready!


  • Thanks for the kind words! I too hope this neurosurgeon will be the one to help me! I'm not sure how much more I can take painwise. I just keep thinking that I'm only 25 and I'm having all these problems, what's going to happen when I'm 40 or 50?

    I'm from Kansas City, Missouri, and the first surgeon I saw was in Kansas City. The second one is in the University of Kansas Medical Center (KU or KUMED). I forgot that not everyone would understand KU like we do in Missouri haha. Sorry about that.

    Anyway, I get to see my nuerosurgeon tomorrow, so I'm hoping for some action or at least just a plan of action! I will let u know what I find out!

  • Welcome Emily, Sorry to hear you also have become a victim to back injury. I had fusion on l4l5 and its a long recovery, usualy not weeks, but months. I hope you can avoid fusion and find a fix by a posible partial disc removal if needed to take pressure off the nerve if thats the case. Thats a much less invasive surgery and many seem to do ok with that surgery. I was around 29 or 30 when my back trouble started. Finaly had 1st surgery 6 years ago and i am much worse then i ever was before surgery. I am 50 years old now, so if surgery dont work, it can get worse. But if everything works out then a person can walk away from surgery and have no further issues. Surgery is always a risk as i found out. More of a risk then they like to admit at times. Wish you luck, and keep us informed. Alex'
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Welcome to Spine Health. Sorry you had such a horrible reaction to the myelogram. I have had one and had no issues from it. What did your doc have to say about your reaction?

    Everyone has a different experience with regards to recovery from surgery. Those who are younger tend to post about healing faster and having fewer collateral issues from the surgery.

    Do your research, make a list of questions and talk to your doc. Look him in the eyes and see what he has to say.

    Best wishes,

  • Well, I went to my surgeon for my results yesterday. I will be having surgery the day after Thanksgiving. Yuck!

    After looking at my test results, I will be having a multi-level discectomy at levels l3-l4, l4-l5, and l5-s1. I will also be having a hemilaminectomy at those levels as well. My scans show that my spinal cord is severly compressed and pinched by these discs, and due to the compression my spinal column is only 3mm around. He said normal healthy colums are typical 10-13mm. So the main focus is to remove large portions of this discs and make room for my spinal column.

    My surgeon said I will have a long road ahead of me due to genetics, but this will be a good start. I've already been told that I will more than likely have a fusion on those areas within 5 years; however, he is hoping this surgery will correct a lot of my nerve pain and numbness.

    Has anyone had this surgery before? What can I expect? You hear what the surgeon says, but it is also very helpful to hear from others that have gone through this already. If anyone can give me information about their hosptial experiences, or any other advice/information, that would be great!

    Thanks for reading
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