My apologies for such a long intro....
First off, let me say how great of a site SH is. Since I've learned of my diagnosis, I found this website and have been browsing the forums and the wealth of information it supplies for a couple weeks now and it looks like the site is populated with some very nice members I think I would enjoy talking to, especially since everyone has somewhat related issues,some probably having identical issues.
Now for the intro...My name is Bryan, I am just shy of 42 and have 3 great kids and a wife of 21 years. I am an otherwise healthy submarine veteran of the US Navy and I now work in the IT/computer field.I had minor scoliosis as a child and never had any problems relating to that all through my child and young adult years. When I was about 25-30 years old I started having general back stiffness that I could mostly deal with thinking it was just a laborers back and pretty much lived with it with the exception of trying chiropractic care a couple times which didn't help much.I had an x-ray at that time which showed minor disc degeneration/degenerative spine disease.I've never had a work related injury that I can remember except falling off of a ladder and my back hit the edge of a counter-top on the way down. I was sore for a day or two and I forgot about it, so I'm not sure if that had any significance in my back issues. Over the years the pain and stiffness got progressively worse up to about a year ago where it is now beginning to affect my overall quality of life. I used to run and workout and be pretty active but know just the thought of working out or cutting the grass or sweeping the driveway, or simply bending over or getting up out of a chair makes me not want to do it because of the pain.
Just in the past few months along with extreme soreness & stiffness I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and once I do I can't spend a lot of time in the same position standing or sitting. The thing that really worried me was when my left leg started to go numb and become painful and I was experiencing what I think is called "drop foot" when I was walking down the stairs which nearly caused me to tumble down a flight of stairs on a
few occasions. The numbness and pain isn't constant, so I don't know if its intermittent depending on a certain back movement or bend I am making.
I spoke w/ my family doctor telling him that my back was really starting to bother me a lot and he immediately referred me to a chiropractor. The chiropractor performed some tests of motion and strength during my preliminary appointment and wanted to get an MRI before he performed any chiropractic care. The results from the MRI weren't surprising to me although I was glad there was an explanation for all my discomfort rather than dealing w/ a
"mystery" for god knows how long and visiting upteen specialists...you know what I'm talking about...so I was kind of relieved that there was a valid and obvious reason for my discomfort. The chiropractor informed me that my L4-L5 disc was nearly gone with major disc space collapse and what was left is bulging. My L3 & L5-S1 is also bulging. Stenosis and degenerative disc disease is what the chiro told me. He immediately referred me to a neurosurgeon who also explained these problems I have and additionally that I have extreme neural foramen narrowing in two places causing nerves to be compressed or getting very close to being compressed. He said he doubts that any PT or anything else would fix the problem except surgery which would include a 2 level vertabral decompression & laminectomy, and a 2 level interbody spinal fusion & fixation. He did inform me that it was up to me to have the surgery and that I have a very difficult decision to make. He also set me
up to try steroidal epidural shots...my first one is next Thursday. He said they may or may not work and if they did they could at least help w/ the discomfort until my surgery date if I do elect to have it.
So now, I'm thinking about what I should do and I guess it comes down to how much discomfort I am in and whether I'm satisfied with my current quality of life...which obviously
I'm not or I wouldn't be here : ) I have another 19-21 years until retirement if that helps you with offering your advise. So I guess I'm needing some insight in this as far as what to expect as far as pain, day to day living, likely pain relief options during this whole process prior to, during, and post surgery according to the procedures I am having done. (Just how painful is this surgery, PT duration, how long will I be on meds, total recuperation time,chances of failure/success, etc.)
I'm glad to be part of a great group and I hope we can all help each other with our similar problems but knowing there are some that are much worse off than myself. I hope I can get to know some people and to make some friends while going
through this extreme life change. Thanks in advance for all responses and I'll be seeing you all in the forums! If anyone has any questions, recommendations, advice, general info, or concerns, please let me know.Tell me about yourself too, I like to listen. Cheers...
L3, L4, L5, S1 bulging discs, L4-L5 disc/space collapse, severe narrowing of the neural formina, stenosis, degenerative disc/spine disease and have horrible posture.
230 lbs 6'3" 41 (42 in March 2011) years old, not much overweight, medium build, used to be moderately athletic, but not now. Moderate pain & numbness, weakness in left leg. Lower back pain, stiffness in all positions and don't sleep well at night (2-3 hours at a time).
Recommendation by neurosurgeon to have a 2 level vertebral decompression & laminectomy, and a 2 level interbody spinal fusion & fixation. Beginning epidural injections next week to help until I decide whether to have surgery. If I have surgery I would like to wait until October 2011 if I can put up with it.
Treated for high blood pressure, borderline high cholesterol, and arthritic elbows and back/spine discomfort.
Currently taking Lisinopril, Atenolol w/ Chlorthalidone, Lipitor, & Tramadol.