I've been reading others' posts, but I think it's my turn, mostly because I could use some reassuring words right about now.
Last Tuesday, I had a microdiscetomy for a herniated disc between my L5-S1 vertebrae. The highly-regarded and cocky neurosurgeon said the herniation was larger and more dense than the previous two MRIs showed, but he "took his time" and thought the surgery went well. He noted an immediate increase in the strength of my left foot. My toes are a little numb, but it's not too annoying.
A brief background:
I'm 37, and I think I herniated the disc snowblowing last winter. For eight months, I dealt with the pain, mostly in my left piriformis muscle and back of my left thigh. The pain always stopped at my knee, which the doctors said was atypical. I ran through the pain, even doing a 10k in July, which surely was the straw that broke the camel's back. Before the surgery, I did months of PT, chiropractic and two cortisone shots. Not much helped.
Following the surgery, I still felt pain in the same areas, but it felt ... different. More achey, maybe, and less twingey. For the first several days, I was taking oxycodone every four hours, 600 mg of ibuprofen three times a day and valium every six hours.
I also started walking right away. First day home, around the block. Next day, a mile. I wasn't limping, and my left foot, that had turned outward this summer to compensate for the pain, was facing forward again. Monday, I didn't take any oxy and went to work for half a day. Then, I came home and walked a total of 3.5 miles.
Last night (still Monday), the original sciatic nerve pain in my butt and leg came back, just like it did before the surgery. I haven't lifted anything heavy, including my 3-year-old daughter. I maybe got a little cavalier, putting on my own pants, but I certainly didn't do anything strenuous that would cause a re-herniation (I hope).
Today, the pain continued, and maybe spread a little. I called the physician's assistant, who said it was unlikely that I reherniated the disc. He thought I just overdid it and suggested I get back on the valium three times a day. He stressed that my condition presented itself differently than most, since the pain never went down to my foot. Tomorrow, I go back for my post-op evaluation, and presumably, to get my staples removed. I still walked a little over one mile today, but I definitely didn't push it. Walking makes it feel better. Oddly, running this spring and summer also helped, but only during the activity.
I'm kinda freaking out that this surgery didn't work. Can anyone offer me some words of encouragement? Maybe it takes more than a week to feel relief? Maybe the nerve pain will come and go while it regenerates? But why was it feeling better, and now it's feeling worse?
This is pretty scary, and I don't want to endure the awful sciatic nerve pain that has cursed me since February. Any thoughts from anyone who's been there?
Thanks in advance,