I've just joined this group in hope finding some form of support.
My back problems started around 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with a L4-L5
slip disc. It first started off as a constant ache in a left leg even when I'm
not doing anything strenuous. I went to CGH for treatment and A MRI scan
subsequently confirmed this. Things did not improve after therapy and
conservative treatments. I sought a 2nd opinion and subsequently had a
decompression discectomy done in 2002. The operation went well and the constant
ache on my left leg went away straight away.
Things generally went well for the next few years till 2008 when I experienced
that similar ache again. Went back to CGH and confirmed that the disc had bulged
out even more. While waiting for an operation date in 2009 for a spinal fusion,
my condition deteriorated. Was on my way to work when I felt a very sharp and
crippling pain. I literally could not work and every step was taken in anguish.
Luckily at that time I was under my void deck and a neighbour helped me back
home. That very day, I went to CGH A&E and was given medical leave till my
spinal fusion operation. The pain did not subside and I remembered at that
point, I had to hold on to something just to cough or sneeze. When I woke up
every morning, I would be in such great pain that I had to kneel down on the
floor for up to 1/2 an hour before the pain subsides to a level when I could
Things took a turn for the worse when one day while showering, I realised that I
could not feel my right leg anymore. I went over to CGH A&E and was given an
injection to relieve my symptoms. It helped a little. I went home but by night
time I was back at the A&E because the feeling in my right leg did not return
again. I was hospitalised that very night. A few days later on a Friday, my
principal surgeon saw me in the evening and decided I had to have emergency
operation the next day. He diagnosed me as having cauda equina syndrome. The
spinal fusion went well but the damage was already done. The feeling on the
underside of my right foot never returned to normal. It was very much reduced
sensation coupled with very funny feelings and nerve pain. I also had
difficulties clearing my bowels and have this constantly constipated feeling.
Follow-ups with my surgeon confirmed that to some extent, my nerves were
damaged. My surgeon and I were both optimistic about my recovery towards
normalcy. I spent more than a year before I am able to resume work in late 2010.
By then I had gotten used to the funny sensations and nerve pull that's always
around. I was prescribed Lyrica which helped managed the sensations and pain in
some ways. At least I was able to sleep at night. Gradually by 2011, I stopped
medication the nerves have 'calmed' enough for me to get by each day without
taking the medication.
2010 came and I was very happy at work and with personal life. I was still
dealing with the funny sensations and also constantly constipated, having
difficulties clearing my bowels but I managed it with diet and I even managed to
slim down from close to 80kg down to around 64 kg (I'm 1.71m tall). Towards the
end of 2011, even my superiors recognised that I have worked hard for the year.
I was really very very happy that I have at least seen some form of hope for the
Then on Dec 5th, my world slowly came crushing down. In my foolishness, I packed
a heavy camera into a sling bag and went out for a walk. I should have realised
that it was a tad too heavy for my back but I've been out using the bag before
so I didn't think more about it. After just half an hour's worth of walking, my
back didn't feel right. I could feel there was some kind of strain and ache
forming. I stopped walking and quickly went home to rest. Over the next few
days, the ache gradually reduced but there's still some 'residue' ache. I went
back to CGH and the doctor at A&E said that it should be nothing too serious. I
got an appointment to see my specialist in Feb. Things were generally ok though
there is still this feeling that something is not not quite right with the back.
Towards the last few days of 2011, I realised that whenever I lie down, my left
leg will turn numb. However when I sit up or walk around, the feeling will
return back to normal.
On the 3rd of Jan 2012, the feeling did not come back when I woke up. The left
leg was very numb and I could literally feel the numbness ride up to the back of
my thigh. I went back to A&E and was hospitalised for observation. By then, I
could feel that the musicles for the whole back was very very tensed up. For the
first two days, I would not even lie down to sleep at all as the leg will just
go numb. With the help of the physiotherapists there, I managed to find a
comfortable position and was able to get some rest and sleep. My specialist's
team saw me and but they concluded that it should not be anything serious.
Subsequently my specialist saw me and also concluded the same thing.
Nevertheless he ordered a MRI to be done. I was discharged on Friday and as the
hospital could not do the MRI anytime soon. I was given 2 weeks hospitalisation
leave. I went home and rested as much as possible, avoiding strenuous activities
but while at the same time I tried to be active by taking walks. Nothing too
heavy or straining. By then, I noticed that there was this constant slight
numbness in my left foot. The numbness stayed the same no matter whether I am
lying down or sitting up. It's not getting worse but at the same time it's not
getting better. By this point I have decided to go back to work once my leave is
up as staying at home resting would not help as well. By then, I am already very
emotional and depressed. I just could not believe that once again I have injured
my back. Before I got discharged from the hospital, the doctors said that they
will post me the appointment for the MRI. I waited and waited and waited till
even after my hospitalisation leave which was two weeks, the letter never came.
Frustrated, I called up the hospital and it's only until a few more days later,
I was finally given an appointment on the 5th of March to do the MRI. As of now,
I am still waiting patiently for the day to come. My specialist is scheduled to
see me two weeks after the MRI.
Right now, there's a lot of questions and uncertainty going on in my mind. What
caused the left feet to be numb? What exactly happened to my back? As of this
writing, I can also feel increased pulling of the nerves in my right leg. I am
taking medication to manage it and so far so good. It sort of relaxes the
nerves. Right now I am just praying that whatever happened, it is only minor and
I will be able to get well in time to come.
Has anyone been in this kind of situation before? Sorry for the super long post.
Feel free to comment or give your views as I am looking for support and also
hopefully to share experiences on how to manage this. Thank you in advance.