Hi everyone, I am new to forum and posted a couple of topics before reading the New to Forum which was very helpful and should have done first:( I have had back pain since age of 20 when pregnant with my first child. I had a lamenectomy at L4-5 in 1994 and numerous ESI and lived my life without too much pain 3-4 for the next 14 yrs. Then in 2008 I began having sciatica in left leg and severe lower back pain and an MRI once again showed herniation of the same disc L4-5 and had another lamenectomy on Oct. 30, 2008. All was well until 3 weeks later when the left leg pain and severe level 8 pain returned and made appt. with NS who ordered another MRI which showed reherniation and had third surgery on same disc on Dec. 15, only ten days before Christmas;( This seemed to take care of the issues and pain level returned to 3-4 but had to watch what I did from then on.
I returned to school after a 25 yr. hiatus and am now working as a Certified Medical Assistant and have worked for my PCP for the past 5 yrs. I guess I should have mentioned that I did work as a CNA for 7 yrs and wonder why my back is a mess. When I could no longer do this after a knee surgery and elbow surgery it was then I returned to school.
All was well until last fall when I began having pain in mid back and digestive problems: abdominal pain and cramping. I had a full GI workup and all was normal. Then in Feb. of this yr. I began having chest pain and after an abnormal EKG was sent for cardiology workup. After stress test came back normal and I was still having chest pain my cardiologist decided on heart cath which also came back normal. It was during the recovery of heart cath when I had to lie flat with head at 30 degree angle for 3 hrs. that the mid back pain became so severe 9-10 that I cried the whole time. After being in agony for 24 hrs. I called my primary and had an Rx for pain pills called in. Thankfully I work for her and she knows my past history and knows if I call for pain meds than it is severe.
After 2 weeks of pain meds, steroid taper pack, muscle relaxers and no relief she finally did an x-ray and seen some issues with thoracic spine. I had a slipped disc at T7-8 and compression. I was referred to my NS where he immediately set up an MRI which showed a large midline and left para midline disc extrusion at T7-T8 causing moderate indentation and compression of the left side of cord. Mild to moderate multilevel DDD changes throughout the mid thoracic spine. This is not inclluding the moderate to advanced DDD in lumbar and cervical spine. None of this showed in MRI from 2008. He recommended surgery but wanted to get CT scan to check for calcification which would determine whether he could do surgery or not. The CT scan did show calcification and I was referred to Duke University Spine who are the only ones in NC to do this type of surgery on thoracic spine.
I never thought that I could have worse pain than lumbar with sciatica but I was wrong. The thoracic affects every aspect my body. My legs ache and the chest and rib pain along with abdominal pain have been horrible. I had a posterior discectomy of T7-T8 on May 24, 2012 and have had so many complications since. Still having pain in chest and ribs and nerve pain in legs especially the right knee. I have tried Nucenta 100mg 3X daily, all insurance will allow. Oxycodone 5mg for breakthrough pain, muscle relaxer, Gabapenting 1200mg, Xanax 1mg 2 daily, Pristiq 50mg. I stay in a fog all the time and don't drive very often due to this. Pain and depression keep me from sleeping more than 2-3 hrs and can't return to work until after I see the NS.
I had a MRI this morning to check for reherniation and blood work to check for infection but wont know until July 18 when I go back to Duke what results are. My primary had a copy of MRI results faxed to her office and she called and said there is no reherniation, thank God, but there are post operative changes, such as swelling and edema and pockets of fluid around the T7-T8 disc and what appears to be possible fracture on endplate of T8 but not sure. She said that NS would have to explain all this to me.
Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I go back to NS next week. I am sorry for the long story but just had to get it out. I feel so blessed to have found SH and realize that I do not travel this journey alone. Thank you for reading and sharing your stories with me. You will never know how much they mean to me.