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Microdiscectomy Complete!

Hi everyone! I just had my microD yesterday, and so far i am feeling better than I could have imagined! But I am gonna go into detail and try to update often.

For those who do not know, I have been suffering with sciatica for about 2 years, did the chiro and the epidural injectios. They helped a little but not for long, and the sciatica got worse. Over the past 2 months it had gotten so bad that I could barely sleep, and was in pain all the time. I was very worried about the procedure, there are alot of scary stories in the forums. But there are some good ones too.

I was supposed to have surgery at 10 am, was in a gown by 9. Well as usual it was delayed and I did not go in till after 12. I think I woke up in recovery about 130, and I was in alot of pain with a very sore throat. They gave me some shots to calm the pain. One of the most painful parts of the day was when they moved me from one bed to the other. I really needed the morphine shot after that.

About 230 i needed to pee, and was very surprised that with help i was able to stand up and waddle into the bathroom. Laying back down hurt worse than getting up. At 3 i decided i could eat but food was not coming till after 5, so the wife went to the cafeteria and got some soup. The broth helped the throat alot! I had to pee at least 3 more times and it was a little easier each time, but still painful. It was about then that I realized that although there was alot of back pain, there was no sciatic pain! The doc told my wife that the dime sized herniation was pushing against the nerves so much that he was surprised I was even functioning! Anyways I got some more food at about 515 along with some COFFEE!!! It was sooo friggin good! I had to hold back from devouring all of the food, it was all good. By 6 i called the nurse and said im ready to go home. I was out the door by 7. Every bump on the ride home hurt bad but thankfully its about a 20 min drive.

So I took my valium and got a pretty good night sleep. I woke up twice to pee & take a pill. Woke up pretty early today about 8. I have been staggering vicodin & valium every 2-3 hours. I have been standing up & walking a bit every hour, even took 2 mini walks outside. There is alot of stiffness and it is hard to sit & stand ( the movement between). But there is no sciatica! it is an amazing relief, almost too good to be true! I am trying to temper my excitement just so I dont freak if I have any little setbacks.

Its still gonna be a long road, the doc said there was visible nerve damage, but hopefully it will just be numbness & tingling, not pain.

I also got a very nice back brace with aair pump & ice pack that is helping alot too!

So right now, I cannot bend kinda like the tin man. The action of sitting & standing hurts pretty bad but I think the drugs are helping alot. I have nned help standing but I got up by myself a few times too, gotta have something solid to stand with. And I think im due for another mini walk then some more drugs!

I cant say enough thank you everyone for the supporton these forums! I will update often.
L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!


  • Day 2 starting well! I only woke up once in the middle of the night, and got to the bathroom without help! Woke up about 8 am again and finally had a bowel movement, Seriously what a relief that was!!!

    Been on 3 walks already today, none very long but im makin a couple more driveways every time. There is still pain when transitioning from sitting to standing. Ice pack helping alot. So are the vicodin & valium im sure, too. Staggering those every 3 hours today. The left leg is pretty weak, but that is to be expected, I have been favoring for 2 years. An unexpected thing is that I am getting stiffness in my shoulders & arms whenever I take an outside walk. The short walks are pretty physically exhausting. I have been surprised that I havent slept much during the day, but I slept more in the last 2 nights than I have in the last few weeks!

    I am using a V2 E-cigarette, have only had 6 reg smokes since leaving hospital, thats pretty damn good for me. Ive been a 2 pack a day smoker. That is a challenge, I usually go in the garage to smoke, and just not doing that is making me feel a bit antsy. I would go out there 2-3 times an hour to smoke & watch tv. Now im not doing it at all, doesnt seem like much but its a big routine change for me.

    I cannot even begin to explain how awesome my wife is! She is helping me so much! She gets to help me shower pretty soon. I know she feels sooo lucky! lol! Her support means everything to me!

    There are also some weird emotional feelings, like getting a little sad when the remote is 6 inches from my hand but I need help to get it. I know its not a big deal at all, but it still screws with me. Nothing bad, but it just kinda creeps up outta nowhere.

    So all in all I think I am doing great! I hope this log helps others fell better if they are having a microD soon. I know I was freaking out about it. I know not everyone has it go this well early, & I am well aware of the chance of setbacks. But so far I couldnt ask for anything more!

    More updates soon, thanks for listening!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • mollykmmollyk Posts: 13
    edited 09/08/2012 - 1:08 PM
    About the whole "the remote is 6 inches away and I can't reach it." I definitely find that it's these smaller movements that are harder. I've had several nights where I get into bed and realize that I have to get out of bed again to reach the lamp on my nightstand to avoid twisting, or something falls on the floor and I just stand there and stare at it. But then I think about all the crap that I (and all of us) endured before we got to this point of finally taking care of the disc and figure that it's not worth potentially messing it up to reach that item or make that movement.

    Also I think it makes sense that your arms/shoulders are stiff because you're just not moving around that much generally, and when you are it is a very deliberate movement.

    Glad it's going well! I'm two weeks out now and happy to be doing more social things now. It was actually easier to feel okay about being so limited when I was still in the immediate post-op haze and now I just need to keep reminding myself not to overdo it, even if I feel good. Now that I'm doing more things I'm noticing some sciatica in my right leg - none of the stabbing pain or even the dull pain but some twitching and numbness/tingling. I know that it's normal, as the nerve has to heal itself. I'm walking about 2-3 miles a day (not all at once) and mostly it feels pretty good.

    PS- taking Vicodin AND Valium sounds fun! :)
  • catfishmanccatfishman Posts: 185
    edited 09/08/2012 - 2:17 PM
    glad to hear you are doing well, hope it stays that way, keep me posted, as i need a microdiscectomy also. thanks
  • ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
    edited 09/08/2012 - 5:18 PM
    Ill admit I cant complain about the pills. I took a nap today and missed pill time by 2 hrs and felt the difference for sure! Molly, i gotta thank you so much, I pointed out one of your replies to my wife the night before surgery and said I sure hope I feel like this!

    I def want to share my recovery as much as possible to try to return the favor for all of the knowledge & support I have gotten in this forum!

    Not I gotta make sure I dont overexert myself on the start of football season tomorrow!!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • DNiceDDNice Posts: 1,962
    edited 09/09/2012 - 2:44 PM
    Glad to hear all is going well. Maybe this is a chance to quit smoking completely...just a thought.
    But keep up the good work...lots of little walks, don't overdo it.
  • ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
    edited 09/10/2012 - 6:03 AM
    No huge changes. I am a huge football fan and all about DA BEARS, if you couldnt tell from the avi! I was doing alot of pacing before the games, started to get a little sore so I forced myself to sit through it. Doing my every hour moving and walking outside every 3. Continuing to walk a little farther every time.

    Still no scaitic pain or numbness. Still stiffness after long sits & in the morning.

    I slept all the way through the night!!! WHOOO HOOO!

    My wife is going back to work tomorrow, so thats gonna be a little tough. But I am getting to where the only time i need help is when i get stuck in an awkward position and am afraid to bend or twist to get up.

    So my big struggles are taking it slow & steady, not overdoing anything.

    The BIG one is that I have cut myself to 2 cigs a day, struggling ALOT with that even with my e-cig. But I am doing it. 2 friday, 2 sat, and 2 sunday. Gonna have some lunch soon & I admit I am really excited for my first of the day!

    So thats where I am at, Ill keep the updates coming!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • So as you see in the posts above so far, so great. Well I have had some pain that just started & I am a little worried. I didnt do anything except stand up, and I got a shooting pain just above my tailbone on the right hand side of the spine. It wasnt severe pain but it did hurt. Now I am a little worried because I am still feeling it with movement. I really dont think it is abnormal, but everything was going so well!!! I think I am gonna call the nurse just to be safe. Other than that everything else still going great!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Still going strong! Pain is minimal, I mentioned having some pain on the right side above my tailbone, it did not get any worse so I didnt feel I needed to call the dr's office. Actually, i tested my back more than I wanted.

    Yesterday a buddy brought over some lunch , burger king. He went with me on my after-lunch walk. So we were just BS'n and I realized I was NOT taking it easy on the walk. So it ended up being a short but intense walk. Well I was a little paranoid that I over-did it. But as the day went on it seemed I was actually moving a little better & easier. So the day was good, I only took 3 pills all day and all felt OK.

    Well I woke up in the middle of the night and the BK was just too much for me & I got sick. That was VERY scary, i thought I was gonna hurt myself for sure. Well I got myself back to bed and had no new or extra pain. WHEW!

    So really I have just been gettin along, doin all my walks. I have reduced my smoking to 2 cigs per day, and I ran out. I know I shouldnt, but I wanna keep that pace for now, I was gonna walk to the gas station, but i got tired before I got there, so thats my next walking goal I guess.

    Havent even needed any pain killers today, letting my belly recover, but I had breakfast & lunch so I think Im due. Little sore after midday walk.

    So still no sciatic pain, and Ive been sleeping so good! I forgot what good sleep felt like!!

    Keepin on keepin on! More soon.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on the drastic reduction of your smoking. I haven't had a smoke in 3 weeks (today!). Making this change while going through another major ordeal is NOT easy, and you deserve all the praise in the world for making it happen right now. I don't know you, but I'm proud of you. :) Don't feel badly about the 2/day you have. This is working for you! If having 2/day keeps you from 2packs/day, then it's still worth it, still a major accomplishment, and even if you stay at 2/day forever, the changes in your health, body, and future are great.

    Is it going ok being by yourself while your wife is at work this week? My daughter will be with me after my surgery, and she's used to taking care of everything anyway (it's been 4 months of me being worthless around the house)....but she does work part-time...so I'm wondering if she'll have to take time off work as well, or if I'll be ok for a couple hours.
    C5-C6-C7, T3-T4-T5: disc protrusions, spinal cord & C6 nerve root involvement, tear at T3-T4
    C6 nerve root injection 10/12/12 and at-home traction
  • After the first 4-5 days when I was taking pain killers, it was totally fine for me to be at home while my family was away at work. Just make sure to make some adjustments: put the things you like to eat in the fridge/pantry at levels where you can reach them, same goes for water/cups, soaps/shampoo you use in the shower, and things like that. I also took basically everything out of my bottom drawers and put them on top of the dresser so I could access all of my clothes - not the prettiest/neatest system but it works. Once I got that system down, it's been totally fine being alone during the day.
  • so far so smooth. Made it all the way around the block today! Havent had much pain, but there have been some tweaks, twinges, & tingles. Soreness & stiffness too. I have no reason to believe that any of that is abnormal.

    Also pink, I really had no problems being at home alone this week, my range of movement has been good. Getting dressed hasnt been a prob, but I have only showered with help. Mostly I played video games & walked 1x per hour for most of each day.

    Surprisingly I didnt sleep much during the days at all, I think its because I was getting a good nights sleep for the first time in months.

    So still doing good, the walk around the block today was exhausting! Gonna take a pain pill here soon for sure. Post op appt weds, guess well go from there!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Thank you for posting this thread. I'm new here and have been going through all the great info. I'm at the point of deciding to go with surgery after 1-1/2 years of dealing with my pain and lumbar issues. I've tried all available conservative treatments and don't like being on the meds I'm taking. Have been worried about the surgery based on all the horror stories I've read. Figured it wasn't worth the risk. This has all come down to a "quality of life" question for me. Constant pain, numbness in my right leg and buttock. I can't lift weights, kick box or ride my motorcycle. I'm missing family events because I go stone numb after 10 minutes of standing.
    I've been leaning toward surgery lately and your post has reaffirmed my thought. Understood there are no sure things and outcomes may be different. I am just not willing to live my life out the way it is and I think surgery is worth the risks.
    Thanks again and keep us updated.
  • I see my surgeon for the last time before surgery on the 24th. He said he wants to review the latest slides and pix so he can get a the best plan of attack. I've got a huge list of questions. My greatest anxiety is the unknown of recovery and what I'll be able to do and not do (at least initially). Ben, when I read that you're exhausted after a one block walk 7 days post-op, sort of freaks me out. And the thought of someone having to help me shower, oh the humanity! I know I'll have to be patient and willing to accept what comes my way. I'm thinking that silly 'grabber' thing I bought just might get some use.
    steve in chicago
  • Let me just say this expirience has been a long, hard road & it is not over.

    GOOD NEWS: I am way ahead of sched according to my surgeon. I am cleared for driving, to start PT, and go back to work on monday. ( light duty, at my discretion, NO LIFTING or phys labor)

    CONCERNING NEWS: I did not get to see surgeon after, he only spoke w my wife. I knew there was some unforseen circumstance, but now after getting the post op report it is clearer. Med terms here. Findings. Shortened.
    A large contained disk hrn. at L5S1 Left. ( we knew that)
    Unique findings patient (me) had conjoint nerve root at S1. Another unique finding is in addition to conjoint nerve, there was a very low and transverse takeoff of the L5. (crazy huh?) ( Im doing a whole other post on this)
    Skipping to Procedure in detail
    A midline incision was used to expose the left side of the L5S1 segment.Microscope brought in & hemilaminectomy was performed. The conjoint nerve root of S1 extremely immobile therefore lateral approach could not be used. Further dissection (wild when they are talkin about you) revealed that herniation was with auxillary. Retractors placed, roots protected, herniation removed( YEAH! ). The nerve roots became more mobile but did not have excellent mobility due to conjoint.

    Okay, so things are much better. No more compression. Feeling good. BUT the is info in this report about recommendation for future fusion! HEY NOW! I knew that was always a possibility but it sucks to see it on paper. It does say "as necessary"
    but there are some scary words in there!!! All I know right now is I am going to do everything possible to avoid future surgery. I wanna be done with the constant pain ( which I am for now at least). I know im never gonna be 25 again bout I wan to be within 5 years of my age at least, not 20! I DO NOT wanna have fusion at 40, or even 50 for that matter! So I know there is a long road of PT ahead. I just hope I can get strong enough to have my muscles protect my spine.

    Im gonna keep posting throughout this recovery, and all of you guys info is always appreciated!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
    edited 09/19/2012 - 10:28 AM
    Steve, we have talked before. Hoping things go awesome for you! I know your surgery is more involved than mine. But I can tell you this. I am married and yes, my wife had to wash and dry my legs & back for me. Thank God for her! Couldnt imagine any other way ( strangers, ect ) but I could have dne it with a loofa sick. Though I needed help in & out of shower too first week. I think around the block is like half a mile, im really bad with distance. It wasnt exhausted like heavy breathing & pain. Just muscles weaken easily and got tired easy too. Remember also there is vicodin & valium in this equation. And yeah, reaching stuff was hard at times but my range of movement came pretty quick so although it took minutes instead of seconds. I was able to pick things up off the floor.

    Ken, I am so glad to hear that my post is helping you! This site helped me so much & I want to give that back as well. I also know there are more horror stories on here than good, complete timelines for recovery. Buy at its base this is a support forum, so thats to be expected. For me, the sciatica became way too much to bear. My surgeon told me that my pretty good physical health meant alot to a good result. So if you lift & kickbox you should be in alot better shape than me. Its def a tough decision, so good luck on whatever you decide. If you have any ?s feel free to DM!

    Good Luck & have a good un guys!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • It means a lot to hear from people who have the same concerns and experiences I have (or will have.) I feel better about the recovery process after I spoke with my surgeon on Tues. I asked him if I should get a recliner as I've read others have here. He looked at me like I was nuts and said, if you want one great, but wouldn't a couple of extra pillows be cheaper?" He said that the first two weeks will be a drain. But after that I'm hoping to work my way up to longer and longer walks. He said I'd probably be ready for PT in eight weeks. I've been riding my bike a lot lately knowing it'll be collecting dust for many months. I usually ride 10 miles a day - to and from work (even on most Chicago winter days, except when it snows). I hope it won't be too long before I'l be able to do that again...a goal anyway. Thanks again all....I'm trying not to focus on the Grand Opening on Monday...writing helps. -Steve
    steve in chicago
  • So on weds I got clearance to drive and decided to head up to the shop to see whats been going on and get my feet under me for monday. Well as I expected everything was a mess so I ended up having my first day of work. well it was good and bad. I did not do anything physical (and wont be for awhile) But I was up & down from my desk many times & was walking around inspecting, did some drawing & paperwork. I worked 4 1/2 hrs & felt ok as I was doing it. Well by the time I got home & settlted I was very sore. Popped a valium & iced all over and felt pretty darn good after all things considered.

    Woke up a little sore & went to my 1st PT session. It stared with walking and some bending. Not full bending but they wanted to see my range of movement. Then got muscle stim & a heating blanket for awhile & some massage. She found some sore spots thats for sure! Then did 4 very simple core excercises. The 1st one was just squeezing a pillow between my knees 20x. Well the 1st 5 seemed easy then it got hard. By 15 I was strugglin! then did 2 other movement exercises. 10x each, no resistance, but I felt that too! The 4th was supposed to be me pushing my pelvis towars the table, Im not sure I even have those muscles but it didnt seem to be working but she said thats ok.Then did a few with a foam roller that were alot easier, only 5x each.

    Overall was told that my left side nerve was weakened and there were obvious muscle imbalance issues from 2 yrs of favoring. But it was good to get some movement in.

    Now Im just gonna take it easy & do some light home exercises & walking through the weekend before retuning to work on monday (ugh)

    And a little sidenote here for steve, those first 2 weeks may be a drain but ill tell you what, between the meds & relaxing, my first 2 weeks flew by. Hope the same for you!!

    Good Luck to all talk to ya soon!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Well after a 4 day run of activities, I had some pain & soreness this weekend that has been the worst so far. Nothing real bad but I also did more in 4 days than I had done in 2 weeks. Nothing real physical. 4.5 hrs work thurs. 1st PT & dinner at parents friday. Home PT & alot of walking & went out for a few hrs sat nite. Also very few meds taken. So soreness was to be expected. I have been switched to tramadol for pain, but Ill still use the narcs if I need to. Goin 6 hrs of work today then PT after, so tonight may be a sore one as well. Plannin at least 6 hrs per day this week at work.

    Ill keep the updates coming!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Ben, good for you on your smoking! and I'm glad your healing nicely. May i ask, how are those e-cigs?
  • Well on monday i did 6 1/2 hrs work & 2 hrs PT. There was some signifigant pain after. It freaked me out a bit. well I wolkje up tuesday very sore also. Had some new random pinching pains in different areas. Also had some nerve path pain which really freaked me out. So i went to PT on tues and she told me it was all normal. Working all kinds of muscles & such. I only got 5 1/2 hrs work in on tuesday.

    So after all that I decided to not work today & i dont have PT today. I think it was a good idea. I am a little sore but not too bad. I took a walk all the way around the block this morning. So a little soreness today but easily managed. Back to work & PT tomorrow.

    I have now realizeD that the first 2 weeks was the easy part, now I GOTTA WORK FOR IT
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • And doing really well. I am still having good days and bad days, but a bad day now is not even comparable to pre-surgery bad days. not even in the same catergory!

    Worked 35 hrs this week after only a little over 20 last week. Light duty office work only, at least until end of month.

    About my only dissapointing thing right now is that I didnt think I would still be so weak. Im not doing any kind of lifting or anything but closing or opening a heavy door and things like that are harder than they should be. But I am not pushing it at all, gotta be smart!!!

    So, if anyone is still following this post, thats where I am at! Ill update again!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • What PT are you doing? Are you finding it is helping?
  • Just alot of light core excercises. really like the place im going.and yes it is helping alot
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Hi all, some of you may have seen some other posts I had put up in the past week. after feeling great last Monday, I proceeded to hurt myself on Tuesday AM. It got evn worse on Weds, then on Thurs it got to the point of sciatica pain & total freakout!!!

    So I pretty much had to start over at PT. As of 1 week later, yesterday, Im just now getting back to where I was. So disaster averted, I think.

    Be safe & smart all! I will be 6 weeks post op tomorrow and I think I am doing pretty good. Hopefully Thursdays PT session can get me back to where I was last Monday. Or at worst on Monday, which would make it a 2 week setback.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • bump
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • mjc1mmjc1 CheshirePosts: 1
    Hi Ben I know it's been a few year since your opening post but I just wanted to let you know I read your thread on the morning I was lying in a hospital bed awaiting to go down for the same surgery, at the time my situation had been almost identical to yours for the last few years, anyway I was totally nervous as to wether to have the surgery even whilst lying there on the morning but having read your post I decided to go through with it, I think that living with the pain for so long and hearing a few horror stories about the surgery was making me have second thoughts but your positive post and successful microdiscectomy pushed me on to go through with it, and I'm glad to say that it's worked out just like your own, I'm only 2 days post op but the terrible sciatic pain has all but gone and the surgery pain is nothing compared to the last 2 years of hell from the sciatica, anyway my main concern now it's avoiding another herniation, also I don't want to sound crude but I'm scared to fart cos the pressure used to increase my sciatica bit now it's gone I'm scared to fart or have a crap, how did you manage this kind of situation for the first few weeks?
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