This doesn't really fit in one specific place, so I thought maybe it would be best here.
Please forgive me, much of this is ranting. I've kind of gotten to my breaking point. I just need someone to read and understand.
My name is Julie, and I'm a 24 year old, 310 lb, 5'8" female. 140 of those pounds were gained after my back problems began.
For the last 11 years, I've had problems on and off with my back. I wish I had documented all of them, but they started when I was in middle school. One day, in a class in the library where we would sit in beanbag chairs while doing our work, I realized that I couldn't get up because there was an intense pain in my lower back. After someone helped me up, I was "stuck" with the upper half of my body almost curved to the left, and I couldn't stand up all the way. That began years of 3x per week chiropractic appointments.
While the pain never completely went away, I had my good days more often than the bad. There were similar instances of me waking up to stiffness and an inability to move, and at one point I was told I had some degenerating disks that seemed to be doing so more quickly than usual by the chiropractor. I just kept on going. I played varsity tennis and basketball and enjoyed running, but I slowed down as the pain continued and I gained weight.
Then, about three years ago, I woke up one morning during winter break from college in bed with intense pain in my lower back and right upper leg, with my lower right leg and right foot completely numb. I could barely sleep or walk. After dealing with this for nearly a week, my mother took me to the emergency room where I was given a CT scan and told I had two herniated disks in my back. They gave me a toradol shot and some hydrocodone to take home with me (neither helped), and after another week or so of waiting, I was back to being able to walk, but still stiff and in lots of pain.
Back to the intermittent days full of pain mixed in with good days, and over the last year I've noticed things getting much worse. I still was regularly seeing a chiropractor (though more like once per week), until this May when I began a temporary full time job with a department at my college. I was feeling alright until one day when I woke up, again unable to walk without searing pain. The numbness was back, my hips hurt, and I could barely put weight on my right side at all. When it started to interfere with my ability to make the 5 minute walk at work and concentrate on what I was working on (and when I spent my 3rd or 4th night in a row in tear-filled agony, unable to sleep, I went to urgent care at my local hospital. They gave me hydrocdone and flexoril, neither of which helped, and told me to go home because there was nothing they could do for me. A week later, I went to a night-clinic and got a similar response, but was sent to an orthopedic surgeon with the warning that I'll probably just end up in physical therapy. This is exactly what happened. After 6 weeks of PT and very little improvement, I just tried to go on with my life. After about 2-3 months I had full feeling back in my foot. Back to intermittent pain. Was told it should get better.
Then, this past monday morning (after feeling generally stiff and unable to sleep well for about a week), I wake up with the same symptoms excluding the numbness. I try to push through the day but can yet again barely get out of bed without rolling out, shower, and dress myself. I make it through my night class and do my Resident Assistant rounds through the 10 floors of our building via elevator instead of down the stairs. Then, my friend drove me to the ER where they kept me overnight, did a CT scan, and put me on a morphine drip so I could sleep. When I woke up, I was informed that I have 4 herniated disks that the scan could detect (I was out of it, so all I remember is that three are right near each other in my lower back and one is in my middle-upper), but needed an MRI to confirm everything. I was also told that while I probably need surgery given my history, I am too young. Was given oxycodone (takes the edge off so I can get to class) and flexoril (nothing) and told to follow up with my primary within 3 days (but couldn't get an appointment earlier than this thursday).
At this point, I feel stuck. I keep being told I am too young for surgery, but am I not too young to have been at some level of constant pain for almost half my life? I want to go in to my doctor (she's new to me, so I have no idea what kind of person she is) and tell her I want an MRI and I want surgery to be considered, but I obviously only have so much say if she won't give me a referral. I can't live like this anymore. I eat well and exercise the few days a month where I'm feeling good enough to. I want to lose weight. I want to take a shower without screaming. I want to sit up in bed. And I want to be a normal college kid.
Anyone else out there that knows my pain?