Hello spine-health community,
I've been reading these boards for a while now for comfort during my first 2 microdiscectomies, but I finally decided to sign up because I'm worried about my spine's not-so-bright future.
Basically, I had a herniated disc at the L5-S1 level which only got worse as I ran track and cross country throughout high school. I'm an avid runner so I was devastated when I found out I had to have back surgery because the nerve was compressed and pain was too severe. I figured I would be able to get back to running not too long after my first microdiscectomy, but about 1 month after the surgery the pain suddenly came back along with new symptoms - numbness and partial loss of motor function in my left leg. I was limping for a few weeks before I got the surgery because my leg just wouldn't do what I told it to.
This was in October and December. The 2nd microdiscectomy lasted me until about 2 or 3 weeks ago, when the numbness and weakness started to return. It's slow and gradual this time, not sudden like before. However, I'm scared about where these symptoms might go. First year in college and I missed a lot of it due to the surgeries, and I haven't run since the summer of 2012 (about one year now). If I go in again, it won't be another microdiscectomy because there won't be any disc left, it will be a fusion. According to my MRIs, I also have a herniated disc at the L4-L5 level (on the right side instead of left) which looks worse than my L5-S1 herniation ever did, though at the moment it doesn't cause any pain (my surgeon had to confirm a couple times that my pain was on the left side because he thought it was weird that such a large herniated disc wasn't the one causing my problems).
Since a fusion puts increased stress on the rest of the discs, and I'm only 19 with apparently bad discs, what does this mean for the rest of my life? Am I doomed to constant back surgery for the rest of my life? Will I never run again?
I'm sorry for such a long post, I'm just worried and to be honest more than a little scared. Thanks for reading.