I am glad to have found such a wealth of information here! I hope to gain some support and insight, as well as make some new friends who understand the frustration of chronic conditions.
My story sort of begins in 2005, when I began having pins and needles pain in my feet & some burning pain on my left shin. An EMG done at that time showed some slowed conduction of my sural nerve on the left (I was 35 at the time.) They only officially tested my left leg, but I did have lesser but present symptoms on the right foot. I have autoimmune conditions in my family, and my neurologist at the time suggested I may have a related neuropathy starting. She felt this may be the case since I had a very low positive ANA titer, and a positive anti-phospholipid antibody titer. I have been tested and retested through bloodwork for many autoimmune diseases, and everything has since been negative, even those once low-positive tests.
Fast forward to November of 2012...age 43. I began to have squeezing pain around my left foot, like it was being pressed in a vice. I also had hypersensitivity along the top of my left shin, and pain that ran laterally on my left foot. I really never felt like this was coming from my back, as I had experienced 2 bouts of sciatica before, both times on my left, and definitely felt it in my rear end and down the back of the thigh. By March of 2013, I noticed I could no longer move my last 2 toes on my left foot, and the lateral side of my foot looked strange, sort of puffy. I also had muscle twitching on the instep and top of my foot.
After 2 steriod injections in my back that did nothing, I had another EMG/NCS. It re-confirmed the sural nerve issue, but this time also showed chronic denervation along the muscles in the L4-S1 dermatomes.
Also in March, I had a lumbar MRI which showed: degenerative changes from L3 to S1. L3 and L4 have tiny annular tears with disc bulge. L5-S1 bilateral pars defects anterolisthesis (spondylosis/spondylithesis?) I have an annular tear here too, along with a conjoined left L5-S1 nerve root. Mild effacement of the thecal sac at the origins of the bilateral S1 nerve roots, left greater than right. Mild bilateral Neural foraminal stenosis.
My neurologist did not think this was coming from my back, but he also did not study the films and barely glanced at the report. I took this to a neurosurgeon, who did study the films and said this could be the cause of my issues, especially since the affected foot/leg was also where more of my lumber issues were. Bad news...the only way to stabilize the area was through a L5-S1 fusion. I did PT and lots of thinking over the summer, and finally decided to go through with the surgery in Sept 2013.
Which brings us to now. Post surgery, I had a lot of frank numbness on the left foot/lower leg. Better than pain at least. Now that has worn off, and I am back to most of the symptoms I had pre-surgery. Still can't move my last 3 toes on left foot. I have trouble going up on my heels on that side. I am walking, doing PT, and being told I need to be patient, and that if indeed this was all from a radiculopathy, it will take time for those nerves to heal. I have an xray coming up to make sure the fusion is setting up properly, but beyond that, I need to follow-up with my neurologist.
So, I guess, I am feeling sort of sad and scared right now. Thanks for reading such a long first post!
PLIF Sept. 2013