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5 months post-op L5-S1 microdiscectomy

Hello all. I am a 25 year old single mother of a 7month old and am having trouble living a proactive life. For about 5 years, I've experienced horrible lower back pain & sciatica down my right leg. When I was about 2 months pregnant, I started having really bad pain in both my lower legs but didn't feel like sciatica. It was more of a dull achy pulling pain in my shins on sides of my calves. Because, I was pregnant at the time, treatment was limited so My doctors put me out on disability but after a year, I was fired because they could no longer hold my position because the dr was unsure as to when I'd be able to return to work. I am still collecting long term disability through a 3rd party insurance group and am awaiting a decision for social security disability through the state of New Jersey. Once I had my daughter on 9/3/13, I was eager to get relief for my legs. In the past, I had 2 epidurals, did physical therapy twice, saw a chiropractor, took pain meds & nerve medications & was unsuccessful in relieving the pain so my doctor recommended a microdiscectomy. On 11/13/13, he performed the microdiscectomy. It was extremely painful & he said it was a tough surgery because the disc was pushing on my nerve for about 5 years and was tough to get to. I also ended up with a corneal tear in my eye during the surgery so I was in massive pain & could barely open my eye. After about a week, things were a lot easier. I was still experiencing leg pain but not as extreme as before the surgery. 3 weeks later, there was a leak of clear fluid coming from the incision site. I saw the dr the next day & he said he wasn't concerned because the incision seemed to be healing well & there were no signs of infection or spinal leak. Another few weeks went by & it started to leak a lot more. The dr requested another MRI which was done on 1/8/14 and determined that I had a seroma pocket so the next day, I had to go back in for surgery through the same incision to wash out my back, put in 2 drainage tubes & performed a muscle flap. This time around, the pain was far worse because of the tubes. They then found that I had a staph epidermis on my spine and I was prescribed antibiotics for 3 weeks and was instructed to hold off on physical therapy until they made sure that the incision was fully healed. My leg pain seemed to have subsided, however my back pain was increasing daily. Now, 4/11/14, my leg pain is back to how it was & my back pain is almost unbearable. It's gotten to the point where if I'm not on pain medication, I'm in severe pain. And because I have been on Percocets for so long now, I am taking Percocet 10/325mgs 6-8 times a day! I cannot sit/stand longer than 15 minutes without being in pain & am only able to get no more than 5 hrs of sleep per night. It's exhausting me physically, mentally & emotionally. After seeing a new dr today, he looked back at my MRI from 1/8/14, one day prior to the 2nd surgery & said that there was still the same disc herniations present! He recommended that we try another round of epidurals. He said I'm allowed 2 epidurals 4 times a year & depending on the duration of relief they may or may not provide, I may have to get another microdiscectomy! I'm at my wits end & have no idea what to do. I just want to be able to live a proactive life & be able to care for my daughter without being in excruciating pain. If anyone can recommend anything or over some insight or advice, I would really appreciate it. I apologize for the long novel & thank you in advance.


  • Have you tried the epidural yet? I'm sorry to hear that you have been through so much, all while trying to care for your daughter. Since you've already had 2 spinal surgeries I can understand the Dr wanting to try conservative treatments before having another one. I know it can be hard to remain positive through such struggles but don't lose hope. Follow your Dr's recommendations and don't give up. I hope the epidural helps.

    Best of luck to you.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • I don't have anything to offer in terms of advice but I feel terribly sorry to read of your pain. Being a new parent is an awesome experience but yours is mired in the circumstances of your pain. This I can relate to. I cannot relate to what you're going through.

    I think your seeing a new doctor is a wise choice. I hope that you have a plan of action that has produced hope and positive emotion.

    Please post an update.
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