Hi all, this is my first post, hopefully I won´t break any rules. So this is my story.
43 year old male
Relatively fit and active (before)
Smoker (yes, I intend to quit this week)
I´ve had back pain for about 17 years due to a twisted coccyx but have managed to live with it without taking pain killers as the pain was just a dull ache most of the time. Three and a half months ago I noticed constant pins and needles in my foot but it didn´t concern me too much. I went on holiday and did loads of walking and the pins and needles progressed to pain in the front of my ankle, then pain in my hip. I was out of the country and couldn´t do too much and continued to walk. On returning home the pain became unbearable, I could barely walk at some points but the pain was instantly relieved upon sitting down. Eventually I went to hospital and after various scans, x-rays, EMGs etc the neurosurgeon told me that I had spondylolisthesis in L5-S1 (21%) and that the disc below was pretty much destroyed, hence the pressure on the sciatic nerve which, thankfully, has not been damaged yet. His options to me were that he operate now and fuse the vertabrae to the two vertabrae either side spinal fusion with rods and pins or I wait, whilst checking for insensitivity in my leg regularly, until the pain becomes unbearable and then he operates. He tells me that the hospital is in the top 3 in the country (Spain) and that he conducts the masterclasses on this particular operation. I´m lucky to have friends in the medical world in London that are showing my results to various neurosurgeons to get some quick and free second opinions but I know that realistically I need to seek a face to face second opinion as well.
The sciatic pain has subsided quite a lot recently although I have been taking things easy, just some residual low level pain in the front of my leg above the ankle but I can sleep at night no problem but the pins and needles remain and I can´t walk long distances (2 kilometers) without being in pain the next day. I also find standing still quite painful in my hip and leg after 5 minutes. My partner and I "flip" houses for a living so my work can be quite labour intensive sometimes, obviously I´ve been avoiding any hard work but feel guilty as hell for my partner who has taken on most of the heavy lifting/work and it has taken it´s toll on our relationship.
Obviously, I´m in no hurry to have the operation because in comparison to some of the incredibly brave and positive people in this forum my pain is neglible and I´m still pretty mobile but at the same time I want to fix this problem and return to work. I have read plenty of posts regarding similar operations and their recovery time so I am aware that the process is a slow one. The prospect of the operation/recuperation scares me stiff and so I try to put it out of my mind. I just wanted to see if anyone else out there has had a similar problem, I would love to hear opinions on whether it´s wise to have the fusion done now before any nerve damage or to carry on until the pain is unbearable?
Thanks for reading and I wish all of you luck with your ailments