Hello All- while I have been reading posts on this site for over a year, this is the first time I have posted. A little background: I hurt my back a little over 1&1/2 years ago. Initially, an MRI showed a bulge at L4-L5 & a L5-S1 3mm herniation with an annular tear. Since that time, I have had 5 esi's, 2 bilateral facet joint injections on 3 levels, & 2 bilateral rhizotomies on 3 levels. Most of these with varying degrees of temporary relief. Of course I have also had periodic medrol packs, Toradol injections, & pain management. Fast forward to about 1-2 months ago. I started having episodes of increasing pain down lower left back, thru buttock, & back of thigh. I had my 5th esi about 2.5 weeks ago (last rhizotomy was March 2014). This esi procedure was the first one that was excruciatingly painful, to the point that I screamed out! While expecting some relief, things got worse quickly from there & continue now. I went in for my follow-up this past Tues, and they saw that I needed boyfriend to help me stand up & walk. Dr ordered new MRI, an EMG (couldn't get me scheduled until 9/2), started Gabapentin & Mobic, and sent referral for Neurosurgeon consult. I had my MRI on Friday & report was ready just before Dr ofc closed. New MRI showed same L4-L5 bulge, but herniation at L5-S1 is now 9mm with left S1 nerve compression, "moderate to severe" spinal stenosis & narrowing of the neural foramen. On Tues, Dr had said that they couldn't change my pain med (7.5 Percocet) because I had just filled my script a few days before. Well, when he saw the report, he said I could increase the dosage (take 6 tabs/ day instead of 4), called in another medrol dose pack, & told me to get to a neurosurgeon ASAP, but go to ER over the weekend if symptoms worsened or had bladder/bowel problems. He said they would document my records that my meds would be expected to run out early & get in to see him before they do & he will change my medication at that time, but didn't tell me what it would be changed to. I have a couple of questions: I'm terrified to have the EMG (which they are trying to bump up ASAP) bc I have read horror stories about how painful it is & I don't think I can take any more pain. I cannot find a comfortable position to sit most of the time & to get up from sitting or laying (also painful), it triggers an episode of pain that words cannot describe, from my lower back, down the entire length of my left leg. The episode can last 2 minutes or 10 -15 min,I never know. It feels like someone jabs a knife in my lower back, then tears it down thru my buttock & down my leg & then sets it all on fire. It also feels like all the circulation to my calf is being cut off and my calf is gonna be squeezed off my leg! This also happens if anything (like edge of seat, bed, toilet, etc) rubs against my buttock or back of my thigh. I'm wondering- is EMG really necessary, since the MRI already showed what is going on? Has anyone had this test for similar symptoms/MRI results? I forgot to mention, I have been avoiding surgery for a while now. I had a consult last September (before first rhizotomy) & neurosurgeon found that L5 is "shearing out" off to the side. He advised me to "exhaust all other measures" bc he said if he takes me to the OR, it will be for a fusion. I think I've exhausted all other measures, including Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities. Can anyone with similar dx and/or symptoms share their experience & whether they had surgery & if so, the outcome. I have a 6 year old son & want my life with him back. I am in agony, what seems like, all the time. I try not to let him see how bad it's gotten over the past few weeks (he was on vacation). I'm also still working as much as possible (I'm a licensed mental health counselor), but every morning I am tempted to go to HR & start my ST disability insurance. I have difficulty getting dressed & can no longer get shoes on unless they are slip-on kind. I bite the bullet through client appointments & last week was reduced to tears, after my last client of the day left because the pain was so bad when I stood up. I am trying to put off taking ST disability bc I'm in the process of refinancing my house & also bc it will force me to exhaust all my banked sick & vacation time first (which I try to save in case I need to stay home with my son), & bc ST disability will only pay 60% of my salary, which is not much bc I work for a non-profit who has had a raise freeze in effect for about 7 of the 8 years I have been there. I say all of this, but that decision is getting harder every day & I just don't know how much longer I can get up, get dressed, drive myself to work ( which has also become very painful), & get thru the work day. Looking for some ideas, advice, similar experiences. Thanks so much, in advance.
8/28/14 Discectomy, Laminectomy, Foraminotomy L5-S1
9/15/15 Surgical Debridement of infected surgical incision & drain seroma; wound vac applied
10/21/14 L5-S1 Osteomyelitis & Discitis; 10/23/14 Bone & Tissue Biopsy = MRSE