Hello to you all dear spine fighters!
Its been a week since i found this board and i've been reading and sympathizing since then, till i finally decided to share
my own struggle (never did that before). I am not a native speaker so i apologize for some of my english in advance.
Im 35y/o male, 2 weeks ago i had a 2 level (L4-L5-S1) spinal fusion with single a incision from my back (6 screws, 2 cages with autograft and 2 rods). At the age of 18 i was playing basketball and i felt flat on my back during a jump never felt a thing because of the adrenaline i suppose until the morning after which changed my life forever. I woke up with an awful lower back and shooting and burning leg pain that so many of us are familiar with (what turned out to be 2 herniated discs at my lower back). Since then i lived my life thru pain jumping from one episode to another,i had all sorts of conservative treatment including Pilates,PT, acupuncture, massages and steroid shots,some of which helped and some did not but i was determined to avoid a surgery at such a young age. I am very athletic and i kept on doing every sport imaginable including cross fit, football, weight lifting you name it and it kept me going for so many years. I got married and have 1.5 y/o beautiful baby girl, the light of my life. All those years i worked at the construction business as a freelancer always providing for my family with good money and even managed to buy a house recently. Everything was going so well until 3 month ago, as i lifted a heavy board on a job (a stupid thing to do which i avoided so many times) and this single motion triggered the old wound..
But this time it was different, the pain was much worse than ever, i felt like my back and my left leg are being constantly sawed,i kept on working for a month until the pain crushed me completely, restrained me to a bed and got me crying and twisting in agony (and believe me, I Do Not Ever Cry, Ever!, but this,this was something different,this was a nightmare/torture material. Non of the painkillers worked anymore and at that point suicide seemed like a reasonable option to me..
Somehow i managed to do a CT scan and it showed a very big herniation at L5-S1 level which almost completely blocked my nerve root plus a bit smaller one a L4 level. The situation was getting worse with every week passed, and at some point i started to feel numbness in my buttocks and the genetalias lost the ability to erect,and had a big difficulties to empty my bowel and bladder. It is only then my surgeon got really worried (cause every doctor that i went to see up until then prescribed me a different kind of pill and sent me home to rest) and suspected a Cauda Equina Syndrome, so i had and emergency MRI got hospitalized and went thru a surgery the next day. I spent 5 days at the hospital and now im home.
I do feel much better,a week after the surgery the numbness is gone and thank god i regained my ability to have my number 1 and 2. (You never know what you got till its gone ha?..) overall all my sciatic symptoms are gradually wearing off but there alot of post op pain that is still there. I have 3 percocet 10 *3 a day and it is quite enough for now.
The thing is that i feel really handicapped now, i lie down most of a day and try to take a few walks in between because i know how important this is. But the physical part is not what worries me; my self confidence went down the drain, and i feel like im a burden on my wife (who has been remarkably supportive) instead of being the head of the family and an income guarantee to all the family. Besides that i just realized i wont be able to return to my previous job and thats all i know how to do and did it good. So i just lie down in pain and frustration,my savings are almost gone by now and my future is just a big blur..
I know its going to be a long period of time before i'll start to feel even remotely human again and i need some sort of recovery plan otherwise i'll keep on stare on walls and ceiling all day and just keep getting depressed. Right now i have no will to do anything and i feel like something died inside. I will really appreciate to hear from you guys how do you deal with your recovery, whats your recovery plan? What is the best way in your opinion to get your life back on track and not to lose your mind in the process?