I've been following various threads on this site for a while now and thought it was about time I shared my story!
N.B- on finishing this I realised how much I rambled on! I know there are people out there so much worse off than me. I'm not looking for sympathy, I just wanted to write all this down as a kind of therapy I suppose.
I'm George, 27, married with 2 great kids and live in worcestershire, UK. I used to think I was fairly fit and healthy. I ride my mountain bike a lot and often head over to Wales for days out and last year I did 'tough mudder' (an extreme assault course over a 12mile cross country run!)
i suppose I've always had little niggles in my back with I always put down to playing too much sport as a child, and in January 2013 I was signed off of work for 2 weeks with 'lumbar pain' as my doctor put it- he also said it was very normal and nothing to worry about.
It was unfortunate timing as myself and my wife's first child was due late Jan/ early Feb. After 2 weeks, it cleared up and I returned to work as normal in time for our sons (Ollie) birth. I should not now that my commute to work was a good hour in the car, sometimes up to 2 hours with traffic so this may have exacerbated my problems...
Fast forward 18 months and in October 2014 the back pain started to come back. It wasn't so bad, but if I sat for too long I'd have to slowly ease up from my chair and things like that. More niggles than real pain. It was enough to stop my ridining my bike abyway so must have been pretty bad now I think about it. This carried on off and on but as I'd been told previously it was normal, I naively thought that if I carried on as normal it would wear off.
Child no. 2 (Josie) was born on 19th feb 2015 and it was around this time I started getting more leg pain. Getting in and out the car it was getting harder to swing my right leg in as the pain made me feel like I had no strength in it. I was off work for 2 weeks on paternity leave when the symptoms got much worse. Sitting in the car became almost unbearable, but I was still doing all the 'dad' duties and lifting the kids in and out the car etc.
on my first day back at work, I just about managed to drive to my office which had recently moved and was now a half hour drive. I couldn't sit at my desk and knelt for the time being but the pain was excruciating. I'd had a trainee start work for me that day so had to try and show willing but after half an hour at work I had called the doctors for an emergency appointment and driven home. I know I shouldn't have, I could barely grimace through the pain to touch the brake pedal but managed to see a doctor who prescribed ibroprufen and cocodamol and told me to lie down and rest. By this point the pain was excruciating. After 2 sleepless nights I staggered into the doctors and collapsed onto the floor once I was called in. They put my straight onto 50mg tramadol with 500mg naproxen which did help. At this point I was still told to rest and take it easy. After a few more days I was annoyed the docs hadn't really done anything other than tell me to rest so I booked in with a private physio.
I couldn't sit on the chair in the waiting area and clung on to a locker ehile I was waiting. Once in, I went through my history before being told to touch my toes with legs straight. I could barely even lean forward and told the physio my wife had to help dress me so I could get a lift to see him. Straight away he said it was a herniated disc in my lower back and was astounded my doctors hadn't sent me for an MRI scan straight away, considering the severity of it. We tried some stretches but I actuslly ended up passing out due to the pain when trying what he told me. He booked me in for a private mri there and then for the following day costing me £250.
I had the scan and it was confirmed that I have a severe herniation of my L5S1 disc. They sent the scan to my docs and within an hour I was back at the surgery to see what they had to say. I was referred for physio which was a 4 week wait (!) on the NHS so I carried on with my private physio in the meantime . No real progress was made as due to the pain, I was unable to do much though.
At this point, it felt like there was no end point. The NHS policy of 'pain management' didn't seem very appealing to myself or my wife, who was now looking after a newborn, 2 year old and incapacitated old me completely solo. She would never have lasted s year so my physio recommended a private specialist consultant based in worcester. After a first visit, it was obvious I was in a pretty bad way and as surgery is a last resort, suggested an epidural injection to numb the pain so I could continue the physio work and try to improve things. It was £1,800 but my family rallied round and we went ahead with it. If like to say it helped but all I got out of it was a night on some really crazy drugs. According to my wife and mother, afterwards I was really hyper and a bit loopy! After 3 weeks there was no change and surgery was the only option. This was 6 weeks ago, and on Thursday 21st May I went in for a microdisectomy on my L5S1 bulge. At £6400 it wasn't cheap, but as the saying goes, you can't put a price on your health.
As it stands, I am very sore in my lower back area but finger crossed, wood touched etc I haven't felt any nerve pain yet. It's early days and in a way, my journey has only just started but I am hopeful I can return to a normal life. Drive to work, ride my bike, but most of all, hold my baby!! I haven't held her since she was 2 weeks old bless her and she seems so big now. My boy aswell wants to play all the time with me. We used to rough and tumble all the time but over the months he's learnt now that 'daddy's got a poorly back' so we do puzzles and things while we are lying on the floor together.
I suppose as well as share my story, this has been a bit therapeutic to write it all down and get it out in the open. At a time that's supposed to be the happiest of our lives, it's honestly been hell. I've had some really dark times, and dark thoughts that come with them. I've felt like a burden and people would be better off without me around but at times I've felt really posetive too. I'm in new ground now where I'm not sure what's going to happen in the coming weeks but I've got to take it as it comes, try to keep my head up and be posetive. I've got great family around me, my wife has been amazing, not only looking after me but doing an amazing job with Ollie and Josie. Also, my boss has been very supportive so in a way I suppose I'm pretty lucky.
I read some threads on here that I cried reading, nerve pain is such a horrible affliction, it can ruin lives and here I sm moaning and I've had it less than a year!
I wish everyone on here the best and if you made it through my wild ramblings, I salute you!
I put detailed quotes together for big industrial projects for a living but that's the most Ive written in a long time!
Also, apologies for any typos- I wrote this on my phone at 2 am as I couldn't sleep!
Signing off, George.