I have visited this forum so much in the past year. It has really helped me realize I'm not alone. It is strange that when something like this happens, you tend to alienate yourself from others (or I did anyway).
It all started about summer of 2011. I was in my last semester of nursing school, things were looking great. As you can imagine, we spent a lot of time in hospitals and clinics helping and learning. I had been on a 12 hour stretch at a big hospital and man my back was sore that day. It didn't feel that way when I started but it sure did after. I had done a lot of lifting with the patients that day - I assumed, this too shall pass.
The back soreness, I suppose went away because I really didn't notice it anymore. What I did notice, was that my right calf, after a 12 hour shift, would be burning. Like it was on fire. I tried shaking it, wiggling it...nothing helped but to just get off my feet. I assumed it was just because I was tired because I never felt it any other time.
I graduated school and got my license, yay! I was ready to go to work! I took a job with the elderly working nights. I don't remember too much trouble out of my back (or leg) at the time. I then switched to the weekend shifts. I was working 6:30 am to 11:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. This gave me the whole week off so I could continue my studies. I started noticing the burning again in my right leg on Sunday evenings when it was time to go home. At the time I received much relief just by sitting down. I started taking on extra shifts during the week, covering for..whoever. At this time I had been there a little over a year.
As the months went by, I noticed that the burning was starting early on Sunday. It was worse when I took extra shifts during the week. I started only taking shifts on wednesday and thursday - that seemed to curtail the early onset of burning. Although, by this time the burning was not just a "bother" it was more like severe pain burning...I really cant describe it. My back was very sore most of the time. I decided to go to my doctor. I was unable to see my regular doctor so I saw a PA which is a physicians assistant. I told her my issue and she told me I was over stressing my back by working the long hours and I was probably not keeping good posture. She told me to slow down and take it easy for a little bit.
Fast forward to 2014. My leg was really bad. It was weak, the burning was almost constant. I lost feeling in my calf. It felt like I had a bracelet around my ankle and my ankle actually felt broken. I ended up having to leave my job that I loved dearly in Feb of 2014. I could no longer stand even 8 hours. I started seeing a chiropractor. I did many session of decompression therapy which really helped at the time. So...what do I do...I go back to work in April. I was good or....I fought it for about a month and had to leave there too when I was unable to drive myself home because I couldn't feel the gas peddle. Went back to chiropractor...more decompression therapy. This time took a little longer but it did eventually help. So once again I go back to work in August. I was good for about 5 weeks (that is only because I spent 4 weeks in training and learning) . The 5th week I was on the floor and it only took minimal time before I couldn't handle the pain. On my way home, a 40 mile drive, I was screaming, crying, pleading with God to please take this a way, I was scared, I thought I was dying. I felt like such a failure. My leg felt like it was rotten literally. Once again I had to use my left leg to drive because I couldn't feel anything with my right foot...but I sure enough felt the pain and burning. It felt like my leg had been set in pit of hot coal. In the back of my right thigh it felt like my leg was having seizures. It was jumping, griping, severe muscle spasms that didn't end.
I came to the conclusion that I couldn't work anymore. I started seeing another doctor mid 2014. He was actually one of the doctors I had previously worked with so I was very comfortable with him and I trusted his judgement. I told him of my issue and what had been done - he immediately sent me out for MRI. The diagnosis: I had a bilaterally blown disk at L5/S1. It was causing formenal stenosis bilaterally. He said my sciatic nerve was almost 100% occluded on the right side and the left side was almost as bad. I also had spondylithesis ( I probably spelled that wrong). He sent me to a specialist who ordered the injections - which had absolutely no effect. The specialist wanted me to go to physical therapy 3x a week, but at this time I was doing good to pay for him, my doctor, and my meds (which didn't help at all). I could not pay the $70 a visit the PT wanted too. I was stuck. Oh and by the way. During all of this I got kicked off of my husbands insurance because we are not actually married. We are common law, which is legal here in Texas but the insurance company did not see it that way. I had to find new insurance and adding that $400 a month bill onto what I was already paying was awful.
My doctor, feeling very frustrated that nothing had been done yet, switched me to a neurosurgeon. My first visit at the neurosurgeon with my MRI disk, he told me I had to have surgery - my problem was structural and it had to be fixed. Keep in mind it is now April 2015. By now I was only able to walk with help from the bed to the couch. I could no longer put my own pants on (totally degrading). I walked around in "L" shape just trying to make it step by step.
I had my surgery in May of 2015, Spinal fusion at L5/S1 with bars/screws, a plastic implant after laminectomy, disk fixed. I was so scared. I just knew I was going to be in that percentage of people that this was going to go bad. But I am here to tell you it all went well! I am so amazed. My leg is alive!!! Oh my gosh!! I am alive. My deep depression has left me like snow melting in a fire - it is gone. I am just 2 months out but I have so many plans. I want to go back to school and finish my Nurse Practitioner. I can walk! I can walk forever!!! I want to run - I WILL run!! I'm alive