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Unsuccessful Discectomy

ak_lovejoiaak_lovejoi AlaskaPosts: 11
edited 09/22/2015 - 12:23 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
In January 2013 I had my first MRI revealing an L5-S1 bulge, minor L4-L5 bulge, stenosis and arthritis (mainly on facets) because I was experiencing strange sensations down my left leg and severe back pain. I followed up with physical therapy, which was unsuccessful due to chronic pain and inflammation. The next step was facet injections followed up with PT, which was unsuccessful, so I followed up with another facet injection. When I accepted these methods of treatment weren't working, I quit seeing the doctors and just walked; I lost 35 pounds and found some relief August 2013- August 2014. The pain came back full force last August, however I was traveling and unable to see a doctor until January 2015. In March, I had another MRI followed up with a visit to the neurosurgeon, the way my bulging disc settled against my sciatic nerve was nearly debilitating, so they performed a discectomy March 24th. I had relief for approximately three months before I realized something was terribly wrong, as I was enduring more pain and different sensations down both legs, than ever before. Another MRI this month revealed a recurrent disc- the discectomy was unsuccessful. I will follow up with the neurosurgeon the 30th. I am finding several things very challenging- mostly my state of being- I am not accepting of my restrictions. I have always been able to provide for myself by working, and am unable to work at this time- it's killing me! I have a very supportive boyfriend, but my family hasn't been supportive or understanding at all. I'm wondering what comes next? More surgery? How long will I feel so helpless? I'm thankful for life; other than breathing and being alive, I'm terribly miserable. I'm in therapy for the emotional support and to learn coping skills. I'm tired of pain, tired of crying, tired of the sadness and anger (outrage).


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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  • ValineVValine Posts: 4
    edited 09/22/2015 - 10:26 PM
    You are making me reconsider, lol. I work in medical too, typically. I used to be in the OR during surgery, so I actually know what the risks are, but the pain... and I'm just so tired of all the pills. I'm getting tired of PT even, lol. The Drs appts, the referrals, the tests, the paperwork, the repeat scans, etc. And the myelogram... that one about did me in. I can only imagine what surgery feels like, post-op. Aside from that, once you get down into the L5/S1 region, you're getting into some very sensitive areas. If anything goes awry intra-op, it can be devastating.

    Then again, I want my life back. My neurologist is at his wits end with me. My pain MD and his PA are about done with me and pushing toward surgery. I'm getting ready for my 7th injection since March. It will be the last one and only round was non-steroidal (botox in my piriformis). My PT is beginning to agree as well. I'm trying out an NSAID patch and I'll try Neurontin/Gabapentin, but my expectations aren't high. Dreading the last injection Tuesday, but you never know, right?

    So, are you going to get an opinion from ortho as well? And I'm curious how large your original bulge was? Were your scans done with and without contrast? Did you have to do a myelogram? Did they consider your bulge a bulge or an actual herniation? Sorry for all the Qs.

    Hoping your consult goes well and that you're getting some kind of relief in the meantime...

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  • Not sure what you mean by recurrent disc? I assume you had a fusion and the graft did not take. If so, that requires more surgery.
  • Valine, I don't even know half of the terms you've used here, ha! I have not had a scan with contrast, nor have I had myelogram, is that what they inject the disc space with fluid or air to inflate it? I also am not sure the measurements of the disc bulge. I will send a message of my pre and post scans.
    Kay, the recurrent disc means that the disc wasn't strong or tough enough to hold place after the discectomy- what disc was left reherniated.

    The follow up with the neurosurgeon did not go as imagined, he was very impersonal. He offered epidural steroid injections or a second surgery as my options. On the plus side, I was approved for Medicaid and am going to meet with a spine surgeon in a different facility for a second opinion. The pain is getting significantly worse by the day. I've gone through most off this ordeal narcotic free, however, at this point, I'd be an invalid without the psi relief. The emotional part is killing me and I feel extremely helpless. I'm not a sappy person, this is taking so much away from who I am. I'm going to try to keep treatment as conventional as possible, but this pain is going to ruin my life. I don't even want to be around family or friends because I'm always on the brink of crying and feel I'm just poor company. Then I'm down on myself for acting all "poor me", I tell myself to "buck up", it doesn't help. I have to ask for help for everything, I feel like I need a babysitter- it's sickening to me, I was an avid hunter and carried moose quarters a mile out of the woods!! I can't even carry a load of laundry now. I'm so sad and angry.

  • ". The emotional part is killing me and I feel extremely helpless. I'm not a sappy person, this is taking so much away from who I am. I'm going to try to keep treatment as conventional as possible, but this pain is going to ruin my life. I don't even want to be around family or friends because I'm always on the brink of crying and feel I'm just poor company. "

    I was always a social flower but now I'm a right grumpy old mare!!!!!!!
    Kirsti x
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