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being terrified about surgery

I am 47 and have fought back pain fr 9 years. It started with nerve pain from 3 mild to moderate "normal" herniations.

Last March the pain got terrible and I lost function in my right foot and leg. My MRI shows a right foraminal herniation that "could cause a dropped foot) I have great difficulty making the leg work along with my dropped foot.

This is Canada:

-referred to one orthopedic surgeon and the wait for a consult is roughly 2 years.
-referred to another who says the surgery is too complex with only a 50/50 chance of improvement and I may heal some in the next 2 years.

I am seeing a neurosurgeon on Wednesday. I am a mess. Family is urging me to avoid surgery and stick with using a walker and an extensive brace. I think I am too young to settle for this but am scared silly.

My request is for advice on what to ask/expect in my appointment. I know you cannot give medical advice, I just need to set my mind at rest a bit. I am scared he will say no and I am scared when going ahead of negative consequences.

Please PM me if that is helpful.

Thanks so very much,



  • Michelle99MMichelle99 Posts: 57
    edited 10/04/2015 - 9:04 PM
    Hi Rae,

    We can't advise you what to do, but I would think that you don't have too much quality of life as you are. I had similar to you, I had a disc herniation in July last year. By December I too went completely numb down my right side from my waist to my foot. From what my surgeon told me the discectomy takes the disc away from compressing the nerve, which is what causes the nerve pain, foot drop etc. when I cam around after my surgery the numbness had almost completely gone, I still have a little numbness in my little toe and ankel but apart from that the numbness has almost completely gone. I was told that Delaying surgery can mean a longer recovery to the nerve and sometimes it never recovers. So, if I were you I would be pushing to get on with surgery. It is not nice to think about having an operation but sometimes we just have to be brave and do what is best. I was 49 at the time of my surgery and like you felt that I was too young to avoid surgery and the benefits that you can get. I think you just need to take the advice of your surgeon.

    Good luck. Let us know how you get on and feel free to Pm me.
  • Make sure you have a list of questions, and also one thing that I found helpful was to actually figure out about a 4 sentence description of the effect my situation had on my life. They do not have tons of time, so I found making a short statement was very impactful.
    I lost function of my right foot in October last year and had surgery in February and I was VERY pleased to get 99% of my motor function back. A lot of my sensation has never really returned which seems ok, except last week I stood that foot in a fire ant mound while talking to my neighbor. Yes, eventually I felt it, ouch. I do have to have more surgery now, but that is not because the first surgery failed, but more because I didn't get a fusion when it was recommended.... ah well, live and learn.
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