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New here, would love support

brefrettbbrefrett Posts: 3
edited 01/16/2016 - 10:07 PM in New Member Introductions
You can call me Bre. I'm 21 years old and live in North Carolina. The story of my pain started in February of last year. I was into my second semester of nursing school and everything seemed to be going well. I had been having lower back pain for a bit before that, but nothing that phased me or seemed to be any cause for concern. It was just a sore back; I explained it away with my active involvement in nursing and also horseback riding.
One evening I bent over to brush my teeth and felt something go wrong in my back, but the pain wasn't too bad then so I simply went to bed. The next morning, I couldn't move my legs. An MRI revealed a disaster of a back: all 6 discs imaged from T12 down to S1 were herniated, I had severe congenital spinal stenosis along with degenerative disc disease, cord compression in multiple places, and mild scoliosis.

I couldn't walk or even sit up on my own, so I had no choice but to go the surgery route. I had an L4-L5 Laminectomy/Discectomy to relieve the area of my spinal cord that was most severely compressed. In a matter of a couple of days I went from being a nursing student taking care of patients to being the patient recovering from surgery. I had to drop from nursing school which was my whole life at the time.
Thankfully, I had a great neurosurgeon and the surgery went really well, as did my recovery. The prognosis wasn't that great, however, and I've been told that many more surgeries are likely in my future. It was really just a shock given how young I am and that I had never been through any trauma.
Since then, the back pain has been constant but mostly manageable with ibuprofen and Tramadol. Some days are worse than others.

This past week I actually just reentered back into my nursing program; I am both thrilled and terrified with that. Nursing is something I really want to do with my life, but part if me wonders as someone with spinal issues this bad if I should even be considering this career.
I'm here mainly looking for support. It recently hit me that this issue isn't going away and it will be something that I will always have to live with. To be honest, that scares me a bit. I would love any advice at all regarding pain management and dealing with the stress of this. It's been a bit of a lonely road so far.

Thank you so much for your time.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Heya Bre! I am a spinal mess and I just wanted to send you some positive energy. Your case sounds so painful and difficult. I was considering nursing if my spine is resolved, but I don't think I can manage the physical strain on a daily basis. When I get back to the states, it looks like a life in psychology and therapy, because I am so disabled at this point. I'm headed for a lumbar fusion, seeing my surgeon tomorrow, and praying for the best. I am not very religious, but all of the pain and pain medicine has pushed me to focus on something else or the pain drags me into depression and oblivion.

    I guess I'm just talking about anything, because I am just meeting you, and I want to say, you are not alone. It is lonely, and it feels so isolating to suffer with the spine, but you have a lot of caring and friendly people on here. IF you ever need to chat about hell, or anything, you are most welcome to pm me. I can't do much and I'm forever on the computer. So, say hi, and tell me how nursing is! If I can't do it, I can sure hear about it! lol.

    Take care, and don't give up!
  • Thank you so much for your words and for sharing Lydia.
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