Okay, so I've been in serious pain today. I had my surgery, a two-level posterior thoracic discectomy, exactly 4 weeks ago. Things were getting better day-by-day, until two weeks ago. The discs my NS operated on were herniated to the right and caused mid-back pain that radiated around my ribcage and to the front. So anyway, two weeks ago I developed left sided pain that wraps around my ribcage and to the front. It's a mirror image of the pre-op pain I was having, except it's even worse (to the point it makes me nauseous) and it's on the left side. I should mention that the MRI I had back in November, as well as the CT myelogram on 5/12, both showed multiple herniated discs. T8-9 and T9-10 were the worst, and those were the ones I had operated on. T7-8 was also herniated, but to the left. He said since it wasn't causing any symptoms at the time, he was going to leave it alone. Well, when I was in the hospital after the surgery, they sent me for a stat CT scan because I was in an immense amount of pain post-op. He said the discs he operated on looked fine, but T7-8 has gotten worse in a two-month period. He still said we'll just wait and see, because I wasn't having any symptoms. He said if it came down to having surgery on it, he could try to do it posteriorly, but there was a good chance he'd have to convert to an anterior approach, which is a much riskier surgery.
So when this left-sided pain started 2 weeks ago, the first thing my husband and I thought about was this other disc. I waited a couple of days to see if it would go away, but it didn't, so I called my NS's office. I spoke with one of the NP's, and she felt that it was inflammation that was causing this pain, so she put me on a round of Prednisone. I took the full dose of Prednisone, but it didn't do anything for the pain. In the meantime I was continuing to take 800 mg of Motrin three times a day, as well as oxycodone and flexeril at bedtime. I can only take Motrin during the day, because the other stuff knocks me out, and I have three children to take care of. Over the weekend this past weekend, I felt really good. My mother-in-law took the kids Friday night and kept them all day Saturday. I spent the entire time resting on the couch, so I had very little pain, if any. So I decided to stop taking the Motrin, because it really upsets my stomach. I don't need a GI bleed on top of everything else. I still took the oxy and flexeril at bedtime, since the pain typically worsens by evening time.
Well, Monday comes around and it was back to the grind...taking care of four kids (I'm babysitting my BFF's 8-year old son while she works). The boys are both older, so they were able to help me out a lot, so I was still able to spend most of the day on the couch. I got up to husk some corn, and in the 5 to 10 minutes it took for me to husk the corn, the pain became intolerable. It made me physically sick. I resumed taking the Motrin, and took the stronger meds once DH got home. So what I'm still noticing is that as long as I'm sitting or laying down, I feel fine. But if I'm on my feet longer than a few minutes, I end up with severe left-sided pain. The longer I'm on my feet, the worse it gets. As it intensifies, it wraps around my ribcage to the front, and eventually shoots down my left leg.
I called and spoke with the NP again yesterday, and she sounded truly concerned. I told her everything I just told you all, and she put me on hold to run it by the doctor. she came back on the phone and said he doesn't want to do an MRI just yet, because he thinks it'll just show inflammation. They want me to continue to take the Motrin three times a day religiously, and I am supposed to call on Friday if it doesn't get any better. If I have any increased pain, numbness/tingling/weakness in my legs, or loss of bowel/bladder control, I'm to call immediately. Well, today I had my lift assessment for my new job. My NS gave me the okay to do it, but with a 10 lb weight restriction. It went perfectly fine until I had to walk for 10 minutes on the treadmill. I went at a pretty slow pace, but by the end the pain was starting to get pretty bad. I grinned and bared it, but popped a Motrin as soon as I got home. I layed down on the couch, since both girls were napping, and I figured I'd take a quick nap as well. I thought I'd feel better once I woke up, but nope...the pain was getting worse and worse. I took another Motrin, along with TWO Lidoderm patches, oxy, flexeril, valium, and ultram (spaced out, of course). After taking all of that, you'd think I'd be pain-free, but the pain is still pretty bad...though not as bad as it was.
I'm just not sure what to make of all of this. I feel like I've literally traded one pain for another, and this one is even worse. I know one month post-op is not a long time, but I feel like I should be doing a little better by now. And I want to believe that they are right and it is related to inflammation, but the Prednisone didn't help and the Motrin doesn't even begin to touch the pain. If it were inflammation-related, wouldn't the Prednisone have helped at least a little bit? Then I thought maybe it's muscular, but it's a burning pain, which feels more like nerve pain to me. Does it sound like it's that other disc that may be acting up? Given the severity of my pain this evening, do you think I should still wait until Friday to call, or should I call them tomorrow?
Sorry this is so long. I'm just desperate for answers. I had the surgery thinking it would help with my pain, and now I'm having new pain and taking more meds than ever. I have my own little pharmacy here at home.