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Laney350zLLaney350z Posts: 34
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:55 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi! I am new to this website and really just reaching out for others who are or have gone through what I am facing. I am a 34 year old with virtually no health problems until recently. I did have a past experience 12 years ago with Transverse Myelitis. I suffered pins and needles/ numbness in my hands and feet for 6 months and then no other issues after that. In February of this year I had just gone back to work after a year and a half of unemployment. Within the first two weeks of working I began having severe sciatic pain in my right leg. It kept me up at night and was progressively getting worse. I saw my PCP and he suspected nocturnal leg cramps. This was on a Friday and he suggested I start taking calcium. By Monday I was calling back to try to get something else done. My PCP immediately ordered an mri and it resulted in a Lumbar herniation between L4 and L5. Since april I have had 3 epidural nerve block injections. In the meantime, I tried physical therapy and it didn't help. I started seeing a very good chiropractor and it was actually found that I have misaligned hips and a slight curvature to ny spine which was adding to my sciatic pain. To make a long story short I recently foundiut that I have a herniation in my thoracic spine. I have really been through a lot and haven't missed a day of work despite working in pain everyday. I am on my feet 8-10 hours a day working as a doctors assistant in eye care. I have frequent dizzy spells, leg weakness, weakness in my left arm and my last two fingers on my left hand go to sleep all the time (thoracic outlet syndrome was ruled out). I have calf and ankle pain, back pain ...etc. I feel really alone in all of this and it seems like my neurologist and neurosurgeon don't really believe how much I am suffering. My chiropractor has taken a lot of time to explain my condition to me but says that he cannot help me with the herniations as there is not much that can be done on the non surgical side once the disc have leaked. I feel surgery is in my near future but do to finances will have to be put off for a while. I hope that any of you who have been done this path can give me advice and direction as I am scared to death of what my future may hold. I am hoping to soon find a job that doesn't require me to be on my feet as much. I am already having trouble doing some of the test on patients and its getting to the point where I can't just grin and bear it.


  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can.. so glad you dropped in!thank goodness you have a smart chiro who refused to do anymore work on you.. many times that can be the worse for many back problems.. he sounds like he gave you some good advice although you really need workups by doctor's trained in back care..since you have a diagnosis and have tried many conservative treatments, it seems like your options are limited.. surgery is such a personal issue, it could be your chance at becomming pain free!! i hope that by talking and listening to others that will help you with your questions and your decision.. i had my surgery many years ago and the circumstances were quite different.. be sure and check out the "Back and Neck surgery forum" for more input.. stop by the forum anytime.. and take care of yourself! Jenny :)
  • Jenny,
    Thanks for your reply! I am really at this point where I feel like I am in limbo. It has been 6 months since this all began and I am mentally and physically exhausted! I want to get this all resolved so that I can go on with my life. It is so hard to go through all of this with only hearing my doctors' input. I hope that talking with others who have been through these issues will help me make smart decisions with my health. Thanks again!
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  • Welcome to Spine-Health. This is a great site for information and the members of the forum are very knowledgeable and supportive.

    It seems like you might want to find a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, ortho or neuro, but on that only works on spines. If your current neuros aren't taking this seriously, you need to find one who does and will make a plan of action and work with you to find the solution.

    I ended up with surgery on my L4/5, but mine was more stenosis and facet-related. However, the surgery was worth it because I couldn't stand or walk for more than a few minutes by the time I was scheduled for surgery.

    I know finances can be a problem, but there may be no other way to get these problems taken care of. As for the injections, it seems that nerve blocks wouldn't help the herniations, that would require a epidural steroid injection, and even that might not help. But perhaps you had the injections in your cervical area since your report states stenosis?

    Anyway, I'd suggest getting some opinions from other spine specialists/surgeons who can get you on the right path. It doesn't necessarily have to be this way forever.

    Take care and keep us posted.

  • Hi Cathie,
    Thanks for your reply! I am currently seeing a neurologist and a neurosurgeon but my husband wants me to get a second opinion. He and I both feel like due to my age they are just assuming I am either not having pain or that I am full of it. I have really had some tough times trying to work all day on my feet. I am a very active person and always on the go and can't stand not being able to do as much. And as far as the injections I feel like my back pain has gotten worse since then. I go this friday for a follow up with the neurosurgeon so I guess I will see how he reacts to this new mri that I had. I am very fortunate as far as my insurance but I just hate to be out of work and have the burden all on my husband.I am also very scared that after I may not ever b able to work again. I heard lots of horror stories. I will keep you guys updated and any advice is greatly appreciated!
  • Laney,

    Just read your story. Again. I am having a hard time with all the names and surgeries here and who's who. Sorry. Good luck on Friday! Let us know how it goes. I am nervous about thursday because it all coming down to the wire. Would really like another opinion but there are only 3 neuros and they all work together. We are 100 miles from the big city here. I am seeing the same one I saw in 1990. Wishing you a low pain day.

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  • Hi everyone!
    I went to see my Neurosurgeon on Friday and he said at this point my condition is worsening. He recommended that I reduce my work hours to 4 hours a day and no more than 20 hours a week ( which is not really something we can afford right now). He also said that he feels surgery can help relieve my symptoms for the lumbar herniation. He spent a lot of time with me on this and basically told me to take some time to think about it because it is a big decision.

    I plan to try to save some money to replace my salary for the 3-6 month recovery time before actually doing it. Unfortunately, we are not in a situation where we could get by on only my husband's income.

    My doctor also told me that things are stable with the thoracic herniation and do not seem to be compressing any nerves or my spinal cord at this time. He said that this is something he hoped I never had to deal with as far a surgery because it is a very serious surgery to go through.

    As far as the lesions on my brain, he said that they are very small and that the Neurologist will be handling that part of my issues since the brain is more his expertise. He said the good thing is that they are small but he believes they are being caused by a demyelinating disease. He said that the Neurologist will want to draw some spinal fluid to see if that gives anymore indication as to why I have them. He said that they are not in any area that is specific to common things like ms so it will take some further investigation. I am not going to worry about them until I have reason. With everything else on my plate right now I need a break from all of this.

    I hope that me continuing to work my 9 hour (sometimes 10) shifts doesn't make things worse. It is very hard to get through each day considering I can't really take much pain medication to be able to properly do my job. I have a low tolerance for any medication and it always seems to make me loopy. I am in eye care and always in close interaction with patients. Several tests that are done I am within inches from being face to face with patients. Sometimes I feel self conscience when I do take medication as if they "know" I am on medication. AND the doctor I work for had made a stupid comment once to my office manager saying to help me as much as possible since I am on heavy narcotics. She got mad at him and told him he was crazy that I hadn't been able to take my medication and work and that was why I had been seeing the chiropractor 3 or more times a week to help with the pain. I guess his rude comment bothers me.

  • HI Laney,
    Well, you do have your share of problems...welcome to spine health, where you can get lots of info and support. Sorry this is happening to you, but the body does what it does, so it's good that you are taking this seriously and seeing your surgeon.
    Having had 3 lumbar disc surgeries myself, I must honestly say that working those hours is not helping you...I think you should listen to your dr and cut back. We all know the importance of the money, but sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do, and I agree with your dr that this is too many hours for you. The pain is telling you something, and your dr is also telling you something... you can not wish this away..it's there to be dealt with.
    Glad the other dr will be looking further into those lesions and that all will be well..
    Good luck with your issues, and I wish you a less pain day!
  • Frannie,
    Thanks so much for your kind words. It really has been a difficult 6 months, which I know is minute compared to what some of you guys here have already been through.

    The funny thing is that today when I talked to my office manager at work I was basically told that if I reduce my hours then they will no longer need me. So what am I to do...I just have to keep on doing what I am. I did put a call in to my Neurosurgeon to let him know what happened when I brought it up today. Oddly, a week ago my boss had said they would be glad to cut back my hours if needed. I get to work and I find out they have added 8 more hours a week to my schedule and I saw this coming, too.

    This whole situation gives me a new respect for people with medical issues. It seems that no one has respect for you and they think it's ok to push and push even though it hurts you more physically and mentally. I am at a loss. I am trying to find another job at this point because obviously my employer cares nothing about his very few employees. We have no benefits what so ever, not even a break room or anywhere to sit down to take our hour lunches. I have to go out to eat everyday just to sit down and relax on lunch.

    Please advise me on just how bad the surgery is. I am so scared at this point. I am wondering just how much I am going to be unable to do things for myself. I am very independent and I just don't know how I am going to deal with having to depend on someone to do things for me. Please tell me that after a few days I will be moving around and able to do for myself!!

    ~Laney :)
  • Hi Laney,

    I'm sorry to hear how things are transpiring. I'll be wishing you good luck on your new job search. The stress of all this can make things worse of course. Hopefully, you'll be able to find a job less physical and that at present you can find some way of coping and resting as well. Your health comes first, even before money. You don't want the chance of making your situation worse. You are young and you do have that on your side. Hopefully, you'll come up with the right decisions and your future will get back on track. Prayers for you,
  • Hi Laney,
    I hope this finds you having a good day ... I completely feel for you, I know how hard the cutting down of hours and completely not working, due to health reasons can completely disrupt your life. Not to mention your family. I know it all too well. I am sorry your condition is worsening. Never forget those sayings things get worse before they get better or god never gives you more then you can handle... I am kinda living by those these days, in order to help keep sane.
    Depression is setting in, but I go to my regular doctor tomorrow for medication for panic attacks and depression, since even the cymbalta isn't really helping anymore. You have a wonderful family and your strong...I pray for you that things will get better. :)
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