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It will never end....will it

Started by tryntosmile5 on 12/12/2010 11:30pm

I am a 33 yr old male that apparently drew the short straw of all my siblings when it came to a bad back. I was a carpenter for 12yrs, was active on the local fire department as well as involved in EMS. I currently work at a local hospital in the ED. In 2003 I had great news after my first MRI that my lumbar spine looks that of a 60yr old. Thats always great to hear. Long story short...after many many repeated visits to the chiropracter, while seeing a neurosurgeon...(believe or not) they both agreed that surgery was the best bet for me. I was not able to stand straight and the only slight comfort I ever had was when my right knee was jambed into my chest...and even at that it wasnt great... So I had a partial discectomy of L4-5. I was advised at the time that I needed to find a different line of work because carpentry was not doing me any favors. When I came out of surgery I felt fantastic. I had experienced pain for close to a month and a half that was unbearable most of the time. Almost in tears... The surgery went perfect and my recovery went perfect as well. I went back to work doing carpentry for another four years. I had had pain off and on since after the surgery but it was nothing like that of sciatica...the burning.... the stabbing... the aching of my upper back because it tries all day to compensate for my lower back.... I had pain but I figured it was just the way it was going to be and I had to be cautious of my body mechanics and everything I do from that point on. I did have a few random instances where I am certain I had reinjured it some years after...but it never lasted long and the severe pain had gone away after a few days. Last July, I was at work...my back had been rather achy for about a week, but that night at work the pain had gotten worse and worse...and finally I had punched out and checked into the dept. I started having sciatica again.... the sensations were slightly different then the last, but still similiar. I knew the ED wasnt going to be able to do much at ten oclock at night other than pain control, but it got to the point where I would be completely happy to get rid of that feeling I hoped I would never have again. So I got a couple IM injections which did help take someof the edge off, and of course I had to follow up with my neuro doc. Two days after I was in the ED, I woke up in th morning and noticed it was difficult to keep my foot straight or walk correctly. - I had foot drop. This made me very nervous, as it is the most disgusting feeling ever. The inability to control your own foot. I went back to the ED. Now the follow up with my neuro doc sped up. I did not ever loose the ability to urinate, but I did have severe pain along with the foot drop. I met up with my doc and had an MRI done. I now had somehow herniated L3-4. -and it was a large herniation. -Back into the OR I go.... I spent three months in the middle of summer mostly indoors trying to stay busy tinkering with things at waist level...going for walks, and trying to strengthen my leg. I have nerve damage still... my right foot is numb...it is always cool, and it again...is a groos feeling. I have little strength laterally, so when I walk in the yard I have a tendancy to roll my ankle. So I say off of uneven surfaces as much as I can...as I am still trying to strengthen it. I have been told it could take upwards of a year for sensations to come back, which I was not suprised to hear. I was also told that in many cases, it did not come back in males of my age with the similiar injury. SO- I went back to work...working only four hours versus an eight hour shift, I was to work my way up to full shifts as I could tolerate it. I have not been able to do so. I work on a solid surface... I sit, stand and I am constantly up and down. I have days I cant stand being at work for even two hours. Some times though, I do have good days. But there does not seem to be any particular reason to why it may hurt or not. It is as if it has a mind of its own. I have tried very hard to suck it up as much as I can and deal with the pain... I have been through the laying on my back on the floor at night with my legs up on the couch in order to sleep, the icing, the heat, the floor exercises, wearing the brace, having inserts in my shoes-- yadda yadda yadda.... every month since my surgery I have been back for check ups... this last time he decided that I should have another MRI done, being as I should be doing better at this pount in time that I am doing. So Last thursday I had another MRI done. I took a copy of the disc home to look at. I about started to cry. The same disc is herniated again. I compared the images from last july to the other day and it looks way worse than before the surgery. I am waiting to hear from him regarding how to proceed and what my options are. It hurts. Alll the time. I sleep for shit, I am getting more and more irritable. I have been to counseling for depression, my female partner has been great with helping me this entire time with things around the house...massage...we have tried many things to help rid the pain...everything from walking to aromatherapy. Ugh. I am tired of hurting. Now I am about out of FMLA at work. I have no pto, and because I about out of FMLA, they cannot hold my fulltime position any longer, and I will get booted down to a parttime position, which does not receive benefits. I will loose them unless I pay out of pocket. I do not know what I am supposed to do. I will loose my insurance unless I pay out of pocket, yet I am wokring less hours and will more than likely need another surgery. WTF. I am so frustrated.

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2 Responses


hello tryntosmile...
thats quite a story. you certainly have reason to be depressed. most people in pain get depressed.mention this to your doc and he may want you on meds to help. some narcotic pain killers cause depression.
as for back i think you really have to get a couple of opinions regarding more extensive surgery. you are on your way toward permanent nerve damage if you continue with so much pressure on the nerves. i went 20 years with pain so when i finally got the surgery i didnt get relief. now is the time to act...do or die.
get two opinions and then make a decision.
insurance...oh boy. i guess it would be good to get all this done quickly while youre insured. once the insurance is gone youre in trouble.
i guess the advice about a different career might have been good. do whats good for your back. dont end up like me in a wheelchair because i kept going when i shouldnt have.
hope my experiece helps YOU....pete


Heya Tryntos,

I am sorry to hear you are going through this. I myself am experiencing about the same thing but I have yet to have any surgeries on my back. I am myself worried about permanent nerve damage and the whole control thing with your foot bro I am there with you on that one. There are days I can not control my right leg from folding underneath me and me falling flat on my ass. I myself am only 32 and USED to work in the electrical/electronics department of a large manufacturer of medical devices and I can no longer stand for more then 10 minutes, sit for 10 minutes, lay for 10 minutes, you get the idea. There is nothing that I can say that will make it any easier for you but know if you ever need anyone to talk to I find it easier to talk with others who FEEL THE SAME WAY I DO about everything going on in their lives where this constant back pain and just the endless shit you have to put up with. Anyway like I said if you just want to vent and whatnot drop me a message and I will gladly send you my personal e-mail or phone #.

Jeremy Werstler