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Microdiscectomy/Mental Health???
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An_248119 posted:
Before I ask my question, I`ll start with my history..... When I was 13-14 years old, I went on a road trip with my older sister, from GA to NC. I noticed that I would have to have her pull over a few times because my left leg would go numb and start having a dull aching pain. I didn`t think anything of it, i was only 13 or so. Around 15-16 years old, i started having to stand up in class because after 30-45min of sitting, my left leg would go numb with the same aching pain. It happened so much, I brought it to my doctors attention. He said he thought that when i sat down, my disc slid and pinched my nerve, causing my leg to go numb. He had me do physical therapy for a little bit, to strengthen my lower back. I`m not sure if it got better, or if I just ignored it better but.... Around 21-22 I noticed it occurring much more often with much more severe pain. I worked a total of 3 part time jobs, working 6 days a week. 3 days at a dentist office, sitting and standing. 2-3 days a week at Papa Johns, standing. 2 days a week at a spa, sitting and standing. It got so bad I could not sit. I could not stand. I just absolutely could not get comfortable no matter what I did. It was so weird because I did not understand how something could be so numb yet hurt so so bad. My left foot was numb all the time, my left leg was numb pretty much all the time, and both hurt, throbbed, ached soooo bad, I was having spasms in my butt, thru to my thigh, that someone pointed out to me, i didnt even notice myself! My doctor did an MRI and said I had a herniated disc(L4-L5) and suggested physical therapy, which did nothing. My chiropractor tried disc decompression therapy, which only made the symptoms start in my right leg too. Every doctor I saw was surprised to walk in and see me sitting there. They all said by looking at my MRI, they thought they were looking at the bones of atleast a 60yr old woman. I was even tested for osteoporosis. At 23!! So, I ended up having a microdiscectomy. My neurologist said i may never have all the feeling back in my foot, but she guaranteed id wake up from surgery with no more leg pain. When they went in to remove the herniated part of the disc, turns out it was not herniated but ruptured and had ruptured so long ago, the ruptured part was starting to harden and form calluses. And here I am, a yr and a half later.While the pain has lessened quite a bit, i still have numbness, and there still is pain. Sometimes so bad I cant even wear a shoe. After weighing the good and the bad, I totally 100% regret having back surgery... So my question is: Is it possible for back surgery to mess you up mentally? I dont even know if this is possible but it is like something snapped in my head. I cant hold down a job, I cant even wake up to an alarm clock. I have no concept of time anymore. I went from working 3 jobs to not even able to work one. My boyfriend and a few others have told me that I woke up from surgery, a totally different person. I feel so much pressure to get back to the old me that I am pressuring myself even more and feel like Im putting myself that much further back. I dont even really know how to explain how I feel or what im going thru. I mean its been a year and a half and I still have not figured it out. Has anyone else gone thru this or know someone who has? Or anyone with any works of advice??? Im losing it.....
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bj1208 responded:
hi and welcome to the support group -

WOW!!! Am so sorry you have had to go thru this. You can click on my name or picture and read my story.

my disc ruptured and splintered pressing on the nerve root (S1) on both left and right side. My surgery was a success as far as the fusion but they couldn't do anything for the chronic low back pains or the numbness/pains in both legs.

I do take Neurontin (Gabapentin is generic) for the nerve damage in both legs and I do wear a leg brace on my left leg. this medicine has done wonders for me! It takes care of a lot of the pains/numbness etc in my legs. I can tell a difference if I miss a dose as my legs will start to hurt so bad.

You may want to discuss this with your doctor - there is also Lyrica that some members take and say it really helps too.

There is no guarantee with any type of surgery and yes it can change a person. I used to be Manager of Accounting and had a big staff working 60 hours a week to not working at all!! I had applied for partial disability to cover me during my recovery and had no idea that after 7 months I would change it to 100% disabled.

Having the spine problems you do and at such a young age it can make you depressed and I think this is what you are feeling. I think you should discuss this with your primary doc and have them refer you to a Psychiatrist.

Also you may want to see a Spine Specialist (Orthopedic or Neurosurgeon) if it's been more than a year since your operation and/or MRI and have a new one done - this way you will know if there are any changes. they can also refer you to a physical therapist and/or chiropractor - write up a script for proper therapy. working out may also help you mood by increasing endorphins.

please keep us posted what you find out and let us know how u are feeling - take care - Joy
 
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Congres responded:
To a dear young women.

I feel your despair. I read what Joy said too. I feel it would be important to really think about what she said and try some of her advice and see if you feel more in control of your life. To not wake up to your alarm though....I'm wondering...it may put your mind at ease to bring these things up to your medical dr and try some tests so your not fearing the worst. I feel better emotionally after I have done things that can help me and keep talking to your friends and people who care.

Thanks,
Christine
 
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aw0329 replied to bj1208's response:
I`m sorry it took me so long to see your reply. I`ve been pretty busy lately. Thank you for your reply and I will look in to both of your suggestions. My surgeon had me on lyrica when i first had surgery but she didn`t have me do physical therapy, chiropractic, or anything like that afterwords. I haven`t even seen her since. I was told to follow up with my regular doctor and that was it. It has been a year and 7 months since I had surgery and I`ve had another MRI done more recently, ordered by my regular doctor. I am pretty sure she said my disc was protruding but that was about all that happened with that. Anyways, thank you so much for your reply and take care!
 
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aw0329 replied to bj1208's response:
Oh I wanted to ask- You said surgery can change a person and that you went from Manager of Accounting with a big staff, working 60 hours a week to being on disability, was that from only the physical complications or did it effect you mentally like it has me? I`m sure it did both to you, but i didn`t know if the not working was from the mental side of it too.
 
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aw0329 replied to Congres's response:
Thank you! I appreciate your response because I really don`t have anyone to talk to about this. I feel like my friends and family do not understand.
 
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bj1208 replied to aw0329's response:
Hi AW0329 -

First - you indicated that you recently had an MRI and that you were pretty sure the disc is protruding - I think you need to see a spine specialist - be sure they are either a Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - and I think you may want to consider seeing a different one besides the one who did your surgery as it's apparent this surgeon did not follow thru with all the post op care that should be done after surgery.

Second - you wanted to know a little more about me - as i had gone from a Manager of Accounting with a full staff etc., When I knew I was gonna have surgery I applied for partial disability (was working as a contract employee so no benefits except hubby's policy). I was doing really well after my surgery - the first 3 months my pains were reducing and I wasn't taking as many pain pills. After my 3rd month post op my pains came back worse than before my surgery. My surgeon did what he was supposed to do - he fixed the L5-S1 disc by removing it and putting a plate, screws and cage in. he said he could only be hopeful the surgery would reduce my pains. by my 7th month post op he did all he could and he released me to a pain management doc and physical therapist and at this time I changed from partial disability to permanent disability. Physical therapy only made the pains worse and the pain doc put me thru all the usual treatments; shots, stimulators etc., and all treatments failed. I had a MRI done and it showed I had other issues with L2 to L4. I had chronic low back pains and I, at this time, found out I had permanent nerve damage in both legs. I was sent to a PHYSIATRIST Pain Management as they go deeper into Pain Management than regular Pain Clinics. I was then put on heavy narcotics and other meds (10th month post op). I wear a leg brace on my left leg as the nerve damage is worse. I can't sit/stand/walk for more than 10-15 minutes. My surgery was in 2/08 and each year I have a current MRI done to see how my back is doing and I also have a EMG/Nerve Conduction Test done to see how the nerve damage is and if worse where.
I try to not let my disability affect me and believe me it was a shock going from working full boat to being disabled and it really affected me but I use my grandkids as a crutch - this helps me get up each day and trek on. There is no way I could even try to work, let alone try and calculate numbers, balance etc like I used to.

so yes surgery can change a person - you never know what the outcome will be. I never ever thought I would be disabled. My last MRI shows I have problems in my mid back and also in my upper back - basically I have Degenerative Disc Disease in my entire spine, SI Joints shot at T11 & T12. I also have a blood vessel tumor (benign) at T9 so there's more going on with my spine - kinda the domino effect.

Hope this helps -
Take care~~

~~ Joy ~~
 
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aw0329 replied to bj1208's response:
Thank you so much! That was very very helpful. I believe my doctor mentioned Degenerative Disk Disease, but as you have heard in my recent posts, she was not very thorough at all. I am looking in to getting another doctor. I hope everything goes well with you newly found problems and God bless! Thanks, again!


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