Hi Dr. Corenman,
I just wanted to check back in and post an update on my status –especially for those who might read and are just as afraid as I was to get a much-needed spinal fusion at L4/L5 after having 2 micro discectomies and then the dreaded, third disc herniation at that same level.
Your advice to have the spinal fusion, at that point, was the best advice I received. I had my surgery on December 9, 2014 and while it was no cakewalk, I was essentially pain- free! Even the horrible nerve pain had disappeared! After the first two days post surgery the only pain I had, in fact, was incisional pain and this subsided very quickly once I got home and started walking. I could hardly believe that this was possible, even the doctor told me I should expect that I would never have a completely pain-free life. I don’t know if that’s just something they are required to tell you in case it doesn’t happen this way for most people but, in my case, I was and it felt nothing short of a miracle. My surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital was amazing and his work is brilliant.
Your advice over that month before I finally went in for my surgery meant the world to me and I’m so grateful for your responses when I needed them the most! I would tell anyone who has zero quality of life and is struggling with the decision to have a fusion, is just to weigh it against the alternative. I think that’s where I got tangled up and I only wish I had made the decision sooner. I was even able to stop taking pain medication six weeks post surgery after having been on them for over a year.
At 8 weeks post surgery, I was walking 3 to 4 miles daily and had just started driving and I felt incredible –I felt like I had my life back again and could finally look forward to the future. Then, about three days later, about a week ago , I tripped over an area rug, flew into the air, pulled my lower back and took a very nasty fall. I did what anyone would do and immediately ice and rested. I dialed it back on the walking, stopped driving and returned to my practice of 20 minutes walk, ice, rest, and repeat. None of it seems to be working at all and I have new nerve pain below the left of me same side as before– lightning bolts into three of my toes on the left side. I am truly devastated. I can’t sit anymore without pain. I don’t know what to do now. My surgeon and has ordered an x-ray at my insistence. I am unsure if this is permanent damage I’ve done or, will it simply require a longer recovery.
Your past advice was the best I received over any doctor I saw before I went to JH and so, I’m hoping that you might be able to tell me something. My doctor hasn’t or isn’t giving me much feedback. I know you probably can’t tell me too much without x-ray or MRI results. But, I’m wondering if this has happened with any of your patients in the past and/or what you think I should or can do, at this point.
Thank you again so much for your help.