Disc herniation after lumbar epidural?/treatment suggestions?

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
39 posts in this thread.
Viewing Page :
 1  2 
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/6/2017 8:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,

It seems that I herniated a disc in my back last week. I'm not really sure how I did it, but I suspect it happened while I was squatting to observe a surgery last Monday, as afterwards I felt like I strained my back, and then the pain got progressively worse over the next two days, to the point where I now have severe sciatic pain in one leg.

I was wondering if anyone has ever heard of a disc herniation occurring after a lumbar epidural? The reason I'm asking is because I had an epidural for knee surgery about two months ago (I believe at L5/S1, where the suspected herniation is), and ever since the epidural, my back has been bothering me a bit at that location (nothing severe, just some minor discomfort). When they did the epidural, there was apparently a lot of bleeding (NOT normal for an epidural) because the back of the underwear that I wore the day of the surgery was soaked in blood. So I'm suspicious that they may have had to "dig around" and I am wondering if they could possibly have hit/compromised the integrity of the disc at L5, leading to my current situation.

I realize that denegerative changes and disc herniation are common with aging, but I'm only 28 and I've had absolutely no back problems up until this point. So it just seems strange that I would herniate all of a sudden, without any kind of trauma or obvious precipitating factor.

The severe sciatic pain is making it very hard to do my job, as I cannot stand up straight nor walk well, and my job is very physically demanding (lots of lifting, bending, twisting, etc) and often requires me to be on my feet for 12 - 15 hrs a day. My doctor did put me on a pretty whopping dose of prednisone (joy) today, and I am supposed to start PT tomorrow, but they tell me that it could take 4 - 8 wks before I see any kind of significant improvement or resolution. :-( And of course the affected side is the leg opposite the one that I recently had surgery on!

Unfortunately, my pain management doc is located 5+ hours away. But I was thinking that if my back is not significantly better by the time I go for my next set of ketamine infusions in 5 or 6 wks, that I might ask him about doing a steroid injection/epidural at the same time. I don't know if that's the right course of action or not, but I don't know how I'm going to be able to get through the rest of clinics/veterinary school in my current state, considering that I can barely stand/walk, let alone restrain/examine/treat patients. I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if it comes down to it, but I'd really hate to have to take ANOTHER medical leave given that after 2 separate year long medical leaves already (plus the time I continually have to take off every 2 mo or so for my infusions), I'm finally SO CLOSE to finishing (only about 6 mo left now) -- not to mention that my boards, which I literally JUST signed up to take in two months, have to be taken within so many months of graduation in order to count towards my licensure.

Ugh, this is really NOT what I needed right now!

Any thoughts/suggestions/advice from those of you with experience with disc herniations/back pain would be much appreciated! Thanks (and sorry for the rant, it's been a long week).

Skeye

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/7/2017 1:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi skeye , Gosh it's been a long time since I've seen you Post! I'm really sorry to hear about your back problems! Well hopefully it will not keep you from finishing up vet school! The steroid (prednisone) should help with your pain and get the inflammation down, it's just the nasty side effect that accompanies it thats bad!! Physical therapy should also help at least a little. It might not be a bad idea to talk with your pain management doctor about the injection and anything else he can do to relieve yor sciatica pain and get you through your schooling! Back in January of 2013 I had a foraminotomy at L2 through L5 and the surgeon told me then that my L5 disc was shot and I would soon need a discectomy and fusion. Yes I have severe sciatica pain both sides. I've didn't have the Surgery instead I have an implanted pain pump that was put in, in June of 2014. It takes care of the sciatica pain very very well! I can definitely empathize with what your going Through!

You know skeye I suppose that it is possible that when you got that lumbar epidural that it could have compromised that disc, depending if the poked it allot trying to get the needle in and also the size of the needle. Disc can be tough to put a needle through especially the smaller diameter ones , so if they used a bigger stronger one and poked it around to get it in, I suppose it's possible??? But it would be all but impossible to prove that, that was the actual cause!

I'm really sorry your having all these Problems! I do wish you all the best skeye and hope this all works out well for You!

Good luck skeye! Keep us all informed of your condition and progress we ( I) do care,

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 2/7/2017 6:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Skeye, so sorry to read what you are dealing with. Back pain & sciatica not fun. My thoughts are if the epidural caused it I would think the pain would have appeared much sooner rather than later. I am assuming you have had an MRI done on your back for the dr to give this dx.

I do hope the steroids will help calm things down. You mentioned the possibly talking to your PM dr about doing an eppie. I would be careful overloading my system with steroids. And by chance if you have not had an MRI yet, I would not do an eppie until I saw what the MRI shows.

Hopefully the combo of the oral steroids & PT will give you the relief you need. Keep us posted. Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

(Seashell)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 2/7/2017 7:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Skeye:
The vast majority of disc protrusions successfully reduce and heal on their own. I would keep this faith and hope alive and within your internal conversation with yourself - that time and the body's natural healing will be your best recourse.

The course of oral prednisone seems reasonable but I agree with Susie that you would want an MRI showing a definitive herniation before agreeing to a longer and contracted period of steroids.

Prednisone is a potent anti-inflammatory and will have good potential of reducing disc protrusion and the accompanying swelling and inflammation around the disc and nerve root . . . quieting your sciatica pain.

Keep moving with low impact, gentle walking. The surrounding lumbar muscles will want to spasm, which can cause its own rebound muscle pain. Gentle, low impact walking will be a good friend. If you have access to a warm pool that would also be beneficial. Gentle stretching. You want to keep moving as you can tolerate.

I would avoid too early of an epidural injection as a treatment intervention. Corticosteroids are not benign medications (as I am sure that you are aware through your veterinary training). An epidural injection is usually a whopping 100 mg dose of prednisolone. The risk of pituitary suppression (and subsequent adrenal gland suppression) is always real and present.

Best Advice: Do not let your mind wander to worse case scenario thoughts and outcomes. Keep a hopeful internal dialogue that your disc protrusion will retract on its own (as do the majority of protrusions).

Keep to the oral course of steroids. You should experience a dampening of the referred leg pain with the benefit of the steroids. Keep to a gentle program of moving and gentle stretching.

The vast majority of disc protrusions are posterior. Try lying on your stomach. That is often enough of an anterior force that pressure on the protrusion is lessened. If lying on your stomach brings an ounce of relief, then try coming up onto your elbows - gently and gradually. Do not force the position. Again, this posture encourages an anterior moment on the disc material and can oft be enough to encourage a reduction of the disc material. Listen to your body. Act on the information your body is telling you.

Above all, do not let this situation lead you into a dark place. The disc protrusion is new/fresh and has good likelihood of reducing fully with time and patience and the oral prednisone. Completing veterinarian school and your board exams are all still possible.

I was in the professional physical therapy program when I had a large kidney calculus make itself known. The stone was too large for lithotripsy and was blocking my ureter - surgery was the only option. I was able to complete my studies after a 2 month hiatus. In fact, my fresh incision was a model for my classmates to practice adhesion lessening massage techniques. The point being: Maybe your disc protrusion will have a greater purpose or teaching that you can bring to bear in your veterinary practice and in your workings with your animal clients and their paw-rents (parents).

All 10 of my fingers and toes crossed that you begin to feel better,
- karen -

Post Edited ((Seashell)) : 2/7/2017 6:57:58 AM (GMT-7)


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/11/2017 5:46 PM (GMT -6)   
White Beard,

You're right, it has been a long time! I had been doing fairly well up until now (the ketamine infusions have made all the difference in the world for me), so between that and the lack of time on clinics, I haven't been around HW much. I agree with you about the side effects of prednisone -- no fun -- but it was definitely worth trying, especially since I can't take NSAIDs, and we needed to find some way to try and bring the inflammation down.

I've been on the pred now for 6 days, but unfortunately, it hasn't helped significantly. If anything, I'm getting worse. My sciatic pain extends all the way down into my foot, but it had been worst from my butt to the back of my knee. Now the worst pain extends to halfway down my calf, and it is also starting to wrap around the medial aspect of my knee and foot, too, rather than just being posteriolateral. I've also gone from having a diminished achilles reflex and normal patellar reflex to no achilles reflex and a diminished patellar reflex in that leg. And I also have worsening weakness in the leg (not horrible, but apparent). Saw my doc (just a GP at the University health center) again last night because my PT was really concerned, but the doc didn't have too much more to say. Told me not to drop my prednisone dose today, as I was supposed to/to stay at 40 mg/day until I run out. And she also added in a muscle relaxer, but so far all that seems to do is make me lethargic/sleepy, it's not helping with the pain. She offered me pain meds, too, but I turned her down, as I would have to stop my low dose naltrexone and intranasal ketamine if I were to take them, and although neither of those meds really seem to be helping my back right now, I doubt the pain meds would be much better, and the LDN and ketamine are really important for helping to keep my CRPS under control.

I did ask both the PT and doctor about whether or not the epidural from my surgery could have contributed to this. They both said "possibly, but pretty unlikely." I still just find it strange that there was so much blood, but I suppose the cause doesn't really matter, anyway.

Hope you (and Pumpkin) are doing well! I think about you every time I have a patient that is a Cavi!

Skeye

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/11/2017 6:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Susie. I have not had any imaging done other than radiographs, which were taken by a chiropractor (so they were not interpreted by a radiologist). Of course you can't see a disc herniation on rads, but there were some very obvious degenerative changes at L5 (osteophytes, irregular surface to the vertebral body, and anterior luxation of L5). I do realize that most of the population my age and older has degenerative changes to their spine visible on rads, regardless of whether or not they have clinical signs of spinal disease, but all of my clinical signs are consistent with a disc herniation at L5/S1. So although it theoretically could be something else, disc herniation is by far the most likely diagnosis.

I can't have MRI's because of my neurostimulator, so it would have to be a CT or CT/myelogram, but my doctor said that studies have proven that it's not worth doing any advanced imaging until you are 4 wks out (I'm currently 2 wks into this). Plus, both of us are kind of of the opinion that even if we did the imaging now, what is it going to change? Probably nothing, because it's not like we're not going to rush into surgery or anything right now.

And don't worry, I couldn't do the epidural right away, anyway (not if I'm to do it with my regular PM). It wouldn't be until the middle of March, when I go for my next set of ketamine infusions. I run out of prednisone on Monday, so unless my doc decides to put me back on it, the pred should be long out of my system by then. Although I'm really hoping that by the middle of March I'm better and won't need an epidural, anyway!

Skeye

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/11/2017 6:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Seashell,

Thanks, that's what my doc said, too, which is good to hear. Although I do find it a bit concerning that things are getting worse rather than better, but my doctor said that something things do get worse before they get better, so not to worry just yet (I'm not overly worried, it's just very frustrating/difficult because of all the significant new limitations that I have now, on top of what I was already dealing with from all of my other health problems).

Keeping moving is definitely not a problem, because I have no choice unless I take time off. I'm usually on my feet in the hospital for anywhere from 12 -15 hours and walk 4 - 5 mi within the hospital on any given day, often 7 days a week. Although I am having a hard time standing for more than about 10 minutes, so I am finding that I have to sit and rest more than normal (which my doctor said is weird, because most people with disc herniations find sitting really painful, but I find it much less painful than standing/walking/lying down), but overall I'm still just as active (just slow and painful). Stretching is more of a problem. I've been trying, but even tiny movements significantly worsen my pain. And I definitely can't lay on my stomach -- that is probably the most painful position of all. :-( Even my PT is afraid to do much of anything with me at the moment. We've mostly just been doing tens, heat, and a little gentle movement and massage.

I hear you in regards to steroids. I honestly hate both taking them and prescribing them, because they wreak such havoc on the body. But unfortunately, sometimes they are necessary. I just wish they were helping more. The only improvement that I've noticed since I started taking them 6 days ago, is that I can stand up a tiny bit straighter, but the sciatic pain and neurologic dysfunction has actually worsened.

And I totally get what your saying with this being a teaching/learning opportunity for me. I feel that way of all my health problems. I've gone through a lot in the last 10+ years, and as difficult as it has been, I have learned a lot both about myself and how to better relate to my patients and clients. And I know that all of this will make me a better doctor! I just have to get through it first!

Skeye

Post Edited (skeye) : 2/11/2017 5:23:48 PM (GMT-7)


White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/11/2017 7:36 PM (GMT -6)   
skeye that does not sound good you losing your reflexes and weakness, I really think you need to see a neurologist or neurosurgeon, if that nerve root is being impinged to much you could develop paralysis ( not saying you would but as you know this is not a good sign) You really should be evaluated by a specialist to see what they say. A GP is fine, but not for symptoms like your having, I would recommend seeing a good neurologist or better yet a neurosurgeon specializing in lower back problems!

Pumpkin and I are doing fine (both of us are over weight, but now on a diet!) She snores very very loud for being such a small dog! Of course she is spoiled rotten. My brother inlaw says I have ruined her, because she will not eat food out of a dish, she prefers to be hand fed! I wonder where she acquired such weird traits and habits! (smile) Every evening she sits on my lap with her dish of food and I feed her supper! Ha Most gentle and loving dog I've ever had! But she is determined and stubborn, when she wants to be! and never tires out from playing fetch! Ha

I do hope your alright skeye!!!, I really don't like the sounds of what your describing, it is not worth taking chances with, please get it properly checked out soon! I will keep you in my prayers, and of course I wish you all the best!,

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/12/2017 10:11 AM (GMT -6)   
White Beard,

Unfortunately, it is easier said than done to see a specialist with my insurance, as you have to be referred through the GP's at the University's health center (if the specialist is local), and so if the GP at the health center chooses not to refer me, then there's not really much I can do. I do see my ortho this coming week for a recheck of my knee, and although he doesn't really do spines, I think that there are other docs in his practice that do, and so maybe he might be able to help in some way (maybe he might be able to refer me? not sure whether or not he can do that).

Glad you and Pumpkin are doing well. Dogs should be spoiled rotten. ;-) I know mine are!

Skeye

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/12/2017 11:16 PM (GMT -6)   
skeye I think it would definitely be well worth your time talking to your ortho that is treating your knee, about all your back problems and how it is affecting your leg. Even though he specializes in Knees, he might be able to help you or get one of the other doctor in that practice to help you. It definitely wouldn't hurt trying anyway! I would just about bet he could do a referral, and I am sure he would probably be more qualified to make that call than your normal GP! It sure won't hurt to ask him/her anyway, and just make sure you tell them everything that is going on. I will just about bet that doc will check your back and reflexes out and do something about it! Please keep us all informed on how you are doing and how this all pans out for you! I'll say a prayer that things work out for you!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/13/2017 6:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, White Beard. Today was a really horrible day. I'm not supposed to see my ortho until Thursday, but I'm thinking that if I'm not any better tomorrow, I might try to get in with the GP again and pled with her for a referral, because I'm doing really really poorly and things just seem to keep getting worse -- even after having rested for the better part of 2 days this weekend. Right now I'm not sure how I'm going to get though the rest of the week, seeing as I barely made it though today. And according to some other docs I've talked to, 2+ weeks out (especially with weakness and lack of reflexes) is an acceptable timeframe to start doing some imaging and get the ball rolling with a referral, even though the University doc had said 4 wks.

One of the neurology residents here is also supposed to be getting me a list of names in regards to both other PT's and human neurologists/neurosurgeons in the area that he has connections with and might be able to help. He saw me hobbling down the hallway today, and I must have looked pretty awful, because he stopped me to see what was wrong and what he could do to help!

Anyways, I'm still hoping that this is going to resolve on it's own, but I don't like the direction in which things seem to be headed. This is just NOT what I needed right now...

Skeye

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/14/2017 12:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Skeye I'm really sorry that things are getting worse for you and I sure hope that neurology resident can connect you up with someone that can help you! I bet if your GP was going through what you are, he wouldn't be waiting 2 or 4 weeks to get a referral to a specialist! That is pure BS as far as I'm concerned! If you have a badly impinge nerve root waiting is only going to make things worse! I honestly can sympathize, and also empathize with You! I know what I went through on my first herniated disc in my neck, the military doctors shuffled me around for 3 or more months before finally doing the right test and sending me to the right doctor! Absolutely no excuse for that type of treatment! You just have to be your own best advocate and just keep pressing them, until someone listens and does something for you!

Your in my thoughts and Prayers! Please keep us posted on what happens and how your Doing!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/14/2017 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Ugh, I can't imagine 3 mo like this! Went back to the health center again today, as I'm even worse (both pain and weakness wise). Saw a different doc, and she agreed that it was time for some imaging and a referral. So tomorrow they will call and schedule a CT myelogram and a neurosurgeon consult for me (it was too late to do either today by the time the doc finished with me). In the mean time, she switched me to a different muscle relaxer, as the one I was on was not helping, and offered me pain meds, which I again turned down. Hope they are able to get me in for the imaging, etc soon, but I have a feeling that it might be a week or more, as I think it has to be done by a specific radiologist, who is only at the hospital periodically.

Skeye

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/14/2017 9:31 PM (GMT -6)   
skeye you've had a MRI done right? a CT myelogram is a good imaging tool too, but be aware getting a myelogram is no picnic! The first one I ever had was no fun at all! Second one I was given conscious sedation and it wasn't to bad, other than they nicked the nerve and the pain the next day was unreal so they had to give me decadron to get it under control, and that helped allot.

Anyway I am glad they are doing something for you, hopefully you won't have to wait very long to get it! When they schedule it I hope they stress that it needs to get done as soon as possible!! Once they do it, and if it shows that there is major problems, you can bet you will be seeing that neurosurgeon very quickly! I hope you can get this all resolved soon!

Boy you have had a real dickens of a time getting through this vet school haven't you! It has been one thing after another! But your tough and I have faith that one way or the other you will persevere and make through all this and will graduate from vet school and become an outstanding Vet! Just hang there skeye!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

Post Edited (White Beard) : 2/14/2017 8:36:27 PM (GMT-7)


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/15/2017 6:28 PM (GMT -6)   
No MRIs because of the neurostimulator, unfortunately. First they can get me in for the CT/myelogram is next Friday. :-( Hopefully it won't be any worse than an LP -- not fun, but not horrible. Never would have agreed to the neurostimulator if I knew that it was going to cause so many problems with not being able to have MRI's (at the time I didn't anticipate ever needing much in the way of MRI's, but now this is twice in one year that I've needed one and had to go with a CT w/ a somewhat invasive contrast injection instead).

Still waiting to hear from the neurosurgeon. They are supposed to call me after they receive my records, but I doubt they'll want to see me before I have the CT done.

And yes, it's been a hell of a long and difficult journey. Was not anticipating any more problems! I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to take at least the next rotation (next 2 wks off) because I'm struggling so badly and I'm not even on a strenuous rotation at the moment. So that'll add even more time to the end. But I'll get there...eventually...

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/15/2017 8:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi skeye I totally forgot about you having that neuro Stimulator! Yes I can see how that changes things allot for You! So you have to wait around ten days before getting the CT Myelogram? That's a real bummer!!! You know skeye It's about the same as an LP but instead of just taking spinal fluid out they're also putting dye In! As long as they don't have a problem with getting the needle in I guess it's not terribly terribly bad?? But definitely not the most pleasant procedure to have done either!!

Yes You will make it through skeye!! I just hope this doesn't set you back to Far! I'm continuing to keep you in my prayers! Between now and your next appointments just be very very careful and extremely gentle with yourself! And remember we're all here for you!

White Beard

P.S. for such a small dog Pumpkin sure has a LOUD snore!,, LOL
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

Post Edited (White Beard) : 2/15/2017 7:10:09 PM (GMT-7)


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/16/2017 6:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, White Beard!

Yeah, unfortunately that was the first appointment that I could get. It's a small hospital, and I don't think they do procedures like this every day, as I'm pretty sure the last time I was there they told me that all the joint and spinal contrast injections are only done by one specific radiologist. I looked into going elsewhere (one of the hospitals in a bigger city an hour and a half away), but my insurance will only cover 100% if it is done at our local hospital or the one a couple towns over (they had an even longer wait, and that hospital is also a bit sketchy). I did ask to be put on the cancellation list, though, so maybe something will come up sooner...

My ortho did look at my back today when I went in for a recheck of my knee. He was definitely concerned about the weakness and severity of the pain, but he said that he was still optimistic that this will resolve on it's own within another couple weeks. He put me back on steroids, even though I didn't think that they helped. And he told me to call him if I can't get in with the neurosurgeon, and he'd be happy to see me again or try to facilitate things with the neurosurgeon for me, which was really nice.

It's been a very long week, and I am so ready for it to be over. I'm thankful that my chief, residents, and techs on my current rotation have all been super understanding and empathetic. Unfortunately, the students on this rotation have not been the same. One in particular has been super obnoxious to me about the other students having had to occasionally help out with some very minor (and fast and easy) treatments on my inpatient while I was away at doctors appointments or physical therapy. And this afternoon the same girl essentially screamed at me in front of all the other students when I had to ask for another student to volunteer to come in to help with treatments tonight (per my chief's request -- not mine -- as we have multiple inpatients and he felt that even though I was assigned to treatments tonight, I could not take care of them all by myself in my current state (he was right)) about how unfair it is, and how if the other students have to pick up my (very minimal) slack, I have no place being on clinics at all (ummm, what does she think would happen if I wasn't there AT ALL?? Then there WOULD be some MAJOR slack to pick up!!). I've honestly never been with such a nasty group of students. Usually there is a great atmosphere of team work, and everyone is more than willing to help out when someone is in trouble, because they would want that person to do the same for them if and when the situation was reversed! All I can say is that I hope these folks never have a serious health problem that interferes with their work, or God-forbid, when they are out in the real world, they never have an employee that gets hurt or calls in sick!

Ugh, anyways, one more day of dealing with them. Sorry for venting, that whole situation just pushed me over the edge today. And it doesn't help that tomorrow I have to meet with another clinician about possibly having to take my next rotation off or modify it in some way to accommodate for my back problems, and I ALREADY heard another student complaining about THAT this morning (I had sent the next group of students an email last night to let them know that I may or may not be on the rotation & so it might affect the on-call schedule). What am I supposed to say? I'm sorry that my serious health issues are making life a little less convenient for you?! :-p

Skeye

Post Edited (skeye) : 2/16/2017 5:45:18 PM (GMT-7)


(Seashell)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 2/16/2017 6:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Skeye:
I have been following your thread with hope and faith . . and am saddened to read that your neuro-symptoms persist.

I have had the non-honor of struggling with serious health issues for the past 5 years. I never imagined that my life's trajectory would be so altered as it has been by serious illness. It has been a humbling experience and one that has given me deep personal perspective.

I grew up in a family that was forced to contend with serious health struggles. My brother, three years my senior, suffered from refractory epilepsy with grand mal seizures (often 2-3 grand mal seizures a day). He was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at the age of 16 (a Grade IV glioblastoma). This was in 1978 . . . there were no chemotherapy options for brain tumors; there were no CT scanners; there were no MRI techniques to guide surgeons in their work. My brother was given 6 months to live. As a family, we hunkered down and awaited what seemed inevitable.

But this story has a "good story" ending. My brother did not die. My brother is alive and well today, having just celebrated his 60th birthday.

How? The tissue samples of my brother's tumor remain as a case study at Stanford University in California and at MSKK in New York. My brother was ahead of the times. It appears that my brother's own immune system identified and eradicated the malignant tumor that remained after a partial surgical debulking. My brother's body intuitively knew what oncology researchers are unleashing with recent advances in immunotherapy for solid mass tumors.

The Learning: Never doubt the ability of the human body to heal in and of itself. Always try to rein in worst case scenarios, maintain a realistic hopefulness.

My brother's health odyssey shaped me to my core. I studied to become a physical therapist based on my brother's health experiences. It was truly the profession that God/Higher Power had in mind for me. I was blessed with a natural gift in my work and it showed me the power of human connection in this world of increasingly depersonalized health care.

Two months before I entered the professional physical therapy program, I found myself in the hospital having an open abdominal laparotomy. I had an incision that looked like a large shark bite. I worried if I would be able to attend the first days/weeks of the professional program, just as you are worried about your ability to complete your veterinary program and residency trainings.

The good news is that I was able to attend the first day of classes of the physical therapy program. I was able to complete the two and a half year program . . . with a bit of grit and personal fortitude. My abdominal incision and scar became a point of education for the entire class when we came to study soft tissue mobilization techniques. At least my health speed-bump came to serve a larger purpose.

My sense is that you will make it through the lumbar disc derangement that is center front in your vision at this moment in time. You will make it through to better days of health and well being. You will be able to complete your veterinary training and practicums. And this lumbar disc experience, as messy and painful and inconvenient and horrible as it is, will shape you to be the best of the best among veterinarians - because you will have the true capacity of empathy both for your animal patients and their human parents.

Your neuro-symptoms, while noteworthy and worrisome, can be successfully treated. And you are on the path to getting the imaging you need to then decide next steps. Keep your focus on the immediate here and now. Small steps forward toward reducing the disc protrusion. Keep working with your medical providers as you are. Take time to nourish your emotional health and to reduce the stress, as best as you can.

I have had a surgical lumbar microdisectomy for a completely avulsed disc. As a physical therapist working with spinal cord injury patients, you can likely sense the stress that my lower back endured (and I am a wee person of 85 pounds). My recovery was A-OK. Once the pressure had been relieved from the nerve root, I felt as though I could have danced in the hospital hallway. The relief was immediate as I came out of the anesthesia.

My little dog, Molly, is having her own health issues of recent. She is 13 years of age. This little dog is my soul mate, the bond between us a once in a lifetime bond. Molly has a new internal medicine veterinarian on her case. I am immensely impressed with the depth of knowledge and care being provided to Molly by each of the veterinarians and technicians. I can sense in you these same qualities . . . compassion, knowledge and learning, empathy, and foraging of a true bond with your future animal patients.

In the truest meaning of the word, keep faith and hope in your body and in its ability to heal. Keep alive a glimmer of hopefulness. And if you are in need of someone to help support you, I am here . . . as is WhiteBeard, as is Susie, as are those members who read quietly but do not post. There is a lot of positive energy flowing your direction. Allow your body to receive it. And live in the faith that others sincerely care for you and are wishing you the best in healing and recovery.

Sending you a tail wag, from Molly, with a sing-song Maltese of "rooo roooo roooo." Anyone who knows a maltese knows of the breed's spirited sing-song.

Nameste,
- Karen -
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/16/2017 7:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Karen,

Thank you so much for your kind words and the inspiring stories about your brother's and your health journeys. The positive energy and reassurance is definitely helpful. And you're right, the body does have a remarkable power to heal.

I certainly haven't given up hope yet, but no doubt it is hard to stay positive when you are in so much pain and struggling just to be able to stand or walk, let alone do your everyday tasks or care for yourself and your dogs (I live alone and have no one to help me, and I don't even have any real friends that I could ask for help). I already have quite a few significant medical problems that I deal with/impact my life on a daily basis, and now with this back issue, it's just very overwhelming.

My ortho, who I saw today and really love, also told me to keep the faith. He said that even though things look bad right now, he still wouldn't be surprised if I heal on my own within the next couple weeks. So I was happy to hear that. Certainly the last thing that I want is another surgery, especially since I'm at a high risk of complications given my history of CRPS.

Anyways, I'm trying the best I can to stay positive, so I really appreciate all your kind words!

I hope Molly is okay, but at least it sounds like you've got so,e good vets on her case. I totally understand the bond that you have with her. My two dogs are my world, but one in particular I also feel is my soul mate. I don't know where I would be without either of them, but especially him. He's 8 now, and he also has health problems of his own, and it is so hard to think that he is getting older! My dogs take care of me just as much as I take care of them, if not more! I pretty much owe my life to them, because they are what keep me going every day, and they have gotten me through some really tough, dark times. I can't imagine life without them!

Skeye

(Seashell)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 2/16/2017 10:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Skeye:
Please do not think that I am advocating that you think only thoughts of unicorns and rainbows. I do understand how taxing chronic health is on one's emotional self and internal dialogue, as I live with compromised health myself.

I am suggesting that you (and me, as well) try to hold onto a sliver of faith in a bettering of your situation.

As a physical therapist, I saw many disc protrusions that reduced successfully with time and patience and gentle movement over the span of 4-5 weeks. Your orthopedist is speaking from a point of realistic optimism for you. Hold onto his words as a glimmer of light.

I, too, have close to zero support in terms of family, friends, or outside resources. My mother is my closest support. However, her involvement is more demoralizing than helpful. It makes my situation even more sad.

You've got this forum. And that's significant. The people here are real. And the support and comments to you are authentic and from the heart. Do not feel alone.

Molly, my tea-cup Maltese, is my world. I would be adrift in a sea of despair if it were not for Molly. She is a little 6 pound bundle of pure white fur with jet black eyes and nose. I keep her in the "puppy cut." Because she is so adorable, people constantly ask me about her. It is through Molly that I engage with other people. Without Molly, I would be a total introvert.

I am rooting for you in your veterinary studies. I can see in your posts and writings your innate passion and love for animals - all creatures great and small. You will make an outstanding veterinarian. I would want you to take care of my Molly.

For now, try to compartmentalize this difficult period in your life. Keep your internal embers softly glowing.

I honestly do understand the burden of trying to live a normal life when weighted with chronic health conditions. It is not an easy pathway. But I see in you such potential . . . for a good life, a gentle life, a life that that is yours.

Molly and I are sending you positive karma. Just tuck this karma into your pocket when you start your day tomorrow. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.
- Karen -
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

(Seashell)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 2/19/2017 10:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Skeye:
Just checking in with you . . . as you have been on my mind.

I know that your lumbar disc protrusion has been weighing heavily on your body and soul and even your veterinary school studies. The whole schebang.

I want to continue to offer support to you as one human being to another, one friend to another. I tried to download a photograph of my little maltese, Molly, to bring you a smile but I was not successful.

Know that I continue to send you positive energy and prayer for a good resolution to your lumbar disc. Molly sends you her maltese sing-song of "rooooo rooooo roo."
- Karen -

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/19/2017 8:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Karen! I appreciate all your kind words and support!

I'm doing about the same -- hanging in there, but not doing great at all. I did decide to take this next rotation (2 wks) off and add the time on to the end, as there is just no way that I can do large animal work right now. And then I'm off for 3 weeks for my ketamine infusions, so I'll have a total of 5 wks off. It's frustrating, but at the same time, being off clinics will give me some much needed time to study for boards and work on my upcoming senior seminar paper and presentation. So it's not all bad.

Despite everything I'm going through, I did have a really good weekend, though. My parents and their dog came up to celebrate my birthday, and the weather this weekend was absolutely gorgeous (highs in the 50's and 60's -- average for this time of year is probably around 20). The dogs even went swimming in the lake twice today! The water was freezing, but they didn't seem to care!

Still waiting to hear back about seeing the neurosurgeon (I called on Friday and was told that I should hear by Monday or Tuesday), but my CT/myelogram is scheduled for Friday. Not looking forward to having that done, but I am looking forward to getting some more info about whatever is going on.

Skeye

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/21/2017 12:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi skeye I think taking that next rotation off was probably the best thing to Do! At least it will give you time to give your back some physical stress relief. I hope that CT Myelogram sheds some light on what exactly is causing all these Problems. And hopefully it can be resolved without having to have surgery! But if it can't and surgery does becomes necessary, I personally don't think it's the worse thing that can happen! As I've had very good results with all the spinal surgeries I've had! Recovery is no picnic but the end results were worth It!

I truely empathize with what your going through Skeye! I hope the rest of this week goes by fast for you, and you finally can get some answers and treatment Soon!

Peace be with You!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3043
   Posted 2/24/2017 7:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, the CT/myelogram is done. The myelogram was NOT fun by any means. The actual insertion of the needle and everything was no worse than when I had a lumbar puncture done, but I had to lie on my stomach for quite a while, which is severely painful. They actually had to give me some fentanyl just for me to be able to lie there, because it was so painful. And even then, my systolic BP was 180+ because of pain. And then when they injected the contrast, the pain going down my left leg, and some into my right became so severe that my BP jumped up to over 200 systolic, my pulse was 180+, and I almost passed out from the pain (I think that was the first true 10/10 pain I've ever experienced). They were only able to get about 2/3 of the contrast in because the pain was so bad. They did give me some more fentanyl after/during the injection, but with my tolerance and metabolism issues, it barely touched the pain.

Thankfully, the CT itself wasn't too bad, though. They let me keep my legs elevated, otherwise lying on my back would also have been extremely painful.

Obviously I haven't gotten the radiology report back yet, since the imaging was just done today. But I looked at the images and there is definitely a pretty severe disc herniation at L5/S1, and maybe a more minor herniation at L4/L5. There is major compression of the left nerve root at L5/S1 (the nerve root was basically obliterated by disc material), and some minor compression of the right nerve root. All pretty much what you'd expect based on my symptoms.

I see the neurosurgeon on Wednesday. I'm also going to call my PM on Monday and see if I can schedule an appointment to see him when I'm home in a couple weeks to talk about all this, and possibly schedule an epidural. All I can say for now, though, is that I'm glad that that darn myelogram is over!

Skeye

Post Edited (skeye) : 2/24/2017 6:21:21 PM (GMT-7)


White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3667
   Posted 2/24/2017 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi skeye I'm glad you got that done and made it through the Ordeal! Myelogram's are tough!!! You've have under went so much for being so Young! It amazes me how strong you Are! I'm glad your seeing the neurosurgeon soon! Although I don't want to see you have surgery I do hope he can help you! That sciatica pain can be the worst! And I really do empathize with you!! If the neurosurgeon does recommend surgery would you have it done there or at home?

I continue to keep you in my prayers skeye. Continue to be strong!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
39 posts in this thread.
Viewing Page :
 1  2 
Forum Information
Currently it is Monday, October 23, 2017 2:25 AM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 2,885,896 posts in 316,663 threads.
View Active Threads


Who's Online
This forum has 157759 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, nihaomamm07.
271 Guest(s), 4 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
07kr5, Saipan Paradise, mrdude, testuser1234


Follow HealingWell.com on Facebook  Follow HealingWell.com on Twitter  Follow HealingWell.com on Pinterest
Advertisement
Advertisement

©1996-2017 HealingWell.com LLC  All rights reserved.

Advertise | Privacy Policy & Disclaimer