Posted 3/26/2016 12:43 AM (GMT -7)
I wanted to give my experience of my recent surgery I had on the 29/1/2016 as I found there is so many negative posts about this type of sugery online I was really worried about having it done.
I am 34 year old male and have had back issues for a long time, the first time when I was 15 due to a betterware round and overloading the bags I carried the books in. I was in hospital for a month at that time but once the symptoms had gone I was released and I was fine until I was 22. At the time I was a glazier and frequently BLT'ing (bending, lifting and twisting) with heavy weights most days. At that time I could not stand straight after sitting and the sciatic pain had started in my left leg. I had some traction and some Physio and got the pain under control, I was also sent for an mri and this is when they found the first disc herniation. I was offered a discectomy at that time but was also advised against it if possible in case of complications as I was only 23. I carried on with my life, work, kids etc etc
Fast forward 10 years and in this time I was still in a job bad for my back, had injured my back weight lifting, and was riding motorcross but on the whole my back was no strong enough to support its self and or though I used to get some sciatic pain in my left leg generally as long as I didn't BLT I would be fine. During the summer of 2015 I started getting a lot of back pain and the sciatica was almost unbearable but due to the Mx I had good core strength and this was keeping the worst of it at bay (unbeknown to me at the time) I had changed jobs and took a desk job, started Physio again and stopped motorcross thinking that this would help but the combination of the constant sitting (driving, meetings, cad drawing etc) and the loss in core strength columnated in me being completely bed ridden by the middle of December 2015.
I had been having the Physio through my private health care but my policy does not cover emergency care so as I was now at the point where I could not walk, had loss of motion and numbness in my left leg and had problems going to the toilet I was advised to go to a+e. Now I don't want to sound ungrateful to the nhs because I think they do a brilliant job with the resources they have but I had a really bad experience with them, long story short I was left laying in the middle of a freezing cold A+E waiting room floor for 4 hours and when I was eventually seen not given any pain killers for another 4 hours, I was then admitted but due to the bed shortages had to sleep on a temporary bed in the corner of a ward with very elderly sevely ill people that meant I did not sleep at all for the 4 days I was in there, it took 24 hours to have the scan and another 48 for a doctor to come and tell me that they were not qualified to look at them and they would have to send them to kings college for a neurosurgeon to look at them there. The next day the doctor returned to tell me I would need surgery but kings college would not treat it as an emergency so I would have to go on the waiting list. This was actually good news in my case due to the fact that my private health care would kick in but I dead to think what would have happened if I hadn't have had it. I discharged myself and booked an appointment to see a private neurosurgeon. 3 days later I went to the appointment, completely unprepared at I thought it would just be a consultation. Immediately as soon as the consultant had me in the room she explained that I needed emergency surgery and that she would be operating on me 9am the next morning. She showed me the mri and I had two badly herniated discs one of which the herniated material had slipped down the spinal column and was completely compressing my spinal cord, her comments were she was surprised I made it to her office and if I didn't have immediate sugery I probably would have ended up paralysed.
This is where the motivation for this post came from, I then spent the next night trying to find out as much info as I could but the problem was all I could find was horror story's, this got me more worried and at one point I was wondering if it was worth it.
Operation and recovery
The next morning I was taken down for the op, this took a lot longer than expected but once I woke up the surgeon told me she was very happy with how it had all gone. Within 4 hours I was standing and going to the bathroom, the next day I also felt pretty good and or though obviously sore from the sugery I felt a different person. I still had some motion loss in my left foot and my right thigh now had a large patch of numbness but on the whole I was very happy. But then came my first lesson, due the the strong pain killers I was on I obviously done to much on day 2 cause by that night I was in agony and was worrying that I had damaged myself. This continued through day three but by day 4 I was walking around again and was discharged. The jorney home took it out of me again and by the time I was home I got in bed and couldn't move for another 24 hours. At this time I was getting myself more and more worried, the combination of now being at home with no one to ask if I could or couldn't do something and the horror story's I was still finding had me not sleeping very much.
I had done enough reading by now and came to the conclusion that no matter what I read worrying wasn't going to make anything better so I came up with the plan of stopping all the pain killers (at that point morphene, diazepam, Tramadol, ibropruphen and paracetamol) and listen to my body to tell me what I could and couldn't do. The only real info I kept being given from medical staff was to keep mobile but to rest as much as possible which is quite contradicting when even getting out the bed to go to the toilet seems like a marathon. Anyway I put my plan into action and within a couple of days I was completely drug free. I then would schedule a routeen, 20 mins laying down 10 mins walking or standing then until I could slowly increase the standing and walking. I could still not sit at this point and was experiencing a lot of pain but compared to the pain I had been in I was able to cope with it. Once I could walk or stand I started going on short walks out the house, round the block or to the kids school and once I was feeling a bit stronger around week three I started doing the same thing with sitting, cycling sitting walking and laying.
I am now at week 8 and I am back to about 50%, I can walk sit and drive pretty much as I please now, I still have the numbness in my right leg and the motion loss in my left foot but on the whole I feel great. I have been given the go ahead to start Physio, swimming, light gym work and Pilates so hopefully I can follow the same recovery path I have so far and will be back to 100% sooner rather than later.
My advise to anyone in that pain is to go for the operation, there are risks but when you can't function anymore the rewards warrant the risks. Know that the operation is going to knock you for six and that it is a worrying and lonely time post op, even if you have people around you you still feel alone and useless but if you can keep a positive mind set and just take everything one small step at a time you should be fine. I will post again further down my recovery.
Sorry this post is so long but I wanted to give a detailed discription.