Without going into all the details (it's a long & complicated story), I've had 3 back surgeries in the last 3 months.
The surgeries were:
1) L5-S1 microdiscectomy (left) at the beginning of June
2) L5-S1 exploratory/microdiscectomy (left) at the beginning of July
3) L5-S1 microdiscectomy (right) & L4-L5 facetectomy & foramenotomy (left) at the beginning of September
Prior to surgery, my symptoms were: severe pain in both legs (L>R) extending into the foot, and weakness in my left foot (partial foot drop). I also had significant functional limitations (particularly with the left leg) due to both pain and weakness.
Since my last surgery, 15 days ago, my left leg pain and function have slowly started to improve (the weakness is unchanged). However, my right leg pain has been much worse -- to the point where I required 5 days of hospitalization for pain control after surgery, and continue to have to take ER pain meds 3x/day, plus IR meds for breakthrough pain up to every 2 hrs -- and has remained mostly unchanged since waking up from anesthesia.
I was told not to worry about
the pain, as it is just from inflammation -- we essentially traded nerve root compression by disc/bone for nerve root compression by inflammation -- and that because of the number of times that my back had been
opened recently/the extent of the inflammation, it could be up to 8 - 10 weeks before I start to notice any significant improvement in my symptoms.
I won't deny that it sucks to be in so much pain, and to be even worse off now on one leg than I was before I went in to surgery. However, I'd been doing pretty well at not worrying about
it, and staying optimistic Actually, even though I feel worse physically after this surgery, I had been feeling significantly better mentally/emotionally, knowing that everything was finally fixed. Then, three days ago, I tripped on my right foot when I was out walking. I didn't fall, so I didn't think much of it. But as the day went on, I noticed that I was having a harder and harder time pushing off on my right foot as I walked. By the evening, I was barely able to lift my heel off the ground. And when I tried to stand on my toes, I couldn't...
I must admit, I'm a little freaked out by this. My left foot has been weak since the start of things. But I have NEVER had weakness in my right foot before! The only thing that I can think of is that like the pain, this new onset weakness is also from the inflammation, as I haven't done anything to warrant reherniation. However, I was under the impression that it took significantly
more nerve root compression to cause weakness vs. just pain. And nothing has changed that the inflammation should have increased by that much (pain is the same as it was before the weakness started, activity level has been the same, etc).
Thankfully I had an appointment to see the PA to get my sutures out the day after this started, and so I had him also look at my foot at that time. He is perplexed as well (said that this is highly abnormal). He offered to put me on steroids, in case the weakness is related to the inflammation. However, I turned him down, as I know that the neurosurgeon does not want me taking any more steroids, as they had to put me on massive doses of dexamethasone after this last surgery, & he's already afraid that I might not heal or might develop an infection due to the steroids plus the fact that my back has been
opened 3x now in a relatively short timespan... So the PA just told me not to worry about
it for now, but if it hasn't resolved by Monday, to call him, and they'll investigate it further.
I guess I was just wondering if anyone else has ever heard of or experienced something like this before. And if so, did it go away on it's own (as would/should be the case if this is just due to inflammation), or if it was the start of more serious problems?
Any words of wisdom, advice, or even just support would be appreciated! Thanks!
PS - Sorry about
the length of this. I did not realize how much I wrote until I saw the post after it was submitted...
Post Edited (skeye) : 9/25/2017 6:12:27 PM (GMT-6)