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Laminectomy/Discectomy 30 days post op

Hello to all. I am 37 years old from Long Island, NY & Just wanted to share my story, with the hopes of someone who is considering this surgery, or if you have already had this surgery. Let me first say that so far I am pain free. I say this with tears in my eyes because I NEVER thought that I would see the light at the end of the tunnel on this terrifying journey. My story started December 16th, 2010 which was my first day on maternity leave, and two weeks before I gave birth to my daughter. I woke up that morning and was not able to put pressure on my right leg whatsoever. Shooting pain from my buttocks, down to my foot. I went to the Orthopedic after my daughter was born. I had an x-Ray & MRI, and sure enough I had herniations in my L4, L5-S1 from my rapid weight gain during pregnancy & my daughter weighed 9 lbs. My journey then started with cortisone shots, painful epidural injections & physical therapy. None of those things helped. This lasted for almost 2 years, until I lost 51 lbs in 4 months & the pain went totally away. Thinking I'm "out of the woods" for good with back pain, I continued on with enjoying life, NEVER thinking that this nightmare would ever come back.....But it did with a vengeance. In July of 2015, I started feeling slight pain again shooting down my right leg, and about 1 week later the pain was "full blown" and worse than what I experienced the first time around. Walked completely sideways & needed assistance via a cane. Thinking that I was all too familiar with "the beast" ( that's what I call sciatica), I immediately started dieting, as I had eventually gained the 51 pounds that I lost. As I was losing weight, the pain got worse to the point that I ended up COMPLETELY bed ridden. Went down the familiar road of cortisone shots, epidural injections, physical therapy which have failed. Just when I thought that my body couldn't possibly experience anymore agonizing pain, it was kicked up a few notches where at that point I was in and out of the hospital on a weekly basis for two months. Death was welcomed at that point. That's how bad the pain was. I wished to go through the pain of 26 hours of childbirth everyday, because I knew that was a familiar pain I could handle. When you wish for the pain of child birth over sciatica, then you know your eyeball deep in crap!! My husband & four year old daughter where being affected by this as well. My back pain changed the mood, & daily operations of my household. I knew at that point that I needed to take the advice of my Orthopedic, Neurologist & doctors from my many visits to the hospital, to start looking into back surgery. My MRI from October of 2015 showed injury to the same discs, but much worse. Another MRI I had one month later in November of 2015 was worse than the one from the month before. I have went to three different surgeons. As much pain as I was in, I did not feel like those spine surgeons were the one. I felt no compassion at all, and felt like they were just looking to make another buck off of me. In a last ditch effort, after I was laying on the floor I'm my Neurologist's waiting room crippled in pain ( yes I in fact was laying on the floor), she gave me a piece of paper with the name of a Neurosurgeon, & told me to call her immediately. My consult with the neurosurgeon came 2 weeks later ( December 2015 ). I couldn't sit at all & after an examination, and review of my current MRI, she was troubled by the fact that I should have had this surgery months ago, and said that she was booked until the first week of February but said that she would do my surgery in two weeks. As bad shape as I was in, I put my daughter first & didn't want to ruin Christmas & her birthday. My back pain put her through a lot too. I asked her If I can stick it out through the upcoming Christmas holiday & have the surgery in January & she said she would fit me in. I'm very much a creature of habit, and needed that time to prepare my daughter for what will be going on with me having surgery. My husband not so much because he had a back fusion almost 15 years ago, so he knew what I was in for with back surgery. I tried to keep my eye on the prize that relief was coming very soon, but my anxiety & fear trumped that. My mother passed away 5 years earlier from a doctor's mistake during a routine procedure, which left her dead an hour later. I thought that history would repeat itself, and that I would meet the same fate. You can't really blame me for having those thoughts. I expressed these thoughts to my Neurosurgeon & she comforted me while I was explaining my Mother's sudden death, and she truly has restored my faith in doctors. Compassion is what I needed & she gave that to me.

My life changed on January 14th, 2016. My nervousness was in full gear that morning. I did have a laugh, watching all of the nurses running around nervous, getting me ready for the Neurosurgeon to come bring me into the "clubhouse" ( that's what I call the operating room). My neurosurgeon is the chief of neuroscience in the hospital, so they nickname her the "general" lol. She sang to me while the anesthesia was being administered, while the PA was holding my hand. If they truly knew how much From the depths of my soul, how desperately I needed that comfort, and how I am eternally grateful that they kept my fear forefront & went the extra mile so I wouldn't be afraid. Went in at 8am & came out at 12:30. Was told that the injury was worse than they thought but they feel confident that the problem is fixed. The L5-S1 was the worst of it. It was completely crushed to the point where a piece of the disc was in my spine canal which was very narrow. Along with the Laminectomy & discectomy, they also restocked my spine. They had me up & walking 1 hour after surgery. Only pain was from the incision which required 39 staples. It was so strange to finally walk without shooting pain down to my foot. Getting in & out of bed was rough, but I buzzed the nurses frequently in my 3 day hospital stay, to come help me out of bed so I could walk. I was so shocked ( and so were the nurses), that I was able to walk around the wing of the hospital as If I never had back surgery. I was just so excited to not have that pain or limp anymore, that I was fascinated by the fact that I was "normal" again.

Here I am 4 days shy of 30 days post op & my sciatica is gone. I do once in a while feel a brief zipping sensation in my calf but that's all. I am however still tired most of the day, as they still have be on Neurontin & Robaxin. I stopped all painkillers 7 days after my surgery. What a relief that was. I was on Percocet since July & it was so nice to not need it every 4 hours anymore. I started physical therapy 2 weeks ago & they are focusing on restoring strength in my right leg, as it's way to soon to work on my back. My right leg is still very weak from sciatica's wrath, but it's coming along. By back & leg feels stiff but that's ok.

For those contemplating surgery, my advice is to make sure you have exhausted all options. If you have done so, then don't feel obligated to any surgeon that you feel is not the one. This is serious. We are talking about someone touching your spine! I found the right doctor on my 4th opinion! That was three spine surgeons & one Neurosurgeon. Being nervous is normal, and Don't go into it with fear, doom & gloom, that you will be in a ton of pain after surgery, or that it won't be successful. It will be what it's going to be. I can only tell you from my experience so far 30 days in.....Sorry for the "novel", but if I'm going to tell my story, then I want to make sure that I get in the pork & beans of it.
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