Thursday, June 5, 2014

Unexpected Back Surgery

It's been almost a week now since I had my discectomy and I'm feeling pretty good for the most part.  I go back in a week for a follow-up appointment so I still have restrictions of no driving and not picking up anything over 10 pounds which means no picking up Lucy.  That has definitely been the hardest part of all of this.  Thank god Todd has a ton of vacation time and was able to take this past week off to help me and Lucy. 
 
So I guess I should back up a little bit and actually explain what happened.  I had been mentioning my back pain for the past 5-6 weeks on here and also mentioned in my last weekly workout recap that I had an MRI and found out I had a herniated disc.  What I failed to mention was the day I found out my MRI results from my family doctor is that he suggested having surgery would probably be my best option.  I had been having excruciating leg pain that would start in my left butt cheek and then shoot down my leg and would burn in the outside part of my shin.  I would be in tears when I'd get out of bed in the morning and Todd had to help me get ready for work.  I'm not one to take pain meds but I had to take some all last week before the surgery just so I could walk and function.  The top part of my left foot and big toe had also been numb for almost 2 weeks.  My family doctor was concerned with the muscle weakness and numbness I was experiencing so he didn't think physical therapy or cortisone injections would help.  After my appointment with him, I was immediately sent to an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to get a second opinion where he pretty much confirmed the same thing.  I had a herniated disc between L4-L5 which was causing L5 nerve impingement and causing the leg pain.  The discs are the pads between your vertebra that are the shock absorbers for your spine.  My disc between my L4 vertebra and L5 vertebra in my lower back had herniated which meant part of my disc was "leaking" out and pressing on my L5 nerve.  I needed to have a discectomy where they would go and remove the part of the herniated disc that was pressing on the nerve.
 
My appointments were last Tuesday afternoon and by the end of my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, my surgery was scheduled for that Friday morning.  It all happened really quickly and I think I was just in shock for those days leading up to Friday that I was actually going to be having back surgery.  It was done at an outpatient facility but I was still going to be under anesthesia and while a discectomy is somewhat common, it still seemed like a pretty big surgery to me! 
 
 Pre-surgery

Leaving the surgery center just a few hours later and feeling nauseous from the pain meds

Trying to get comfortable at home later that day
 
Going for a short walk with Lucy & Todd 3 days post-surgery

The surgery was at 9:30 AM and the surgeon came out at about 10:15 AM to let Todd know that it went great and I should be out of recovery shortly.  I ended up being in recovery for a bit longer than expected but was up and somewhat coherent around 11:15 AM and we were leaving the surgery center around noon.  I don't do well with strong pain meds so I was really nauseous the entire car ride home and for a couple hours once we got home.  The back pain seemed manageable but I'm sure that was because the anesthesia hadn't fully worn off and the pain meds were working.  The best part was my leg pain was completely gone!  The first few days after surgery were a little rough and I was definitely moving slow and having a hard time standing up and sitting down but now at almost a week post-surgery, I'm doing much better.  I still can't bend over, twist, or pick anything up over 10 pounds but I'm having a much easier time walking, getting out of bed in the morning, sitting, standing, etc.  I don't necessarily have back pain but have a lot of soreness and tightness at the incision site on my back which I expected although the scar on my back is going to be bigger than what I expected.  My big toe and top part of my foot are still numb but from what I've been reading, it can take months for the nerves to fully function again.  I've gone on a short walk each day this week as recommended and can tell how tired I am after only walking a 1.5 miles! 

I'm off work for at least another week (minimum of 2 weeks) and won't be doing any exercise other than walking for at least 4 weeks.  I'll find out more at my follow up appointment next week but I'm hoping I can at least start picking up Lucy after that.

1 comment:

Sarah @ Life, Love & Dinner said...

Hope your recovery goes smoothly and that you can get that sweet girl back in your arms soon!