I feel... almost normal. I would say I'm 75% better than before all of this happened. After the reherniation was the worst time, pain-wise, in my life but that only lasted a few weeks. I mostly have pain if I've tried to bend too much or pick up too much, but I can still do those things in a limited capacity. I didn't think I'd be able to bend over again, but I can... I just have to be extremely careful. I still use my grabber when I can feel my back getting sore and needing a break... I have to use my feet like a monkey now, :) I have learned to pick most things up with my feet to bring it to my hands.
The most pain I have is when I'm sitting straight in a chair and I try to lift my right leg straight up. I feel a tug of pain but it's not debilitating. The weird thing is that If I am laying flat or leaning back I can lift my leg with no problem, so it's something about how that disc is pushing against the nerve when I'm sitting and pull it tense by lifting my leg. Also if I'm sitting and I need to cough, it hurts down in my sacral joint area on that side. Normally I have to stand or lay down to cough. If you don't remember, my right leg was mostly numb when I reherniated. I have regained most of my feeling in my leg, though my calf hurts at times, I am REALLY apt to getting charlie horses in my leg and right foot, that ankle is extremely weak, and my big toe goes in and out of being numb. Most of the time it is partially numb. Unfortunately I've lost a lot of muscle tone in that leg (so it is noticeably smaller than my other one) from avoiding walking on it for so long. I hope to build that back up soon.
I have to move frequently. Staying in one position any too long makes it start to ache. I can watch my son and pick him up (very limited in that) but the day after my sciatic nerve and piriformis is always very irritated and I feel that deep painful ache. When this happens I go get a deep tissue massage. The lady I've been seeing is AMAZING, I always feel better the day after. I also tried a young man masseur who tried to stretch me as well to 'help with herniated discs', but he ended up unintentionally hurting me. I was so scared because of how it felt afterward. Luckily with heat and cold therapy it went back to how it was... and I continued seeing the lady.
I don't take medicine on a daily basis now. I had to wean myself off of tramadol slowly. Even though they say it isn't a drug you get dependent on, it is. Maybe it's because I took it for the better part of a year. I will say though that for me it was the better alternative to other opiate pain killers (like hydrocodone, percocet, etc) because it wasn't quite as heavy duty. I stopped taking tramadol, naproxen, and tylenol on a regular basis about 2 months ago. I take naproxen or ibuprofen on occasion when I have a little too much inflammation.
On the whole though, I am thankful. I can stand and walk for long periods of time, which I hadn't been able to do for almost a year. I don't do a lot of exercising yet, a lot of it seems to make the pain worse... but I'm getting there. I want to get back to recumbent bike, water aerobics, and maybe the elliptical if I'm able to. I will listen to my body... and if all I can do is walk, then all I will do is walk. I have a goal of losing another 25 to 35 lbs. The reduction in weight up to this point has been helpful, but not a cure. I am still eating a mostly vegetarian / vegan diet about 70% of the time. Counting calories has to be my method of weightloss until I can be more active.
Basically, I praise God that I'm moving past this. I feel in my bones that I can be restored. If you're suffering like I was, keep the faith. Seriously. That in itself gives you a huge advantage because not only does that help you emotionally and mentally, but physically.