So... Alot has happened since I last posted...it started of with me just getting better... Last part of week three I had small drawbacks (but still was improving). One of those drawbacks was during a tornado warning where me and my son had to get down into the bathtub with blankets and everything and wait it out which did hurt my back but I recovered pretty quickly from it.
Week four a group at church 'compassion bombed' our house. They brought us groceries, they brought us dinner, they brought man power and cleaning supplies so they could clean our house and do our yard work. That was a truly humbling experience and something that will always stick with me because it proves and shows the love of Christ working through people... To have that agape love that you are supposed to have for other near people and humanity in general. At this point I was taking about one tramadol twice a day and one or two 500 mg naproxen each day.
Week five I was able to attend church and lay on a couch in the sanctuary or stand... I felt so blessed in so overwhelmed with love that I just started bawling which I'm sure everyone has gotten used to by now.. Tuesday I started going back to work half time... I found that it was difficult to sit down for very long so we moved my computer to a raised workstation (rolling tv stand) so I could stand most of the time. The rest of the week was still pretty uneventful and I was due to go to Texas Friday afternoon and stay there until the following Saturday because my husband was going to be in his best friend's wedding and also my niece had just been born. This was to be a 10 hour ride and I was pretty nervous about it but we arranged it to where my seat was entirely laid-back the whole time so I was able to lay down and it didn't cause much pain to do such a long trip. I was a little sore afterward but still nothing that bad.
Before We left that Thursday I had my postop appointment with my neurosurgeon. When I saw him I told him how well things were going and I was almost in tears because I could finally play with my son. He was extremely happy about how everything was going and he said I could swim, he checked my scar and he said pretty much that I didn't have to come back unless something happened. No physical therapy, just walking, light swimming, and recumbent bike. I was elated.
And week six rolled around. That Saturday I basically hung out with my in-laws and my niece and my son while my husband went to the rehearsal dinner and to spend time with his best friend the night. Sunday we went to church where my niece was dedicated and then to the wedding. It was quite hot, but the worst part was that my son was being quite fussy and he didn't seem to feel good so he wouldn't let me put him down and all I could do was sit to hold him... There was nowhere to lay and he wouldn't let me stand up without him so I was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. We finally got home and it was way past my sons bedtime but we got him in bed and I laid down and iced my back as usual. That day I had walked and sat too much instead of layed most of the day so I had definitely taken a toll on my back.
Monday was pretty uneventful but Tuesday we did go on a little bit Of an excursion to get things for Milo's birthday party and we also met up with friends for lunch. I made a boo-boo that day as well and I held my son taking him from my husband which I should have not done and he scolded me for it later.
Wednesday was the straw that broke the camels back. We were out most of the day we went to pick up my bracelet and we went to go to lunch. After that we did a little shopping and then we headed home, but when we headed home it was almost dinner time so we had been out for quite a while. Once my son was bathed and in bed, we were laying on the couches and I was cutting out circles and gluing them to pieces of paper that said happy birthday and other things were gonna be cupcake toppers for my son's birthday pawe're cupcakes which was supposed to be Friday.
Later that evening I guess I had been sitting too long or I had done too much that day.. but both of my hands had paper and glue dots In them, so when I tried to get up from the couch I got about halfway and fell back down. Immediately I felt a ripping sensation go through my lower back and just a lightning bolt of pain shoot down my right leg. I could not move. Sciatica and Charlie horses down my body would not cease. I remember crying saying "no not again, not again... It's back... It's back". I laid helpless on the couch and I guess my son heard me crying so he started crying as well and my husband got him up to make sure he was okay ... He laid him on my chest while I was laying down. I felt like my pain was kind of under control because I was paralyzed in that spot. I knew something was definitely wrong.
My husband got my son back to bed and we decided to try to move me to our bed as well. I cannot walk by myself I needed my husband's assistance to get to the bedroom. I was crying because it hurt so much and I could not use my right leg properly. I took my oxycodone and Valium to get to sleep but I woke up in the middle of the night and I was in so much pain that I couldn't find a position that was semi comfortable, until with MUCH effort I was able to roll over on my stomach and draw my right leg up as much asi could, supported by pillows.
I woke pretty early needing more medicine. I was sort of in a fog but the cramping and Charlie horses from the injury was just making it impossible to feel okay. My husband had to help me go to use the restroom I couldn't stand up straight or would lose all feeling in my right leg and it would become numb. I had to try to walk holding on to something or somebody and lean really far to the right side. I was terrified at this point. Luckily I had a steroid pack that I had been prescribed that I picked up right before I left that I should've picked up whenever I had the tingling during week two (when it was normal and went away so I never had to use it).
Started taking the Steroid packet and I was in a Haze of oxycodone and Valium as well as naproxen and Tylenol. I couldn't move from the bed at all that day. I was frantically trying to call my neurosurgeon and I left the nurse a message. We were looking for emergency rooms and hospitals and trying to search where I should go on my iPad and then I decided to just call the neuroscience Institute back and ask if I could talk to the nurse directly after describing what situation I was in.
I got to talk to the nurse and she said that all the emergency room would be able to do would be to give me a steroid shot and also perhaps take an MRI but I wouldn't be able to have emergency surgery unless I lost bowel or bladder function. She told me to heat and Ice my back and leg, to take all the medicine, to take the steroid pack, and that she could get me in for an MRI with contrast on Monday and that Tuesday we could see her in the doctor in the morning. I was trying to figure out how we would even get home during that 10 hour trip to Arkansas
The medicine helped me sleep a little bit and I encouraged my husband to take my son swimming and see some of our friends like we had originally planned but I knew I wouldn't be able to go or be able to attend his birthday party the next day (Friday). I also couldn't make the cupcakes. This was just all a whirlwind while I was in bed and all these things were happening around me that I couldn't participate in which saddened me but I knew that I had to just stay put.
I would say that this is probably the worst pain I have ever been in my entire life. If you are afraid you have reherniated your desk, you will definitely know and it will definitely hurt more than anything.
Finally by Saturday the pain that was lessening due to this steroid pack so most of my leg and part of my foot was numb and a little tingly but most of my pain was centralized in my lower back at this point... it was still really hard for me to walk by myself and I would drag my foot.
My mother-in-law allowed us to use her van so my husband made lay the back row down and the passenger-side backseats so I could lay on a pallet with cushions they had bought that were patio furniture cushions on the floor of the van. At first it was uncomfortable but as we started to make our way back home I felt like it was slowly helping because of the natural traction from the inertia and my husband pressing the break would actually pull my spine apart and allow it to lessen the pain.
The horrible part about the trip besides the fact that I had lost feeling in my leg and foot was that the pain medicine that I haven't been taking since my first week of surgery was making me extremely constipated. This might be too much information but I wanted to put it out there so people know that this is actually a symptom of having so much opiate pain medication in your system. I had tried drinking tons of water, tried to have smoothies with a lot of protein and foliage in them, and eat pruness and whatnot but I it didn't help at all. Once we got home I had to go to further measures which I'd rather not discuss, but there are things available in your pharmacy to help you with it.
Once we were home I felt a lot better that I was closer to the doctor and the hospital. The next day we rested all day long and my grandmother kindly brought us dinner and a few groceries since we didn't have much. Then on Monday my grandmother came to be with me at home with me most of the day. I was alternating ice and heat and taking my meds . I had the MRI that night at about 830 with and without contrast. It wasn't that bad, MRIs don't scare me anymore but it still wasn't comfortable to lay straight on the table.
Meanwhile I'm trying to walk and hold onto my husband or whoever I'm with and I am driving my right foot. Then Tuesday the next day my mother took me, on her birthday, to go see the neurosurgeon. They got me in extremely quickly and they took me back to the exam room where I had to lay on the table and when I got there all of the nurses flooded in as well as my doctor. They are really just the sweetest and most caring medical team I have ever experienced in my life.
So the doctor informed me while holding my hand that I had really blew it - I had herniated the same disc and it was bigger than last time. I was one of the 5 to 10 percent of lucky ones. He told me that the advantage was that since I had surgery they had already cut a notch out of the bone of my vertebrae so the nerve had room to swell and it wouldn't as painful as it would've been if that bone was still there. My mother was very emotional and I kind of was but I was kind of also expecting it. I have horrible degenerative disc disease on that disc so I knew there was a chance, despite anything I did. I have faith GOD IS MY HEALER and that no matter what report I had that things were gonna be okay. I had already claimed that healing would be done in my body regardless of any report because God is my Shepard. The doctor also said that the fact that I had already started doing better was a good sign.
The thing that concerned him was the loss of feeling in my leg and my foot, but he said that th weakness wasn't alarmingly terrible at this point, however If it progressively got worse or the pain progressively got worse then the next step after steroid injections would be to get a second microdiscectomy. If the second operation doesn't work then the next step would be to consider getting a spinal fusion.
He wanted me to get steroid injections and call back in 7 to 10 days to tell them how I was doing... And unless things got worse in 3 to 4 weeks we would decide if surgery was the best thing to do. He said that it is entirely possible that even though I have this recurrent herniation that I could live with it for quite some time and recover from the drastic pain and my body could cope with it and eventually heal it to some degree.
I left feeling hopeful that this didn't mean immediately going to the operating table again. We headed straight over to the pain management doctor and he worked me in since I didn't have an appointment. That doctor said that it was likely in my life that I would end up with a spinal fusion which would lead to more surgeries, but I'm keeping a positive outlook that as long as I take care of myself I can overcome it.
At that point, I went ahead and let him give me the epidural injections. The L5 injection was the most painful thing that I have felt the since the pain from the re-herniation and as far as surgery or shots or IVs go. I Started crying. He said the reason why I was hurting so much was that the muscle that he had to go through was so tight that it kept deflecting the epidural needle... But he eventually got through it and gave me the L4 injection which didn't hurt nearly as much. Still left the office feeling kind of traumatized. I had a good cry then, but I been keeping a positive spirit since then. since the appointment, I've been laying down and resting using my methods of heat and ice I've been taking tramadol and Tylenol and naproxen. They prescribed me hydrocodone but I still don't know if I will take it yet. I hate the constipation it makes everything worse.
Last night my mother and family came and brought food to our house yesterday to celebrate her birthday so I could be a part of it. That was really nice. My son's birthday is actually on Saturday and I think were just going to do an informal thing at Chucky cheese which I won't be able to stay at very long at but if I can at least be there for him to get his cake that will be enough for me.
And then Father's Day is on Sunday, and I was hoping to do a lot more for my husband and my dads but I don't know what I will be able to do. I love my husband so much he has been the most wonderful caring person that I could've ever hoped for.
I'll post again after I've called in to the neurosurgeon next week to let them know how I'm doing. I hope that I just continue to get better and regain mobility and in my foot/ leg and reduce back pain so that I can get back to a relatively normal life... although I know I'll never be the same and I'll always have to be mindful of how I move my body.
I fear that I'll never be able to pick up my son again, but as long as I can hold him in my arms while I'm sitting or laying down that will be enough for me. The outpouring of love that we have experienced from all people in our lives during this has been amazing and I feel like this experience has taught us something.