I have decided to have surgery...

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

I have decided to have surgery...

Postby Henry » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:11 pm

Dear fellow sufferers. I feel as though I have let you all down, particularly after some of my previous positive postings, but I saw the surgeon today and am going to have a microdiscectomy. This is the 4th night in a row I have been woken up by the monster and turned to this forum for company and support whilst everyone else is asleep. The surgeon is the best in the area and his words were "its a no-brainer-have a microdiscectomy and I can take all your pain away and you can get on with your life." He also said that whilst there is little difference after 4 years follow-up betweeen those who have and don't have surgery, there is a big difference in quality of life during this period. We shall see. I am having op next week and will carry on with the postings to let you all know how it goes. I also plan to carry on with RYB once it is safe to do so after the op and think I have learnt a lesson regarding need to exercise and use the car less. I have spoken with a couple of the surgeons previous patients and they are very positive. I am fortunate in being able to afford to get it done privately (£5K) and I accept that there is a risk but to be honest I just can't carry on with this pain and risk of recurrence (recurred twice in 6 weeks) and it is after all a fairly minor and very advanced surgical technique to remove part of the disc that is touching the nerve through a keyhole incision in your back. Will report back in a couple of weeks when all over. I am very positive about this, despite the scare stories of failures following surgery.

Best wishes to all and fingers crossed

Henry (3am UK time)
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Postby astro8 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:15 pm

Hi Henry,

Good luck with the surgery. I don't feel as if you let anyone down! It all depends on the pain that you're in. There was one part there, I remember I couldn't of cared less if I'd died, that's the truth. The pain was sending me insane. As I've stated before, I was nearly burned to death in a house fire so I know about pain.

If I still felt that way now of course I'd opt for the surgery, there's only so much one can take! I'm constantly improving without relapse so I'll continue on my way.

Getting the positive off the surgeon has helped your decision. You know, it all comes down to confidence, doesn't it? You can tell in your gut if someone knows what they're doing, well I think so anyway. It's like when I had a sliver of metal in my eye once and a young doctor was going to remove it but he didn't make me feel confident or relaxed and I said "NO WAY"...in walked an older doctor and said what's the problem? I explained my concern and he examined my eye and said "ALL done." I didn't even know he removed it!

Keep us posted...

Greg
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Postby Dean » Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:24 pm

Hi Henry,

I've been following your posts. (I read what everyone posts, even though I hang back and seldom post myself.)

As astro8 said, you aren't letting anyone down. Surgery is a viable option and is a decision that only you and your doctor can make.

If I thought you wanted me to talk you out of it, I'd give it a go... but if you've read all the discussions here... you've already heard all the arguments pro and con. I would just be covering old ground.

Do keep us posted on how it goes and the recovery process afterward.

Dean
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Further comments on surgery plus night pains

Postby Henry » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:26 pm

I'm here again at 2 am UK time woken up by sciatic burning pains despite having had strong painkillers. Thanks for replies to my post about surgery. I also was told by surgeon that I have slight weakness in the affected leg and foot which could lead to an irreversible foot drop if I don't go along with the surgery so I haven't got a lot of choice. It seems every time I have had a relapse it is worse than the previous time. This sciatica really is one of the worse monsters going when it is at it's peak and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to anyone else suffering a similar pain. I haven't had it at night like this before and it adds a whole new dimension just getting sleep in blocks of 2 hours before it bites you. Currently too sore to do any RYB exercises. May try and get acupuncture done again to keep me going until surgery next week. Still positive about the surgery and I will provide further postings.

Regards to all

Henry
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Hope this works for you

Postby krd » Sat Jul 28, 2007 5:15 pm

Hey Henry

Just read your post. I too had such bad pain last year that I couldn't get out of my bed for 8 weeks. It was the worst pain that I could ever imagine. I had a bout the year before that was also brutal. I am not trying to talk you out of your surgery option. That is a decision that only you can make.

I do want you to know that I was in such pain that walking, sleeping, standing, any movement was out of the question. I opted for 2 epidural injections (guided via xray) and then 8 weeks, 3 times a week, rehab with a McKenzie certifed PT. That was last October when the PT ended. I now do my exercises almost every day. I am constantly doing core exercises as well as general strength exercises with the total gym.

It has been over 1 year since that last bout. I just got back from Scotland today from a 3 week trip. I played 10 rounds of golf, did some serious walking and mountain climbing, bus tours, and have no pain or tightness. My choice has been so successful. My surgeon told me that I should try the epidurals first and if they failed to go with the surgery.

Is PT better???? I don't know, I just know that with hard work it has payed off. I am in better shape now then I was when I was 30, and I am 52 now. If you try the epidurals first, you have nothing to lose. Just remember that PT is hard and the pain is frustrating sometimes. Good luck.

Ken
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Surgery

Postby Henry » Sun Jul 29, 2007 2:14 pm

Thanks for your posting Ken. I had thought about epidural but I have put my trust in the surgeon who is confident of a good response. At the end of the day you have to trust someone.... Epidural buys you a bit of time to allow it to heal but I have had such pain on and off for 3 mouths that I couldn't bear the thought of it coming back. I really thought I had cracked it with exercise and RYB but it came back worse than ever this time and as I mentioned in a previous posting it is the mental side and depression that is getting me down, waking up in the middle of the night and getting up to another day of pain. Microdiscectomy is fairly minor as operations go and I gather it is the most commonly performed of all operations of any type in the USA. They just make a small hole and remove most of the disc that is pressing on the nerve and allow your body healing to do the rest. Also if I don't have it done I risk causing permanent nerve damage to my foot since I already have some problems walking upstairs. I will do a new posting as soon as I am able after the operation since I expect others will be interested to hear how it goes.

Regards to all fellow suffers and ex sufferers

Henry
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Postby randolph » Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:42 am

Hi Henry

Yes, you're right: I'll be interested to hear how your surgery goes ... and I'll certainly be cheering for you!

I very nearly opted for microdiscectomy after my first (and thankfully, only, relapse) a year and a half ago. In my case, it was a wise, and lucky, decision to not have the surgery ... but I've since talked with many folks who had opted for the surgery and, who have done very well. One of your challenges is to remember microdiscectomy's great benefit is it's great reliablity for providing quick and seemingly effortless pain relief ... but it's not a cure-all. It seems really important to follow doctor's orders to abandon negative lifestyle choices that led to your weakened spinal condition and reliably do helpful stretches and exercises. If you don't, you risk following baseball's Randy Johnson, or basketball's Larry Bird, (or thousands of other, less well known sciatica sufferers) to the next level of surgical intervention: removal of ALL of the herniated disc(s), and fusion of the vertebrae.

Randolph
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Postby Dean » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:26 am

Hi all,

I just answered a post in the back pain forum on this same subject. If you’d like to know my take on why some people experience a relapse you can read it here:

Unfinished Business

Dean
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