Experience with Lumbar Disc Surgery (L4-5 microdiscectomy)

Sharing this Experience with Lumbar Disc Surgery by Stacy McKinnes which was posted on our Back pain help group "Back Pain Relief & Spine Health"  on Facebook. Hope it drives your fear of surgery away and helps you to take the next step to end the tormenting neuropathic back and leg pain. Join this group for sharing your back pain problem with a caring community for discussions on relieving your back pain. Share your experience in the comment section or any queries regarding Lumbar disc Surgery.

Post 1: Excruciating pain due to Herniated Lumbar Disc

Thank you for the add. Not sure what I’m really looking for... perhaps just to vent to people that might understand my pain, as (luckily for him) my husband just doesn’t get it... and maybe to get suggestions in case there is something else I can do to relieve this pain.
I first found out L4-5 was herniated when I was around 13, but it didn’t bother me at the time. My back pain started when I was 21 and when I was around 23 I discovered L5-S1 was also herniated. I am a nurse, but 2 years into my career as a bedside nurse I hurt my back so bad, I was out of work for 6 weeks. The doctor that did my epidural told me I needed a new job. I was devastated, but found something new. I got over that flare-up. My next one was my first pregnancy, gave me awful sciatic pain for the first time. The chiropractor got me through my pregnancy. The pain subsided back to my normal every day pain after he was born. I got through my 2nd pregnancy with no back pain. I just had my 3rd and although not anywhere as bad as my 1st, the chiropractor got me through again. He is 2 months old now.
That brings me to now. About a month ago, my back started up again, including sciatic pain into my right buttock. I had an epidural, and likely from the numbing agent, was a new person the next day. The 2nd day though, my back pain got progressively worse. Started pain medications, which I haven’t needed in years. Went to the chiropractor every day the following week. Have been taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen on top of the pain medication. I have been trying epsom salt baths, ice, heat... have had the worst sciatic pain I’ve ever had the past 2 days. It’s been a constant pain in my entire right leg, down to my toes. Most of the time it feels like my whole leg has a Charlie horse. I have had moments of numbness in my toes. I had a repeat MRI last week, which is 1 year from the one before. It shows the herniations at L4-5 is worse. I have another epidural tomorrow, hoping that helps... but worried it won’t.
For the first time ever, the doctor that does my epidurals is saying it’s time for surgery. I can’t live like this, so maybe I need to... but I have a 2 month old, 2 year old, and 4.5 year old... I’m on maternity leave for another month, and will come back to like 20 hours PTO, but will be working from home because of covid. My husband is laid off because of covid, but we were hoping he’d be back to work in January. Just a lot going on and I don’t know how I’d be able to have surgery.
If you’ve read all of this, thank you. Again, not really sure what I’m looking for. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy... but I do wish someone close to me understood my pain. My husband is already taking the kids on, and I feel awful for being another one that is relying on him so much. 😭 so many tears.

Post 2: Preparing for Lumbar Disc Surgery

Y’all might remember my long welcome post... I went to the surgeon today and he got me in for surgery tomorrow at 7. Have to be there at 5. It’s a L4-5 microdiscectomy. My mom will be taking me. I’ll stay overnight and go home Thursday and she’ll pick me up. All so my husband can stay home with our 3 kids (4.5 years old, 2.5 years old, and 2 months old). So many emotions. Everything is happening so fast. Still crying/screaming over this awful sciatic pain... just can’t handle it anymore. Hopefully I’ll have some relief tomorrow, although the surgeon said the nerve pain might stick around a little, since it’s so irritated. 😞

Post 3: The Experience after Lumbar Disc Surgery

So glad I joined this group (I was so desperate to find support I joined a couple of groups, so you might see this elsewhere if you’re like me)... I am so, so sorry we are all experiencing awful pain. It has been nice to have support from people who understand the pain.
Wanted to keep y’all updated from my other two posts this week. I want to thank everyone for all of the support... I got back on my phone after things settled down today and had a ton of notifications. I’ve been so drugged and tired that I may have not responded to everyone. I truly apologize. I figure it would be easier to give one big update... so here goes!
The sciatic pain in my leg got even worse last night, just when I thought it couldn’t. I was crying/screaming so bad. My husband said he hadn’t seen me in such pain since childbirth and called the surgeon and my mom and I ended up going to the ER because I just couldn’t handle it anymore. It took 1 dose of IV morphine, 2 doses of IV dilaudid, and 15mg of oxycodone to get the pain under control. Luckily, they admitted me, as the pain increased again just from walking from the hallway to my bed. I needed another dose of IV dilaudid and 10mg of oxycodone to get it back under control. In the morning, it started back up again... I had another 10mg oxycodone and when I got to pre-op, they have me more IV dilaudid and versed. I tell you all of this to paint the picture as to how bad I was. So glad I came to the ER.
Had surgery (L4-5 microdiscectomy) this morning, first case. OMG! Y’all. The leg pain is gone!! It’s amazing. I still have the numbness in my right foot, but he said the nerve was so irritated that that is expected and he believes it will go away. He actually just came to talk to me at 10pm (he talked to me twice in recovery, but man I was drugged... and called my husband as well). It wasn’t too pretty, but he got the part that wanted out and said there are some degenerative changes, but not to worry because we’ll work on that/core strength.
So how has my day been... Got to the floor around 12pm. Got up around 2:30pm, got dressed, went potty, walked around the room, sat in the recliner (didn’t like it because my feet didn’t touch the ground), and sat at the side of the bed. OT helped me learn to get dressed with the grabber... PT talked to me about our home setup. They were impressed with how well I did. It’s 10:45pm and I’ve been up twice so far. I’ve been taking oxycodone... I did just fall asleep, a little bit ago and I think I jumped in my sleep, which made my back sore, so my nurse just gave me Tylenol and Valium since I’m not due for oxycodone yet. Letting the antibiotic run and then I’m going to get up to use the potty again.
Definitely traded pains, but this pain is nothing compared to the leg pain. My back just feels sore, more surgical pain than my typical back pain. I have been standing straight, which is amazing! And like I said before, my leg pain is gone, foot is numb... my leg does feel just tired.
I am super nervous about the twisting... I feel myself tense up when I’m going to move. I know I’m doing it and trying to stop, but I think I’m still super guarded from being in such pain, which the surgeon said is understandable. The nurse wanted me to turn on my side before to see my dressing and I panicked that I twisted... not sure if I even did... I’m just so nervous. So this part is a work in progress.
I miss my boys, but I have FaceTimed them multiple times. My 4.5 year old wanted to see my room, asked why I had so many drinks, and asked what I was going to eat. He asked if I could jump... my husband later filled me in that he’s been asking when mommy can jump on the trampoline 💙 my 2.5 year old said, “I kissed you, mom!” as he kissed the iPad. 💙 my 2 month old is adjusting to a bottle 💙 daddy is over there rocking it for sure.
And for the nursing mamas, anesthesia said I didn’t need to worry about the meds they were giving me with breastfeeding. I have my pump and have just been pumping/dumping because of all of the other meds I have been taking and because I don’t care to ask the nurses to store anything for me. Sad to see the oz go down the drain, but it’s only other day!
So far, this was totally worth it. I couldn’t have gone another second with that pain. I thanked the surgeon over and over again. I will keep you all posted! Thank you again for all of the support! ❤️
Arogyada.in: Hope u feel much better soon. And thanks for sharing the experience of your surgery with those who are in desperate need of hope and thanks for putting up a positive picture related to surgery so that people can utilize it without fear.