This all started nearly 3 years ago. I was a healthy young adult until I picked up a bucket of water at work. I felt a pop in my lower back and the pain was excruciating. I went to a workers comp doctor and was told I had a pulled muscle and was took out of work for 2 weeks and put on muscle relaxants and rest. This did not help at all. I was having low back pain with weakness and numbness on one side going to my foot. I was then sent to a orthopedic surgeon had several x-rays MRIs and CT scans done along with physical therapy and nerve conduction studies. The nerve conduction study turned out good there were no nerves damaged. There was some slight concern about the x-rays and MRIs and CT scans. There was a dark spot on my L5-S1 joint but this should not be causing any pain I was told. Then told there was nothing at all wrong with me and I needed to learn to live with the pain.
I then hired an attorney. He got the company I work for to get me another Doctor. I was then sent to a spine and brain specialist. I then had more MRIs done and put on pain meds., and put in physical therapy again. The pain seemed to be getting worse and this doctor was also telling me he could not find any thing wrong besides the dark spot at the L5-S1 level and several people had this same spot and had no pain or problems in this area. He treated me for nearly a year with pain meds muscle relaxants and physical therapy and at the same time saying he seen no reason for my pain. I still had not returned back to work. The doctor finally released me saying he could do nothing for me and w/c would not authorize him to do any more test and wanted me back in the field. I am a home nurse. So I went back to work for about 6 weeks and had a difficult time doing my job. The more I did the worse the pain got I was unable to sit for long, I could not lay on my back, I was unable to stand in one spot for an extended length of time, I could not walk through the local Wal-Mart. Thank GOD for the electric riding buggies. I was at work and my pain was so bad I called my boss and told her I needed to go home because I could hardly walk and I was having to use a cane to get around, I was denied this request. That day my left leg went completely numb and a sharp pain shot up my back and I fell at a patient's home and the old woman had to pick me up off of the floor and she was kind enough to take care of me for 2 hours.
I was then sent to another doctor that comes to the conclusion that this happened because of the prior injury. W/C of course is denying this. This doctor refers me back to the spine and brain specialist. I talked him into doing a CT myelogram and a disco myelogram. Well low and behold they have finally found the problem. I have 2 herniated disc and the L5-S1 disc that is only a dark spot is actually bone against bone and I am told I need surgery. But there is a catch W/C will only fix the L5-S1 disc. The doctor released me back to light duty work but the company said they had no light duty work for me and w/c would not pay me, my husband I went without income for forty weeks. My husband was unable to work because he was having to drive me back and forth to doctors. None of the doctors I see are local the closest one is 70 miles away. I am unable to drive for more than 20 minutes at a time. Before w/c would ok the surgery I had to get a second opinion of course. I ended up getting 5 second opinions before the surgery was okay-ed. My surgeon told me after the surgery I would have no more pain, my life would go back to normal and I would lead a normal life again with very few limitations.
It has been a year since I had a L5-S1 fusion. I hurt more now than what I did before I had the surgery. I am still not working, I still have to use a cane to walk with, I am unable to do the things I use to do for enjoyment, such as hunting, hiking, fishing, swimming, gardening, cannoning and so on. I am now in pain management after several bouts of physical therapy. My back swells up real bad and the surgeon tells me he does not know why but he wants to take the instrumentation out that he has put in and maybe the swelling will stop. I am still unable to lay flat on back, when I try to it feels like there is a baseball in my lower back. My poor daddy god rest his soul he just passed away the 23 of Dec. bought me a Flex bed. So now my husband and I have separate rooms. I am so thankful I have such a good and understanding man. He has got a-lot on him, he does all the cleaning and grocery shopping now, which makes me feel real inadequate and questioning where my life is headed. I feel angry most of the time but this is mainly at the system.
I do however wish I had never had the surgery and told my surgeon so. I am easy to anger since all this has come to pass. My life as I knew it is over and it is difficult to adjust to the way things are now. I have always been a people person and enjoyed taking care of others. I am no longer involved in the social groups I was in, and rarely want to talk to my friends. I try to avoid crowds as much as possible. All of this has been very difficult and agonizing. My pain management doctor has just done epidural steroid injections all three at one time Praise GOD I did finally get relief even if it was for only 3 days and I am not allowed to have any more injections for a year. Now he is wanting to cauterize 2 of the nerves in my lower back and telling me this will help because the nerve roots are raw and should have been fixed when I had surgery or this happened during surgery and the L4-L5 disk should have also been fixed because it is causing spinal stenosis which is narrowing of the spine and this could be why the nerve roots are raw. Well W/C continues to fight me and it seems like it takes an act of congress to get them to clear any procedure that the doctors want to do. Well thanks to W/C I have now been diagnosed with antisocial anxiety depression disorder, and will not authorize treatment for this. But that is fine because I have the best therapist there is and his name is Jesus.
I am still trusting in my doctor that the cauterization will work and I will finally be pain free. The purpose for this story is for people not to give up when they no there is something wrong with their body, no matter what it is, keep persevering and eventually you will find out what the problem is. If I had not kept on at my doctors nothing would have been done about my condition. I had to do a lot of research to find out what kind of testing was out there and keep demanding that these test be done. If I had not done this the doctors never would have helped me and w/c would have thought I was just another employee trying to defraud the system. - Tracy