Microdiscectomy 4 years on

>>  Sunday, January 24, 2016

(The links to all my posts about my journey through L5-S1 herniation are here)

4 years! Wow...where did that time go?!

Someone said to me in Church the other day "how is your back now?" I had to stop and think for a bit. How is my back?

My back is good enough for me to need to consider how it is.

The sciatica is all but gone.  I very rarely get any pain down my leg and I actually think that the pain I do get stems from my knee problems and sometimes walking 'strangely' to accommodate my knee.  I definitely never get the deep seated, I want to hit my leg with a hammer to take it away pain that I used to get.

I can drive all the way to work without needing to use an icepack.  Sometimes I still need to put an icepack on it, but it's maybe once a fortnight, not everyday.
I do still get a stiff back, I do sometimes get 'stuck' in bed and have to shuffle to my side to be able to get moving again. I still use a kneeing chair.  I can't sit in a sofa without regretting it after an hour and all the next day.  But I can go to the cinema or theatre and manage to sit through a performance.  I still struggle to sit on the pews in church for any length of time.  You would think that the hard straightness would be better than a sofa, but the result is much the same.

I can run (when my knees allow it) and not suffer the back consequences.  But even better than that I now go to fitness classes that often do intensity circuit training and I can do it. I do still make allowances for my back and there are certain exercises I won't do as I know they are bad for the back in general, but 99% of them I can do.  

I still can't sleep with pillows, that is a recipe for a sore back, I have to lie very flat, but that doesn't cause me any problems, I'm used to it now.

In the summer I mowed the lawn and did gardening, I have even managed to get the Christmas tree down from the attic (and it is a heavy six footer) this year.  The exercise classes have really built up my body strength.

What I am finding is the cold weather causes me to tense up and that is meaning my back is sore more often when it is cold.  I have to make a concious effort to recognise the tensing and relax myself.

I think I will always suffer from a 'bad back' - I think I brought it on myself with years of bad posture and carrying heavy weights incorrectly. But I am happy to now be a person that suffers from a bad back than a person with the debilitating injury I had before.

Occasionally I still think of the women (a life counsellor and blogger) that told me the reason I suffered from back pain was because I could not think positively and that my negative thoughts were the root cause of the pain.  When I pointed out that the scans showed repeated massive herniations, she told me that was precisely the type of negative behaviour she was referring to.  She made me so angry and also left me wondering (stupidly) if she was right, if I could 'positive think' the whole thing away.  Well I can safely say that that problem has now all but gone away and I can guarantee that my thoughts (positive or negative) have not changed in the slightest.  She was wrong and please don't let anyone ever try to minimise the anguish and mental torture than comes from that kind of pain.  It is traumatic, learning to manage it is a journey and it cannot be taken away with a counsellor's flippant comments.  I was wondering recently if she had written to Tiger Woods to suggest if only he could re-adjust his thinking he would be able to make the Ryder cup team.

Do I sound bitter?!  Well I am.  Her total lack of understanding of the pain I was in made me think about how difficult it must be for so many people have with back injuries, degenerative back issues etc and how little support they really get.  The all too common fall back is to think of people 'avoiding work' by claiming they have a back injury and if they could just 'get on with it' it would all be fine.  

I lay on the living room floor grasping my leg, crying for the pain to subside, pain worse than contractions and without the waves, never ending ceaseless level 10 pain.  I would have sawn my leg off if someone had handed me the tool at the time.  I stood at the top of the stairs wondering whether to throw myself down them, thinking if I could break my leg it would somehow stop this intense pain, the thought of  a broken leg seemed a better option than what I was suffering.

And now it is all gone and past. The consultants, surgeon and doctors set me on the path to recovery and time has finally healed the parts the doctors couldn't.

I know how lucky I am.

I have created a page of links for my Microdiscectomy posts and other links I have found helpful. You can find it here. PLEASE FOLLOW THE MEDICAL ADVICE OF YOUR DOCTOR. WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.


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