A Hermit and Her Herniation

I am a mother of three, 14, 5 and 2, who in my previous life was the primary breadwinner for my lovely family of five. I was a tax manager at a large public accounting firm and it was 4/13. I got home from my who knows how long of a workday and at some point sat down in the recliner and kicked back only to feel a foreign pain shooting down my right leg. I said nothing and went to a fitful night’s sleep. Next morning I painfully got ready for work, having dealt with numerous lower back pain flare ups starting with my first pregnancy and labor during which I broke my tailbone (who knew that was a thing?) I was used to working through pain so I pressed on. The drive in was the most excruciating thing, but goodness it was 4/14 and I’m a tax manager so…I closed the door to my office and feigned total busy immersion. I called my husband to bring me a heating pad and ice packs. I almost overdosed on the little packs of ibuprofen the firm put out in baskets for us screen gazers (three at a time). I left the office before lunch and have never been back except to gather my things.

That was 4/14/2015 and I am still in constant pain. The spine docs took one look at my MRI and listened to my symptoms and I was in for a microdiscectomy lickety-split (I mean, you know, it all goes slow as molasses so that’s relative).

I remember those first few weeks after surgery , things felt so rosy, I still felt pain but I could chalk it up to recovery, it would all be better soon. I started my post-surgery rehab just as prescribed with an inspirational therapist paralyzed from the waist down. Every time ended with me hanging in a pool on a noodle because any other effort caused me too much pain to continue. So you know, I am no wuss as far as pain, three natural labors (I’ll spare you further details) can attest to that.

One month after surgery prompted by my continued pain and therapy performance I got another MRI. When I went over it with the PA she said there was scar tissue that was probably causing my pain but that the herniation (L5-S1) had been “successfully” removed.

I have since have three failed epidural steroid injections, I have been under the care of a physiatrist, who really has done nothing but try to give me some awesome cheerleading, he said he has been dealing with a “similar” herniation for 21 years. So I suppose from that I should take what, that I should get off my ass, suck it up, what?

I am on so many medications. I never think they work until I miss a few doses. I know all about alternatives, have tried acupuncture, have a really great golden milk (turmeric) recipe, have bought out Sam’s Club’s supply of epsom salt, have made my own pain cream with solar-infused arnica and cayenne, menthol, MSM. It feels nice but come on, it’s all temporary.

I am in the process of switching GP’s in the hope I can get some revived attention. I had been fortunate to have been receiving disability insurance, but they and SS have recently denied my claims. I have cashed out my meager 401(k) but am still under so much water.

I rarely leave the house (that I can’t afford) except for doctors. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how I am looking at things in that moment, I have always been an introverted hermit. I don’t know if that will be my saving grace or my downfall.

4 thoughts on “A Hermit and Her Herniation”

  1. I had the same surgery. I wish I ‘d never had it.

    I have a ten inch scar. Doctors I have seen since said the surgeon was a butcher. I am in constant pain and rarely leave the house.

    I have no solution. But I do understand. I really do understand. Contact me anytime you like if you want to talk. Leave a post and we can figure out way to connect.

  2. These stories make me extremely upset and sad at the same time. You need use your body, build your strength and your muscles that support your spine and improve your mobility. The body’s natural response to pain is to protect itself. Pain also tells s that something is gong on and needs to be fixed. So if the herniation has been fixed, yet you are still suffering pain, it is something other than the herniation. I would love to speak to you more and see how you have been feeling since this post. I am a Movement Therapist and I work with patients and clients who have these issues daily. Please feel free to contact me 203-984-2556.

      1. Come on Jack. I’m in constant pain too, yet I see where Chris is coming from. When I have a severe pain spell and all the different positions, tens unit, heat therapy, etc., even meds are to no avail , I do find some comfort in inversion therapy. Herniation pain can be from the gravity pull on our bodies. Traction, including hanging up side down, does alleviate the gravity effect of weight on my spine and pelvis. I recently was accendently shocked while unplugging a lamp. Afterward, I somehow felt a little better! Makes me wonder. Different strokes for different folks. I still struggle with the fact that my daily life is pain. Don’t give up while yr still alive. Gotta hang in there.
        Wow Hermit78! Yr experience with surgery sounds terrifying. I can relate to being financially stable with good employment until BAM! All of a sudden a bodily injury stops u from yr career job and r left desolate. It’s been over twenty-five years since I’ve been financially stable. Which during that time I had my “miracle” baby because I was told by doctors that I probably wouldn’t walk right again, much less be able to conceive. I had broken my pelvis in three places, sub-laxated vertebrae, internal damage, plus neurological issues. So, five years ago when my pain doctor and neurologist told me that I had a date set for my cervical surgery that involved a titanium rod from my C-1 to C-8, naturally I was nervous. Two days before my surgery my doctor called to cancel my it, stating that he was not confident in that type of surgery anymore because of huge unsuccessful rates. Dodged that bullet for now. Currently I’m getting to start a discrimination lawsuit because my last employer harassed me to the point of dropping hours after I produced a lifting limitation paper from my doctor, enough to make me get behind on rent and receive a 24 hour eviction. Living with chronic pain everyday is something that I have to deal with. I’m finally getting help with housing and hopefully disability insurance soon. I desperately want a career that is feasible for me, so I’m going back to school to help people with the kind of problems that I’ve encountered. You never know, I just might become the next Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
        Being a hermit can have it’s perks such as safety issues (especially from pill heads), saving money, and finding time for family, games and hobbies. Keep yr head up and remember that yr situation could always be worse. Whenever I start to feel self pity, I remind myself of that Chinese Proverb: “You feel sorry for yourself because you have no shoes; then you meet that person who has no feet.” It might not always be apparent, but there really is a lot to be thankful for.

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