View Full Version : Bad sciatica, upocoming surgery HELP I'm so nervous.

03-17-2015, 10:53 AM
Meant to post this here, went in Revision area by mistake.

Can anybody reassure me, I have had bad sciatica at times due to lumbar curve, but over the weekend it got REALLY bad, BOTH sides, I couldn't
sit, stand, walk or lie down with any relief. Heat and Tylenol eventually it subsided, was able to come to work, and I noticed my office chair helped so I exchanged my cozy LaZ Boy for one at home, with some success. Woke up at 5am this morning and it was back just as bad, had to use heat and sit up on office chair a while. At work now and it's better, still sore lower back, iliac area. It's not radiating and is at a level 1, where before it had reached a possible 8 on pain index. Of course, I read too much online and now I'm afraid it's not just lumbar compression but some kind of sacroiliac situation. Any thoughts? Surgery on track for April 8. I'm praying for relief - things have progressed fast since September, and I am actually hoping this is a worsening lumbar curve and nothing else.

Also, I am FREAKING about the surgery, I'm nauseous when I think about everything Dr. Lonner wants to do - including minimally invasive thoracic osteotomies (or laminectomy) not really sure which, then the open surgery. I am totally confident in him, but I would be happy with 50% correction, I think he wants more. GOD this anticipation sucks. I am also so afraid of any complications that would slow down my getting my life back to a new normal afterward, including work...even waiting til September is fine I just want to come back.

Getting my supplies and things I'll need afterward, including the new Toto Washlet toilet hubby had installed - that takes a bit of stress off, I am not the kind to ask for help taking care of business, now I won't need to hopefully. Got dressing sticks, grabbers, button down flannels, ice packs, heating pads, daily medicine box thingy, neck pillows etc. I look around and wonder what my life will be like this coming May. Will I be able to do the things I do now? Will I take care of myself? Can I sing like I do now? UGH I'm a mess......

03-17-2015, 03:31 PM
Hi Cathy...

Hopefully, someone will chime in and answer most of your questions. I'm out of commission with a really bad cough at the moment, but wanted to give you one bit of advice. If you're not currently taking neurontin, I would call Dr. Lonner's office and ask for a prescription. Prior to my surgery, I had tried neurontin, and felt I really couldn't take it as long as needed to function at a level above being a mushroom. ;-) Similar to you, my leg pain got much worse shortly before my surgery, and I felt I had to take something. Narcotics are almost completely ineffective for nerve pain. So, I went on the minimum dose of neurontin, and took the pill at dinner time each night. I would be able to function for another 3-4 hours after taking the pill, and it's negative effects were mostly worn off by the time I had to get up the next morning. It didn't resolve the leg pain, but it got me back to a level that I could live with for awhile. If you are already on neurontin, the amount you're taking can probably be increased.

Good luck.


03-17-2015, 10:37 PM
Cathy, it sure sounds like you are ready for surgery, that’s for sure. When the pain is a mind blowing, 8,9, and 10 level sciatica leg pain with large curves, with the burning like a flame thrower, your done, your ready. There is no decision. Funny how we set our dates and we go downhill leading right up our surgeries....It happened to me.....I became a zombie, put me in a Michael Jackson video. “Beat it” Is that the one with the zombies? I forget.

With all the medical terminology and types of surgical attacks they use, it doesn’t make any sense worrying about something that takes decades to learn about. Its better to have a little understanding, just so you know, and when it comes to complications, its nice to know about the main ones, but essentially since we have to commit to this, its more about the end result in your mind. Horse blinders are on so we can focus on the goal, which is getting through all of this. If you trust your surgeon and his team, you should be fine. Dr Lonner has been around the block a few times, there shouldn’t be any doubt.

Learn how to breathe! In HARD, hold for a few, then exhale all the way. Repeat. Breathing and running or walking outside were the methods I used for anxiety. I know it’s very Forrest Gump, but it works. “How far are we running?” “Till the running is done”.

I was going to the famous Steamboat Hot Springs here in Nevada. If its good enough for Mark Twain, its good enough for me. He he. They have these deep tub rooms, I would boil for 45 minutes and have a 90-120 minute massage immediately after the soak. I found it makes a huge difference. I would be completely out of pain, go home and go to bed. I didn’t take any meds whatsoever leading up to my surgeries, and had to quit coffee. You don’t want to have any caffeine withdrawal’s after your done......and they don’t give you coffee in the hospital. It was water, and eating HEALTHY going in. I would add a drop of lemon to my water, that’s supposed to be good for the immune system.

On the planning part of coming home, I’m the Oscar Madison of recovery and did NO planning at all. But I had a strong support inner circle team that came by often and essentially all they needed to do was get the things I needed because of my lack of planning. It actually worked out quite well. I didn’t need any help with anything really, and the wont let you leave the hospital unless you are running a 4 minute mile anyway. You have to be able to do some stairs, get in and out of bed, log roll, (which comes naturally) and go to the bathroom. After a few days they let you take that 1st shower which makes you feel a whole lot better.

The injectable and IV meds are the ticket. Morphine, Dialuid, and the injectable Lortab was 4-6 seconds to knockout. Heavy duty meds have heavy duty results and 100% pain removal. I became a shot begger........man-o-man. It’s the weaning to oral meds that’s hard and they are not the same. They mask to a degree, but like Linda mentioned, the meds don’t work on nerve pain, but hot water soaks do. 106 degrees F scalding hot. All of this is now in my past, and will also be in your past at some stage, it’s a chapter we have to get through. I am 100% happy I made my decision. Not 99%. I never had any doubt, and neither should you. I never thought back and thought “I shouldn’t have done this” I was moving forward and thinking forward ALL THE TIME.

Self diagnosis is fruitless. Look at the questions on the USMLC medical licensing exams online if you have any doubt.

Also worrying about “anything” results in damaging stress. Stress is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Try to learn to de-stress.......Calm blue ocean......

Thinking about pain, produces pain. Do what you can to deviate from those thoughts. Whatever it takes...

Yes, there is mindwork involved, having a positive mental attitude is the only way to be.

You will get through this.


03-18-2015, 08:29 AM
Hi Cathy!

Prior to my surgery, my pain was very manageable. Even though it took more pills & rest to manage it & my curve was rapidly progressing, I had doubts about the necessity of the surgery. I thought I'd have a clearer picture of the need for surgery if my pain increased. It sure sounds like you're 'there' where you have no doubt about needing the surgery.

I felt I was prepared by following all the great advice on this forum. I practiced the log roll . . . Didn't help. I could not have imagined the absolute weakness after surgery. Remember, your strength WILL return! I began to feel a little stronger on day 4. My big turning point was at 2.5 months when I could do many things for myself, was off narcotics & began driving.

For anxiety before and after, I relied on my faith & it was definitely strengthened! The best coping thing I had was a playlist of upbeat Christian songs on my iPhone. It was so calming and encouraging! If that's not your thing, find some music or nature sounds that might help you relax by focusing on the music.

I was fortune to be able to go to intensive rehab for 2 weeks. It was reassuring to have therapists & nurses, as I was learning to care for myself. 'Intensive' is 3-4 hours per day vs. 1 hr a day.
I've learned to ask for help. My husband ties my tennis shoes. I ask strangers to pick up things off the bottom shelf or floor when I'm shopping without a grabber. I get help out to my car at the grocery so I don't have to lift the bags. Etc... I think it was Ed who said he knew he was making progress every time he put away something he no longer needed to assist his recovery. I've been thinking about that a lot lately!

It sounds like you have a great family for support - that's the best preparation! Take care! Sending a hug & prayers.

03-18-2015, 08:47 AM
Hi Cathy,

Where you are now is the worst place to be. I too was really declining the two months before surgery and dragging myself to work in order to save sick time for the surgery. It was bad. Add to that the fear of the surgery and recovery and it can be overwhelming. You just want to get in there and have it done with!

I have no advice for you. All you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. You have decided to do this and done your homework. Now you can only practice patience. You will get a lot of support here, don't be afraid to post anything. We understand!

You will love your new body and the freedom from the problems you are currently experiencing. It's totally worth it.

I spent the last few weeks trying to do little projects around the house I knew I wouldn't be able to do for a long time just to keep busy. I wish you all the best.

03-18-2015, 03:54 PM
Hi Cathy,

I just had the exact same surgery (T4-S1)with Dr. Lonner on January 21! I'd be happy to talk to you about everything you are feeling and what my experience has been.

My symptoms worsened greatly before the surgery as well. I couldn't stand for more than 10 minutes without excruciating pain. My pain was consistently about an 8. I couldn't live like that any longer but I also couldn't believe that I said yes to the surgery. Even the morning of, I told myself I could back out. I didn't.

The worst time emotionally was the final month leading up to the surgery. I cried all the time, anywhere. I couldn't concentrate, couldn't smile, couldn't get it out of my head for a moment. The difficulties and pain of recovery have been MUCH easier than the emotional pain was. It's such a hard path to take, but it does get better emotionally.

It wasn't until last week (6 weeks) that I really started to feel a little like myself again. I was able to take walks, I even went to Barnes and Noble! 2 weeks ago, the thought of going out of the house was totally out of the question. The occupational therapist at the hospital said the recuperation is not a slow, steady climb. It's times of no improvement, followed by leaps, of improvement, followed by minor setbacks, etc. It was a great thing to know because it has kept me going during the no improvement phases. I also just recently started noticing the physical changes to my torso shape. I didn't think it was that bad before the surgery, but now all the lumps and bumps are gone, it looks like I've lost weight, and I have the most beautiful posture ever!

I'm still in bed a lot, need someone with me most of the time, have times of bad pain. I don't want to sugarcoat it. But, it is getting better. And from what I've seen on here, people recuperate at their own rate. I have to remind myself of that sometimes.

I would really be happy to speak to you. You can send me an email here.

03-19-2015, 10:46 AM
I don't know what I would do, or would have done, without you people on this forum these last four or five years.

I have a script for Gabapentin, but I'm going to wait as long as I can without it. I cannot stand the list of possible side effects. I take only Ambien to sleep right now, and since I will soon be opiated UP the ying yang, trying to keep med list to a minimum.

ksmom..... I appreciate your offer more than you know. Will PM you today.