I’ve not really mentioned too much on the blog & social media about my back and leg issues, I hate to come across as having a little pity party but I’ve been in complete agony again the past few months.
Let’s flip back a few years, well about seven really, when my back problems started. I was in a three car accident, my car being hit from both the front & back essentially squashed between two vehicles on the motorway. The accident itself wasn’t major & at the that point no one was seriously hurt, thankfully. I was even back in work the next day. However a couple of days later I was in total agony & ended up having nearly 12 months off work before the pain finally eased. I thought that was the end of it, back to normal.
However I still had niggling pain that came back every now & then over the next few years.
If I slept funny or was too active I’d need a couple of days off work again but never really thought much of it, it was just something I’d learned to live with.
Then I went down to London for Britmums Live, a blogging conference, and the niggling pain started again. I took painkillers and carried on at the conference, going to different talks but the niggling pain continued. My left leg started to numb but was still painful. Sitting down at each talk got harder and harder. Walking to each talk got harder and harder.
By the end of the weekend I was not only limping but dragging my leg as I couldn’t bear weight and could no longer feel my leg.
I was so worried on the train journey home, even thinking about going to hospital but I was exhausted from a busy weekend and got home late so just took some more painkillers & went to bed.
In the morning, there was no feeling at all in my leg now. I could hobble along but if you touched the leg I felt absolutely nothing so it was time to head to the doctors. The doctor did the ‘pin prick’ test and again I felt nothing at all. Nothing in my leg, nothing in my foot & nothing in my buttocks. I was sent to A&E then rushed from my local hospital to Salford Royal who had a specialist spinal & neurology unit. After an MRI scan it was decided I needed an emergency operation.
After the op I did finally get some relief, the pain slowly subsided and after about nine months I had pretty much all of the feeling back in my leg & foot. There was only a few small patches on the back of my leg and the left side of my foot that was still numb.
Fast forward another year and the pain started coming back again
By Christmas it was unbearable and over the past few months I went from enjoying life, looking after my boys, being a busy mum & wife to being pretty much house bound, and on most days, bed bound.
The doctors continued to increase my medication to try & give me some relief whilst I was waiting for a referral back to the specialists. I ended up on 14 pills a day plus a morphine patch & oral morphine. I was no longer living, just getting through each day & each night as best I could, trying to cope with the pain.
My MRI in November showed I had two protruding discs & internal scarring crushing my sciatic nerve and causing the immense pain. My MRI this month showed that this had worsened, but not only that, the Consultant Neurologist had a formal diagnosis for me. I have scoliosis, curvature of the spine, and degenerative spinal disease. Basically, my back isn’t going to get any better. I might have times of relief where I’m not in pain, but my discs are going to continue to degenerate and the pain is going to come back.
The huge amount of medication I’m taking isn’t taking the pain away, and they cannot physically give me any more. The only option to try was spinal injections. The neurologist has injected directly into my nerve root, it was the worst pain I’ve felt in my life. Seriously, I’d take giving birth any day over that injection, but it should start to give me some relief. I was advised it would likely increase the pain for about three days afterwards but should then ease off. The nerve should be numbed and the pain go away for a short period of up to three months. He’s hoping this should give me some pain relief and also help the inflammation go down. If this doesn’t work then it’s surgery again.
So what does this diagnosis mean for me now?
It means I’m scared about the future, about when it’s going to happen again. I’m worried about the pain coming back & the prospect of spinal surgery again as it’s more risky the second time around.
I’m worried about what the future will hold, will I end up with severe mobility problems long term? I’m currently struggling to walk with crutches & have needed a wheelchair at times. Could I end up in a wheelchair in future?
I’m trying not to think about the future just yet, although it’s hard not to worry, especially as I’m my little man’s carer. He’s only five but he relies on me so much due to his own disability & mobility issues.
I have to try and stay positive. Fingers crossed the root nerve block injection will work & I’ll finally have some pain relief. Hopefully I’ll be back on my feet soon and then I’ll just have to take each day as it comes and just hope for the best.