What’s Best for You
I believe I found the right doctor. It was refreshing to have a professional approach you about your options. He suggested that I wait to have surgery because the disc will be able to heal on its own within 3 months. We also discussed the microdiscectomy as one of my options as well. I have read a lot of forums about the pros and cons of waiting to get surgery and found success stories of people letting the disc heal on its own. He discussed how my herniation was in the category of moderate to severe and how he has seen patients with similar conditions be successful with alternative therapies. I felt a little undecided and thought am I rushing things? Should I wait to have this surgery? I wanted to gather my thoughts a little more. I opted for the surgery but need to do some pre-op test before I can schedule. I need to accomplish blood test, EKG, and chest X-ray with my primary doctor and fax the results to my surgeon. So I have some time to think about my situation and decide if this is the best option for me.
Yesterday and today I did more research about the topic and reflected on my situation. I came to the conclusion that it has been about 7 weeks or close to 2 months. I could wait one more month to see if I am better but when I think about it, I wont be able to schedule the surgery until maybe the middle of December which will put me around 10 weeks or close to 3 months. I found in a lot of forums that the longer people waited the more severe their symptoms or nerve damage got and that ranged from 5 months to a year. I sometimes think I am getting better with rest and minimal activity. Like being able to stand, walk or lay when its comfortable for me but when I go to work in uniform I only lay when it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t like the idea of laying in uniform at my shop I feel like a dirt bag and appear lazy. There are times when I feel its getting worse as new symptoms start to appear week to week. I still feel like I can’t walk well and have limited range of motion. My pain doctor does not want me to do any physical therapy or chiropractic care as he is afraid of making my condition worse. So reading about the people that were able to heal on their own they used alternative therapies. I’m stuck on bed rest and doctors orders to take it easy. I also think about if I am not healed before my husband leaves the military then I have to deal with this alone. I will be able to get out of the military in a year.
After assessing my situation I still think surgery is the way to go. I would rather heal my problem now and prolong any type of nerve damage then to risk it by waiting. Like I said earlier, waiting till mid December is around the 3 month period and then I can see if I am healing or getting worse as time goes on. I understand I will be recovering from surgery and will need to take it easy. I will have my husband here to help and I plan to completely change my lifestyle. This surgery is for the L5-S1 disc only so I will need to be careful not to re-herniate that disc or cause further damage to my L3-L4 herniated disc as well. This mean no physical training and not being able to deploy for the rest of my career. The surgery will correct the herniated part of the disc as letting it heal will not. They will trim the part of the disc that is pressing on nerve correcting the part of the disc that is bulged. If it heals on its own the disk is still herniated but not causing symptoms. I also think that would be beneficial to have semi-normal looking disc then a bulging one here and there. So after thinking about my quality of life and the pros and cons, I am opting for surgery. I have thought about it and feel it is the best decision for me. I would like my life back. I want the ability to clean my house, help carry in groceries, walking, dressing myself, shaving my legs, tying my shoes, clipping my toe nails, putting lotion on my feet, and exercising. My quality of life has been suffering and no can really tell me if this will get better on its own. I rather do the surgery while I am in the Air Force then wait when I get out. All the time taken to recover is paid and my personal leave is untouched. Finding the care needed is the key component to your health. Only you know whats best for you.