Sciatica Changed Me Forever

In January of 2012, I walked away from a car accident that probably should have killed me. Immediately after the accident I had bruises and cuts, but otherwise felt fine. 

About two weeks later, I was out on a 10 mile run with a friend and began experiencing pain in my hip. I am an avid runner and log anywhere between 10 to 30 miles a week. I thought maybe my increase in mileage was bothering it. I took ibuprofen and went on with my life.

Two weeks later, I was at the beach visiting my mother with my young child and the hip pain became so excruciating that I couldn't walk without assistance or drive my car. That following Monday, I went to urgent care and was prescribed arthritis medications. My pain from my hip slowly began to travel down my butt, then the back of the thigh and eventually down my calf. 

In March of 2012, I began feeling like my calf was in a firepit and literally asked my husband to amputate it because I could not take the pain.

My doctor was worthless. He did not connect the car accident to a back injury to the severe sciatica symptoms I was having. It wasn't until the other party’s insurance company demanded an MRI for my "fake pain" that my herniated/ruptured disc was discovered.

After many drug trials and specialist appointments, I was referred to a neurosurgeon who wanted to do surgery. At this point it was June and I had quickly deteriorated and had a loss of muscle tone, reflexes, sensation and ability to walk without assistance. I was starting to have issues with my bowels, as well.

I had surgery in July 2012. My surgery took 4 hours longer than expected and my doctor said that after 24 years, I was the worst case he had seen and he did the best that he could.

Post-surgery, I was still in constant pain, but was hopeful that the nerves would calm down and begin to heal themselves. Now it's almost 3 years post-surgery and I still have lingering symptoms and probably always will. 

I have permanent loss of sensation in my left calf and in the bottom of my foot. I get intense muscle spasms in my calves nightly that wake me from my sleep. I still get hot and burning sensations down my left leg. 

About a year ago, I experienced my first set of back spasms. I have them about every 3 months now and have to be hospitalized overnight for them to stop. I don't take any medications except for a light sleep aid because my pain is worse at night.

I still run because I believe a body in motion is better than a body at rest. I like acupuncture and cupping, although sometimes it irritates the nerves. But if someone told me that licking a frog would make me pain-free, I would do it. 

I suffer in silence most days and don't share my pain with my husband or friends or coworkers. It has just become a cross that I have to bear. I wish there was a miracle cure for me. I'm only 37 and I'm tired of hurting.

- Stephanie

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