Lumbar fusion can be a wonderful success!!
I have read so much online about spinal fusions and surgeries with poor outcomes and horror stories related to spinal fusions. I want to be the positive voice that some may need. I am 36 yrs old now and have just recently had a L5-S1 spinal fusion with instrumentation. When I was researching online prior to surgery everything I read online seemed to be so negative. I stopped reading online posts, I kept my head up, stayed positive and perservered with that way of thinking all the way through my hospital stay. My Doc gave me a slight chance that the fusion would fail. Day 2 after surgery was when I realized why he told me that this may fail, it wasn't his ability as a surgeon, it wasn't the medical treatment or staff. It was purely up to me to succeed. I needed to stay positive and push forward when I was in the most extreme pain, when I had not slept for 30 hrs, thoughts would come into my head about why I had decided to do this surgery. It was very difficult to keep my perspective where it needed to be, I was going to be fine, I was going to walk away from this surgery and never regret it, I was going to have a much brighter future. Those thoughts are very difficult to maintain. I believe that was the reason he warned me that my fusion might fail. It was up to me to stay positive and not poison my spirit during those first few days. I finally fell asleep for 3.5 hrs on night number 3. I woke up feeling like I was on cloud nine! I was so excited!(even though I was still in pain, it had greatly reduced!) I was so relieved that I had made it though the worst. I am posting this message to encourage others. I spent alot of time researching and meeting with Neurosurgeons to find the one I felt was most competent. Lucky for me, I found two that were highly respected and competent. Both Doctors performed the surgery on me. I suffered in angonizing pain for several years before this surgery and I was very reluctant to use prescription meds that could cause a handful of other problems. Today, about 1 month later, my outlook towards the future is amazing! I feel a little bit of pain and my muscles are stiff. But it will loosen up and the pain hopefully will fade away. I am taking only 2 Vicodin per day right now and hope to be off them completly within a week or two. I get up and walk everyday, as much as I can handle. I want anybody who reads this and is considering spinal fusion, to find the right Surgeon, find the right hospital and find the right support group. (My Wife never left my side during my entire hospital stay except to run home and shower. To have someone by your side at all times, including sleeping in a very uncomfortable chair the first night next to me was comforting. We were able to find her a sleeper chair after the first night! What she did for me was crucial to my success) And the most important thing to be taken from this post is that fusions can be a wonderful success. You can feel better, but most of it is up to you and your ability to look at the most difficult situation with a positive attitude and never give in to negative thinking. Good luck to anybody that moves decides to move forward.