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L5 - S1 MIS TLIF Spinal Fusion Positive Experience

Started by wbill39 on 04/06/2011 9:36pm

L5 - S1 MIS TLIF Spinal Fusion Positive Experience

Hello...My name is Bill and I am new to this forum.

I am 39 years old, athletic and have suffered with a dynamic grade 1 spondylolisthesis with bi-laterals pars defects and severe L5 nerve root stenosis. Simply I suffered with pain.

I never took narcotics (do not believe in meds to cover a problem) and I never had injections.

I was terrified to have spinal fusion surgery because of all the horror stories I have read online, but I needed to try and get some pain relief. I searched high an low for the right doctor...I ended up picking a neurosurgeon at Ceders in Los Angeles, CA. I went to 4 other neuro's and ortho's before I selected him.

Long story short - Had surgery on 3/24/2011 and I am 13 days out 4/6/2011. Surgery went well and my x-rays today look great.

3 nights in the hospital were tough (I will admit it takes a while for the medical staff to concoct the right pain/muscle relaxing cocktail to make you comfortable). I was walking day 2 in hospital.

I am walking everyday now and doing quite a bit on my own - No Bending, Lifting or Twisting.

I am off of all pain meds. Some days I ache a bit more than the days before. Usually because I did too much. I have no problem taking 1 hydrocodone or a valium on these days.

My tips to those who are extremely afraid:
#1 - Find the right doctor that you trust (someone who answers all of your questions and allows you to speak with former patients).
#2 - Talk to patients in the waiting room at your doctor visits when trying to select a physician.
#3 - Check out their (your physicians) Health Grades and Vitals online. See what people say about the docs.
#4 - Get as strong and healthy as you can prior to surgery (I was riding a bike 15 - 30 miles once per week prior to surgery - Yes with pain).
#5 - Know that you will feel pain, but it is controllable.
#6 - Start taking laxatives (Colace, Pericolace) immediately after surgery - Meds constipate.
#7 - Take pain meds conservatively. Don't over do it.
#8 - Catheter removal for me was one of the worst parts for me...Others don't even feel it.
#9 - Have a good support sytem around and stay positive.
#10 - Walk - Walk & Walk a little more. Know what is too much.
#11 - If you have trouble peeing after the catheter is removed ask the staff to stand with you in the shower and pour warm water over your genitals until you can collect some urine. Visualize yourself peeing.
#12 - Don't be afraid to have a suppository to help you have a bowel movement. Helped me a great deal.
#13 - Get a walker and a telescopic grabbing tool to help you pick light things off of the floor.
#14 - Trust your doctor and have faith that things will work out.
#15 - Pray for guidance if you have religous beliefs.

So far so good. Don't believe all of the horror stories. We have no idea what condition many of these people are in prior to surgery. We are all individuals and strong people with great doctors will do well and those who are weaker or who who have selected bad doctors may not do so well.

I hope this helps some of you thinking about spinal fusion surgery.

Thanks - Bill

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8 Responses

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I'm so happy to hear that you are doing well. It is one o'clock in the morning and I am agonizing about my decision.......... to do or not to do back surgery. After reading your story I believe that our diagnosis are quite similar. I have severe stenosis and spondyolistheses. My greatest fear is the recuperation period following the actual surgery. I am no Christopher Reeves. I have had pain for the last 2 years and it's getting worse. I believe my loss of quality of life is bothering me more than the pain. Before I ramble on I would appreciate your allowing me to speak to you on the telephone. I am a senior citizen who has spent the last 20 minutes typing and re-typing this message. I live in Florida in the winter and New York City the rest of the year. I have tried to research two surgeons; one in FL. the other in NY. I would appreciate your advice as to the best way to make a good decision as to which one of these Drs. would be more suited to my needs. Thanks. I am awaiting your reply. Arlene

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Hello Arlene (moviecannnon),

Please email me your phone number to neonutra@gmail.com. I would be more than happy to speak with you.

Bill

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Bill,
I'm glad things worked out for you and I think internet comments are biased towards negative experiences. People just move on with their lives after sucessful procedures and there is no longer a need to post messages or research treatments.

PS: For myself, I think I'll move #15 to the top of the list and pass on #11, but thanks all the same.

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I would love to add to this ongoing positive post.I also agonized over doing surgery because i am pretty much Miss holistic,excercise,keep a positive mindset and pray and you will be fine.That was not the case and after a year and a half of suffering and also starting to progressively loose strength in my right leg,and also having urinary retention problems,i knew it was time.I have a great orthopedic doctor who has been treating me and i really trusted him.Today i went for my 4 week post op check,he says i am doing great.I have been walking every day(never needed the walker).My pain management is only one 50mg tramadol twice a day and one vicodan or Norco in the evening.I would love to be off that soon too except i have ongoing cervical spine issues that may need surgery soon.It helped that i exercised clear up to surgery day and also drank my all day energy greens everyday faithfully.Your body will bounce back so much quicker.I feel great,as long as i obey the BLT rule,but that won't be forever.The surgery i had done was L5-S1 Lumbar Fusion,Anterior /Posterior Approach.

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I would love to add to this ongoing positive post.I also agonized over doing surgery because i am pretty much Miss holistic,excercise,keep a positive mindset and pray and you will be fine.That was not the case and after a year and a half of suffering and also starting to progressively loose strength in my right leg,and also having urinary retention problems,i knew it was time.I have a great orthopedic doctor who has been treating me and i really trusted him.Today i went for my 4 week post op check,he says i am doing great.I have been walking every day(never needed the walker).My pain management is only one 50mg tramadol twice a day and one vicodan or Norco in the evening.I would love to be off that soon too except i have ongoing cervical spine issues that may need surgery soon.It helped that i exercised clear up to surgery day and also drank my all day energy greens everyday faithfully.Your body will bounce back so much quicker.I feel great,as long as i obey the BLT rule,but that won't be forever.The surgery i had done was L5-S1 Lumbar Fusion,Anterior /Posterior Approach.

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Your tips are great. Thank you. Never thought of talking to patients in waiting room. Nice idea.

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Had my L4 and L5 lumbar infusion Three weeks ago today. I'm 67 years old and I feel
great. I have no limitations other than how much weight I can lift, that will take some
time yet. My surgeon wanted me to start bending and twisting one week after surgery.
I was in the hospital for one week.
Mary Taylor

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I am 38 and have scheduled a spinal fusion with an orthopedic surgeon Dec. 3rd. So very scared! I've had different people telling me it's better to go to a neurologist. Any answers to that? I have spondylothesis and also spondylosis. F5/S1 Have had issues with my sciatica for 3 months now. The right nerve is not even showing on MRI. I've tried to wait as long as I could. Can't wait any longer. I am a very active walker/runner. This is killing me not even being able to walk my dog. I know I need to have it. I can't keep going on like this. Not been good for me or my family. Thanks for any info or just listening :)

Kelly

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