SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

Upcoming Lumbar Fusion L5-S1

Started by Glassy2006 on 04/11/2012 10:22pm

I am trying to prepare for my Lumbarr fusion/laminectomy/discectomy/L5S1 next week and hoping to get some specifics on what to expect pre vs post op, what are the first few days like, what can I do to prepare at home, recovery time, etc. I'm going in with a positive attitude as I understand outcomes vary greatly for each person.
I would appreciate as much specific info as I can get. I have my cardio clearance appt. tomorrow and waiting for my pre-op appt with my neuro surgeon. Completed 1of 2 pre-op appts. With the hospital and have my second one on Monday. Surgery is Wednesday. I have a few questions including if a bone stimulator can be used with a cardiac pacemaker? And, did anyone have problems getting their pain under control during initial recovery due to prior pain management treatment ( I am on a 10 mg Butrans patch & 20 mg oxymorphone)? My pain management dr does not have rights at the hospital I'm having surgery at so I'm a little worried. Looking forward to a chance of less pain and a more active lifestyle soon!

Do you find this discussion helpful?
0

48 Responses

Like/Dislike
1

Approx 9 months ago, I had undergone a very successful TLIF operation at L5/SI level. A little over 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Isthmic Spondylolisthesis Grade 1 at the L5/S1 vertebral level. I experienced daily mechanical pain for which I am sure that you can also attest too. I was told by a chiropractor that it was more than likely that my spondylolisthesis would not deteriorate any further and that conservative treatment ( I.e. physiotherapy, chiropractory, oral medication, and topical formulas) would suffice.

However, 8 months after being diagnosed, my pain levels had substantially increased and I was having intermittent flair up's which involved multiple disc bulges (this is the domino affect from a destabilized spine - spondylolisthesis was the stressor). Despite continued efforts to mitigate my evolving daily pain, conservative treatment was not helping and I was then starting to experience neurologic issues which involved intense sharp stabbing and burning neuropathic pain down my right leg (sciatic nerve irritation).

After persistent pain and obvious neural problems which were associated with the isthmic spondylolisthesis domino affect, I had undertaken extensive research for a prospective neurosurgeon before my first consultation in February, 2011. Upon my consultation with my neurosurgeon, he arranged an MRI for me and the results confirmed significant further deterioration involving Neuroforaminal stenosis (nerve impingement from narrowed foramina nerve canal) at L5/S1 level; disc bulge with annular tear and facet joint degeneration at L3/L4; and disc degeneration, broad based disc herniation, and facet joint degeneration at L4/L5 level. Upon seeing the evidence, my neurosurgeon arranged for me to have a Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumber Interbody Fusion (TLIF) with hardware at L5/S1 level.

Furthermore, I had my surgery on the 11th July 2011; and I am now at 9 months post surgery. I must say that, I am feeling absolutely wonderful and my pain levels are 95% better than they were before surgery! Without surgery intervention, the reality is that I would have continued having long term crippling pain not to mention more serious neurologic deficits (I.e. loss of muscle function; incontinence; decreased leg sensations; leg weakness; abnormal reflexes; paralysis; and further deterioration of my lumber spine area) Therefore, not being able to work and maintain any quality of life.

My next post surgery milestone is my one year post-op review which is scheduled in July this year. At this review, my neurosurgeon will review a CT scan (taken earlier the same day) in order to determine the actual progress and integrity of my bone fusion progress. FYI...I am 36 years of age.

In response to your queries, I offer the following comments;

1. First few days after operation: You can expect to be on pain medication for at least one week. I was on Oxycontin (sustained release) 10mg tablets per day along with 1-2 100mg Tramadol tablets per day which managed my pain levels very well. Thereafter, I took 1-2 5mg tablets of Oxycodone for at least another 1-2 weeks as required. Don't worry about any pain issues, that's what the meds are for!
2. The best form of spinal rehabilitation is "Walking". Try to walk at least 45mins to 1 hour every day after your surgery. Make sure that you obtain a referral for some follow up physiotherapy (this usually takes place between 5-7 weeks post op).
3. As for bone stimulators: Unless your neurosurgeon has suggested that you have one, the bone fusion process will occur naturally (this can sometimes take a full year or so to achieve the desired bone integrity).
4. Make good use of your partner or a family member to assist you with putting your shoes and socks on or alternatively, consider purchasing slip on shoes for around the house as they are much easier to get in and out of. If your house is of a newer design, you may need to also look at getting a raised toilet seat frame to limit the pressure on your back (I had hired one from the hospital and it was certainly a great inclusion).
5. Subject to the surgery method, the type of work and or activities that you do, and your general health, you should expect to be on restricted duties for a period of anywhere between 6-12 weeks>. Avoid driving a motor vehicle for the first 4-6 weeks unless otherwise advised by your doctor.

I sincerely wish you all the very best with your upcoming spine surgery. Please do not hesitate to ask me any further questions.

Take care & keep me posted on your progress.

Robert

Like/Dislike
1

Robert, thank you for your very thorough explanation of your condition, treatment, and recovery. I have read about so many failed fusions, it was nice to read of a successful surgery. Sounds like your condition was very similar to mine. Unfortunately I have spent several months on uncessful injections, nerve blocks, RF ablations and like you ended up with the neuro issues over time.

In addition to the equipment advice for the bathroom, were you able to walk at home without a walker or did you need assistance?

Unfortunately my surgeons assistant did not fulfill all the requirements in preparation for my surgery in time so my date has now been pushed out another week. This is the second time she has had to move my date due to her error. It has now been 5 weeks since we decided to move forward with the surgery. I find that unacceptable but at the mercy of this one individual. If this individual had to sit in pain and wait 6 weeks for surgery she might be a little more timely. If my surgeon was not the best in the area I would have left his office after the first mistake. Anyway, a discussion I'll have with the surgeon :)

Thank you again for all the info, it was just what I was looking for.

Like/Dislike
0

Hi ....I also am having a fusion plif ...l5 and s1 on May 3oth.Im so scared ,but am trying to also go in on a open mind and have faith .I would very much like to keep in touch with you .I have heard that a raised toilet seat is best ...and i have a grabber which comes in handy .What is a butran patch ?How long have u been suffering from this ?I have degenerative disc disease and grade 1 spondylothestisis.Looking forward to talking to someone having the same surgery take care .

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Rhonda,
I can certainly relate to how you may be feeling. I am certainly anxious and ready to start a road of recovery. When I found out my surgery was pushed out another week I just started to cry... I've been dealing with back pain for a little over a 2 years. The nerve issues started about 8-9 months ago. I should ave listened to my body at work but didn't and just tried to push through life until I couldn't any longer. That was in Feb. it has taken me this long to find a qualified neuro, complete the entire re-evaluation process, and decide on surgery.
The Butrans is a transdermal patch for pain. My Dr prescribed it during a time my previous med was unavailable. It is not used for post surgical pain however.
thanks for the advice of a grabber. I have to get my husband to pick me up one.
I would also love to hear from you since we will be going through this at the same time!
Take care :)

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Glassy,

You had asked if I was able to walk at home with or without a walking frame? I had never needed a walking frame, not even at the hospital on the day of my surgery.

Later on the same day of my surgery, the neurosurgery ward nurses were instructed to take me for a light walk. Although I was a little sore, I had managed to walk myself (at a creep speed) to the shower/change room. I was told that it is common practice to have spinal surgery patients up walking as soon as possible.

As I was progressing so well, my stay in hospital was only for 2 1/2 days. I had read within my pre-admission documentation that the TLIF spinal procedure generally involves a 5 day instay (as an indicative guideline). I must say that, it was nice to get back home with my wife and kid's sooner rather than later (:

I am glad to hear that you had managed to source a top neurosurgeon, I am therefore sure your surgery outcome will be testimony to such careful selection. I had my successful surgery performed at the Royal Melbourne Hospital here in Melbourne, Australia; by leading Neurosurgeon Dr Andrew Morokoff.

Once again, All the very best with your surgery. Keep in touch.

Robert.

Like/Dislike
1

I am sorry for your Pain. I think you are about to go to surgery now. I had my L5-S1 Lumbar fusion laminectomy discetomy earlier this year and wow what a difference. I put off surgery for as long as I could and my chronic pain had gotten to the point to where I could no longer walk upright, and all the other physical therapies no longer were helping.

It seems like you are in a fair amount of pain like I was. All I can say is that it is going to hurt but should feel better. It is going to be tricky walking again the first week, and will get a little easier each day. Unless your pain is unmanageable I would push yourself to walk as much as possible as far as possible. I would do with someone else until your back feels strong enough to walk alone.

The more you walk and push your self to get back to trying to be normal the faster you will recover. Depending on how much work is done it is going to take a while and the pain is not going to be fun. I can tell you that after 2 months I was doing much better and was walking without needing any aids. I have had to work through the pain but it is worth it given the results I am experiencing.

All I promise is that the more work you pore into your self with rehab if everything went well in the surgery the better you will be. There will be pain and you have to know your body, but push yourself when you can. The pain has already subsided for me to where I no longer need the heavy drugs.

I know it may be to late for you but these guys really helped me in making the decision to have the surgery. http://www.backpainrelief.net

Your friend in Pain,
Greg Cowart

Like/Dislike
0

hello glassey and all the preops I wish you all good luck and when they get done no more pain.anyway i went in last day of nov, 28 2011. my surgeon come into see me and thats all I remb. was waking up press the button if you are in pain they told me it was 10 times stronger than morhpine, i got that for 24 hours Im not going to lie to anyone it hurts they did a 12inch cut up my back cut the bone from my spine. I have 2 long steel rods and 8 screws in there also i broke my back at age 19. they took all cushions out of the lumbar area and fused it has grown together now I was on my 4th month when they took walker away and my brace. I healed fast for having diabetes. they also took a bone out of my spine. I walk alot i still have some muscle pain. but im off any meds for pain. i wish you all the best. hot showers really helped me and walking also. the faster you get up the faster you are going to heal good luck everyone.

Like/Dislike
1

Thanks to everyone for your advice. Surgery is tomorrow morning. Ran into an issue with having a pacemaker that required some additional documentation and clearance. Had my back brace fitted, house is ready, just one more day :) A little anxious but looking forward to the idea of healing. Sounds like getting up and walking is they key. Will heed the advice and push myself to get up and walk as much as I can. Surgeon said he is going in posterior, surgery should take about 4 hours and should be home over the weekend. Rhonda, I'll update my post to let you know how things are going and my experience since your surgery is shortly after mine. Take care!

Like/Dislike
0

Hey Glassy ,just wondering how u made out ???How r u feeling and all that stuff .Hope your ok and are on your road to recovery talk soon .

Like/Dislike
0

An update from my surgery on Wednesday the 25th. I am happy to say the surgery itself went well and I'm healing nicely. The surgery was posterior and took about 4 hours. I have to admit I was not prepared for the pain post surgery. Unfortunately due to the prior use of heavy pain medications the hospital had a hard time keeping the pain level below a 10 for the first 2 days. Apparently I did not respond to morphine. Day of surgery i would like to forget, I was out of bed the second day with the therapist. Learning how to get up out of bed, standing properly with the brace and walking correctly even a few steps was a challenge but I pushed through it. By the next day I was able to walk around the nurses station a few times. Each day it was easier for me to get up and move around. I am now 8 days post op, walk every few hours, lay down the rest of the time. I'm moving around without assistance other than my brace. Definitely have good and bad times during the day. Laying flat on my back with pillows under my knee's is the most comfortable position. I have noticed that my pre suregery pain is much less and mostly feeling the postoperative pain :). I have a follow up next Friday to have my 20 staples removed. The incision is much longer than I expected but healing nicely.
Unfortunately my husband was notified after surgery that the hospital had made an error and the surgeon had unknowingly used a tray of non-sterilized instruments during surgery. The error was found after I was closed. I was told at the end of day 2 by my husband. I stayed in the hospital an extra 2 days for additional IV antibiotics and remain on oral AB at this time. So far all blood work has been negative and being monitored by an infectious disease dr. I am sharing this because mistakes can be made regardless of the research you do to find the best surgeon/hospital. Risk of complications are real and should be seriously considered...it can happen to you. I'll update some time next week on my progress :)

Like/Dislike
0

Glassy ,So glad u r doing ok ...and oh man ....where r u located?Not sterilized equipment how does that happen ????Did u have to purchase your brace or did hospital get it for u ?How many wks ahead did u have pre-op ?Did they take blood before hand also ?My surgeon said my surgery would be 1 and a half hrs weird how yours was 4 hrs .They must of did way more to your back .....im glad that you are positive and im thinking of you ...take care .

Like/Dislike
0

Hey Rhonda, we are waiting for the report from the hospital with their investigation to find out exactly why the instruments were not serialized. What we do know is that they went through all stages except for the final serialization. Could have been human error but the head nurse should have caught it. I live in Texas. My surgery was a full laminectomy, discectomy, and fusion with cage and screws.
I had my brace made about 2 weeks prior to surgery. They made a cast, then made the brace, then went back in a few days prior for the fitting and my pre-op appointment was 2 days prior to surgery. I had 2 appointments with the hospital. The last was 2 days prior for bloodwork so they could order blood if needed. Had I known I could have given my own blood weeks before surgery I would have done that. By time I found that out it was too close to my surgery date. Had a rough night last night. I think I over did it walking yesterday so taking it really easy today. Let me know if you have any other questions :)
Heidi

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Glassy,

It's great to hear that you have had your spinal surgery and furthermore you are doing well. Like you had pointed out, it's certainly a long steady road to recovery, however, it's also nice to see the self achievement milestones through the rehabilitation journey.

Did the discharge liaison nurse talk to you about undertaking some hydrotherapy at 6-8 weeks post-op? Trusting that your pain meds are not making you feel too constipated?.....I had that feeling for about one week until my oxycodone medication was reduced.

I am sure that you won't have any negative repercussions regarding the hospital bungle with the non sterile equipment....not a good situation to hear about though.

Take care & kind regards,

Robert.

Like/Dislike
0

Wanted to post another update from my surgery. I am healing very well and will have my staples removed this Thursday. I have already been able to he off one of the pain meds but desperately still need the meds for muscle spasms. I am still walking a lot every day. The pain has subsided a great deal and able to sleep for several hours at night now. I just started to try sitting with my back brace and can sit for about 10 min. Robert, as you mentioned the constipation became an issue and was finally relieved 10 days post op. I made the mistake and did not stay on the softeners post surgery because they made me sick. Now I understand how important they are. I will discuss with my surgeon on Thursday starting water therapy. Other than the standard post op pain in my back the only other pain I have is in my left leg. When I walk or stand it feels like my leg is in a vice and have horrible spasms in my left buttock/hip. It is a different pain. Not the sciatic pain/shooting more like a severe leg ache/pressure. I looks fine and has only slight swelling so I'm thinking it's just from the spasm. Will bring it up on Thursday. Any ideas? I would think I'm still a little inflamed so maybe the swelling is getting one of the nerves. Off I go to take another walk :)
Take care and best wishes for success to all who have upcoming fusions:)
PS...still no sign of infection!! A few more days of AB and I'll be done. Trying to see the infectious disease dr this week and expecting good news!
Heidi

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Heidi,

Based on my experience after having a Transforaminal Lumber Interbody Fusion (TLIF) with hardware at L5/S1 level on 11th July last year, I can confirm that I also had intermittent neuropathic pain following surgery (i.e. behind left knee and slightly down calf). My leg muscles were also very tight.

During your procedure, it was likely that one of your exiting nerve's from your L5/S1 vertebral body would have been lifted to enable access, hence, it will certainly be inflammed for a while and therefore the nerves need time to settle down.

My intermittent post surgery nerve pain dissipated after 6 weeks post op. Though, I have read that some people have experienced neuropathic pain for up to 15 weeks >

I remember my first few weeks after surgery when I was getting tired very quickly and also having to rotate between standing/walking or laying down in order to avoid pain. I had to stand up to eat my meals for the first two weeks as it was far to uncomfortable to sit for longer than 1 minute.

Trusting that you are not in too much pain? Keep up the light walking and your back will greatly benefit.

PS: Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any further questions regarding rehabilitation.

Take care & kind regards,

Robert.

Like/Dislike
0

I AM SCARED :(

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Rhonda,

You will be fine, the bulk of your existing pain should dissipate.

PS: I posted a response to you on another discussion thread (Refer to: Mini ALIF....)

Cheers,

Robert.

Like/Dislike
0

Rhonda, seriously..don't be scared! As I mentioned and others have as well the first few days are rough but you're having major surgery. You'll be given plenty of meds to keep you as comfortable as possible. It's not fun but the goal is to improve/resolve your current pain. After the first week you'll start to feel much better. Everyone I have talked to said walking as much as you can, as soon as you can, will speed up the recovery. I have taken the advice seriously and let my body tell me when I've done enough. Then I rest for a few hours and give it a try again. I am also a strong believer in positive thinking. I went into this believing it would be successful and still have that outlook. Waiting is the worst part and try not to read all the horror stories on the web. Yes, there may be complications which we usually hear about. The successful ones don't always post:). Even though I'm having some muscle/leg pain, it is different pain and hearing from Robert reminds me as well that during such a surgery things are going to be moved around and will need time to heal :). Take care and I wish you the best! Robert, thanks again for the advice and reassurance!
Heidi

Like/Dislike
0

HI Glassy!

I'm going in for my 2nd surgery next week also... Monday. July 27, 2010 I had 2 TLIF's done on L4-L5-S1. I had an excellent hospital experience... I'd love to tell you all about it but I don't have the time. I had immediate pain relief in some areas... I could gargle, tilt my head all the way back, throw popcorn and peanuts in my mouth, bend backwards in the shower... you know...

There was other pain relief and I was soon able to reduce my pain medications... I would say close to 4 weeks... I wore a Spinal-Stim... don't worry about anything with that... it won't hurt anything. They told me to stay away from the computer with it... but I found it didn't bother it. They have a great site for that thing which answers an lot of questions and you can call their 800 number and they'll answer your questions there as well... if it the same company that made mine... I forget what it was though.

I expect you'll be fine. Make sure you walk as much as possible and wear your brace and bone stim... I wore my turtle shell hard brace for about 4 months and wore the Bone Stim along with it.

I advise you to start as soon as possible, right now even, reducing any opiate type meds you're taking... the withdrawal is murder. Start very slowly... and just a teeny tiny bit off at a time... as small as you can chop a pill... I was on a Max Dose of hydrocodone for 8 months. I thought I could just stop taking it or ween off it in about a month... boy was I ever wrong... You may need another med to help you with the ride... most people use some kind of opiate substitute or something, but then they have to ween off of that... I went without a secondary med and just weened down slowly over 2 1/2 months... then later on I went to my psychiatrist and got Welbutrin, for several reasons. I also was on Lamictal...

I was already beginning to get better slowly, a tiny bit, every day... let's see... about 4 months or so after stopping the opiates altogether... but it wasn't over, it just felt like I was getting better and not worse... a tiny bit of relief from that evil withdrawal meant a lot to me... I almost didn't make it buddy... it was a horror. The Welbutrin and Lamictal helped me get over the hump. The Welbutrin is a Stim Med and the Lamictal is a Mood Med.

It will be a while before you have an "active lifestyle", and it won't be a Very active lifestyle... be careful with your fusion, the muscles and such still have a lot of healing to do... and a lot of adjusting... about a year to 2 years... but you'll be walking tall in no time... you'll see.

I took a job that I shouldn't have. 11 months out of surgery. Maintenance at a nearby hotel. It was too physical. You know the stress on the parts above and below your fusion will be more, now that flexibility in that fused joint is nil. Well I blew my disc at L3-L4... but I had an issue unrelated anyway... the first surgery... they didn't clean up my foramen at L5 enough, or at all... and that was a huge problem for me... so now I'm going in for "revision" surgery to fix that, a risky procedure, and then to fix L3-L4... I'll be getting 2 TLIF'S and an XLIF... they have to take out the existing hardware and put in all new and add a little more.

The new fusion will be an XLIF with Bone Morphogenic Protein. I'm a little bit worried about this procedure but I have to trust that my surgeon is doing it for good reason. He's a very careful surgeon and had me take many tests... before deciding on surgery and what type of surgery. He explained everything to me and even gave me options. I have to let him know tomorrow what I've decided... whether or not I want an XLIF at L3-L4 or a TLIF... and if I want that Protein stuff or not.

I gotta go... I'll keep an eye on this post...

john

Like/Dislike
0

HI Glassy!

I'm going in for my 2nd surgery next week also... Monday. July 27, 2010 I had 2 TLIF's done on L4-L5-S1. I had an excellent hospital experience... I'd love to tell you all about it but I don't have the time. I had immediate pain relief in some areas... I could gargle, tilt my head all the way back, throw popcorn and peanuts in my mouth, bend backwards in the shower... you know...

There was other pain relief and I was soon able to reduce my pain medications... I would say close to 4 weeks... I wore a Spinal-Stim... don't worry about anything with that... it won't hurt anything. They told me to stay away from the computer with it... but I found it didn't bother it. They have a great site for that thing which answers an lot of questions and you can call their 800 number and they'll answer your questions there as well... if it the same company that made mine... I forget what it was though.

I expect you'll be fine. Make sure you walk as much as possible and wear your brace and bone stim... I wore my turtle shell hard brace for about 4 months and wore the Bone Stim along with it.

I advise you to start as soon as possible, right now even, reducing any opiate type meds you're taking... the withdrawal is murder. Start very slowly... and just a teeny tiny bit off at a time... as small as you can chop a pill... I was on a Max Dose of hydrocodone for 8 months. I thought I could just stop taking it or ween off it in about a month... boy was I ever wrong... You may need another med to help you with the ride... most people use some kind of opiate substitute or something, but then they have to ween off of that... I went without a secondary med and just weened down slowly over 2 1/2 months... then later on I went to my psychiatrist and got Welbutrin, for several reasons. I also was on Lamictal...

I was already beginning to get better slowly, a tiny bit, every day... let's see... about 4 months or so after stopping the opiates altogether... but it wasn't over, it just felt like I was getting better and not worse... a tiny bit of relief from that evil withdrawal meant a lot to me... I almost didn't make it buddy... it was a horror. The Welbutrin and Lamictal helped me get over the hump. The Welbutrin is a Stim Med and the Lamictal is a Mood Med.

It will be a while before you have an "active lifestyle", and it won't be a Very active lifestyle... be careful with your fusion, the muscles and such still have a lot of healing to do... and a lot of adjusting... about a year to 2 years... but you'll be walking tall in no time... you'll see.

I took a job that I shouldn't have. 11 months out of surgery. Maintenance at a nearby hotel. It was too physical. You know the stress on the parts above and below your fusion will be more, now that flexibility in that fused joint is nil. Well I blew my disc at L3-L4... but I had an issue unrelated anyway... the first surgery... they didn't clean up my foramen at L5 enough, or at all... and that was a huge problem for me... so now I'm going in for "revision" surgery to fix that, a risky procedure, and then to fix L3-L4... I'll be getting 2 TLIF'S and an XLIF... they have to take out the existing hardware and put in all new and add a little more.

The new fusion will be an XLIF with Bone Morphogenic Protein. I'm a little bit worried about this procedure but I have to trust that my surgeon is doing it for good reason. He's a very careful surgeon and had me take many tests... before deciding on surgery and what type of surgery. He explained everything to me and even gave me options. I have to let him know tomorrow what I've decided... whether or not I want an XLIF at L3-L4 or a TLIF... and if I want that Protein stuff or not.

I gotta go... I'll keep an eye on this post...

john

Like/Dislike
1

John......
Im having a fusion done may 3oth on l5-s1 and to fix my spondylothesis....my surgeon does not suggest i get a brace ...not sure y i thought i would forsure have to use one ..i have a lower lumbar brace i use alot and have for mths.I only take tramacet try at 1 a day but sometimes i need more ...i dont want all these drugs in my system .......What is a spinal stem ?

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Rhonda Beveridge Collins!

Pleased to meet you. I wore a hard brace and had a very nice fusion. At first I didn't make a move without it. Then I started to go some time without it because you have to get some flexibility back and build your muscles. No one said it was bad for me. It was given to me by my doctor. I had a script for it that the VA filled for me. They fitted me for it and I was told to begin wearing it Immediately after surgery.

I take tramadol, the generic equivalent I believe. I like it. It's a synthetic opiate. They wouldn't give me opiates this time because I had such a bad withdrawal. In their database for me now, it looks like I'm some kind of drug addict the way it reads (Ha!). Whatever... the Tramadol works for me, along with Neurontin, Methocarbamol, Diclofenac, Welbutrin, Lamictal... that's my main pain and well being cocktail... so even if i'm in pain, the head meds will make me feel good about it (Ha!).

I don't believe it will be hard to come off the Tramadol... we'll see... those opiates were a mean evil nightmare to get off of. The other junk, don't worry about it, it's only temporary, and pain is worse for you, and your entire body, than the side effects of some of these meds. Pain causes very bad body chemistry and stress. Stress kills people. It's a fact... there's a video on Netflix called "Stress Kills"... something like that... anyway... take your meds and be Happy... that causes good body chemistry... you'll heal faster.

Check out my photo album on Picasa... I have pics regarding my last surgery in there... and a photo of the Spinal-Stim. https://picasaweb.google.com/TitaniumJVB/2010JohnnySSpineSurgery7272010?authuser=0&feat=directlink

I'll be more than Happy to answer any questions.

John

Like/Dislike
0

Update & funny experience :)
So i had my 20 staples removed on Thursday. My husband went with me and while we were waiting in the room we could hear the gentleman in the next room having his taken out. He was screaming and I could hear the dr say "we're half way done only 5 more"! I looked at my husband horrified and said "I'm not doing this, I want to leave". Obviously I wasn't going to leave and sat in fear hearing this man cry out in pain. Then I could hear him say he has a high pain tolerance. I thought I was doomed.
When the dr came on my room I told her I could hear the previous person in pain and was afraid. The Dr's reply was men are usually the ones that cry and after the pain I'd just gone through over the last 2weeks, this was nothing. Even with that said I was sweating bullets. As soon as the first one was removed I hardly knew it. No pain, not even a pinch! I think I laughed through the rest of the staples being removed thinking how the man next door made it through that first week, with only 10 staples he must not have had as much done. Anyway, Rhonda, when your time comes, don't worry, it's painless :)

As far as the hard shell back brace I can't imagine not having one. Without it I can feel much more pressure on my spine. It also forces me to stand straight and walk properly. My dr's office even paid for it but I'm sure he has it worked into his fee.

I'm now walking even more and able to sit for an hour. Had a full last few days including my sons baseball game sittimg in a lounge chair, batting practice, several nights out for dinner, slowly doing some laundry. Not all in one day and take it very easy :) It feels good to start participating in life again. I plan on returning to work after June 25th when i can start driving again.

Still cutting back on the remaining pain med I'm on supplementing with Tylenol and I can go about 10 hours between pills before was every 6. Very little withdrawals knock on wood!

The dr said the same thing Robert did about the leg pain. Said it was not uncommon and should improve in the next few months. Offered Lyrica/Neurautin (sp?) but declined. Been on those before and didn't like how I felt and had horrible withdrawals for some reason. Walking then ice does help.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
Heidi

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Glassy,

I didn't feel a thing about the staples neither... don't know what that guy was screaming about. The leg pain will go away. I believe the hard brace was good for me. Especially when I did get more mobile. I went without it a few times to see how it would feel, and I didn't like it. I felt like there wasn't enough support or something. Maybe because the muscles and tendons in the area had been compromised. I just felt more secure and comfortable with it. And even more so when I began going for longer walks. I remember walking with my Mom just a few days after surgery. It was, for me a long walk. I felt Ok with the brace on. I tried walking without it and I felt all... "jouncy". That's my word for it.

I didn't get one ordered for me this time. I go in Monday for some major surgery, and xlif, 2 tlif's and some other stuff... 8-9 hours of surgery... I'm going to make sure the VA fits me for one while i'm there. Last time they told me to put it on the first moment I got out of bed. I think maybe it just got overlooked.

Like/Dislike
0

Heidi glad to hear you are doing well thats awesome ....do you feel like the surgery has worked forsure ...like none of symptoms u were having before ?My pre-op is tomorrow do u suggest any questions i ask ?I would really like a brace ...im used to one so im going to ask for one ...i dont really care what surgeon says lol. Then 2 wks on the count down .......cant wait to get back into shape ive gained 40 lbs cause of these stupid back ...grrrrrr.So frustrating only you can understand .Ttys ...wish me luck :)

Like/Dislike
1

Hey Rhonda,
Yes, I'm very happy with the results so far. I do not have any of the pre-op pain. The pain is post op pain and the nerve pain in my left leg is different and improves when I walk. I would do it all over again. I have quickly forgotten how bad the first week was. As far as the brace, I would insist. I wouldn't be as far along as I am without it. I hope your appt goes well tomorrow! I know you've had a long wait but it will be time before you know it.

Like/Dislike
0

Almost reached week 4 post op. I've been down the last few days. It seemed like I was recovering so fast and I thought I would continue at that speed but I feel like I've hit a wall. Don't get me wrong, I still feel that the surgery was a success I just find that I'm not progressing as fast. I'm at the same distance walking/activity level as I was last week. I feel great after resting but after a couple hours of activity my back starts to ache, nerve pain kicks in, and I have to rest again. Did anyone else experience this a month out? My husband suggested maybe starting to walk in the pool with a flotation belt and start working some different muscles? I also get really tight some times and feel like I need to stretch my back but can't yet. Forgot to ask the surgeon when I can get in a pool. Any comments? I will start physical therapy after June 25th (8 weeks post op).

Also, I had it in my mind I would return to work 8 weeks post op. Just found out today from my employer that the surgeon listed my return date 12 weeks post op. I work for a large retailer in HR however as a Manager I do just about everything and can be physically demanding. How long have others been off work? I want to go back as soon as possible but also don't want to take the risk of something happening or go back to 10 hour days only to find out I can only last 5. Any feedback would be appreciated :)

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Heidi,

Just remember, you have had fairly significant spinal surgery and therefore you should not expect to experience fast rehabilitation progress. It is a long steady road through the rehabilitation journey.

When I was at one month post-op, I recall having to rotate between sitting, standing, and resting quite frequently. As I pointed out in a previous thread, some people can have neuropathic pain for periods of up to and exceeding 3 months. The neuropathic pain associated with your surgery procedure will dissipate over time.

You had asked about getting into a pool, subject to your wound being well healed, this can generally occur between 4-6 weeks. However, having a little extra healing time to avoid complete immersion can reduce the risk of having your surgery incision site potentially infected, especially if you intend to enter a warm hydrotherapy pool shared by public users.

I started my weekly hydrotherapy classes (under direct supervision of two physiotherapist's) at approx. 8 weeks post op.

Any tightness in the lower back can be alleviated by the application of a heat pack to assist in relaxing the muscles. When your physiotherapy commences, they will be able to give you a light massage which will provide some relief.

Your return to work (RTW) sounds like the typical RTW time frame, I returned to work at 12 weeks. Although my job as an OHS Manager involves both sedentary and some physical activity, the main concern for me was the 1 hour trip in my car to and from work every day as this placed much greater stress on my lumber spine. I had to stop every 30 minutes to stretch.

Before you commit to resuming your usual full time work, I recommend that you plan your RTW initially based on undertaking a few days per week and then gradually increase if you feel that you can.

I had a musculoskeletal ultrasound last night to determine the action/integrity of my deep core abdominal muscles. The physio said that all my hard work in undertaking post-op physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, and walking every day was likely attributed to such a great outcome (she expected worse given my surgery, history, etc). Next week, I will be starting clinical Pilates which will further aid in strengthening my core muscles.

Keep up the positive attitude and don't worry about progressing too quickly, you will experience intermittent highs and lows during the first 8-10 weeks post-op period.

Take care & best regards,

Robert.

Like/Dislike
0

just got back from the hospital late last night... all i'll say for now is... ouch...

Like/Dislike
1

Well im on my count down for my fusion on the 30th ,very scared and nervous....but just wanna get it over and on the road to recovery .

JOhn ;
I hope your feeling better soon ,Heidi ......I hope your doing better also .Hope to hear from you two soon ..thank -you for your help .Take care R

SHOW MAIN MENU
SHOW SUB MENU
Cancel
Delete