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29 days out from l5/s1 fusion with instrumentation

Started by squirtatious on 03/22/2010 7:44am

Looking for other ppl to share their experiences with who have gone thru what I have. Feb 22nd I underwent this surgery. It was 6 hrs long, spent 3 days in the hospital and have a 5-6 incision. Upon hitting my 4 week mark exactly post-op, my pain levels dropped to a 1 or 2 and I felt the best I have since my surgery. Went walking yesterday nite as usual for my theraoy. Got about a mile in. The pain in my back began. I have a back brace I wear when I'm up moving. Its begun to make my incision and infusion site burn when I wear it for long periods when I'm walking. Anyone else experience this? And my lower back is so stiff which I expect but the pain has come back and it hurts to sit up, roll over in bed, etc. When will it finally just be those 1 and 2 days continuously? Plz share ur stories, I need ro hear other's exopeiences of their recoverys. I no longer suffer from the nuerological deficits which led to surgery. Thank u in advance and greatest blessings to u all!!!!

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Hi everyone:-) its been 6 months and I survived lol. I'm rejoining the workforce again after being away for 11 months. I am on nuerontin for nerve damage pain in legs but other than lower back tenderness/achiness which my dr told me I can expect until my spine completely fuses in another 6 months, I am on the road to recovery. Attitude does a lot along this journey!!!! Anyway, I hope all is well with everyone, greatest blessings *hugs*

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QUESTION FOR Squirtatious - First thought congrats!! Glad u made it over from the dark side and feel good enough to re -enter the workforce..and back to the normal daily drudgeries. Right now I don't know where I am with surgery... Guess being uncertain means I am not ready emotionally
but I am already taking Neurontin for nerve pain in both legs. From all these meds I am getting
quite a bit of gastric distress so now Dr. has me on ulcer med along w/everything else. So I don't know how much longer I can hold out before the rest of me gives in. My question is after all said
and done...do you think you're better than prior to surgery.. I have searched this site and honestly
I haven't read many uplifting stories. I guess I am afraid...not just of the pain (I've had surgery
before) but afraid of where I'll wind up on the other side. Even my regular md said hold off if I can
yet others say waiting was the worst thing they ever did??? What do you think?
I am glad I found this site have read your story - thanks & good luck!

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Oh wendiann, my heart goes out to u sweetie!!!!! *hugs* it doesn't sound like there's a good rapport between you and your doctor. That in and of itself wouldn't make me comfortable at all. I personally would either talk about my concerns with him, and if he STILL wasn't sensitive and understanding, then i'd run!!!!! Sounds like you have isthmic spondylolisthesis whis IS a weakened area in the area u have this in. It starts with a pars defect which turns into pars fractures in childhood. Then in adulthood, it can turn into spondylolisthesis. Its NOT in your head and we understand!! Plz keep me posted as u may want to begin looking for someone else which different opinions don't hurt anyway:)

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Hi Maggie,
Wow, there are a lot of arrogant surgeons out there...I am 2 years and 2 days past my L5-S1 fusion w/instrumentation and 2 days shy of 2 years since the surgery to remove some of that same instrumentation. I'm that person in statistics that when they say,"this only fails in .2% of the patients" ,it fails on me. Also, I live in Canada so on the one hand...it's great that I didn't have to pay for any of my surgeries, but on the other hand...I waited a long time to get into see a surgeon and when you're in as much pain as I was/am, you don't always have the option of seeing another dr. My surgeon was very cold and hard to talk to when I saw him in his office, sent me away more than once in tears telling me there was nothing he could do for me. Then after making me go through discography, which if you've never heard of it is when they guide a needle through your side and all the way into the disc so that they can then inject dye into the disc to see if it causes pain.If it doesn't, then your pain is not caused by the disc so there's no reason to fuse it...oh and also, this is done without any form of sedation or pain killers because they need to know that it causes your usual pain. This is by far the most painful procedure I've ever endured...and to top it off, after they got into the disc and injected the dye, there was no pain. But here's the catch, at this point they told me they were in the L4-L5 space because there is too much scar tissue and boney growths at the L5-S1 level and they can't get in there. And my surgeon knew this ahead of time from my mri's. I couldn't believe it! I saw him a couple hours after this procedure and it was then that he agreed to do surgery on me...and his best prognosis was a 40% reduction in pain. Unfortunately I didn't get that...I ended up in much more pain than I already had and also because of a poorly place screw, I also now had "dropfoot" and have to use a brace to walk. But anyway, I should mention that this surgeon, who had seemed so cold and unfeeling was actually a real sweetheart once I was in the hospital. He even apologized for the mistake and it was sincere. I suppose he felt confident to say he was sorry since it is basically impossible to sue a dr in Canada. He also sent a letter to my gp and said he was so disappointed because he really believed he would be able to help me. So what does all this mean? It's pretty confusing...but in the end all you really have are your instincts...if this surgeon isn't really listening to you and is telling you that you can't be having pain from this or that then you should find a new surgeon. You see, even though my surgeon was cold in his office, in the hospital and in the operating room he was wonderful and he never once made me feel like he didn't believe how much pain I had. He was my 3rd surgeon for back surgery, I had my 1st surgery in '02, 2nd one in '04 and then the 3rd/4th in '08. Unfortunately I am still in constant pain, haven't been able to work since '03 and have been on pain meds since '02. Morphine and hydromorph don't work for me, I have to use oxycontin time release throughout the day and oxycodone for breakthrough pain. I've tried everything out there to try and cope and get off meds, from acupuncture, physio, nerve blocks, Lyrica and similiar drugs...nothing so far has helped. Oh, my 1st surgery was when I was 39...I hope I haven't scared you...I just wish that I hadn't been rushed into surgery the first time without doing some research first...by the time I got to the fusion surgery (my first two surgeries were discectomies) there was already so much damage done. I'm just thankful everyday for my wonderful husband, my great family and of course my friends...and I tell myself "hey, things could be worse" So believe in yourself, you know how bad the pain is and find a dr who believes you.

take care,
pimmn

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Hi to everyone from Bristol, UK. I have read some of the postings and found them really helpful. There are so many brave people out there. I had spinal fusion L5/L4/S1 on Thursday 03.02.2011 at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. The Surgeon is a brilliant man. To get to the point: after suffering the indignity of having to use a commode for a wee, I decided to try and walk by myself to the toilet. So the wires from the Morphine were disconnected and I am pleased I managed by myself. The following day, on the 04th Feb 2011, I asked the nurses to completely disconnect the wires. I was able to walk by myself, wash myself and change into my own nightie by myself. Prior to the operation I kept myself very fit (regular exercise, high impact and weights) and lost a stone in weight. I knew fitness will pay off as I was released from the hospital on 04.02.2011. Sure I have to take pain killers, but I can feel my left toes again and overall it is not as bad as I expected. I will start to walk outside too and as soon as the stitches come out I am planning to return to swimming and aqua aerobics. Are there any other people out there that can share their experiences regarding exercising after surgery? Thanks.

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Thank God, I can not believe there are so many people who know EXACTLY what this is like. I have to make the decision of a l5 s1 fusion and its mentaly draing? Thankyou for everyones help. Good luck to u all too?

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By the way I'm 33 with 3 boys who r heavy in sports. I alson would like to excercise normaly someday too!

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A car wreck at 21 led to disc problems. At 43, and after years of alternative treatments, my vertebrae were literally sitting on each other at l4 l5 and grinding. I was only taking ibuprofen for pain. l5 s1 was bulged and dead. On March 5, I had a bilateral fusion with bone graft. Posterior and anterior, two disc replaced with synthetic discs, titanium rods and six screws. 2 weeks later I passed over 10 clots into my lugs. (bilateral pulminary embolisms affecting lower middle and upper section of right lung, lower and middle in left lung) 5 more days in hospital, low molecular heprin drip and bed rest due to a dvt in left leg. I am now on coumadin. At 24 days post op I returned to work and I am now 78 days post op. I feel stronger in my back but am still suffering from some PE syptoms. Fatigue and pain in my leg mostly. Overall lucky to still be here. I feel I am going to overcome all this because my spirit will not allow me to give up on life.
Walk, walk, walking is your key to recovery. You have to maintain your core strength even with the brace. The walking will help with this. As far as the PEs I am protein s deficient so that is what caused my problems.

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Just wanted to give an update....its been almost 2 1/2 years since my surgery, and I'm still rockin it!! I'm doing well, gainfully employed fulltime still and moving on in life past this event!! I'm heallthy and greatful!!:-)

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hey squirt do you happen to wear a new t shirt under your brace. yeah I have had some problem with some sore ness. its the muscles you are feeling. take some hot showers as hot as you can stand let it run over your spine. I was over doing it and having some pain issues. so If i were you i wouldnt push or over do it. all that in your back takes time to heal but dont make your self sore. let your pain meds help you and just take it slow. going a mile is far for you out of 29 days under the knife.when i got out of theropy I had a walker and couldnt walk very far at all. and i was 28 days from surgery. there are lots of exercises you can do though setting on a straight back chair working with your leggs and stretches. I also didnt lay on my back usually on my side did they teach you how to get in bed and out of bed i hope so .also you should get a tense machine it helps out your muscles. I forgot to mention L1thruL4 rods screws and fused and fixed my broken back as of 9month i just have some muscle pain really minor. I hope you have a good rercovery

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hey squirt do you happen to wear a new t shirt under your brace. yeah I have had some problem with some sore ness. its the muscles you are feeling. take some hot showers as hot as you can stand let it run over your spine. I was over doing it and having some pain issues. so If i were you i wouldnt push or over do it. all that in your back takes time to heal but dont make your self sore. let your pain meds help you and just take it slow. going a mile is far for you out of 29 days under the knife.when i got out of theropy I had a walker and couldnt walk very far at all. and i was 28 days from surgery. there are lots of exercises you can do though setting on a straight back chair working with your leggs and stretches. I also didnt lay on my back usually on my side did they teach you how to get in bed and out of bed i hope so .also you should get a tense machine it helps out your muscles. I forgot to mention L1thruL4 rods screws and fused and fixed my broken back as of 9month i just have some muscle pain really minor. I hope you have a good rercovery also you have to learn how not to hurt your self when trying to bend down i bend my knees also when i look to my left or right i turn my whole body. when it hurts when you do somthing you have to learn to work with your spine because it dont work like it use to that part thats fused dont move any more.do you take treatments on your fusion its a belt goes around you and it does radio waves in your spine. also if you dont have one get you a pickup stick so you can pickup things on the floor good luck.

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sorry I started one and have two oh well

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Hi Larry, thank you for taking the time to respond. My surgery was back in feb of 2010, I wore the brace for 4 months, than havnt needed to since!!:-) the few reprocussions I still have left over from my ordeal is some range of motion issues I'm working on, like I can bend and tousch my toes, I can bend, just not far. I'm working on expanding this to gain my flexibility back!! I've also got some residue nerve damage in the motor nerves of my gastro and anterior tibilas muscles in my legs that occastionally tingle and vibrate and cause some minor pain. But overall, I'm healthy and happy with what I have gained back!! :-) have a great day!! I wish u well!

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hi squirt I hope your wearing a t shirt then then the brace. dont bend down squat or down to one knee.the more you keep your back straight the betr you will feel. good luck

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