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January 2019 Surgery Buddies

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  • smartens162- truly words of wisdom! I did too much the other day & the following day was pretty much a wash but its hard to learn that lesson. I have a feeling it'll be a little like Groundhog Day with me thinking I'm stronger than I am and doing too much. I think finding that balance is the tough part since its different for everyone. 

  • My surgery was January 18th.  I am still experiencing some challenges.  I am still needing the walker to walk as I don't have leg strength and still feel weak.  How long did other people use walkers for post spinal fusion? I had L5-S1 fused with the ALIF and PLIF approach. I am in a back brace as well.  I had some complications (yeast/skin infection and allergic reaction around incisions on my back , but that is all healed now).  I am finding it difficult still to get into the shower at my parents house due to not having leg strength...no shower yet, but it will come in time as I build up my strength with the isometric exercises given to me by my in home PT (I should start outpatient PT in about 3 weeks).....did not realize how much strength I would lose in my legs after this surgery. How long did others use walkers for? Pain is being managed pretty well with Gabapentin, Oxycodone and Tylenol....I am off the morphine. The biggest challenge I have right now is not being able to sleep at night.  I prefer to sleep in my recliner.  While my recliner is very comfortable, I just can't seem to stay comfortable at night...my back constantly aches and hurts at night...over all ,I feel like I am making slow but steady progress..this is a marathon, not a sprint.  I know I have a long ways to still go. I have a great support team, which has been very helpful. My massage therapist and acupuncturist come over weekly to help with pain management. 

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,403

    CPinkston
    Just remember, you are only 4 weeks out. Everyone heals different and some take longer than others. You seem like you are getting excellent in home care, just take it easy. Slow progress is better than none, hang in there.

  • Thank you. Yes, i know I am  only 4 weeks out and that is not a long time.  I know i have many months to go. I have had excellent in home care. I have to remind myself constantly to slow down. I do need to take it easy still.  

  • I am 4 weeks out from surgery & am going to start working with PT on using a cane this week. I still use the walker when I get up at night to use the toilet bc that's when I might be a little dizzy or not as stable. My legs are still weak and I cannot stand from a seated position without using my arms to push off. Only exception is getting out of bed bc it's high. I'm making slow progress but my left leg is the weakest and its the one that has some nerve damage so only time will tell how much it will improve. I am finding that my simple exercises are helping but my hamstrings are so tight. I'm limited in movement by my right leg since I have the back brace leg piece on that leg (I call it my peg leg). My back muscles are starting to make themselves known at night but the pain has been light so I've only needed to use my tramadol once; I do find that I feel stronger when I don't take pain meds, but will take them when needed. 

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  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 361

    While we may have had back surgery around the same time, it is important to not get caught up in comparing one recovery to another to measure one's progress.  Every body is different.  @CPinkston had an infection during recovery - that's going to slow the progress because your body has to put energy into fighting that as well.  I had a MIS-TLIF, which is supposed to bring a much quicker recovery than the 'open-back' surgeries that are being done a lot of the time.  My recovery is going very well, I can't complain.  I feel like I could probably take less of the tramadol already, but I am slowly tapering off so as not to trigger any serious withdrawal symptoms.  Not being allowed to take any NSAIDs, I am fearful of the typical migraines I get with withdrawals.  I am down to 150mg tramadol daily, at one month post-op...I was not given a back brace, it doesn't seem to be done around here (Canada).  I also was able to keep up muscle strength with regular exercise right up until surgery, and I feel that has made the biggest difference in my progress.    I don't use my walker; it stands beside my bed so I can hang onto it getting out of bed, but probably a week ago I stopped using it altogether.  I still hang on to my hubby's elbow when going out, I am scared of slipping or stumbling on ice/snow.  I shower daily, mostly because I need to wash my face daily and have difficulty at a bathroom sink so a shower is easier.  I am able to walk 1.5 miles at a time, at a pretty decent pace.  I try to walk every day, but it's very much determined by the weather (Canada, mid-winter).  I walk with cleats on my shoes, so I have traction and much less chance of slipping - I'm very wary, and if I feel it's not safe, I won't go, but so far so good.  I have learned to get my socks and shoes on by myself by sitting where I can get my foot onto my opposite knee...it's not easy, and only recently that I've gotten to this point.  I use a long shoehorn to get my shoes on and tie up the laces as above.

    As well as I am doing, today I was super tired.  I awoke in the am around 9:00am and got up and did my walk (it takes me about 1/2 hr).  When I got home I fried up some eggs for breakfast and went back to bed.  I slept until about 3:00pm!  I guess my body needed the rest.  We are doing some hard work, this healing business!  All the best to my surgery buddies - one day at a time!  Celebrate the baby steps :)

    I don't know if this is allowed, but I have a blog and I've been journaling my recovery in detail there.  It's been good for me, to look back on the ups and downs and the eventual progress.  I found it very helpful when I was researching the surgery, to read other people's recovery journals or look up vlogs on youtube.  


  • Progress in my recovery as I went into my office and worked today instead of from home sitting in my reclining lift chair working remotely. It is quite different because of the difference in the support of the chairs. For anyone getting ready to the same after lower back surgery I suggest an adjustable height desk (I have) and a lumbar support cushion (just ordered one from Amazon) of some type. I am a little more sore than normal but the ice will help and then back at it again tomorrow.

  • Yes, we all heal differently and at different rates.  I have to say that I feel my recovery has been going well even with the infections going on at the beginning.  I have been continuing with in home PT and started yesterday doing in home PT with the physical therapist who I will be seeing for my PT when I am cleared...I was using a different in home PT person set up by the hospital but then stopped with them when my favorite PT who I have worked with in the past offered to start early with me. I am still only doing basic stuff. Working at using my kegs more when walking. I am 6 weeks post op and still needing the walker. My stability is off since having surgery. Im still experiencing a lot of pain. I see my neurosurgeon tomorrow for post op and to look at x-rays. I am also experiencing a lot of tingling in back, legs and feet. I know 6 werks is still fresh out of surgery and i still have a ways to go in recovery. Im walking everyday tracking with my apple watch. Each day has its ups and downs. Finding myself feeling down, frustrated, hard on myself at times. This has been tough surgery recovery. Its no joke when i hear “you had major surgery, its going to take time

  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 361

    I am still progressing well, at 7 weeks recovery.  I had my first post-op appointment since my hospital stay yesterday; got x-rays and spent a few minutes with the surgeon.  He is pleased with my progress so far.  He cautions me to still be careful, but I've been given the ok to get back to the local pool for aquacise classes.  I am almost weaned off of the RXs, taking it slow to avoid nasty withdrawal symptoms as much as possible.  I've had to deal with cold/flu issues these past weeks, but nothing too severe (I fought puking by any means possible!).  I'm taking the blizzard that the Good Lord sent our way overnight as another reminder:  Spring will arrive sooner or later, patience is key!  And the same with recovery, with patience, we'll get there eventually!

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