Day 366 Post Op

A year ago yesterday I decided surgery was my best path forward to deal with my chronic back and sciatic pain. I had ALIF L3-S1 and PLIF and titanium reinforced back finished 10 days later.   I think i am somewhat of a success story even though, some of my pain (60-70%) preop is gone, some is still there, and the new neuropathy pain which was not there preop..... Even though I’m a 100% fused and I feel stronger in most ways due to regular intense PT....because of that new neuropathy pain and numbness in both feet, my diagnosis is 1) failed back surgery 2) Neuropathy pain caused by the fusion surgery 3) Chronic Pain. The pain was getting better but plateaued in October, the numbness and pain still are cyclical, I can have 2 or 3 days of nearly no pain unless I walk, then I can’t go more than .25miles without foot pain and that is the worst part about my surgical outcomes.  I accept it as part of my decision and continue to battle but I miss my walking (and hiking) as that was one of my favorite hobbies.   The current fun is trying to get off pain meds continues and I am down to 45mme Oxycodone and morphine after a peak of 370mme, but my withdrawal symptoms are the worst nausea which comes and goes.  Most of the cold flashes are gone and the nausea is lessening so I plan on winning the battle against pain meds and then on to the next ....still want to golf in the end of recovery!



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,461

    Thanks for the update!! Getting off pain meds is not fun but worth it. You will feel better in the long run.
    I am looking forward to hearing about your first golf game, I have a feeling you will make it. I hope you don't mind, I have bookmarked your discussion for other members to read.
    Take care!

  • Of course Thank you Sandra. 

    Tomorrow is actually post op day 366, take two after my second surgery.  I forgot it was nearly 3 weeks between my surgeries, time flies when you can’t breathe because your pain is so great. 

    Am almost 100% off opiates taking 7.5-15mme/day.  That’s one maybe two Oxycodone 5mgs per day, and two only on these last few bad days make me kick myself I was down to 1 per day for a bit.  Feels weird to have basically no constipation.  And my wife thinks I’m a genius all of a sudden as I’m answering way more jeopardy questions these days. It is nice to get part of my brain back.  The pain still sucks at times especially at night and in the morning, .but I’m trying to tough it out with the ice packs heating pads and medical cannibis routine.   

    Had a real bad SI joint flare up, my second since my surgery a year ago, not sure why other than I’m sitting more   

    My PT keeps me sane and has pushed me on the treadmill to walk over a half a mile after stationary biking 2 miles same day twice the last week with positive results  

    All in all now even more glad I got the surgery than 2 1/2 weeks ago   :)

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,461

    Thanks for the update!! With spring getting close, do you see yourself on the golf course? Or maybe in the Master's?!! lol.
    You have got to be feeling better since getting off the meds but at the same time, take them when you need them. I wish I could do the medical cannabis or CBD oil, I know it would help some.

    Keep up the good work and looking forward to seeing your first score on the golf course!! 

  • Sandra, my PT says my rotation without pain is a positive, but I need more strengthening, we are increasing my exercising in a very measured and sometimes excruciatingly slow pace but I’m hopeful.  

  • Joel1QJoel1Q Posts: 374
    edited 12/04/2019 - 1:13 AM

    Since tomorrow is 21 months post op I thought I’d update this. My biggest remaining issues are 1) left leg radiculopathy/sciatica this is intermittent but always comes on when sitting for long periods such as automobile or airplane travel. This was present pre surgery and continues post surgery.  2) Foot pain, both feet with numbness in all toes.  This was not present pre surgery and has been present ever since my ALIF surgery. This is really the worst problem as it prevents me from walking more than .25-.5 miles at one time. This hasn’t gotten any better since early this summer, and only the foot pains improved slightly until then, toe numbness has not changed since surgery, though my deformed crooked toes look normal again 3) Lower leg neuropathy still is an issue, and I did not have this presurgery either, but I believe my pain psychiatrist doctor hit on a magic combo of Gabapentin  2700mg and Amitriptyline 50mg late spring early summer, and the electric episodes are less frequent, and the Amitriptyline allows for better sleep at night.  The problem with that is lethargy and tiredness during the daytime, at times I will just feel like every muscle is extremely tired and I’ll have to lay down and sleep it off.  I have had blood tests and ct scans and all came back ‘normal’

    A couple of other interesting things have happened since summer. Oh Sandra, I did get clearance to play golf in May, so I went to the range a couple times, hit mostly short irons and felt great.  So I went out on a par-3 executive course and my back felt terrible afterwards so I have yet to go back out and try it again. Probably should have only played 9 holes the first time out instead of 18  

    I ended up with partial pulmonary failure about 2 months ago, which was really scary and landed me in the hospital for 5 days.  During my stay all three of my issues listed above were drastically reduced or non existent during my hospitalization.  I had strained a chest muscle coughing, which I was given 4mg of intravenous morphine to alleviate, and I was put on massive amounts of steroids to address my pulmonary problems.  Post discharge, the steroid treatment continued actually until last week.  During that time, my feet felt much better, to the point where I walked a few times I had further than quarter mile increments, up to 5 miles total a few days.  A couple days after discharge my pain 1) and 3) returned to same pre hospitalization levels.  My foot pain, which I’ve always maintained is different from the neuropathy and feels deeper, in the bones, did not return until about 4 days after I had tapered off steroids last week   

    To me this points to inflammation as the cause of the foot pain, and I plan on hitting up my PCP and PM doctors at my early January follow ups, wish I could get in earlier but with the holidays and their vacations that’s impossible.  Some of the ‘drug side effects’ that doctors blame my lethargy on are also symptoms of chronic inflammation  plus all other arthritis like pins are back after not hearing from them for the entire period on steroids   

    Oh one other side effect is my anxiety went through the roof in the hospital. I was put back on Xanax and had to sign my medical cannabis away for the time being.  Biggest impact of this is lack of sleep. Even with the benzo.  The mindfulness therapy group sessions and individual therapists have given me some great tools to battle this.  I did have to go back on the Oxycodone, 5mg per night as needed, and it’s needed to help with the sciatica and strained chest muscle still have not healed. To make matters worse, while feeling better I tried to Kobe a piece of furniture improperly and I know have mid back pin, far from my lumbar, close to about T3. I will restart PT after New Years to address this. 

    Wow that’s a lot, but it’s been a while. 


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