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Learn how a lumbar disc herniates and
can cause lower back pain
Sciatica is leg pain caused by a
problem in the low back.
See how a disc degenerates and how it can cause pain and other symptoms
Post here if you are having surgery in Feb., 2020
I am scheduled for L5-S1 ALIF and posterior spinal fusion/instrumentation surgery for Feb 21st 2020. Doing all my pre-op testing this week and next...it’s quickly becoming all too real. A lot of the war stories on this forum are making me freak out just a bit. However, I really have no choice left. I’m 51 years old, spondylolisthesis, nerve impingement, dual pars fracture, severely ruptured disc, chronic pain in hip and down left leg, intermittent saddle numbness, etc. I’ve tried PT and spinal injections; I can only walk for about 100 feet before severe pains start again. I’ve been maintaining my sanity with stretching techniques (aka rolling into the fetal position) which seems to be my new full time job. Lol
I’m anxious to get my life back. But also realize the recovery could be pretty rough.
As the days go by, my anxiety is having its way with me.
Welcome to Surgery Buddies!! Try not to be too concerned about the war stories you hear on the forum, everyone is different. A lot of a good recovery depends on your attitude. A positive attitude makes for a positive outcome, before surgery and after. Don't let the anxiety get that best of you, like you said, you have no choice. Below are some links to some very good articles that may help you out.
Have you visited the Neck and Back Surgery Health Center on Spine-health? It has a number of articles and practical tips for preparing for spine surgery. You may also want to check out the video How to Prep Your Home for Spine Surgery Recovery, which also has some really great tips.Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surger Spinal Fusion Surgery Recovery: 1 to 4 Weeks AfterPostoperative Care for Spinal Fusion Surgery,Maximize the Ability to Heal After Spine Fusion Surgery
SandraVeritas Health Forum Moderator
I am a Texas gal too! I think that a lot of people that have surgery and do well just do not make a habit of sticking around on the site. They get back to their pre-surgery lives. That was the case with me when I had 3-level ACDF in Sept 2018. While it may seem like a lot of war stories on here, I bet the majority of people pop in and do not come back because everything went well.
I am scheduled for ulnar nerve surgery at the elbow and wrist on Feb 11th. I had my pre-op last week but did not get cleared because I tested positive for H1N1. I am going back on Friday for pre-op but not sure if I will get cleared because I still have a nasty cough.
I would not have chosen this surgery, but feel "pushed" into it by spine surgeon. He said I had to get the ulnar neuropathy resolved before he would do anymore for my spinal issues and he mentioned Double Crush Syndrome. Hand surgeon made me feel better by telling me that I would eventually need to have this surgery. I am hoping this is one step closer to figuring out my spinal issues.
@Kand... thanks for the reply. Texas girls gotta stick together!
Sorry to hear about you being sick. Hope you get better soon.
@memerainbolt... thank you.
I’ve been doing all my pre-op tests and now they are adding more. Surgery date is coming quick; 2 weeks from Friday and every time I think about it, I get a lump in my throat and start to get nervous again. Just want it to be over and done with; then I can focus on healing and getting life back on track.
I’ve been living with back and leg pain for so long, I don’t hardly recall what it feels like not to have it.
Did I mention that I take absolutely nothing for pain? I think I might become a little emotional if after surgery I have no more leg pain.
What part of Texas are ya'll from? I was born in Louisiana but we moved to Lubbock when I was 2 and lived there until I was 10. My dad got transferred back to La. I remember the sand storms and tornadoes lol
KandSo they still don't know if all of this has anything to do with your sine issues? I hope you get some answers.
proudtxmomYou were talking about war stories but I have heard a lot of good stories regarding ALIF and especially with the PLIF. Hang in there, just keeping thinking "I will have a good recovery'. And we are always here if you need us.
@Sandra I’m near San Antonio.
And I met with the vascular surgeon last week and that helped put my mind at ease a bit. Also when I went to the hospital for the MRI, xrays, bone scan, etc., everyone was so nice and professional yet down to earth. I learned I will have a large private room (because that’s how they do it there) so that also made me feel a little better. I’m keeping positive but find it hard to escape the worries that keep popping up. I have prepared everything that I can at home and for home care, my daughter and son in law are coming into town for a week and of course my husband will be helping hold down the fort for me. I have been teaching classes from home: How to run the vacuum cleaner 101 and it went well, next week will be Intro to Laundry and Dishes 101. LOL
Love your classes!! lol But they still don't do it like we do. I just tell my husband thank you, he tries so hard.
It's normal to worry about having surgery but at least you were able to ease your mind about the hospital and the staff.
Lol absolutely. We are even thinking of skipping the cooking classes and going straight to freshly or home chef for meals (take out and sandwiches might get a little boring after a bit) My husband is a ho getter but said he realizes how much I do around here but doing it it going to be challenging; said he might just hire someone to do it all “so he can spend that time with me” ... he’s a sweetheart but even he knows it might be a bit overwhelming for him alone after my daughter goes back home.
I’m hoping I don’t have to stay in the hospital too awfully long. I have my two week pre-op with my surgeon this Thursday so maybe he can shed a little more light on all that. I plan on making a list of questions to ask him so I don’t forget anything. All I have to do on surgery day is show up on time ((5am)) with a positive attitude and the rest is out of my hands.
Still scary but the more my left leg goes numb, the more I’m looking forward to waking up from surgery and hoping I don’t wake up with nausea.
EDIT: my husband is not a “ho getter” but a GO GETTER ... LOL
Here's a link that may help you on your questions.
40 questions to ask your surgeon
I currently live between Austin and Waco. I grew up in a suburb of Houston, but have called Central Texas my home for 30 years. It's a little more scenic that the flat, swampy Houston area.
I had a fall out of bed and onto my head first and then my knees about 10 days ago. Pain was like a lightening bolt going down my spine and a warm feeling washed over me before my ear lobes caught on fire and I got an excruciating lower skull headache. I went to ER where they determined nothing was broken in my cervical area by way of a cervical CT without contrast. I have been in some serious pain (7-8) all down my spine. When I went to my PCP on Friday to get cleared for the ulnar surgery, she would not clear me for surgery because she wants me to feel better and be in less pain. I told her that I am maxing out naproxen, ibuprofen and tylenol. She said to be sure to take a daily dose of pepcid ac. She then offered to send my spine surgeon a note telling him she suspected herniated disc(s), but she would not order any additional images. I had a 3-month followup on the books with spine surgeon towards the end of Feb. I asked to be put on the wait list and got an appointment for tomorrow. Meanwhile, later in the day last Friday, the PCP's nurse called to tell me that surgeon read CT report and decided there was no need for me to come earlier. ER CT report was 1 sentence in the summary that basically said hardware was intact and no osseous abnormalities identified. My back still hurts if someone touches it. My shoulder pain is ramped up. The ER doc noted left leg weakness and attributed that to prior problems, though it was a new symptom. So, I am hoping that surgeon will order some imaging. My neck/spine is burning. My thoracic spine feels like there is a hatchet buried there (hurts to take in a big breath), and my sciatica has a radiating pain down my rear and back of left leg.
A week after the fall out of bed, I slipped and fell on my rear end. That has aggravated the pain, too.
I go back this Friday for pre-op for the 3rd time. I am hoping that PCP will clear me and will be absolutely angry if she does not clear me.
I am so sorry!! Good luck tomorrow and keep us posted.
Surgery is a go for Tuesday. I am ready and hopeful.
That’s great news! You will be in my thoughts and prayers!
Great!! Wishing you the best, you are in my thoughts and prayers too.
Thank you for prayers. I am back home and comfortable. Ulnar wrist (Guyton tunnel) and carpal tunnel were as expected. Doc told hubby my elbow was the worst he had ever seen. He had trouble finding nerve buried in scar tissue. Tissue and nerve were very inflamed, large hematoma, even 3" above elbow. He got it all freed and thinks I will see a dramatic improvement in hand. He said steroid did not work in Dec because there was too much scar tissue. Looks like I made the right choice.
Proudtxmom, i pray that you stay calm and at ease while you wait.
Sandra, your prayers worked.! While getting ready for surgery, my first bp was 120/53 and I was told not to take one of my bp meds this morning.
@Kand... so glad to hear your home and comfortable. Sounds like it was successful! Excited to hear about you feeling better each and every day.
I am trying to relax and refrain from being to anxious and nervous about my surgery (Now it’s a week from Friday) but when I wake up in the morning in so much pain down my legs, I wish the surgery was sooner. I’m anxious to get it over with and wake up without pain down my legs.
I am so glad to hear you are home, safe and comfortable. I really pray this works out for you.Take care and keep us posted.
Hang in there, it will be here before you know it. And with a lot of prayers, surgery will go well.Take care and keep us posted, too.
Thank you both for the well wishes and prayers! Proudtxmom, I pray that the week goes by fast enough that you do not have time to focus on surgery but slow enough that you get everything you need to do done. You will be in great hands!
@Kand How are you doing since surgery? I hope you’re feeling a bit better.
And, thank you. I have everything done regarding pre op...insurance approved everything so that’s amazing within itself lol still have to try and get the house cleaned to the best of my ability before surgery next Friday. I did find out I will be staying only one night in the hospital so that’s good news and I’ll have my own private room!
Also found out through my bone density scan that I have osteopenia; so I will need to address that with calcium supplements after surgery. But all other tests came out great.
I’m still nervous and anxious but not scared for surgery...just can’t wait to have it behind me and push forward through recovery.
I heard a very good saying from a member, Onward Ever, Backwards Never. Holds so true!!
proudtxmomDon't forget to save some time for yourself before surgery, pamper yourself. Some good things to have ready would be slip on shoes or slippers, button up shirts or pj's, grabber, and maybe a walker.
KandHow are you doing?
Happy Valentine Day !
@memerainbolt ... I have to stay busy to keep my mind from worrying about surgery it seems to be the one thing that keeps me relaxed: cleaning and organizing ((yes, I am one of those))
I think I am prepared regarding slippers and/or slip-on shoes, pajamas and button up shirts... as far as a grabber... I’ll have too look into that and I already have a walker from my husband’s leg surgery a few years back.
Hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day
Thanks for asking. It is 3 steps forward, one or two steps back, but overall forward. Went back to work full time. It is slow going. By night time. I am having to take prescription pain relief and swelling is up, but I am still icing it. On a diffetent note, I had a cervical mri rogue style/self pay. There were things found that may or may not be concerning or causing me problems, 3 herniations and 2 places where flavom hypertrophy may be compressing spinal cord from the back. They found bone marrow edema on T3 and said they cannot rule out aggressive infiltrative process (early signs of leukemia). Edema could be from injury in my "insignificant" fall. So they want a thoracic mri and I will go ahead with lumbar mri, both tomorrow. I will take results to another doc recommended by chiropractor who ordered mri's. I also found an online service to review my ER ct images. I tried to go thru my hmo but would have to get pcp to request a second read, but she defers to my spine sugeon who said ct was fine and nothing really wrong with me except minor cubital tunnel syndrome. New spine doc is out of insurance, but he will not have a relationship with my doc who did surgery. My doc seems intent on not finding anything wrong.
ProudTXMom, you got this!! Go get a pedicure tomorrow and maybe a margarita. You will feel so much better after surgery.❤
I am sorry to hear you have been experiencing so much pain! Please dont panic reading everyone's horror stories, because for every 1 horror story, there are several good ones! I had Occipital to T4 fusion with corpectomy at c6,3 years ago. It was a rough recovery, I wont lie, physically and emotionally,as i can no longer move my head. However, it turned out for the best all things considered. Please focus on day to day and do what your surgeon says...rest, slow activity at first and listen to your body! This forum helped me so much betore, during and after my procedures. Like a poster above mentioned, some of us good stories dont return very often, although we definitely should to help other folks. Best of luck on your surgery and keep us posted!
proudtxmomBest wishes on your surgery tomorrow and the start to a good recovery. Keep us posted when you feel better.
KandForever onward, backward never. Great inspirational words from a member. Sounds like you are making progress but with bad news, which we all hope is not that bad. Keep us posted on your progress thru all these tests and findings.
aimee roseThank you so much for your encouraging words to other members. We hope to hear from you more often.
@aimee rose thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words; it really means a lot to me today especially.
@”memerainbolt” Thank you so much for your support and kindness. I will post here when I’m in my right mind after recovery.
I woke up with my stomach in knots this morning before I even opened my eyes. It’s funny how the body knows before the mind does. But I’ve come to terms with The fact that this surgery is required and will allow me to move forward instead of being in the stagnant spot I’ve been in for about 5 years.
I’m anxious just to be able to go for an after-dinner walk with my husband.
Hi, my name is Carlton and I am scheduled for L3 to L5 fusion and laminectomy on Feb. 27th. I am looking forward to having this done just so I can stop hurting and limping. Lately i’ve been walking like Chester on the old gum smoke series. I have had two epidurals which did absolutely nothing for the pain, did pt which helped a bit with the pain down the leg but nothing for the back and certainly nothing for the limp. I have a well recommended surgeon and have faith that this will work where nothing else has. Read a lot about the discomfort immediately following the procedure and am ready to face it. Best Wishes to everyone else posting this month and hoping things work out for us all.
Good luck with your surgery.
Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surgery
Welcome to Surgery Buddies!!
Besides the great articles Chip gave you, below are a few more.
Postoperative Care for Spinal Fusion Surgery, Maximize the Ability to Heal After Spine Fusion SurgeryHow to Prep Your Home for Spine Surgery Recovery
Take care and keep us posted.
Hey ProudTXMom, hoping that the worst is behind you and that surgery was successful. Know that you are in my prayers!
Carlton, welcome to the Feb Surgery Buddies. There aren't very many of us this month. It sounds like you are ready and have confidence in your surgeon. That is a good thing! May you get everything done that you need to do between now and Thursday! Blessings to you!