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Reality check?

LoLLo Posts: 687
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm 2.5 weeks post op ALIF/PLIF and most of my pain is gone. I still take Percocet, but I was on it 6 months before surgery, too... So my body has built up much of a tolerance. My sciatica is gone, my foot numbness is gone, my foot weakness is gone... My shooting back pain is gone. I can do pretty much anything and everything for myself aside from lifting heavy things. I drive, I walk lots, I sit, I do bend sometimes, but mostly squat. I have SOME aching and soreness, but usually at night, and usually only if I do a lot. I already feel better than I did before surgery. I feel pretty good, actually. Granted, I wear a soft velcro brace all day every day, the only time I don't is when I'm showering or sleeping. But my pain isn't bad. I could live the rest of my life like this if I had to. But honestly, I think a lot of it is just that I think positive. I know this acheyness and soreness will go away over time. My incision in the front still hurts when I cough or sneeze, but that will go away, too. I had that after my c-section with my son. I basically feel pretty good. I feel.... 6 months post op. Not 2.5 weeks post op. I really think it depends on the person, and weighing the pros/cons before surgery. My surgeon was soooo happy to see how well I was doing at my appt on Friday. She said "we were trying to avoid this because of your age, but obviously it was the right thing to do"... And it was. Everybody told me no, not to do it, I'd be worse afterwards, that I'm too young, that it was a bad decision.. But I laugh at those people now (they were people who don't have back problems) because I have never been happier. I am doing my hair every day, my make up, wearing nicer clothes, wanting to go out all the time.... I guess maybe I don't know... Am I getting ahead of myself? Should I be prepared for things to go downhill? Am I doing myself a disservice? My view I guess is that I am one of the people whose problems really WERE due to the disc and disc space, and one of the people that surgery really WAS indicated for, and for the RIGHT reasons, and that's why I feel so much better now... Is that logical?

And also, I was told by my surgeon that about 80 percent of people with disc problems at one time will have more in the future. I also know that with a fusion your surrounding discs end up under more stress than before from the lack of motion at that point. Should I prepare myself for more back issues? I am only 22.... I plan on (God willing) living for quite a few more decades.... And my original issue was due to wear and tear, not an injury. I also have a small herniation at T11-T12. Should I understand there is a good chance I will end up with more back problems by the time I am, say, 70? Right now I am hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Does that sound reasonable?

I guess I just want to know if I need a reality check..... Any input at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance :)


  • I'm really happy to hear of your successful surgery and speedy recovery. I'm sure that your positive attitude (and your age) of course had plenty to do with that!
    You know, if it were me, I wouldn't worry about the future too much. You never know what medical advancements there may be or how your body will recover. I would enjoy your success and the "freedom" of pain and numbness and realise that you really did make the right choice.
  • Hi Lil Lo, Congratulations on your successful surgery. I say just enjoy it. By all means follow your restrictions and such until you are fully recovered, but don't stress about the future too much. I would say just keep it in the back of your mind that you are a Spiney and need to make sure you always use good body mechanics and keep your core strong, but other than that live life to the fullest. I am so happy for you! You have such a great attitude and that definitely has helped you, and you are a youngin, so that is a plus as well. Please stick around and let us know how things are going. You know all us Spineys need to read these success stories to give us hope.
    >:D< >:D< :* :* Sue
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  • I had my first surgery 8 years ago, at the age of 19. The same year that I had given birth to my daughter and dealt with cervical cancer. My family treated me as though life was down hill from there. When I listened to them I felt that way too. I felt SOOOOO much better after my surgery though and would not change anything there if I could.

    8 years later, yes I am dealing with pain again. Yes I have a new surgery on the horizon. I don't however feel like this is the end for me. I don't feel like I should just give up. Nor do I really feel like I have to "fight" against this. What you resist persists. Again, what you resist persists. Keeping your thoughts focused on what it is you do want will definately make you happier and healhier, no matter what your situation.

    I am so happy that you are recovering well!!! So happy!!! Just enjoy your life, every breath of it. Don't worry so much about later. Now is all you've got.

    One Love,

  • I am awaiting insurance to ok an MRI. I injured about 21 months ago lifting a heavy object. I dealt with the sciatica for 18 months and started seeing a chiropractor. The pain yo-yo'd but mostly imporved until about 2 weeks ago. Now the pain is constant from my buttock down my thigh and sometimes my calf and foot. I'm taking ibuprofen daily just to bear the pain. I have a desk job so i sit a lot and that makes it worse. Driving is awful right now. Now its just wait and see. Pain physician told me to keep taking OTC meds and go to PT, but when it got worse I put off PT for fear it would get worse. I just want to be pain free. Per x-rays I have a L5-S1 DDD and possibly a herniation. Any advice and support would be great. God bless
  • Really?....You have such a good head on your shoulders.NO you don't need a reality check.You sound like another person who was posting awhile back (sorry I cant think who it was right now) and he was afraid to be happy.(too happy)
    (and I mean with your back)

    Is that maybe how you are feeling?He did actually end up hurting himself though because he lifted I think it was a 50 pound bucket,so please be careful.Sometimes when we are feeling really good we take it for granted all that our bodies go through and that is where it's great that you are asking this..even though I think you are in a great frame of mind,both thinking positively and carefully.Kudos for that!

    What you said about depending on the person, and weighing the pros/cons before surgery...
    It reminds me of my first C-section(it was an emergency section) and telling my friend who had hers coming up(scheduled) that it was not bad,and the pain was nothing like I had read about.Of course I didn't know that I was going to have one either,but that's irrelevant(or maybe not).Her son was born 2 months after mine and she called me from the hospital and actually accused me of lying to her to try to ease her fears.So,it really does depend on the person,though I had not actually weighed the pros/cons in actually thinking I would have the surgery..the outcome was the same.Healthy baby,but the outlook was totally different.

    80 percent of people with disc problems at one time will have more in the future.While this may be true,statistics bother me because some people see 80 and think 20.Not only pessimists either.I am a very mathematical minded person so I automatically do this with numbers.Maybe that's one good thing about anaylizing why we think as we do..otherwise we may think we are pessimists,or even be told as much by others when in reality we only just play with numbers(lol).

    Regardless,when I read your post I felt when you said that you are "one of the people whose problems really WERE due to the disc and disc space, and one of the people that surgery really WAS indicated for, and for the RIGHT reasons, and that's why I feel so much better now..Is that logical?"...

    I feel it is totally logical,and you probably feel great relief too,especially if people were telling you not to do it.You did and right now it probably feels like everything is coming up roses.I say good for YOU!

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  • Hello Lo.

    So glad you are doing well. I think that fusion gets such a bad publicity that people fear it more than it is warranted. I am very happy with mine and glad that I went ahead with the surgery. As far as the future, we never know what it will bring. But if you keep your body in good shape and take good care of it, whatever happens down the line you'll just take care of that also. One thing I want to tell you though, that you may have the same problem I did, because we both felt significantly better after surgery, without a lot of pain to remind us to take it easy. But the fact is, that you had major surgery a short while ago, so regardless how well you feel, please remind yourself to take it easy and let your body recover completely.

    Take good care, remember, that is the only body you got.

    Good luck with your continuing recovery,



  • It is absolutely wonderful that you feel so good! Enjoy it - but like many others have reminded you, be careful so you don't un-do the good work on your back before it has fully recovered.
  • I am very happy that you are doing good! Your attitude is wonderful, which I think really makes a difference. I say we never know what is going to happen, so enjoy yourself now. Just as others have said, you do have to remember your restrictions. I know with a little one it can be easy to forget and want to do more for them than you should. (This is always the hardest for me.) I really appreciate your post. It does give me hope that the surgery will be worth it.
  • Thanks, guys! I appreciate the feedback lots! :)

    You guys are right, I DO need to remember the imitations. THAT I am having a hard time with. I think that is really the ONLY part that has to do with my age.... I feel so young to be restricting myself... But I know I need to. My body isn't that of your average 22 year old's, trust me. Lol. I would go into specifics, but it would be a LONG list, and whose got the time to read that crap from me? Hahaha :D

    Kin, I think your point hit me the hardest. You are right, I DO only have one body and I need to make sure I do this right. THank you :)

    Thanks again guys :)
  • well done Lo!

    its hard hearing from so many different people that you shouldnt have surgery and its downhill from there. interestingly im 28 and my friends / colleagues whom are in the health/fitness/medical industry all said go for it, you cant keep living life like this (my pain was predominate low back so i didnt even have the overt neurological signs and failed microD's like you!). i am so happy with my decision and my progress thus far. my surgeon is very happy with my progress such that i am allowed to start gently at tennis and other sports. my physio was very surprised as she said he usually waits until 12months before releasing fusion patients to do these kind of activities (stoked!). and i have pictures of my surgery (my surgeon gave me copies of the intraoperative photos), they rock my world they are so cool!
    anyway, well done on your progress so far. dont read too much into the future, yes you may need more surgery in the future however there are so many reasons you may need surgery in the future and look how many advancements have come about in the last 10-20yrs. live your life, expect ups and downs, deal with them at the time but dont live in fear of what might happen. follow your surgeons instructions (they say no bendng for a reason, squatting is different if you keep a neutral spine), she has gotten you this far and at only 2.5wks you are doing fantastically!

    keep it up
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