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TLIF L5-S1 Week 1 Doing Great!

MurronMMurron Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Here is some background info.I am 22 year old female with no history of back pain, no sports, or accidents. I was rear ended in August (I went to the urgent care that day)and about 24 hours had pain in my back. Over the next 3 days I started having numbness and debilitating pain. I got x-rays and everything looked fine. In October I was still having issues so my doctor ordered an MRI. Saw an 8mm disk herniation. My Dr referred me to a pain management dr. I received 1 epidural steroid injection that I had an awful reaction to and provided no relief. In fact I began to have more weakness and numbness after. My Pain Management doctor referred me to a Neurosurgeon. When my Neurosurgeon came in and saw my MRI he said "oh shit that is big". Then said that I needed a surgery soon and that my disk was going to collapse if it had not already repaired its self.

So I had a TLIF at L5-SI last Friday February 24. It was originally supposed to be on Thursday the 23, but my doctor got stuck in surgery.

I came in at 6am on Friday. They took me back to my prep room. They gave me a gown, compression stockings and pump/massages for my legs. Then they took a urine sample and got my IV started. I asked for pain medicine (since I had to sit or lay down my back and legs hurt terribly). I actually personally knew my surgery nurse, she helped keep me calm. I met my anesthesia doctor and got more details about the specifics of my surgery. Then my surgeon came in signed a paper let me ask questions and tried to help calm me down. I was given a warm blanket and warned that the surgery room was very cold; then they wheeled me off to surgery.

I woke up in the recovery room laying in a med with oxygen on, my iv and a catheter. I have asthma and had issues breathing when I woke up. I had sharp pains every time I would breath deep (which they really want you to do). I was given a breathing treatment and then when my oxygen monitor would stay above 95 they took me to my room. I got to my room around 3pm and my surgery began at 8am.
I was very nauseous and felt a lot of pressure on my back. I threw up a few times. The nurse started the pumps on my legs (to prevent blood clots). She also gave me some meds in my iv and explained how my PCA worked (I could get pain meds every 10 minutes). I cried every time I moved that night and was very thirsty, but even a tiny ice cube made me sick.

My nurses changed around 7 and I got about 7 pills. A mix of pain pills, stool softeners and antibiotics. I ate half a sandwich around 11:30pm and kept it down. As it got later I felt better and started shifting around in bed.
The next morning my physical therapist came in. She got me to stand and walk. I am not going to lie, it hurt bad. But, it was worth it. They took out my catheter so I started having to get up to use the rest room. I sat up in a chair and ate lunch. Took a few naps and walked later in the day with my walker and nurse. They started giving me laxatives
that night as well.

The next morning Sunday the 26 (3rd day)I walked around my floor 6 or 7 times with no walker. my doctors PA came in removed my dressing and let me see the wound (a picture) it looked nasty. He said I wI got more pain meds about 6 prescriptions and was sent home with a walker and potty.
My first night home was odd. We went out to dinner (my PT encouraged trying to). After that we went home. When I got in bed I cried for a few hours, it was much harder to get in bed and comfortable at home. I wanted to go back to the hospital.

Every day since then has gotten better. I am spacing my pain meds out more. I did have to call my doctor though. I was having leg pain in one spot that the pain meds weren't helping. He gave me steroids and told me to rest more and walk less.

I feel better walking hurts and sitting makes my legs hurt. The throb with pain after about 15 minutes. I think I can feel my hardware moving in my back. It doesn't hurt, it just feels odd and when I get cold it almost aches. After reading everything on these boards I expected to hate my doctor and regret my choice for at least the first 2 weeks post op. But I don't I am so happy I made this choice, my pain is so much better now. It is still intense pain, but it is more manageable.

My balance is a little off and it is hard to remember not to twist, bend or turn. I still have not had a bowel movement (last one was February 22) I am concerned about this, but my doctor was not really. He just told me to take some laxatives (which I will in the morning) and try prune juice. If anyone has advice on this it would be greatly appreciated!


  • Welcome to spine health and to the other side of surgery! Glad to hear that you are doing so well.

    Great to read your story about your experience, brings it back for me...I am three weeks post op adr.

    Amazing that you went out for dinner 3 days after surgery. Do take it easy and try not to overdue it. It can be hard when you are feeling good to not do to much. Good that you are aware of no Blt. This is so important. I am very aware and don't bend or twist. Did they show you how to log roll out of bed? Do you have a grabber(love mine)?My lifting limit is 5 pounds

    As far as the BM issue, I am all to aware of that as I always have difficulties there since I began narcotics and then worse post op. I was not allowed to eat or drink for 3 days post op. I explained to the doctor that I needed Miralax or I would not be able to have a bm. I would definitely recommend this if you are having trouble, and drink lots of water.

    Wishing you all the best, look forward to hearing more from you.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • They did teach me to log roll, but I can not do it to get to my right side or back. It pulls my incision apart. I am sitting on the bed and then pulling my legs up and laying down (only bending at the hips) my PT said this was ok.
    I love my grabber too, but have dropped it a few times. My incision has started being soooo itchy! Some of the steri strips have come off and i have had a few blood spots of my shirts. My dr gave me some miralax and a few hours later everything was going fine.

    I was sent home with a potty and haven't been able to use it. I also have a walker that I am scared to use. It helps when I do use it because I don't put as much pressure on my left leg, but it pushed out while I was walking and I fell last night. I primarily use it when no one is home, and I have walked a ton with out it. I would really like to get more comfortable using it so I can walk more. I went out to the bank and pharmacy last night and I think the walker would have made everything easier.

    Thanks so much for the support. It means a lot coming from someone who has a similar situation. My fiance is supportive, but he just doesn't understand that everything hurts. I really feel like I need support because I have so much going on other than surgery. I am close to finishing school and getting married in 8 months. I really want to be able to walk at my graduation and wedding with out pain.
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