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Spinal fusion recovery

ZoezoeZZoezoe Posts: 12
edited 08/23/2015 - 2:52 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi all ,
One week tomorrow since l5 si
Spinal fusion anterior and pedicles screws posteriorly .
I'm feeling ok just concerned about pains , numbness ,
Hip and leg pains ( feel like nerve type )
Anyway would be good to talk to someone who's in the same place as me or anyone with past experience .
A little down today , raining outside which is putting me off doing my small walk to get coffee !
It's so hard to be reading so many horror stories !
It's hard to be facing the long road of recovery as I've been unable to exercise and walk for over a year already . My body is taking the toll and my stomach looks like it's 6 months pregnant after surgery .
I have never felt so unattractive , I know all this is a passing phase ( I hope ! ) I do have flashes of positivity though and I am looking fwd to the future . The drugs have an effect I'm sure , OxyContin mainly and a breakthrough pain killer called ocynorm .
Anyway that's me for now , back to my box set !
Best
Zoe
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1

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  • LizLiz Posts: 9,697
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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  • Hang in there Zoe - it's only been a week. I had ALIF L5/S1 with a revision of L4/5 in 2012 and, due to complications getting me stable on the pain meds was still in the hospital until day 13 post surgery. You have been through a pretty major piece of surgery and it is going to take time to heal. Your stomach has been through quite a bit and will be swollen for a while but don't worry - it will go down.

    Your hips will be sore for a while yet and your nerves are probably a bit angry from being disturbed. That's what the pain meds are for - to help control the pain enough for you to gradually do a bit more exercise each day. If you can't go outside because of the rain, try walking around a little bit inside. Moving around helps but don't over do it.

    The first couple of weeks are the toughest. Once you get through them you will start feeling a little bit better each day.

    Sending positive thoughts your way.
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  • Zoe,

    In my opinion, you made it through the worst part (the first week). It's going to take time to recover. You had a slightly different surgical approach than I did (mine was all done through the back) but either way, it's a long recovery that you just can't rush.

    As to feeling down, that's the medicine talking for sure. I felt much less emotional in general once I was finally able to stop taking the pain meds. I cried a lot, not so much from pain, but frustration and just being tired and unable to sleep well, and I hardly ever cry normally. Once I stopped the meds, I was back to normal. So just know that it's a phase and it's normal.

    For me, there was a definite turning point around 6-7 weeks post surgery. I was basically off the pain meds (I'd had two surgeries prior to the fusion, so I was an extra mess!) and finally able to sleep better and in a bed, as opposed to the couch.

    Don't let the horror stories scare you. My surgery didn't completely fix all my problems, but I am so much better than I would have been without it. I wouldn't trade where I am today for where I was this time last year, despite some lingering issues. My life is mainly back to normal, just a somewhat new normal and you too will learn to adjust and live again.

    Hang in there and best wishes.
    Christina
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • ZoezoeZZoezoe Posts: 12
    edited 09/01/2015 - 4:54 AM
    Sorry I did write a comment back to you guys but the system just kept failing to send .
    Thanks for your reassurances and taking the time to write .
    Now heading into my third week since surgery .
    Nothing much improved , still sciatic pain and even more worryingly every single pain I had before surgery .
    I'm ok at walking as doesn't hurt more than lying really . Sitting the worst .
    Only 4 more days of serious pain killers and worrying about how much pain I'll be in without them .
    Sick of worrying and not knowing if I'll ever be free of pain and just be able to do normal things again .
    My scars look awful but I've got to the point where I just don't care anymore , I just want a normal life where I can go out to lunch with my family or a drink with my fiancé . If I knew 6 months from now or even 12 months from now i'd be fine I'd just get on with it and be happy , just feeling so down as I hear so many people talk about how their original pain goes after the op and mine just hasn't . Anyway I hope this sends , felt bad as I tried to send three times . Using iPad today . So fingers crossed .
    All the best
    Zoe
  • Hi Zoe
    Sometimes it takes a while for nerves to settle down after surgery due to inflammation. Hopefully it will settle down soon. I would recommend seeing your surgeon though to discuss your concerns especially if you have difficulty after you come off the heavier meds.

    Re the scars - they are part of the story of you. I have quite a few and each one represents a battle I have fought and won.
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  • Zoe,

    I just posted almost the exact same concerns but I'm only 10 days out. I'll keep ya in my thoughts. Hang in there.
  • I agree with coltsfan78, you have made it through the worst, in my opinion anyway. This past Thursday made 3 weeks out for me from ALIF L5/S1. Even though I still have pains and I know it's a long road to recovery I feel much much better than I did when I first came home. Keep on walking but don't over do it and you'll notice a difference. Hang in.
    Nick
  • Zoezoe said:
    Sorry I did write a comment back to you guys but the system just kept failing to send .
    Thanks for your reassurances and taking the time to write .
    Now heading into my third week since surgery .
    Nothing much improved , still sciatic pain and even more worryingly every single pain I had before surgery .
    I'm ok at walking as doesn't hurt more than lying really . Sitting the worst .
    Only 4 more days of serious pain killers and worrying about how much pain I'll be in without them .
    Sick of worrying and not knowing if I'll ever be free of pain and just be able to do normal things again .
    My scars look awful but I've got to the point where I just don't care anymore , I just want a normal life where I can go out to lunch with my family or a drink with my fiancé . If I knew 6 months from now or even 12 months from now i'd be fine I'd just get on with it and be happy , just feeling so down as I hear so many people talk about how their original pain goes after the op and mine just hasn't . Anyway I hope this sends , felt bad as I tried to send three times . Using iPad today . So fingers crossed .
    All the best
    Zoe
    Hi Zoe,

    I had a TLIF L4-S1 around 4 months ago now and I'm still in quite a lot of pain- a lot worse than before surgery. Like you, my original pain has returned along with the extra incision pain and new sciatic pain which I never had before the surgery. I was seeing small improvements up until week 12 and then things have gone down hill since. Again, like you, if the doctor told me "you're going to be fine after 1 year" then I would just suck it up and get on with it. However, with back surgery, no-one really knows. I had my surgery in the UK but am now back home in Singapore, so I'm seeing a different surgeon now who told me it's a waiting game with fingers crossed. So worrying and depressing being in pain 24/7 after going through such a big surgery to fix things.

    Thanks

    Ian
    Micro Discectomy L5/S1 Feb 12
    Anterior Fusion L5/S1 June 12
    Posterior Fixation added to L5/S1 Nov 12
    Hardware removal Nov 13
    TLIF at L4/L5 May 15
    Posterior Fixation added again at L5/S1
  • KristipKKristip Posts: 1
    edited 09/06/2015 - 9:09 PM
    zoe , my first 8 weeks i described as feeling as if i was being murdered. now each week it minimally gets better. i injured my back and have had 2 prior surgeries. until my l4 finally collapsed and the pain was unbearable. i had a multi level fusion on my l4 l5 s1. cut from the stomache and in the back. plenty of screws and 2 rods. i'm still on pain meds. i've found it to be a very slow healing process for me, but it is getting better. so i know the worry that you may be thinking. just keep your chin up


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    liz -spine-health moderator
  • Zoe,
    Hi there. I saw your post and figured I would give you insight on my recovery. I had L5- S1 ALIF June 18th of this year. Surprisingly I felt amazing up until the day after my 3 week post op visit. Searing pain and radiation came out of no where and I was in immense pain. I went from hardly taking any pain meds or muscle relaxers to taking them every 4 hours. My surgeon feared I may have an infection since I had been doing so well, so he sent me to the ER and we were able to rule out any infection. Now here I am 2 1/2 months post op and I'm in immense pain still. I would say my symptoms are almost identical to what they were prior to surgery but not as severe. I am still in back brace so I too am unable to exercise which has put more weight on. My symptoms I have are in the lowest part of my back, both buttocks, hips, and legs, but right is greater than left. My biggest issues I'm facing now is the fact that if I walk too long, stand one one spot for too long, or sit down then try to stand up, I get such an intense pain that shoots down my butt and right leg that it makes me scream. Sometimes I can be sitting down and shift my legs any slight bit and cause intense pain. I know a lot of people say oh 1st week is the worse, no it's not necessarily. I know everyone heard differently so I'm trying to stay positive as well but when you are still in so much pain after surgery , it makes you question everything. My doctor told me after my flexion and extension X-rays that he will do in 2 weeks, then we can see about therapy. He said if the X-rays look good and there is no slipping of hardware when I bend forward and backwards then that means the fusion is set up properly and I can begin strengthening he fusion site. I'm scared to death to have to bend at all considering I haven't been able to do it in so long. Also, don't stress too much about the scarring. My abdominal scar is still sore and hard. Slowly fading color so that's good.
    Michelle Duhon
    6 level bilateral facet injections (thoracic&lumbar)
    2 level-3x LESI's
    L5-S1 micro discectomy
    L5-S1 ALIF June 2015
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