Hi everyone. My name is Sara. I'm 37 years old, and three weeks ago I had my second spinal surgery - a TLIF-MIS spinal fusion at the L4/L5 vertebrae. My first spinal surgery was an emergency decompression in late 2014 after I developed complete Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) from a "massive herniation" of the L4/L5 disc. At the time, the surgeon removed the disc fragments from the nerve bundle and put in windows in the adjacent vertebrae, but he left some of the undamaged disc portion in place. Apparently that may not have been the best idea, because after several "flare-ups" in the past year and a half, an MRI showed the disc had re-herniated and was as "massive" as before (in the words of my surgeon). Since there was basically no undamaged disc remaining, he opted to do a fusion.
The surgery went off without a hitch, and I was home within 2 days. Overall, I'm healing well, and the recovery in many ways is easier than my first surgery (I lost feeling in one of my legs from the CES, and there was about a 2-week window where I didn't know if I would need a walker permanently). This time, though, I'm having a harder time dealing with the isolation and physical restrictions. My family is wonderful, but they don't really know how to handle the moods I've been getting in lately. I just thought it might help to meet others who are going through something similar.