Here I am, almost 8 weeks since my PLIF L4/S1 surgery. It seems like long time ago, I never thought the time will go by so quickly.
Next week, on Tuesday I'll go back to work and I think I'm ready for it.
Lots of things happened since surgery and this website has been really helpful. I tried to learn from many of the stories, many of the posts here can be a bit depressing, but that's the reality.
So far my progress has been amazing. First 2 weeks after surgery were really rough, I had to stay in the hospital for 6 days, because of pain, spasms and I developed fever. Then I got some type of throat and mouth infection and couldn't eat and almost no liquids for another week. I had night sweats for 2 weeks after surgery, which was horrible, I thought it will never go away!
But I told myself, I have to be strong and I have to walk - the only way to get the fusion going. Luckily I was able to stop all pain and muscle relaxers medications after 10 days post-op. It wasn't easy, but it helped me a lot with recovery.
I adjusted my diet to higher protein, which is not easy being vegetarian. I also started taking additional supplements, multivitamins, Magnesium, Calcium + Zinc, vitamin D and protein powder supplement.
At 3 weeks post op I was able to walk 3-4 miles a day and my surgeon cleared me for PT. I still think it's the best thing that could happen to me. I had a lot of issues with muscles being still locked, especially left leg and hip. Through my PT, deep tissue massage of my hip and leg, very light exercises (more of muscle squeeze) at week 6 I was able to walk between 6-11 miles a day.
My surgeon cleared me to start driving after 3 weeks post op, just a short drive, as much as I can tolerate. In 5 weeks I was able to increase the distance I can drive to about 1 hour without rest or 2 hours with short stops.
During my 6 weeks post op I was cleared to start using swimming pool (no swimming, just walking and light aerobic exercises) which really helps me with left leg/hip muscle tightness.
Now I'll be starting week 8 post op of my PT and I was told I'll be able to advance my exercises to the next level.
I'm really happy that I decided my PT early, although I had a lot of concerns. So far, I haven't taken pain meds since week 2 after surgery and I hope it will stay this way after I go back to work. It seems icing my back helps a lot when I'm in discomfort and pain.
I'll be frequently updating this post as my recovery continues.
I have a CT scan scheduled for November 21 to see if fusion is taking place.