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1 Year Fusion Anniversary

davedave Posts: 860
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Today is my 1 year anniversary from a 2 level fusion L4/L5, L5/S1. Had my hardware removed 2 months ago. Basically my back is 85% better with bouts of SI Joint Dsynfunction and an achy back (I still have pretty severe arthritis that fusion does not address) sometimes. The SI problem is a little worse then prior to my surgery, but is manageable. Since my hardware removal, my right leg is finally recovering. My right ankle is a little weak and very similar to the discomfort I felt when I hyper-extended all of the ligaments in that ankle many years ago due to a motorcycle accident. All in all, I believe my right leg will fully recover with the exception of some minor numbness. My left leg is a different story, where I have suffered some nerve damage that has resulted in daily pain in the left ankle and of course some numbness. The pain in my left leg is much less than what I endured in my back and legs prior to my surgery.

All in all, my surgery was a success. Its unfortunate that I exchanged one problem for another but it is a risk we all take when under going this type of procedure.

I hope anyone considering a fusion weighs the risks and realizes that after this surgery you can come out on the other side with new problems.

There is a silver lining to all of this in that I have accomplished all of my goals that I set for myself prior to my surgery. I can play with my kids, ride roller coasters, play golf, work in the yard, work around the house, and to top it all off bowl (did this last weekend).

Dave
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Comments

  • Congrats Dave that things are going so well for you. Yes indeed it was a year ago we were all chatting and waiting to see how your surgery went. You soon popped in and gave us a laugh while under the influence. I'm so glad everything is working out and you have done a lot of hard work to get to this point. I'm confident that you will get better as time goes on since i know you work daily on your recovery. Once again congrats Dave.
  • Great to hear from you, and I'm so pleased that things have worked out well for you. You're right that there is a risk of exchanging one set of symptoms for another, but overall it sounds like a good trade-off. It took me over 2 years after my last surgery before I felt the best I got to so I'm sure you will keep improving too. It's great to hear there is life after fusion, especially as I am now having one myself!

    Thank you for sharing. Take care, Spicey :)
  • Why was the hardware removed? How does that affect your back? I don't understand. I am comfused. I thought once they put hardware it had to stay because they removed what was there. :/
  • Hey Dave- to have achieved your goals is great news. Especially as you have had 2 major surgeries in 1 year so you must have kept to your end of the deal with doing everything right.
    Well done

    Blessings Sara
  • Dixiechick,

    I had the hardware removed because it was causing some issues. I had drop foot in my right foot and a new bone spur that had grown post fusion that was pressing on a nerve. The hardware was also catching on the muscles in my back causing what I thought at the time was some minor back pain, but turns out I was in a lot more discomfort then I let on to myself. Once you are fused, the hardware is no longer necessary. They don't like to remove it because it is just as major of a surgery as when they installed it. They open you up through the same incision area as your original surgery.

    Hope this clears up some of your confusion.

    Dave
  • TamTam,

    I'm glad I was able to entertain the masses last year. I'm still under the influence but hope that one day that will be a thing of the past.

    Yes it is a lot of work recovery from this procedure.

    Dave
  • Spicey,

    I guess it looks like I have to wait another year before I declare my absolute status. Sometimes I'm not so sure it was a good trade-off. The mind plays tricks on you, and you start to forget how you felt prior to the surgery. I definitely have improvement from the hardware removal, but that is a shorter time span and I kept notes this time. I guess this is why woman keep having babies :).

    Dave
  • Sara,

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. It's been a long road traveled, one I never wish to go down. My surgeons PA gave some great words of advice on my last visit. I asked her if there was anything I could do to prevent further degeneration of my back. She was pretty frank by saying, most likely you will require further surgery down the road. It may be 6 months, a year, or 10 years, no one really knows. GO LIVE YOU LIFE AND DON"T WORRY ABOUT IT. What will happen, will happen.

    Dave
  • SO happy to hear that things are going so well for you. Huggiesssss >:D<

    Christina :)
  • Congratulations Dave! We have shared a similar path with our conditions and surgeries, including hardware removal, although reading your blogspot i think that your condition was certainly more severe than mine. I take my hat off to you - it's been a tough road for you - far tougher than mine but you saw light at the end of the tunnel, stayed positive and have made it through.

    You are so right that often with this kind of surgery, we end up trading some issue for others but at the end of the day we are overall in better shape than before. It's great that you can do all those cool things again - playing with your kids, golf, roller coasters etc. Now, do as your surgeon's PA said....GO LIVE YOUR LIFE AND DON"T WORRY ABOUT IT. I like those words too, and certainly intend to do that.

    All the best... Bruce


    Keep positive!

    Bruce

    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Dave,

    I'm so glad to hear your good news. Someday I'll see you on those coasters!!! :)

    Angie
  • Hopefully you will be riding upside soon.

    Dave
  • Dave -

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this last year. You cannot imagine how much I learned from your posts. But most importantly, you gave me hope for Chris' situation and the strength to share that hope with him. It's a long road and I don't think I could have done it without all that I learned from you and others on this board.

    I'm so glad you've accomplished your objectives. I look forward to hearing more good news in the future.

    I'm still hoping to be a golf widow again soon! Terri
  • That's precisely the reason I started keeping a pain journal because it's impossible to remember how you felt last week sometimes, let alone last month or longer! I can track my average pain scores at a quick glance and I find it useful to see if new pain meds are working :)

    The thing that really got me feel better was when I upped my exercise. I was terrified at first of damaging something, but once I knew my limits I just felt better and better!
  • Terri,

    It's been a long year. I'm glad that my trek has been able to help others. Be careful what you ask for, you may just get it. I hope Chris makes it out on the links soon.

    Dave
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