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Recovery thread for Aug/Sept surgery club!!!! Post your story here :)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone.
Chrissy was gracious enough to start a thread on when all of our surgeries were going to be in August and September.
Since there is still alot of September left I figured I would start a recovery thread for both these months.

So please if you would like post your recovery here. How surgery went for you, hospital stay and how you are dealing with the recovery process ;)

It is so much easier to keep up with everyone in one spot

Good luck to all!!
Terri ~~


  • Aug 5th-almost 5 weeks post op now.9 hours in surgery. First few days were terrible-since I can't take any pain meds-the first couple of weeks were hard but I am smooth sailing now! Still on all restrictions-I can walk and lay down-nothing else. I am a little sore but feeling way better than before my surgery!
  • Hi Terri,

    Thanks for taking over for me while I am trying to get better...really appreciate that. I think by the time you go in I should be ready to continue to take over again!

    Well lets see....Hmm.. I am 4 days post op I think! ACDF 2 levels C 4-6 My surgery was in the after noon on the 3rd of Sept. I am doing alright I guess.
    I ahve been up and walking a lot. The swallowing is really a problem for me and things even like liquids are hard to get down.
    Some pain symptoms are gone and some are different. It is too early to tell what the outcome will be, but I am feeling positive.

    The only concern I have is about my medications. I will start a thread about it so as not to clog this one up with that stuff.

    My Mom bless her heart is here taking care of me. SHe has already over done herself by lifting a case of water and twisting at the same time and is paying the price dearly. You cant tell Moms to aske for help I guess. lol.

    The paper work from the surgery center says I should have a post op appointment with the doc 7-10 days from date of leaving the surgery center and I will be out of meds before then so I need to get on the phone this morning and get that stuff straightened out!
    Other than that I am just trying to walk eat rest walk eat rest. Eating is difficult but the rest is doable.

  • Shay awesome things are going ok now. So sorry about pain meds making you sick, they do alot of people so you are not alone in that dept.
    Just keep up the drs instructions and well before you know fingers crossed you will feel brand new. I certainly did after my cervical fusion. To bend your head all the way back is HEAVEN O:)
    I wish you continued success!! Keep us up to date!! >:D<

    Chrissy darlin yes you can take over for me LOL
    Of course I will be on the computer on the couch the day I come home as I WILL NOT be smoking anymore. Best time to quit is when you will not have any for 4 whole days!!! :D
    I posted under your med post!!!

    Glad mom was helping you. But gheesh now she is sore?? Man oh man MOMS. :P
  • Surgery on Monday, August 18 - PLIF L5/S1 with cage and facet bolts - 1.5 hour procedure. I was home late Wednesday afternoon and the staples were removed 10 days after surgery.

    The pain was bad until they switched me from the morphine pump to oral Percocet the day after surgery - the difference was quite noticeable within an hour.

    Overall, my recovery has been better than expected. I was able to walk to the mailbox Thursday afternoon (week of surgery) and two days ago I did 3 miles of walking.

    I have had to slow down while walking. I started going at a slightly quicker pace with longer strides (still shorter than normal) but started getting more pain. Slowing down and walking a little less seems to have helped.

    I am still on all restrictions and getting bored laying on the couch all the time. A slight bit of depression, but not much.

    The pain had steadily decreased over the first 2 weeks, but has increased in week 3 (I am trying to adjust the amount of Percocet, so that may be part of the problem). The location of the pain seems to change every day. Getting up this morning was extremely painful, but is better now.

    Next appointment is September 25.
  • Glad to see your doing so well Mark.
    Yes just keep up with your restrictions for now till you see your dr again. It does get boring that is for sure.
    Thank goodness for alot of channels on T.V. now, movies, laptops etc. What would we do?? lol

    I love hearing everyone's stories. As everyone is different. NO matter if it is the same surgery or not.
    Now last year I was in for 4 days. Pain pump till the 4th day in the morning. Then oral meds on that morning when I was scheduled to go home that night.
    My cath was not taken out till the 3rd day etc. I was not allowed soft food till Wed and my surgery was on Mon morning. I was allowed water till Wed weirrdddd. Mabye they thought I would get sick because I had the highest dose of dilaudid allowable.
    I started walking on the third day. And sitting up in the chair for 15 min.
    I was glued together and no staples etc. Disovable stitches inside.

    Anyways that is old news. Yes Terri the rambling poster I) :O ;)

    =D> =D>
  • Posterior cervical surgery on 8/14. Released from hospital next morning (happy birthday to me!). Felt great day of surgery and day after, except symptoms (neck, shoulder and arm pain, weakness and numbness of hand and fingers) remain, with numbness worse than before surgery. Sent home in a soft collar.

    NS prescribed Lyrica and Percocets, but I didn't take Lyrica (except for two capsules they gave me in the hospital) because of the black box warning on that drug. Pain is manageable at this point, and I have not taken any Percocets in the last three days.

    I have my follow up visit with NS on 9/17, and I hope some or all of my resrictions are released at that time. I'm also hoping that my symptoms improve.

    1993 ACDF c6-c7
    8/2008 posterior cervical foraminotomy and ectomy at 3 levels (c4-c5, c5-c6, and c7-t1) with arthrodesis
    DDD and severe spondylosis at all cervical levels (except c6-c7).

  • Unboringuy so glad your over the hill <:P
    you made it through the worst part.

    Your recovery sounds like your on track. as you know some recover faster, some of us a bit slower.

    I was down to low meds by your point to.
    I needed them if I was up to much , if I did to much walking, or we went out for the day.

    I hope your numbness/weakness/tingling go away soon.
    please continue to keep us up to date and let us know how your follow-up goes!!! :D

  • 5 weeks post-op PLIF L4-5 on August 5, 2008. Getting easier each week. Driving since week 3, Pool therapy since week 4, Walking 2-3 miles a day. Having low-back, SI joints, and intermittent bilateral hip pain, tolerable. Weaning meds is going okay. Still with no BLT and in TLSO brace. First X-ray to check fusion 9/29. Getting very bored (|:
  • Thanks cali for posting!!!
    It helps as people are browsing these boards/signed members/non see all the post op stories. Of both the neck and back. It does help!!

    Your doing awesome!!!!! Keep up the good work. Keep us posted about your progess!!
    Bored I know all to well by the time I got to your point. Your starting to feel better and your like what do I do with my time???
    I am personally going to take up reading which I have not done in years!!!!

    Good luck hun
    Terri >:D< >:D<
  • First of all I would just like to thank terri for inviting me over to this thread. It sure is nice to talk with others who have been through this as well.

    My problems started in december of 2007 when I was training for an upcoming powerlifting event. I was doing a squat with a weight that was heavy yet something that I typically worked with, on the way up my knees buckled and I twisted my back feeling a pop. I nursed the injury for about six months until I could no longer bare the pain and saw the NS.

    I had surgery on july 17th, 2008 for the subsequent injury. My pre-op diagnosis was isthmic spondylolisthesis, L5-S1, DDD, L4-L5, L5-S1, bilateral pars interarticularis fracture, L5-S1 and lumbar radiculopathy.

    This is what I had done according to my operative record;
    Laminectomy at L5-S1 level with hemilaminotomy of my right L4 with diskectomy at L4-L5, L5-S1, with anterior bone implant x1 each at L4-L5, L5-S1, with pedicle screws at L4, L5, and S1 bilateral with posterior instrumentation at that level with posterior lateral fusion using Allograft bone and Infuse at L4, L5, and S1 with reduction of spondylolysthesis.

    Wow that was alot of terminology, can anyone translate that? I am only 29 years old and am in great shape, but seem to be still experiencing severe pain after 7 weeks is this normal? Also last week my NS put me on a bone growth stimulator.

    Thank you all for listening.

  • Hi Tim, I have a bone-growth stimulator, was given it right away, started as soon as d/c home from hospital. Have you had any xrays to check for fusion yet? If so perhaps your doctor didn't see fusion yet so added the BGS. I don't really have any risk factors for non-fusion, my sugeon says he believes in throwing in everything and the kitchen sink, so he gives all his patients the BGS. Often they are only given for people who smoke or have a history of non-fusion.
    I do not have nerve damage, but I read time again on here how slow nerve healing is and can take like a whole year. When the nerves have been pinched the symptoms often take a long time to resolve. Good luck to you, hope you feel better soon. Sue
  • Does anyone know if there is such as thing as too much walking? I walked 1 hour and 45 mins this morning-I needed to run sn errand and I still can not drive-so I walked. Think that is ok? 5 weeks post op-my story is at the top of the page.
  • shay that sounds fine hun. ;)
    if it does not hurt you to walk that long of a time, i say keep going girl!!! over a hour is AWESOME for 5 weeks!!!
    thats what the drs want . i know mine wanted me up to 5 miles by 2 months. which of course never happened due to pain.
    but if your comfortable after doing so i see no reason why you would be doing anything wrong.

    of course if you do have any unexpected pain while doing so please please contact your dr about it..

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!! =D> =D> =D>
  • Hey everyone..

    Well so far things are still going good with me. I am out walking everyday about 4-5 times a day. i walk for approxamatley 12-15 minutes at a time and it equals out to be just about 1/2 mile each session.

    I could barley do my grocery shopping before, or walk the short 3 minute path to my little lake to see the swans.

    I am very grateful for the improvements thus far. It is still a long road of recovery ahead and I know my neck will never be the same but It is feeling better a bit every day!

    Good Luck to all who are recovering from their surgeries and by all means if anyone needs some extra support please feel free to PM me! :-C

  • Chrissy sounds like your on track hun!!!!
    No only joking do what you can. Just don't push yourself.

    That is what I tried doing with walking a bit at a time. That way your not going bonkers in the house!! Only so many repeats during the night, computer , books you get the idea
    Awesome time to walk to with this GORGOUS WEATHER!!! No rain today YIPPEEEEE for those recovering anyway.
    My last few days well we will not go into that!! ;) :O

    Shay hun your VERY WELCOME!!! We are here to support you in anyway possible. I think you are doing so AWESOME =D>
    Especially with having 40 staples OH MY..
    I know what it felt like when they got me out of bed with just having glue. I just cannot imagine all of you that have staples and stitches. I wonder why this day and age they even still use them Im blank on that one. :? :?

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ALL!!!!! :* >:D< =D> =D>
    I WILL need everyone as I will be not smoking anymore either.
    So keep posting away so ya keep me BUSYYYY!!!
    Plus the nerves are kicking in even though I said they were not but oh well comes along with the game.
    7 days and counting!! :D
  • Walk as much as you can. I will be 4 weeks post-op tomorrow, and I'm generally walking about 6 miles per day (it's the only exercise the NS will permit me to do--hopefully that will change next Wednesday after my follow-up visit).

    Pain is in the 3-4 range; certainly manageable. I've only taken one Percocet in the last 4 days. Interesting new dull pain below right shoulder blade, but i suspect that is simply muscular in nature and related to the healing muscles that were cut during surgery (all of my symptoms pre-surgery were on the right side).

    Typing is a real pain (figuratively and literally) as i cannot use my left hand due to weakness--hopefully this will resolve over time.

    Keep up the good work!
  • Awesome your doing so well!!!!!

    I will say though after having both, the cervical is so much easier to walk with. The lumbar was a tuffy for myself..

    Keep up the good work!!!! =D> =D>
  • i can imagine. My neck is only having to hold up my head and not half of my body!!

    I will recall that anterior recovery is much easier than posterior, though.

  • I have not had both. Just the anterior for cervical.
    But my doc hates posterior. He said much more comfortable recovery on the patient going through the front.

    EVERYONE keep up your good work!!!
    Cannot wait to here some more stories when some more ppl return from the hospital =D>

    6 days and counting ;) <:P
  • Hey Unboringuy,

    I think that is soooo awesome how far your walking!

    I just had my ACDF 2 levels C4-6 and I have been walking about 1 1/2 - 2 miles a day. Not all at one time, but that is pretty good I think.

    It is finally starting to catch up with me though>>>LOL

    The last 3 days I have been overy exhausted. I think it started when I had some visitors at home and then the next night same thing. Puls all the walking. I just feel really exausted.

    Tonight I will be going out of the house for about 1 12/ hours. The reason is because I am an addict/alcoholic in recovery and I am going to a 12 step meeting. I just celebrated 4 years of sobriety and will take a cake and a sobriety chip at one of my favorite meetings.

    My plan is to call ahead an ask if they can put this recliner type chair in the meeting room this evening. They have the chair available for some of their disabled patients so I thought it might help me to be able to make it through the meeting.

    My pain has been so so I would say. I have a very low tolerance for pain and a high tolerance for the darn meds. I have noticed some idfferences in the types of pain and some of the burning pain I had before surgery. Right now I am just going with the flow until the hard aspen collar comes off and then assess again where I am at in the recovery process.

    But for now I am hanging in there.
  • Chrissy,

    That's great...congrats on 4 years of sobriety! And make sure not to overdo it. Each person is different, and in my case a 6 mile walk is like a stroll in the park as I am an exercise freak!

  • Great job Crissy! Congrats!
  • I had my L5-S1 PSF/ TLIF on August 21st. Rods, screws, interbody cage, donor bone, plus own bone marrow used as well.

    4 hour surgery, up and walking 100 yards at about 48 hours post, cath for 3 days, TLSO brace, sent home day 5 with Vicoden.

    Now, 3 weeks post surgery I am bored!!!! Doctor said to slow down abit with walking (I walked 2 miles to the park at 10 days). Doing good otherwise, no pre surgery pain remains, Yippy. Reachers are great for everything, picking up toys, loading the dish washer and getting socks out from under the couch.

    I am just glad to read that my recovery is typical, I thought it would be a little worse, knock on wood. Hopefully next doctors visit will show good bone growth. My supervisors are allready calling to see when I wil be coming back, lol.

    Take Care,
  • Congratulations Shell on your great recovery. I do totally understand the BOREDOM. I am at 5 weeks and thank goodness I have been driving since 3 weeks otherwise I would be severely depressed. Now I look forward to my daily trek to the YMCA to get in the therapy pool. It helps break up the day. I have teenagers at home, so they are usually off doing their own things, and are back in school as well. I am walking 2-3 miles a day. Hey, no fair, they stold my catheter at less than 24 hours, meanies, forced me to get up to bathroom often, with IV fluids still infusing. I have a TLSO. It is soooo hot. Hope to get rid of it after my appt. on the 29th. Tell your supervisors to back off! You just had major surgery =; Take care, and happy healing, Sue
  • Hi Terri,
    I think you and I are on the final countdown to Sept 17th if I remember correctly. Today the rep came from the bone stim company and dropped off the machine for me. I will be using it 4 hours a day after surgery to help the bone to fuse faster. Its an Orthofix and gets plugged in and charged everyday. The rep said lots of great things about my doctor which helped a lot because I am very stressed. I had my medical clearance physical at my regular doctor and all the pre op tests at the hospital and my blood pressure was so high they decided to start me on meds to get it down because otherwise they might not operate. My doctor wanted to give me tranquilizers but I have so much work to do before I go out on Disability (which is of course adding to the stress) I was afraid to take them so we settled on the Blood pressure meds. My doctor does not use collars of any kind after surgery. It seems that a lot of doctors in New York are not using them anymore because of the possiblity of muscle atripy (can't figure out how to spell that). I think its going to be scary coming home without a collar but I have to trust that the doctor knows what he is doing. It will be interesting to see how we compare on recovery since we are having surgery on the same day.
    I wish you and everyone on here lots of luck,
  • Chrissy,
    That is really wonderful that you have been in recovery for 4 years. You should be very proud of yourself. Keep up the good work on recovering from surgery as well.
  • Wow great to see that your doing so awesome in your recovery!! YIPPPEEEEEEEE <:P =D> =D>

    You do get bored that is for sure. So I personally have decided to take up reading etc. I'v been home now since 06 so Im used to being here. So its not to bad. Besides this place and myspace keep me goinggggggg =))


    So sorry i just saw your post to me!!! ;)
    I'v had some pain the last few days and well trying to keep everyone straight is hard right now.
    Anyways im so glad you do not have to have a collar!!!!!
    Ya know i always wondered that :? alot of ppl do not have to have (like myself) for lumbar surgery why need one for cervical :? :? kinda makes sense. I remember having the collar removed at 4 weeks and WOW those muscles from not using them WHEW :O
    You also said NY hmmm you best not be taking my morning spot!! =)) how weird would that be if we were at the same hospital with the same dr :O
    i know would be ironic but he does have 4 cases that day, and of course when I read that from you im like hmmmm , no way couldn't be :O =))
    Ok im getting goofy now from my pain med,and getting way off track..
    I best be quiet :$ :$ :$

  • Tomorrow will be my 5 week acdf anniversary.
    Honestly I am regretting doing it. I feel so much worse than I did prior. The numbness in my arm & fingers is getting better but, that it. My neck hurts so horribly bad. Much much more than it did before. At least before I could work all day. Now I really have a hard time sitting at my desk for 4 hours. I have a hard time just being upright for any length of time
    I had my 4 week post op. appt. last week. The surgoen told me that it could take up to a year & 1/2 & I must be patient as it was a major surgery.
    I started P/T last week. I do not like it at all. I've gone twice & again tomorrow. I do not want him to massage my neck again. I sit there saying "OUCH!" the whole time. He backs off for a moment but then digs right in. The electrical massager was nice for about 5 minutes then the pain came back with a vengence.
    I must call the Dr. & ask for something that can last longer than what he has me on now. I am taking oxycodone 5/325 4 hours. taking just 1 does not give me relief. Especially at work. I take 1 before work & at the 4 hour mark I have to go home & take 2 to try to get a little relief. I have never been on medication before all of this. I don't care what he gives me as long as it works. I'm also on ice & heat with no relief.
    I feel that my family is suffering with me, as I can not be the person I was before. I can hardly make dinner & do very light housekeeping without help. I am typically planted on the recliner day & night. We used to have fun & now it's Mom, are you ok? I feel so guilty for making them worry about me so much.
    I guess I am extremely frustraded. I do not deal with pain very well, I guess.
    Sorry for the ramble but, this is what my experience has been.
  • Kimmeam,

    First, you need to banish all thought of guilt. You have just undergone major surgery on your spine, and it takes time to heal. You and your family need to be patient and try to keep a positive attitude.

    Tomorrow I will be 4 weeks post-op, but have not yet returned to work, as my NS will not let me go to work until ofter my follow-up appt. next week. i am having pain, more numbness, and weakness, when compared to pre-surgery, but I know they manipulate nerves and cut muscles (at least with the posterior approach) so i will remain optimistic and wait and see.

    I had my ACDF 15 years ago, and although the neck discomfort remained, all other symptoms (numbness and weakness) resolved.

    It's easy to be impatient, but try to be more patient and listen to your body. If it is hard to hold up your head, that means it's time to relax.

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