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Getting Scared....

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
OK, as I sit here and read the posts of people who are post-op from lumbar fusion surgery's, Im getting a little wiggy. Alot of what I read is people who are still having issues and pain and what not. Am I doing the right thing? Im scared to death now... I have been trying to be hopeful but when I sit here and read I get scared. I realisticly know I will never be my old energetic self, but I was hoping to get back to work at some point. I read all the posts and the difficulty it seems with ADL's after surgery, and I think, omg, I dont have anyone to help me much when I get home. How am I going to do it? I have exhausted all other treatment options and alternative stuff, this is the only thing I havent tried.
ALIF decomp PLIF L3,L4, L5, S1 w/bone graft scheduled in FIVE days, 9-23-08.
Any advice, suggestions?


  • I think the reason so many people on the board have chronic pain is because the people who got better after back surgery stopped posting. If you're already suffering from chronic pain, I don't know that surgery could the pain worse. Can those of you with back surgeries chime in?
  • I had a TLIF (read my sig) on 8/5. I am doing awesome!! I am barely even sore any more! There is hope!! You have to do what is right for you-but I am SO glad I had my surgery!! I have followed instructions to a "T"-that is important. I have been a bit of a diva for the last 6 weeks-I have done nothing but rest and walk. Good luck to you!!
  • Shadow, as the previous posts stated, people who are doing well are usually moving on, so you don't hear from them. But many of us had successful fusion surgeries, and some of us were lucky so we did not even suffer. But everybody is different, you can't always predict who will do well, but there is a chance that people with the most positive attitude will be better off than those who expect the worst. We know enough now about brain chemistry that we know that people who are stressed out and produce stress hormones have more difficulties in recovery than those who try to maintain a positive attitude and produce hormones associated with well-being,

    I know it does not always come easy, but try to anticipate a good outcome for your surgery.

    Good luck,

  • I'm surprised your doctor didn't ask you if you had someone to help, at the surgical consultation.

    I was informed by someone I know who had a few fusions in the past few years, that there are places you can call to get help. I don't know if insurance pays for it, or what... But they come and clean for you and help you with laundry, making food, etc, whatever you need. Can't remember what they're called... But maybe you could put a call in to your surgeon and ask about it?

  • Trust me...I was terrified. It's just like everyone said. The people that have a successful surgery usually get on with their lives and dont post anymore.
    If you find youre nerves are really bad you can contact your doctor and ask him to prescribe something for your nerves for the next few days. They usually will give you something. Mine did.

    Good Luck,
    Christina :)
  • The bad results speak so loud!

    I was teriffied after I scheduled surgery for my PLIF. I had all of the "what if questions" running thru my head. I thought about cancelling so many times.

    One day I ended up on the phone with a customer service rep.from QVC, I told her I was buying the new laptop to keep me company while I was recovering from surgery. We got talking about what I was having done and she explained she had the almost identical procedure 7 years prior. She told me about how happy she was and also gave me pointers about what to expect and what to have ready. It was so nice to find a good story, she made me feel so much more comfortable about my descision.

    Of course I didnt want to end up worse than before surgery, but it was a chance I was willing to take to get some relief. I had to be totally positive about the surgery too. Attitude means so much to get thru this with your sanity intact!

    I had my PLIF 8/21 and am doing great. You should be able to get in and out of bed before you get home, so being alone is OK. I took pain meds the first 2 1/2 weeks and haven't taken anything since, including my pre surgery Duragesic 25mcg. My pre surgery pain is gone, and I am just hoping that the remaining surgical pain fades as we go along. I have some numbness and burning in my legs about 50% of the time, but its very sporadic and nothing like before surgery. Now maybe once I start PT I may be singing a different tune, lol.

    Here ares some things I have reminded myself during the first few weeks to keep my spirits up.

    8} Pajamas are my friend, nobody cares if you dont get dressed up. Just watch what you are wearing when you get the mail, I think my neighbor laughed for the rest of the day when he caught me wearing thigh high teds, boxers and my brace with a tank top underneath it. Yah well.

    =)) Its ok to look like a fool wearing your TSLO brace without a bra, Madonna gets away with looking like that. This has given my kids a big laugh.

    :H Dont worry about dropping food on the floor, the dog will clean it up for you.

    ;) A "TPA" bath will do when you realy dont feel like showering. Those in nursing may know what that really stands for, for the rest its just the really stinky parts,lol. Although I can say I did feel much more human after a shower.

    I hope you start to feel more comfortable with your descision as you hear some good things from members.

    Take Care,

  • Hi Shadow,
    I know exactly what your saying as I was doing the same thing prior to surgery. I hada bulging disc for years, and ignored it as best as I could, and would deal with the flare ups. I always said that I would do something about it when I no longer had a choice, which is what I think most of us do. So now here I am three days post op, had a plif fusion at L5/S1 with hardware.The pain that I had before surgery is gone, I do have some numbness down the left leg and into foot but it is different then what I had before surgery. Fortunately, I had done a lot of reading & info gathering so I knew to expect some things. Yes, I was scared but also knew that surgery was what was needed now to help me get better. They say you really need to have someone around to help at least for the 1st week, but I do realize that not everyone has that option. Is there a friend or family member that could possibly help you out?
    I guess the best advice I can give you is to try to get in a positive frame of mind, cuz as you stated, you really don't have a choice anymore. Positive thinking and spirit will be your best route to get you through this tough time.
  • I too order from QVC, I have for like 16 years,and recently purchased a laptop. Boy, has that been a lifesaver at night when I cant sleep due to pain. I know the positive attitude will get me thru better than a negative one, but so much has happened lately that I am apprehensive. Yes, when I scheduled surgery my dh was around more than not. My daughter is moving out of state, and relatives close are to old to help. I guess I just dont know what to expect. DH is in a court case right now and things arent going well. The only chance I have right now is to have the surgery, I wont have the insurance (deductibles and co-ins met) forever, and I dont want to be in debt that much. Thanks to everyone, and I had to laugh.. I can see me walking out on the porch to get the mail and the neighbor dude gawking! hahahaaa Thanks for the smile!!!
  • Hi Shadowchaser,
    I have been where you are are, and it is quite stressful :SS . Positive attitudes are great, but easier said than done. I took the Xanax route to get me through the last few days pre-op 8} . Nothing wrong with that! Have you looked at the top thread Post-op musthaves, it is a great reference to give you ideas of what you need and how to pre-pare pre-op. If you cannot have someone with you 24/7, maybe a few drop in visits to check on you would be sufficient. I think I could have done it on my own if I had to. Make sure everything you need is in reach and at waist level. Worse case scenario, several members have gone to a rehab hosp. for a few days before coming home if they didn't have help available.

    Of course there are some bad outcome stories here on SH, but a lot of us are still in recovery and dealing with the ups and downs. It is a long process, often with 2 steps forward and 1 step back. I always say judge your progress week to week, as day to day is too soon and may be discouraging. Also remember to follow your instructions to a T. I overdid myself recently, and had my first setback, but things are looking up again. While every now and then we hear a story where someone is just doing so great, and back to work in 2 weeks, etc., for most of us it is a much slower recovery as this is major surgery. That doesn't mean our surgery has failed, it really is more the norm. My surgeon told me 6-12 weeks off work. I am at 6 now, still in TLSO, having first fusion check xray in 2 weeks. It is definitely looking more like 12 weeks for me. If it takes longer, so be it. I am in this for the long haul and want to heal properly and give this every chance to be successful.

    It sounds like you have tried everything else possible and then some, so when you are out of options, surgery is next. Take comfort in knowing you did your best to avoid it, but when it is time-it is time. Hang in there, and know that we are all hear to cheer you along :) :H >:D< Sue
  • Hi,

    I want to give you my penny worth too.
    Simply, remember that maost ppl with back backs get better in 6 weeks, very very few need surgery to help them and even a smaller number have a few blips, when they may need a few tweaks and ongoing prbs. You must not consider for a minute that you could be one of those ppl, hoever, you also know that these boards are here, helping support those who are still struggling.

    Next, positive attitude is EVERYTHING. Ok, so it may not be too realistic to plan to be the next Olympic Skier but you need to have some small goals and hopes or what is the point?
    The recovery after spine surgery is long and patience is a must. Pacing had to my hardest (is my hardest)challenge. I have a few good days, think I have turned the corner then wham! I have put myself back again.

    I was off 16 weeks 1st time round and still of 30 weeks second time round.

    Your feet will be off limits so plan around slip-on shoes, trousers will be a challenge too. Ground level needs to come up to waist level for you (You know, like when you have a toddler in the house)and if you can get some meals sorted, standing on your feet and lifting will be a massive challenge but you need to keep a heathy diet to promote healing.

    Oh, and I wanted to say, It is OK to feel scred, you wouldn't be normal or human if you didn't. Let your body harness that enery into survival instict and healing.
    The very best of luck.
  • Hi Shadowchaser, I also can certainly relate to where you are at. I was ready to back out and scared to death and I did exactly what you did, posted. I got great advice and changed my attitude, I knew I trusted my doctor and I had researched and done conservative treatments long enough. I am sure you can say the same so go in to your surgery with a positive attitude, trust your surgeon, and expect a great outcome. My experience was that the surgery was not as bad as I imagined. The recovery is slow, but I have not needed much in the way of pain medication since 3 1/2 weeks post-op which for me is worth it since I had been on so much medication prior to surgery. At this point I would say I have no regrets. Try to relax and like others have said if you can't call dr. for something. I kept myself extremely busy last couple days before surgery trying not to give myself time to think about it. You will be in my thoughts and prayers on Tuesday and will be waiting to see how you make out. Sher
  • Attitude is key as IALW stated. I can relate to you some stories of a couple friends of mine that would blow your mind. Suffice to say that both, one with over 1/2 his back encased in titanium and the other fused at several levels, are still on active duty in the USMC. Both pass their PT tests every year and the one with the body full of titanium is even back on jump status. One was running 30 days after surgery and the other just shortly after that.

    If you ask them what the key was, they'll tell you ATTITUDE!

  • I think from reading your post that your DH is around, but not to much, Right? How about any close friends or neighbors, just to be on call if you really need help?

    The first week I didnt really want to talk to anyone. My day consisted of using the bathroom (raised toilet seat with bars helps alot), getting a drink and snack, meds, showering at night with help and sleep. Little microwave meals were very easy to make, and I kept a chair with arms near the microwave so I could wait close by and get up easily. Bottled water was easy to carry with the walker too.

    By the middle of the second week I was making diner. Nothing special, lots of stuff I could stick in the toaster oven (waist height) or on top of the stove quickly. Glad my kids like macaroni and cheese. Freeze some meals ahead of time if you have the room. Set things up so you can slide large pots and pans on the counter rather than picking them up.

    Some insurance will allow you to have home health visits too. Speak to your doctor and tell him what kind of help you think you may need (if any). Once in the hospital you should have a case manager too that will help with equipment and assistance if prescribed.

    It sounds like you are doing everything you can so you are prepared and dont need to ask for help all of the time, thats great. A big part of the battle is knowing what to expect and how to care for yourself. You will be more that ready when it comes time for your surgery.

    I hope that you are feeling better about things!


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