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Scared to death but I can't wait

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,899
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My surgery is scheduled next week on September 2, I am scared to death, and yet I can't wait. Every day for the last 2 months have been excruciating. I have been through Pain Management for the last 8 years. This has to be the right decision. I am having a fusion of L5/S1.


  • I know that this is the correct decision, I have discussed it over with my personal physician who I‘ve know for 15 years, The Pain Management Dr that I have been seeing for 8 years. And now have finally found a surgeon that would take my condition seriously. It has been a very long road. But nothing can be as bad as what I have put up with for the last 8 years and especially the last 3 months.
    thank-you for the encouragement!
  • That's a tall order, I know. But you will be just fine and telling us your stories (funny I hope) in no time at all.

    Welcome to Spine Health.... read, read, read.... then walk

    Best wishes to you,
  • Hi bjv, so you are having a L4-S1 fusion. What are you having it for may I ask? That may sound like a silly question and I am not questioning if you need it or not because you obviously do but I am just curious as to what got you to this stage.
    You will find some very good info here about what to take to hospital, what to expect etc etc. Also a lot of suppoet. SO welcome aboard!
    Sara O:)
  • hi bjv and welcome!!! see we do have something in common already L/5 and S/1 plus the jv part in our name :D

    it is scary that is for sure. and most of us feel more crappy after surgery before we get better.
    matter of fact i just said that to my husband when the alarm went off. as i have to stay in bed , use the commode take my meds, drink my coffee before i can even attempt to go back downstairs. "im like why do you feel so crappy before surgery , and your supposed to feel better after"?
    its a long road for some that is for sure.
    i feel like iv been ran over by a mac truck or been punched several times. this does not go for everyone that has surgery. some people come home feeling WOW WOW WOW. and you just may because you have been suffering for so long.
    there will be up and down days.
    anything else you want to know there is a list at the top of this thread about things you may/may not need when you get home or in the hospital. i of course did not use even half those things. just the basics as in the commode, grabber. it helps having a other half to , to help out, or if alone a family member or neighbor to help out.
    it gets a bit tricky not bending or twisting.
    iv become excellent at picking things up with the grabber and my toes =))

    i am having a totally differnt issue with walking.
    but make sure you do that. walk as much as your body will allow. i even find in the house just getting up and moving from room to room subsides some of the pain and of course it makes the healing process go faster for some.

    you will read stories of people feeling great in a week, some a few weeks and well some in months. just remember we are all unique indivduals and recover at a different time.

    when you do come home and you have any new pains that you did not have before example: me having numb toes. CALL that dr and let them know. may be nothing and just part of the recvoery process, etc..

    sorry for being so long, but im sitting here waiting for meds to kick in and i am only 8 days post op as of this afternoon. so i ramble, write, yell do whatever to get my mind off off the pain.

    oh one more thing that you will not want to go with out.
    RE USUABLE GEL FILLED ICEPACKS. they are great to lay on, instead of the ones they give you in the hospy.
    i line them up on my spine and put them on my tush from the bone graft.

    we are here for you from beginning to the end.
    you will do just fine, nerves are a natural part of this process even for those that have had TONS of surgery..

    go in thinking positive!!! and always remember your not alone in your new journey..

    take care
    terri :* >:D< :* >:D<
  • I really can't wait, every day is the same, to come home from work crying because the pain in so bad. You asked how it started, a lady ran a red light and I hit her broadside & spun her around. It tore the front end from my car. After a year I had an IDET and it went absolutely great. I was three days after being released from PM Doctor. A young man was not paying attention and hit me from behind and tore the disc again. We did attempt another IDET but it didn’work as well as the first. So we have just been waiting for a time when everyone could agree that surgery was the right thing to do. The first Neurosurgeon I went to came into the room looked at m, didn’t examine me & said that he couldn’t do anything. Obviously I went for a second opinion.
    I know that the next few weeks are going to be hard, but I think that I have come through a lot. I don’t think that anything can ever be as bad as the last 3 months. One night I ended up in the hospital they asked me for my rating I replied that it was at least a 15.

    I will come back & post as soon as I get home, they said that I would be in the hospital for 3-4 days.
    Take Care!
  • Good luck BJ I hope you get the relief you need. Let us know how you are when you can.

  • and at least it will be coming to an end soon.
    Hope all goes well with the surgery- I am sure it will. Give yourself time to heal and recover.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Good luck BJV...i am scheduled for Monday the 6th. ALIF/PLIF of L4/L5/S1.
    I share same feelings...
  • The surgery seemed to go ok. I was in the hospital for 6 hays. I was having weakness in my left leg I went home with a walker. After a few days I was rid of that, but while I was in the hospital I was having trouble with both of my hips and pain behind my left knee. Now they said it could be a root nerve that was damaged in surgery and take up to a year to heal, is that true. Is there anything that I can do to make the time go faster? I try to walk every day but it is difficult with my knee & hips the way that they are.

  • Hi bj and welcome back!

    Sorry to hear about your nerve pain. Nerves do take a long time to heal. Many doctors believe that Vitamin B complex helps nerves to heal faster and I have had several doctors prescribe Vitamin B to me for nerve damage - you could ask your doctor about this. Also has he prescribed you any medication for nerve pain? (e.g. neurontin, lyrica or topamax?) If not, again, you could ask him/her about that too.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I will try the B complex today, it has been very frustrating, and the surgeon said that there wasn’t anything that they could do. I called my Orthopedic surgeon to look at my knee they said it was surgical from the neurologist. I called my own physician and they said to call back to the surgeon. I was going in circles, I finally just called my physician and scheduled a flu shot and asked to have my physician Tracy to look at my knee, the first thing she did was to send me over to make sure that there weren’t any blood clots, which I figured that there weren’t. She then called the surgeon who then told her that it may be a root pain. That is the frustrating part why they didn’t tell me that at first, instead of me going around in circles. I will keep walking, and my next appointment is November 17, with an X-ray a week before that. Right now I am set to go back to work December 1, 10 hour days. We will see how things go. I want to thank-you for your responses, it is hard with no one here to talk to or who totality understands.

  • How are you now? I am also gonna have a fusion in L5/S1 due to spondyloptosis. After years of uncomfortable pain and numbness, I decided to go with the surgery as well.

    Glad to hear that your surgery went well.
    I am now scared as well for my surgery..its on nov 3rd..
    I was wondering if you experience any difficulties post op?

    Hopefully your post op pain will be better soon..and hopefully mine will be okay as well.

    God bless

  • I am trying to use Flector Patches behind my knee, and on both hips, they are anti inflamitory patches. I use them at knight & then take them off in the am. Other thah that I go out approximatly 2 hours or so walking at the mall or at Walmart. It is getting cold in Iowa. As long as I don't take any medication I can drive. I then come home take my medication and I feel better. My post op appointment will be on November 17th, with an XRay a week before that. I will then find out regarding PT, and when they will let me go back to work. I work 10 hour days, right now the insurance company are going back & forth as to when I might go back to work. Maybe December 1st, the Dr said it all depends on the xray and how I feel.
    Thank-you all again for your help and just listening to me.

  • bjv said:
    I am trying to use Flector Patches behind my knee, and on both hips, they are anti inflamitory patches.
    Were these prescribed by your back surgeon? If not double check on the anti inflammatory patches with him, I dont know if these affect fusions like oral meds. Most fusion patients are not allowed to use anti-inflammatory meds. for at least 6 months after surgery. My OS wouldnt prescribe these after my fusion, but different docs have different opinions, just my experience.

    2 months is pretty quick to go back to work, but I guess it all depends on what kind of job you have. I am at 8 weeks post op and would not consider going back at this point. Just make sure you are completely ready. It may be difficult to get off again if you find out after a few days that it is to much to soon.

    Take Care,

  • All in all it is the best thing that I could have done for myself. It took me 8 years to get here but was taken care of by two of the most wonderful medical facilitators. My physician and my pain managent physician. Neither ever gave up nor said that there wasn’t anything to do we would allays go further. Then my surgeon is the next in my trio. So I want to wish you well, don’t give up & don’t forget to walk, walk, and walk. I go out at least twice a day to the mall or a store, it is a flatter surface so I don’t fall down, that is all I would need!
    Good Luck
  • I had L5/S1 disc replacement on October 2, still having a few problems with my left knee. They checked it for blood clots, I have had an x-ray and now they are going register me for an MRI.
    I had my first x-ray for the L5/S1 after the surgery today the tech showed me the picture & there is quite a bit of space to fill. Still on all of my med’s, My next appointment with the Dr is next Monday. How long does it take for the fusion to take completely? The insurance company has the great idea that I am going back to work November 19th. I still haven’t had any physical therapy. I am so glad everyone knows what they are doing…...
    Thanks for listening…..
  • If you have hardware, you don't need the fusion to be complete to return to work. I've been cleared to return to work Dec/Jan. That's only 3-4 months post op.

    But if you had a disc replacement... Where does the fusion come in? I'm sorry if there was something I missed... I may have. Just kind of confused.
  • Did you end up having a disc replacement instead? You mentioned both in your last post here, maybe I missed something. Anyway, fusions can take a long time. Some people have signs of fusion within a few weeks while others take 6 months or more to even start. Then it can take up to 2 years for your fusion to be complete (solid). Everyone is different, this depends on so many factors.

    As for going back to work, hhmmnnn, that would need to be a personal choice between you and your doctor. Some people go back withing a few weeks others take months or even longer. Do you feel you are able to drive to work, work for 8 hours, then drive home all with minimum meds (because you are driving). I had my fusion the end of August and have not even thought about it yet. I have a physically demanding job, chasing kids around, rolling on the floor lifting children and occasionally restraining kids up to 5th grade. I still have all of my restrictions so as of now I can still only drive very short distances.

  • The put in 2 rods, with ground cadaver bone made into a putty in between. It then fuses them together. They will check to see how much of the fusion has taken & then will let me know when I can start PT. I am thinking that it will be a couple of weeks after that & then 1/2 days. I work 4-10 hour days, with Thursday, Saturday & Sunday off. I have a sedentary possession, getting up occasionally. I still wear my brace whenever I am up out of bed. The only reason I can drive is if I don’t take any medication. I will find out on Monday.
  • it sounds like the docs releasing you to go back to work a little too soon. You definately are going to need physical therapy, and my Neurosurgeon wouldn't even let me start PT until I was at 23 weeks. I had a 3 level fusion PLIF with these 2 6" rods, and six screws and a stabilization bar in the middle. There was no fusion seen STARTING until I was 23 weeks.

    And I was absolutely not allowed to do anti-inflamatories. Our brains automatically think that's what we need, but it's really bad on the fusion process.

    But you have got to have PT before even thinking about going back to work. I am 9 months post op now, and STILL am unable to work, I'm getting there though, slowly.... but it's been hard work.

    My NS told me anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to heal. Don't push it, of course you may be younger than 53 though too. That makes a big difference. Good luck
  • I went to the Dr Yesterday, I am off at least another 4 weeks,. The Dr told the insurance company that my appointment in December 17, with notes that if I go back to work in December 18th it will be with restriction, If it is the 24th of December no restrictions Dr is currently weaning me off of my brace taking up to 2 hours off & if it starts to bother me or it is 2 hours to put the brace back on. When I asked what they used for the fustian, they used 2 rods 4 screws, the cadaver putty & filler. Both the DR & PA said everthing looks great. I said that I have good days & bad days, walk every day. Dr asked between the pains that I have now & before the surgery, I said that there wasn’t any comparison, 1000% different. PT starts on Monday November 24th.
    Ortho DR called with my day MRI results of my knee didn’t show anything conclusive, arthritis. And possible tear but he wants to make sure that the pain is coming from the knee, I will go in for an injection on Friday. It has been 7 weeks and there are times when I think that this should feel better by now.
    I am asking too much, I will continue to ice my knee & continue to take pain medications. That is a whole different subject. Most times now the Lortab 10 just doesn’t cut it.
    Thanks for the updates & support
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