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Back on Forum after several months

anjuanaanjuan Posts: 236
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all-

I am back here after being off this forum for several months. I am 5 months out from a 2 level TLIF L4-S1. About a month ago I thought I was starting to do a little better so my Dr. released me to go back to work, at first part time and then full time. He also had me stop PT.

But I have definately not been doing great since I went back to work. I have a 45 minute train ride and a bus ride to get to work and then sit at a desk for 8 hours to then take the bumpy bus and train ride home. (I do try to only sit for 30-45 minutes at a time.) By the time I get home I am so exhausted that my DH has to make dinner and I hardly feel like spending any time with my 4 yr old. The PA in my surgeon's office told me that I need to get off the norco but when I don't take it I can't function at all. My right thigh has been numb since a week after the surgery (it wasn't before the surgery) and the achiness is intolerable. I feel like such a failure.

I finally called my surgeon's office last week and I am coming in today to talk to them. I had an MRI done in March which showed that everything looked fine so it doesn't appear that there is any mechanical problems.

I left this forum a few months ago because I thought it made me dwell on the negative too much (not that it does for others, that is just my tendacy). But I finally decided it was time for me to come back. I am trying to stay positive and think that things can still get better but it is really hard.

Thanks for letting me share with you.


  • Don't beat yourself up for things that are beyond your control. I'm glad you returned to the forum. I hope we can provide a more positive place for you to post with your comments and concerns.

    First, my surgeon would tell you that you had a BIG surgery and that it takes a long time to recover. He also would have been reluctant to let you go back to work so soon. He told me to expect anywhere from 6 - 12 months before I would start feeling somewhat normal again, and a full recovery might not occur for two years. I was just beginning PT at the four month mark and I just had L4-5 fused.

    I see your surgery was MIS. I guess that makes some difference in recovery. I was not a candidate for that method.

    I hope you will get some satisfactory answers today when you meet with your surgeon. Please come back and let us know what he told you.

    xx Gwennie
  • Welcome back :H I'm glad you've been able to go back to work after all that you've gone through. I understand it's not easy because once you've had back surgery, you're not quite the same anymore and you'll always have some type of pain or discomfort.

    I am super close to my 1 year anniversary of my 2 level TLIF, but I'm sorry to say that I still have chronic pain and have developed permanent nerve damage on one leg and scar tissue on the S1 nerve. I'm waiting for my pump trial and I hope this improves my functioning and life in general.

    When does the pain bother you most, during the day or after work? I can imagine you feel worn out afterwards, but you still need to take care of your 4 year old and it's hard too when you're hurting.

    I hope your doctor will let you stay on the Norco because it helps you with your residual pain. Well, it's good to have you back and you are a success story in my book. Take care
  • That must be hard to handle the job so far away from where you live. Is it possible to go on STD at work and try some more PT? Good luck and take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Well, I am back from my appointment and I wanted to post what occurred. The PA and my surgeon are concerned, but they have both told me that this was a major surgery and it can take up to a year for things to heal. They are putting me back on neurontin for my numbness and pain in my right thigh. My surgeon is really puzzled by the fact that I didn't have this numbness prior to the surgery in my right thigh and doesn't think the surgery caused it because my cages, etc were put in on the left side of my body. If the neurontin doesn't help after a month he is going to have me get an EMG and he will up my dose of neurontin. He didn't say anything about me still being on the norco, which was good. Basically, he still is trying to help improve my pain.

    Thanks to all of those who have posted. Unfortunately I work for the Federal Government and we don't have short term disability (and I earn 3xs my husband's salary so we really need my income). I really appreciate you saying that going back to work is a success story. It really helps me to look at things in a positive light. I am definately worse on the days I go to work. Thankfully I am able to work from home one day a week and my boss is pretty flexible about me working from home other days. I am really going to try to take more advantage of that and not push myself too much.

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