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taking a full course load

neonswimnneonswim Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was curious to hear from those of you that have had surgery if taking a full course load of classes 6 weeks after back surgery would be a good or absolutely horrible idea. The surgery I would be having is between two at the moment artificial disc replacement or having a spring inserted into the disc space (I forgot the formal name) opps. (I'm currently talking with the doctor to figure out what surgery would be best for me.)


  • Personally I think that would be pushing it. Are you talking about the X-Stop when you refer to a spring? If that were the surgery, it might be possible. Recovery is supposed to be fairly quick from that procedure.
  • I tried to go back to school part-time online weeks after my fusion. The meds I was on made it difficult to concentrate on my studies and I wasn't able to even handle one course. This is just my personal experience and hope that yours will be much better. I give you a lot of credit for continuing with your education especially so soon after surgery. Don't overload yourself though. You may just want to try part-time for atleast 1 semester.
  • Everyone heals at a different pace and it does not make sense to plan for the best case scenario. I planned for 3 months off of work and I was ready to go back after 6 weeks but from what I have have learned this is above the curve.

    Plan on taking as much time as necessary especially since you would have to sit in class. Sitting for very long is still pretty uncomfortable for me at 7 weeks postop and a very very good recovery.
  • I would definitely caution against it. I returned to school with a full load 4 weeks after IDET disc surgery which is nothing compared to what it sounds like you're about to have, and I thought it was tough. Do-able because I was extremely determined, but I don't know that I would do it again...

    The two things I had trouble with were my decreased endurance from being post-op, and the fact that disc surgery often makes it painful to sit. As far as the endurance factor, I usually had to use my time between classes to lay down and rest (does your school have couches in some of its buildings, or an infirmary where you could take a rest? Will you have time between classes to lay down?). I could only tolerate 20-30 minutes of sitting when I first got back, so I spent the first month of the semester standing in all of my classes because it just wasn't worth it to aggravate things sitting. In dealing with all these issues it was tremendously helpful to meet with all of my profs and let them know my limitations so they were willing to help me, especially if there were days when it was just too much to amble to class. Also, it's worth noting that I found it impossible to pay attention and study enough while on pain meds so I had to come completely off them once I was back in school. With the type of surgery you're having I would definitely discuss what the reality is for how long you'll be on pain medicine because it could be extremely difficult to manage school if you're on pain meds.

    I definitely would recommend planning ahead for *everything* if you are going to try and do it. Think about your schedule and try to plan for some breaks in your day, labs might be an issue (don't know if you're in coursework with labs, but I don't think you'd be able to be on your feet doing lab work for hours at a time), figure out if you'll be able to drive and have handicapped parking at the building(s) you'll need to be in, figure out your plan for pain meds and if you think you'll be able to take them and study, and also if your school has a student disability office they may be able to help you navagate some of the challenges you will face.

    My experience with going back to school was that it is much different than going back to "sedentary work" because you're not just sitting in one spot all day- you have to walk to classes, come and go to campus, pain meds can be a huge issue if you have to study, and if you have labs in your schedule I found them to be absolutely impossible immediately after surgery.

  • Thank you all so much for your thoughts and sharing your experiences! My family also thinks that taking a full course load would be to much and I am just not sure what to think. I would probably be taking a combination photography classes and then the rest online. I guess I will just have to sign up for classes and see how it goes! :] hahaha.
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