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Im new here...nervous and decided to look for forums...and here one is

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone, My name is shane, i am 29 and live in a small town in idaho, and lay tile for a living in jackson hole wyoming. I hurt my back two years ago and have been going through hell over it...And after alot of pain and agony, waiting and dreading..I have a l5-s1 fusion on october 6th. All this time i have been waiting...and its just around the corner and i am scared to death. I have tried any and all other options givin to me, went through three different doctors and all the same opinions...either continue living the horrible, pain med filled life which is slowly taking its toll and ruining me and my attitude, and my life, or do the surgery. SO i am going for it, and i really hope to talk to some of you. I am going to have my surgery in a small nuerosurgeon Specialty hospital in blackfoot idaho, and i will be bringin my laptop...they say i will be there for about four days....so i dont know what kind of state i will be in, but if im awake and able, i will hopefully be able to get on here and talk to some of you. I live alone, dont have many friends, and i am dreading starting this process, i have done as much looking into this surgery i can, and feel like i was better off BEFORE i did, reading some of the posts on all the failed fusions, different problems people wake up with, worse pain..etc...jesus im scared...i dont know what to do, as i sit right now, im borderline withdrawing from my pain medication (hydro 10/325) been steady taking them for a year, heavily the last six months, as i continue to dreadfully work during all this, and laying tile is the absolute stupidest thing you can do with a bad back...butlike i said i live alone, and no one can pay me to sit home and rest my back....
I dont know what else to say...I feel all alone, but i know that i can reach out to others in the internet world and maybe i wont feel so bad.. Thanks and i look forward to talking more.


  • :jawdrop: image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" /> <:P ~X( =P~ :sick: :O) :> :> :^o }:) }:) 8> :SS :T :T :P =; :W :H :H :H
  • hi mister. I could write you a book on things to do and don't do on having a fusion. First off where is your family? Can anyone of them help you? 2nd I think its important that you get your home ready before next week. Shopping for soft foods like pudding, applesauce,etc. Stock the fridge and freezer. Get your bed room ready with things you need. Extra pillows a tv, your laptop, a trash can nearby, etc. Get some easy frozen soft meals for the first few weeks thats easy to swollow, lots of bottled water in a location where its easy to get to without bending over. Refill all your pain pills that your on they will probably give you something else too but in a pinch its better then nothing. Do all your laundry and have it done because you will not feel like doing any house work. In the room you will be resting put a cordless phone and tv remote there. You wont be taking a shower until after stitches are disolved but after my back surgery I got a raised toliet seat which made it easier to go. Pay all the bills that you can before you go in also so thats taken care of until your a bit better. Thats all for now. If i remember more Ill reply soon. :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Hello Shane,

    I am relatively new here also and have not had surgery yet, so I don't have a lot to offer. However, I will say this. Keep in mind that there are a disproportionate number of problems here just because of the nature forum. Most of the success stories tend to go back to normal life without it. So don't get too discouraged about that part. Best thing to do is ask your doctor about percentage of success and possible complications.

    Good luck with your surgery

    Wayne (AKA Lumpy)

  • Hello Bentle!y (that is your first name, right?), and welcome to Spine Health!

    This is a wonderful community to provide you support and give you non-medical advise, as we all went through the same problems that you are experiencing. First, the apprehension you feel is perfectly normal, we all felt that way before surgery, but you can't dwell on it, as you have a lot of preparation to do.

    Now, if you already have not done so, look up the Sticky, titled "Post-op must haves", there is a lot of collective wisdom there, offering you help as you get ready for your surgery. Since you live alone, you may find the part that deals with that scenario especially helpful. You mentioned that you don't have family or friends close-by, how about coworkers or neighbors? Sometimes even casual acquaintances surprise you when they find out that you need help. And please, don't be bashful to accept any help that will be offered to you.

    Now in case you will be left on your own, preparation will make your recovery easier. I don't go into details here, as the Sticky is very comprehensive, I just want to highlight the most important things you will need when you return home:

    . Food that is easy to prepare (warm-up);
    . Comfy bed to sleep in - I very strongly recommend getting "Memory foam" mattress topper;
    . You'll need a comfortable chair, with some padding. Most computer chairs that have armrest will suffice:
    . Need a "grabber" to reach things or pick up things from the floor;
    .You will need somebody to take you to the hospital and pick you up, as most likely you will not be allowed to drive for a while (ask your surgeon how long);
    .Have your favorite music, books, magazines, and telephone close to your bedside.

    This is just a short list, but if after reading the Sticky you still have some questions, we'll be happy to tell you more.

    Good luck with your surgery and recovery, and keep us posted,


  • Some of the stories here are very scary. I was really scared too before my surgery too but used this site as a source of information and support; I felt empowered knowing what to expect and what questions to ask based on what I learned here. Try to remember that each person's recovery process is different and that some surgeries are successful. Many of those who have had successful surgeries have moved on, and no longer post here. Honestly, for me, post-op was painful and difficult but it got a little easier every day. But so far, I consider myself one of the luckier ones and am working on successful fusion and a less painful life.

    Be prepared, as shortfuse stated. Read the through sticky post on Post-op Must Haves and figure out what applies to you.

    My biggest concern for you is that you will be alone. Will you have anyone to help when you initially get home? I'm very concerned about that. Who will drive you home from the hospital? At first, simple tasks are very difficult so at the minimum you need someone to drop in to help out with chores, food, and even helping you get up and down out of bed. There may be some folks on this site who have gone it alone and may have some insight into how to manage. I hope you can find someone to assist you.

    Hopefully, your recovery will be normal - what ever that is - and uneventful and in the long run, you will find relief.

  • Wow, i am very greatfull for all the responses. And yes my name is shane bentley...clever little username i picked huh... I am glad i found this sight and wil be reading that pre op sticky. I have already found a great deal of responses helpfull. I do have some family close by, my mother has two days off starting the day i go into surgery so she will be there for me...(what sucks is its an hour and a half away) B ut that will be covered...and also she will take some vacation time once i get released. To help me get around for a bit. So i wont be going at it totally alone, but i will have very limited help. Ill definatly take anything i can get. I thank you all for the insight and support...wish i would have got on here earlier! I have all this stuff i need to prepare for and doo...but the way i have been feeling has totally shut me down...and instead of being super motivated..im quite the opposite...all sorts of depressed... My dog has been my best friend now for sometime. He is a doberman, and im even worried how im going to be able to take care of him!! lol Im going to print this stuff out, make a checklist, and in the next nine days....ill make sure i get checks next to it all...I want this to be succesful!
  • Just remember, pal, to keep your chin up at all times.

    It's going to be rough going for a while, but you'll get through it! Try to keep yourself busy. Read, inter webs, paint.......anything to keep your mind from rusting over.

    Attitude is going to play a huge role in your recovery.
  • Thanks much. im going to do whatever i can!! I will be sure to get on here everytime i start gettin down, already had alot of positive reinforcement in the few hours i have been a member.
  • And this is really hard to look at, its scary as heck, to be looking at surgery, but know that there are others out here that have been in your shoes! I have not had surgery ---yet.

    So - grab the check lists and let us know how your doing! You and yours will be in our thoughts! Cheers - hope your feeling alittle better!
  • I wish you all the best for your surgery and recovery. It's good your Mom will be there to help you a few days though. At the hospital talk to the Homecare services and they may set up covered home care companion. I used to be a visiting homemaker and went to people's homes to shop or lightly clean the place and prepare a meal for the patient who's unable to do certain things. I would look for a neighbor kid also who could walk your dog daily. Best wishes. 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
  • It's entirely normal to be scared. It's probably getting too close to start antidepressants to help you through until the surgery - it takes 2-3 weeks for them to kick in anyway and by then it will be over. But if the depression continues and it probably won't because you'll be so relieved to be on the other side, (you'll more likely be on a high!) then it might be worth talking to your GP about some help for that. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed, this is really common during times of major surgery, from my reading here and elsewhere.

    Can you ask a neighbour to check in on you daily and feed your dog? Bending will be a no-no for some time. Get as prepared as you can and although it will be tough some days, you will get through this and hopefully eventually be pain-free as I am.

    Best wishes!

  • You have come to the right place for info, encouragement and empathy. So many caring people on this site.
    I would definitely look into finding someone to walk your dog, unless he/she is ok with just yard running.
    The more prepared you make your house and mind, the better.
    Remember its a slow recovery, please don't push yourself. Accept whatever help is offered so you can rest and get well.
    Let us know how you are doing and its only natural to be scared, just keep in touch with us. Take care,
  • just keep in touch with us

    That's good advice. Who better to keep in touch with and chat to, than those who've been there and done that. There are some very knowledgeable people here if you have questions and plenty of experience to dip into. Isn't the net wonderful? Makes you realise you're not alone, the world is full of people making the same journey as you.
  • bentleyshane25 said:
    Thanks much. im going to do whatever i can!! I will be sure to get on here everytime i start gettin down, already had alot of positive reinforcement in the few hours i have been a member.
    Hi shane, It's normal to be scared, But try to relax and trust your surgeon. He has done this many times and there are millions of successful fusions out there. Just do as your doctor says and you will be fine. all of us here can give you advice but without that medical degree its only experience talking. Each case is different, No 2 operations heal the same. My 2 cents is the sooner you make your self walk the faster the pain goes away. After my surgery each time I got up to walk each time the pain was better. Sleep as much as you can also. When your sleeping your healing! You also forget about the pain when your sleeping.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I was thinking about your dog. I remember being very frustrated about feeding and watering my dog. Of course I couldn't bend over and pick up the water and food bowls. I got pretty good at picking up the bowls with the grabber but couldn't set them back down after I'd filled them. And then there was the time I spilled about 10 pounds of food when I knocked over the container attempting to refine my grabber skills. I swear I heard the dog actually yelled out,"Score!" Good thing my daughter was here to sweep it up or the dog would have exploded! Do you have a raised food/water platform? I had thought that might help for that one issue.

    I'm relieved to hear that your mom will be able to stay with you.

    We understand how you are feeling. Be prepared and stay busy. Keep in touch.
  • Hi Shane

    I'll reiterate what others have said about getting everything ready at home before your op.

    I'm on my own too, and my surgery will be a couple of weeks after yours. I have two Labradors and they've got used to not being able to go out for walks as long as they have lots of love and food !! Feeding will be a challenge and I've got a small lounge room table which I'm going to put the dogs' dinners on. I'm going to put the bag of kibble on a chair so that I don't have to bend to scoop it out. The water bowl will need to be put up on a table or chair too, but someone will need to empty and refill it. I've also got a long handled p***** scooper, like they use at dog shows; and am going to dig a big hole out the back beforehand. People will help me out in the house and shopping, but it's this sort of job they might balk at. :))(

    Do try and keep positive - being busy with all the preparation work will help. Will be thinking of you on the 6th.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Welcome to this community. You have already found out this is a great place for support. I've had my neck fused and I'll be having fusion Sept 29 and Oct 1. This is my first back fusion. I don't have a lap top so I'll not be on here for about a week. Just praying every thing will turn out great. I'm a minister and my church knows what I have gone through and it makes them more aware of spiney problems. They pray for me and all who have these problems. They will be praying for you as well. Worry does not help. There is nothing you can do but trust in your care givres that they know how to make you better. God Bless!
  • I just want to thank you all again for the support, mornings are the worst for me. When i get up i can barely move, and yet...i am going to go to work again. Five more days of work before i can say goodbye to it, and stop hurting myself. I thank everyone for all the input on the dog, Like i said, i have a doberman, so that itself will make things...easier and harder at the same time. He was raised with an full bin of dog food at his disposal as i couldnt see limiting him on what he could eat or when, as some days he is relaxed and doesnt do much, and some days hes like a hurricaine in a handbag....when i leave for work and leave him home he does not eat or drink at all because he knows no one is there to let him out, but as soon as i get home...he is on top of it. Buthe never over eats. So i think if i fill his bin before surgery it should last quite awhile andill be able to find someone to refill it when it needs. Water on the other hand, im thinking about moving his water jug by the kitchen sink, and ill see if i can rig a hose to it that i can hook up to water him when need be, on a neighbor kid walking him...lol, that will be impossible, as all my neighbors are hispanic that dont speak english, and afraid of my cuddly dog. :-)

    But i do have a large "yard" that he can run in, its not fenced off, but he usually sticks to it, i have an Dog run cable out there i havent used for awhile, ill see about gettin it up and runnin again. But thanks again, i really was feeling my normal depressed self this mornin when i got up, decided to check this and instantly felt better, 8 days and counting!!!
  • I LOVE the pic of the dog, he's beautiful! And HUGE, too! Another thought on the dog's water, I use an automatic waterer, that you fill a tank that sits upside down in the bowl & keeps it full. That usually lasts my dog and cat around 5 days, which would make the watering situation an infrequent problem at least.

    It's perfectly normal to be very scared, nervous, and upset before a surgery. Last year I had 4 pretty big ones, and my fusion this year, and I still get really scared right beforehand. What helps me is 1) Make sure I have my checklist done (the sticky in this topic is a lifesaver) and 2) remember that the waiting is the hardest part of surgery. Once you get to the surgery center, things will be happening very fast, and you can ask for something for your nerves if you have very long to wait. They gave me Valium before my hysterectomy, and I slept for an hour before they took me to surgery LOL. 3) and the most important one, when you're feeling overwhelmed, come in here to chat with us! There's usually someone in chat to talk with, and you can also read posts, etc.

    Like Lumpy said, there are a lot of scary stories on this site. That is because most of the folks come in here, get their surgeries, and stop coming back when they're better. Just remember, your story is always different from everyone else's, and complications aren't the norm with these surgeries.

    Take it as easy as you can, and keep us posted! We're all pulling for ya :)
  • Welcome! Good luck with your surgery; it sounds like you will be in a great place. Sometimes small facilities give better one on one attention.

    After looking at your avatar, I just have to ask, how tall are you? It looks like your head is about to hit the ceiling! and is that a lifeguard ring on the your back? Can't quite tell what the tattoo is.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Totally understand your fear having just had my surgery two weeks ago.

    I can't speak to your issue directly but the fact that you are young and hopefully in decent health (other than your spine) should help speed recovery.

    I was really scared in the weeks before my two-level fusion. I had never had any health issues before and i kept reading about people who were laid up for weeks. It turned out that the fear was much greater than the actual surgery. Hopefully yours will be too.

    I am ten days post-op and feel great. The brace i wear sucks but other than that i am fully mobile around the house (no driving for two more weeks).

    Things that i did to prepare were:

    1. Pay bills before surgery.
    2. Laundry
    3. Stock up on easy to eat food.
    4. Pre-fill Rx
    5. Remain calm

    Restocking on dog food was one i missed. That would have been helpful.

    Best of luck to you
  • Welcome to SH :H I've been through similar things and had a 2 level fusion over a year ago on L4-S1. I'm sorry you're having these problems so early but you don't have to go at it alone because we relate to your experiences. I hope your surgery goes well and that you recover completely from it. It will be a long, possibly difficult process but with patience and determination, you can succeed. Take care O:)
  • Neck of Steel said:
    Welcome! Good luck with your surgery; it sounds like you will be in a great place. Sometimes small facilities give better one on one attention.

    After looking at your avatar, I just have to ask, how tall are you? It looks like your head is about to hit the ceiling! and is that a lifeguard ring on the your back? Can't quite tell what the tattoo is.

    lol, im about five eleven and a half now...I used to be six foot! i think my back robbed me a half inch. maybe ill get it back after surgery! lol, and my tattoo is The hood emblem off the luxury Bentley car. :-) been obsessed with em since i was a kid!

    And thanks again for all the input. I am slowly scratchin things off that list! I wish i didnt have to work all week so i could dedicate myself to gettin it all under control but i gotta get some money comin in to hold me till i receive work comp. I am takin tomorrow off to go have the blood tests done the doc requires, and i dont know if ill be able to tomorro but i would like to give blood for myself also.
  • The list seemed quite extensive to me, and I think that you just have to look at what you think is necessary. Make sure things are handy for you while you are in bed, and a bedside table with little platic baskets helped me to keep remotes, medications and a pad of paper to keep track of when I took pain meds. otherwise, you wont remember, trust me, from experience. I had a tablet that I wrote the time I took my pain meds down. Then I just looked at it, and if it was four hours, I was ok. Just make sure to write it down, cause you wont remember. I wish you luck and if you have insurance that covers it, a rented hospital bed is a great thing to be able to get comfortable as well as getting in and out, the rails on the side help. If only for a month or two. I have one, have had it for 3 years cause I couldnt sleep flat. If I can help you out, please ask. I will be happy to answer any questions I can. Love, Robin
    P.S. I am related to the Duesenbergs,,another great luxury car, only of the past.
  • yeah man, I too was a nervous wreck before my 1st surgery. I just about crawled (the pain was such that I could not walk) out of there the day before the operation.
    At some point, a sense of resignation set in and I relaxed. All went well.

    So anyways, keep reading this board and chatting with it's members.

    BTW, if you need anything translated into Spanish, just let me know. I am fluent. I'll type it out and
    you print it, then show it to the neighbors (dog walking request or whatever).

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Shane

    Your Dobie is a beauty !! What's his name? You are so lucky that he's not a food addict like my Labradors.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hey all, just spent the day in town, crossin off stuff on my list, i got me a couple of the gopher grabber things to help out at home, some comfortable clothes, a bedside adjustable table thing, some plastic bins, a memory foam mattress topper, and a few other things, list isnt completed for my needs yet, but im making good progress! My mother had access to a walker, non slip mat and shower chair, and a few other good things for me. I am going to relax this weekend when all my stuff is done, and paint me a big superman emblem on my back brace so everyone knows i am really a super hero. Lol!!

    Hey paul, thanks i appreciate that!! I think i will have the dog thing covered for the most part. Still workin on that.

    And trish, my dobies name is Scandal. And i raised him from a pup with his food out allways, he only abused it for a few weeks before he realized it was going to always be out, so he knows he dont have to scarf it all down by now.

    Ive gotten alot better attitude toward this the last few days, things are coming together abit, some of my financial stuff is being worked out which is a huge stress releiver, albeit, I am sacraficing some things i worked hard for and want to keep, but am having to get rid of just so i can afford to lay dormant for however long i may be. So all in all. . . its gonna be okay. :-) And you guys have helped so much already. I look forward to keepin in touch with you all during the procedings, and after the surgery havin you all to talk to. I bet you will be able to find me in the back chat room alot!! lol, Thanks all again!!
  • Sounds like you're doing great Shane. Getting things sorted out in your mind and organised at home will help take some of the weight off. You now have an idea what to expect and are prepared for it.

    Keep in touch, ask any questions that pop into your mind and good luck for the surgery.
  • Shane, you'll do fine. Your pain sounds like mine was (especially first thing in the morning) and, like you, i had to continue working right up to surgery day.

    Sound's like you have got lots of good advice here (we really have a good site here, made great by the caring members) and you are on top of things. If you are nervous now then join the club - we all were! BUT, the way to handle it is to focus on the long term and life in a substantially better condition. Remember too, that whilst this operation sounds complicated and long to us, and will be the biggest operation most of us have in our lives, for our surgeons it is literally just another day in the office - they have done hundreds of these.

    All the best to you, and look forward to a good life after surgery :)

    Keep us posted with your progress... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Just remember dude people that have had success with back surgery probably aren't going to be on here. Speaking for myself I was and still am having problems... so I was looking for answers. Your just hearing the negative end of surgery. I can say that if I was back to "normal" I wouldn't be here.

    I have had several friends that had the same back surgery that have had no problems at all. Some have had more serious surgeries and there fine.

    I know what you mean being scared. I have a hard time with anxiety and sometimes when I read comments on here I just feel worse others times I find some very uplifting posts.

    Before surgery I was scared to death but I had enough and I could not go on like I was. Just don't over do anything after surgery and take it easy.
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