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L5-S1 Fusion Friday 10/16/09 ~~Scared to Death any suggestions?

urluckypennyuurluckypenny Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
=)) Well it's almost here And Im scared out of my mind! 38 years old and have been dealing with the pain for over 3 years, but with severe leg pain knumbing leg's feet I know its time.

So I guess my question is did you have these same feelings before you had the surgery. Worried if it was the right choice, will I heal, will i walk normal, resume my current career?

Crazy thoughts, feer, but then on the other hand excited to hopefully be pai free {or less pain free}

Thanks for any remarks...please stay in touch.


  • I am 33 and have been going through the same thing for 18 years, too scared to have a fusion and now I also can't feel my legs at times. I think it's time for both of us. I know there are so many success stories, they just aren't always on here. I wonder the same thing, my surgery is Nov. 18th and I'm scared, too. My 14month old baby can't come to the hospital to see me because of the swine flu- good for him but I can't imagine not seeing him for a week.

    I say a lot of prayers and ask for guidance, you are doing the right thing, do you trust your surgeon? I love mine. We just have to be careful afterwards. Somebody said that after surgery it was like the hopeless pain went away-the I'm never going to get better feeling-and it changes to Yes-I'm in pain because I had surgery but there is hope that it's getting better and we are in pain because we have been fixed correctly. I wish you protection and healing during this. Have you gone on Youtube and watched any people who've gone through fusions? There are a few people who documented before and after. It helped me get a visual. Does your doctor have you on anything for nerve pain like Cymbalta? I just started it and it has helped with the pain of the nerves so much. GOOD LUCK!
  • Hello. I'm in the last 2 weeks of my 12 week LOA from work after having a lumbar decompression L3-S1 and a single level fusion of L4-L5. I have to admit that I was very optimistic before surgery because I was so miserable. I had good pain relief in my feet and legs post op but now the burning pain in my feet is coming back. My surgeon said there were no guarantees as to how much relief I would get. I still think I would have had the surgery because he released and cleaned up all of the scar tissue and removed bone that was impinging on my nerves and causing the stenosis. I will probably have to go back into pain management to take care of the neuropathy.

    I wish the best to the both of you. You must plan on having someone in the home to help you for a while. And, don't plan on having a very organized home because you won't be allowed to do much of anything. I got caught up on a lot of my filing, did some sewing, etc. Take care and keep in touch.

  • I think if you didn't have a little bit of nerves then you would not be taking the surgery seriously enough! I'm sorry you're both at the point where you need fusion surgery, but you both seem like you are very motivated to improve and are seeking out information. Folks who try to inform themselves and seek support tend to do better in recovery, I think.

    I hyperventilated the whole way to the hospital before my first surgery(fusion) and tried to persuade my husband to turn around. Talk about being nervous! Then in the pre-op area those lovely nurses gave me Versed in my IV while I waited my turn for the OR and I didn't care anymore.

    You both seem to have very good attitudes. From what I've seen, it is perfectly normal to be nervous. Remember that this site has lots of info-from the medical articles, member forum posts, and the chat room. Of particular interest to you might be the sticky towards the top of the Back Surgery list of topics that talks about postop needs.

    Please post how things are going, we'd really like to know! Good luck!
  • i too may require a third major operation {a triple ADR} so i understand how you must be feeling .but it going to happen ..yes? and once the anethesist has given you you first whiff of gas your away and wont remember anything! so enjoy the sleep!! i wish you all well .. i have found the worst bit is the recovery ..or not.. in my case hence a third operation ..keep us informed on you progress
  • before my surgery. The what ifs- am I doing the right thing. But mostly I was more afraid to not have the surgery as my symtoms would have become worse and my quality of life would have become less and less with each passing week. The day before surgery I just prayed and prayed and the day of surgery I had an overwhelming peace. Don't second guess your decision until there is reason to. You will be fine- get on the road to recovery but most importantly be realistic about it. Keep a good attitude even when its tough- its a major surgery there is not doubt about that- make wise choices, listen your body and to your doctors and be good to yourself. Don't hurry your recovery along- time is of the essence- right! Walk as much as you can- keep things moving and if there is ANY advice I can give you is take stool softners regularly! This is great site so keep coming back for support and advice.
    Keep us posted on your progress and you will be in our thoughts!

  • This will be my 4th back surgery. I am going in for a Revision on Nov 3rd. I feel better this time- no anti anxiety meds needed (at least not yet!) But I have that feeling that you are talking about, and to be honest I'm sure that everyone does. I think that you just have to go into the surgery with a certain amount of faith and pre planning to relieve some of the stress.

    Wishing you the best and I will be thinking of you on Friday! Please kep us updated.

  • I had my L5-S1 fusion done 12/12/08. I was scared to death. I got my will and trust all done the week before. Was also told at my pre-op evaluation that I had heart damage at some time and I had to see a cardio doc before they would operate. Well that scared me even more. Turned out the test were wrong. Anyway, it's normal for you to feel scared, you'd be a freak if you weren't. As far as you being normal after, It's been almost eleven months, I ride my bike, go to the gym and do more than I have in the 5 previous years of pain. So relax and enjoy the rest of your life. It's is in God's hands.
  • your anxiety is normal! had a L4-5 PLIF and 3 lami's 3 months ago--only went to neurosurgeon for a 2nd opinion, then a 3rd and decided to go for it. after seeing the MRI--i was shocked into reality. had tried epidurals x3 w 3mo relief, prednisone by mouth and 10 years of ibuprophen. to me it was better after making the decision for surgery and getting the neurosurgeon's opinions. i sugggest that you follow the post-op activity orders to the letter. i had numbenss of lower legs and feet post-op and thought that a pbm had occurred with surgery; but it is sometimes normal to have different symptoms post op after the pressure is released from the spine. i was told that those symptoms can resolve up to 6 mo post-op. also found that the phyical therapist is very helpful after discharge w instructions. get lots of books to read and good dvd's to watch!! currently i have none of the pre op pain--just the numbness and consider myself lucky because of a rocky hospital stay. hope with is helpful and best wishes for a successful surgery!!!

    back pain > 15 years
    epidurals x 3
    mri w severe spinal stenosis and djd and unstable spinal column
    PLIF w 3 lami' 7-13, anemia and respiratory arrest
    severe asthma
  • You have made the decision, trust in your Dr and care givers. Stay positive and count your blessings. I had my 360 on Sept 29 and Oct 1. I am now pain free in my legs for the first time in years. If I had to do it all again tomorrow, I would do it without a thought. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. May your recovery exceed your expectations. God Bless!
  • First i want to THANK EVERYONE that has replied with your thoughts and prayers. Today was my last day at work and took Thursday off to get my thoughts and prayers in order. Im still nervous as to be expected, but the closer it gets the ease i feel.
    Today I got fitted for my back brace and felt nautious afterwards, but Im fine now.

    Im going to trust my great doctor, family and friends {including you guys} and pray about and look forward to a normal pain-free life ahead of me.

    My surgery is Friday so I'll be in the hospital 3-4 days, when I get home and focused Ill give you a update. Thanks again
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    One more day..I'm sure you're very nervous which is natural. You'll soon be wondering why you worried so much.
    I hope that your surgery goes well and that you have an easy, fast recovery.
    Good Luck,

  • Wishing you lots of luck and a speedy recovery!
  • tonight is the night you take a deep breath, know with confidence that you have prepared your home and yourself to the best of your ability, trust that your surgeon is experienced and skilled in your pending surgery, have a good meal :) , and put it all in Gods hands.
    I will keep you in my prayers.
    Good Bless and hold you and your surgeon in his hands.
  • I just had a posterior lumbar interbody fusion (S1 L5) 16 days ago. I have you in my prayers and thoughts. I was very scared, as you are, but as others have mentioned this is completely normal. I actually did not realize how much pain I was in until AFTER the procedure! However, everyone seems to have different rates of recovery. To answer your question...yes, I did indeed question whether I made the right decision even on the pre-op table. I lay there asking my husband, "Am I doing the right thing?" After the procedure they found more than just instability, they found massive disk herniation, scar tissue, and huge bone spur. So, I can safely say that this procedure has eliminated all of my leg pain and numbness. Praying for you and wishing the best on your surgery tomorrow!
  • urluckypenny said:
    =)) Well it's almost here And Im scared out of my mind! 38 years old and have been dealing with the pain for over 3 years, but with severe leg pain knumbing leg's feet I know its time.

    So I guess my question is did you have these same feelings before you had the surgery. Worried if it was the right choice, will I heal, will i walk normal, resume my current career?

    Crazy thoughts, feer, but then on the other hand excited to hopefully be pai free {or less pain free}

    Thanks for any remarks...please stay in touch.
    I am 7 months post op L5,S1 fusion. I went back to work 2 1/2 weeks after surgery and I am out of pain and back to normal activities. I am more cautious about my movements and don't pick up heavy things. I am 100% sure that I made the right choice. I was nervous before the surgery, but I had so much side and leg pain that I knew it was my only choice.

    Good luck with your surgery!
  • Once again thanks for the prayers. Pitt Memorial Hospital called me today and advised the surgery was tommorrow at 3:00 pm have to be there at 1 pm.

    Ive spent today getting the house in order, prayers, my thank yous to friends and family before they help I will need.

    I have thought through what the doctor s conversations were and one thing stuck in my head and I guess Its something I need to come to terms with.
    I work at Bridestone Firestone Tire manufacturing plant. 7 day work weeks lifting tires bending pulling twisting on concrete floors. During one of the sessions the PA advised that they can go in and treat my problem but after 5-6 months after work I may want to try a career change.
    He advised they can fix/repair/treat the problem but if I go to the same enviroment its like Im asking for trouble in 5-6 years for another surgery. I make a great salary, but will have to take the 5-6 months off and do some soul searching, go back to school, new career etc?

    Just wondering what others work place did with them after surgery? Did you change jobs, could you do manuel labor?
  • I currently have a desk job, for 8 years now. That wasnt always the case, I started with manual labor at the age of 16, did it until 8 years ago,22 years, i did everything from,child care to mail delivery to rebuilding washing machines and installing washers and dryers in laundrymats. Installing bumpers, bedliners, sliding rear windows in trucks. Those are the biggies, i'm sure that "mans work" did its damage. Yes ladies we "can" do mens work, but im not so sure its good for our bodies, we are made differently. I was a single parent for almost 17 years, I did what I had to to put food on the table and pay rent. No frills I promise. Anyway, even with a desk job, at 6 weeks post op, I am no way ready to go back. If you cant go back to school, I recommed asking if they will train you for an office job, or go someplace where you can start in an entry level "office" position. For me that was a hospital, admitting department. Now I am a secretary for that same hospital system.
    Think about it, we only get one back, take care of it. Good luck,
    I'll be praying for you,
  • Hi there!

    I'm 9 1/2 days post-op (surgery on 10-6) - Laminectomy and spinal fusion at L5-S1. Trust me, the fear leading up to the surgery is far worse than the reality!

    To give a little history, I've been having back problems for at least 17 years, and have been told over and over again physical therapy is the only answer (wrong!) and there's nothing majorly wrong (again, Wrong!); the tests and constant pain I've endured over the years is rather frightening. My sister-in-law insisted I was a hypochondriac - hahaha.

    The pain became a much larger issue at the very end of my 4th pregnancy - major sciatica and jolts of electric pain going *up* my spine into my neck randomly. The neurosurgeon I went to said the only solution for even partial pain relief and nerve-pain relief was surgery. It took me several weeks to even consider it as an option. I gave birth to 4 children naturally because the fear of an epidural far outweighed the fear of childbirth pain! (Migraines enough without spinal migraines!)

    I've never been so scared in my life as I was driving to the hospital last week ... but I tell you what - the post-op pain is well worth the results! I no longer have pain in my shoulderblades and neck - and even if I do feel a bit like a terminator, I have faith that in the long run, the resulting lack of pain will be well worth it!

    Best of luck to you this afternoon! I, too, didn't want to not see my kids (14, 8, 3 1/2 and 5 months) for several days due to the H1N1 scare -- so much in fact, that I was up and out of the hospital bed 4x before the doctor even saw me at 9:30 am the morning after surgery!

    You will do fine!!
  • Hi, I'm the new girl here.(just found this forum)

    I am a few months behind you, still at the stage of fighting the idea of a fusion operation, but then wondering how I can live like this.
    I wanted you to know that I'm praying for you; for peace and a successful surgery and speedy recovery afterwards.

  • almost 6 months out and life couldn't be better! I am so glad I had the surgery adn it is just amazing to be able to roll over in bed without waking up from pain! The recovery is tough, I won't lie, but it also was easier than I expected. Within two weeks I was walking two miles a day and within two months I was pretty much pain free. Now six months out I do have twinges and such but nothing like I had before. I just got the ok to get back to working out daily and start to restrengthen my back and legs. So...good luck!

    After not eating/drinking since 12 am thursday night woke up ready for surgery. Meet family at hospital and at 130pm go in and get prepped, IV gown etc. About 215pm they call family back to visit before i go back. Kept looking at the clock noticed it was 3pm then 330pm. Then about 340pm say a lady in scrubs come back and tell family and her well here goes. She was there with bad news, advised they had been in surgery for 10 hours with a scolious surgery and they had to postpone mine until tuesday first surgery?
    WOW what a ride, nerves mentally getting prepared now have to wait 4 more days. But as I told the surge tech I would rather the surgeon be fresh for my surgery and would hate to know he rushed through the other patients surhery to get to mine.

    So Ill keep you guys/and girls updated!
  • I've had 2 back surgeries and was crazy scared both times but everything went smoothly. I am sure all will be fine and I am thinking of you. I look forward to hear how you are doing. Take care and rest easy.
  • I am going in on Tuesday as well!! You and I need to trade emails so we can keep in touch and visit about how we both are doing after the surgery!!
  • Sorry to hear they had to postpone, but like you am glad your surgeon will be "fresh" for you. I know it seems unfair, but everything really does happen for a reason. Hang in there and try to have some fun this weekend. I'll keep you in my prayers.
    God Bless and Keep you (calm) :)
  • Lucky,

    What an awful thing to go through that anguish and get cancelled. You sure have the right attitude about it though. I am certain in the power of prayer and I'll include you in mine also.

    I'll be right behind you on 10/29. Having fusion with hardware L3-S1. I really appreciate the supportive help on this site. I'll be anxiously awaiting your follow-up posts. I've never had anything major done before and am scared as well.

    Good luck and have a wonderful Monday!!!
  • Hello - new kid on the block but wanted to say you'll be fine. I had a surgery postponement too and quite frankly was glad for it - the surgeon was fresh and I knew everything would be ok. My postponement was also because surgeon had encountered complications in the surgery before me, but also because there had been an auto accident outside the hospital and a car had hit the hospital's transformer, causing a temporary power loss and a switch to emergency power. They decided to hold off on all surgeries that could be delayed while they got their electricity sorted out! Gave me a scare and just made my tension worse, but in the end it was all for the best.

    I'm now 4 years post-op from my last surgery (came here to get some info for a friend who's having trouble) and doing fine.

    Surgeries: ALIF L5/S1 for "massive" disc rupture 2002. PLIF L1/L2/L3 for pedicle fracture (congential defect, pedicles are too small for screws) 2003, revision 2 years later to reinforce PLIF.

  • Hope that your surgery went well and that you are recovering well.
    When you can, let us know how you are getting on.
  • Penny - how was your surgical experience and how are you doing now? I'm hoping all is so well that you haven't even given a thought to coming here. Blessings to you!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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