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Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, SCARY

laughnsmilellaughnsmile Posts: 60
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
to read posts and see several of you in so much pain. I'm
scheduled for MIS TLIF on 12/3. I feel like I want to back out of surgery. I need to believe it will help and I will
not be in pain. It's been constant since x-mas. Can not do
daily activities. It is unbearably excruciating if I walk
more than 25 feet.

But I know what I am dealing with now. I can not stand to
think pain will be really bad after surgery and the recovery
a long, long road. If anyone has any advice for me, please


  • So sorry you're having these troubles. I know it's scary going in to surgery! But your surgeon wouldn't offer it if it didn't have a reasonable chance of success. The reason there are so many scary, bad stories of folks who have had surgery & are still in pain here, is that the successes are out enjoying a pain free existence!

    I'm only 4 months out from my 2 level ACDF, and am still dealing with pain and healing issues. But I'd rather have this pain that will be gone eventually (or at least, much better) than the pain I had before surgery. As far as recovery being a long road, remember that this is major surgery, and that you've been down a long road already, getting to the point you are now.

    Good luck with your decision, and keep us posted on how you're doing!
  • I'm grateful to have a chance to have less pain and to be able to enjoy my later years on this crazy planet.

    I put off a 3 level cervical fusion for many years until I was literally screaming from pain and unable to get into bed. My husband made me go to the NS for help.

    The recovery is long and very confusing at times but I'm 3 months post and can see that things will be more comfortable for me in about a year. I do have to mellow out my style of living but that's better than having to wonder and worry about when my neck will act up again.

    There are a lot of scary stories on here but if you listen to your doctor and take things slow on your recovery you should stand a good chance of receiving relief from your pain.

    I like you was in so much pain I finally realized I had nothing to lose and a chance of much to gain. Life is a gamble in so many ways. I would suggest that you make sure you have the best doctor you can afford if you do decide to have surgery.

    Best of luck to you!
  • Hi laughnsmile,

    Of course it's scary! But, you're doing the right thing in researching & finding this site, reading the posts, talking with others that have been through what you are experiencing now. Hopefully, your surgeon is open to discussion and willing to address any questions/concerns you may have. You've been dealing w/ this for almost a year, your quality of life is severely impacted and pain is a constant 'companion'. It's a difficult decision to make regarding spinal surgery since there are so many what if's in the process - will it work, will I be able to get near to my normal, will I have pain relief, etc., etc. I'm 4 months out from MI TLIF and very grateful the issues I had could be addressed w/ this type of procedure vs. an open surgery. I won't mince words, the first 3 days post op were horrific due to muscle spasms, but, with a lot of pain meds/muscle relaxers the right 'mix' was found. I slowly improved from day to day. The long road to recovery is part of the process, it's inevitable. Spineys need to learn to become more patient with themsevles - something that wasn't part of my make up before (typical type A personality - go, go, do, do). Address the concerns from now w/ the surgeon regarding pain relief post surgery. If you're comfortable, you'll heal better, be able to walk better, sleep better - all of the things needed for a successful fusion. Did I make the right decision? I truly think so - I can now walk without dragging my leg, I don't have the pain I did before, I'm starting to lose the weight I gained preop, I'm back at the gym and slowly getting back into shape, I have a more positive attitude, I can now do more of the chores around the house and I believe the neurological compromises are resolving and I'll get back most if not all of my leg/foot function. A positive attitude will greatly help you on the road to recovery. Remember you have a great community here that's ready to help at any time you need an ear!
  • As others have said,you have come to the right place to find answers. It is depressing that these surgeries do not help everyone, but I believe there are far more helped than not. Your surgeon would not advised you to have surgery unless it was needed. I had 360 fusion on Sept 29 and Oct 1. I have been pain free in my legs since my surgery.Recovery can be long and there is pain involved from surgery, but I would do it all again tomorrow. I will be praying for you during your surgery and afterward in your recovery. God Bless!


    John 14:27- Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  • and I understand it all too well, as all of us here do. Prior to my back surgery, I had never had ANY kind of surgery, nor had I even been in the hospital for anything. And suddenly I was facing an Open TLIF L4-S1. At times I was terrified, mostly of the unknown. But I found what got me through it was focusing on the AFTER, and the positive. I had to keep telling myself it was the only way I could get rid of the pain I was in, and get back to some semblance of a normal life.

    I had extensive herniations at L4-5 and L5-S1 and I was in excruciating pain no matter what. After a little over a year of tons of narcotic pain meds, PT, ESI's, etc., and I still couldn't even walk to the bathroom without a cane, and some mental preparation beforehand.

    Come August, my Dr gave me 2 options. The first was microdiscectomy which would probably give me relief from my leg pain, but probably not my back pain, and it wouldn't be a matter of IF I re-herniated, but WHEN. My second option was fusion, which of course would give me significant if not total relief from my leg and back pain as the offending discs and herniations would be completely removed. So even though I am only 30 yrs old, I went for the one big surgery, rather than multiples over time.

    And it was the best decision I could've made. I'm into my 5th week of recovery and feel great! I have ZERO leg pain, and really ZERO back pain. I have a little bit of stiffness at the surgery site, but I can't even call it discomfort. I've already weaned myself almost totally off of all pain meds (and only take the 1/2 pill twice a day to avoid withdrawals).
    This is my second week back at work, (after only 4 weeks off. Dr actually released me at week 2 because I have an office job adn was doing so well, but I chose to take 2 more weeks so I could get as much of my strength back as possible.) and I have been driving since week 3. The only things I can't do are those within the basic restrictions (NO BLT). I'm also walking between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 miles a day and can truly say I have no pain. At the end of the day I'm a little tired and stiff, but not something I'd even take a tylenol for. A warm blanket and my recliner, and I'm happy as a clam!

    Try to stay positive, and look at it as a solution to your pain and suffering. I'm a firm believer in the power of positive attitude! best of luck and keep us posted!
  • Hey, dont let me scare you. I have had alot of surgeries. I dealt with 3 torn discs for 2 1/2 years before the could find out what it was. So , go forward with a positive attitude and believe in your surgeon. You will have a long recovery, but there are alot of positive outcomes to this surgery. They are doing things they want to and not hanging around here. At least not most of them. Good Luck. I am sure you will do well if you follow everything you Dr says. I will be thinking of you..Robin
  • Yes, some of us still have pain, but most of us are way better off than we were before we had surgery. How many levels are you having fused? If it's only one or two, you shouldn't be so badly off. I think my residual pain is mostly because of the stiffness caused by a three-level fusion. If I'd only had to have one level done, I would be a bit more limber and not feel so bad. At any rate, you do what you have to do to relieve your pain. Come on in here and get down and dirty with us -- we'll tell you the real scoop. My opinion is that if the docs think they can help you, let them have at it, as long as you know they are good, competent docs.

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