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Holiday Preparations after Spine Surgery ~

gwennie17gwennie17 Posts: 2,912
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Is anyone else being done in by holiday activities? So far I have managed to survive cookie baking and candy making, boxing it up, wrapping gifts and hauling it all off to the mailing center with only developing a major flare....

But who knew that changing a king-sized bed has become an aerobic activity?? :O

I hope I survive until Tuesday when family arrives...

Hope everyone else's preparations are going better than mine.

Cheers ~



  • sounds like you are doing great!Just don't overdo---my surgery is not until Dec. 31,but I had a spinal fusion 2 years ago the last of September. In addition in trying to get mobile before the holidays I graduated from the University of North Texas-I went back several years before to earn a degree in History. Anyway,I was determined to walk across the stage to receive my diploma-someone did escort me-but I did it!----my whole point is it sounds like you are very positve,and doing well!
  • I'm really behind with everything!
    I'm intending to keep things more simple this year and buy some stuff rather than making it.
    Just got a horrible shock though, there are NO delivery dates available for the grocery shopping, this side of Christmas. I haven't been able to go to the supermarket for months. I can almost feel the pain coming on, just thinking about it. Oh well I'll just have to rest afterwards.

    I've done most of my shopping for presents on-line too.

    Take care everyone, and pace yourselves.

    Happy Christmas to all, and to all a pain free (or reduced) time.
  • Hi Gwennie,

    I think you are doing fantastic!! hang in there. I hope the family helps you out once they arrive.

    I understand, I had to bake cookies for my kids and they are still waiting on their peanut butter balls, but that requires alot of standing in the kitchen, ouch!!

    Thank you Gwennie for always being on hand with such good advice, I hope you have a wonderful christmas.

    Take care,
  • Christmas preparations???? What's that? Gosh....I can't even think about it. Ha ha. I'm not sad....just like Thanksgiving...I get to eat all the good and do none of the work. I'm looking at the bright side. I haven't shopped yet...nothing. Well, I'll get to shop for a little bit tomorrow. My doc said I cant' drive but he didn't say I can't ride!!!!!

    have a great holiday everyone!
  • I did all my shopping online this year-which worked really well-----I don't bake much anyway,my husband cooks and I clean!which will be on him after I have surgery---everyone has to understand you can't do it all! It is great seeing the positive comments----I didn't know you could shop for groceries online!Have I been in a cave?
  • Gwennie, can you ship me some of the cookies and candy? Yum!

    I had planned to have surgery before the holidays so had already planned simple. Due to conflicting opinions, I took a bit longer to come to decision and won't go for surgery until January.

    I thought about doing a bit more but realized I am risking getting worse. Of course I'll still overdo it but I'm still staying with my original plan - no tree but a big wreath with lights, gifts but limited list, no christmas cards (sorry), only 3 types of Christmas cookies instead of the usual 8 or so, and willing to take my family up on coming to their home without having to cook anything.

    Luckily we only have a Queen bed so a little less of a work out on changing the sheets (ha).
  • my Christmas shopping months ago, and there are no decorations up in my house, but I will be doing some candy making and baking this weekend. In addition to my full time office job, I'm a long-arm quilter. That means I have a 14' long quilting machine, on which I quilt quilts that other people have pieced together. I just finished the last of the Christmas quilts on Wednesday night, so my house looks like a tornado ripped through it -- I've had absolutely no time for anything else. This weekend, it's clean up, a little baking, and maybe put up the little 1.5" tree I have. I've got a new puppy, so no regular tree this year!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Last year, pre-op, due to back pain, we cut back a lot on Christmas duties and we are going to continue that way. Last year (and this) my partner cooked a turkey under the hood of the bbq as well as all the roast vegies. (It's Summer here.) I made a salad and we bought all the prawns, cake, pudding, sweets. The dessert was tres easy: I bought a ready-made flan, beat up some cream until it was almost solid, piled it into the flan case then poured a box of thawed mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) over the top. It looked and tasted wonderful and took about 5 minutes to assemble.

    We're never going back to the old days.
  • What next week already!!! With all that has been going on this year I just can't get into the Christmas spirit. I have bought the kids presents but my only decorations are a wreath on the front door. I think the kids are going to pester Dad to put the tree up today.

    Fortunately I have a very domesticated hubby who loves cooking so I don't need to worry about the heavy housework or cooking of Christmas dinner.

    Hubby has now finally got the details of his January business trips sorted so on Monday I'm going to phone my surgeon and schedule the fusion.
  • We are in the midst of the big snow event in MD. The drive way is covered in at least a foot of fresh snow with another 10" expected. Back in the day, I would have been out shoveling, enjoying the beautiful weather (we don't get a snow fall like this often.) This time I'm patiently waiting for someone else to take the initiative to clear the driveway with out me having to suggest it.

    I've spread out my holiday chores to try to avoid the inevitable. One day I'll bake, another I'll shop, but have found it only takes about 2-3 hours on my feet before I'm reaching for the meds. I wrapped presents on my bed which is pretty high but still wound up with a screaming back. So I do what I can, try to pace myself, and just accept that it's gonna hurt.

    The comments about the sheets sure hit home. One thing I still cannot do without some help is put sheets on the bed. I can't lift the corners of the new thick mattress to tuck the sheet in while trying not to bend. It's a little frustrating but I know I will always have help from now on with that little chore.
  • I'm watching your snow on TV right now. It should last till Christmas, right? We lived in Williamsburg for awhile and a snow was a really major event, dangerous, too, if you had to get out on the roads. It snows there so infrequently that people do not know how to drive on it, and it is really dangerous to be out sharing the roads.

    Do you return to teaching after the holiday break? Do you think you can manage? How are you feeling these days?

    I'm probably having more fusion surgery after the first of the year...it's one of those situations where it is my choice...I can live with things the way they are, or I can have a 3 level fusion that may or may not change anything...so I'm not sure what I will decide.

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

    xx Gwennie
  • I did most of my shopping before my surgery, but there are still so many little things that need to get done.

    I didn't decorate as much as usual. Basically swore off any cookie baking (maybe do some chocolate dipped pretzels with the kids). The wrapping is tough, I try to do just a bit at a time.

    Theres only so much one can do before we do ourselves harm. Fortunately I don't have to do any hosting this holiday.
  • Last year I decided to have an "All Season Tree"---I leave the tree up all year.It has decorations from all holidays and seasons.Also things the grandchildren make.The kids love it,and I don't have to do it. We always go to our children's for Christmas,so we don't go all out like we used to-plus,I got tired of the dog and I putting up the tree,decorating it,and taking it down,while no one else wanted to mess with it-so I don't either.Best thing I ever did----sounds like alot of you are taking it easy-that is good!
  • I tried to go out with DH and do some shopping yesterday - it was fun, but holy cow, afterwards - YIKES!

    I don't know what it is, but something about the way you stand and walk around while shopping seems to really set my back and ankle off.

    I wouldn't think it's much different than my work -which is a mixture of sitting and walking, but it's just enough to have my back screaming 'uncle' after just a few hours. Maybe it's all the car driving too - at work my back is never pushed up against a chair back, unlike the car where the hardware seems to always be rubbing.

    As for Christmas decor - DH and daughter pulled out ONE decor box, decorated the tree and then left all the rest downstairs. At least we have a tree and stockings - I should be grateful.
  • It's still coming down. It's beautiful. Hubby and daughter snow blowed (blew?) and shoveled the driveway and an hour later we've got another 2 inches! Got 3 foot drifts in places. I grew up in Newport News - my folks are still there and said they got a little snow last night but it's gone already. On the rare occasion it snowed down there, things came to a stand still pretty quickly. I now live in a rural area and the farm below me is beautiful. We may get snow Christmas eve too!

    I'm going back to work on Jan 4. I'm quite concerned about standing for 8 hours at a stretch. After 2-3 hours shopping or anything along those lines, my pain really goes up. I'm doing PT 2X a week, both pool and land, and go to the gym for treadmill and light weights so I feel pretty strong but as we all know the low back pain is never completely gone and flares up, unfortunately pretty bad at times. I'm just as concerned about the mental part of getting back into teacher mode too!

    I don't envy you having to make a decision about more surgery. Honestly, I don't know if I could ever brace myself for another surgery like that. I'm so thankful that my leg pain is gone and I realize I have to deal with low back pain probably for the rest of my life, but hopefully it won't get any worse than it is. I'm sure your uncertainty lies in not knowing whether or not it will help in the long run. You've been through so much for so long.

    I wish you many blessings this holiday. You are a true blessing to all of us here on SH. Merry Christmas!

    XO - Jan
  • The other major thing is the flooring. Most shopping malls, big box stores, etc. have a poured concrete floor that has nothing underneath it, so there is absolutely no give. It is just like the marble floor at the museum where I worked -- I never had back spasms, but as soon as I walked into the museum, I would last 5-10 minutes and then the spasms would begin. Same thing happens when I go to Lowe's -- there's something about the floor, and the speed at which you walk through a store that is really, really tough.

    My dogs have decided it must be time to eat -- one keeps bumping me and licking my elbow, so guess I'll stop and give in to them.

  • We have lots of snow here too - unusual for us in December.
    The side roads are very icy, so I'm trying not to go out. I feel very nervous and vulnerable out walking or even in the car in case someone crashes into us.

    I've got my youngest son, who is home from university for Christmas, decorating the tree.
    My husband has said he will do the shopping, so that will really help me.
    We've got everyone coming to us for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so lots of work to be done. I will get lots of help though.
  • I think that is why I am concerned about going back to work. Since I teach science, I walk on a concrete floor covered with tile all day. NO cushion whatsoever.
  • Hi Jan,

    I wish you well returning to work after the holidays. Have you discovered shoes that will be comfortable and help with the shock absorption?? I know it can be rough on the back on that kind of surface.

    I swear by my Merrells (even my surgeon recommended them). You can find them at Cabelas or Merrell.com.
    I also noticed just about every nurse in the NICU a few years ago, that most wore Crocs. At that time they looked "strange" to me, but now you see people wearing them everywhere, obviously for a reason. I even bought the fleece lined ones for after my recent surgery in case I had a problem putting on socks.

  • I don't know what I'm going to wear for shoes! I must admit that I am somewhat of a shoe fiend so it breaks my heart a little to look at some of my unwearables now. lol I may have to have all my slacks shortened so I can wear more spine friendly shoes. I have tried crocs but didn't like them much. I've don't know anything about Merrell's but I'm going to check them out. Thanks for the tip.
  • with the Merrells. If you are a "shoe fiend" you will have some adjusting to do for your future (sorry!). If you find Merrells aren't dressy enough, I have heard some say that Clark's are comfortable too. At least for the near future I would look for more support and comfort for your backs' sake.

  • I just gave myself a chuckle. I am writing out my food shopping list for tomorrow and for both visits (Eve and day) I am making potatoes au gratin, plus other things I need. All of a sudden I realize: how the heck am I going to accomplish this? Potatoes are heavy, so is milk and add to that your basic OJ, etc, theres no way I can do this myself, like I had planned (obviously without much thought).

    Just getting the stuff OUT of the cart is horrible. I guess I can wait for my 8 year old to get out of school; but when the 2 girls come shopping there are always problems!! I know I can ask my hubby but he has been bending over backwards as it is. Maybe I'll ask a friend to help.....Both times my Mom and Sister-in-Law said "you don't have to bring anything" but I feel like I should at least bring a dish, since theres no way I can load/unload a dishwasher, etc.

    Anyone else relating to this?
  • do you feel like you have to make something homemade?I don't know where you live, but most groceries have wonderful delis,bakeries,....also places like Whole Foods Market has neat items-but then you would still have to shop-but nothing heavy?
  • texas Cowgirl, you are right, its just that I've ususally done homemade since we are such a small family. On my in-laws side I could certainly get something from Costco, no one would care, its just my brain trying to let go of all the "usual" things I do. Plus, I could make a meal out of my potato dish so if other things look blah I can just eat them. (my In-laws don't always serve-up appetizing things to me and the kids (pearled onions, turnips?, just not used to that stuff.)

    After your suggestion, I think I just might buy what I need instead of cook it, after all, I just spent about 3 flipping hours wrapping presents while the kids are out of the house!! Thanks Cowgirl!
  • Be sure to ask the grocery bagger to make the bags light. Sometimes I get home and discover he has put two items in each bag...but better that way, than too heavy.

    You could take a big bouquet of flowers...that would be light and not require standing on your feet to cook.
  • I know you are always giving all of your friends here good advice so it's my turn to give you some advice: Please slow down and listen to your body, it sounds like you have done alot already, so please take it easy now so you won't be down and can enjoy your family when they get there! I'm amazed at all you have done...baking cookies and candy then wrapping and packing and dragging them to the p.o. to mail plus get the house ready....I'm delighted you did all that! You go girl!

    In the old days, I decorated top-bottom, inside/out, baked double batches of several kinds of cookies and candy twice during the season, shopped, wrapped, mailed boxes, and had company with meal after meal homemade....those were the days. Some days I miss them but other days I'm thankful for what I can do this year and enjoy simple/easy as it gives me time to enjoy the little things.

    4 years ago after my first surgery I still tried to do it all(in hindsight, I wish I had known what I know now from this site!) and then I truly suffered from then on until my fusion last year, which had me in bed and not able to do anything this time last year. So this year, whatever I do, regardless how little,it's more than I did last year! LOL! Honestly, we had hot dogs and chips for Christmas eve with company last year! What were they thinking to expect holidays as usual?What was I thinking, that would be fine? LOL! You know what, I wasn't fine afterward/PAIN! But it was fine to have hot dogs and chips,could have been worse! LOL! In fact, might not rule it out and have them again! LOL! I can't even remember what we did or had Cristmas day! Obviously, we survived! LOL!

    Ideas for my friends because I'm still not able to do much this year....

    Baking(not): Take 1 cup of cocktail peanuts, 1 cup honey roasted peanuts, 1 cup m&m's and 1 cup of peanut m&m's and mix- you have a delicious snack for family and friends. Place in plastic containers with ribbon or holiday baggies and pass on! Add as many cups of each at a time to make a small or large batch as you need and keep it on hand!

    Take small plastic holiday cups(green/red) and place some chopped heath candy bars and chocolate syrup in bottom, add one nice scoop of coffee ice cream, sprinkle more chopped/crushed heath bar and chocolate syrup on top....place a lid(old lids from butter work or saran wrap with rubber band) and freeze....ready anytime company drops by or you need dessert.

    Of course,pretzels dipped in chocolate are easy!

    We went to a pre-lit small tree last year. The teen-agers helped put up along with the decoarations around the house that they wanted to put out. I told them they had to come help put it all away after the holidays! Just standing and helping is enough for me!

    My husband hasn't been all that well this year either, maybe taking care of me after my fusion did him in too! We're taking turns taking care of each other these days. Anyway, he does help me shop, some things like chopping if it's too hard for me or getting the food in the oven....but at least I can do most of it now! So we make quick,easy meals for the most part. We plan to take our teen and his friend out for Christmas eve but haven't decided what to fix Christmas day yet.....Any easy and simple ideas please???

    We mailed 2 boxes. Only because everyone should have something to open on Christmas, so we wrapped and stuffed stockings for our son in the Navy and his mates....it really wore me out shopping and standing to wrap it even at the dining room table and with help. So that was my shopping, wrapping, and p.o. visit for this year! Teen-ager at home needs a cell phone so he is getting that and his stocking stuffed.

    Otherwise, gift cards are like miracle gifts- easy for me to buy, carry, mail! Most people enjoy using them so I don't have a problem with that for now. Someday when I'm grandma I'll want to buy toys, batteries, and wrap,bake, etc....so hopefully if I behave now I will be able to do that when the time comes!

    Dear friends, do what you can and let the rest go. It's ok! Just have the best holiday season you can with your family and friends. But please keep passing your ideas around here and tell us what you are doing or not doing because we all need all the help and encouragement we can get!

    My goal is to be just like our friend Gwennie next year! She inspires me daily!


  • I am really struggling to let go of the things I usually do at Christmas. I enjoy to bake goodies and everything for the Christmas meal. This year I have had to simplify everything. Everything seems so difficult, shopping, baking, cleaning the house! I haven't started wrapping yet, must get on to that. I'm trying to pace myself. I feel absolutely useless!

    My son just asked me to open his phone for him with my nails. It felt wonderful to be able to actually do something useful, and it was great to be able to do something that others couldn't. I had a useful purpose!

    Hope everyone finds things that they can do, so they feel useful too.
    Happy Christmas to you all.
  • you are welcome! I hope you will be less hard on yourself!As always,lots of neat ideas on here. I have to laugh at the hot dogs for dinner---one Christmas evening my daughters and I had pizza for dinner.They have told that story for years!What they didn't say is that we had already had our Christmas dinner because their dad works evenings and holidays if it was not his day off(the airlines)---Made me sound like a lazy momma!
  • Merry Christmas and Peace, everyone. The holidays have been a happy time for me and have been a healing time for me, as well. I am 8 weeks post op and feel really well, thank goodness! My biggest thing has been to keep from causing any swelling or stress on my repairs. This is the first year we've ever put up lights all over the entire yard. I like to go out at night and walk and when it's all done I come walking up to my house and get to admire my lights. The night time walks have been very special to me. First, it feels good to be moving and all the houses are decorated so pretty. I can see my breath puffing out in front of me and I just smile and walk...and I don't limp. I don't wince in pain, I don't go home in agony. This is a miraculous Christmas for us at my house. For some reason, I guess it's because I'm not clouded with pain, but everything is brighter this year.
    My best wishes to everyone here and hopes for a wonderful, fresh, shiny new year!
  • ... there will be no Christmas until my back feels better, danmit! In other words. This year is canceled due to the home team is sidelined... ;-)

    Seriously though. Since most of you on here are women. I sympathize with the idea of cooking. Getting stuff in and out of the oven requires at least 2 of the 3 evil words. BLT...

    My oldest daughter and my son-in-law are both culinary arts majors. ie, they are Chefs. That means I get free cooking :-) My son-in-law is a cooking mad man. He makes me lots of cool stuff. Did I mention he is my favorite. LOL

    My wife has started some of the cooking and I am not allowed to help with that. We are just having a light mix of food on Christmas eve. Nothing crazy this year.

    I went shopping with her a couple of times. She sent me loose in the mall to the places where we are getting gift cards. Pretty hard to mess that up. Not too much waiting in line. Yes the floors are hard. That is why I wear my New Balance MB926 (now MW927). I can walk on a mall floor with no back pain. Their Abzorbs cushioning and Rollbar does work. Best shoe I have worn for a spiney.

    Oh in the middle of all this. We are revamping the house to get it ready for sale in the spring time. Time to downsize. So the place has been "under construction" for months...

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