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Isn't it funny...

Christina69CChristina69 Posts: 534
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
how ppl always ask how bad back surgery is?
It's the worst pain you'll ever go through unless you need open heart surgery but if your life is severely altered because of the pain youre already in on a daily basis and youve already tried everything else, youre left with no choice....surgery is the last resort. Its not a walk in the park. If youre back is only at the point where you can judge whether or not to get the surgery by how bad the surgery is gonna hurt then you havent truly had REAL back pain.
I mean its nice to know what to expect from others who've had this kinda surgery but it just irritates me when ppl think its gonna be a simple procedure and are shocked at the truth. Especially when they say 'Gee, maybe I need to rethink the surgery, I dont think I can handle that much pain'.
If you havent experienced that much pain, you shouldnt be having the surgery at all.




  • Yeah, you kinda hit the nail on the head there.

    I honestly decided that life in a wheelchair was better than what I was living with. ANd I know what I was talking about (to some extent) as I'd spent a month in a wheelchair a while back.

    I could not walk with out severe pain, I could not bend, move or sit without accidentally triggering my blindingly excrusciating sciatica. AND... then suddenly I'd find that I'd lost bladder control on top of that! Oh, and to sneeze or cough - I'm serious, my vision would go to a blinding white flash and I'd find myself on my knees from pain.

    I was looking forward to having limited mobility (ie: the fusion hardware) because the pain when I would move was beyond bearing. I already limited my mobility due to fear of triggering the pain.

    Honestly, the pain I live with now - the continual backache and the nightly severe charlie horse cramps, they are SO much easier to live with compared to what I had before. People might think I'm crazy to live in the pain I'm in and be almost happy about it. I'm just so very very thankful that I survived my surgery and despite my complications I consider my NS a godsend.
  • if only the amount of pain in surgery would be indicative of the relief you were sure to get after the surgery.
    i dont think i would worry so much if i knew relief were coming.
  • On CNN today about pain and how it affects relationships. Mostly geared toward fibromyalgia and couples, but it does mention that back pain is the most common type of pain and that significant others and family member usually just don't get it. They recommend that you take family with you to the doc -- they need to know what's going on and understand. As far as friends go, I guess you find out who they really are when you discover whether they'll deal with your pain sympathetically or not.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I just have to say I am SO glad DH was in Iraq during my big surgery. Of course, that did not stop him from 'whining/complaining' about how come my scar is so much bigger than his. He just couldn't figure that out since it was the same NS and all. I've tried to explain the difference between Micro-d's and fusions but oh, well.

    I still wonder how much of it he gets, his micro-d was was pure agony for him. He had me pull on sheets to help him turn over in the hospital bed and was pushing the morphine pump for 3 days straight. He did not go back to work for 9 months either.

    Mine was the whole shebang, I was in the hospital longer than him but didn't have a pain pump and was back to work by 5 1/2 months.
  • When the pain is bad enough and effects your everyday life, a few weeks or months of pain can make surgery well worth it, if it is successful.

    Mine was looking good at 2 week mark, cant wait to see 6 wk mark. I am scheduled back to work Jan 17th 2010. Approx 9 weeks, one level fusion post op. I am scared and excited at the same time. I miss my work peeps!!
  • people ask me was the surgery worth it, seeing how long recovery is and how painful. Then I know...they'v'e never had the kind of pain I had before the surgery because if they'd ever had that pain for that much time...they'd be begging for the procedure to end the pain.

    Makes me upset when people look at me like I'm juicing it after 7 weeks and still have pain and under dr's orders cannot clean my home or do laundry, housework, etc.... They see the pill bottle I have for Vicoden and I get funny glances. Whatever....they haven't walked in our shoes or rolled in our chairs!
  • I agree with almost everyone's comments here.

    The only thing I will say about the back surgery is that you have to way the odds. You need to know that it will either stop more damage and/or help releave pain levels. When my ns told me that the damage was already done and that I only had a 50/50 chance to help the pain. The reason I did the first surgery was to help stop further damage to my nerves. When it helped with the nerve pain that was a bonus to me. I know that is almost sad but so true. I am not one who likes taking pills every day plus there is a lot of meds I can't take so I have developed an even higher pain tolerance now.

    The other side of the surgery is you could develope lots of scar tissue which will cause more problems.

    Good luck to all.
  • Christina, I could of not said it better myself. =D> I have thought the same thing many of times. I don't post on the forum often. I can usually be found in sh chat, where lot of scared people go for advice and information. They really like 2am! Must be the time everyone pain meds kick out.

    I have had a bilevel fusion that went wrong, and I get asked What's it like? Would you do it again? How painful is it? How do I answer them? Do I tell them the truth, or do you pussy foot around it? I'm never quit sure. I usually ask questions of them to feel them out, and from that I give them my experience.

    What I have found is they feel the surgery will be the answer to all there problems, and they will be back up and running in 2 weeks. OK!
    I'm not out to brust their bubble, and I let them go on thinking that. I help the ones that are scared, and answer them as best I can without scaring them more. The ones that want to know what can happen, I tell them that also. And I do make sure I tell them not everyone ends up like me. That most end up better off, but the chance is there that they will spend the rest of their life in worse pain, then they started. So make sure it worth it. Make sure you get a second option, and not shop for a dr that gives you the answer you want to hear.

    I just want to scream, Be Sure! This is the rest of your life! What's 2 more days, weeks, or months? Is there something else?

    Sorry to ramble. I guess I just had alot to say. I mean no offense to anyone. I just want to help, and let people know.
    Bobbi Jo
  • Both of your comments are spot on - I honestly didn't know what I was "in" for, but in fairness my surgeon didn't disclose that the truth either - well sugar-coated it (I found this site after things weren't going so well), and Linda, yes - you sure do find who your true friends are after months of suffering and living in daily pain.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I have the world's best husband and he's been by my side through 2 knee surgeries, one foot surgery, two abdominal surgeries and two cervical spine surgeries. But try as I might I just can't get through to him how horrendous the first few days after lumbar surgery will be. I keep saying "You're not getting it". He said, "Oh, I've seen you in the hospital, but day 2 you'll want out and be on your laptop all day". I said "I hope to be conscious on day 2 and am nicely warning you now I will be in tremendous pain". I actually think he finally got it. I can see how pain would be challenging to any relationship. Since he got laid off I now take him to my PM and spine surgeon appointments. I think that's helped a bit.

    I have friends who have said "will it hurt?" and these are very educated people some of whom have had surgery of some type themselves. I feel like saying "Nah, call me the day after and maybe we'll do lunch".

    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • It's kind of sad just how pampered and wimpy this society is. The first question regarding surgery should revolve around it fixing your problem. Yet most immediately jump to will it hurt and how much and how long. Will I get enough meds so it won't hurt until I'm all better. The answer is NO. You will have to deal with pain. It will hurt and it will take a while before it goes away.

    Surgery is there to fix a problem with your body. It doesn't necessarily mean all the pain goes away either. Surgeons consider successful surgery as the parts are all glued and screwed together just right. No measure of your pain is involved. That is a separate issue. Pain is usually the driving force that makes you go to the doctor.

    2 weeks post op from fusion i got some emails from people at work. Most were hoping I was doing well. Some were complaining vacation was over. I should get back and help out. I sent everyone an x-ray image from 2 weeks post op. I got no more emails saying vacation is over. I got a lot of email saying, "ouch", "OMG", "stay home", etc. My boss sent me a note and said don't show up until you are properly healed. That looks like it must suck...

    Pain becomes a personal thing as we all have different thresholds. But this is a society of pampered sissies. I hear them crying and whining when they get their flu shots. All I can think is, Oh shutup ;-)

    I agree with you Linda. Bring your spouse or SO with you. Let them see and hear the doctor. Let them ask questions. Keep them involved.

    Saltz. Tell you husband there is a major difference in a micro and fusion. I had a micro first. That was nothing. I laid back for 3 days doped up. Then got moving. Returned to work in 3 weeks. I had the surgery in the morning and was sitting in Cracker Barrel having brunch in the early afternoon. I got a handful of Darvocets to deal with the pain. I didn't feel quite as chipper after fusion...

  • Bobbi Jo- Kudos to you. I cannot imagine how my attitude would have changed if things had gone drastically wrong for me. I know I had complications and I have to live with them for life probably - but still, permanent nerve damage is just a blip for me to deal with compared to having no relief or even worse pain post-op. AND - it does happen. It IS possible to be worse off.

    SpineAZ & Z06- I do have to add that my DH's oxycontin addiction may have contributed a lot to his frame of mind. I'm pretty positive that he had built up quite a resistance and that not only was he dealing with that but also was having withdrawals while in the hospital. Confronting him about his abuse and putting him into rehab saved him. He had given me all the signs that he was in over his head and needed help and was hoping I'd draw a line and force him into helping himself. I was just too dense to hear it until it was almost too late.

    I tease him now that he's just a man and can't handle pain. Hey -if, after 25 years, he can't handle a bit of teasing... ;) - oh, and I hope to heck that he doesn't ever have to experience a full-on fusion.
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