Hubby and I had my first post-op surgeon visit yesterday and wanted to update you because many have been so sweet to PM and ask how things are going. You know how it is - I can tell you how I feel, but I can't tell you what's really happening until I talked to my surgeon, so here it is.
Hubby and I saw my surgeon (yes, the actual surgeon) and we spent about 45 minutes talking with him.
First of all, he looked at my x-rays and said I'm ahead of schedule and have already started to fuse. I was so scared of what they'd find that this made me feel better than anything I've heard in a long time.
A few points:
- I need to start some exercises to strengthen my thigh muscles and stretch my hamstrings.
- He wants me to keep taking the Norco and Flexiril for now and wean off with his help when and if that time comes. He said that with the bone growth, scar growth and the surgery in general, it's still going to be painful for at least six more weeks.
- He wants me to wean off of the Percocets and Valium, but I rarely take them, so they can go directly into the "don't use" bag. (I have to say I'll miss the Valium sometimes because it's nice to feel like Jello once in a while.)
- He showed Hubby and I a replica of what hardware is in my back and showed us what he did.
- I can drive now.
- I asked him about what my PT at the hospital said about how I'll have to take extra care of my L5/S1 now due to pressure from this surgery, and the surgeon said that the average rate of negative pressure on levels above and below fusion is approximately 3% per year, so there shouldn't be a problem. But, of course, take care of my back and neck more now just because of everything that's been done.
- I have six more weeks of restrictions (BLT) and still have to wear my brace. This will all be revisited in my appointment with him in five weeks.
- (Saving the best for last): I'll start PT in six weeks to get up those core muscles that will help my back, but the exciting part is that he's going to have PT specially train me in how to golf with the way my back is and that I could be back golfing in June. His PA told me that if I golfed this year, I could pop a screw out and that would be awful, but the surgeon just smiled and said with the proper technique the PT can teach me, golfing will be possible with no threat of hurting the hardware.
So, that's it. I've had a great discussion with my surgeon (with my notes written on a napkin of all things) and I finally feel like this is going to be a good year.
Thanks for listening. I feel emotionally on top of the world. Hubby still wants me to take it pretty easy (even over the restrictions) and to not worry about starting to plan getting back to work. He said something so sweet when I complained that I haven't worked for over a year, he said "If anybody deserves to not work for over a year, its you with all you've been through. Just take it easy for a while and get better."
Your "healing-ahead-of-schedule" spiney friend,