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questions about MicroD

Amanda S YanisAAmanda S Yanis Posts: 124
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well after over a year of dealing with this back and leg pain, I'm finally having surgery on March 1st. I won't lie, I'm scared to death. I guess I thought I would have a little more notice than 12 days. I was prepared for the NS to tell me I needed surgery since my primary dr. and my neurologist both told me that after looking at my last MRI, it's just such a diferrant feeling once the date is set.

My surgery is on a MOnday which means hubby has to take the day off, well atleast I hope he is-in fact I actually just had to text him to make sure, kinda sad huh? Plus I have to make arrangements to get my kids to and from school, and after school activities. Unfortunately that is not as easy as it sounds becuase I have 3 kids, and one stepson. My daughter and stepson go to school first, then my 5 year old goes about 45 minutes after that. And my 3 year old goes to school at 12:30. Nobody in my family can handle watching all four kids, mostly because my 5 year old is autistic. Lat time I was supposed to have emergency sugery to get my appendix out, I could not find anyone to watch my kids and my husband had to leave me at the hospital alone. Thankfully the surgery was cancelled, but had I had it, I would have been alone.

So needless to say, I will not have help after the surgery either. People keep telling me that they will help, but when it comes down to it, they won't.

So less than 48 hours after surgery, I will be home, doing my daily routine. (minus any cleaning because I CAN get away with that.) I just don't know if I can handle that. I almost feel like why should I bother having the surgery, if I just gonna mess myself up two days later??

Does anyone have any advice to get me through this?? Any tips?? Any help at all from what I should get to make life easier after surgery, to how to change diapers without hurting myself. (yes I have two still in diapers!)


  • Hi and Welcome,
    I'm glad you found this place.
    It will help calm your nerves a bit but mostly help you plan.

    What level is the microdiscectomy at? L4-L5? Just curious.

    There have been several posts on MicroD's the last few weeks so you came at the right time for a group of us to give you support.

    It sounds like you've tried all conservative treatments including epidural injection.

    We can give you our experiences.
    First, remember, it's back surgery. So recovery is crticial that you follow instructions. Sounds like you are a Mom on the go! You will have to be a Mom a little less on the go for 6-weeks. It doesn't mean you can't do anything, it just means you have to put you first. I tell you that now b/c I know how hard that part is.

    The surgery is "out patient" meaning you will be released in <23 hours (typically) but if possible (especially with 3 kids), I would try to get an overnight stay...it will be easier for sure on you and your children. But if not, no worries.

    I'm sure your doctor will tell you all about the details of the surgery but from my experience - the surgery is about 45 mins (you may be under for 90 mins though). Then you will go into recovery room. I would estimate that they will teach you how to log-roll out of bed within a few hours of coming out of surgery. Your incision will be sore but they will give you meds. They won't make you walk farther than the bathroom the first few times.

    - expect your lower back to feel sore
    - you will have to keep hips/shoulders in line; no twisting
    - you will not be allowed to bend or lift anything bigger than a gallon of milk. And no lifting above your head.

    The first 6 weeks the key is rest (lie flat down) and walk on flat surfaces. No sitting for more than 5-10 mins.

    The incision pain will hurt for 1-2 weeks but it will depend...could be longer. They toughest part is not doing too much too soon. You may feel good and want to get back into the 'zone' with driving the kids, doing dishes, laundry, etc. but be very careful about bending, twisting, and lifting...even taking laundry out of the dryer can be an issue.

    There are a few threads in this section.
    If needed, maybe now is good for your kids to take time off from their after school activities so you don't have to worry about them.

    If your hubby can't be with you at the hospital, no worries...do you have a friend that could be there? You will not be able to drive yourself home so you'll at least need someone for that.

    The surgery is referred to as minimally invasive. it is (only 1.5-2 inch incision) but it's still back surgery so please plan ahead (freeze meals, grocery shop, etc) and don't rush the healing. It takes 6 weeks even if you feel better, the biggest chance of re-herniation is within the 1st 3-months.
  • oh, there's a 'sticky' on things to get for surgery. I think the list is more geared toward fusions but there are some very helpful tips.

    Best invention? The gripper. it allows you to pick things up that you drop (and trust me, I've found I drop a lot of things). It even helps me get dressed if I shower and need to put pants on..I step in and grip them to pull them up b/c I can't bend to put them on.

    For after surgery - I'd recommend eating lots of fiber, drinking lots of water, and/or getting a small bottle of colace. The prescription meds tend to contipate folks.

    I also make sure someone is home when I shower. I'm lucky b/c we have 2 showers...one without a tub so I don't have to step over/in and have less risk of falling.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for all the advice. I dont' have alot of time right now but to answer a few questions. My surgery is on L5-S1. I think I posted a pic of my latest MRI in Chronic Pain, I'll have to get it on here too. I will definatly be in overnight. I go in on Monday and wont get released until Tues. so that is kinda helpful for me, just not for getting the kids back and forth. I guess it is good that the hospital is only 45 minutes away from home. Plus it's in the same town my sister lives in.

    Oh yeah, and my only shower is Upstairs. Should I just plan now on being stinky for days at a time LMAO. I will definatly try to take a shower at the hospital before I leave if possible!!
  • Hey there...stinky is acceptable!
    I don't think you are allowed to shower for at least 48 hours. The first one I had was 48 hours but this last time, I had surgery Monday and was told no shower until Friday. So I did the 'fake' towel wash and was close to sending hubby out for 'dry' shampoo stuff but just dealt with oily hair.

    Anyhow, don't worry about shower. They'll let you clean up but they'll give you rules on when you shower. The first few times they don't want direct water pressure on it so you go in "head first" if that makes sense and I would just be sure your husband or an adult is home. Better to be safe so you don't slip.

    I'm glad you are staying overnight! It will make it easier, trust me. I know you won't sleep well at the hospital but to have the staff there for any worries so your hubby doesn't have to worry will be so helpful. You'll have time to get antibiotics, be monitored for blood pressure, have physical therapist come by and teach you how to go up/down stairs (if they don't, ask them to), and make sure you are getting in/out of bed properly.

    I had my microdiscectomy at L5-S1 in August and just had a revision on feb 8. This time I am following all the rules and can tell it's making a difference. I felt so good last time by end of 10 days, I started doing more than I was supposed to (yes, laundry, dishes out of dishwasher, walking dog) b/c I thought I was being careful but in reality, I think that's when I did the damage of reherniation b/c in week 3 I didn't feel like I was progressing anymore.

    Most folks that I met since then that had this same surgery have been a success - I've met face-to-face at least 5 people (anywhere from 2 years to 10 years out of surgery and still doing well). I should have talked to them before (but my situation was urgent so I didn't have much time to learn) but the key thing I learned is that 5-10% failures of this surgeries generally happen in the 1st 3 months because people feel good fairly quickly and try to go back to normal activity. So the 'toughest' part is keeping yourself honest and not doing stuff you normally do to keep the house moving.

    I have learned, it's ok to let laundry pile up a bit until my husband can throw a load in and take it out. I fold it and put it away but no bending. It's ok to let dishes be in the sink b/c I can't bend to put them in the dishwasher.

    I don't have children so I have one less pressure to "get on the go again" but I went back to work way too soon, starting walking the dog way too soon, and was active way too soon. Walking is good but all the other stuff...was not.

    I learned that lying flat is good, walking 10 mins every hour on flat surface is great to keep scar tissue from tethering to the nerve, following doctors instructions is key, and letting doctor know exactly how you are feeling if you don't think you are progressing is key.

    You will do good....I just tell you all the pitfalls I got sucked into as an active person who doesn't know how to 'sit still' (and I put sit in quotes b/c you can't sit).

    Good luck! If you have time...pop in before the surgery.
  • I can't emphasize enough how important it is to not pick up any object weighing more than 5-10 lbs or bending, twisting during the first 3 weeks after surgery. If you can prolong that time just a few weeks more, better.
    In the big picture, it's just a few short weeks in a lifetime. Some sacrifice, but it will be worth it.
    People and kids can and will survive.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Well I have six more days to go, and I'm getting really nervous but I'm also trying to keep extra busy. I bought a chest freezer this weekend, so I've been concentrating on buying lots of food to stock it up!! I'm also getting my hair cut, getting a pedicure, having a girl night with my friend and daughter, getting my house in order, getting bills paid, etc. They actually called me yesterday and wanted me have my surgery today, I had to decline though, as I dont even know who is taking care of kids when I have it next week lol!

    Anyways, I have lots and lots of little questions that I keep thinking of, so I thought I would ask you guys.

    1. I've heard that I won't be able to lift my hands above my head afterwards?? So will I be able to put on a t-shirt, what about pulling my hair in a ponytail? Should I buy a bunch of button up shirts?? I already am set with big sweatpants/pajama pants!!

    2. Has anyone else been on a fentanyl patch before surgery?? I asked if I need to stop it before surgery, and they are supposed to let me know, but I have 6 days left and haven't heard anything. I need time to wean myself a little bit, or I will be really sick! I'm on 50 mcg/hr now but I have a 25 I can go down to if I know in time!

    3. Is it really worth $30 to get a raised toilet seat?

    4. Is there any exercises, foods, vitamins, etc. that would help me recover from surgery faster/better that I should be doing/taking/eating now?

    5. Is it normal to feel better right before surgery. It is so weird but for the past few days, I really haven't been in that much pain! I almost feel like it is pointless to have the surgery since I feel so good. Could it just be adrenalin or something?

    6. I saw that someone mentioned not being able to have sex after surgery? For how long?

    I think that is all for now LOL. Just some random stuff that keeps coming to my head. Oh and here is the post I made with a pic of my latest MRI in it.

  • Hi there,

    You have lots of good questions!
    Sounds like you are really getting ready.

    1 - you can lift over your head but you can put a t-shirt on. Pony tail...well, a low one you can do but the 1st week I had help blow drying my hair.

    Generally you will be able to scratch your head but no straight high up arm lifting to reach for a glass in the cabinet or something off a shelf. Hopefully this gives you an idea.

    I wear t-shirts and yoga pants. The first week, I wore zip up hoodies for 2nd layer b/c I just didn't want to deal with taking stuff on/off over my head when I got hot

    2 - Fetynal patch -> I have no idea. They should have gone over this with you. I believe the one thing you need to cut out for CERTAIN is any anti-inflammatory meds (ibuprofin, medrol pak, advil, excess garlic, herbal meds that may contain willow root or some anti-inflammatory). I was allowed to take valium and percaset even the morning of surgery. I'm just not familiar with the patch you are on. Call the doctor tomorrow to find out

    3 - Raised toilet seat -> I didn't think so for the microdiscectomy. However, the 2nd one (I just had a revision 2 weeks ago), my husband decided to get (from a pharmacy like RiteAid) a 2-foot medical handicap bar that he installed on the wall by the toilet. I wish I had this last time as it is easier the first week and I find I still used it in week 2. Of course you'd have to patch the wall once you remove it but I told him to leave it there and we'll patch it if we ever move. So, not necessary...just have someone on standby if you think you need it after you see how you do at the hospital.

    4 - the doctor will tell you what to take. This last time I was told take Oscal (Calcium chewable) daily, multi-vitamin, and get colace (stool softener) b/c the presription meds and anesthesia will bind you up...you don't want to strain.

    As for other things, I suggest eating as healthy as possible and include fiber the first couple of weeks. Drink plenty of water, eat fruits, veggies, salad, protein, etc.

    As for exercise, your doctor will advise. The key is frequent short/light walks on flat surfaces. If it's too icy out, then walk back and forth in the hallway. Start maybe 5 mins every hour. Then as you feel better increase to 10 mins. Walking, I'm told, helps keep scar tissue from tethering to the nerve.

    The doctor will let you know but the key is not to sit for more than 5-10 mins at a time.

    5 - Makes me giggle. On my 2nd surgery, I almost backed out. I told my husband "I'm off pain meds and I feel better than I have in the last 2 months". (I was taking a ton of ibuprofin and also just decided to cut back my percaset/valium to reduce any tolerance). He laughed at me. He had to remind me what I've been like and how I was working off of adrenalin. Besides, sounds like you are still on a pain patch. He was right, the night before surgery I felt worse again.

    6- this is the best question! I have a funny joke that my husband came up with as a way to ask the doctor about it (we never used the joke).

    I don't have the answer...I will tell you that I wouldn't advise it the day after surgery (LOL). If you ask your doctor...let me know what he says.
    Since I'm on a revision, we opted to wait until I cleared my 2-week appt. This is the million dollar question...I don't know why it isn't just on the hospital discharge papers...it would make life a lot easier.

    YOu are sounding very well prepared!
  • This is just what I do in a stressfull situation. Worry about every little detail. LOL. I want to be prepared, like NOW. I hate the fact that we still don't have a babysitter for my surgery. It's making me crazy!! I'm just waiting on the in-laws to 'decide' if they want to watch them or not :\

  • You are like me. I'm at my best when I'm worrying. I feel like then I can put a plan in place. It's a control thing. You are normal....or I hope you are b/c otherwise, I'm not normal.

    I hope your in-laws can watch the kids.
  • Still waiting on the in-laws to decide. Now I'm really starting to get stressed. You would think they would be willing to watch them since they keep my sister-in-laws kids EVERY day so she can work. I mean it's not like they arent' able to! Plus my husband is really ticking me off about this too. I'm about to tell him just to stay home and take care of the kids and I will take myself to get surgery. I'm sure my friend would come take me home. Every time I ask him if he's talked to his parents, he just gets mad at me. Uggggg.................He knows I'm already stressed, why does he have to add to it. For the past fours days all he has done when he gets off work is go in the basement and play his dang playstation. And here I am trying to get the house clean and organized, carpets cleaned, etc. before I have surgery. I could go on and on about him, but I'll stop now, because I can feel my blood pressure rise just thinking about him LOL
  • Hi,

    Just checking...any update from in-laws?
    I hope your husband realizes that post surgery, gaming will not be an option for several weeks...well, it will be but he'll have to fit it in b/t helping you, the kids, laundry, his job, etc.

    You cannot overdo it. You won't be allowed to bend to take laundry out of dryer, or do dishes, etc.

    I'm on a revision - -> I can cook but husband doesn't want me to 'cut corners' and accidentally twist, lift, or bend. So I made food in advance for freezer, we had his mom come up for 2-weeks to help, and now...I walk him through how to make some simple meals (he knows how to cook but his recipe deck is limited to about 3 or 4 items).

    I hope you got the logistics worked out. If not, when your husband comes to take you home from the hospital...have the doctor/nurse be very clear with him on everything he will need to do to be sure you do NOT do them.
  • I'm such a nervous wreck today. I feel like just laying in bed an crying all day, but I have to go to my sons school in a little bit for family day. I just have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that won't go away. I feel like I'm about to have a panic attack, and when I get them, they are bad.
    I have a call in to my dr. to ask a few questions since they never called this week like they were supposed to. I just know they will call me in that one hour I'll be with my son.

    My in-laws finally came through. It's a long story but they were upset with me about something I put on facebook I guess. It wasn't about them, but supposedly I put on there that my kids got lice ( I never put that one there, but hubby wont' believe me). Its all stupid, but that is how his family is. In fact his sister called him yesterday and wanted me to look over her taxes. I said no, I have suregery in three days, and have stuff to do, not to mention I have to finish our taxes too. She's mad, and hubby is mad because he says I could find time, it would only take afew minutes. whatever, this is my time right now. ive been trying my hardest to get this house cleaned up and food bought, but I'm tired of it. Hubby doesnt want to eat tv dinners for dinner, he would rather go to McDonalds to eat every night when I can't cook for them. My house that was clean two days ago, is trashed again, because nobody wants to help me keep it clean. So why should I bother?? I'm doing all this to make it easier on him, or so I thought. And I guess for me too, as it will be easier for me to walk around the house without falling over stuff. I just give up!! I called hubby today and told him I was getting nervous, and he asked "for what"? Duh, my surgery! Oh don't worry about that, he says it is no worse than a root canal! ahhhhhhh.............

    I'm hoping the dr. will give me some xanax. If not, I may have to get a few off my mom.
  • Oh sweetheart...take a deep breath.
    It will be ok.
    I hope I didn't upset you.

    You need to do something for you this weekend.
    If others cannot understand what you are up against, us folks here do. Go treat yourself to a pedicure or at least a special dessert and don't bring any home for anyone else. Do you have a friend close by that can meet you for breakfast or lunch or even a cup of coffee? Sometimes our girlfriends can be our best support.

    I'm so sorry your family is not understanding how fearful surgery is. Perhaps your husband is brushing it off b/c he doesn't want you to be nervous. My guess is he is a bit nervous too but doesn't want you to know. Trust that the dust won't make much of a difference and a little disorder in the house is ok.

    I'm glad your inlaws got over it and are helping.
    I hope your doctor's office called you back.

    We'll be here for you through the weekend.
    YOu will be fine.
  • Well tomorrow is the day. I've got so much to do today that I really haven't thought much about it. I almost feel like I'm getting ready for vacation or something LOL. Getting ready to get my kids to where they are staying, then one more trip to the grocery store, then home to pay bills, and do taxes. Hopefully I will get some sleep tonight, but if not then I guess I'll get some sleep tomorrow during the surgery wont' I LOL.

    Oh and I got a pedicure yesterday, and went shopping for some last minute stuff with my friend and our daughters. It was nice to just go!!
  • You are in such good spirits and have such a good sense of humor. I giggled about your comment on getting rest tonight and not worrying b/c you'll have time to sleep tomorrow during the surgery. I think I said the same thing before my surgery. My husband said "we have to go to bed early to get up for the hospital"....I think I told him he needed rest, b/c I had time to sleep during the surgery.

    I am glad you had time to organize and keep busy and darn you sound like you were super productive this weekend.

    Stay positive and I'll say a special prayer for you. From now for the next 6 weeks...it's about you and recovery. You will do great!
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