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tahoegrannyttahoegranny Posts: 93
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone:

I decided to start a new thread on April surgeries as mine is coming up pretty fast (April 7th).

I'm having PLIF on L2 to L5 with no instrumentation for DDD and scoliosis. Have had 2 previous laminectomies in 1998 and 2003 on L5-S1 and L3-L4 which helped but have now reached the point that my Drs. said would happen eventually. I live with constant pain and have to plan every move I make so that I don't hurt. I'm looking forward to surgery at this point and hopefully I can resume some sort of normal life after lots of rehab, but that doesn't mean that I'm not frightened as well about what to expect after surgery.

I've copied "the list" and already have most of the items I'll need. It's a tremendous help to get organized beforehand.

Any advice is appreciated. Marsha


  • I am hoping I will have a scheduled surgery date in April....

    Good luck to you tahoe granny :-)
  • I am the lucky one to get scheduled for April Fools Day. LOL Lets try to find the humor in that. I have ACDF 6/7 scheduled at that time. Anyone else get the same day?
  • Good to know there are more of us out there. Lets stay in touch to see how we are doing. Thanks for the good wishes!
  • I am scheduled for a L4-L5 posterior fusion on April 8th. This is my second back surgery, the first one was an Artificial Disc Replacement on May 8, 2009. The ADR failed so now I am going in for a fusion, my new surgeon will leave the artificial disc in and fuse around it. Good luck to you tahoegranny and sparkledct, I will keep you in my thoughts! >:D<
  • Thanks for answering.....I guess we both know what it's like to go through at least 1 back surgery. I just hope that I'm more prepared for this one because it involves so much more with a 3 level fusion and that I'll be able to cope with the recovery...Talk to you soon :)
  • I was hoing that by this time in March there would be more posts about surgeries next month. I guess people don't have that much time to look at past pages.
    Hope to hear from more people soon!
  • I am new here and have been reading alot of comments all over Spine-Health to see how everyone has been dealing with their back pain and getting ready for surgery...I found out I was having surgery in January but didn't get my surgery date til mid February. I have had a long wait and it is driving me crazy...Now I have almost 2 weeks left til the big day...Friday I go for my Pre-Op appointment. I don't know all of the medical terms but it says I am having a Discectomy, ALIF, and Anterior Inst. I am relieved to have found this website because it helps me knowing what is coming up before and after.

  • This isn't a spine surgery but I'm hoping it will help alleviate the need for a lumbar surgery down the way. I'm having a total knee replacement on April 9. Had a cervical posterior foraminotomy one year ago and have intermittent problems brewing again in my neck. Don't expect the knee replacement to fix that, lol.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • My husband had a total knee replacement about 5 years ago. He researched prothesis all over the world and doctors as well who do minimally invasive replacement procedures. He was concerned about the materials used in the replacements...beware of the metal nickel as there can be severe reactions to it. He used a knee made by Smith & Nephews because he is a big guy and was concerned that many of the companies only make one size knee. S&N makes several sizes. He doesn't play tennis anymore because there is too much running on hard surfaces but he does still ski, sail, exercise in the gym and ride his street bike quite a lot.

    If you are limping because of your knee, which my husband was, I think the replacement will in the long run help you walk more evenly. My husband also has spondeolesthis (spelling?)and his back is fine.

    Only your doctor can tell you the effects of this surgery. Rehab is also very important for knee replacements in order to walk properly.

    I've had ACL replacement in my right knee and now have no ACL in my left knee, but I still keep going. I refuse to give up and just lay down and exist. I'm hoping that my L2-L5 fusion next month will make life easier for me as I have a hard time walking for any distance.

    Stay in touch and let me know what you find out. Marsha
  • I also have my pre-op next week. I'm having PLIF on L2 to L5 on April 7th. Not looking forward to this but have run out of options. I'm somewhat concerned because we don't hear enough about good outcomes. I just hope that more Spineys will post how good their surgeries have been and how well they are doing.
  • My surgery will be minimally invasive and done by an orthopod surgeon who does only knees. She has a very good reputation and I expect to do well. We have not talked about the type of implant but I will definitely ask the question about nickel. Thanks for that tip! I'm very encouraged to know how well your husband is doing with his knee. I want to be able to walk for exercise. Not thinking of anything more strenuous than that although that may change.

    Saw my PCP today for a pre-op physical and I gave him a form to get a temp handicap parking permit and when I looked at the form afterwards I saw that he gave me a permanent permit. Have to admit, that made me kind of nervous about what I'm getting into (is he expecting me to be permanently handicapped??) but I really have no choice but to go with the replacement because of the condition of my knee. I do walk with somewhat of a limp, I'm told by people, but I don't know if that's from my knee or my back problems. Will let you know how things go, although it will probably be a few days before either one of us feels much like posting here. I'll be in the hospital for 3 nites then at home with home health care. Thanks again for your interest--and please let us know how you do with your surgery! You're going to be in for a long recovery and I'll be praying that the surgery gives you the needed relief from pain. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Glad I could give you some info that might help you. Sounds like you're in good hands. I would just ask your doc about the kind of implant she is planning to use. You could probably do some of your own research on the web about it. Some docs are tied in with certain companies and use only the implants that are supplied to them. Ask her to make sure that its the right size for your leg.

    Handicap sticker is a great idea...you'll need it...you would be surprised how much it will help you when you have to walk a long way esepcially if the weather is bad. You won't need it all the time, just when your knee is sore or tired. If you have home health care, ask your Dr. about a re-freezable leg brace ( I don't know what else to call it). My husband had one that I kept in the freezer and he used it twice a day, every day and it went from his ankle to his thigh..the interesting thing about it was that it had an electric pump that pushed air from the bottom of his leg to the top and this really kept his leg from swelling during the day. He felt that this helped speed up his recovery. Also, a stationary bike either at home or in re-hab is probably the best exercise because there won't be any pressure on the joint, but it will be awhile before you get to that point.

    Thanks for your good wishes. I have finally come to the realization that it will be a long recovery and re-hab. The worst part is that we probably won't be able to go to our boat in Italy this summer. This is the killer for me as I love being on the water.

    Will stay in touch to see how your doing. Thanks Marsha
  • ...I have been lurking here for a few weeks. Have had two MRI's - first one in July last year showing herniated discs at L4 and L5-S1. Couldn't take the pain... had new MRI last week which shows L4 still herniated and impinging the nerve. Lots of pain...

    Am scheduled for microdiscectomy April 15th.

    Interestingly, the day after I was told by my NS's surgical coordinator that my date was set.. got a call from the insurance company.. asked me all kinds of questions, wanted to know if I was doing PT... and did I know about certain benefits.. like $500 added to FSA account if I did certain things prior to surgery....

    I explained that I had spent a lot of time researching my condition, knew exactly what to expect etc... very interesting conversation.

    Anyway, I am pretty scared about this 1st surgery on my back, and am hopeful it will be the ONLY one!

    The pain I have had for the past months has been debilitating. My left leg does not function properly, got the foot drop problem and constant constant pain! Will be very glad to get this over and done with....

    I do have a question though.. has anyone ever had a shooting pain go right to their head when moving a certain way? I've not seen this as a sympton before, but I totally relate it to the herniated disc.
  • Hello Sandra, welcome to the S-H forum!

    I hope your surgery goes smoothly and relieves your pain. You've suffered long enough with this. As for the shooting pain to your head, I can't see how that could come from your herniated lumbar disc. Were you meaning you get the pains when moving your head a certain way? Do you have a herniated cervical disc as well? I'm very familiar with shooting pains which originate in one nerve but are felt in another one some distance away but I think those little pains are normal for everyone. In earlier years I used to get shock-like pains in my neck when I turned it a certain way. For some reason those have gone away. Maybe you need to ask your PCP about the pains in your head, if they continue. Your spine surgeon could also quickly relieve your mind on this question, as it relates to your lumbar herniation.

    Glad you came out of lurk mode and are ready to join in the discussions. Jump right in and ask questions and just get acquainted. You'll find this a friendly place and a great resource for practical experiences. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Welcome to this post. Sounds like we're almost in the same boat. I hope that we'll all stay in touch so that we can follow each others progress.

    Went shopping today for some of the items on the "list" of things to have on hand after surgery. One gal suggested getting scrubs to wear during the day as they are comfortable and look a lot better than PJ's all day. Got 3 pairs. Also got some front snap bras as I don't think I'll be able to reach in back. Had my neighbor build a small table on wheels to keep next to my bed so I don't have to reach too far for things I might need. Am trying to get as much prepared beforehand so I don't drive everyone else crazy. I just had a thought.....we have 2-way radios that we use when skiing and on our boat and I think will be a good idea to use from room to room to call for something or help (no intercom).

    Everyone stay well....Marsha
  • Thanks for the welcomes!

    I did make a mistake in my first post, the disc with issues is the L5-S1 and the one for which surgery is scheduled.

    I did mention the shooting pain to the NS, but he actually didn't comment on it at all now that I think about it. I only had the pain a few times, so I will just wait and see on that.

    I am also trying to plan for after surgery. I have a sleep sofa for which I am going to buy an air mattress - so will position myself in the den the first week after surgery so that I don't have to go up and down the two flights of stairs to the bedroom. I already have a laptop table on wheels so that will come in handy. I was also thinking about clothing and initially thought of just getting some nighties, but that would mean lifting over head...so I will just look around at the store and see what I can find that buttons up.

    Two way radios sound like an excellent idea!

    I just cannot wait for this to all be over so I can get back to a normal life! Although, I do know that the surgery is just the starting point.. there's a long road afterward with the PT...

    Does anyone know if you are able to sit up in bed at all? I usually sleep with multiple pillows and cannot imagine having to sleep flat... and what about working on the laptop? I guess I will find out ;)

  • I am going to my preop appt. today for my surgery on the 2nd of April...I am trying to figure out my sleeping arrangements too...All of our rooms are upstairs, 2 flights up...so we are going to have to figure out something for me downstairs. I have a bathroom downstairs which is good. Sandra I am like you, can't wait til it is done and I am on the road to recovery. My surgery is at L5-S1 also...Good luck with your!

  • All in the same boat, jut waiting till it's over (4/7). I'm lucky, my bedroom is on ground level so I don't have to worry about climbing stairs.

    Unfortunately for me, I only have a regular desk top computer and its in my kitchen at the opposite side of the house, so it might be awhile before I'll be able to post when I get home. I'm assuming that I'll be able to get out of bed for at least a few minutes at a time, so hopefully I can get to the computer to let everyone know how I'm doing.

    In the meantime, everyone keep positive!!!! ;) Marsha
  • Even though we have a single story house, I'm setting myself up on the sofa in the livingroom. I don't want to be waking my hubby when I need to take my pain meds or get up to the bathroom, although for the first week he will have to be my nurse, I'm told, so his sleep may be interrupted at times anyway. Also, it will be just easier to have one place that I have my computers, meds, reading material, TV, etc. I did it this way a couple of years ago when I had my feet operated on and it worked great. When I'm enough better that I won't be keeping him awake, I'll move back into the bedroom.

    Marsha--maybe it's time for your hubby to spring for a laptop computer with wireless internet. ;)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I just ordered a 4" Serta Foam mattress topper for the sofa bed and a pillow top mattress cover from overstock. Hopefully, that will be comfy... :)

    My husband isn't pleased about me being on the sofa, but two flights of stairs??? I don't think so... the only thing I won't have access to is the shower, but I don't think you can take a shower the first week, so am not worried about that. Plus being downstairs, I have full access to the kitchen and maybe get outside on the deck since the weather will be nice by then.

    The part I am dreading is the ride home. The interstate between the hospital and my house is absolutely riddled with pot holes... I told hubby that he'd better not take that road... he says it is the only way home (liar! it is just the quickest LOL).

  • Don't feel so bad about your ride home..if you have enough meds and put the front seat all the way down, it shouldn't be too bad. Also, take along some pillows to prop yourself so that you don't roll around too much. What about laying down on the back seat?

    I have to fly home (7-8 hours) with one change of planes. Doc said with meds and a brace I should be OK (what does he know? LOL). This is the part that scares me the most. I'm afraid of doing some damage as I don't think I'll be able to lay down at all. The only thing I can think of is to get the front bulkhead seat and possibly lay down on the floor if it gets too bad, although I don't know how I would get up. Also, what if I have to use the bathroom on the plane?(OMG) Anyone have any ideas? Marsha
  • Yesterday at my preop appt. the doctor told me that I need to find a way to put a bed downstairs or sleep on the couch. He said I shouldn't try to do our 2 flights of stairs til after my 2 week postop appt. So, I guess my family will be moving all of my stuff downstairs the week of my surgery. I was wondering about a toilet riser too...since our toilet is low. Has anyone had to get something like that due to surgery?

  • One of the first items on "the list" is a toilet riser. I've got mine with handles so I'll have something to grab onto if I have to. I had stomach surgery several years ago and the muscles were soooo sore. This riser would have been a great help then if I knew about it.

    I'm still trying to think of everything that I'll need, just in case......Marsha
  • You are right...when I printed the list out it didn't print out the 1st half of the items from the first page. Guess I have to reprint the list. Glad you pointed that out. I didn't even think about having one of those when I had my hysterectomy...would have been much easier. Tamara
  • I attended a pre-op joint clinic last week and one of the things they said was to get a toilet riser. Our front bathroom already has a raised toilet and grab bars from when we were caring for my husband's aged father, so I'm all set. I'll be prohibited for some time from using my new knee to push up out of any sitting position. And those grab bars are really handy, in case any of you are wondering if you really want to install them.

    Am having increasing leg pain at night from my lumbar problems so am getting anxious to get this knee fixed so it's no longer aggravating my back.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Hello All,

    I am brand new to this site. My orthopedic surgeon sent me here to perform some research on the procedure he is performing and I came across this forum. I have been reading a few posts for a couple of weeks now and all I can say is, WOW! I cannot believe the amount of information that is given here and the encouragement that all of you provide to each other. I can already tell that you are all very special people.

    I am scheduled to have a mini 360 fusion at L5-S1 on April 15th. I have a spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 with degenerative disc disease. I actually have no disc left between L5-S1 and it is bone on bone. I have been suffering from back pain for about 10 years now and have finally convinced myself that it is time to take the plunge and get it fixed. I am only 40 years old and feel like it is time to get my life back. Any help and suggestions that you all can provide to make this easier would be greatly appreciated. I am really nervous about the surgery and the recovery.

    I have a very loving husband that will take great care of me at home and a 22 year old daughter still at home who is in nursing school. It is wonderful to have a trained professional to help with my recovery.I also think she is a little excited about the chance to take care of me. :)))

    Take care,
  • This is a great place to gather info before and after surgery...my spine specialist also referred me here. I am very nervous for my surgery next week. I know next week will be worse. The anxiety level will be way up! But I have read lots of good info and the "spineys" here all so helpful! It lets you know that you are not alone and lots of people have gone through what we are getting ready to endure. Good luck with your surgery!

  • Tamara, I am one day before you for a ACDF L6/7 with fusion. I have to say I have my moments where I am slightly freaking out, but the people on here help keep me grounded! I thank god for my spiney friend and having found this group everyday. All of us "April's" will have to keep in touch :)
    Best of luck and speedy recovery to all!

  • Glad you found us. Those of us that are having surgeries in April are really doing a great job of supporting each other as well as all the other posts that have been giving us information and encouragement. We all need as much as we can get as these procedures will probably be life-changing for most of us.

    I think we are all afraid of what is entailed in our procedures as we don't know what our outcomes will be...we all just know that life as it is is not acceptable and we want better for ourselves.

    We just have to keep supporting each other any way we can with prayers, good thoughts and mostly good information.

    Let's all stay in touch.....Marsha
  • Just wanted to say Hi and wish all of you April surgeries well on your upcoming journey. I had a 360 L-5 S-1 fusion on March 9th and doing well. I just wanted to give my 2 cents on some of the concerns some of you have expressed based on my experience so far. I am now 2 weeks post op. As far as the stair issue. I would not want to have to do stairs the first week you are home. I could do my 5 steps into the house, but just yesterday was the first day i did the full flight up and down. You could do it but i just think it takes too much out of you to do. I was in pretty good shape going into surgery too, not overweight and walking 30 min 3x a week. On the list of things to get the grabber is a MUST HAVE!! cannot live without it and am going to get another one,one for the kitchen living area and one for bathroom and dressing area. The satin PJ bottoms really made a difference getting in and repositioning in bed The couch sleeping thing. I have 2 different sofas in my living room cuz I had my family bring the firmer higher one in so it would be easier to get off of but is was still just a little low and felt I stressed myself getting out of it so we ended up putting bed raisers under the legs of the sofa and it is the perfect height now and no stressing my back. I guess you would have to hae the right legs, one of my sofas legs fit perfectly into the raisers. The other option was my son was going to run a 2x6 under the legs to raise it also. Do anything you can to make things easier. I guess thats all I can think of for now.Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Lynette
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