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PLIF at L5 S1

doug2168ddoug2168 Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Last week I got a second opinion from a surgeon and this is what he proposed doing. To my understanding, he will remove the bone fracture and bad disc, squirt some goop in between L5 and S1 that will include the bone removed and screw me back together. I am upbeat about this and a bit scared all at the same time. I've been dealing with the pain and discomfort for over two years now. I've tried every thing known to man to deal with this and the only thing that brings any sort of relief now is sleep, when i can get some, and pain meds. I am a recovering alcoholic and do not like to be on pain meds. That scares me more than anything else right now. I have acquired over 17 years sober through Gods grace and do not wish to wind up in the gutter. This is my biggest reason for the surgery.

The surgeon was very thorough in his explanation of what's wrong with me and what he can do to help me. The surgery is scheduled for the 24th of this month. He told me he would expect me to be able to get back to work full time in about a month. I don't have that amount of time available to me to be out financially right now. I have set up a 10 day period for recovery. I am not over weight, I do smoke, I do a lot of resting now and my job only requires me to sit most of the day anyway. I figure if i can sit at home, I can sit at work. The job is not physically demanding and I have good people who would help me with anything too. Oh, the job I do is a 2nd level hardware/software tech and I do most of the remote work via phone.

My question(s) for you all is, am I being unrealistic in my expectations of being able to get back to work? See, I wonder because the surgeon basically told me that he's seen patients over the years be able to get back to work that quick and some who take months. He said it's up to me. I've only had sinus surgery 10 years ago and never had any other surgery before. Never broke a bone in my life either. I have no idea how much worse the pain will be nor do I understand what he means by 'stamina'. I have pretty good stamina normally. How and why would this be effected by being cut open and screwed back together? LOL I don't understand any of this. I plan on calling the office today to ask these questions but I'm looking for positive input from you all who have gone through this type of thing.




  • Doug,
    Sorry if it isn't what you want to hear, but my personal opinion is that you are being very unrealistic to expect to be able to return to work after 10 days following PLIF surgery. I also think that you will find it very hard to sit for much more than 30 minutes at a time for a few weeks after surgery.

    Everyone is different, but I would be very surprised if you are feeling like returning to work as soon as this! I had the same surgery 8 weeks ago, and am doing well, but I am still off work. You will certainly want to give your body enough time to start to fuse and recover from this very invasive surgery.

    Have you looked at the info section of this site? Click on 'Treatment' at the top of this page. There are articles there about PLIF and other fusion surgeries. Explore that part of the site, and you will get a better idea of what you are facing.

  • Hi Doug

    Welcome to the board, I second Jelly's opinion wholeheartedly - this is quite an extensive surgery that can easily take one year plus for the preliminary recoveries. My surgeon said 1-3 years for complete recovery could be expected in my case since I had nerve root involvements that resulted in severe neurological deficits. I hope the surgeon(s) you have seen are fellowship trained spine specialists - either an orthopedist or neurosurgeon whose practices are devoted solely to issues of the spine; you want to maximize the best possible outcome and they have the extended training that will help in this regard.

    It's been stated here a number of times from various SH members that this is a HUGE surgery, and like you this was my 1st 'major' surgery and it's truly a big deal. My OR report makes me think I'm like Humpty Dumpty, but it looks like the doc was able to put me back together again!

    I would also suggest besides looking at the treatment section, take a look at the Back & Neck surgery section of the forum where you'll be able to get an idea from other 'spineys' how they fared with their surgeries and recoveries. IMO, nothing beats talking to someone else that's traveled the road you're about to start on, you'll find there is a great group here that's more than willing to share their experiences and offer suggestions that may help you.

    I hope this helps, please continue to let us know how things are working out for you -

  • Hi doug and welcome! I know this is not what you want to hear, but most of us who have had this surgery have been at the end or the road. So to speak.

    By the time I had surgery, I could no longer walk. I was falling without being able to protect myself. I was beginning to have compression on my spianl cord causing bladder issues. I had foot drop....

    Financially it stinks. I had a lot of guilt about the finacial impact I was having on my family. My lose of income (I don't have short or long term diability and I had used up all my vacation time). I worried about having to pay our portion up front-we don't have thousands of dollars sitting in the bank.

    At first my hubby worried too. Until he watched me fall suddenly. Until he watched me walk from the driveway with silent tears running down my face. Until he watched me give up all the activites I loved one by one due to the pain. Until he met me at the ER after I had been sent there by my surgeon for conserns re spinal cord compression.....

    At that point, we had to find a way. They could take the house, the car, etc. But I needed to fight to stay out of a wheelchair. That was the point we had come to.

    Do you have a 401K? We were able to use ours, without a penalty, to help cover the cost.

    Part of my recovery is to do all I can to heal. Doing everything my surgeon tells me and equally important, everything he tells me not to do. I am committed to work with my physical therapist and on my own, to get my strength back.

    These surgerys are brutal. Muscles are cut, nerves at cut. hip bone cut to replace the disc. I was in the hospital for a week. Getting into and out of the car is brutal. I am just now driving short distances, out of neccessity. Being comfortable in any position is not easy. Sitting puts about 30% more compression on your spine.

    I thought going in to this surgery that I was indespenable. Complications happened to other people. I am young, strong, athletic, nonsmoker, veggaterian etc. The thing about these surgeries is~you can't rush it. Your body won't let you! It shuts down and takes longer to get where you were. And it happens to EVERYONE it seems like.

    Part of recovery is acceptance, and we all get there at different times. We are here to support you. Give you ideas and suggestions and cheer you on.

    Wishing you the very best!
  • I'll be brief...I agree with all the above comments. Who knows, maybe you will breeze right through it, but the reality is that it takes most people much longer than they thought preop. I will be 6 month postop on Saturday, and not returned to work. I did not have any horrible complications in the early postop, I've just had pain/muscle spasms and numbness in my leg. Every month I see subtle improvement, so I remain hopeful that I will have a full recovery. I have talked with so many people that say it takes one full year to recover. I was like Jayhawk, and had rapid changes in my spine, and did not see any other choice but to have the PLIF.

    I've been sitting in my chair this morning trying to study for a certification that I must have before I return to work, and it has been difficult to concentrate and commit this to memory since I can not get comfortable in my chair for any length of time. I want to go back to work in the next 6-8 weeks, but my job as a nurse is very strenuous.

    Hopefully you can do your work at home. Lying completely flat helps quite a bit also.

    Doug, we are not trying to scare you, just prepare you. We are here for you!!!

  • Foot Drop: I had surgery on L5-L4 to decompresEditedI have foot drop, more pain then before in my back, burning sensation in the leg in back, numbness in my foot and toes,radioculopathy. I used gabapentin and antidepressants with little help, with side effect sharp headache. My EMG test showe- evidence consistent with an active severe left L5radioculopathy.Prognosis for motor recovery is guarded as there are only a few motor unit noted in the left L5 myotome, but there are some early signs of reinnervation with a few polyphasic motor unit in tibialis anterior. This is my MRI result: There some desiccation of the L4-L5 disc, No significant foraminal or spinal stenosis is seen. At L-5L4 is evidence of a left-side laminectomy with minor scaring through the laminectomy defect and about the left S1 nerve1.minor dasiccation L4-L5 disc2. Some postoperative scarring, left side, L5-S1, without obvious spinal stenosis or disc protrusion. My dr.said no complications, but I need to wait six months and do exercises. For the past 12 months my condition is the same. The doctor at rehab said it will be permanent foot drop and pain through all my life. The nerve is not regenerate and I have S1 nerve root damage during surgery.Has anyone else dealt with foot drop, pain caused by surgery and could find some treatment, or repair nerve damage ? Is there any hope of my leg and foot coming back,(pain less at list what I had before surgery) with some kind of treatment like nerve regeneration stem cell treatment or some else. Sorry for my mistakes. Thank you so much for the patience to read my long story to the end. I hope to get soon answer or some recommendations. Thank you again

    Name of Medical Professional removed by Authority Member haglandc
  • I was off work 8 weeks. and needed that because they say not to move and you will over do it by going back too soon.

    You could mess up the whole surgery.

    Sorry to tell you this But you have to listen to your dr.

    They should be able to get a sub for you. (AKA temp)

  • I don't take anyones comments the wrong way at all. I know you're all sharing your experiences with this type of thing. I was looking for an answer that would come close to what I was thinking but, none of you shared that. That's ok. I have no problem with that. Again, it's your experiences. I'm in no way trying to be a smart guy here but my best guess is I'm only going to know by getting this done and hope and pray for the best outcome. Something I did get out of what you all shared with me is that I'm not in that bad of shape wwhen I compare myself and what I have going on to you all. I have constant aching in the lower back and right butt cheek that starting to effect the left side now too. I also have the leg pain and some numbness that comes and goes. No one can touch the right shin and every now and then the right big toe aches. It all hurts. Some days are worse then others. With no pain meds I want to throw up some times because it hurts really bad. Since I started taking Baclofen last week things are more tolerable. All of this seems to have come from whats being called a birth defect that over time is causing the nerve to be pinched with movement because there's nothing to stabilize the tailbone and keep it from moving forward. It's funny how the body is. I was just fine in the lower back region when i was an aircraft mechanic and being physical. I hurt my neck about 7 years ago, changed careers and I slowly became lazy. Now I have this crap going on. Oh well. That's life and I'll deal with this one day at a time. I really hope I don't lose all that I have because of this in the financial sense. yes, my life, health and well being is more important then money but you just happen to need that to live in this world.

  • Great outlook on life Doug and I agree with you, you will only know by trying!

    I wish I hadn't have waited so long!

    We are here for you to cheer you on!

    While you wait, have a look around at the other forums and prepare. There is a great list of equipment/items that come in handy. You won't need everything, but it is a great place to get started!

    Wishing you the best!
  • I try to have the best outlook I can. I don't always have such a good one cause I am human. Somethingthat was drilled into me years ago by some good friends of mine was a question..."who's the father of fear?" and trust me I'm very scared of having this done but I just keep turning my humaness and fear over to the other guy (God) and it seems to be being taken care of for the most part. To have this surgery done right now has been just very easily falling into place and I really can't see how it wouldn't be Him directing me to take care of my problem and preparing me for something in my life down the road. There's a reason for everything that happens I believe. I wasn't brought this far in my life to be dropped on my head or butt in this case. LOL

    It's all going to work itself out just the way it's supposed to. Now if these thoughts will just stick with me into the weeks and months to come....I'll be ok. I know people like all of you will point me back in the direction I need when the time comes. I hope some of you will point me back here to what I'm writing when the time comes that I need to be reminded. Like I said, I'm human.......and that's just why I am here right now.

  • and the pain i went in with is gone. woohoo! for that! for that i am very happy. i am sore.

    here's a run down on how i've been feeling.....

    monday morning got the surgery done. it took 2hrs and 45 mins. i was told the disc was in real bad shape and wasn't easy to get out. where i had it done and who did it i guess makes a big difference because i was kept comfortable, everyone was very friendly and each step was explained to me as to what was happening in terms of meds and where we're going next. the next thing i knew i was being woken up by a very friendly nurse who took great care of me. a couple hours later i was up in my room and woke up. i was tod i would need to get out of bed and void or at a minimum void into a bottle of some sort. i chose to get up. once i saw how i felt when i got up i was walking around the floor some. i did this a few times and didn't sleep much that night. next day, tuesday, i walked around the floor a couple of times and people were amazed. a PT lady stopped by because my surgeon had talked about going home tuesday, maybe, but more then likely wednesday. the PT lady asked a million questions and took me around the floor herself and then to some stairs because i have three flights of them here at home. i passed all tests she gave me and she wrote me off as 'independent'. my worst experience so far has been my stomach issues because i still haven't 'gone' yet. i have someone bringing me something for that later today because that has to happen. yuck! i had some nasty pains going on tuesday night once i got home from the stomach. not fun but so far that's the worst of it to me. yesterday i was very sore. it was an effort to stand up and not feel things being stretched but i did do it rather then sit around. after my ex-wife left for work yesterday morning i kept my phone with me, made sure there was someone available at the complex office and i went down stairs to get the mail and back very slowly. it felt like a major accomplishment and i was very proud of myself. i did several other small things around the house and rested a lot. since resting i feel much better now and i believe once i get my belly straightened out i will be doing even better.

    this is just how things have been for me so far since getting sliced and diced. i will continue to post my progress off and on throughout the next several months so others may see how it can be from my perspective.

    today i intend to do a tiny bit more then yesterday. moderation is the key i guess. a good balance between doing and resting.

  • It sounds like you are doing extremely well in your recovery so far. Keep it up!

    I had a PLIF at L4/L5 nearly 10 weeks ago, so the things you talk about are very familiar to me.

    I also had the 'stomach problems' that you mention and needed help to get things started. Once they were, I didn't have any more trouble.

    Keep resting and taking short walks. Do make sure that you don't overdo it, or your pain levels will go up.

    I wish you well and hope that your recovery continues as well as it has started. I had several complications along the way, but each one got sorted and I'm back on track in my recovery now.

  • Hi Doug,

    I'm impressed. I had a 2 level PLIF 7 years ago and I had a long, painful recovery.

    As I was reading your post one thing I kept thinking was "please, don't overdo it"!

    It is so easy to do too much when we are having a good day, then we pay for it, maybe even do damage. I know I have done it many times. Sometimes I am just a stubborn fool who doesn't want to ask for help, sometimes I go into denial mode to enjoy my love of gardening, sometimes I do too much for my kids' sake.

    Anyway, thats me, and we are all different. I hope you continue to have a good recovery, but the "mom" in me just needed to tell you to be careful.

    Keep us posted on your recovery,

  • Hi Doug

    Very good news, welcome to the 'other side'! It does sound as you're doing quite well, please do take it slow as others have suggested. You're early in the recovery, listen to your body and rest when necessary. Remember recovery is individual to each of us and there isn't any 'right' way to do it - it will happen at the pace that's right for you. Hope the stomach issues resolve soon, be sure to keep well hydrated, it helps the process along w/ upping the fiber intake. Please continue to let us know how you're doing and hope you enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.

  • i'm experiencing what's been called stamina issues i guess as well as sleep issues. sleeping kinda stinks to tell you the truth. it's much like what it used to be before surgery so it's not much different. it's just awkward. i fear ripping the incision open by just laying on it and laying flat is weird. i've never ever had any surgery done like this. just sinuses about 10 years ago or so. so, i never had a cut on me that had to be sewn up or glued or whatever. this is strange to me and makes sleeping worse then before. i sleep in blocks of just a couple of hours here and there during the night. oh yeah and driving takes some getting used to also cause of leaning back on the cut. i have to sit in the car for a bit, wait for a little while, get comfortable, tell myself it's ok, check and make sure i'm ok to do it in terms of pain and leg feeling because i fear having an all of a sudden out of the blue numbness thing pop up, which hasn't happened at all and then i can go. i've only been maybe a mile from home to my local walgreens and that's it. i am 'thinking' of going up to my job to say hello to everyone today but haven't gotten to the point of actually going yet. everything is a chore right now. i understand i've been beaten up on the spine, muscles and everything cut. i just hope i keep on making tiny steps forward toward being able to last longer with things. i can only sit for about 30 mins or so i guess. after that i need to move or do something else. i suppose this will get better over time too.

    as far as going to the bathroom....went to the drug store yesterday morning because i couldn't deal with it anymore, got a stick of dynamite, inserted it, lit fuse and sat. LMAO! in about 20 mins i had relief. a couple of hours later i ate good finally cause i had the room now and felt so much better after. i was able to do lots more things with some fuel in me. food helps a lot in terms of stamina. car won't run with no gas. i guess the human body is the same way. HA! who would've thought?

    anyhow, thanks for all of the comments and support. i intend on continuing to post here and read replies because it helps keep me focused on where i am and where i need to be. i'm taking it all one step and one day at a time.

  • WoW!!! You are doing so well for just 4 days post!
    I was still in the hospital at 4 days! :)

    Spinal recovery is similiar to the beliefs of AA. one day at a time, but even right now~one block of time. For me it was blocks of 4 hours, because each 4 hours I could have more pain meds.

    So, in those blocks of time I tried to walk a little, sleep a little and eat a little. Sometimes, I just tried to get thorugh it!

    Sleeping for me was also very difficult as I had 3 insicions and it was so hard to get comfortable. I slept on my side. I used lots of pillows~between my knees, one to hug in front of me and pillows behind me also.

    In the hospital they gave me benedryl at night. After a few nights at home of not sleeping, I started taking it at home too. It helped.

    Finding the balance of activity and not doing too much is something I still struggle with! It is a very delicate balance and I often don't realize I have over done it until later.

    My PT was helpfull in having me schedule time in my day, to lay down and ice. That has really helped.

    I would caution you about driving. My surgeon released me at my first postop. I wasn't ready. Not only because of the meds I was on, my reflexes, but also, having the strength to slam on the brakes if needed.

    Recently, I had to do that and I really felt it in my back!

    Hang in there! Rest and drink a lot of water. If you need help with your digestive system in the days to come. Miralax is someting you can add to any liguid, it works and there is NO taste! These meds can do horrible things to your GI track!

    Let us know how your doing! Hang in there! We are here for you! Welcome to the "other side" :) YaY!!
  • just thought i'd drop in and update you all on my recovery.

    i'm doing well according to everyone around me. i'm still having to take pain meds every 6 hours. alternating ibuprofen with lortab. seems like a great combination most days because the recovering pain is under control this way for the most part. there are days where i just need to go slower because it hurts more then others. it seems that when i hurt more, its either already raining or it's gonna rain. kinda weird.

    anyways, i'm still back at work. i'm lucky to have a job where i have a flexible company, boss and hours too because some days i just needed to lay in the bed a little extra but i made it in, took it easier then the day before and was able to give them a full 8 hours. i've been back full time now since 8 days after surgery and haven't missed a day yet because of the back. the problems i had prior to surgery are still gone for the most part. every now and then i get a sharp pain in the right leg but it goes away after a few minutes. the doctors office told me the only pain i have going on right now is healing pain. that's pretty much how it feels too. i used to lift weights about 20 years ago and over did it a lot. the pain i have reminds me so much of that pain from over doing it. its taking a lot longer to heal then it did then but its familiar to me. at my job i get to sit for a while, stand for a while and do a bunch of walking if i want to. i find the combination works well. if i could throw a nap in there.....it would be perfect. LOL! i can't have everything! Darn! LOL!

    the only problems i have had since the operation are emotional. i found myself getting pretty down last week with my 5 year old because i couldn't do stuff we normally do like horse around, run, jump and play. i had to talk to a few people, get my head screwed back on right, say some prayers, listen for the answers and they came. him and i wound up having a ton of fun build cheap wood model kits from Micheal's Arts and Crafts. indoor stuff that requires more brains then brawn. that was just one of the things i came up with. we did much more. it was good father son time inside.

    as far as driving goes, i'm glad i don't have to drive farther then an hour to anywhere. this seems to be my limit before i need to get up and move. the lumbar support is great in my honda. i don't think i'd be able to deal with a car that didn't have that right now.

    sleeping is getting better and better each night.

    other then that, there's not much else to update on. i don't have a girlfriend right now so i haven't done any of.....hmmm....hummm....hmmmmm that yet. my guess is it shouldn't be much different though. ;-)

    hope everyone has a god weekend and is getting better......one day at a time!!!!
  • It sounds like you are doing extremely well in your recovery. Well done!

    Has your doctor prescribed Ibuprofen for you? I ask because it is a strong anti-inflamatory and they are known to impede fusion. If he has prescribed it, fine but if not, I would definately talk to him.

    I have just had a check with my surgeon and am disappointed to find out that there is no sign of fusion yet. Not a big problem YET, but I was hoping to see some fusion. I am now looking into everything I can do or not do to help fusion along. :-)

    Great that you have found a way to enjoy having fun with your son. This can be a time when you discover some new things that you can enjoy together. There are lots of other things too. A great opportunity for you to try some new things too :-). I have lots of ideas, but I'm sure you have plenty of your own. (Ask me if you want some ideas)

    Hoping that your recovery continues so well, and that you will soon feel much more 'normal'. I seemed to take a big step forward in my recovery at about 10 weeks or so. I can move much more freely now and am aware that things that caused pain early on, I can now do comfortably. Sitting is easier too!

    I am still finding that I keep waking in the night and need to change position (about every 2 hours), but am now wondering if it is caused by my neck problems rather than my lumbar surgery!

    Take care, keep healing and enjoying your son.
  • I talked to my doctor about it after I found I got some great relief last weekend. I was feeling very sick, like I had a bad sinus headache. I took 800mg once and felt great. I called the office Monday and asked if it was ok to do and how I can take. I have liver problems still and can't take that much of the stuff from my drinking days. I need to be watched with it. So, they told me it was ok twice a day and no more. It helps greatly. I was also told that since I am a smoker, the surgeon used some special thing called BMP (maybe) to help me fuse faster then normal because smoking inhibits healing. I was told I will have more pain then normal the first two weeks because of this stuff and the first two weeks have been kinda painful but getting better.

    Thanks for making the point.

  • Doug, you are doing so well! Must be because of your youth! :) Ha

    So glad to read that you are finding new fun activities to do with your son! Years from now, he may not remember the "things" that you did together, but the time you spent together!

    There is a book, one for daughters ~ The daring book for daughters, and one for sons with a similiar name ( I forgot) full of activities you can do together. Everything form how to widdle a stick to how to make a soap box derby car, etc.

    I am now 14 weeks post 360 and I still take pain meds. I don't think I would need to if I weren't going to physical therapy. But I am, and it elicites pain, but I am getting stronger! Even feeling some good muscle strength returning in my abs! :)

    I have my 3 month follow up with my surgeon and anticipate being released to return to work. My job is physically challenging and there is no "light" duty, so I am praying I will be able to tolerate it. I love my job, my FMLA is up, so I have to try!

    Wishing you the best in your recovery! Hang in there as it really is a long rollar coaster!
  • this past friday i had my first followup with the surgeon since surgery. he answered all of my questions and i told him how i've been taking the ibuprofen. he said i have two things going against me for fusion success now and they are smoking and ibuprofen. well i opted out of taking the ibuprofen and he swapped me from lortab to straight oxycodone for pain management. i started the new regimine friday night and as of yesterday morning it wasn't going too well because the aching was unbearable. i took it through for 24 hours and i couldn't deal with it anymore. i called the pharmacy and spoke to the pharmacist. she said i could take some tylenol in between and see how it goes. it helped a lot. so, seeing how that helped, i went back to the lortab and dropped the oxycodone. i tried ibuprofen once this morning and it didn't help. the aching is still bad but nothing like yesterday. this is frustrating.

    now, one other thing i was told was i could do things i felt were ok to do. so, i had some boxes of parts i needed to get out of my car and upstairs. i carried them and had no pinching or pain friday evening. i felt ok after too. i wonder if this had done me in. i don't know but all i want to do now is lay down because when i do i'm ok. i don't feel much like eating but i am. i ache when i walk. i ache when i sit. i don't want to do much of anything. this sucks!

    the surgeon told me i'm out of the woods in terms of bad pain when i saw him friday. i'm getting on the phone to the office monday morning because this just sucks. i was doing well except for having to do ibuprofen in between. there has to be something out there that will help me deal with this and not impede fusion. he explained that the fusion process feeds off of swelling and that's why anti-inflammatories will ruin that. i also get that's why he went to oxy from lortab to be able to have me take more but things got worse instead of better.

    anyone have any suggestions? please!!!! i'm down now and will probably stay home tomorrow to just rest.

  • Shame on you for carrying boxes this early in your recovery. You should be on a no BLT (bending, lifting, twisting) restrictions for about three months before you can do any of that, then be careful with it.

    Please don't carry anything heavier than 5 or 10 lbs. (they usually recommend nothing heavier than a gallon of milk) until you're three months out. I'm afraid that's what has caused your increased pain.

    I can tell you that I still get pain when I do too much lifting and I'm almost six months out! I know that the recovery process is a long one, but you have to try and be patient and take very good care of your back while it's trying to heal and fuse. There's a lot going on in there and please don't undermine the fusion and healing by not adhering to the BLT restrictions.

    I realize your surgeon was very general in his explanation of what you should or should not be doing, but lifing is so bad for our lumbar spines and yours is still working very hard.

    There, enough scolding (for now). Just take care of yourself and see what you can do without any extra anti-inflamatory drugs. Maybe you need a different pain med, something comparable, but that you might respond to better. It would be smart to talk to your doctor about that.

    Take care (and I mean it!).

  • Hi Doug,
    Sorry to hear that your pain levels have gone up.

    You could try icing your back as that can have the effect of dealing with inflamation.

    Please do be carefull not to overdo it.
    Once we feel better, it is so easy to think we can get back to doing things that are actually too much for us.
    I know, I have a very sore back this evening after trying to play with my grandaughter this afternoon! :S
  • Hope you are feeling better now and your pain is well managed.

    Do be cautious! I have kept to my BLT limitations, really haven't done anything I shouldn't have, yet I have still managed to herniate the level above my fusion...:(

    I am praying that it won't impede my recovery, but only time will tell!

    The thing about our spines, is that there is no going back in time to change things....

    Hang in there and let us know how you are doing!
  • hello all,

    well, i think a lot of what you all told me about and/or described caught up to me some or whatever. i don't know for sure but, over the last couple of weeks i lost 56 hours from work, unpaid time off, almost was 'let go' because i felt horrible. there was an OTC pain reliever commercial some years ago that had an animation of someone's back muscles being twisted and they turned beat red the tighter they got. that's where i was over the last few weeks. it hurt so bad!!!! i called the docs office and the PA wouldn't change the meds around. they said it was the fusion process. well ok. the best place i found was in bed, getting up every 4 hours for drugs. just moving hurt like heck.

    anyways, i made it through that crap and over the past weekend everything started getting more bearable. had a great weekend with my son and made it back to work monday morning. put in a full day finally and was able to do some side work to try to get myself out of the financial hole i'm falling in to. haven't missed too much time so far this week. the only thing i'm experiencing now is this 'catch' in my lower back and the right side hip and outer thigh is hurting and burning some. much like the way things were prior to surgery. the docs office says this is normal and i should be out of the woods in terms of severe pain now. so, i'm like wth (what the heck)? i don't get it. don't understand it. all i know is its a weird feeling. doesn't really hurt. just scary when i feel this catch and it does get to hurting some when i'm like an hour out of next dose of drugs. mobility is very limited. i don't have a lot of range of motion yet. i still have to sit to put on pants, socks and shoes. bending my legs up to do so is a slow grueling process, etc.

    where am i in this? what the heck is going on? why was i doing so well and now it seems to me things ain't so great? i'm frustrated and don't get it.

    ps- as far as endurance or 'stamina' (there's something about that word i just relate to as sexual and i find it embarrassing), i'm wiped out at the end of the day. like monday night i slept and slept. i know i got up for drugs but don't really remember it. glad i keep a log on paper to cross the time out. and as far as sex goes.....i suppose in a way it's a good thing i'm seeing no one cause the relationship would be suffering in that regard. LOL! i have no interest at all. otherwise it would be so nice to have someone here to help me out at times and to spend time with. being alone gets to me after a while. even though i know i'm not really alone in the spiritual sense.

    off to work! thanks to all of you and the site people for providing an outlet for people like us. this is great in terms of support!!!

  • Hi Doug! It's great to read a post from you, but I am sad to hear about your troubles. I can really relate, my journey is similiar....

    Would your doctor be receptive to you scheduling an appointment and going in to see him? I am definately not a doctor but at my last appointment, I mentioned new pain and numbness. I almost didn't mention it as I thought it was all related to my fusion.

    But, my surgeon was concerned as it was at a different level than my fusion. He sent me for an immediate MRI and lucky me, I have a new herniation above my fusion, L3-4! ALREADY!!!

    My pain was similiar to what you describe. It seems to have settled down now, but I have been on vacation for the past week, so we'll see what it is like when I go back to work next week.

    I still have a hard time reaching my feet, can't paint my toenails :) I can't stand to put my legs in pants and I only wear shoes I can slip my feet into. Sex....my hubby is more worried than I am :( he is worried about hurting me. It doesn't help that I keep hurting myself...my new herniation, I slipped and fell last week on wet concrete and dropped a wooden/metal beach chair on my foot yesterday...

    Are you being seen by a pain management doc? Someone who can adjust your pain meds as you need them adjusted? Are you taking anything for nerve pain? Lyrica or Neurontin? Maybe that would help?

    My endurance has been horrible, but I just found out about 2 weeks ago that my body is not absorbing my thyroid medication and my level was very low. About 60 and at a minimal needs to be in the 130's...so hopefully I will begin to get some energy.

    Returning to work has been horrible and I am not sure if I will be able to do my job or if I will have to find a different one....

    The journey of a spinal fusion really is a roller coaster, but we are here for you! I hope you are able to have your pain managed and that it becomes less and less as the days go by!

    Wishing you the best and hang in there!
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