October 19, 2009 seems such a long time ago now and I am nearly pain free. As with others here, recovery has been a long and frustrating process and I had to work hard on my attitude to be able to keep looking ahead to better days.
I engaged a domestic service to clean my house for 4 months and it was worth every cent. I cooked meals prior to surgery and shopped for all the things I'd need for the first couple of months. I have some wonderful friends who helped me.
Even my two Labradors were good and sensed that things were different and didn't jump all over me when I came home. I didn't find it difficult to look after them.
I walked as much as I could and gradually built up distance. In the early days during the night when my leg didn't want to settle down, I walked up and down the patio.
Listening to my favourite music helps to relax me.
I commenced physio at about the 4 month mark. It has been trial and error with the exercises and I now only do what I feel will benefit me. I chose not to do hydrotherapy because I was fine walking out in the park. I still see the physio every couple of weeks. My core strength is improving all the time.
The best thing of all is being able to go over the park where it's legal to have the dogs off lead. We go every morning for between 1-2 hours. We meet up with other people and their dogs. The park is a very pretty place and there are several bush trails alongside the river. At times it's hard to believe I'm right in the middle of suburbia. The challenge is how to keep my Labbies out of the river because it's a bit brackish at the moment. It's very dry here in Western Australia and we're waiting on the rains to come (we've had one big end of summer storm and only a few days of rain).
It's such a joy to be able to be active again and be with my family and friends - go to the odd concert, etc. I found my mind had to heal as well as my body. For 5.1/2 years I'd withdrawn from being with my family and friends regularly. I was working but not joining in the social activities after work. When I started to feel well post-op and able to go out, I was scared and for a while drew back into my shell. I said to myself "this is no good" and took small steps to join in again.
When I saw my neurosurgeon at 6 months, I was fused and that gave me confidence to do more. L4-5 feels stable and I have reasonable flexibility. I've learned to break up my jobs at home, like clean one room and then do a bit of washing, etc before going back to cleaning again.
The challenge during the next few months is not to overdo things and let the fusion become strong. I'll always need to keep body mechanics and good posture in mind when doing things because there's no way I want to go through any more spine surgery.
Life is GOOD.
XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
ALIF L4/5 2009
Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008