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6 month post op..same result as Sleeprgirl

B52BB52 Posts: 247
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Evening everyone! Well today I had a 6 1/2 month post PLIF visit to the doc's. I was more than a little shocked when the x-rays showed no more fusion than I had 2 months out (not much). He said "there might be a little feathering here", but pretty much nothing. I was a little too thunderstruck to ask a lot of questions like 'what now?' He advised me to go back to wearing my hated TLSO brace for one month and then after that, if I feel back pain, wear it for one more month after that pain. Ho-boy! I did ask him at what point do we just throw up our hands and say it just ain't gonna work? He said if it isn't fused by about 9 months, it probably ain't going to. I am supposed to use proper lifting and sitting posture (duh), not lift anything heavy (duh, again) and generally avoid anything that will further injure me. The NS reminded me that it'll be easy to damage myself with no bone in my 'fusion' area, and to be careful so as to avoid another operation. Freakin' craptastick I tell ya! Oh I did get a prescription for Neurontin for nerve pain that I have often down the right leg.

On the good side, though, at least right now my LTD is working. I hope that keeps up, or I'm going to be a hungry unit! And really, I am breathing and I still feel better than I did before the surgery. I guess I'm just griping to get it out. Grrr...

Peace & love, y'all

p.s. Oh, and this ain't no s&*%. When I pulled into the Dr's parking lot today, a hearse pulled in right beside me and parked. I wondered then if that was a bad omen...sure enough!


  • After all the months of pain and being careful and then to be told that you haven't fused more during the last four and a half months is distressing.

    Did your neuro give you advice about the bending, lifting, twisting restrictions before or just after surgery? Sounds like you're going to have to wear your hated brace for another couple of months.

    Don't give up on fusing yet, and do as much walking as you're comfortable with.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008

  • It must have felt like a real blow to find out that fusion isn't progressing! :|
    Not what you wanted to hear.

    I have an appointment next Monday to hear about how I am doing. Hope I have good news!!

    This recovery is long enough without fusion problems that stretch it out even further!

    I really hope that by wearing your brace again, and following all the restrictions, you spine will continue to fuse.
    Have you thought about looking into nutritional aids for fusion, like Lisa (sleeprgirl) has?
    Also, what about a bone growth stimulator?
    Hope that you can help to get things moving along again.

  • G'day Jellyhall! Ya know, I did ask if there were anything else I could do to encourage bone growth; either nutritionally or otherwise. The advice I got was take a multi vitamin 2 or 3 times a week. The Doc said calcium supplements or anything else really won't help me that much. Personally, I don't see where it could hurt! Plus, this particular doctor doesn't think that I'd benefit from the stimulator this far along.

    Trish..yea, I had the typical BLT restrictions after surgery and they've never been totally lifted. And I guess it'll be a summer of no BLT now.

    I'm not giving up on the fusion. However, I do have to be realistic about things not looking really great and prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best. I was a little upset yesterday, but I'm much better this morning. I'm just going to put my head down, wear my brace and proceed.

  • Well reading this post has answered a few of my questions and given me a few to talk to the surgeon about.

    I now know that if I have the fusion I will be taking quite a bit of time off from work. I'm lucky that I have short and long term disability.

    I will definately ask for the bone growth stimulator. I know my doctor uses them because I see the hello kitty pictures everywhere in his office.

    I will plan the surgery for winter so I am less likely to over-do and I won't be stuck in the heat with a brace. Sorry Aaron.

    I will work with a dietician to come up with a diet that would help with bone growth.

    Aaron I'm glad you haven't given up. We all heal at different rates. Can only help to do all the things he suggests. I'm thinking a lounge chair and an umbrella are in your future. Maybe a dietician/nutritionist could help you identify foods or supplements that are more beneficial. I think I heard that pineapple and rum are really good for you :)
  • and make room for me in the boat. Within 2 days all 3 of us got crappy news for our 6/7 month post-op check-ups. I'll share the life preserver with you both if our boat springs a leak. Better yet, do you think our boat could be one of those big, cool ones with a bathroom and quarters below to hang out in?

    But seriously, I do hope things get better. Its a real kick in the head when you go through all the recovery do's and don'ts and still have problems. I'm going to work on my positive thinking some more and think of what I do have: a great husband and kids, a roof over my head, food in the fridge...etc.

    So now I'm going to put on my sunscreen, get a cool drink and sunbathe up top of the boat. Did I mention that the Captain is George Clooney and that he is sailing us to him home in Lake Como, Italy?! Aaron, you can fantasize your own Captain!

  • That boat sounds great!! :D

    I'm sure that the Vitamin D from the sunshine is good for your bones, so enjoy the ride and hopefully while you relax and have fun, your spine will be kick started in its healing!!
  • Keep me out of that boat please. If I start to get aboard make sure I don't. Throw me overboard.
  • Just sending you some good wishes. Yes sometimes we just have to put our head down and keep plugging along. Through the pain, disappointment and uncertainty. What other choice is there. At least we all have each other on SH. No one else really understands. Not even the doctors. Keep smiling!!

  • I'm thinking we should have a big party with us sporting our beautiful and figure flattering TLSO braces! Before long, they will become the latest fashion trend, cause they are HOT! :)

    I know last weekend I was feeling exceptionally HOT while I was wearing mine at a pool party! :)

    Seriously Aaron, hang in there, keep your sense of humor and when needed, vent to us~ we are here for you!

    Wishing you the best! Shari
  • Everyone, thanks for the kind support! Lisa Burek, I wasn't aware you were in this situation too. Sure, come on in..plenty of room. KRIS in Ny.. I talked to my LTD carrier this morning and they figured they'd extend my coverage without trouble, but the nice lady advised me that since this is going to run up on about a year, to get about filing for SSDI. Their company will recommend and pay for a lawyer if I wanted one, so I went ahead and asked them to get one lined up for me. Oh, and I had my surgery in November, so my first four months when I had to wear the FLSO full time was in the cool weather. Much better that way, if you can swing it. Wearing it in the hot sucks..as I think JellyHall can attest to.

    And the pineapple and rum drink idea? I love that. Now if I could only figure a way back out to Maui to recover...Hmmm. This seems like a real set back, and I'm really glad there are people here to do understand what this feels like. Y'all put a smile on my face today.

    Aloha nui loa, y'all
  • Aaron...I'm soooo very sorry. I've been given some advice from other doctors and my PT the last two days. I'm going to post everything on my thread. I'm not one to just sit back and wait. My surgeon just said there is no change and patted me on the back, and that was it. No plan of care.

    Well now I have a plan of care...part of one, at least!

    I will bring Margaritas for our yachting expedition :-)

  • Lisa, that is what I've been looking for so very hard. I can handle just about anything if there's a plan. The feeling of being adrift, totally in the hands of others is a real drag. I can't wait to see what you post..I'm going to look for it now.

    Yea, I really didn't care much for the "pat on the head" treatment either. It's like it might not be as big a deal to the doc as it is to me. But to me (or us) it is a pretty damn big deal. Going now to see what you posted

    Gracias & margaritas!
  • Do you know the difference between a pitbull and a nurse anesthetist with hardware in her back?


    I am always respectful...but I can not sit on my hands and let another 6 months pass me by without doing anything different. At the one year mark, at least I can say that I did everything that I could do. And...I am fortunate to have the most awesome GYN and physical therapist ever! They really care about me...and I'm grateful.


  • Lisa, yea I know about those pitbulls with lipstick! I love 'em too. My baby sister is an RN. She flies on a medivac helicopter and she is like I think you are. She takes no crap and doesn't take no for an answer. I called her today and explained my Dr's visit and she has given me much to think on. I'm going to keep reading what you're writing, because nobody told me crap about any supplements or what encourages or inhibits bone growth (other than smoking, which I don't do). Between you and nutritional advice from my sister, I think I may make it. I'm sure going to give it my best shot. I'm like you, a year from now I want to know that I tried my best to heal.

    Peace be upon ya,
  • I'm deep in research...I will share my findings tomorrow. If you see some data of interest, please let me know.

  • I will indeed share anything I of interest. Crikey, have you noticed how many threads there are concerning non-fusion and bone growth? Crap, I hope this not fusing ain't becoming a trend!

    Kindest regards,
  • have a procedure with ZERO complications, but the fusion seems something there is no control over. Guess we have to just put our lives on hold another 6 months.

    The meter is running, and so am I.

  • So sorry to hear of your lack of fusion. I will be keeping you and all of your boat buddies in my prayers. Lynette
  • Thanks for the thought, Lynette and for giving me a little laugh this morning! Boat buddies..teehee :)

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