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Update June Fusion S1-L2--learning to walk again!

texastigerttexastiger Posts: 48
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello to all,

This is my first post since my fusion on June 11. I have waited to post for several reasons: (1) I updated frequently on my blog, www.pigtailspapertrails.blogspot.com --lots of funny stories on the blog (2) I haven't wanted to discourage anyone from doing what is best for them.

I had a fusion from S1-L2. The NS went from side and placed plastic BMP filled wedge at L3/L4 and then from back removed 19 year old hardware S1-L4 that had to be cut out piece by piece and then he straightened the spine and added new hardware from S1-L2. The surgery was 10 1/2 hours (this does not include recovery time,etc...)

I woke up in incredible leg pain but couldn't move my legs at all. My feet did not hurt and they moved. After some time in ICU I was moved to Acute Care. 5 days later I was moved to inpatient Rehab where I had to learn to walk. My legs would not move all. Nerve pain was intense yet they were numb.

I begged my way out of the hospital because I missed my children so much and they had a no kid visit rule. After 15 days, I went home and have had home health pt since June 26.

I walk with a cane and have come off most meds except for a pretty high dose of neurotin which still keeps the pain at a tolerable level.

My back is straight and I have NO pain in my back. My NS is "cautiously optimistic" about my legs and my rehab dr is a bit more positive but says it can take a year or longer.

This was NOT something that I expected to happen and neither did my NS. Yes, I would do the surgery again because I had no option to avoid crippling process.

I have been told by both NS, rehab dr and therapists that my hip flexors are incredibly weak and this happened before the surgery because the body was compensating for the crookedness and the muscles were not being used correctly. Now, that the body is straight, the muscles must be restrengthened. The nerve pain is damage from a 10 1/2 hour surgery and also nerve stretch injury that happens when the spine is straightened as much as mine was.

Good luck to anyone who decides to have a fusion. I just wanted to share my progress.

learning to walk again--this time straight :),


  • Becca,

    Sounds like you still have a ways to go, but on the same hand, have COME a long ways already! Thanks for sharing your update. :) I'm gonna send you more positive energy to enhance your healing. You also are showing a very positive attitude, and that is a biggie on healing right there! I hope you continue to improve and feel better. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Just wanna wish you the best of luck.
    you sure did go through an awful lot, and still have a long road to travel.
  • Its been the hardest thing I have ever been through and every day is a new challenge. I don't want anyone to think its easy but if its necessary, you can get through it.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    hugz to you too,
  • What an amazing spirit you have! Congrats on getting to the point you are now and I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers during the rest of your recovery!

    So glad that you are home now with your kiddos!

    Hang in there! Keep in touch with us! We are here to support and encourage you!

    Wishing you the very best! :)
  • Becca,

    You're very Welcome! Your energy and attitude show very well. As you can see, *we* see it! :) As the saying goes... "You go girl!" (Insert High Fives) lol!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • for all the encouragement! I read and felt all of your pain as you went through so many different complications. All of our collective experiences do help each other get through things. I appreciate everyone's honesty and openness--this has helped me get through these last 7 weeks.

    The road is long but doesn't have to be lonely! :)

    Blessings to all,
  • Thank you for sharing your experience. You have a wonderful spirit in being able to get through this huge surgery and still smile.

    I wish you all the best as you learn to walk again and regain strength over the next year or so.

    Do let us know how you're going.



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

  • Welcome home. :H
    It must have seemed wonderful once you finally got home to your family. <:P

    You have had a very rough ride. I am full of admiration for you. I will pray that your recovery journey will move along smoothly now it is underway.

    I had noticed that we hadn't heard from you, and had wondered how you were doing.

    You don't have to travel this road alone Becca.
    We are here to travel along with you and help you along the way.
    The worst is over now. Follow the rules you have been given and keep sharing with us how you are doing.
    There is no place like home! :D >:D<

  • Becca,

    You are truly amazing and inspiring. You have such a great attitude. Stay strong...it will definitely benefit you in the long run. My fusion is slow in coming, and have not posted much lately due to feeling blah..about the situation. Your post has made me realize (once again), that this is a long journey, and I need to refocus on that fact.

    Having a fusion is a test of patience..that is for certain! And having such an extensive procedure, I can not even imagine what you have been through.

    What I do know is complete recovery does have to be your priority and commitement, above all else. Slow and steady wins the race.

    I'm 8 months out of a single fusion and my coworker is a few weeks behind me in his fusion. He went back to work at 5 months, which didn't last. Then again recently, and had stop working again. He is now in severe pain, and his legs are numb, and regrets pushing himself beyond what his body could do.

    My point being...after fusion, we must listen to our bodies; this first year is vitally important to our complete recovery. Though it is difficult to feel sequestered for such a long period, it is a necessary sacrifice for the ultimate goal...a near normal life.

    It is easy to feel down and out when you do not see daily improvements. I now look for changes that I've made over each month, and remind myself frequently of how far I've come.

    Can not wait till 2011. I'm hopeful that next year is going to be fantastic!!!

  • is much appreciated and needed!! :) I wish I could remember who said this on the blog so I could give them credit, (and if you know please tell me) but one of the most helpful advice I received was not to look at my improvements day to day or week to week, but every 4 hours (when meds are due) and especially in the beginnning that worked so well for me. Not so much now, because afternoons are worse then mid mornings, but it really worked with my mental state in the beginning.

    I tried to post before and after xray pics because I feel like a proud mama! BUT I am so technically challenged that I couldn't. They are on my blog if you look on the side under "spine surgery". They may still be on the first page if you scroll on down.

    So later, I will post on this nerve pain and maybe have some others that can relate to post surgical neuropathic pain. But need to go for now.

    Thanks again,

  • I believe it was Shari (jayhawk) who said to take your day in 4 hour blocks, from one dose of medication to another. :-)

    Hope that you will have a good day today, and notice that there has been some improvement since last week. :D

    Keep resting and let your body heal.
  • Thanks jellyhall for letting me know. It really is important for us all to see improvements after surgery and with the pain still going on, sometimes all we see is more PAIN.

    I had a song that I have online a few days after the surgery that was my song of inspiration. Because I couldn't walk at all and had to learn to walk again, this song really helped me. It was by Brit Nicole and called "walk on water" Anyway, it may help someone else...

  • I found that on your website.

    I made myself a CD of several inspirational songs that really spoke to me, which I listened to during the months I was trying to avoid surgery, while I was in hospital after surgery, and I still listen to it now.

    They are all Christian songs that have really strengthened me and given me peace.

    Keep healing Becca :-) >:D<
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