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Two years Post Op... all is well

saltzworksssaltzworks Posts: 1,031
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone!

I just wanted to pop in and let you all know that it's been 2 years since my 2-level PLIF and 6 months since my hardware removal and I think I am doing very well.

We did take a 'driving' vacation and that was still a challenge (each day of driving ended with me so sick from hurting that I was close to vomiting from the back pain and backpain induced headaches). But... I LEARNED from it - I learned that I need to GET OUT AND WALK around - often. My body will probably never be able to handle sitting for long periods.

But, all in all I am very pleased with my recovery, particularly since my hardware removal. I almost didn't want to come in here and post (getting a little superstitious I think ;) ).

So, what helped me? For anyone looking at surgery or still in the recovery process - here is what worked for me.

I think a large part of my recovery (besides the skilled neurosurgeon's hands) is my is due to knowing my limits:

I don't move like I used to. Now I really work at not going outside my 'known parameters' of movement. (my vacation hammered that one back in my head.)

I exercise regularly and I've lost weight. I ONLY do exercises that are dr. prescribed though.

I do very poorly on medications (heavy nausea) and so I was one of those who was off meds quickly.

I work really hard to mentally condition myself on accepting pain levels. I accept that I will probably always have a back ache. Compared to that lightning sharp blinding nerve pain I had before - well, I'll accept the back ache any day!

Some days I have to take some tylenol, but I make sure it's not my first reflex. If I am not doing my stretches every day I can only blame myself.

Keep on keeping on everyone - I wish the best to all of you.



  • Have you had to have any blocks since your surgery? Also, how long did it take for you to fuse?


  • Good to see you around - remember its so important for the patient that make "livable" recoveries to come back here & share.
    God Bless!
  • Good to hear you're doing well except you've had some set backs from your driving vacation.. I hope you continue to heal completely from your surgery. Thanks for your update! Many of us know you well from your post op must haves post. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I'm just a few months away from the two year mark myself and I have to admit that I'm actually glad I had the surgery. I rarely have much pain. Yes, I'm much stiffer than I used to be, but I can move and I'm not in constant agony. Life is GOOD!
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Lovely to hear from you again and that you're doing well. I remember when you had the hardware removed earlier this year.

    Yeah I've found too that knowing my limits and walking regularly are so important to recovering well. Your post is very encouraging.

    Well done losing weight !!

    Keep enjoying life.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Thank you all!

    I really do intend to keep posting - work kind of sidetracked me for a few months there (nothing like Summer Reading at the library to keep one swamped!!)

    Sleeper - I have not had to have any blocks. I really have a bad taste for blocks, my husband had about 30 of them before ending up in the ER and having to have his micro-d. The dr. that was doing them is the same dr. that got him hooked on oxycontin. I'm a tad prejudiced ;)

    One bad thing about losing weight though... you THINK you can move better. You can't. I move LIGHTER, but I certainly do NOT move better! LOL. I learned this the hard way - putting on programs for the kids at the library turned out to be very physically difficult. My body took over and thought it could move like it used to before the accident, twist, bend, lift - uh, not. I paid for it afterwards everytime.

  • It is so encouraging for us to hear how you are getting on. Thanks for taking the time to come back and give us your good news. :D

    I am 5 months since my surgery today, and will be returning to work on 1st September. I work in a school so do feel rather nervous about how I will cope, but I'm looking forward to getting back into work. :-)

    Keep up the good healing :-)
  • Looks like this is a thread dedicated for reunions. I had my two years anniversary in May, and have not been around much lately. But Saltzie is right, we should pop in periodically to encourage new members. Like the others, I am doing very well, sciatica is completely gone, and I can do almost anything (with moderation), except I get tired sooner, but with a short rest I recover fast. Of course it could also be my age (73) which I hate to use as an excuse. So to all of you who are just beginning your journey, keep a positive attitude, follow doctors orders, walk a lot, and most importantly, don't overdo it! Wishing you all the best for your recovery.
    And to all old friends, it was great hearing for you and hope you keep on doing well.

  • Nice to see you also and doing so well at the 2 year mark. I'm glad the sciatica pain is gone for you and you're moving around well. Thanks for the positive update. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Great reunion!!

    To all you newbies - there can be life after surgery. Even if it takes years.

    I had to come back and mention this - the funniest thing happened:

    I thought I had been discharged by my NS last spring. Then, I got a call last week, an appointment reminder. Whoops! I had no idea I had another apt. Did I forget somehow?? I don't know.

    Anyway, I went. Apparently I am still under my NS's care. Next time I get to wait a year for the follow-up though- yeah! They wanted x-rays this time, alas, I didn't even know about the apt. so I had not gotten any x-rays done.

    Apparently they are concerned about my next level. Again, it's not an 'If it goes' but a 'When it goes':( :( :(

    I SO do not want another few years taken out of my life. I know recovery is possible, even probable. I just really really like being on the other side of it all and am NOT anxious to go back in.

    My NS offered a slew of rx meds...do I need anything or the numbness I still have?(it's slowly spreading and has completely taken over my big toe and is working its way through the rest of my right foot.), do I need any back-up rx for any break-through pain?(like when I sat too long in the car)...

    I told him Tylenol will do and I don't want or need anything else, thank you for the offer, but no.

    Anyway - I'm still under care, but not gotta-see-you-a-lot care. A good place to be in my humble opinion.

  • Hi Saltz,
    I read your post mentioning Summer Reading Program. You must be a librarian? I am too. I've just had to take a leave because of a bulging disc, DDD & a cyst on a nerve root. The pain is unbearable, but I was able to muddle through this years summer reading. I have an appointment with a surgeon on 9-20.
    So glad to know that you are recovering & adapting to your new post=op life :)
    Take care, Juva
  • I was very happy to Supra Shoes, I gave his work number down, and do not Supra Muska know whether this move that my dollar is counterfeit. My God, seeing all over the detectors, and he told me come back tomorrow! I had to come to the fire, and I swear I’ll get you for this,Supra Skytop 2 Shoes! Then I hit the 95,559 grumblets to go! I have a few,Womens Supra Vaider Shoes, yes, ah, so I let him count them again, he does not squint at me friconclusionly, and then lay down cash registers, Supra TK Societythe last two thousand four hundred whole, a point not less. He did not believe, add one, and finally did not even apologize and seek the Supra Footwear mode is very unpleasant.
  • Dear all above,

    I am 7months on from having an L4, L5 & S1 spinal fusion and currently feeling like I will NEVER not be in extreme pain, so it was definitely good to read some poistive stuff up there. Although my lower back and leg pains have been reduced (I have degenerative disc disease and the spaces between dics were down to 3mm), I am still suffering a lot with what they are telling me is "referred pain" as I guess my spine adjusts to all the hardware in it and until my back strenghthens up to support this huge new change. Tonight I have my first ever supervised "Back Class" in my hospital gym run by a physio I think (is same hsopital where I had my op in May 2010), so I am praying that this does something to help me because I need to learn new ways to live with this new back and get the best from it. I'm young to have had a fusion (34) and want to go on to get back to work, start a family etc.... so reading your stories above definitely gave me some hope, thank you :) Lucy

    L4/L5/S1 spinal fusion in May 2010 following degenerative disc disease, years of meds, physio, exercise, not exercise, osteopathy, accupuncture.... yep, tried it all!
  • Hi, Saltzy! I too need to do the stretches prescribed by the wonderful PTs I saw over a recent 6-week period. They got my pain down from a minimum 8/10 to a max of 4. Had I not had an MRI in November - my first one, finally - I wouldn't have the resolve to keep doing the exercises, since, as I told the PT the last time I saw him, the previous misdiagnosis of facet arthritis had made me lackadaisical about continuing them after my two previous periods of physical therapy. With herniated disks, continuation of exercises after successful conservative treatment is a must, and I suppose the same applies after fusion. >:D< Love, Essmoe >:D<
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