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2 weeks Post op

cmhicksccmhicks Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi I am 2 weeks post op from a TLIF L5/S1 today. I am getting very frustrated because I am not used to having someone else care for me. I like my independance!! Ok, So I am wondering if there are any kind of milestones I should be at by now? I started fighting my body and staying up all day only sleeping like normal a few hours at night(that didnt work) I now nap again at least once a day but I still could sleep all day long. I use a walker to get around, which is alot easier to move each day!! I have made it up and down my steps about 3 times now too(with the help of my husband) But I am still in alot of pain. I am very weak. When I do try to walk without the walker, a few steps and I am ready to fall. Is this all normal? Am I behind in recovering? Is there anyone that can relate to me and share where they are/were at at this stage on recovery and how long this truly takes to become myself again? At times I think I made a ver big mistake, but then I think well if it works in the long run, its worth it!!


  • That all sounds pretty normal!! :-)

    This is a difficult recovery and we have to learn to be patient. 2 weeks is hardly into the recovery. Things will get easier but you may well take 2 steps forward and then 1 back again.

    Sharing with others in a similar position or who have been through this very long journey, is a great help. :H

    I have just returned to work after 5 1/2 months since my PLIF and seem to have slipped backwards a few months!! I am hoping that things will improve very soon.

    Welcome to Spine Health, and do settle in and get to know us. :D
  • I can totally relate to questioning your recovery and how it is in relation to others. I have discovered though that after my surgery on Aug 27th, I have read such different stories from people, everyone has different coping skills, and I have learned a lot on the website. I use the walker/chair for sitting at the computer or dinner because it is a little higher and I can get out of it myself, but I am walking without it a lot now.
    Nighttime, well some nights you will get more sleep, and others not so much, I have learned to go with it, if I am sleepy during the day I take catnaps, and feel so much better. I get weak sometimes too, and from what I have read it is completely normal, we all heal at different rates, just listen to your body. Take care, thanks for sharing with everyone.
  • We can relate to you!!..You are not alone...Everything you are experiencing is completely NORMAL..lol
    I had a 2 level fusion on March 1st..I am still out of work...After I read your post..I read it to my husband...I said hey honey..remember how I was at 3 weeks? I totally said those words..."I think I made a mistake."
    Now even though I still have pain..I don't regret having the surgery. You better get use to having someone help you..It is frustrating...and makes you feel helpless but it will help you in the long run.
    If my husband is home I still have him tie my shoe laces so I don't have to bend over...
    Jellyhall was right..this is the hardest thing I have ever done..definately one step forward..2 steps back.
    When you are having a good day you are glad you did it...Give yourself a few more weeks. I didn't start feeling better until my 3rd month..The first 3 or 4 weeks I only slept 2 hours at a time..Was up all night..between pain..exhaustion..and frustration....things are hard..
    Sorry for the long post..I just want you to know..you are NOT alone...
  • I am also 2 weeks today, it sounds like you are doing way more then I am at this point. Everyone is different, everyones healing pace is unique. I had an ALIF, anterior surgery, cage, screws, rod & plate, also had 2 hip grafts (left side). Some say anterior is quicker healing, I don't know compare to PLIF. I am in pain! I sleep A LOT during the day, an hour here & there, NO major sleeping, even at night, my record is 4 straight hours! I am on
    meds that should put an elephant down! I too use the walker, as I am really weak. I wear a brace which prohibits B,L,T. which I am taking serious. I had a 5 day 4 night luxury hospital stay LOL. Please listen to your docs & nurses and most of all you! Your body knows when you are overdoing. Don't overdo, you CAN NOT REDO RECOVERY! This is it! One chance.
    I have been running a low grade fever, had a middle of the night ER visit - woke up 2 am, and couldn't move my leg! I have a hematoma. its been rough!
    Take your time and heal! Wishing you a wonderful & full recovery.

  • Thank you everyone for welcoming me and giving me your opinion/help/experiences, ect... I am trying to follow everything the Drs say word for word as I do not want to go through this again!! I smoked 2 packs a day for over 17 years and since the morning of surgery, I havent touched a ciagarette because of the risks of the fusion not holding and I have NO intention or desire to pick up another one!! Its also healthier for me in the long run. If anyone has any hints or pointers and things they have learned through their experiences to make this all easier for me, I am up to any suggestions. My biggest way to make it through those moments when I find myself crying and ready to give up, is that I think about how at some point soon, I am going to be able to be out there active and playing baseball with the kids again!!! Oh yeah, Is it normal to be depressed from all of this? I am NOT in any way Suicidal, I just find myself crying alot over little things. Like spilling my soda and not being able to bend over and pick it up, or not being able to tie my own shoes. Those simple things can upset me that much, it will get better with time though, right?? Time is just going to be the key to it all I am guessing!! Thank you all for writing back to me. It is nice to know that there are other people out there that know how I feel and can relate to me!!
  • It sounds like you are having it very rough. I am sorry to hear that. They offered me the chance to do the Anterior approach too and said it would be easier and faster healing. I also had a hysterectomy which would have made it even easier because thats less they would have had to move around. My husband and I decided to go the Posterior route though. My Dr doesnt do bone grafts as he said they are just more painful and that pain stays for a long time according to his patients, so I dont know that pain. I have heard from other family members that it is excrutiating though. I do also wear my brace at all times, other than sleeping. Even though, it would be so easy to just get up and go to the bathroom, I still make sure to put it on before I move. My husband pretty much took over my pain control and I think that has been what has kept my pain at a decent level. He set an alarm that goes off at regular intervals and tells him what meds I need to take. I have never missed a dose or been late because of this. It even wakes us up at night to take it. Have you tried putting ice on your hips when you are sleeping? I had Bone marrow taken to mix into the compound to make my bone graft and that helps calm that site down at night! Just a thought. I hope you start to feel a little better each day too. I will be here to talk to if you need a friend.
  • Heya Virgina and Corrie! You have gotten some excellant advice. Tonya, Jellyhall and I have gone thru this journey together, each a few days apart from the others. We have all had our fair share of ups and downs.

    This is a journey and it is very long. Initailly I was told 6-12 months, now they saw 12-18. I am at 6 months now.

    In the early weeks, I tried to look at my days in hours of 4 hour blocks. In those blocks of time, I tried to eat a little (I had no appetite fot weeks), walk a little, sleep a little and then it was time for more pain meds and thus another 4 hour block of time.

    This helped me to not get so overwhelmed. I was in the hospital for 7 days complicated by pneumonia, plueracy and 3 blood transfusions.

    While I was in the hospital, they gave me benedyrl at night to help me sleep. When I got home I continued to take it (with my dr.s okay) and it helped me to sleep a little but still be able to wake up for pain meds.

    I had to have my pain meds changed and adjusted, I want from Narco to oxycodone 10mg every 4 hours. I am down to 5 mg 2-3/day.

    They sent me home with a walker and I used it for the first day or 2. I did use the raised toilet seat and just now had hubby take it off.

    I have had to learn to ask for help with somethings, over look many things (like the tidyness of my house) and how to stop constantly "doing".

    I did have some issues with depression. It was my pain management doc who really noticed. He has known me for a long time, before all of this. He started me on cymbalta which also helps with pain. Although it is suppose to take 1-2 weeks to take effect, I felt a difference after several days.

    I wasn't use to having so much time on my hands. I had always used exercising as my stress reliever and to not be able to do that made it really rough. That plus not being able to fit into any of my clothes! :(

    Hang in there! We are all here to support you during your journey. I couldn't have made it without the support of my "spiney" friends! and we will be here for you too! :)
  • yes, i guess i have have it a bit rough, but i know many others are much worse off. My husband struggled with the anterior thing, so much that i cancelled my first surgery 2 days out (I was 100% for it). He just found it so odd! He thought there were so many unecessary risks versus the posterior (or as he calls it NORMAL back surgery". I liked the anterior as my NS explained for my antomy, it is the best approach, he could use a really big (tall) cage, which for me would help reduce the need for a foramantomy - plus NO back muscle splitting, I will need more surgeries for other issues that will be through the back, so why have scar tissue there from now.
    After running around with him again to several other NS - after postponing (all of which began to sound like used car salesmen!) one who was pushing for posterior "I can get as a big a cage as the anterior via posterior and less operating time".
    I had done 7 months of research (for the perfect surgeon) after 6 years of suffering and avoiding at all cost surgery. I had every treatment possible up to this point. I do not regret the surgery nor do I regret the aprroach. My husband still has his reservations, but after 23 years of marriage we learn to deal with it.
    Like you, my husband is home tending to my every need. I can not sleep in my extra long/tall CA King bed, its too high! I had to swap beds with my 11 year old, we are using walkie talkies during the night! Kinda cool, using CB & military lingo! LOL.
    On the cigs, I had been a social smoker for years on and off. I quit 2 months prior to surgery also for best fusion results! Kudos to you for doing so!
    I must confess, I have had a series of bad news flow through the past two days and broke down hysterically sopping and popping valium, and had to smoke one (actually two, couple of drags, put it out, relite later.... you get the point. I know, I know! TERRIBLE! But I did it. I will try not to let things I can not control, control me! I will be strong and will NOT smoke again.
    I am seeing a therapist today, who deals with people in pain, and post op and disability so maybe it will help me. I hate being so needy. I cry all the time, that is why I am going to see this guy. I think it is all the meds, I am on OXYCONTIN, for breakthrough Oxycodone, Soma, Valium, Xanax, and a couple others. Between the pills, and belive me i am NOT high at ALL, every, only when they gave me IV, even the Diliaud pump did not get me "high or drunk", i need these meds, there is no pleasure in taking them, just helps me function. I have been on steady stream of meds since my last episode 12/22/2009! It is normally to feel like crying and to feel sad, meds to alot to your brain. Also, its hard to let got and let other do so much for you (damm guilt!).Hang in there! Keep in touch!
    ps, i am not spell checking this so sorry for any mistakes! I have to go potty! which is a rare thing for me! bye!
  • I read a study recently that reported after having major surgery, there is a huge surge of stress hormones~cortisal. This increase in cortisal causes the crying.

    I know that dopamine~the "feel good" hormone is released thru touch. Have your hubby hug you, holding the hug 15-20 seconds. you could also put a comforter/heavy blanket on you as this would help to release dopamine.

    The is another feel good hormone that can counteract cortisal and it is released thru movement that is rythmical such as rocking in a rocking chair/glider.

    I hope you both feel better! I cried often too!
  • Thanks for your kind words of wisdom and please keep sharing.... it is you (those who walked before us) who can walk us through this. My husband is beside me, but honestly he hasn't a clue. You know what I mean. If you haven’t lived it, you haven’t lived it. Hence sympathy & empathy. Bless him, he tries so hard and I know I frustrate him at times.
    I have only been able to walk a block, with the walker, I know my NS is going to yell at me on Monday! (hopefully by then I can report something more encouraging!)
    Not sure if I mentioned, but when I got home from hospital, I tried to reach my PM and he NEVER returned my calls... I balled, how can you just drop me because I had the surgery and opted not the let you implant a spinal cord stimulator (which is what he wanted!)
    I am excited that I have an new Pain Management doctor and I am meeting him tomorrow so hopefully this will be a good relationship!
    Man, you hit the nail on the head! About the “stop doing”, I am a type A OCD clean freak as my kids call me, so learning to not worry about that piece of paper there (which should not be there…. is HARD!) The therapist I am seeing today should help with that.
    Again, thank you Jayhawk for listening, replying and supporting!
    Feel well!
  • He had the posterior and it has worked amazingly thus far. ( Hmmm just found myself typing We instead of He at the beginning of that sentence as it seems that we both have gone through this fusion even if he had all the physical pain LOL). As for depression, my strong guy would become quite emotional in the first month or so post surgery. I found that I had to limit visitors and how long they stayed. Honestly men visitors just do not seem to 'get' that he needed to sleep a lot.
    Speaking as the caretaker, it is a very hard role. Very frustrating and sometimes you spineys just do not LISTEN or THINK ahead and do things you should not! We are there to do it, we are willing to do it and we don't REALLY want you to have a setback. So LEAN on us for this bit because we will be leaning on you perhaps down the road.
  • Oh Sherri..don't you remember me posting about dropping everything..I would just cry and kick the thing I dropped..I would holler out.."Why the #### am I dropping everything when I can't bend over?"..
    and cry some more...lol
    I can laugh now..but then I had a case of the clumbsies...and dropped everything..your grabber is your friend.

    You should talk to your doctor if you are feeling depressed..I had several weeks..about 3 or 4 of feeling blue and crying a lot..then it got better.

    Also here's a side note..It is normal about 3 or 4 months after a major surgery to have increased hair loss..My hair was falling out like crazy and I was freaking out..till my doc..told me this is normal and will go away..he was right.

    Hang in there..Im going to see my surgeon in 30min for a followup...something new is happening..not good..so we will see what he says..

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