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November 2010 Surgeries

angelanicaangelanic Posts: 256
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

Thought I would start a thread to share our thought about our upcoming surgeries. Provide the following and I will keep a running thread:

Name Angela
Location: Northern NJ
Date of Surgery: November 3rd
Surgery: Posterior Lumbar Fusion (L4/L5)
Prior Surgeries: Laminectomy, Laser Discetomy

I am getting worried about getting stuff in place before surgery because I have to work work work until the day of surgery.

I was put on Nuerontin 400mg 2 times a day along with the Naproxen 500mg 2 times a day that I have been taking. I was taking pain meds (oxycontin 40mg every 12 hours) up until 2 days ago because I am feeling so much better so now I only take at bedtime along with muscle relaxer, and anti-depressant. I can't believe how much better i feel since I was put on the Neurontin last tuesday. On that day I couldn't walk. Now I feel pretty good. My body is weak and I know I have to be careful or I will be on my back (or side) again.

How are all you feeling? What are you concerns? I am debating getting a recliner...what are you planning to do about sleeping?



  • Name: Chris
    Location: NW Suburbs of Chicago
    Date of Surgery: November 9th
    Surgery: Min. Invasive TLIF @ L5/S1
    Prior Surgeries: ACDF @ C5-C7

    Angela, just like you I’m trying to get prepared before surgery. My poor wife is going to have her hands full. We have a 16 month old son and with me not being able to lift him or bend over for a while I’m not going to be much help. It’s going to break my heart not to be able to play with the little guy for a while. This will be the second spine surgery I have put her through, the first while she was 7 months pregnant. I’m going to owe her big time after this. Not that I don’t already.

    If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a recliner, I have an idea. While I have a nice recliner in our family room, I wanted one for our bedroom in case I didn’t want to go up and down stairs. So I bought one of those zero gravity recliner / chaise lounges from Cabela’s for about $40. Lots of stores have them, though they might be in short supply now that it’s fall, but if you can find them they are probably on sale. Of course I had to make a deal with my wife, the chair can’t come inside until right before I have surgery and after I’m healed up it goes back outside. Although, if you have been looking for an excuse to buy a Lazy Boy you now have a great one. Good luck with your surgery.

  • So your surgery is minimally invasive. What does that look like for you ?

    I am lucky my son is 14 so no holding him issues but he worries about me. We put our spouses through alot , don't we? I feel bad as well. I am not looking forward to giving up control {although I have on my bad days already] but I am looking forward to some time off. Work has been nuts and now being on neurontin I am exhausted.

    I think I am going to use this as an excuse to get the recliner...need to do an internet search.

    Hopefully bumping this will get more people to join us.

  • Well, hopefully the min. invasive procedure will result in less pain and far less muscle damage post-op. I don’t for one second think it’s going to be a walk in the park though. The fusion itself will take the same amount of time as an open procedure. I should be out of the hospital in 2 days and will not have to wear a brace afterwards. Supposedly my doctor is one of the best in the country and pretty much wrote the book, so to speak, on min. invasive spine surgery, so we’ll see how well that pays off.

    The surgeon that performed my ACDF wanted to do an open PLIF. After being told how much muscle they end up stripping off the spine I decided to give min. invasive a look. When I met with my current doctor I ended up liking him a lot and he told me that I’d be a good candidate for a min. invasive TLIF, so I switched.

    I’m just ready for all of this to be over and done with. Bring on the healing and physical therapy.

  • I wish you all good luck with your upcoming surgery. A recliner was the best thing for me after I got home form the hospital.

    I have a blog about my surgery/recovery experience.


  • Small list so far..must be more of us!

    Name: Angela, Chris, Lisa
    Location: NJ, Chicago, Ontario
    Date of Surgery: November 3rd, 9th, 24th
    Surgery: L4-L5 Fusion, Min. Invasive TLIF @ L5/S1, Fusion L1-L4 removing my L2 putting in hardware

    Hope everyone is doing well. Got my recliner today and super excited. On top of it we bought a temperpedic mattress which I can't wait to try tonight..and hoping 90 days from now I am still loving it.

    I got some PJs, have my cane, grabber, neighbors who say they will cook, mom who is going to take off to help take care of me, dad who is willing to help with what should be huge copays, a hubby who is ready to see me through it and a son who can't wait until it is over. I don't think I need much more than to make sure my books are renewed and I have everything all set up on a table next to recliner.

  • Angela why the recliner? I'm wodering If I should get one now. I need to get a table for my lap top while i'm in bed. I have a comfortable couch so I'm hoping thats going to be ok. Where can I pick up a grabber? Are you getting nervous? I'm wondering about getting foam cover for my bed but I don't want it too soft. I feel overwhelmed on how to prepare, I keep writing down suggestions from other spineys on this site. Deep Breath! lol..

    I wish you and Chris the best of luck and hope you will continue giving updates of how your doing.

  • I started another November sugery thread and was then told about this one so here I am.

    Date of surgery:November 16th 2010.
    Surgery: 360° fusion L4/5 and removal of percudyn stabilisation pedicle screws.
  • I've already had my fusion (9/29/10) but thought I'd drop by and wish everyone well with your plans and upcoming surgeries.

    Been reading the discussion about recliners. Tried my hubby's recliner when I got home from the hospital and thought I wasn't going to be able to get out of it. Nobody told me not to use a recliner but I wonder how good is for a back that's just been operated on since most recliners put you into basically a slouched position--comfortable, but recommended post-op???

    As for other things--I already had raised toilet and grab bars in the bathroom I'm using and am very thankful for them. I bought myself a grabber from Amazon.com for $18. It's the Unger 51" Nifty Nabber and I'd be lost without it. I dropped my cane 4 times the first day home (plus several other things). The grabber paid for itself that first day. It is very strong and precise (can't remember the wording for it) and can pick up the tiniest things as well as larger items. It is going to be a very handy addition to our home even after I'm recovered.

    I am set up on the livingroom sofa (only hubby and myself so not like I'm displacing the family). Have a small table right beside the sofa where I keep all the little essentials, such as my pain meds, water, notebook to track my meds, etc. Hubby also made what I call my "wonder bar". It's a grab bar with a small tabletop attached above the bar for holding small items. I grab the bar to help myself log roll into sitting position and to lower myself back down. It is not attached to the sofa but is supported by it. Very handy.

    Heating pads are another thing I couldn't do without. Have one heating pad attached to a pillow and it sits where I can put my feet flat on it while lying down. I'm a very warm-blooded person but so far in these last 15 post-op days I've been FREEZING, lol. Have another heating pad hanging from my wonder bar and it is smaller and handy for spots that hurt and need a little special care.

    If I can think of other things that might help you, will post them. Am up at this early morning hour with pain in my leg but that's gotten better since I showered a few minutes ago. Have a shower stool that I sit on and a hand-held shower head--I get the water nice and hot and just play the water over my sore back and legs. It is extremely refreshing and comforting and I come out of it nice and warmed up and ready to go back to sleep, usually.

    Wishing each of you calmness and peace as your surgery date draws near. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised that the whole experience is less traumatic and painful than what you've likely got conjured up in your head at this moment. BIG surgery, yes, but not so bad a recovery as I had worked up in my mind. Will be wishing the same for each of you!


    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Thanks Linda and welcome Scott,

    Your post was very calming Linda. I'm going to get a raised toilet and put some grab bars in my bathroom as far as my couch, I think I'll be okay getting up.
    I am worried if I'm making the right choice these days. I have been working a lot and my pain is not as bad. I have an apt to see my ortho about my ankle in a week so I will talk to him. I have one screw left in my ankle and it's starting to pop out.

    Linda, I will read your last paragraph when I start to get into panic mod! That might be a few times a day ;)


  • Hello, just wanted to introduce myself as a November surgery date. This is my first post, but I have been reading for several months now, trying to mentally prepare myself for all of this.

    Name Corryn
    Location: Grand Rapids, MI
    Date of Surgery: November 2rd
    Surgery: ALIF (L5/S1)
    Prior Surgeries: none

    I live with a friend/roommate, so looks like I"ll be heading back to my parents house and begging mom to take care of me for a while :) My nerves are on edge and I just have to deal with being mentally distracted until the surgery date gets here. Hopefully every one else can deal with ME! lol

    Best of luck to you all!
  • Welcome to the forum Corryn,
    I was like you and it took me a little while to post.
    I've not looked back since as there are some really knowledgable and friendly people on here.
    If you get chance and want a more personal contact have a look at the 'chat' facility on here.
  • LisaRachel said:
    Angela why the recliner? I'm wodering If I should get one now. I need to get a table for my lap top while i'm in bed. I have a comfortable couch so I'm hoping thats going to be ok. Where can I pick up a grabber? Are you getting nervous? I'm wondering about getting foam cover for my bed but I don't want it too soft. I feel overwhelmed on how to prepare, I keep writing down suggestions from other spineys on this site. Deep Breath! lol..

    I wish you and Chris the best of luck and hope you will continue giving updates of how your doing.


    I have no clue where I got the grabber because I have had it for so long. I think you can get it at homestores, drugstores, medical stores. I got the recliner because it will help me rest and get up on my own (it is electronic) after the surgery. I know I will be sleeping in for awhile instead of going upstairs to the bed. We just got a temperpedic mattress and while it is comfy and good for my back it won't be comfortable to lay down in when i am in pain because it is a bit rougher to turn (no bouncy springs to help you move). DON"T worry about overpreparing. I got some PJs, while i am in the hospital my hubbby can get my meds straight and get some soup and food that will promote going to the bathroom. I think I am going to ask that the house is cleaned. My mom will be coming over and help with laundry and dishes. I got my library books, laptop, pillows, blankets, and ice packs. The list on here is really helpful (did you find it) but it lists EVERYTHING you could possibly need. Oh yeah, I love the idea of putting a slippery sheet on my recliner to help with movement so I will probably do that.

    My neighbors and the church said they will bring food which will be a great saving grace for my hubby.

    So with that said, I am getting nervous. It still feels so far away. I think when I go for pre-op I will get really nervous.

  • :H Hi Scott and Corryn. Linda, thanks for your post. I forgot about the raised toilet seat and shower seat. I will get it. I asked the surgeon about the recliner and he doesn't recommend anything in particular that some patients use recliners, some get med beds (which he does not think is necessary). So I guess the recliner is ok. But to your point...I am lying on it right now and my back is not feeling so comfy. I think I might have to play with pillows. What I like about it is the electronic mechanism which will help me get up in the middle of the night when hubby is upstairs sleeping.

    Updated List:

    Name: Corryn, Angela, Chris, Scott, Lisa
    Location: Grand Rapids,NJ, Chicago, Gloucester, Ontario
    Date of Surgery: November 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 16th, 24th
    Surgery:ALIF (L5/S1), L4-L5 Fusion, Min. Invasive TLIF @ L5/S1,360° fusion L4/5 and removal of percudyn stabilisation pedicle screws, Fusion L1-L4 removing my L2 putting in hardware

  • Name Steve
    Location: Northeast FL
    Date of Surgery: November 12th
    Surgery: Microdiscectomy L4/L5
    Prior Surgeries: None

    I will be going in for a discectomy to relieve terrible sciatic pain in my right buttock, leg and foot. I have been experiencing pain for about 5-6 months now and my MRI showed a "large" herniation that the surgeon actually said has broken away from the rest of the disc. I am concerned about reinjuring myself after the surgery, I am 37 years old and am fearful of a life full of more back problems.
  • Welcome Steve! Hope you get relief with your Micro-D. While there are no guarantees that you won’t have problems down the road, if you follow your doctor’s orders and take it easy you will certainly improve your chances. Out of curiosity, will your doctor repair the disc with something? I’ve seen a product called X-Close by Anulex, seems to reduce the risk of re-herniation. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a candidate for Micro-D, straight to fusion for me. Good Luck!

  • Welcome Steve..i added you to the bunch! I had an open back discectomy in 2005 and it lasted until I re-herniated but there is a good chance you could be better for the rest of your life. Hang in there!

    Name: Corryn, Angela, Chris, Steve, Scott, Lisa
    Location: Grand Rapids, NJ, Chicago,FL, Gloucester, Ontario
    Date of Surgery: November 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 16th, 24th
    Surgery:ALIF (L5/S1), L4-L5 Fusion, Min. Invasive TLIF @ L5/S1,360° fusion L4/5 and removal of percudyn stabilisation pedicle screws,Microdiscectomy L4/L5, Fusion L1-L4 removing my L2 putting in hardware


  • The countdown begins, two weeks from today! I'm really not sure what to expect.

    I had the same disc herniate several times over the past 8 years (at 24!), and finally about a year and a half ago started hurting constantly. My last MRI shows the disc is practically gone. The Dr. wasn't able to perform a discogram, due to the decreased size, which resulted in lots of nerve pain and now leg pain for the first time. My surgeon says based on that test, he thinks a fusion is the best route to take. PT, steroids, arthritis meds, cortisone shots...nothing worked.

    I'm venting :) Nervous, hoping I'm making the right choice. How is everybody else feeling with their surgery right around the corner?

  • Corryn78 said:
    The countdown begins, two weeks from today!.....How is everybody else feeling with their surgery right around the corner?


    I just had my pre-op assessment done yesterday so it’s really starting to sink in. I have my surgery a week after you. I’m not totally freaking out since I have been through this once before with my neck, but there is the odd butterfly or two in the pit of my stomach. I’m just ready for it to be over with.

    I’ve had lower back problems for years, so I always knew in the back of my head that spine surgery was possible. But I never imagined that I would end up having two spine surgeries within 18 months of each other.

    “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”


    P.S. I spend a fair amount of time over in South Haven, not too far from your neck of the woods.
  • Hi Chris..yes, ready for it to be over! I've been making list after list of all the same things. What to bring to the hospital, what to take with me after, what to shop for...lol. I'll probably forget all of it, but somehow it puts my mind at ease to make them :)

    That must be overwhelming for you, having two surgeries nearly one after the other. Hopefully this will be your last one!

    South Haven is less than an hour from me, and I spend many summer weekends there. My family has a boat docked just down from the pier and I like to kayak the river as well. One outdoor sport that doesn't cause me pain!

  • Don't panic! This surgery is going to be very different from your cervical spine surgery. You'll have adequate pain control and nurses to log roll you from side to side whenever you request it--at least I had amazing nursing care. Try to relax now. You'll soon be on the other side of this surgery and thinking, wow, that wasn't nearly as bad as I expected! :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Inchworm,

    Thank you for the kind words. Don’t worry I’m keeping it together. Although, if there are two things in this world that I don’t care for it’s hospitals (even if I’m just visiting) and the dentist. Hate em’.

  • How are you both doing? A few nervous posts over the last couple of days. I am less than 2 weeks away..and feel unprepared. I am going for pre-op on Tuesday and then going to make a list of what I need to get. I need to get toilet raiser for sure.

    I am getting really scared about how long the recovery is going to be. There are so many different thoughts on here. My doc says 6 weeks and I hope to be back to work by Jan 2...but so many people said so much longer on here.

    I am also getting nervous about the pain but I am ready to get off the neurontin which is definately making me gain weight and sick to my stomach at the same time. So my doc told me to cut it down to twice a day..hoping that helps.

    Thoughts are with all of you!

  • I can certainly sympathize with how you're feeling. Luckily I have short term disability covering my pay, and it is a desk job so sitting long hours will be an issue. I know everything we're going through is normal, but it sure takes a lot of energy.

    I"m single, so recovery will be back on a twin bed at my parents house :) haha. Tonight a trip to the grocery store included...a grabber, Ensure drinks, Colace, wipes, a button up night gown and pajama pants. Not my usual grocery list! I have five days of work left, and will take off the Monday before my surgery. On top of it all, my brothers first child is due any day now so we are all very excited about that.

    vent vent vent! :)
  • Chris, (ccope)

    I had an MIS fusion almost 1 year ago. You are most certainly correct. It is no cake walk. The biggest benefit to MIS is less muscle and nerves cut up and disturbed. I had fusion at L5-S1 and was released the next morning. Just watch out for scar tissue anyway, even with small incisions. The rest is still a fusion and hardware etc. So don't think you are getting over on that part.

    You most certainly best not be picking up that baby. I hear you. Couldn't lift my granddaughter for a while. I ended up sitting on the floor on a pillow. Doing lots of hugs and reading stories together. Keep it simple and resist lifting no matter what. That is the worst thing you can do.

  • In regards to your grabber, i also have a nifty nabber and i think it is by far the strongest one out there. I have the 36 inch one.
    For anyone go to ungerglobal.com and you can order them from there 3 or 4 different sizes.
    I think it cost me $18 bucks.
    Just passing this on.
  • I am getting ready to schedule surgery to help with severe back pain from L4L5S1.

    My doctor said it would be best to go in thru the abdomen and a small incision in the back.

    I do not know any of the medical terminology everyone speaks but, I was ready to tackle this and now I am scared. What if I can live a little longer without the surgery.

    Fuse L4L5S1 but two weeks before this I am going in for knee surgery tore miniscus. Then fusion.

    God I am scared what if my pain is worse. I am to go back to work after at least two months.

    Please pray for me. I wanted only the L5S1 but my discogram was so painful. I went into an anxiety attack because the pain from the discogram was above and beyond anything I have experienced without pain medication. I thought the pain med would never work.

    The discogram shows the pain level above 8 on the L4 and 10 on L5S1.

    Please someone share with me this does work. The screws are so long. Do they stay there forever. I watched a video for interbody fusion and it seemed like that should work. I asked about TLIF but he was honest and explained one he had no area to work and that would cause to much damage to the muscles because they are but and even if they were strecthed that would be to much pain.

    This is so overwhelming. I am glad my pain keeps coming back so i dont back out at the last minute. My pain mgmt doctor says are bone fuse on their own. How long though.

    I have been feeling better these last two weeks since i have knee pain my mind is off my back pain and the therapy of massage is helping the crazy spasms.

    Well it is late I need to rest.

    May the Lord provide strength to endure all this and His might hand for healing.
  • Hello all. I am new to the forum. I applaude you all for your openess and honesty.

    I have has back pain in and out for over 20 years but due to an accident last October I have been in constant pain since. Been thru all the usual pain management stuff to no avail. The National Health Service were as good as useless and so I went private. I have L5/S1 dehydration, L4/L5 has an intradiscal tilt to the left and is dehydrated. T12/L1 is dehydrated with Schmorl's node and High intensity zone. L2/L3 has an early high intensity zone.

    I am going to a private surgeon for Minimal Invasive Spinal Surgery (MISS) on the 30th of November. I am apprehensive as I will be "aware" during the 4 hour proceedure. I am sometimes excited that I might feel OK again, not that I am expecting to be pain free just able to go out for the day would fantastic or perhaps a holiday! BUT I'm also scared.....will I come out no better. I know I should not think that way........need to keep up beat but the "darkside" keeps creeping up on me. This surgery is quite new (20 years or so) but I had done a lot of research before opting for this type of surgery. It's keyhole which should aide recovery.

    I wish everyone the best this month. I know we all just want normality.
  • Hi there. Thank you for sharing. I will praying for you and all of us having surgery in November.

    One day at a time. We must encourage one another and remind each other there is someone up above always watching out for us.

    I had not heard from anyone and was getting ready to back out. But the Lord placed before me someone to share with me their mom who is 70 and did great.

    Praise God for sending his angels all around us to remind us. He has the last word!

  • :))) Thank you BeBe. I don't think any of us will back out as we are in pain and our lives are so prohibited by pain and lack of mobility lets face it we would do ANYTHING that's gives us hope. I want to be the smiling, slightly crazy woman I was before the pain.
    I was wondering if anyone else has had or is having this type of surgery. It's keyhole Laser disc decompression. would b interested to hear.

  • My second thoracic trial is booked for the 14th of November..Fingers crossed it works this time
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