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Two weeks & 2 days post 2-level PLIF

inchwormiinchworm Posts: 719
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi all...just thought I'd post an update on how things are going for me in my early recovery.

Was switched today from the heavy duty opiods oxycodone and hydromorphone. They have been put away and now I was switched to hydrocodone. Also have Lyrica to take for nerve pain. Must say that today was a wonderful day. I felt GREAT and had NO pain whatsoever. Drove myself to the hospital for some tests and to the pharmacy to pick up Rxs. Came home and vacuumed lightly (with my tiny Dyson which weighs just 6 lbs), dusted the house and cleaned the kitchen floor. Will say that I might have overdone it a little since my problem right leg is now getting numb again and having some pain so I've taken a Lyrica and some hydrocodone and expect to be fine. I am going to stop the housework and just relax for the rest of the evening with my hubby.

Yes, I'm the same person who has posted twice in the middle of the night these past few days about how badly I was hurting. It's a strange thing but my right leg will go numb (half of my leg in the L5 dermatome pattern) and the pain will get really bad so that it awakens me in the middle of the night. I might fight that pain for 36 hours before it goes away, then presto, it's gone! I really think the rigid back brace was aggravating my sciatica and the PA who is following me agreed that we should set that brace aside. He also ordered blood work and a CT scan of my lumbar spine this morning. Am still waiting to hear back what that showed. Am really hoping nothing has slipped or come loose.

Aside from the intermittent pain in my right leg, I'm virtually pain-free! My surgical site doesn't hurt at all and the muscle spasms in my back have calmed down a lot. On good days like this I can almost forget I just had a huge back surgery!

Just wanted those of you who are facing a big spine surgery to know that it can go very well and you too may be pain-free a lot sooner than you might imagine. :)

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


  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    It's good to hear your'e having such a good day. And for less than 3 weeks post op is amazing! I hope all of your days go this well!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Thanks, Jim, I appreciate that. :)

    Got the call about my tests--lab work and CT look perfectly normal (thank goodness). On the downside, I am still to wear this rigid brace when I'm "out and about" so I will be good and comply. It's only for a little while.

    Wishing everyone as smooth a recovery as I'm having! :D

    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
  • Terrific that you're feeling well now after all the initial post-op pain. I bet you were so relieved when your tests came back normal.

    I hope your recovery continues to go smoothly and that you have lots more good days.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • That is just so wonderful that you feel so great this early on in your recovery, I hope you continue to improve daily.
    Just be sure to continue to listen to your body so not to overdo anything, you want to continue to charge ahead, with no backward steps.
    Take care and stay well!
  • Thanks, Trish and Virginia. I appreciate the support and friendly encouragement.

    As I'm writing this, I'm sitting here with an ice pack on my back--a great wrap-around pack with velcro closures that is made just to fit the lumbar area. Woke up at 5:30 with sciatic pain. Am not sure if my sleeping spot (sofa at the moment) is no longer the best place for me to sleep or if it is because I had such a great day yesterday and overdid it. I felt wonderful all day and only laid down once in early evening for half an hour, maybe. Then I pressed on with a computer job that needed finishing. Was printing, collating, marking and stapling until 11:30 pm. Still felt wonderful, not a twinge of pain--could truly have forgotten I'd just had surgery a couple of weeks ago! But it was a bad thing to do, even if I did get away with it, since I know I need my rest in order to heal. Needed to get the job done but plan to not repeat that stunt again until I'm thoroughly recovered!

    My CT scan and lab work came back with perfect results (whew!) At least I don't have to worry that I'd done something to cause the instrumentation to come loose! (Did I already say these things in an earlier post? Too tired to go back and look. (|: Anyway, I was told I still need to wear the rigid brace, which was a bummer to hear, but I'll be good and do it.

    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
  • It's so good to read a positive post so soon after major spine surgery. I'm surprised you're driving so soon (I waited until the 6th week).

    I don't have a back brace, they don't tend to use them here in the UK.

    One thing I will comment on though - when you start to feel absolutely great, with no pain, please still be careful with the activities you do. I was the same, at the 6th week I felt fantastic, no pain whatsoever, taking no pain meds either. I thought I could conquer the world. However, there are some things you do unthinkingly (especially when driving in my case) and your back will soon tell you you've done too much. I was forced to lay in bed for a week after doing something stupid (my own fault). I was back on pain meds and was feeling thoroughly annoyed with myself because it was nobody else's fault. I'm now at week 12 or 13 (I think) and still take meds for pain and to help me sleep through it at night.

    Don't make the same mistake I did - be VERY protective of your spine. Try not to do anything that could remotely hurt your back because you may live to regret it.

    I'm very thankful that after my routine x-rays, it showed that the hardware was all fine, when I thought I'd damaged it.

    Please don't run before you can walk. You're very early in your recovery (and I've been told it can take up to TWO years to fully 'fuse'). I now realise there are certain things I won't do now, as I feel it's just not worth it if it means I could compromise the successful outcome of my surgery.

    You take care OK?
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Hey Linda, I ditto exactally what Sue just wrote!!! It can be VERY tempting when we have been in pain for SO long to have a good day and do things that set us WAY back!! I care about you and your early recovery....BE GOOD!!!!! :)
  • So glad all your results came back good! I know you must feel relieved!
    Lots of smart advise posted above, even from yourself.
    Keep your ice on, if it feels good, I sometimes alternate with heating pad. Listen to your body, if ice feels good; then ice. If that sofa is not feeling right, lay on bed, maybe get some pillows under your knees. I can't sleep without 4-5 pillows LOL.

    I have been wearing the brace, its a two part belt, that breaks down. The hard rigid back part goes from sholder blades down, and then the wide black corset velcro part. Wore it for 6 weeks, I can now remove the hard back - but I still wear that part when in car, don't need a rear end situation to screw this up on me.
    I am loving the smaller part of the belt! I feel more support when its on. I am weaning off so my abs & back can start working again.

    Take it easy and I hope you post in a few days stating how great you feel, and that you took a nice walk. No vacuum, not even the really cool light weight ball one.

  • That's great you're doing so well with your recovery so early! I didn't think you're supposed to vacuum though so early? I heard the Dyson is good though self-propelling? Take care and best wishes for a complete recovery. 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
  • Just read your post and was incredulous and ecstatic at the same time! Extremely happy that u r out of all that leg pain and only sleeping 2 hrs. @ night. like we discussed, braces when ill-fitting can be counterproductive, and cause more pain. Did u say your PA modified it or changed it to another? Read post from Virginia, and her description of her back brace is identical to mine. The hard piece can be taken out and now it is like a sturdy fabric that closes with velcro straps, and it helps make my back feel so LESS precarious. It defies belief how 2 days can change course of your recovery, I am jealous! Seriously, I remain cautiously optimistic about the vacuuming,& driving sooo soon. i know u were relieved to see instrumentation in perfect order! You R a great example of inspiration to us all in recovery ~ Julie
  • thats fantastic your improving so nicely, gosh must n feel wonderfull when your having a good day. its only natural that youve had some post op , not so good pain so early in your recovery, think its par for the course, hey. well your doing great , so happy for you
    please dont push it too much, but can understand when your feeling so great , that you want to get back into life, its frustrating to not do that , but please be carefull, baby steps for awhile hey
    flower :)
  • Don't forget you might have layers of stitches inside that you cannot see. Your outside ones might be fine but you can tear the inside layers, setting you up for scar tissue, that can then bind your nerves for some more pain and suffering.
    No reason to hurry, even if you feel better, you want the repair to last.....
  • Yesterday was a busy day for me and I wasn't on the computer until evening. Just now saw all your kind and encouraging responses. What a great bunch of friends you all are. You give me such a boost with your kindness!

    CMELLET--Thanks so much for the heads-up on the possibility of internal stitches. I never even gave that a thought. I do know that the muscles in my back which were filleted (for lack of the proper medical term) off my spine were sewn together when closing me up. My incision is about 8" long so there are quite a few loose muscles in there that don't know what to do with themselves until they heal back down. I want them to heal properly so I need to keep them in mind when I'm feeling invincible.

    SueD--Thanks so much for your encouraging words and just the kick in the rear that I needed about doing too much. I have difficulty knowing what I can and cannot do--or what I should and should not do. Prior to my fusion I asked my surgeon about restrictions on activities post-op and he said I could do pretty much whatever I felt like doing. I swear, that's what he said and when I was discharged I was given the bare minimum of instructions--be careful of bending or twisting and don't lift anything over 10 lbs. With that in mind, I started driving as soon as my head cleared enough from all the meds given in the hospital. I never go out after just having taken heavy duty pain meds, like oxy--I wait at least 2 hours and check my reflexes and clarity of thinking before I do go, then I only go on errands that really can't wait, like taking myself to the hospital for the CT scan, etc. I'm so sorry to hear that you had such a setback after making a mistake while driving. I should probably not be driving even the little bit that I am because the brace feels so restrictive and I'm never perfectly comfortable in the car seat so am continually trying to adjust how I'm sitting to get more comfortable. Every time I do, it feels like I'm pulling on my back the wrong way. Don't know what stupid thing you did but I also know that if I was in any kind of a fender-bender I'd be in trouble this early in my recovery. Thanks so much for taking the time to admonish me--it shows you care and I appreciate you so much for that!

    PollyR--Thanks for caring and giving me a nudge to be good. You're already a great encouragement to those of us here on the forum. We hope to be as much encouragement to you, too!

    Virginia--I think your back brace sounds perfect. Wish mine was made like that. Mine is a full, hard plastic, thoraco-lumbar brace which is front and back that fit together with velcro straps that I cinch down along the length of it. It's claustrophobic and even thought it was custom-made for me it initially came up under my chin whenever I sat down, it was heavy and pushed on my lower back, etc. Have had it adjusted 3 times and it is now tolerable which is a good thing since my surgeon is set on me wearing it until my next xray in 4 weeks! Thanks so much for your kind note.

    Charry--Thanks for your caring reply--it's great to have a nurse who's watching of you! My little Dyson (6 lbs) isn't self-propelled but it runs easily on a ball and is so lightweight that I truly don't think I'm putting my back at risk by using it. I do make sure I have my brace on when I vacuum, though. As I mentioned above, my surgeon never gave me a list of do's and don'ts--he said I could do pretty much whatever I felt like. That was before he knew that my bones were soft and that I'd end up in a brace, but he never said any differently so I'm left to determine what is safe for my back. Hope I'm doing the right things but I do know I've overdone it a few times already. Am going to give it my best effort to be good and no go buzzing around like a busy bee just because I can!

    Flower--Thanks so much for your caring note. Like PollyR, you're already showing such a sweet and supportive attitude here on the forum. You're going to be a great asset to all of us when we're hurting. I hope we can also be as good a support to you!

    Again, thanks to each of you who took the time to write and give me advice. I've taken several points to heart and will be modifying my activities accordingly. You're all the best! I wish each of you a pain-free day! :)

    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
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