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4 weeks post fusion. Struggling so much.

krittylukkrittylu Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Please don't lecture me but I'm reaching out for support.

Am a struggling smoker 4 weeks post PLIF.

Am so mad at myself. Am stressed over our new financial situation and find myself reaching for the cigs to deal with the stress. Had planned for the day before surgery to be my final cig. Was in hosp 6 days, and had no desire for them. About a week after I got home, hubby had a fit over the reality of our new financial situation and the downsizing we were going to have to do, and being my codependent self, I reached for the cigs. Am shameful and guilty.

I feel like a waste of human tissue at this point. Am almost 4 weeks post lumbar fusion and am just worried about everything. I absolutely have too much time on my hands and need to get back to work.

I think I am having a very bad day and have so much regret about ever having this surgery. Not to mention guilt about leaving my students mid year, stress over finances, stress over why the heck I am not being a "good" fusion patient.

I have x rays and followup on the 6th and am praying for a


  • bone growth stimulator. Dont know how to edit posts!
  • I am not going to lecture you. I was a smoker, and know how hard it is to quit. I am wondering if you need to think about the nicorette gum ot lozenges, or maybe see your Dr about Wellbutin, to help you quit.
    Dont ever call yourself a waste of tissue, just because you have alot of stresses in your life, and you had a relapse. Pick yourself up, and try to quit again. You may need help, but I think you want to, and that is the start.
    Hang in there. PM me if you need to talk, as I am recovering too. Only I am only 3 weeks. Keep your chin up.
    One question. Why are you regretting your surgery?
  • There are good days and bad and it sounds like this one is definitely in the bad category for you! I was a thirty year smoker and my NS insisted I quit before he would do my fusion - and he tested me 6 weeks before surgery to make sure I really had! At first I was a bit upset until I read all the literature that showed that nicotine seriously inhibits fusion of the bone. Since I plan to go through this pain only one time (please dear Lord!) I wanted to give myself every advantage I could and I managed to quit using Chantix for the first month to help me get over the worst of the withdrawal. I am an ex-smoker for almost three months now and very glad of it as I know I have increased my chances of fusing substantially. I also walk and take some vitamins that are supposed to promote bone growth. I spend alot of time telling myself this is is short term pain for long term gain!

  • Hey, do you have a counselor you can talk to about these things? You sound positively busting under stress, and that can't be any better for your healing than the smoking.

    A therapist could also let you know whether you have any issues that could be improved by medication (a medication that is less harmful to your body than cigarettes!), making a follow-up worthwhile.

    Your mental health is important! I know it's hard to add another medical bill to the mix, but right now you need to take care of ALL of you!
  • How are you doing? Thinking of you - hope you are better today...

  • I quit before my microd and then had a relapse then finally kicked it before my fusion. I've been smoke free for a couple of years. You can do it and the cost of the Chantix will almost wash with the current costs of cigarettes.
  • My Scoliosis Surgery was on Oct 25th,2010. And my 2nd surgery is scheduled for January 24th 2011. I"am scard to death. I know the PAIN for me was unbearable but I"am the type that can"t handle PAIN AT ALL.So I had my Surgeon keep me totally sedated for the first 72hrs after the surgery, keep in mind my surgery was 15hrs long. So now my Doctor wants or has to go through my abdomen and fuse my back from the front as well.
    So if there is anyone out there that has gone through this 2nd surgery PLEASE let me know how you did.Also did you have the Rods put in the front as well as your back?
    My Surgeon said the 2nd surgery is no more painful than a hsytercetomy but I"am not so sure.Unless he isnt planning on using rods and screws and all the other hardware.
    Oh by the way I"am just learning all of this new tech (computer stuff) so I"am scared to post this because of some of the comments I"ve read. So Please over look any mistakes. Thanks so much.....
  • The emotional toll is huge but am feeling better. Had a checkup with my surgeon and we are ordering a bone stimulator, so am waiting for that to go through. Just getting to talk more with my surgeon made me feel more at ease with his decisions and that leaves me more at ease in general.
  • I underwent anterior/posterior fusion 2006 L4-5. The anterior approach enables the doctor to get a much clearer view of the spine from the front. My surgeon worked along with a general surgeon who actually does the anterior approach and is in the operating room so nothing goes wrong. Hopefully to put everything back into the right place too! It was quite hard post op. Getting out of bed was impossible without help since I had incisions on both front and back. I had to go to a reh for 10 days, could not go home. I just could not get myself to the bathroom and really needed a hospital bed to assist with the immobility thing.

    By the way, I am now 4 weeks out from a XLIF and posterior fusion of L3-4 L5-S1

    Just take it slow, you may need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. Stay strong and good luck
  • I have smoked for 35 years. I have not had fusion surgery but my heart goes out to you. You have so much to deal with no wonder you reach for a smoke. The problem for me is that smoking is my coping mechanism and I don't have another. I have tried many times and always failed......I understand I really do.

    Don't beat yourself up you have so much to deal with right now. Speak to your Doctor, I found Champix was really good (I just whipmed out).

    Take one thing at a time and when you are ready and have the "support" you need then stop smoking.

    You can do it! >:D<
  • krittyl, Do not be mad at yourself. You are doing the best that you can do during a very stressful time. Give yourself a break. Hopefully the financial situation will be okay. I know that it is difficult. The waiting game is frustrating. I am almost 6 weeks post ACDF and getting very frustrated waiting for my next appt to see how I am doing. I would love to go back to work also. I am a teacher and miss my kids and co-workers. It is hard leaving students mid year. Are you able to stay in contact with them via the Internet. I know that has helped me immensely. I have the sub drop off some paper for me to mark. This way I can stay in contact with the kids and feel productive. Is that a possibility for you while you recover? Please give yourself time and a break in order to recover.

  • Am now about 5-6 weeks out and most of my phantom pains have disappeared. I am in a much better place nowadays and even got out to do some shopping. I had a thoroughly wonderful stroll through the Dollar Tree today. Before surgery I could only do two aisles bedfore my back and legs were smarting off horribly. Today, I did the whole thing and had zero pain in my butt, back, or legs. I cannot tell you how much this did for me emotionally. Anyway, I'm in a better place. For now. Fingers crossed!
  • Glad that you are in a much better place. I understand how emotionally upsetting it is to be in pain, isolated and discouraged. I enjoy walking through the Dollar Tree also. I have one that is about 20 minutes from my house. So I feel it is too far to drive and then walk around. I have a small strip center about 2-3 miles from my home. I go there once in a while and walk around the store - nothing too exciting. Over the weekend I drove too much and still have muscle spasms that are bugging me. I have my 6 week check tomorrow and have a load of questions. Hope to hear that all of the hardware is still in place and bone growth is occurring. Hope all continues in a positive manner. Sun would help me. Rain, sleet and snow unfortunately and bitter cold. YUCK
  • Glad to hear you are doing better and got out and walked around painfree - keep going girl! Stay positive too - I have found that the best medicine is positive thoughts - I know how hard that is sometimes during stressful times but keep going just so glad you are better - keep me posted ..

    On the smoking thing - I am now trying non-nicotine cigs - and started a plan on becoming an ex smoker forum to use these non nicotine cigs while I learn and understand why and when I reach for a smoke to put something in its place that will work. Has already helped using non-nicotine cigs as I think I am smoking but without the addicting nicotine. These are different than the ecigs which did not work for me - they are OK just made me want a real one - these others are real cigs .. will keep you posted on how that works.
    I am trying this plan to be smoke-free for good and cold turkey just was not cutting it .. I understand completely
    Keep hanging in there!
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