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ALIF 5 weeks today!

patgibson93ppatgibson93 Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello All!
Today I am 5 weeks from L5-S1 ALIF surgery. I continue to progress each day, although some days are more painful than others. Today wasn't the best, but the sun is shining and i'm focusing on more positive things. I have walked about the house quite a bit and can say walking is much easier each day. I'm only on Nucynta and Gabapentin for pain and Ambien for sleep. Still pretty strong meds but it is a lot less than 2 weeks ago. I will return to both my PM & surgeon next Tuesday. I'm hoping that a get a good report from both.

Am I happy I went forward with surgery? Absolutely! I had exhausted all other alternatives.
Was I anxious before surgery? Terrified. That's normal given the nature of the procedure.
Is the recovery what I expected? No. I knew it would be long, but I wasn't prepared to be so exhausted or spend so much time at complete rest. On the positive side of that, pain control is much better than I had expected or hoped for. I have had much less of my pre-op pain and I no longer feel like I can't rely on my left leg.

All in all, life is better. I'm going to be the best patient I can be, and will maintain a positive attitude. I will not criticize my husband's cooking or other housekeeping skills. He's trying.

I wish everyone better health, less pain, and peace,
Pat Gibson
L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
Now L4 Retrolisthisis


  • You're doing really well and sounds pretty much like I was at 5 weeks out. Yeah the exhaustion is bad and it's surprising how much time we need to rest during recovery.

    By being the best patient you can will really help with your recovery.

    Looking forward to your next update.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Thanks Trish -
    I really appreciate your note. It's good to hear to hear from you! You make me feel that I am on track and that my ups & downs are par for the course. Yesterday's nerve pain is gone but the bone pain is still there - but it feels like today will be better. I've come to realize that healing is a bit of a roller coaster ride. There will be ups and downs all along the way.

    I hope you are doing well. I love it that we share a name. I haven't been called Trish since I was in school.

    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • Hi Pat,yep your doing well.I was exactly the same as you with my first op,last year.Terrified.etc.
    I'm on my 2nd one now,as the first one didnt fuse .
    I was divestated when I found that out,as you can imagine.
    But both times the recovery times have been similar,etc & at five weeks I could only do short walks around my small home & section,& still was dealing with nerve pain in my right leg.
    So good on you,keep up the good healing.Improvement comes regulary in small steps,so hopefully that will keep you encouraged as you progress.

    May you heal fast & well

    Mike from New Zealand.
  • Thanks all for the positive comments & encouragement. Tonight I had to attend a very special dinner honoring a recipient of a prestigious humanitarian award. I avoided all the pomp & ceremony but made it!
    Now I know my social life doesn't interest anyone, but I wore a dress & pantyhose, put up my hair, put on makeup and my jewelry. You have no idea how good that felt. I know I'll tomorrow, but I felt human.

    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • Well done in going to the special dinner and yes it would have been so good to get out of the loose nighties/pajamas and to be dressed in your finery !!

    Terrific that the nerve pain has gone, or I hope it still has. The bone pain will take quite a while to recede, but that's normal.

    Apart from one friend, I haven't been called Pat for 40 years. I used to get called "Fat Pat" at school but if those same people could see me now, they wouldn't be calling me that.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I'm so glad to hear that you're walking and progressing at what seems to be a normal pace. And attending a special event - awesome! I'm over a year out from my lumbar TLIF and wore heels the other day - not a good idea. I think I'll be stuck in flats forever, but I did feel good wearing those lovely boots.

    Keep up on the recovery and taking care of yourself. It's nice to feel yourself healing and to know that what pain is left is surgery pain, not the pain you had before surgery.

    Please continue to keep us posted.

  • pattttt how awesome so happy for you and yes ALIF is a killer im 5 months out and still feel that way but have come to know that this is as good as its gonna get and im OK with that its not as bed as it was before surgery so i can take pain being a 6-7 at least its not a 10 and Cathi ohhhhhhhhh please tell how it went i have a son who is graduating in June and a daughter getting married 9-10-11 and freaking on how im gonna do it without heels i lived in heels before all this crap
  • I'm having ALIF of L4-L5 on Monday ( :SS ) and I have been doing a lot of wondering about how it will be. Lately I've been asking about the post op pain, like while you're still in the hospital. I guess I've learned from your post that I won't be doing very much AT ALL for quite a while! I look forward to reading more of your posts ! #:S

    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • Good luck Annie from another recent patient - 4.5 weeks out from L5/S1 ALIF

    The miracle is that the pain I am feeling now is surgical not bone on bone and nerve compression - my diagnosis was DDD - degenerative disc disease but as the doctor said when he got in it should be dissapeared disc disease!

    After 4.5 weeks am off narcs and walking for 15-20 minutes - still finding out how much not to do as I seem to wake up feeling good, do too much and then pay for it next day, but one day at a time it is getting better.

    Please keep us posted on your progress post op
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