Today is 6 weeks since my L5-S1 ALIF and I wanted to update my progress. Each week has been a bit better than the previous, so I am happy with that. Yesterday I saw both my surgeon and PM doctor. Remind me not to do that again! It seemed like a good idea as they are an hour away, but I spent way too much time up and sitting.
My surgeon is very pleased with how things looked on Xrays taken yesterday. All hardware is in place and holding. He shared that he had some concerns about that due to the natural angle of the involved vertebrae. He didn't say anything about bone growth. Because of his concern he wants me to progress very slowly. I am to continue with six more weeks of rest & recovery. I can begin to walk more but should not attempt long distances. He would prefer short distances more often to increase conditioning. At our next appointment he may or may not allow me to begin PT. I'm okay with all of that. Prior to surgery I had horrendous Sciatic pain, numbness & tingling. Postop it has diminished greatly unless I sit very long or stand much. It is hoped that if the nerves are not irritated and allowed to calm down there is a better chance for optimal recovery. Six more weeks it is then!
Pain management will remain the same for the next month. My pain is not completely covered but it is tolerable - it is better than it was before surgery. I am able to sleep most nights thanks to ambien. Positioning with pillows and wearing my back brace allows me get comfortable and my muscles relax. I'm no longer having to take flexeril or ativan. Nucynta and neurontin seem to be all that is required. I'm very happy with that.
So I hope my recovery offers some hope to those of you facing or recovering from ALIF. I'm still marveling at how long the recovery takes, but it's been 6 weeks already! It seems like it was just yesterday I was getting ready for surgery! I'm glad I had it. I had been really anxious beforehand but went ahead as I had exhausted all other options.
I wish you all well,
L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
Now L4 Retrolisthisis