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My second thoughts are G-O-N-E!

Annie-mAAnnie-m Posts: 108
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had been having second thoughts about having my ALIF L4-L5 fusion done so soon. I didn't think my pain was as bad as some others I had read about. I was also worried about the amount of down time I was going to have.

Well I went on a little vacation last week and I was very active. I was as active as I would like to be if I didn't have back problems. Well, there is no way I can carry on any kind of a normal life with my back the way it is. I was (and still am) in a lot of pain from just trying to be normal.

So my surgery is this monday (11th) and I sure hope it fixes things 8}

ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013


  • Anne! It's always a good feeling to be 100% sure going in to this type of surgery.
    I wish you all the best with surgery and outcome. Also that you return to your normal pre back pain self.
  • i have tormented myself about my impending ALIF fusion for the last 18 months {its due this sept} but i am going to go through with it ..remember its to ensure that your spine is made stable any pain relief that you may get from it is classed as a bonus.but only you can say yes or no .i am sure that your consultant would not have recommended it unless it was necessary as its an expensive and complex operation with a long recovery period ..the consequence of not fixing you spine when it is fixable could be a disasters .i know some one that did not fix there spine when it could have been fixed with a fusion on just a few levels and now that person has had many levels done because that persons spine had totally collapsed {are you a candidate for ADR artificial disc replacement? }..food for thought
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • We get to the stage where we know that we can't live well with the 24/7 pain, and I'm sending lots of positive thoughts for your surgery on Monday.

    It is a long recovery, and for me, surgery is successful. It was 6-7 months before I started feeling "normal" again, and 12-14 months before the fusion started feeling strong and I could be active for longer periods.

    My surgeon aims for 80% - 90% pain reduction and I would be in the 90%.

    I found walking was the best exercise for me as well as gentle stretching every day but it was important to take things very easy in the early stages of recovery - it was more about resting with short walks around the house and patio. Because the body is concentrating on healing, you get tired very easily. Have you got lots of pillows to support your back in bed (or the recliner when you get to that stage)?

    The bending-lifting-twisting restrictions are very important and you need to stick with them until your surgeon gives you the go ahead to do more. The grabber will be your best friend.

    Once the scar healed, I used Bio-oil and what looked ugly in the beginning can barely be seen.

    When you get home, be totally committed to your recovery. You will get frustrated when there are little setbacks and you may wonder "when is this ever going to end", but the good news is that for most of us, it does.

    Looking forward to hearing how your surgery goes when you get on the other side and able to post.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I just want to say that I really hope your surgery is successful in reducing your pain and stabilising your spine.

    If you get any offers of help from family and friends - take it. If you get the opportunity for extra pain meds whilst in hospital (and you feel you need it) - take it!!!

    The most important thing I can advise you (and what I'm learning even after surgery last July, so you'd think I would know better ha!!!) is: I totally know that the recovery is lengthy, but when you get the first feelings of starting to feel a little bit better/more normal(ish), please DO NOT overdo your activities. Please make sure you abide by the restrictions your surgeon has given you and don't (like I stupidly do from time-to-time) feel that you can push it just that little bit further. All that happens then is that you end up severely regretting doing that particular activity, get mad with yourself (and sometimes low in mood) and paying for it later with increased pain!!! Obviously this is not everyone's experience, but it has certainly been true for me on a few occasions. I just don't want you making the same silly mistakes I did (do).

    Just take things VERY slowly and be vigilant in following all your surgeon's advice - you'll recover so much better in the long run.

    When you're feeling up to it, please let us all know how you're getting on 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 !!
  • Best of luck on Monday! I'm 6 weeks since my ALIF and don't regret it a bit. Yes recovery is slow, but that's an important word to focus on RECOVERY!

    Take care, listen to your doctors and to everything you can to facilitate healing. Having a positive attitude makes a huge difference.

    We'll be thinking of you!
    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • I know myself well and the recovery will be the hardest part for me ~LOL~ I'm so use to doing everything all the time. The part that bothers me the the most is not being able to do things but I guess I'll have no choice :SS.

    Again, I thank you all so much
    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • Good Luck! I am almost 4 months out from my 2nd, and am doing good. It is long and boring. Be prepared with a laptop, and a stand as you will use it all the time, after your initial recovery. It does get better, just focus from Dr visit to Dr visit. That way you see the recovery you make alot clearer. Again, post when you are up to it, and stay strong, I havnt regretted my 2nd one yet. Getting my life back, slowly, but getting it back!
  • I will post when I'm able. I don't have a laptop but I sure wish I did. I'm going to see about getting just a netbook since I really just want to cruise the web. Thank you for you words of encouragement!

    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • I think we have all agonized in our own way about this dramatic step - I had suffered for 25 years with back pain that went from intermittent to continual. Prior surgery I kept in managable by spending almost every day either at the chiropractor, massage or exercise/stretching.
    In January we wend away for 3 weeks during which time I had no access to the above support system - when i got back I was in so much pain and so miserable that that was it - being 56 years old and not being able to walk for more than 15 minutes was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

    I can honsestly say that for the last 3 days I have been 99.9% pain free when I wake up - just lying on my back with nothing hurting is a miracle. Of course by the end of the day with moving around its a different story but still no worse than the pre-op pain which was there all the time.
    SO good luck and keep us posted.
  • to wish you all the best with your surgery tomorrow.Glad to see that you are 100% decided that this is the best option for you. I wouldn't want to go into a surgery with any doubts. Wishing you all the best. We will all be waiting to hear how you made out on the other side...once you feel up to it.
    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • As soon as I can I'll let everyone know how I'm doing. Thank you all so much :H

    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • I just wanted to say that I hope all goes well with your surgery tomorrow. Be sure to follow doctors orders and take care of yourself. When you are up to it, post an update. Many people here have been where you are about to be, and they can reassure you or answer questions. Good luck!
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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