I just thought I would add my experience of recovery from an anterior L4,L5,S1 fusion. I have sadly read so many posts of people having great problems after the surgery and it really scared me, but I am now 3 weeks and 2 days post surgery and I feel GREAT!!
I am a 44 year old woman who could barely walk before the surgery, and I was taking up to the limit of pain meds and still unable to sleep. I also have something called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which is an added complication as it affects my heart, joints, healing and immune system.
I was discharged 6 days after surgery and when I got home I was able to walk short distances without too much discomfort, could get down and up off the toilet ( I was worried about that!) without help, and could do stairs. I was on the lowest amount of pain meds ( 75mg Sodium Dicolfenac x 1 per day ) and never felt the need for more. The worst things were the mood changes ( due to valium withdrawal I was told! )the nausea ( due to epidural ) and the tiredness.
After 12 days my stitches were removed and with my surgeon's agreement I started to go to the swimming pool and move around, swimming a couple of widths and walking in the water. I also started to drive short distances ( this was uncomfortable but necessary for me to do ) again with my surgeon's agreement.
So, I had my 3 week check yesterday and the surgeon was very, very happy and I am now in the care of a physio, signed off by the surgeon. I am now taking no pain meds for the first time in years. I can now use the treadmill in the gym slowly ( NO running! ) and swim properly if I stop if I feel any pain ( swum 1500m today and no pain, just stiffness in muscles ).
I have no pain in any place in my back, and only a very tiny amount of pins and needles in my leg when I have walked too far, which I am told is normal for the first six weeks.
I know that this is just the beginning of a long recuperation, but I wanted to add a postive note, to let people know that the first three weeks isn't necessarily horrendous
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions - I would be happy to chat.
Here's to a pain free back!