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Three surgerys in 11 months

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum but old to back issues. A liitle introduction about myself. Im from Australia. I injured my back l5 s1 in march 2010 at work. My first surgery was an posterior open laminectomy disectomy in September 2010 due to herniation and S1 nerve compression.my second surgery due to spinal chord compression corda equina involvement open laminectomy/disectomy in march 2011. After 2 more MRI nerve conduction studies and urodynamics I underwent an AILF with a titanium cage and graft on the 2nd of august 2011. I'm now 4 weeks post op and still in alot of pain. I feel like this past year is a bit of a blur and I have had one surgery after another and not been able to deal with the surgery before another one is upon me. I have been told by my surgeon this is it and I had a 60% chance of success. I hope that this works, as you can all understand it's so hard to remain positive after 2 failed surgerys. So like all of us I wait and give it time and hopefully a new back is just around the corner. I look forward to getting to know you all and offer any support I may be able to offer.


  • Your story seems to be what most novice 'spineys' dread happening to them.

    There are quite a few members here who have had more than one surgery, but three in 11 months is quite something!!

    I can understand that you must feel worn down by all of this and feel worried as to whether this fusion surgery will finally help.

    Were all of your surgeries performed by the same surgeon?

    4 weeks is still very early in the long road to recovery after a lumbar fusion. Most of us at the stage were still in quite a bit of pain, and very limited in what we could do. After reading various other stories on Spine Health, I was quite cautious after my fusion, and allowed my family and friends to help me so that I didn't have to worry about things that could possibly harm my surgery or cause me pain.

    I did take regular walks (one progressively long one, and one shorter one each day) but when I started to have pain, I would rest, which usually meant lying down, especially in the first couple of months. I couldn't sit for much more than 30-45 minutes, so when tired, lying down was the best position to be in.

    With help from a very good spinal physiotherapist and doing all my exercises and walking, I have made a good recovery from my fusion, but I do still have some pain. Nothing like before my surgery, but I am not completely pain free. I am having problems with my neck now, and I think that the problems in my legs (as well as arms and abdomen), are coming from my neck.

    Relax and give your body time to heal. You are going to need to be very patient, but perhaps there are things you have longed to do, that you can do now. Books to read, DVDs to watch, artwork or craftwork to do, sorting of photos etc.

    I wish you well, and hope that before too long we will be hearing that you are feeling that your spine is healing well and that you are on the way to getting your life back.
    Looking forward to getting to know you better. :H

  • Welcome to Spine Health Liz >:D<

    I am so sorry that we are meeting under these circumstances. However Spine Health is a great place to make new friends, gain support and research treatment options as well as discuss life.

    I never had a micro/discectomy one guy wanted to do it on my l5/s1 but I met with my NS and he said it wouldn't work and why. I went straight to PLIF (posterior lumbar interbody fusion). The recovery was brutal.

    I truely understand what kind of pain you are in. But each day got better (each month was better). Every once in awhile I would have a set back (freaking out at the time).

    Eventually I went back to work (home based office) and started living my life again :) I think I had the surgery in August and by the next Spring I was feeling excellent- better than I had in years. I remember one day I was walking and had started jogging again- really feeling great. It donned on me that if I never had the fusion I would never be feeling so great.

    Then I had some more spine issues (cervical and now thoracic). I don't blame any of this on my PLIF. I just happened to have a bad back.

    Again "welcome",

  • :H Thankyou for the warm welcome jellyhall. My first two surgeries were preformed by the same nuro. My recent fusion was by a different nuro as my original surgeon doesn't do fusions. Fortunately changing doctors was made easier due to the fact my new surgeon was such a lovely doctor explaining everything. Even the day before my surgery he rang and spoke to me for 40 minuites to make sure I was comfortable with the procedure. He also specialized in l5 area so for this I was very fortunate. Whilst in hospital for 9 days he would come in each day or if he was operating at another hospital he Would ring to speak to me, no question was ever silly or a problem. I was truly blessed to have such an understanding nuro. My husband and children felt comfortable around him also( something we have with the first surgeon).It was interesting to read your history. The day you had your PLIF was the day I injured myself would you believe. When you said you walked did this include up out of bed and around the house or walking outside? What were your lifting restrictions? Did to do hydrotherapy and if so at what week? When were you able to drive? It's wonderful to hear how well your surgery has gone, and very positive for us more recent ones. Sorry about all the questions, I look forward to hearing from you
    Liz :)

  • :H

    Your neurosurgeon sounds like a treasure!! :X
    When you have read lots of surgical stories here, you will realise how rare he is! Hang on tight to him.

    My surgeon (orthopedic) wasn't a good communicator at all! I had lots of people (nurses, my GP, physiotherapists and other spine specialists as well as friends), who pre-warned me that he would not give me much time, nor want to answer my questions and that he would underestimate how long my recovery would take, by about 50%.
    The first time I saw him, I was pleasantly surprised and felt that he was fine.

    I must say in his defence that although I had several problems during my recovery, and he started to operate on the wrong level (!), he is generally a very good surgeon and the spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra) that he operated on and fused, is very much better now.

    After my surgery, I have been very disappointed at how he doesn't answer my questions properly and he has now told me that he has 'sorted out my problem and have a good summer.' I am very relieved that I am now seeing a neurosurgeon about my cervical issues, along with thoracic and lumbar pain.

    My Walking
    The walking that I mentioned was out of the house. I was able to walk relatively comfortably after my fusion, and as soon as I got home, I began taking short walks on the flat with my husband beside me. Slowly I built up the walks. I found that being outside, hearing the birds, feeling the sun or wind on my face and just being out in the world, did wonders for my mood. I had been walking frequently before my surgery in an attempt to try to ward off the surgery. The physios in the hospital told me that was probably why I was so strong and able to walk without a frame or stick, the day after my surgery. I know that not everyone is able to walk so soon. If walking outside is too much for you, then walking in the house is good too. Open a window!! Lol!!

    I wasn't given any restrictions and at 10 days my surgeon told me I could do anything and start driving. There was no way I was ready to do that! Having read others stories here, I was more cautious, reading that others attributed their new symptoms after surgery, or even needing further surgery, to overdoing it after their fusion. I took it gently!! I didn't bend, lift or twist, and also didn't lift anything very much and didn't reach up. Any of these things would flare up my pain, so perhaps my surgeon felt that I would be self-limiting.

    I didn't ever do hydrotherapy, but did start physiotherapy at 3 months with a spinal specialist who has been wonderful, and I attribute my progress and getting back to doing most things, to him.

    I wasn't able to drive until 6 weeks. I had a wound infection, due to my incision not being closed properly (or it opened again) and then getting overgranulation which has to be cauterised with silver nitrate. All this meant that my dressing didn't come off until 6 weeks after my surgery.

    You can probably tell that my early recovery wasn't completely smooth, but each problem that I encountered was dealt with and the recovery moved forward. Although it slowed things down, the end result is the same and if I had to chose again, I would still go ahead with surgery. I think, if necessary, I would still let my surgeon operate on me (we are short of spinal surgeons here in the UK!!).

    Something else that has helped many others to travel this long journey, is to look at your progress in weeks rather than days. You are bound to have set backs along the way, and they can really pull you down emotionally. If you expect them, and know that it is perfectly normal, it will help you to take them in your stride. You are in this for the long haul, but on the horizon is a better life with less pain.

    Take good care of yourself - you are worth it. >:D<

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