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feeling like I should be further ahead in my recovery

jayhawkjjayhawk Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all!

18 days ago I had my surgery, L3-5 removing the screws from my fusion, but placing a clamp as he found instability that hadn't been identified. In addition, I had a discectomy and decompression at L3-4 with 2 clips placed to maintain space.

My surgeon's goals are to walk one mile by day 10 and 2 miles by day 20....

In order to achieve this, this week I have been walking at least one mile at a time in the mornings as it is still really hot down here. My intention is to walk again in the evenings working up to 2 miles by Sun.

I have really been struggling with pain....it is just too much! At the same time, I am also trying to decrease my pain meds. Last week, I was taking 15 mg oxicodone every 4+ hours except at night I would go about 7-8 hours.

This week, I tried to go down to about 10 mg 3 times a day. But, with this decrease, I was miserable and in aweful pain. So yesterday and today, I have taken 15 mg in the morning before I walk and then just 10 mg 2 more times through the day/night.

In addition, I still have to do light house work, dishes, laundry, light meals etc.

I just feel like I should be further ahead....

I still haven't been released to drive, not until the 3 week mark. My surgeon also wanted there to be someone with me for 3 weeks, but it just hasn't been possible...

The steri strips still haven't come off my incision, but it feels like there are scabs and that the incision has a ridge-like seam rather than being flat. I have my follow up appointment next week!

Thanks for listening and taking the time to read this.....hoping everyone is able to find some joy in the day! Take care! Shari


  • That seems like a lot of walking right after surgery. I hope the pain meds help with the pain with walking. The steri-strips should be okay to stay on for 3 weeks but hope you get into see your Dr. about those coming off and check the incision. I hope you start feeling better soon. I think 18 days and walking so far is pretty good to me.

    Sorry to hear you're not getting help at home. I hope you're not overdoing it with the housework. Hope you have a successful recovery. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I was operated on just over two weeks ago and I would struggle to even walk a quater mile!!! I can manage going up and down our flight of stairs at home a bunch of times each day but they are spread out over the day. Good on you that's amazing that your able to walk so far already!!! I'm so jelous. I was very active before my operation now I'm going crazy with being so limited. I was told I'm not allowed to drive untill week 6 so count yourself lucky!!!
    As for the incision I wouldn't worry about it. My steri strips came off a couple of days ago and I thought it felt very raised and scabbed. But the nurse said it looked great and the bits should come off in the shower over time.
    Well done for even being able to do house work!!! Sometimes even the mundane activities make you feel like you making progress and getting back to normal!!

    Keep us posted when you hit that double mile hey?
  • Thank you so much! You're comments made me smile and I am not doing that nearly enough these days! The walls are closing in and I am getting very down and lonely!

    It's a bright sunny day here today and a cold front has come in, so the temps will only be in the 80's with low humidity! Helps my spirits and the walking both!

    Alistar~this surgery wasn't a fusion. Although I was in physical therapy two weeks after my fusion, I definitely wasn't walking 2 miles. I was on the treadmill but walking very slowly....similiar to a turtle! :)

    Tomorrow is the targeted 2 mile point. I'm not going to push it. I have broken my walks into 2 different walks, morning and evening. And I have to take pain meds in order to do it. Without that, I am laying on the sofa hurting and not wanting to move, much less walk. I have also started icing more than I was. Hopefully that will help with swelling and with pain.

    Alistar it sounds like you are doing great with your recovery! My fusion was a 360 and I found my recovery a long journey, that I feel like I am still on, with lots of ups and downs, but eventually bringing me back to a life I could enjoy.

    I'm not sure I will ever be as physically active/daring as I once was. This is my 5th back surgery in 6 years. I hope and pray it will be my last, at least for a while. Even if it means I have to be less physically daring/risk taking than I once was......

    Hoping that everyone is able to find some joy in this day! Shari

  • Glad to hear that you are smiling. You sound like you are doing very well so early into your recovery.I too hope that the fifth time is the charm for you, and that will be it for surgeries for you.

    Are you decreasing your meds on the advice of your surgeon or do you just feel like you should be able to do it at this point? Just be careful not to try to get off them too early, as recovery is that much harder when you are in excesive pain. Your body will let you know when you are ready.

    You are doing fantastic with walking and also doing other things around the house.

    Hope that you have a great recovery and decreased pain.

    Will be thinking about you!

    >: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
  • Jayhawk,

    Cold front and 80's/low humidity. Are you a fellow Floridian? I'm in South Florida and we have a cold front coming through tonight I think? It sounds like you're coming along well. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Don't forget that this will be a "generic" target. Don't worry too much if you don't hit it! Better to get there in the end than do too much too soon and live to regret it.
    You will get there, just give yourself a break and do it in your own time.

  • Thank you all so much for your support!

    Brenda, I'm in southern coastal Texas, with weather very similar to yours! :) It has been fabulous the past couple days~sunny, low humidity, highs in the upper 80's with lows in the 50's!! Great walking weather! :)

    My trying to decrease my pain meds has been my own thing~so I really appreciate your insight Karen! I probably shouldn't be putting so much pressure on myself! I have been taking more before I walk, I just can't do it without. I could walk, but just not the distance.....

    I just need to find a way to give myself more of a break and not put so much pressure on myself. My ex is most likely undiagnosed bi-polar and he has been unbelievabley difficult this past week. I need to try to shake off all his comments and listen to myself.......

    A few months ago, I adopted a little Yorkie from a family that has a little girl with Down's syndrome that I am her therapist. This dog has brought me so much delight! :) She is easy to walk and sticks to my side! I love her! :)

    This week I have my post op appointment and a post op with my PM who is so supportive and compassionate. Hopefully they all go well. I have an appointment in a couple weeks for my incredibly high heart rate. I am on medication and my thyroid meds have been cut in half but my resting heart rate is still in the upper 90's, last night it was 98. It worries me, not sure what needs to be done, but I know I am in good hands medically.

    Hoping that everyone finds a bit of joy in their day!

  • I know it's hard to not pigeon hole where you are in your recovery, but try not too! You have half the battle already won ---> a very positive and realistic attitude!!!

    The heart beat. 90's is fairly high for resting. Mine use to be high, and I was put on Beta blockers - I felt like I was 20 again. I've been on them now for over 3 years, and love em. I'm 46 days smoke free, and hoping after my body adjusts more, maybe the BP and heart rate meds can be reduced. :)

    Have you seen a cardiologist for a full exam (echo, EKG, stress test, nuclear?). I think I would, as like you, mine (heart beat) concerned me too, and I had the silent killer ...high blood pressure. Granted not super high, be close enough to control with medications and give my system regulation once again. Please let us know how it goes woman. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • It does sound like you are doing a lot of walking for so early on. Could you break the walks down into more frequent but shorter walks?

    Do be careful doing that housework! You look after yourself. You are worth it!! Don't push yourself too hard. Comments made by someone who has not got your best interests at heart, are not worth listening to. You owe it to yourself to look after your back this time.

    If you were watching your daughter recovering from the surgery you have just had, what would you be saying to her? You see? You would want the very best for her, and you should take just as good care of yourself. >:D<

    Enjoy walking that lovely little dog. :)

    Wishing you much joy too!
    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • Hi again Shari - you should listen to Jelly - she always talks sense! Housework can wait - after a few weeks it doesn't seem to get any worse!

    Take care and enjoy your time with your little dog!
  • Hi; and nice to see you back here, but unfortunally for the wrong reasons.
    Meaning we know you were hoping the surgeries were all in the past.

    But anyway, take care of yourself, and dont try to lower your pain meds too much, too fast.

    The housework will still be there for you to do at a later time, when you are feeling stronger.
    But til then try to take'r easy, and spend time with your daughter, and new puppy.

    My best to ya,
  • Thank you all so very much!

    I had my follow up with PM yesterday and, like y'all, he told me I should ease up and not do so much. He reinforced the need to listen to my body.

    That seems like it would be such an easy thing to do, but for me it really is a challenge. I just can't seem to rest and not do things, but I am really trying.

    The weather is so nice now! I love being outside and walking and tend to walk further/longer than I intended....ugh.

    Interestingly, at my appointment yesterday, they asked for a urine test. Evidently, if your meds are increased inbetween an office visit (he saw me in the hospital and increased them again over the phone), they want to show you are taking your meds and not selling them on the street.

    I have been decreasing them myself, my dr is aware of this, but I hope enough shows in my blood work. The script is written as PRN so hopefully it will be ok. The whole thing makes me nervous. I've been with PM for many years, but never asked for a urine test.

    I guess it is a sign of the times?

    I had to start driving this week despite the fact I don't feel ready. I just don't have anyone to help. Tonight I have to take my daughter to her horse riding lesson. I have been looking for a ride for her but haven't been successful, which means I won't been able to take my pain meds as I need them. Which means it will be a rough night. Evenings are my toughest time of the day.

    I am having a ton of pain in my left thigh. I am terrified I have done something to cause this. It started after I pushed myself to walk Sun after having gone to church and again Monday.

    I hadn't really experienced this since before my surgery.

    I get very nervous because I blew out L3-4 right after my fusion. Ugh!

    I hope everyone is able to find a bit of joy in today!


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