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1 month milestone

AlistairAAlistair Posts: 37
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Im sitting here watching the minutes tick away towards midnight. Midnight marks my one month surgery anniversary. T11-t12 fusion with hardware. The doctor said Im aloud to drive after 4 weeks so when it hits midnight I'm going for a drive!!!! It's been a frustrating month I tell you. I feel great...... Until I move that is. I have stabbing pains when I cough or sneeze which when you get heyfever is quite alot.
I just want to get back to normal. But im still so far from it. Patients is very much playing the role of keystone to my recovery. I've been soooo patient up till now but it's starting to wear thin. I have exams coming up and I will be taking my exams while coming off 12 months of morphine so it should be interesting.
It is ment to be my lucky year this year (my birthday is 11/11) according to a couple of Chinese guys I used to work with. Maybe my luck starts on my birthday.
I can walk ok without too much pain but moving between bed and standing is a nightmare.
Anyways the count down is finished it's midnight now so I'm going for a drive around the block!!! FINALLY I can do something normal.


  • was the drive? Congrats on the one month mark, you are on your way.
    Time can drag alot during recovery, but as you know it is so important to take this time to heal.

    Even though it might not feel like a very lucky year, with having surgery, but I am sure that you will look back on it in the future and change your mind. It can be the begining of a whole new life.

    All the best to 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
  • :-C I'm excited for you! :-C The more we're allowed to do, the more "human" we feel. But please don't rush it when it comes to other activities. Human nature can compel us to overdo it - especially when we've just been allowed to do more - and the next thing you know, eeyowch!! Baby steps is the watchword, and sooner or later you'll hopefully stop feeling that stabbinbg pain when you cough or sneeze (any form of straining can temporarily worsen pain - ugh!) Love 'n Gentle >:D< , Ess
  • It's amazing to feel normal. I've nearly used half a tank of gas today just driving around the city. Fairly nice sunny day pretending I had a normal back. Life is good :-)
  • I am 16 days out, and I am so bad that I count the days!!! 8}

    I say okay, another day, here we come! I am doing better than I thought I would, BUT I do know what you are saying about feeling normal! I had to drive my son to football practice today, I had no other choice. I was a little nervous, but I did it. Oh it felt so good to drive! I will find out next week when I am free to drive totally. #:S

    I am trying my best to do everything that I am told to do too! I walked on my treadmill today, did a mile. I only walked at 2.2 miles per minute compared to 3.9!

    I am amazed how our bodies change after we have something done to our spines! I need to go by the weeks now, not the days. With me going by the days, it makes me nuts :$

    What are you going to school for? I want to also go back to school ( you are younger than me I believe, I will be 32 this month).
  • Isn't it nice to be experiencing life again - the four walls syndrome really gets you, but all part of what we have to go through.

    What exams are you studying for?


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • It's coming up to 6 weeks this Thursday and I've been doing nothing that the surgeon has been telling me to as I'm just so crazy getting assaignments in and studying for exams.
    Trish and Heidi I'm studying construction management. Currently (well I've been off work for two months and another two to go) I work as a boatbuilder. It was only ment to be a summer job when I left high school. Now I'm qualified as an aluminum and wooden boatbuilder. But my hearts not there anymore and I want a change. The only way im going to get change is by hard work. I can't go back to heavy manual labour.
    How are you going Heidi with your studies? (only slightly younger than you haha)
  • Hi Alistair

    In some ways it's a shame that your heart isn't in boat building any more, but hope you can find a vocation that you have a passion for. And you're right, it'll be more hard work !!


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • It is a shame because I was aiming to set up my own company building custom luxury boats up to 50 feet. Bit the recession has made me realize that the marine industry is the first thing to get cut and the last thing to be picked up again once the recession is "over". We have been doing it tough the last 3 years. I can't afford to be vulnerable once my wife and i start having kids.
  • Hi Alistair!

    It sounds like your return to the road went much better than mine! My surgeon released me to drive after 3 weeks so on the 4th week I drove my daughter to school. We stopped at Starbucks on the way and as I was backing into a parking space, I backed straight into a concrete light pole. :(

    The next day, I almost ran over a light ol' man that was waiting (on a narrow) street to cross.....

    I put myself on driving time out and waited another couple of weeks! My driving is much better now!

    How are your exams going? I don't think there is anyway I could take an exam while I was on meds! Power to ya! :)

    I haven't been posting much lately. Been feeling down, still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I had another fusion. 2 (or 3 depending on how you count) in a year and a half is just too much....

    I saw my surgeon yesterday, starting some gentle PT on my own. If it increases the pain, then I am to back off and try again in a couple of weeks.

    Going to try to go back to work next week and I am terrified as I definitely am not ready but need the paycheck to put food on the table.

    Hope all is well! Keep in touch! Wishing you the best!

  • I was beginning to worry what had become of you Shari!! Hope you survive getting back to work.. It would be nice to get back to some sence of normality. I was a bit funny when I got back to driving for a couple of days but am alot better now. Well I was. I've done something stupid I think and am flat in bed again. The phone rang early one morning and I jumped up to get it now I got stabbing pains right below where my fusion was. Bad enough to take my breath away each time I move. Got an appointment to see the surgeon on Monday. Bit worried I've blown out the section below my fusion as I damaged that area in my accident aswell bit it healed itself over the last 4 years.
  • Congrats to all you drivers!! I am almost 90 days post op of fusion surgery of T10-S1 and I STILL cannot drive. My doc says we'll talk about lifting some restrictions on my next appt.......nov 17th!!!!!! I cannot wait to drive!!

    Alistair- I hope you're ok! Rest and take it easy until u see your dr........
  • Hopefully things will settle down Alistair and you have just irritated things.

    I had a similiar experience with each of my fusions and I found that keeping a pain journal writting down specifically what I was feeling and where was really helpful to my surgeon.

    There are so many ups and downs during recovery it can be so frustrating!

    This week I have really struggled at the end of the day. My pain increases and starts radiating down my legs. It is sharp, stabbing, burning and also deep aching.

    I know that this indicates I am over doing it but I just can't figure out the right amount of activity. Ugh.

    Hoping your pain is much better!

  • It's a normal reaction to jump out of bed to answer the phone - hope you haven't injured yourself. Obviously you're careful at other times. You've done the right thing by resting. Stay resting and see what the surgeon says on Monday.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Sorry to hear about the new pain that you are experiencing after the phone call. Glad that you are taking it easy this weekend.

    Hope that all goes well for you at your appointment on Monday.Please let us know how it goes.

    >: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
  • Thanks guys. I feel so lazy... I've been in bed for like 48 hours. It's hard explaining what it feels like to people who don't really understand. Untill now I've been going from strength to strength and progressing very quickly so I guess I'm just disappointed in myself for a momentary lack of judgement. Just really hope it's a pulled muscle or ligament.... But once you've had a damaged back you kinda know what it feels like so I'm not holding my breath for good news unfortunately. But my fingers and toes are crossed.....
    You guys are awesome!
  • Just got back from the surgeon and he has said that I'm all good and the pain is normal and I should expect to experience it on an off for the next 6-9 months. So I'm pretty glad I'm not broken again but kinda gutted that I'm goon to get it again once it eases. I start physical therapy tomorrow which is kind of exciting. By I've still got at least another 2 months until I have to go back to work. Which means I get an especially long Christmas holiday. Which I'm really happy about as we are just coming into summer down here in new Zealand so at least I will be able to potter around outside in the sun. The surgeon also told me that I should start swimming as opposed to walking.... I look like I'm drowning when I try to swim so it should be interesting to say the least.... He also gave me some advice which y'all might appreciate. "When the pain gets really bad the best thing you can do is have a hot bath" which is what I'm about to do. Don't know if you guys have bath tubs at home but I can highly recommend it if you do. Just be very careful getting in/out.
    Hope you all are not feeling that cold snow storm that's wrapping the states at the moment. If so then wrap up warm and stay inside!!!
    Thanks for all your support you are amazing people!! :-)
  • so good to hear!! You must be so relieved! Have fun fine tuning your swimming skills!!! I start PT myself on Friday and am looking forward to it as well. It gets us out of the house and makes us stronger so we can try to rsume normal life soon! Best of luck to you tomorrow & again, so glad to hear you are ok!
  • Physical therapy was pretty good. Had a deep tissue massage and the therapist said the muscles down each side of my spine were as hard as concrete as they have been supporting the injury for 4 and a half years. Now it's time to loosen them up and strengthen my core muscles so they support my back rather than the muscles in my back. Have been given a series of stretches to help to start loosening up everything but twisting is still quite painful but theres no pleasure with out a but of pain.

    On another note I have been in touch with my university about making arrangements to do my exams standing up. Once I had explained what ive had done and medical certificate for it they organized for me to do my exams in a room by myself with a lectern so I can do them standing up. I also get an extra 10mins per hour of exam to allow me to stretch and a bit of extra writing time due to being a bit slow on my pain meds. All in all I think they have been very reasonable and very accommodating with me and my broken (but slowly mending) back. I can also apply for special marking as my study period has been adversely effected by my surgery and recovery so if I get too sore I can leave early or if I can't think properly because of my pain meds I should still be able to pass. Which is great because I have to pass both of these papers to get into next year!!!!
  • I bet you were so relieved when you got the good news from your surgeon!

    I'm 2 years out and if I do something stupid or overdo things, I have bad days. Overall, life is pretty good for me.

    I'm an Aussie and have a bath tub - yeah it's the place to go for a bit of comfort. Being a girl, I add some lavender oil.

    My recovery was during the warm weather and it made things so much easier.

    Did you enjoy the massage or did it hurt? I've always found that deep tissue massage hurts initially, but feels pretty good later on.

    That's so good of the university in helping you to do your exams standing up and then extra time to move around when you need to. I thought uni's were a bit rigid.

    Don't be in a hurry to twist. I had to take that out of my PT because it was too painful.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I am just so amazed that you are writing papers and taking exams!! :) That's fantastic!

    I am back to work now, but at times I still feel as if I have anesthesiology brain! :)

    I agree with Trish, maybe be careful twisting. At my last post op, my surgeon had me twist backwards and the first time I did it, I gasped~out loud!! I was embaressed, but it really hurt! Then to the other side, I was much more guarded and didn't rotate very far! Ha! :) It hurt much too much to do that twice!

    Look luck with your exams, let us know how it goes and with your PT also!

    Take care!

  • Exams went really well for me I think. I had a desk that was sort of too low to stand upright but just high enough to lean on and support myself with my elbows. Plus the extra time (that I didn't really need) was great to go over my exam and recheck my financial calculations. Found two mistakes and had time to fix it which is fantastic.
    PT is going slowly at the moment. Just doing some very easy stretches to get the nerves and muscles moving again aswell as swimming 3 times a week. Starting to feel improvements in my movement which is good. I stil get really sore if I am in one position for more than half a hour though which is realy frustrating. The deep tissue stuff does hurt a bit but it feels so good afterwards that it's worth it I think.

    Well done for getting back to work Shari! That's amazing. I still have another 6-8 weeks before I get back to work so I have a nice long relaxing summer break to look foward to.

    It's nice to see that I'm not the only one from down under Trish!!

    I can't thank you all enough for the support :-)
  • So pleased that your exams went well - going to be positive because I feel sure they did. That desk must have been so uncomfortable, but good on you for finding a way to do your exam.

    Terrific that you're taking it steadily with your PT and starting to get a good result. If I 'm in one position for more than half an hour, then I get sore, and I'm 2 years out. You're young, so think you will heal well. It is frustrating ........

    Keep doing what you're doing because it's working !!


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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