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8 Days Post Op ALIF Portion of 360 Fusion

TrixieMamaTTrixieMama Posts: 64
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello my spiney friends!

I have been offline for 8 days and heavily medicated, LOL, recovering from my first surgery in my 360, the ALIF. Surgery went well. 4 hours total for two levels. About a 6 inch incision w/dissolving sutures and steri-strips.

I was on the PCA for two days. Spiked a fever for 3 so had a heavy 6 day course of Vanco that had to be stopped early due to loss of iv access. All my veins became fragile and wouldn't hold up for more than 12 hours from the Vanco. I think I ended up with somewhere between 12-22 IV sticks, I quit counting :)

They tried to get me up on day one but my blood pressure was 80/73 and I passed out. Unfortunately they didn't take my BP before standing me up, LOL. My Hgb was low, 8.3 after surgery and they contemplated transfusing me but opted for iron tabs instead and a daily double dose did the trick. It raised substantially each day and i'm feeling much better now.

Over all the surgery wasn't bad. Pre-op was a pain. Almost an hour late for surgery and the hospital has a policy unless you are in the OR they won't give you anything to relax you ahead of time. But, literally as they wheeled me into the OR and my anxiety was at it's peak they were pushing meds. I don't remember much after that.

They kept me heavily medicated. I think I was on 1 or 2 mg of Morphine q 15 min PCA with 2mg of Dilaudid every 2 hour PRN along with 20mg of Percocet. Eventually when they lost IV access they changed the Dilaudid to PO and sent me home with it.

I walked to the door of my room on day two, by day three I was walking to the main unit bathroom every time I had to go to the potty, which was A LOT :) Pooping was horrible. The Vanco induced diarrhea and then constipation set in. Still dealing with the later.

I'm pretty mobile at this point. I have a hard brace I wear anytime i'm out of the bed, sitting, standing or walking. I'm using a walker. Still haven't showered and won't until after my first post op Thursday.

I think overall at this point this leg of the surgery was a success. My pain has been rough but it's different which I view as a positive. I have new radicular pain in my left leg along with total numbness to my left thigh, groin, buttocks and pubic area but they said it's too early to tell if it's permanent or not. When I woke up from surgery my right hand was TOTALLY numb. Scared the dickens out of me. It took two days for the feeling to return and now it's fine. No lasting effects thank God. I do have new weakness to the left leg and can't lift it without assistance but again, won't know if it's perm for about 6 months to a year or longer. My mom said they said the EMG showed nothing, not sure what that means and am not going to stress about it at this point since I am still walking and overall in a better place than I was.

So, at this point, this leg of the surgery has been successful as far as i'm concerned. May have developed a little hernia at the abdominal incision but that is minor compared to what i've dealt with the last year and it's fixable, not a big problem right now.

Just wanted to update everyone and give hope to those going through this. It is tough. NO doubt. It is painful, NO doubt. You will cry, you will laugh and you will be okay :) I have always been a glass half full gal vs. a glass half empty and believe if you go into this surgery knowing it won't be a fix all and have a positive attitude that no matter what the end results, you can work through them and it will be okay :)

I have posted new video's on my YouTube page, feel free to check them out if you want too or to email if you have questions about the surgery or if I can answer any questions in general.

I'm going to close for now because i've written a chapter and need to medicate. One big thing i've learned since being home is the importance of staying on top of the pain. Take your meds as scheduled, don't try to be a super hero and fight through it because when the pain does hit after you purposefully missed a dose, your playing a catch up game that is hard to win.

Hugs to you all. Have a blessed night. Oh yeah, second surgery, PLIF will be on 12/17!


  • I'm so glad your surgery went well. You sound really good, which from what I've heard and experienced seems to have a positive effect on the outcome of any surgical procedure. Keep the glass half filled, and easy does it. On this Forum I've seen posts of people who, when they started to feel better postop, overdid it and paid the price. Keep us posted on your recovery from op #1 and 2. Love 'n >:D< >:D< >:D< , Ess
  • Sounds like your first surgery went well but you've not had it easy post-op.

    Keep on being positive and focused on better days. I know you've got another surgery to go through and I hope that recovery afterwards is easier than the first one.

    As Ess said, be careful of overdoing things once you start to feel a bit better.

    Wishing you the best for the next surgery and recovery, and let us know how it all goes.

    >:D< >:D<


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hi Ess!

    Thank you SO much!

    Staying positive hasn't been easy by any means. Staying in bed, heavily medicated and covered in darkness would be easy, the hard part is getting up each day and looking at everything from a positive perspective!

    I wish I had listened not only to you but to others in older posts i've read saying to take it easy. The first two days home were more than rough! My grandparents were taking care of my kids however my grandfather got really sick with a URI (he's 83) a few days before I came home so childcare was left to my grandmother alone, since my parents were with me at the hospital. Once I came home grandma would have the kids at night and my parents would have them part of the day. Unfortunately, I felt the need to *help* and boy did I pay the price. Yesterday though I figured out that I was doing too much and stayed in bed, iced up for most of the day, other than getting up for a brief round about with the walker in the dining room, LOL. Doing that made a WORLD of difference in the pain/radicular symptoms I was having. Today I followed the same and as hard as it has been to *stay out of it*, I have managed to do so and the pain I was having decreased at least 60%!

    I think that is a key that everyone needs to really listen too up front and not be fooled by thinking that they can do a little more just because they feel okay. Thankfully I didn't do any damage that i'm aware of and the pain has remained much more tolerable today.

    Thanks again for all your kindness, love and support! You have stuck by me for quite sometime now and I do appreciate it more than you know!

    Have a blessed day and hope to talk to you again soon...

  • Trish!!! Thank you so very much!

    I am trying to stay positive! Some days have been easier than others but each day I just ground myself back in my faith and it seems to brighten those dark days :) Anyone who says this surgery is a cake walk is crazy, IMHO. We all will have different experiences but I found that you can't just jump back into things without wading in the shallows first!

    I do hope that my post op from my next surgery will be easier than this one! My surgeon said to expect a long haul after it recovery wise and likely a longer hospital stay. The past two days i've struggled with low grade fevers that break into sweats before reaching 100 degree's but i've also started coughing up a lot of green goo. I think the Vanco is still in my system though and possibly kept pneumonia at bay! Thursday I see my surgeon and plan on asking him for a Z-Pak just in case though. Hopefully he will be willing to along with it.

    Thanks again for all your love, support and encouragement! I so greatly appreciate it!

    Have a blessed day!

  • Hi Kimberley

    Hope the fevers and coughing comes under control soon. It's enough trying to recover from surgery with this. When you cough, might be a good idea to hug a pillow if you can - that'll give a little bit of support.

    Hope your surgeon gives you a script for a Z-pack - good to have it on hand if you need it.

    Your faith will help you get through this.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Glad to here that you are home from part one of your surgery experience. Try to continue to take it easy, I know it's especially hard with children at home, but sounds like you have a great support system.

    Sorry to hear about your fever and coughing. Will be good that you are getting in to see the doctor on Thursday.

    How is the walking going, are you able to take short frequent walks with your walker, and balance it out with rests and meds?

    All the best at your appointment, hope that your fever/coughing stops and recovery can continue to be on the upswing.

    Can you pm me your youtube so I can see your video?

    >: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
  • Welcome home Kimberly, I think your doing wonderful. I am sure you are dealing with a lot of pain and as you have learned just stay up on the pain meds. Hopefully fingers crossed your not coming down with anything, and you will begin to feel better, from that at least. You have a long way to go so keep your glass half full, the only way to do it. Positive attitudes do go along way, in this.

    Now you could have a little fun with the doctors and write a note on your body for the next surgery? haha just kidding. just thought I would give you something fun to ponder for the day. Take care and welcome home for the first time.
  • Thanks so much Trish for the warm wishes and encouragement! You are right, my faith will get me through this, just need to stay grounded in it <3

    Hugs and i'll keep you updated on Thursdays appt, I hope he does go along with a z-pak, if not i'll have to see my regular md. Either way, i'm not taking any chances with my next surgery only 18 days away!
  • Thanks Karen!

    I will PM you my YouTube link :) The video's have been quite therapeutic for me which has been surprising!

    Thanks for your encouraging words and support! Everyone here that has reached out has been such a huge help, inspiration and given me to much hope! Your support means the world!

    As for the walking, it hasn't been the greatest. In the hospital I was walking quite a bit, at least every hour around the unit to use the main bathroom which helped encourage me to get up and moving. Here at home, i'm up and down multiple times a day but the past two days i've had a lot of heaviness in my knee's when I get up and lots of pain from the knee down. I'm thinking claudication? Not quite sure because it just started. I suppose it could just be inflammation or maybe from my propping my knee's/legs up on a pillow when i'm laying down. Either way, I need to push myself to walk more. I suspect that with all the little ups/downs and trips to the kitchen/front of house i'm doing okay but I haven't ventured outside yet with the walker. I have 2 steps to go up to get into the front of the house and then 4 steps to go down to get outside. I may try walking to the end of the driveway today. Maybe walking more will ease the heaviness/pain from the knee down that is new.

    Today I woke up in horrible pain. I couldn't even get up to turn off my house alarm before my kids woke up (usually get it turned of before they get up to prevent false alarms when they open windows/doors). Anyway, this morning I could hardly move so I filled up my Aqua cooler and laid on it for 40 minutes straight. I slept through a medication dosing last night which may have made an impact on my pain this AM. Not sure. There is so much I just don't know and am learning. This really is a total learning experience because no two outcomes are exactly the same and this is a whole new experience for me.

    Anyway, thank you for your support and encouragement! I will PM you right now :)

    Hugs and have a blessed day..
  • Thank you so much TamTam for your encouragement and continued support!

    The pain is tolerable at times and at other times I just want to scream because it's frustrating! Staying up on the pain meds is so important and while I think i'm doing well or was doing well, I overslept last night and missed a dose at 4am. When I woke up at 6am I could hardly move or walk! I am still paying the price right now despite hard core icing and meds. I have been a little disappointed because I called my surgeon yesterday and spoke with his nurse about adjusting my meds and she said I was at the max dosage, which I know isn't true because i'm a nurse myself and in the hospital they were giving me 20mg Percocet which is what I wanted to go up too but hopefully tomorrow when I see my surgeon in person he will help me adjust things to gain a little more control. As it is I have 2 hours pain control after medicating and that is alternating between 10mg Percocet and 2mg Dilaudid. Perc's every 4 hours and Dilaudid every 6. Prior to surgery he had promised me he wouldn't let me be in post op pain and would order something as strong as fentanyl patches if we couldn't control it. I don't want a patch but I do want more than 2 hours relief! Maybe i'm asking too much? IDK.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. Thank you again for everything! Being able to come here and talk to others who have walked the path before me and have first hand experience has been invaluable to me. I am so thankful for everyone here, including you, who have helped me work through the issues.

    Have a blessed day!

    Hugs, love and blessings...


    Had a big LOL at your suggestion for some humor. My mom took a Sharpie and threatened my surgeons (had 3) before surgery that she was going to write my allergies and mark exactly what part of my body I was going to have surgery on with her Sharpie if they thought they couldn't keep it straight! It was pretty hysterical to see the look of shock on their faces as she prepared to write allergies on my forehead! LOL.

  • Welcome home!

    Wow it’s good to hear from you. Somehow I missed your post until today.

    You are right not to stress about various numbness, weakness and pains at the moment. Spinal surgery does annoy the nerves and it is very common to have all sorts of symptoms for a while. I also found that my left leg was very weak for a few weeks and I had to lift it up with my hand.

    Sorry to hear of your awful pain this morning. It could well be because you slept through a dose of pain medication. Some people advise setting an alarm in the first weeks to avoid that happening because it can be very hard to get the pain under control again.

    I would also love to have the You tube link. I can’t remember where I got it before.

    I definitely advise that you allow your body time to recover from this surgery (and the next one). The quickest way to get back to doing things, is to allow this initial healing to take place. I think probably all of us learn in these early days that if we overdo it we will set ourselves back and it is not worth it. All the other things that you want to do to help out will just have to wait. You are worth looking after! :D

    Do speak to your surgeon about only getting 2 hours pain relief. Hopefully he’ll be able to give you something that will control your pain for longer. I hope that your appointment goes well. We’ll be waiting to hear how you get on.

    You know, your mom’s idea of writing on you with a sharpie is not a bad idea. My surgeon started operating on the wrong level with me! My scar is crooked at the bottom where he had to extend the incision to open the correct level. I did have a wrist band with my allergies on, but I didn’t know that I would have an allergy to the dressing that they used.

    Top up that glass!
    >:D< >:D< >:D<

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