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Pain 4 Weeks Post OP ALIF

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

I am 4 weeks post op from an ALIF, the first portion of my 360 and the second portion the PLIF was suppose to be in two days but it was cancelled due to severe anemia (I have another thread on this board talking about this that I posted today). Anyway, 3 days after d/c I was readmitted with complications, a seroma and a hematoma on my spine (have another thread on this board for that also, LOL). 7 day readmission then d/c home.

So i'm not sure if the readmission set me back or what but i'm feeling like I have hit a bit speed bump in the road. The past two days (been home a week now post second admission) i've been weak and not walking very much. TBH, I have not been able to walk much since the second admission, i'm just not feeling good. Probably related to my severe anemia but that isn't the issue here. I've also heard the old tale that for everyday you are in the hospital it takes 3 days to recover so that would mean 14 days hospital time = 42 days! OMG that is insane! I guess I should be more thankful about my PLIF being postponed/cancelled, LOL :)

I know I am still considered fresh post op and that pain is normal but i'm just worried i've done something to hurt the first fusion. Maybe all this normal, I don't know. My spine hurts at the level and below the level of surgery, L4-S1 ALIF and the pain seems to go all the way down my tail bone. Sometimes when I get up from sitting the pain is horrible and I try my hardest not to be up more than 20 minutes at a time which is one of my restrictions along with the no BLT rule. I wear my brace anytime i'm out of bed and when i'm reclining in a higher position in bed because I was scolded one day in the hospital and told my hospital bed head was up at a 90 degree angle and I didn't have my brace on so now i'm super cautious. I also have had a post op cough since my first surgery, today it's bad, but the internist isn't worried because i'm still on abx. Anyway, the coughing i'm sure isn't doing anything but aggravating things.

The past two days I feel i've really had a set back. I have been up because i've had to deal with my kids and maybe i've been up too much between the sitting to eat and walking around the house. I'm still dealing with the post op complication of numbness to my left thigh and surrounding area. They put me on Lyrica for that and it seems to be working okay, it has taken away the hot knife feeling I was having, but hasn't taken away much of the other nerve pain, i'm taking 100mg BID. I'm still taking my pain meds every 4-5 hours and stretch it if it's a good day but still try to medicate frequently because of the pain. The bad part is the past two days i'm not sure if i've built up a tolerance to the meds or what but the pain seems to be more persistent.

Right now i'm taking Dilaudid 2mg, Percocet 15 mg (I alternate the two q 4 hr) , Lyrica 100 mg BID, Keflex (for the seroma) and then of course the iron and colace. Also have Xanax prn and a muscle relaxer that I haven't been taking except when needed, Soma.

Maybe today is just a bad day and i'm feeling the wishy washy feelings that seem natural with this surgery. IDK but I thought i'd post and see what others who have been through this had to say on it :) Everyone here is always so amazing, this forum is a blessing!

Also, curious to know if anyone has had any involuntary muscle twitching/movement post op. I never had any pre fusion but post fusion and a trial of gabapentin (they stopped it due to the twitching) it seems to persist. Sometimes my arm flies up or a finger or sometimes my muscles on one side of my body contract. It's really strange and my doctors are aware of it and don't seem concerned by it. I am though because it's new.

Call me a worry wort but I just don't know what to expect pain wise right now and when new things come up I wonder if reaching for a pillow is the culprit or not doing a perfect log roll in and out of bed or reaching to get a drink from my bedside table while in bed. So many concerns. I am diligent about wearing the brace though when up so I hope that has helped keep things where they should be.

I guess I just need a little support today to let me know if i'm still on the right track or not. I read stories here about people who just run, fly and jump through their first weeks and are off pain meds and it just seems remarkable considering how my recovery period has been blanketed with complications. I know we all have different experiences and not everyone has complications, I do see a lot of good that has come out of my surgery though because some of my pre-op pain is gone, which i'm so thankful for. I just need a little reassurance today I guess :)

Thanks and have a blessed day...

Sorry for making this so long...I have a tendency to be long winded, *sigh*.


  • TrixieMama said:

    I have a tendency to be long winded, *sigh*.
    No problem. In fact, there's no better place on earth for spineys to vent/share something, no matter how lengthy it is, than this awesome Forum. Don't ever feel bad about the length.

    I sure hope your blood levels (hemoglobin and maybe red cell count) return to normal soon.
    Love 'n >:D< >:D< >:D< , Ess

  • I can't tell you that everything is fine, because I am over the other side of an ocean and also am not medically trained.

    What I can say is that at just 4 weeks out, I think that various pains and nerve symptoms is very normal.

    I was sorry to hear of your postponement of your PLIF due to aneamia.
    The good news is that you will be at home with your kids for Christmas. I know that it won't be a 'normal' Christmas, but having it at home is going to be much better than being in hospital.

    There is time to get your blood iron levels up, ready for surgery at a later date. I know you must want to get on with it and get over to this side, but this extra time to get over the ALIF and all the complications from that, will probably be a good thing.

    Now, make sure that you don't over do it. That is very easy to do, and it will flare up your pain levels. You want to do everything that you can to give your body a chance to heal.

    Enjoy being home with your kids for this unexpected time.

    We are here to support you Kimberley, and are following your progress.
    Take good care of yourself.

    >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Thanks Ess <3

    It's so nice to know that I can come here and write chapters and still be welcomed with open arms. I've found that sometimes this is the only place I can come where people understand. My family has been great and they *get* it but like I said in the video, they don't fully *get* it, i'm sure you know what I mean.

    I hope my hgb/blood levels raise rapidly as well. Waiting will be hard because of the pain. Thankfully I got an appt to see him on Thursday next week so we can discuss the SEroma and my lack of pain control right now especially since the surgery has been postponed and my spine is still so unstable without the rods/pins in it.

    big time hugs back to you...haven't figured out how to do smilies here yet, is there is list here that tells what type of textual smilies you can make? Sometimes being a blonde is a good thing but not when it comes to figuring that stuff out, especially when medicated, LOL :) The Lyrica seems to really knock me for a loop some days but for the past two days i've had very little notice of the effectiveness of the meds. Tolerance, maybe? IDK.

    Anyway, wish I could textually smiley hug you back a gazillion times for all your wonderful love, support and prayers. You are awesome and I am blessed to have you with me on this journey <3

    Hugs and blessings always....
  • Jelly!

    Thanks for all your continued support. I wasn't expecting a diagnosis, just some reassurance that i'm on track and you gave me what I needed, a little comfort and a lot of encouragement :)

    Sometimes this is just so overwhelming. So much drama despite my efforts to keep it as drama free as possible, lol. I guess it's the nature of the WC beast.

    I felt better today after venting here and think all is well, I think from reading the boards here that it's not uncommon to have new pains and aches.

    Made it a point to get out of bed today. The past two days i've spent most of the day in bed because I was so weak but today decided to do some extended walking. Even made my first journey out. Tomorrow I have to go see the internist and he said since surgery was cancelled and it's been 4 weeks since surgery I can do some light stuff like be a passenger in a car for short rides and step outside now. I have my sister and BIL housesitting for me and taking care of my chickens, my *other* babies :) It was so nice to sit and have them jump in my lap to be petted and loved on. They were really relaxing and comforting for me when I would be stressed out at home, kind of sensory therapy, i've missed it so it was nice to get to see them today. (I only live 6 blocks from where i'm staying so it was a shorter drive than going to my doctors, LOL).

    I am very much looking forward to spending Christmas with my kids :) Today I did some online shopping on Amazon and got them some Santa gifts since I hadn't expected they would have a traditional Christmas morning with some open/unwrapped gifts from Santa since I wouldn't be here to coordinate it. LOL.

    Thanks again for your continued support, encouraging words and prayaers. I am so very blessed to have you on this journey with me and so many others her!. Such a wonderful thing, being a spiney has been an uplifting experience so far and helpful beyond my wildest imagination! I never imagined i'd develop frienships along the way <3 Blessings behind every corner at this place :)

    Hugs and blessings to you always....

  • I am so pleased to hear that you are starting to manage to go outside for walks.
    Personally, I found that really helped me feel that I was progressing in my recovery. The fresh air, wind on my face and sometimes the sunshine really seemed to improve my mood and made me feel a part of the world again. (Don't go out if it is icy!)

    I pray that your Christmas will be full of blessings. Think of your time at home as a gift. It is not what was planned, but God knows what is best for you. :-)

    Keep looking after yourself - you are worth it.

    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • like you had a better day yesterday, and managed to get out to see your other babies(chicks) that would definately be good for the spirit.

    Love, love, online shopping. That is how I did 95% of my Christmas shopping this year...so much easier.

    How is your new iron intake going? I am going to take your advise about the prune juice,prunes and extra water, since I have alot of trouble with constipation from the meds that I take. I can only imagine what all that extra iron would do, but you have a great plan to counter act it all.

    Your children must be so happy that you will be with them for Christmas, I am sure that it will be a wonderful day for you all, and a chance to all be together.

    Great to here that you walked a bit more yesterday, just be careful not to overdue, break it up with rest in between, and as Jelly said watch for icy walkways if you live in a colder climate.

    In order to do smileys there is a spot at the top of your post, just above the subject and your name...says smileys...click on that and you will have a great choice to chose from ;)

    Hope that today is even better than yesterday!

    Big >:D<
    >: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
  • Jelly!

    Yes it was SO good to get out yesterday. I must admit, I even ventured to Target! I know I probably shouldn't have gone that far but since I was visiting my baby chicks, Target was only another block away and I had a plan, pajama's for my kids only! My 83 year old grandmother accompanied me and we had my 3 year old with us, I wasn't sure how it would work because she can be a handful but she was so well behaved and listened so attentively it was a wonderful experience with her. I used the walker and we parked in handicapped parking. Got into the store and I immediately got an electric cart and we went straight to the girls/boys section which is right at the front of the store we went too, only a few steps from the entrance. The cart was an experience within itself, I have never been in one before and didn't figure out until we left that you don't pull the handle all the way back to accelerate, you only pull it back a *tad* to control the speed, lol. I was like a kid in a candy store, laughing and giggling, people were starring at me and giving me funny looks, I didn't care, it was good medicine!

    We were only there for about 10 minutes total because I had a set agenda, pajamas for my kids and leave, which we managed to do. Since my surgery has been postponed, and I have to go to the doctors office tomorrow to pick up a lab slip, I figured a short venture out would do me some good and it did! I will tell you though when we got home, I looked at my grandma and said, "I think I got my shopping fix until after my next surgery" because I was literally exhausted! But mentally/emotionally it really felt good and I think you are right, that fresh air and sunshine did me some good :)

    It started raining on our way home and it is cold today. I live in So Cal so we won't get snow but it does get really cold, right now it is 42 degrees which is cold by So Cal terms! LOL. We do get ice or as some call it frost sometimes on the cars/rooftops but no real *ice/snow* to speak off.

    Thank you for lifting me up in spirit this morning with your encouraging words and for all your prayers! God has blessed me immensely and I can only hope that on this journey I can return what you have given to me, to someone else just starting on the path to healing here.

    Blessings and hugs to you always my lovely friend >:D<
  • Karen :D

    Thank you for telling me how to do smilies, you are such an angel in so many ways O:)

    OMG, I am a TOTAL online shopper :) I haven't shopped for presents in stores for birthdays or holidays in over 3 years. It is a wonderful feeling to get it done hassle free. I may not get the best price but at least I don't have to deal with angry holiday shoppers who are pushy and rude. Amazon is my prime place, sometimes I do Ebay. I use to sell on Ebay but two years ago they changed their fee's so I quit selling and i've noticed a lot of sellers don't have the same *polite* and nice qualities that Ebay sellers once possessed. It has changed a lot! Anyway, now with Amazon Prime I shop much more frequently there because I love the two day shipping.

    Now to get back on track....LOL

    My iron intake is going okay. I pooped today, little hard pebbles. Sorry to be so graphic but you asked! I am constipated, quite badly actually and it was really hard not to strain. I have to be very cautious not only because of the incision area and risk of hernia but also because I don't want to irritate any hemorrhoids! :jawdrop: TMI, TMI, I know but every woman who has ever had a baby knows my pain at one point or another and this is all about sharing/learning and helping each other, haha.

    So the trick with the iron I think is to drink warm prune juice twice a day. Especially on such a high dose as I am on. Drink it once a day if you are only taking iron once a day otherwise you'll end up with diarrhea! I ate 5 prunes yesterday too but laid down on my left side immediately after drinking the warm juice because laying on your left side increases peristalsis which is an inch worm like movement of the bowels. You can literally feel it (or at least I can) moving through the gut. It's kind of neat when you think about it, LOL, only a nurse would likely agree, haha.

    I suspect that the constipation will only get worse but I will continue to do my best to stay hydrated. That will be the hard part because I honestly do not like water. Not sure why but I only drink a couple glasses a week, I am a soda-holic unfortunately and drink more soda than water, which isn't healthy at all! I am trying to get creative by adding lemon, lime and using flavored teas that are free of artificial sweeteners, those are so bad for you!

    Getting out yesterday was wonderful and so uplifting, mentally, physically and emotionally! It was fabulous to see my chickens. The chicks have grown so much I could hardly recognize them! And my rooster, OMG, he has gotten so much bigger I was kind of scared of him! As long as he doesn't figure that out we will be okay :)

    Thank you for being here for me, I am so blessed. Thanks for showing me the smilies too, I was such a silly blonde to have missed them right there in plain view! 8} :B L)

    Have an enormously blessed day my friend!

  • I'm glad the prune juice has started to give you the get-up-and-go you've needed. What you said about lying on the left side facilitating peristalsis is interesting...could that be why enemas are given with the patient lying on his/her left side?

    There's something about chickens that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling - I guess because, one, I love all animals as well as nature, and, two, my parents had a family ranch, complete with chickens and roosters as well as a horse and a Shetland pony, when I was a kid. In fact, I love 'em so much my kitchen and dining room are decorated in a rooster theme (nature themes throughout my apartment: "autumn" in the living room, "sunflower" in the bathroom and "rose garden" in the bedroom).

    I hope you continue to do better. You've been in my prayers. Love 'n >:D< >:D< >:D< , Ess
  • OH Ess, you made me :))( Yes the prune juice is doing what it is suppose to do :) Not exactly as well as i'd like but at least things are moving along, LOL :)

    The left lying side thing is exactly why the do enemas on the left side :) It gets up in there and gets that inch worm movement going and breaks things down/gets them moving.

    I grew up raising chickens, we had an *urban* farm because we've always lived in the city but every year i'd visit my great grandma in Ohio and I would help her with her farm. Oh how I loved going to the "farm". We still have it, it's a rental property. She died in 95 at the ripe age of 94, she was an amazing woman and I adored her! I also adored going to visit her farm. Thats when I got bitten by the farm bug and have always yearned to eventually go back to Ohio, restore her home (built in 1800's) and live on a small farm (she has 7 1/2 acres, by no means, small, LOL)

    Anyway, the chickens were good medicine for me. Getting to see how much they have grown (I raised 10 specialty hens from day old hatchlings) and how they have managed through establishing the pecking order was fun. I can't wait until I can spend longer periods of time sitting with them. They love to be held and hand fed. Prior to surgery that was what I called "sensory therapy", it calmed me and helped me to get to my "happy place", LOL.

    I love that you have chicken decor in your house :) So super cute! There are so many cute designs. I don't have any chicken decor as of yet. I collect antiques and have a large selection of Blue Willow and carry farm red in my living room, and the blue willow theme in the kitchen/dining room. Front bathroom is a really pretty shallow teal blue and brown with scripture on the shower curtain and hand towels. I honestly never realized how much chicken stuff for decor there was until after I started raising chickens. This has been a rather new hobby, prompted by my sons school science experiment in which they hatched eggs. Well, once the eggs were hatched the chickens needed homes and i'm a sucker when my kids give me those big puppy dog eyes so thus started our adventures with chickens. It's been great so far though!

    Your decor sounds lovely btw and I love how you have carried it through your house :) If you live close to So Cal I would be happy to give you some eggs, I have plenty to go around and love giving them to friends :)

    Today was a better day. Less pain and the good news is that last night I slept through my 2:30am meds so i'm starting to lengthen the time in between. I'm too chicken to go cold turkey but today the internist ordered me more Dilaudid and tried to order 0.5mg, the pharmacy called him laughing because my dose now is 2mg q 6 hr so they negotiated to 1mg q 6, he is afraid i'll build up tolerance before surgery. I can live with that just funny that he tried to order something that isn't even available, I guess he doesn't oder Dilauded often, LOL.

    Anyway, hope you had a blessed day and will talk with you soon I hope <3

    Hugs and blessings...

    >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • I live in central Florida, so I can't take you up on your offer.

    I'm so glad your pain is easing. Now that it's improved, please make sure you don't overdo it, as can be tempting after pain reduction has set in. >:D< >:D< >:D< , Ess
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