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December 2012 Surgery Buddies

KarenDKKarenD Posts: 742
edited 01/21/2014 - 4:38 AM in Surgery Buddies
I am scheduled for an ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 on December 10. It's going to be tough getting ready for surgery and for the holidays. It would be good to hear from others in the same boat, and be able to support each other.
4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.


  • Motorcycle RiderMMotorcycle Rider Posts: 45
    edited 11/04/2012 - 5:53 PM
    KarenD, I am having the same fusion done on December 3rd. Trying to learn and gain as much information as I can before having my surgery. Will gladly pass on anything I can to help out. Wish you the best of luck
  • KarenDKKarenD Posts: 742
    edited 11/05/2012 - 1:35 AM
    Motorcycle Rider, what a coincidence having the same surgery. I've had a 4 level ACDF and a 2 level lumbar laminectomy and discectomy, but this is the one that scares me. It seems I've read on here how lumbar fusion is a much tougher recovery. I'll post here as well any information I gain. Keep in touch.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • I'm having disc replacement surgery (c5/6) on the 10th of Dec and am starting to wonder how that's going to affect our holidays. I was kind of hoping it would be a little closer to Christmas so the kids would be home for Christmas break and be able to help me out right after surgery. Oh well, looks like my husband is going to have to take time off of work ;-)

    I've been lurking around the boards, nice to finally post and say HI!
  • Hi Jennaf, I had the same surgery done back in 1996 after a wreck I was involved in. You will be ok and I will pray you have a speedy recovery.

  • Hi Jennaf! We really are surgery buddies - both on December 10! Although you won't have your kids around to help you at least you'll be feeling a bit better by Christmas....at least that's what I'm hoping. What exactly are you having done? Are they going in through the front or back?

    The reality is starting to sink in that this is fast approaching, and I'm starting to get as much done (shopping, wrapping) as I can for Christmas as possible.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Motorcycle Rider, thank you very much, I appreciate the thoughts!

    Karen, when we finally set the date yesterday I got a little panicked about the reality of the situation. As of now, it will be a 1 level disc replacement through the front. I'll know in the next couple days if insurance will cover it or if I'll have to get a fusion. The kids will be here, just in school and I'll be alone most of the day. They're young (11 and 16) but old enough to help mom out and boy are they looking forward to it ;-)

    I look forward to supporting each other throughout our recoveries.
  • iainrosellaiiainrosella Posts: 20
    edited 11/09/2012 - 7:44 AM
    Hi looks like i will be having mine done again in December
    I am looking for some advice, in Febuary 2012 i broke my back and had an operation and had T10 and T11 fused by using a bone graft from my hip, i had 2 x rods fitted and 4 screws, over the last 8 months the bone graft has never repaired and the vertibrea has worn down that far it is now a triangle shape at put a 40 degree bend on my spine, this in turn has caused one of the screws to snap, so all in all my back is still broken and one of the rods is floating, you can imagine the pain, i take 30 tablets a day to help this, i cant stand for long about 2 mins and only walk about 50 meters, i cant lift anything more than a kettle, i have lost my job over this, although the didnt say that when they made me redundant.

    i have just seen my consutant and he has said i need to have another operation to remove the rods and screws and REMOVE T11 and fit a brace in its place then refit new rods, he will open up my ald scar and also cut open on my side to enable him to remove T11, sounds scary, i already have a lot of nerve damage from my accident i have a numb feeling all accross the bottom of my back and also in the top of my left leg which goes down to my knee.

    has any one got any experience of this that would put my mind a rest of what to expect.

    Thank you
  • Hello folks,
    I just scheduled My surgery for December 17th for a ACDF C7- T1. At that time I will be getting my old hardware taken out from my previous surgery four years ago ACDF C4- 7. I am fully fused and my surgeon needs the room to place hardware for the level below. I am looking forward to getting this done as this stupid disc is causing me so much pain. Im a bit more relaxed about this surgery because I know what to expect, what worked, and what didn't. We are going to do great!
  • Jenna - I'm glad the kids will be "glad" to help out. I hope you have an easy recovery.

    Iainrosella - wow, you've been through a lot. I am not familiar with the type of procedure you talked about. Have you had a second opinion? With all your pain, I'm sure any delay would be difficult. You might try to open a new thread in the back and neck surgery forum to see if others might have experience with your issues.

    Elayne - I was wondering how the additional fusions affect your range of motion. I had ACDF C4-7 last year. I guess having multiple surgeries do help understand what to expect. I'm sorry we're becoming "experts" at having surgeries.

    I'm worrying about the surgery - will it help since the laminectomy/discectomy didn't? Will pain not improve and will the other levels get more compromised? Should the surgery or surgeries be anterior and posterior at the same time or within a short amount of time? I guess I'm afraid about having another surgery or more. It would be nice if I could not have a surgery yet another year.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • I was just wondering how everybody is doing - any new news? I am trying to get everything possible done before my surgery on December 10th. I go for my pre-op with my surgeon's physician's assistant on Tuesday. She'll go over the details of the surgery and post.op/recovery. It feels like I'm getting more nervous as surgery approaches.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • kamgramkkamgram Posts: 483
    edited 11/15/2012 - 5:20 PM
    Hi KarenD, I had a Lamenectomy of L4-5 a second time on Oct. 30, 2008, first was in 1994. I re-herniated and had surgery again Dec.15, 2008. I was so bummed that I was down and out for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it turned out better than I thought. Family and friends came together and did the shopping and cooking and we all got together at my house which God bless, my daughter spent days cleaning for me. I didn't have to cook or clean just enjoy the awesome family and food. Try not to let it get to you over the holidays. I love to bake and shop and wrap presents but it turned out to be one of my top 5 holidays:) I hope you all have success with your surgeries. Oh and I am also from Western NC, the beautiful Great Smokies and Appalachians:)

  • Thanks for the encouragement kamgram. I always overdo for the holidays. I really look forward to seeing the family at Thanksgiving. I hope since Christmas is 2 weeks after my surgery that I will at least be able to sit in a chair and enjoy being around family. I have been thinking that after this year maybe we won't have our 2 girls at the holidays because 1 just graduated and the other graduates next year and who know where their lives and careers will take them.

    I have been thinking I'd like to explore that area of NC. My mother lives in Hampstead, NC outside of Wilmington.

    How has your back been since your last surgery - any rays of hope for us?
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • My surgery's next Tuesday - all pre-testing stuff done and I just want this to be over with. Weeks of worrying for a three hour operation - like you I can't help the worrying part.

    Good luck to you - Joe
    XLIF 2-4 on 11-20-2012
  • I'll be sure to be sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. I hope you can take a little time to relax before your surgery. I'm sure you probably looked at the threads for must-haves pre- and post-surgery. Let us know how you're doing once you are up to it.

    Good luck - Karen
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Motorcycle RiderMMotorcycle Rider Posts: 45
    edited 11/17/2012 - 6:21 PM
    Good luck Joe! I know the worry and stress all to well. I am adding you to the list of prayers. Try to be as positive as you can it will help in the long run.

    I have done all my pre-testing and blood work ups for my surgery. I am using a cane to walk now and hope that after the surgery to not have to use it again. Doctors have giving me a good prognosis that I will be riding my motorcycle again by August. I am taking the pain pills when I need to but not every 4 hours as directed. Don't want to get hooked on that crap.
    Just a few more weeks and will have the surgery behind me and moving on to recovery.
  • karen, I don't want to make you think that surgery wont work out for you but my last one the thoracic lamenectomy did not help the pain. I have been trying ESIs and will have the RFA and hopefully that will help. My surgeon donesn't really seem to want to help and keeps suggesting all these procedures. He said since MRI was normal on thoracic that I have not reherniated but something is causing the pain to be so bad. I have not had any relief since the pain started in late Jan.

    I know how you feel about the holidays. I love cooking and baking and since my mom passed away we usually have dinner at my house. I was so bummed that I couldn't do anything but daughter and sister loved it because they got to do everything and we spent time together while they cooked and it was a nice change for me:) You spend every minute with your kids you can. Let them help with cooking, I bet they will love it. You should come to Asheville. There is so much to do and is only 15 minutes from my home. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your family and don't let my bad report bring you down. You will do great and have great results, I can just feel it:)

  • Looks like Joe is the first for surgery - again, good luck and let us know how you're doing.

    Kam - thanks so much for the kind words. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and hopefully I will be able to sit and somewhat enjoy Christmas. I will be very glad to have this surgery behind me. I have a lot of faith in my surgeon. Kam, I have thoracic pain too, but mine is from osteoarthritis. I hope you find some answers and relief soon!

    Motorcycle Rider - your surgery is just 2 weeks from tomorrow. You sound like you are all ready for your surgery. I'm glad you're anticipating riding your motorcycle again by August! It's great to have something important to you to work toward. I am really going to be interested to hear from you once you can after the surgery. How long did your surgeon think you would be in? Mine said 2-3 days.

    The "sticky" threads are really good for preparation for the surgery and afterward. It will be good when our surgeries are over.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • My 360 double fusion at L3/4, L4/5 is scheduled for 12/12/12. I've had low back pain and sciatica since the birth of my son 8 years ago. I had periods of acute pain followed by periods of no pain for the first 4 years. My addiction to tennis did not help as I began to notice there were no longer any periods of no pain and tennis was impossible. MRI's found a spondylolisthesis at L3/4 with severe stenosis at that level. L4/5 disc looked like an oozing pancake on the discogram. I've got DDD throughout my lumbar area with a lot of facet issues. I've had 5 steroid injections and 2 rhyzotomies but when my right leg and foot started going numb I knew I need to face my fear and do the surgery. So now I'm looking for support as the date gets closer. This website has an amazing wealth of information and I look forward to hearing many more success stories.
    L3-4 Grade 2 Spondylolisthesis
    L4-5 Ruptured Disc
    DDD throughout Lumbar spine
  • bpreachersbbpreachers Posts: 147
    edited 11/28/2012 - 2:51 PM
    Double post. My work computer was acting up.
  • Welcome bpreachers!!

    Just found out last night that my insurance won't cover the replacement so I'll be having a fusion instead. Not real happy about that so I'll be on the phone first thing Monday morning.

    I've started some of my holiday baking now and will be sending out treats (mailman, garbage man...etc) a little early just in case I'm not in the mood around Christmas. I don't think they'll mind too much, I know the kids don't ;-)

    I hope everyone is doing well. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!!
  • Hey everyone.. My name is Shawn and I am having a four level PLIF next Thursday Nov. 29th. The road just to get to this point has been very long but I made it. I look forward to hearing success stories across the board. Good luck everyone. Will check in some before. And will definitely have some extra time on my hands after for follow ups.

    I fought really hard to get the right surgeon.
    I fought even harder to stay at the perfect hospital.
    Work is behind for now.
    My family is definitely ready for me to get back in the game of life.

    Staying positive and I am day dreaming right now what it will be like to be pain free. ( or a hell of a lot closer towards the 0 instead of the 10 on the pain scale)

    Check back soon..
  • Stil have post op pain but for the pain that got me to this point is all Bhutan gone. My days revolve around walking and napping.
    XLIF 2-4 on 11-20-2012
  • I am scheduled for ACDF C4-C7 on Dec. 5th. I've been looking at the site but finally decided to post. It is quickly approaching. My husband is being allowed to work from home for a couple of weeks and then will be off for a little while for Christmas break. I work part-time and gave them a return date of mid-January. I hope to be able to be back before then. Is that unrealistic?
  • Motorcycle RiderMMotorcycle Rider Posts: 45
    edited 11/24/2012 - 10:39 AM
    Good news to hear JoeW,
    My surgery is next Monday after next on the 3rd. I have had a change in my surgery from the doctor. He is only going to fuze L5/S1 now and leave L4/L5 alone. Just going to use the rod on one side (right side) and use a screw to hold the other side together. Insurance has approved it all now and all is set. Still nervous about the surgery but trying to stay positive and in good spirits. Hard to when your in this much pain, but I know others are hurting worse than I am. So I won't complain it could be worse.
  • I am Kandi. On 12-13-12 I am having a TLIF L1-S1. I am very scared and nerves. I h tolorance r pain to begin with. I am so scared. I had a C 2-C6 ACDF IN August and really suffered from that. Now I am doing all my lumbar. Can anybody help me with post op pain alt. Cause I know I will be suffering.
  • JoeW- glad you're doing so well! I hope that all of our December surgeries provide relief. Keep us updated on how it's going.

    Welcome to all the "newbies" who have posted. We need all the prayers and good thoughts for our successful surgeries.

    JenniLou - you'll need to check with your doctor's office. I had ACDF C3-7 and wasn't allowed to drive for 6 weeks. After all spine surgeries my doctor orders not to get in a car for 10 days (once you"re home from the surgery).

    Shawn - your surgery is coming up really quickly. Do what you can to get ready, but don't wear yourself out. It's easier said than done sometimes. Let us know how you're doing.

    Motorcycle Rider - it's good to hear that your surgery will be 1 level instead of 2, but did the doctor indicate why he's made the change? I'm just curious because we were having the same surgery - ALIF L4-5, L5-S1. I have my last appointments for surgery this week. Still keeping a good attitude.

    Puddin - I thought I was bad, but you're having 2 extensive surgeries in six months. Wow. Sorry I don't have any insight about your surgery. I suggest posting on the main surgery site - there must be others out there who have had that surgery.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Guess I better join the club too! I had an ACDF on C5/6 in March 2009. Still having pain. My neuro told me the levels above and below my fusion are taking on more stress from the fusion, but does not suggest surgery for it because he says it'll just cause a domino effect, as it already is.

    Anyhow, I am having a SCS (spinal cord stimulator) put in on December 20. Yep, this is my Christmas gift :-) Luckily my boys are 10 and 16 years old, so they can help out. My husband, unfortunately, has ZERO time left to take off... I will be staying over at least one night and he is taking off the day of surgery and that's it.

    I normally post on the SCS page, but thought I would check it out in the surgery section and see what's going on :-)

    The only reason I am waiting until December 20 is because I am in college right now and do not want to mess anything up, with it being so close to the end of the semester. Plus, I have already met my high deductible and need it done by the end of the year, so that's my story.

    I see my neuro on December 7, off for pre-op lab work stuff, then to clean, shop, cook, and get everything in order.

    Good luck everyone and keep us posted.

  • Hi Mel, your post made me curious. What does a SCS do exactly?

    L3-4 Grade 2 Spondylolisthesis
    L4-5 Ruptured Disc
    DDD throughout Lumbar spine
  • It blocks the pain receptors. They place a battery in my lower back and leads up my spin to my cervical area. Then they'll place a paddle lead. They do a laminotomy, if needed they'll do a laminectomy.

    I had the trial, which you have to have before getting a permanent one. They placed leads and had the battery and all of the wires taped to my back, which was irritating. It's a vibrating feeling. Hard to explain... I do a lot of yard work, well use to anyway, and it feels like after you weed eat for a long time, how your arms get a vibrating feeling. Hopefully that makes a little sense :-)

    Anyhow, it helped with about 70% of my pain, for the week I had the trial.

    I had to do a psychological evaluation, do the trial and get at least 50% pain relief, insurance approval on both procedures, etc. it's been a long, long process to get it all approved.

    I'm ready to have it back tho!
  • Hi Mel and welcome. My MIL had a SCS put in quite a while ago and it has helped her tremendously! Good luck!
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