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L5 S1 ALIF Fusion in 4 days- any success stories out there??

I have been posting (and reading) for about a year, and after having been through months of steroid shots, physical therapy, and various pain meds, and having been refused surgery by 2 neuro's, I finally found a Dr. who will do my L5-S1 fusion (ALIF/PLF) in 4 days.

I have read a couple of success stories but just made the mistake of reading several posts describing the post surgical pain, and have to admit, I am worried about that! I take care of my elderly parents and live with them (both are pretty good- Dad is going to be my primary care-taker- he is 91 but still does a lot!) My boyfriend died in Feb. , the rest of my family lives out of state, and my daughter is in pre-med, so I am hoping I can make it through those first few weeks.

I would love to hear some encouraging success stories. I have my list that I got off the site for surgery and feel confident that I have covered all the bases.

I am hopeful that the surgery will help most of my leg pain- it sometimes gets so bad that I can't put any weight on that leg, and can only lay in bed on my side and hope to fall asleep.



  • I am 3 weeks post op from an L5/S1 360 fusion (meaning the NS did an ALIF with posterior screws). Although I can't say there aren't ups and downs, I can report that I do not regret having had the surgery. The pain that drove me to have it is gone, and the pain I am in now is surgery-related, NOT nerve-related as before. That in and of itself is a victory to me.

    I admit I was a little too gung ho right after I got home, trying to walk as much, as far and as often as possible. My body (and other postings in the recovery forum) let me know I needed to slow down.

    I, too, am being cared for by my elderly parents and it is going very well. The first week home was the most difficult, mostly because I was so unsteady on my feet (partly the strong meds). I have had lingering difficulty with nausea, but it seems to have been directly related to my overzealous walking habits, and is now subsiding.

    For almost a week now, I've taken nothing but Tylenol for my pain. I know that there may be days ahead when I will still need the heavier meds from time to time, but I am thrilled with my progress thus far.

    I do consider myself a success story, even at this early stage of recovery. I've shifted my philosophy to be gentler with myself in healing. After all, I lived with the pain for years; healing can take a while and that's okay. Good luck to you and post when you are up to it after your surgery. :)
  • horselady21hhorselady21 Posts: 174
    edited 11/30/2012 - 7:45 AM
    That is just the kind of story I needed to hear! Some of the posts say "worst pain ever!" and stuff like that! Pretty scary!

    I, too, will have to watch that I don't overdo it, as I always do- thanks for the reminder, and I will post after surgery!
  • I had my 360 fusion on 10/29/12. I feel sooo much better than I did before the surgery and now have 2 weeks of PT under my belt. As someone once said in a post that I read on this forum, most people with success stories aren't posting. That being said there are plenty of success stories out there. If there weren't any, the surgeons would not keep doing the procedures because the AMA wouldn't let them. Like coastirish said there are many up and down days but as long as you keep progressing forward, that is what matters.

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
  • Thank you for posting your successful story! I need that..especially since only 4 weeks out, I am still in a terrible amount of pain. Hoping for the day when I can get through with no or very little pain meds...good luck to your continued success!
  • I am 3 weeks post op from L5S1 fusion. Had 13 staples removed last week. Just have little butterflies now. Feeling pretty good. The pain I have now is from the surgery so its not like the excrusicating pain I had from my bulging disc. My surgeon was hesitant to do the surgery since my MRI only showed a "slight protrusion".. My surg took 3 hrs as that "slight protrution" was quite large. He said my disc looked like a dinosauer egg! He was shocked. Im so glad he agreed to do the surg. Sometimes the patient does know best!!! Hoping to return to my desk job at 6 weeks. Good luck to you
  • your going back to work in a few weeks ..when i had my ALIF done at L4/L5/S1 dec 2011 i was 6 weeks in hell zombied on my recliner unable to do anything ..its been 12 months now and i am worse off that i was before the operation {this is my 3rd spinal operation all at the same level] i still have awful back ache i still cant sleep for more than 2 hours due to pain waking me and i am just a mess .16 years of intractable pain and 3 major operation 10 years of pain clinics and all the torture they have to offer has done nothing apart from fxxx me up big time..if you can go back to work in 6 weeks from your operation i think that's amazing .my consultant told me my recovery would be in years not weeks he told me between 2 /3 years and then he wasn't guaranteeing anything due to the state of my spine the guy that did the second operation did a lot of damage and the last consultant was shocked when he saw what the other guy had done to me ..he said its beyond fixing he just made me a stable as he could ..so to conclude i am still in pain and likely to be for the rest of my life ..so 6 weeks back to work has been a massive success
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • hi horselady
    i dont really beleive in pain killers i know many of them have lasting side effects
    i have a friend in washington dc who had sensory neuropathy and radiculopathy for 16years here is an extract from his blog

    "My name is Robert Root and I started using supplement on 4/25/12, within 5 days the results I experienced were shocking to say the least. After 16 years of pain from sensory neuropathy and radiculopathy I am experiencing less pain and better coordination so rapidly it makes me gasp with joy. I sleep better, have less stinging sensations, the numbness fading in my toes, and my muscles stiff and aching anymore. If you live with chronic pain I urge you to look at ***** supplement as a viable alternative to dangerous and often addictive prescription medicine.The doctors told me there was no treatment for neuropathy, the neurotin medication called Gabapentin barely took the edge off of the pain for about 6 weeks than quit working altogether."

    as for myself, when i was very young,i had had gone fishing with my dad and had a fishing accident landing on my spine, which resulted in sciatic pain, i had upteen xrays of my spine and saw so many doctors, who all told me ,"i need spinal surgery", which i was scared to proceed which could also lead to paralysis waist down
    even though i was very sceptic about this supplement and i couldnt buy the supplement where i live as i live in malaysia i started taking it and found relief its been months since i had the chronic pain
    the person who suggested i try this product. i know his wife (pamela) had problem with her hip and knee, with very severe chronic pain and was supposed to have surgery to get it fixed, with this supplement, it has changed her life completely here is part of her email to me
    " I have joined a military special ops work out gym. Friday we did 500 squats. (No weight) They got pretty shallow in the second half, but I still did it! If you remember I have been diagnosed with 2 arthritis' and told I needed a knee and hip replacement. I have an xray that shows my knee bone on bone. I'm even doing lunges for the first time in 15 years, literally."
    its not a medication, its not a pain killer medication which will give you temporarily relief. its a supplement which starts repairing on a celluar level and it works,, trust me it works,,and it works fast

    would you like a botttle or 2 of the stuff,, i can arrange to send you FREE

    warm regards
    caesar desouza malaysia,,,
  • there's not a herbal or alternative thing that will touch it ..real back /leg pain is as bad as cancer pain .don't be fooled in to purchasing any vitamin supplement in the belief that it will take your pain away .its 8077025 !.
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I had alif surgery one week Ago yesterday. I was on 60 mg of oxycodone a day. Now I take about 20-30mg a day. I am up and walking all my swelling has gone done. I'm just a little sore still. I still hold under my abdomen just for stability and my back is sore.. Especially after being in the same spot too long. I finally slept through the night last night without needing pain pills.. I feel great just a little slow moving
  • i was still in hospital and for the next 6 weeks i was zombied on my recliner roll on 12 months i am still in hell on 500mg of oxycontin/oxynorm .i see the surgeon on tue 15 jan 2013 .one question was this your FIRST surgery and was it single or multi level ..?? i am just amazed at some people recovering fro ALIF is a very short time whilst i am in agony 12 months on this was my 3 rd operation
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • backache99, I am amazed at the difference in recovery times and medication need differences! I posted another update, and the person who responded is only taking 20-30 mg of oxycodone a day! I am barely making it on 90 a day, plus anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer, and valium! And I am 6 weeks from surgery! I know our bodies are all different but you would think we would all be closer in recovery times.
    Mine was a single level, front and back surgery, and Dr. said he found a lot more arthritis and bone spurs than he had expected.
    I also read a post once where the guy had been taking so much pain medication BEFORE his surgery, that after the surgery, he had become so immune that nothing they gae him helped. That might have something to do with it also. What do you think?
  • Hi! I am 4 weeks post op from a 2 level fusion and 1 level ADR.
    I went back to work last Monday (7th) and I am feeling great!!!!
    My back pain has gone now and just a slight left leg nerve pain in the evening.
    I can walk now without a limp and being back at work has been no trouble at all.
    I am very surprised my recovery has been this quick so far as the first couple of weeks I felt terrible and was wondering if I has made a mistake, but now I'm feeling like life is back on track.
    Obviously there is still a massive journey ahead but so far so good!!

    Take care
    2 level Discectomy 2000 open surgery
    L4/5 Discectomy & L5/S1 Laminectomy 2005- (Cauda equina) open surgery
    5 x joint injections 2012
    Discogram Dec 2012
    Dec 2012 - 360 Lumbar Fusion L4 -S1(BMP), Disc replaced L3/4, Bilat trocanter injects
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