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New Member Here. Hello to all.

Hello. I recently had spine surgery.The procedure I had is called a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion surgery (TLIF). My spine was subluxated at L4/L5. The top portion shifted forward and the lower portion shifted backwards. It was terribly painful to stand or walk before. Loads of pain medications for a long time before the surgery.

Prior to surgery I suffered for nearly a full year with an extruded disc which was sitting on a nerve bundle which affects my legs. I watched my leg pain go from sciatica related to neuropathy to paralysis. Now that the disc is no longer pressing into that nerve I am still dealing with a good amount of neuropathy. The neurosurgeon stated that the disc was "huge" and he stated the nerve under it is "flat." He placed a construct into my spine to hold it in the correct place and it has been not quite a month since the surgery. I can feel the rods when I lay on my back. Not a good feeling or I guess I am not used to that sensation just yet. I am really glad that I had this surgery. I know that it is likely one of the best things, and toughest things I will ever do. Currently, I am experiencing depression because now I must learn the 'new me' so to speak. I cannot go back to doing all the things that I used to do. I can no longer teach and instruct aerobics and kick boxing. No more teaching spinning either. There are many many things I once did without even thinking twice. Now all is different. I am also angry with the cards I been dealt.
Healing is way slow for someone that was so active. Almost one month down...many more to go.

Currently aside from the anger and depression I am dealing with a ton of neuropathy from that damaged nerve by my spine; sending signals of stabbing pain into my right thigh. The doc wants me to take gabapentine however the side effects are entirely to sketchy for me to even try it.

Before the surgery I was referred to as a 'bubbly person' who always was smiling even through the pain. Now I feel I have not cracked a single smile in nearly one month. Welcome to sadness, I guess. I do realize this will get better with time. I also have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary.

I am glad to be around others who are suffering like myself. Thanks for having me here. Be well everyone!


  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 07/11/2013 - 11:49 AM
    Your story sounds all too familiar. Some of this will go away in time. For example being able to feel your rods.... I don't feel mine and they don't bother me.... You will get completely use to that. You'll also be surprised at just how active you can become as you begin to heal. Aerobics... that's probably out, but spinning.... I'm not giving up on that! I love spin class. It's been close to two years since my last spin class, but I totally expect to get back to that soon I hope.

    I also think you will become your bubbly self again soon. Healing can be very rough, try to give yourself a little break with that for now. Try to get as much time with your friends and family (the ones the are awesome...lol) as you can.

    Last, I TOTALLY believe in gabapentin. I didn't seem to have any problems with it. However, my surgeon started it at very low dosages once a day, then twice a day, then upped the dose, then three times a day, then upped the dose etc over weeks and weeks... I think this made the side effects very minimum. However this also meant that it took a long time for me to truly get the "effects" of it. I love this drug because it does give me pain relief and has made my nerve pain so much more manageable. If you are worried about the side effects I'd start off at a very low dose and build up. Not every drug works for everyone but with the pain and nerve damage you describe I think its well worth the "try".

    Hang in there, I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but things will possibly get worse before they get better... I found that after all my surgeries there were always huge set backs BUT there were also days/weeks where I felt like I made huge gains as well. Best of luck to you. I wish the best recovery possible... and please, if you don't start returning back to your 'normal" personality soon, discuss that with your PCP.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

    - Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

    - The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

    - As a new member, it is helpful to understand the 'makeup' of these forums, how to make posts, tips on adding images and much more. You should read Forum FAQ

    Here are some you should take a look at:
    Read before you post
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    Understanding the rules

    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:






    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Welcome to the forum- you will definitely find members that have experienced similar things that you have and will experience. When I first got the MRI results after 4 years of being in pain down my legs, neuropathy and more, I found this forum to be VERY beneficial as I pursued the treatment plan outlined by my doctor and then ultimately the spinal fusion surgery. I am just over 2 months out of my surgery and am relieved to say that the pain/neuropathy in my legs has gotten better but it isn't completely gone. Yes, I feel the hardware in my back when I move a certain way or lay down, and it freaks me out (just being honest) but as AllMetal said, I am told that it gets better. :) All in all, the surgery was needed for me and it sounds like for you as well. I was a dancer when I was younger and I am pretty sure that is out for me, but there are other things that I can do, like AllMetal suggested spinning. Depression hit me hard when I felt so alone and weak during recovery-- when family wasn't as dependable as I thought they would be (shouldn't have been such a reality shock, though). My husband was amazing and a few great friends too..... it was just saddening to have your hopes up for something you thought would happen. However, I got past it and am continuing on the road to recovery. I am back to work now and still taking one day at a time.

    Here's to your continued recovery. Remember to come back and let us know how you're doing, there are a lot of active members on this forum and I am so glad that I was able to post what I did and receive encouragement! :)
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 07/11/2013 - 3:46 PM
    Girls, I still get my groove on... though usually alcohol is involved.... sadly though, not always...lol. (I danced for 14 years growing up... tap/ballet/lyrical/jazz) It gets better. This past year I have had to constantly remind myself of that. I start another cycle of PT tomorrow and to be quite honest, I'm EXCITED about it. I use t be very flexible (when I was fused T6-L2/3ish) and I can tell my muscles are so very tight in my rear end and thighs but every time I go to stretch them (how I use to) I know I'm twisting/bending so I'm ready to find some new stretches I can use. I feel like its going to make a big difference. Stay positive girls... stay positive.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • odouglassoodouglass Posts: 264
    edited 07/11/2013 - 3:55 PM
    Positivity here for sure..... I know that recovery will take time, and I am hoping that it all goes as planned and I can be back to moving and groovin' as much as possible ;). If you can do, we can, AllMetal! :-D
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • Thanks to all who have commented my way. It really helps to know that I am not alone in this. Thanks for the positive and healing thoughts. AllMetal, I am glad to hear that you do spinning! I will no doubt wait until I have the okay from the doc to get back to that. Odouglass, you are just ahead of me by way of healing times. Thanks for saying hello! My surgery was 6-17-13 so as you can see I am not quite at one month. Take care all
  • No problem, I found this forum very rewarding when I was preparing for surgery and then even after. I've continued posting to share my experience and get others' feedback on things too!! Yes, you are right behind me... we're headed towards the finish line ;)!
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
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