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any succesful spine surgery stories?

I am new to this forum and in only the few days that i have been here, seems like there are few GOOD RESULT post-op
Stories. Please let me and other newbies some successful stories.
I am having spine surgery in a few weeks and NOW I am second guessing my decision
Thanks and God bless


  • The anxiety before surgery can be over whelming at times. In general you will see more "scary" stories than "success" stories on forums because so many people who have success leave the forums. I'm not exactly sure why I've stuck around so long honestly... I guess because my issues are still in some ways on going and as much support as I have from family and friends I'm not a natural complainer and I enjoy sharing my story and reading others... feels less alone in this crazy spine world I guess. I'd certainly claim my surgeries to be successful... sure, it took 5... probably will have to have more in the future... off all pain meds except neurotin which I still need.... its been a rough recovery... BUT BUT BUT... I'm WALKING.... I've remained in my passionate career even though I had to change positions... I have TWO beautiful kids, both in the bath tub currently as my husband is trying to sing Sound of Music to them... bless him...lol. I'm resting up after PT... this weekend we are going to take the kids to the gulf coast and to see the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs... so I'd say.... my spine story is SUCCESSFUL. Remember, if there were more failed spine surgeries (or even a significant percentage) then there wouldn't be spine surgeons very long right? Best of luck to you.
    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.
  • Welcome to the forums! I joined just over 9 months ago when I finally got an answer after suffering 4 years with severe back and leg pain.... I didn't know where to turn, it seemed as though no one understood my pain and what I was about to go through until I stumbled upon these forums! I found MUCH encouragement through my treatment plan and ultimately surgery- L5/S1 fusion on 5/1... I am 26 years old and was SUPER nervous, however, I did focus on the success stories and encouragement from the members during my time. I am just over 2 months out and am doing well- get bummed at times thinking that recovery could be better, but I can assure you that I am going to be a spinal fusion success story as I won't take anything less. 4 weeks after surgery I was off ALL pain medicine, and muscle relaxers, and the brace came off after 6 weeks! Honestly, I am glad that I found these forums- I probably wouldn't have done the surgery if I didn't find members on here that were willing to share their story and/or give personal experience and success stories! Good luck and keep us updated as your surgery gets closer and ultimately is done!
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • StaceyPSStaceyP Posts: 76
    edited 07/20/2013 - 8:19 AM
    I had an L4-S1 PLIF fusion and laminectomy on June 7th, and all my pre-surgery issues (pain, numbness, sciatica) were GONE when I woke up from surgery. Afterwards, I only dealt with surgical pain or discomfort, which I anticipated, and could therefore deal with. I won't sugar coat it, I did have some complications, but ultimately, having the surgery was the best decision I could have made. Yesterday was my 6 week anniversary, and I feel great, and more like myself than I have in years. The surgery and recovery process turned out to be dramatically and significantly easier than I had built up in my head. I thought I would be pretty debilitated (visions of body casts and bed pans were frequent), but I couldn't have been more wrong. I was out of bed, walking, climbing stairs, and showering within days. You will be in pain in the beginning but if you're at the point of considering surgery, you're no stranger to that beast. From what Ive experienced and seen, back surgery is so much more successful than most people assume, but I think there are so many horror stories and misconceptions out there because those of us who are success stories have gotten our lives back, and we are out there living them! The naysayers and negative minority always seem to be the loudest...
    So the not so fun stuff...there was a complication during my surgery that required them to go back in three days later to do a repair procedure, which was successful. You will be in pain. There is just no way of getting around that, but everyone at the hospital and from your surgeons office is there to help you. Take advantage of their expertise and accept their help. TAKE WHATEVER MEDS THEY GIVE YOU IN THE HOSPITAL! They are there for a reason, which is solely to get you up and on the way to recovery ASAP! I tried to be Wonder Woman and fight through the pain instead of relying on the meds. What I didn't know was that to negate the level of pain you will be dealing with, the medications need to build up in your system a bit (that's why you might be on oral and IV at the same time). By the time I caved and took the medication, it wasn't as effective as it should have been, and I was unnecessarily in pain for longer. With the extra surgery, I ended up staying in the hospital for 9 days instead of the predicted 3, but in spite of the above, I look back on it as a positive experience. I walked out of the hospital under my own steam, and am now walking 2.5 miles twice a day as part of my recuperation.
    The most important thing when going into this journey, and coming out successfully, is to be patient. I'm not exaggerating when I say every day is different; something that was easy yesterday is impossible today. I would be in pain and not get out of bed at all one day, and the next I'd be up walking a mile. You really need to pay attention, and listen to what your body is telling you in the moment. I would think "well because i did it yesterday/according to recovery timelines, I can do 'x'", even though every muscle and nerve would be waving a red flag and screaming NO. And if I didn't listen to my body, I would regret it later. Find a forum on here with people in a similar situation; mine has been a god send and the people on there are the reason I maintained emotional and mental health during this. Friends and family can be wonderful and supportive, but only those who are recovering along with you can truly understand where you are coming from and know what youre experiencing.

    Recovery is a long road, but if you measure it in small steps and personal victories, you will feel like things are getting better all the time. Have a positive attitude about the process, and it can be nothing less than success!
  • RTgirl2011RRTgirl2011 Posts: 512
    edited 07/20/2013 - 8:52 AM
    I have had a two level plif on L3-L5. I consider myself a success story. I am not in the pain I was before surgery. However I do have residual pain left over. I am going for a spinal cord stimulator trial here in a few weeks. I hope it works well then I will be able to say I am a complete success.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • I've had 2 micro-discectomies (first one failed) - I'd say I am a success looking back to where I was summer of 2009 when I ruptured my disc and ended up in the ER. Considering the doctors were fearful my bladder/bowel nerves were at risk of being damaged, I opted for micro-discectomy within 2 weeks of the herniation. I had lost feeling in my left groin, butt, back thigh, heel to outer toes. First surgery - didn't get any relief. When they re-MRI'ed and found another herniation I was given the choice - (1) do nothing; (2) Revision MD; (3) fusion. I took a good month to meet several doctors, do research, and understand the risks. I tried to figure out why my first surgery failed. Long story short, going nothing wasn't helping so went in for revision (figured fusion was still an option if the revision didn't work).

    Woke up - no different but took my doctor's orders seriously and he kept me out of work for almost 6 weeks (he let me work 4 hours a day from home in week 5 & 6) and kept me out of a car, even as a passenger for the initial 4 weeks except to visit him.

    First surgery September 2009, second surgery Feb 2010, started gaining strength in my leg (stopped limping) in May 2010 and could finally push on tip-toes in July 2010. Then I just stablized for about a year until Feb 2011 when my back started to stiffen. I tried lots of things and in January 2012 realized that I had to revisit the doctor who sent me to a physiatrist to help me with my 'stiff' back that I had protected very good after surgery #2. Spent 4 months with them on mobility & strength exercises and can say that I remember april 2012 when I got a great night sleep, pain free.

    I'm over a year of being "SUCCESS". I never regained feeling where the nerves were damaged. They took too hard a hit is what the doctor suspects. I got strength back, I know the difference between small every day getting older pain (in my 40's) and back pain. I do my PT exercises 3x/week and more if I start to feel sore and overall am living life again with very few restrictions.

    Sure I don't run anymore and I won't do a cartwheel but I am not cancelling plans with friends because of my back.

    Good luck.
  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 07/21/2013 - 5:39 PM
    Good topic!! Nice to hear all the positive outcomes!!!!! I hope to be one of the success stories too. I plan on being here for a long time to be supportive to others in pain and fear like others have been for me. <3
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
    edited 07/22/2013 - 1:54 AM
    My Uncle had back surgery years ago, maybe 30+ years to go. The actual surgery experience in those days was less than desirable. He is now in his 80's and walks over 5 miles a day in the mountains. He does his back exercises every day and has node well.

    My father had two surgeries for stenosis and other issues. The doctors put a rod in his back. The first surgery worked but as is frequently the case does not cure genetic disorders. He had a second surgery several years later. That one did not go so well. He was unable to walk afterwards. Since he also had late stage Parkinson's, he would forget that he was unable to walk.

    I now have multiple issues in my lower back from L1-L5. The issues read like a book. I am still walking although sometimes with difficulty. My legs are wobbly and weak. Pain is my constant companion. Some hours are better than others. Currently, surgery is not on the table. That could change, however I am not sure what they would do given the number of issues that I have and that I have a family history of back issues. My biggest question is what is the future prognosis for me. If I continue to have difficulty to walk, I don't want to give up on going places and getting around. Maybe I will get a portable travel scooter. I have a high tolerance for pain and don't plan to let it ruin my life.

    As for surgery, I have heard many success stories from people that I have spoken with. Most of the success stories as mentioned earlier in this thread, don't stay on these forums. So the information is good here, but keep in mind that there are some natural and expected bias given that those that have success don't frequent these forums as much. Maybe that is a message for those that are successful in getting through the process, please remain connected so that others can follow in your footsteps.
  • Yeahhhhhhhhh
    Waaaaaahoooooo. YIpeeeeeeeeee
    For those of us facing surgery in the future (mine is on August 13) good positive stories are greatly needed +appreciated
    Thanks from the bottom of my NERVOUS HEART for those who replied to my post
    Stenosis Rose
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