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YES you can recover from surgery and move on !!!

We all have different issues with why we are getting surgery and at what level and so on.

Don't just get hung up with the doom and gloom on this site or others. Most of the people with problems and ongoing problems stay here and they show examples of what goes wrong. They are a SMALL percent of what happens to the rest of us.

I've had 2 surgeries. Same level twice. First a micro then just fusion to permanently fix it a year later.

That was over 4 years ago. I quit smoking before the surgeries. I still drink moderately and swear a lot. So I didn't give up all my vices.

I started working out, in agony, before the first surgery. Very controlled and basic core stuff and walking. That and other programs were added as I recovered from the fusion. I continue to exercise 3-5 times a week. I don't just do exercise for exercise sake or just core for a specific part. I do it for all of me because that is what I need to work on. A balance. I've had my Body Fat Index down into single digits! Now it's like 10-15% and I can maintain it and not kill myself doing it.

My diet is more strict than it has been all my life. No, not to the point of going all Vegan, or Gluten Free, or whatever the latest diet craze is. Just some common sense and cut out the known really bad stuff. Not all the time. Eat good most days but 1 bad is no big deal. So you can still enjoy even the so-called bad foods.

You need to regiment yourself the most. Don't expect people on forums to do it for you, or having a PT make you do it every day. If you struggle with consistency get a workout and/or dieting buddy. But you need to take control and own it.

I participate in some sports activities that I do better in now that I probably would have 20 years ago because I'm in better shape. I have stayed smoke free and have no cravings for it. My alcohol is limited. Yes I have a glass of wine or shot of vodka when I feel like it. My diet is limited but not that hard to follow. I eat more small meals and less big ones. My sleep varies but it's much better than it has ever been. My pain level is at a minimum. Do I have bad days? Of course I do. As long as I stick with my program I have very few of them and move on. It's reality, it's life. I'm going on 5 years now. I got hardware. I feel it. It just is.

You can get there! It is a hard road to travel until you get some controls in place. Put your energy into what can you do to make it better, not complain about what can't be or what you lost. Life is change and regardless of your surgery you were going to gain and lose things anyway.

I've lost my marriage of many years. Changed my job and reinvented myself after 20 years of doing something very well. Then after 10 years of that I'm changing it again! The work place is crazy and the stress level is high. I have a lot of positive changes in my life and I'm happier today than I had been in many years.


Good Luck.



  • Thanks for your post-- I am just under 4 months out of my first spine surgery, an L5/S1 fusion and am doing better than I expected. I know that the next few months and years are going to continue to get better and I am so glad that I did get it done. There were times where I felt like I'd take 1 step forward and 2 steps backwards in recovery- and that was disappointing. However, I reminded myself that I was recovering from a major back surgery and that I am much better than I was for the years I was in pain.

    I am working on my diet and need to get back on the exercise wagon, knowing that I will continue to build strength and just be overall healthy!

    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • I agree.

    When I went thru my L5-S1 ordeal, it was dark times for me. Very dark. I thought some of the worst thoughts while recovering in my room. Those 4 walls sure felt like a prison and so did my body.

    Fortunately, things got better. They didn't always stay better, I had a few bad episodes in there too. But each time, I fought back. Slow steady gradual progress one step at a time. Literally. There were days when I could only take a few steps. The next day I added a few more steps. Eventually I could walk down the hall, to the garage, to the corner, down the block, across fields... and so on.

    I quit drinking sodas completely. I started riding a bicycle for cardio excersize. I took culinary classes and learned about healthy cooking methods techniques and foods. I reduced my portions and eat at only certain times of the day. I have lost 30 lbs because of it. It's not always easy and I do allow myself moderation of occasional bad food.

    I can no longer work with my body which was something I loved to do. Bummer for sure but conversely, I have gone back to school in the hopes of gaining new knowledge so I can work by using my brain! Some days are great some are just ok and other just flat out suck but I keep going. I have come to terms with my limitations and have moved on. On the whole, I'm ok with it all now and am at peace.

    I stick around this place because it helped me and maybe I can help others now.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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