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All of you who just had surgery, please post your thoughts/feelings about how you felt from day 1 to about day 10
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • Hi, here's my story.
    April 2013 Hybrid surgery. Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5,S1 and Artificial Disc Replacement (ESP LP) L4,L5
    8 days in hospital with no complications
    Walking slowly after 2 days. No appetite for 2 weeks. Took time for digestive system to return to normal.
    Immediate relief from right leg sciatica and leg collapse.....amazing.
    Immediate new pain in left hip, calf and toes which has improved after 4 months. ( I'm still taking Lyrica )
    Off strong pain meds after 4 weeks.
    I wear a soft corset brace with metal bars for 6 months.
    Walking is my main exercise, no PT yet.
    I'm so glad I had this challenging surgery, it has been a slow recovery but I'm feeling stronger every day and can honestly say that my back feels better than ever.
    DDD. Married,Mum of 2, Age 45: 2007 & 2008 L5/S1 Discectomy
    April 2013 L5/S1 Anterior Fusion
    & L4/L5 Artificial Disc Replacement
  • I am currently 8 days post-op from a one-level ACDF. Here is how I would describe my journey:

    Surgery Day: Recovery room pain was not unbearable - probably a 6. I was in my room by 2 pm, and was up and walking the halls an hour or so later. The pain that evening from neck spasms and shoulder cramping lead to a pretty severe headache that they could get get on top of, and until they found the right meds, my pain was close to a 9. After they found the right thing, it was maybe a 2 at the most.

    Day 1 Post-Op: I was discharged and got home around 2 pm. In an effort to stay on top of the pain, I stayed on the dosage of pain meds that I was on when leaving the hospital, which was 20 mg. Norco every six hours. No real complaints this day except for the throat pain from the breathing tube, and from everything being moved around during surgery. Soft food and liquids were all I could manage.

    Day 2 Post-Op: I cut my pain meds by more than half - I probably only took 10 mgs. of Norco three times total during the whole day. It was hard to stay sitting down, as I was feeling energetic and good. Throat was only minimally better, so liquids/soft foods were still all I ate.

    Day 3 Post-Op: This was probably my worst day of recovery so far. I don't know if it was because I was suddenly not taking as many pain pills, but I felt "off" all day. I was cranky, tired, light-headed, and felt just plain icky. I was also getting quite frustrated with only eating pudding, applesauce, soup, yogurt, and ice cream.

    Day 4 Post-Op: Better! Maybe it was because my daughter was driving down to spend the weekend, or maybe it because my body was adjusting and healing - but I woke up with more energy and very little pain. Before my neck surgery, my pain management doctor had me on Norco for my back pain - 10 mg. in the morning, and 10 mg. at night, along with 2 mg. Flexeril at night, and that is what I returned to for my all of my pain management on this day - no further pain meds needed for my neck. Swallowing was still difficult, but I walked, talked, and enjoyed the day!

    Day 5 Post-Op: I ventured out to the grocery store this day, was tired, but rested up when I got home. I made cheese enchiladas that night (I stood at the stove and stirred while my daughter did the rest!), and managed to eat almost an entire enchilada! It was still painful to swallow, but I was SO excited to not be eating soup again for dinner!

    Day 6 Post-Op: Worn out from the weekend, I rested and didn't do much of anything all day. My increased activity came back to bite me with some pretty bad neck spasms and right arm pain - I didn't increase my meds, but knew I needed to just rest. It still hurts to swallow, but I know that this, too, shall pass, so I'm eating what I can and trying to be patient. Never thought I would get tired of ice cream!

    Day 7 Post -Op: Feeling good - I spent this day reading and walking, and walking, and walking! I want to give my body the rest it needs, but I'm also fighting the urge to do more because I feel good. Swallowing is still difficult (I'm starting to sound like a broken record!), but I ate some pasta without too much difficulty at dinner!

    Day 8 Post-Op - Today! Feeling good! I got brave last night and tried to sleep in bed - on my side. I made it a couple of hours, but constantly kept waking up with both of my hands numb, and with the feeling of being so light headed that I felt like I was about to faint. Its weird to wake up feeling like you are about to faint! Maybe I shouldn't have tried to sleep in bed, but I wasn't told not to, and to be quite honest, my tush was hurting from being in my recliner so stinking much! My pain level is not bad at all - there is some slight incision pain, but mostly I am dealing with neck/shoulder spasms and cramping, along with a moderate headache, but I'm probably hanging around a 3.

    As far as pre-surgery symptoms go, to be honest, I am still having pretty much all of the same tingling/numbness that I had before surgery. When I feel discouraged about that, I try to remember that I'm still a work in progress, I'm still healing, and that even if I end up having these symptoms for the rest of my life, that my spinal cord is no longer being compressed, and therefore it is still a victory!

    So, all-in-all, I think I'm doing really, really well in my recovery, and I'm wishing the same success for each and every one here!

  • Day 1- super painful but hopeful because it was a totaly different pain. Pre- surgery back pain was gone .
    Leg pain was 90% better
    the first couple of days home were overwhelming but with each day the pain and mobility improved. Hospital tried to send me home on day two. I said no and went home the next day.
    By day 5-6 I could get myself in and out of bed- have help with a rail on the bed.
    Still used the walker for the first week- really 2 to 3 weeks I didn't need it as much.
    By day 10 I was doing a lot on my own- getting my own snacks & water but not full on meals.
    It seemed to improve each day- as long as you don't overdo it!
    I had a 2 level 360 fusion in July.
    My mom reminded me all this surgery pain is temporary- my back pain wasn't going anywhere & was permanent without surgery!!
    99/00 L4/5 & L5/S1 herniation
    2001 L5/S1 microdisectomy age 25
    severe DDD at surgery level
    2011 pars
    2012 RFA L/3/4/5
    7-02-13 L4/5 l5/S1 360 fusion ALIF PLIF
    DX spondylitis , DDD, scoliosis, and slight kyphosis
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    I am very encouraged by the responses so far. It is always so important to remember all limitations and restrictions.
    Even if you start to feel good, do NOT overdo it.
    Let your spinal surgery take time to heal. The more you take care of this now, the better you will be years from now.

    Keep the updates coming!!
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • inchwormiinchworm Posts: 719
    edited 08/28/2013 - 6:58 AM
    July 17 Surgery: Scoliosis correction T10-L3, limited removal of hardware L4-S1, laminectomies -- complication during surgery causing CSF leak at site of original fusion L4-S1

    Days 1 - 3 post-op: Was in ICU - cannot remember much from those days except for dry mouth, being unable to lift my head, being awakened every 30 minutes or so as the blood pressure cuff inflated. Later, husband told me my face was so swollen that he could hardly recognize me--eyes were nearly swollen shut. Surgery lasted 9 hrs and we assume that contributed to the swelling.

    Days 4 - 9: Was moved from ICU to surgical floor and put into an air bed which "breathed" gently--very comfortable but difficult to turn over. Gradually decreasing pain--was on patient-controlled pain pump (dilaudid) and sometime a few days post-op I switched to oral dilaudid, Norco and Robaxin (muscle relaxer). Around day 5 I was put into my brace and gotten up to sit in a chair. This was a very uncomfortable experience which was cut short due to extreme pain. I was left with a frontal headache and mild nausea--the result of a failed surgical patch at the site of the CSF leak. Day 6 (I believe) was taken to x-ray for a 2-hr procedure called a blood patch--not fun! Was returned to my room where I did not get up again until day 11 when I got up in my brace again--this time much more successful and comfortable--and my Foley (urinary) catheter was removed. From that point, I got up several times a day, going to bathroom and walking the halls, all without headache--blood patch apparently successful!

    Day 12: Discharged from hospital! Came home in brace which I chose to wear 24/7 so that my hubby wouldn't have to get up 2-3 times every night to put on the brace so I could go to the bathroom. Several days later I had staples removed and surgeon told me to wear the brace for a total of one month from the time of surgery. When I took off the brace 2 1/2 weeks later was the day I felt like I was truly on the road to recovery.

    6 weeks post-op: Have been off of heavy narcotics since about day 16--taking Tramadol and Vicodin, the meds I was taking pre-op for my neck pain. Back is still quite sore but it is muscular soreness--spine feels strong and healthy and most of my pre-op symptoms are gone! I expect that when the swelling goes down in the area where all the work was one on the leak, the last of my leg symptons will go away. Have been doing light housework/yard work since coming home and have resumed walking 3 miles per day with my hubby. :)

    Very glad I had this surgery!

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    inchorm said:

    Very glad I had this surgery!


    How much better does that quote tell you!!!!!!!!!
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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