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Twelve week (3 month) Doctor Visit update

I saw my surgeon yesterday for what was my 3 month or 12 week visit. I was a bit disappoinoted that I did not show any bone growth. He told me that it wouldtake longer than 3 months to see any. I have been using my bone stimulator faithfully every day since mid July and I wear it for 30 minutes each day.

Other than no new bone growth, everything is in place, nothing has moved and I can start bending only to a point where it is comfortable. I'm also able to go about my normal lifestyle like I had prior to surgery. All in all, it was a good report, The only issue that I still have is the sciatica pain which comes and goes. If I get off my feet and apply either biofreeze or magnilife sciatic cream after a little while it goes away.

I am so ready for the weather to begin cooling off down here so I can do my walking outside. This time of year we are also swamped with love bugs and who wants to go walking with them flying around. In the meantime I will go somewhere like the mall or big dept store to do my walking.


  • odouglassoodouglass Posts: 264
    edited 09/27/2013 - 5:18 AM

    I am 4 (almost 5 months) out of a L5/S1 fusion and am getting a CT scan before I see my surgeon on 11/1 to check the hardware placement and to ensure that all is okay because of the sciatic pain I am having. He put me on Lyrica as I had significant nerve damage that he noticed during surgery (he's a neurosurgeon). I asked him about bone growth and he said that I would'nt see much if any on the CT scan, but that it could take a year for him to tell me the % that I am fused. He is getting me a CT scan at the year mark and he said it should be all noticeable bone growth.

    Stick in there, it will get better-- :)
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • Thank you for responding. My doctor is a Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and he also said that if the sciatica keeps flaring up and doesn't get any better he will send me for a ct scan. It seems like its not coming as frequent (knock on wood) as it had in the past but as I said I apply a sciatic cream and it seems to calm down. Mine was also a L5 S1 fusion. Fortunately they started me on ;physical therapy about 2 or 3 days after surgery and they continued when I came home and I was released from P/T about 3 weeks ago. I honestly think that is why I've been feeling good and I think for my age (72) I recovered quicker than I expected. I spent 5 days in the hospital and then they transferred me to a rehab hospital where I spent another 6 days.

    I certainly will keep looking at the bright side knowing that seeing bone growth is a way down the road.
  • Youngatheart, I so admire your fortitude, persistence, and generally positive approach. You rock!
  • youngatheartyyoungatheart Posts: 42
    edited 09/28/2013 - 2:43 PM
    Thanks for your comment. I decided while I was in the hospital that I was going to get on my feet ASAP. I would get some crying spells because I'm so used to taking care of everyone, ( even though my kids are all married) and doing pretty much everything I wanted, that I would get depressed and start crying. I hated to have the nurses help me to the bathroom or just about anything.

    I'm the cheerleader in our family, try to keep everyone on an even keel and for me to be out of sorts for the time spent in the hospital and rehab hospital was driving me crazy. Hubby was great and came up every day ...about a 25 mile drive each way and when I came home he waited on me hand and foot.

    I plan to keep going and do whatever I can to keep m,obile. Its been too hot to walk outside where we live so as soon as I was able to drive I hop in the car and drive to one fo the bigger stores and walk, walk, walk, and shop. We will be cruising again in a few months and I'm hoping I don't have to take this bone stimulator with me If I do, I will let my travel agen t know to alert the cruiseline that I will be bringing this aboard. I am really looking forward to this cruise. Its been just about a year since we did the last one.

    Time for me to get offf...Hollypop, have you had surgery or is it in the future for you?
  • My surgery is scheduled for Oct. 18, assuming I pass all the pre-op testing, have to have a cardiology clearance which hopefully will finish up this week. Have no cardiac symptoms but have a family history of heart issues. Really bad stenosis at L4-L5, not clear why it's concentrated there but maybe bad golf swing mechanics, LOL. Neurosurgeon was very good at explaining options: decompression laminectomy only, insertion of a spacer to open up that one intervertebral space, and decompression laminectomy with fusion. After flex-extension X rays confirmed significant slippage of L4 on L5, he called me back and said a spacer was out, that a single laminectomy was still on the table, but because of the slippage, he expected that to eventually fail, so the decompression followed by fusion was his first recommendation. I know this procedure can sometimes lead to problems in the adjacent joints but my MRI showed compression of the cauda equina so I think even with the risks it's a better plan to go ahead with the procedure. I'm not incontinent though I can't raise up on my tiptoes and have noticed a bad change in my gait. I'm just hoping whatever nerve damage has already taken place can at least be arrested. And perhaps I can have a little less sciatic pain as well. I'm going to keep your determination in mind. I'm 61 and had been thinking maybe i was just getting too old, but after the example you set, I have no excuses. So many people here are much younger that at times I feel like I should just take my place at the back of the line, but that state of mind might also be because I can't remember what it was like to be able to walk normally anymore. I hadnt thought about driving to a mall to walk in air conditioning so thanks for that tip! About your cruise - we were talking about taking a river cruise a few months ago, but then my husband said, "Oh, but you can't walk..." I think that's what propelled me to get on the stick and try to reverse this decline. Any pointers you have about navigating the post op processes both in hospital and at home would be welcome. Thanks!
  • I'm sure you are disappointed with no new bone growth but hang in there, I've read it could take a year or more. Stay positive, it will happen. We were away for 4 days (car trip) and I had to bring the bone stimulator along with me too. I have to use my "steering wheel" for 9 mths which means I need to bring it on 2 upcoming trips - ugh! You sound like you are doing very well in your progress. I hope the sciatic pain eases up for you. Where was your fusion?

    Hollypop, I had a L4-l5 fusion for slippage on July 31 and I can walk again with no sciatic pain. I still get pain in my hip/butt area (not sciatic) and I'm hoping PT can help with that. I also use Biofreeze on my hip butt area. Last cruise we were on, I was in agony walking around and it still took me a year before I did anything about it. I'm 62 yrs young. The hospital stay is a blur and the first week after surgery was tough but nothing you can't handle with help. I started water therapy at week 3. The best post op tool is the "grabber", it's very helpful when you drop things because you can't bend, lift or twist (BLT). It was also helpful to me to watch YouTube videos of people who were going through fusion surgeries. I only watched the positive videos!! I can now stand on my tiptoes but still can't walk on tiptoes. Minor issue but makes me wonder if my nerve damage will ever heal? Oh, I also have a disc spacer too.
    PLIF fusion L4-L5 and Decompression July 31
  • youngatheartyyoungatheart Posts: 42
    edited 09/29/2013 - 10:42 AM
    Deb, my fusion was at L5 S1

    hollypop, if you are offered physical therapy after surgery, go for it. When the therapy company nurse came to my hospital room and told me that I should start and then be transferred to a rehab hospital I was not too keen on it, but my husband was in the room and told me to go for it.

    It was the best thing for me to to in my opinion. It will help to get you mobilized. They started me off with upper body mild workouts,peddling a bicycle like thing to strengthen the arms. You will be using muscles that you haven't used in a while when you first are post op. They will teach you to log roll on and off your bed and how to turn. As Deb said the grabber is a super tool. My physical therapist in the hosp got it for me, but I had two others at home from when hubby had his hip replacements and when I had my laminectomy. I'm surey your surgeon will recommend and send you for a back brace fitting. I had to wear mine only when I was up and walking, not in the bed. I still continue to wear mine when I go out in the car, for fear of someone bumping into the car and me jolting. Besides I feel much more comfortable when I wear it and it tends to remind me not to do too much bending.

    I hope all turns out well for you hollypop and I will be thinking of you October 18th while you are in surgery.

    Deb, I do believe I will be taking my bone stimulator on our upcoming cruise. We have been doing 2 cruises a year for the past maybe 10 years and I am so looking forward to the one coming up even though I've been to those ports.

    I wish you ladies well and hope all goes well and you will soon be up and running...Have agreat whats left of Sunday

    About an hour ago I dropped something and since my doc said I could bend as long as its comfortable, I did. I got down by quatting and bending my knees and I was able to pick up the item I dropped. I don't think I would do that all the time but it did show me that I can do it as long as I have my legs and quatting do the work.
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