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L1 to L5 fusion & reconstruction 5 weels post opp

I am 5 weeks post opp from this "Big" surgery. I have No memory, or bits & pieces of the first 4 days. This was a scary surgery and the pain un-mentionable. I'm still on meds, oxycotin, oxycodone and a strong muscle relaxer. If I don't take any meds thru the night, about 12 hours I am in agony in the mornings. I was hoping I could reduce the meds but at this point it's the only way for me to function. I still can't walk on my own and still on a walker. Physical therapist says I should be able to be trained on a cane in a few weeks. I had no ides the recovery for this surgery would take so long. I get over anxious at times and am being told to Slow down. A physical therapist comes to my home twice a week and I look forward to working with her.
I have 4 cages for fusion, 13 incisions, 3 on my left side and 10 in my back with several rods and screws.
I do not have the pain I had before the surgery which is awesome but the pain from the surgery is awful and I can't wait until I am healed and get my life back. I'm 53 and hoping this was all worth it because living in the pain before the surgery was not living. Any advise or comments are welcome.
New MRI's Not good-Cervical-Thoracic-Brain
DLIF 4 level lumbar fusion L1 to L5 Dec 2013...
ACDF 2 level cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 Dec 2011


  • All I can say is wow. This was a beast of an operation! 13 incisions! Of course you are in severe pain- there aren't that many of us here who have had as large an operation as you. And being 53 definitely makes recovery a bit tougher, that's for sure.

    My operation was a breeze compared to yours, but Do try and stay positive. Find a small goal or a ray of sunshine in each day. Your emotional health through this difficult time will either be your greatest asset or yet another reason to be "down". I think you've got enough going on clinically than to let them have your happiness too. So stay positive -it's a long road but you'll eventually start seeing little improvements each day and you'll have something to smile about again.

    Hang in there!
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • Wow, that is alot to handle! Did the surgeon not just make one large incision to open you right up? I have one 8 inch incision and lots of little bullets holes, were drains were and another incision where they took out the bone. I cant imagine what this cold weather is doing to you. My thoughts are with you. Keep warm
  • ADRJenAADRJen Posts: 211
    edited 01/08/2014 - 1:37 AM
    You have one more cage than me! I'm not sure why he didn't just do one long incision instead of a bunch of little ones, but I guess he had his reasons. Believe me, the difference between 5 and 8 weeks was huge with me. Just walk as much as you can, even if they are short. Push your self a little more each day. And NO BLT (unless it's between 2 pieces of toast,)
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • Thank you for your comments & thoughts. Monday 1-20-14 will be 7 weeks post opp. Lots of progress! I am off the walker and now on a cane! I actually feel Free! The walker felt like it was just in my way. My pain level is much lower but in the afternoons seems to get worse, even on the pain meds.
    As for my doctor not cutting me open in one long incision, I had 3 incisions on my left side which is a non invasive approach. He was able to remove what was left of my discs & put in all the cages from these 3 incisions including a long rod & screws for the fusion support. The 10 incisions in my back was for 5 rods and screws to support the fusion as well. I am also using a bone growth stimulator I use every day for 30 minutes. The weather doesn't seem to effect me at all. I have been & still am walking alot. I know walking is good for healing and strength and I like the walking. I walk longer distances as time goes on.
    ADRJen, you made me laugh about the BLT! You are right & I have followed every direction from the doctor & PT! I will only have BLT between 2 pieces of toast ...lol.
    Sarah, I am & have been as positive as possible along this journey. It is a very long recovery and I didn't expect it to be this long :(...but I am strong emotionally and very thankful that I am because I know there are so many people who become depressed through these surgeries.
    Well, I appreciate and welcome comments & suggestions and will update my status later. I see my doctor on 1-28-14 and am hoping he will release me to drive, bend and twist through PT finally.
    New MRI's Not good-Cervical-Thoracic-Brain
    DLIF 4 level lumbar fusion L1 to L5 Dec 2013...
    ACDF 2 level cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 Dec 2011
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