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2nd Fusion - This time PLF L5-S1...questions

Hello everyone.

I have been reading the forums for a long time and decided to post and I appreciate all this place has done for me.

Here is my situation.

I am a male age 31 6'4 and 195#. I used to be huge into bodybuilding and fitness however had DDD and had to change my life and routine.

I had my first L5-S1 spinal fusion in 9/2011. I had a ALIF and in 2013 i found out it was a failed fusion.

11/20/2013 I had a Posterior Lumbar fusion and as of today I am almost 2 months post surgery. I seem to be doing better than I was on the first surgery and I think everything is going well. most recently i was put on Biomet SpinalPak Stimulator to help with this fusion (which Aetna approved)...

I am having the following questions.

1) I have worked for the same company for almost 10 years and am starting to feel the pressure to return to work. I handle outside sales for our company so driving and sitting at a computer desk is my 8-5. my boss constantly asks me when I'm returning to work and I just dont want to do anything this time around to mess it up. I feel like i returned to work and to much activity far too fast in 2011 and even though

I feel better now Im not sure what i should do...i am still being paid 100% of my salary and this is a benefit my employer offers.

What do i tell him to let him know the seriousness of this?

When should i truly be returning?

Any questions you have for me LMK

Thank you very much.


  • What does your surgeon say? Mine wanted me out of work for 3 months, but I work from home and have an office job, so I really have been working since I got discharged. Part time at first but for the past 2 months or so I've been full time. I'm salaried and kept getting paid, but my boss has had 3 back surgeries himself so he understood what I was going through.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • surgeon said whenever i wnat to return is fine with me...just to let them know....he didnt say specifically....my goal is to live in this body and be strong for 90 years of course so i am not sure...i dont have anything to go on other than what im doing...
  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 767
    edited 01/15/2014 - 8:26 AM
    Sometimes just having an open line of communication can help ease the tension. I imagine not having a plan is what is making them nervous. I do find it strange that your surgeon hasn't got an estimated return to work in mind; they are used to the way short term disability works and all the paperwork and reasonable return to work dates for different kinds of physical/sedentary work roles. I'd keep an open line if communication with your boss, once you get a date from your surgeon. Also, could you agree to a part time work from home role? That way you can ease back into your work schedule and help your employer feel that you are dedicated to returning.

    A lot of people who haven't had back problems do not understand our pain and may feel that they don't want to be involved with an employee with back pain and the risk of re-injury. Show your boss that you need him/her to meet you halfway on making sure you are truly dedicated to your recovery but that you are also dedicated to returning to work. Communication - it can settle all this anxiety. I think once you have a plan in ace, you will BOTH feel better.
    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
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