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struggle town

Today I'm 4 weeks 4 days post op from my l5-s1 ALIF.

I've hit struggle town big time. Ive been doing my exercises as instructed and this week started hydrotherapy which i tjought would have me feeling much better, i was wrong. After my 1st session o Monday i slept for 12 hours. I went again yesterday and came home exhausted after only 20 minutes. I was a swimmer before all this so to only last 20 minutes of walking, not even swimming has got me feeling rather lousy and pathetic.

i knew it was going to take time, but i didn't anticipate the mental battle of no pain yet still not able to do things. Is anyone else having similar issues?

my husband doesn't seem to understand why i feel so bad and have cried each time I've come home from the pool, or why i now don't want to do anything at all.

July 2009 - L1, L3, L5 disc hernation
Jan 2011 - L5/S1 Microdiscectomy
Dec 2012 - return of neural symptoms
June 2014 - fusion recommended - awaiting insurance approval


  • I get it. I have the tshirt from the above festivities except for the ALIF. I still have a floppy foot. Contrary to others' opinions, I'm not doing it to look cool. What I used to do and what and who I was is now different. I may be back to myself as I knew her.. But after all of this I doubt it. I'm a person who now notices and enjoys her life for what it is.
    I cried every day. Multiple times a day. In secret. In public. In shame. Not remembering. Not feeling. Feeling all of the loss. Feeling all of the joy.
    It's been the biggest mental struggle of my life.
    I'm now 3 months post op.
    The drugs are out and long gone. (the sweating.. The weeping)
    I'm onto some good positive butt kicking physio that hurts for the rest of the day but I wake up stronger.
    The pool exhausts me. It really does.
    Until this week.
    Now I just have to ease into work and life with this new self.
    It's not an easy one.
    My husband gets it, but it gets tiring for everyone to hear. I'm even sick of it now.
    Keep the kleenex out and know that this too shall pass.
  • one month out is still early in the acute phase of post op recovery........you have a long way to go before you are ready to resume more strenous activities and increase your stamina. This is ONLY your second therapy session, so you are going to tire more easily, and not be able to physically complete things. Slow and easy is the pace you are looking for, your body has a lot of recovery to get through and pushing too hard, too fast tends to make things worse, rather than better.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Spinal surgery like any surgery takes time to heal. Give it a chance.

    As far as the aqua therapy. Even though you were a simmer before, therapy in a pool , especially after surgery is not that easy. While it may seem simple, it takes a lot out of you.

    I went through about 4 aqua therapy sessions before I started to see the results. After the first 2 sessions, I was going to call my doctor and have them cancel the script.

    The approved exercise and work now, even with pain will pay off later.
    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
  • Thank you to everyone for the assurance that this is normal and the reminder that I'm still very early in the recovery phase.

    I have had a much better week this week. Although I'm still struggling with being able to do so little despite not being in pain, I am starting to be more accepting of my limitations.

    I had a review appointment yesterday with a return to work coordinator (requirement of my insurance company ) and they said that while I'm doing well, I'm still a long way off being able to return to work given all the restrictions that apply.

    I came home from the appointment absolutely exhausted, just another reminder of how much work our bodies have to do to recover and get back to daily life.

    I'm sticking with the pool sessions even though I feel deflated after them. I know that they will get easier and are important for my recovery.

    Just wanted to say thanks again for the understanding, i think its hard for people to understand if they haven't been through it themselves
    July 2009 - L1, L3, L5 disc hernation
    Jan 2011 - L5/S1 Microdiscectomy
    Dec 2012 - return of neural symptoms
    June 2014 - fusion recommended - awaiting insurance approval
  • Being in the pool is probably a shock to your system. In my case, my muscles and general fitness level had weakened/lessened for several years before my fusion because I was in so much pain. So once I really started aggressive PT, it was a huge adjustment for my system and it was exhausting. But think of it as pain with a purpose.
    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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