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Having a TLIF on my L4-L5 on 1/13/15- Nervous

littlenookllittlenook Posts: 2
edited 01/01/2015 - 3:26 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello,
I'm really nervous about my upcoming surgery in 2 weeks. I've kept a lot bottled up, so apologies in advance. I really need a supportive place.

Here is a little history:

Rear-ended in early 2002 and herniated discs L4 and L5 on the left side. Pain meds, a little PT given and 3 cortizone shots given. MRI was done late in 2003 and was told findings were 'insignificant'. Leg and foot numb for over 2 1/2 years.

On and off siatica and morning stiffness but nothing requiring more than ibuprophin after that.... until...

Dec 2012 out of nowhere, woke up with left leg and foot numb. Kept getting progressively worse. Took a change of Dr's after 4 months to get a MRI done and found spinal stenosis. Another 5 months of PT and cortisone shots and then laminectomy surgery. 99% pain free and off all meds after 1 month.

6 months later I started getting leg pain and foot numbness, tried to soldier through for a few months. Switched insurances because of my husband's job and it took 4 months before an MRI was done (and one very unprofessional Physiatrist). Come to find out I have a cyst on my spine and my facet joint inflammation is severe. No shots to suffer through. TLIF surgery is the recommendation to stabilize the area.

Come to find out, from the surgeon, that degenerative disc disease was noticeable back in 2003 on my MRI. Not sure if knowing it would have changed anything but I dislike that it wasn't disclosed to me.

The recovery process and pain I'll go through after the surgery are kind of freaking me out a bit. I'm 46, obese and have a couple of health issues in addition to all of this. Of course, I know I need to loose weight and have good blood sugar control.

My mom's roommate had a spinal fusion back in 2009 and she doesn't have the nerve pain anymore but still has major back issues, has been on pain meds since before the surgery, keeps getting cortisone shots.... Uggg! I'm terrified of this happening to me!

I can handle lower back pain and stiffness until I get moving in the mornings, I can live with that. I hate the leg and foot pain! Standing, walking, bending and even laying down cause me tremendous pain. It doesn't take long to be limping and then dragging my leg as I walk. Pain meds and sitting help the most but I even have days that that isn't enough.

I'm very fortunate that I am a homemaker so I don't have a job position to worry about. My poor husband though! He has had to do so much. He is exhausted and frustrated. This has put a huge strain on our relationship. I've lost friends because I can't get out and be social very often and have to cancel last minute if I have a bad flare up and the only person I can really vent to is my mother.

I need a place where people understand. I'm going to need support during my recovery. I hope I've found a good place for that.
Feb 2002 Herniated Discs L4 and L5 on Left side
Sept 2012 Laminectomy L5 on Left side
Upcoming (Jan 13, 2015) TLIF on my L4-L5
Facet Arthritis, DDD, Spondylothesis, Bone Spurs and Cyst on left side
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Comments

  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 766
    edited 01/02/2015 - 3:54 AM
    Welcome littlenook. I can understand your anxiety before your fusion; it would be strange if you weren't nervous. It's a very painful operation.

    Try not to look back and go through the "what if" exercise. It's not going to change anything and as you probably know, DDD in itself is not unusual. It happens to everyone as we age and it sounds like it wasn't causing you pain back then, so don't trouble yourself with wondering.

    Instead, put your efforts on the upcoming surgery. Talk to your husband and make sure you do your best to set yourself up for success by organizing some things ahead of time:

    - consider hiring a house cleaner, especially for he first month or so. You said your husband works and it will help him focus on caring for you when he gets home and not having to worry about laundry or vacuuming.

    - consider enrolling in an online grocer service that delivers such as Coborns delivers or something similar, so you haven't got the added burden of grocery shopping

    - purchase a grabber arm and a shower chair or shelf to put things at arms length in the shower.

    - make sure your first days home you aren't alone, as you will need the extra support

    - download the drugs.com Pill Reminder app to help you manage your meds post surgery

    I could go on but to me the most important thing is to communicate with your husband. Consider having him accompany you to your pre operative doctor appointment so that he can ask questions and more importantly, feel involved in your surgery and care.
    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
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,910
    edited 01/02/2015 - 4:04 AM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • littlenookllittlenook Posts: 2
    edited 01/02/2015 - 4:40 AM
    Hi Sarahlindeau,

    Thank you for replying.

    You are right, worrying about the 'what if's' isn't productive. I can only hope there is more transparency going forward.

    I've ordered a shower chair and my mom is bringing me a walker. I also have a cane from my last back surgery. My mom is coming to stay for a week after my surgery and my daughter is going to stay for about 2 weeks with me to help out so my husband won't have to worry about me as much. I'll get a grabber arm.

    Thanks for the app info. I'll load that on my phone. I already take a lot but it's going to be increasing after the surgery and the less I have to think, the better.

    I just had my pre-op appointment. He was working so he couldn't go. I'll have him come to my first post-op appointment so he can ask questions and share concerns with the Dr if he wants.

    Thanks again :)
    SarahLindeau said:
    Welcome littlenook. I can understand your anxiety before your fusion; it would be strange if you weren't nervous. It's a very painful operation.

    Try not to look back and go through the "what if" exercise. It's not going to change anything and as you probably know, DDD in itself is not unusual. It happens to everyone as we age and it sounds like it wasn't causing you pain back then, so don't trouble yourself with wondering.

    Instead, put your efforts on the upcoming surgery. Talk to your husband and make sure you do your best to set yourself up for success by organizing some things ahead of time:

    - consider hiring a house cleaner, especially for he first month or so. You said your husband works and it will help him focus on caring for you when he gets home and not having to worry about laundry or vacuuming.

    - consider enrolling in an online grocer service that delivers such as Coborns delivers or something similar, so you haven't got the added burden of grocery shopping

    - purchase a grabber arm and a shower chair or shelf to put things at arms length in the shower.

    - make sure your first days home you aren't alone, as you will need the extra support

    - download the drugs.com Pill Reminder app to help you manage your meds post surgery

    I could go on but to me the most important thing is to communicate with your husband. Consider having him accompany you to your pre operative doctor appointment so that he can ask questions and more importantly, feel involved in your surgery and care.
    Feb 2002 Herniated Discs L4 and L5 on Left side
    Sept 2012 Laminectomy L5 on Left side
    Upcoming (Jan 13, 2015) TLIF on my L4-L5
    Facet Arthritis, DDD, Spondylothesis, Bone Spurs and Cyst on left side
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