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Jan 2015 surgery buddies

Johnny New SpineJJohnny New Spine Posts: 14
edited 01/09/2015 - 10:08 AM in Surgery Buddies
I am having my 360 lumbar spinal fusion (anterior and posterior approach) on Jan 12 for grade 2 spondyloliytheis.

Anyone else here having surgery? how do we all feel about it?

Love another's comments: on a bad day, I want my wife to put the pedicle screws in my back herself!.......on a good day I want to max my credit cards and fly to Bora Bora,,,,any takers???


  • hello, i am having a cervical spinal fusion C5-7, anterior approach on Jan 26. Feeling nervous about it but after all the doctor visits from just the past year, i just want it done and over with.

    if it were an option, i would LOVE to go to Bora Bora instead of surgery hahaha.

    i wish you luck with your procedure!
  • I've been dealing with my back pain for so long it has become a way of life. I'm nervous to have the surgery, but also about how much my life will change. Does that make any sense?
    I'm a previously very active ice hockey goalie that can now barely dress myself and can't play with my children. I've just been scheduled for my surgery on January 15th. I'm going to have a laminectomy and fusion at L4, L5. I'm a little in panic mode because although I've had uncontrolled pain for over 2 years, I wasn't expecting the surgery to be quite so soon.
    I've progressed from a grade 1 to grade 2 Spondylolisthesis and with 1.5 mm more severe stenosis (as compared to my scans from 1.5 years ago). The injections, meds(allergic to most all the pain meds), chiro, massage, pt...just not getting any relief, so the surgery is my next step. Trying to get everything in order buy I am quickly running out of time. Anyway, hello to you all. Hope we all have a very good outcome!
    L4, L5 Degenerative Spondylolisthesis, grade 2. Spinal Stenosis. Radiculopathy.
    2+ years of injections, meds, therapy, chiropractic and massage. Next step laminectomy and posterior spinal fusion.
  • Having the 360 fusion for grade two spondy and a discectomy - laminectomy L5 on Jan 26. Any tips on relieving anxiety before this procedure ... Just getting worse as it gets closer
    Holly House
  • Silver T. said:
    hello, i am having a cervical spinal fusion C5-7, anterior approach on Jan 26. Feeling nervous about it but after all the doctor visits from just the past year, i just want it done and over with.

    if it were an option, i would LOVE to go to Bora Bora instead of surgery hahaha.

    i wish you luck with your procedure!

    I hear your anxiety! Although this might help: I use to practice PT (for about 15 years) the cervical fusions I saw did VERY well. They healed up quick, not that much pain, more stiffness, and after a few weeks, they sorta had their life back. I wouldn't have half as much stress with a cervical fusion as with a lumbar (I'm having it in 2 days!!!) You will do great!!!!

    Thank you for the good thoughts on my procedure :)
  • Silver T.SSilver T. Posts: 13
    edited 01/11/2015 - 6:18 AM
    Thank you for your response! I feel a little better hearing that you were a PT and have seen patients with my type of procedure, and that they have faired well!!how long is the recovery for your type of procedure?
  • Hi,
    I also am feeling a bit nervous. Neuro Spec 29 Jan for discussion with my family about Anterior approach op for cord compression at C 6/7. Will be following all your post op notes closely until my turn comes! Hope all goes well for you both.

  • I'm scheduled for a laminectomy with fusion L5-s1 on 1/22. I'm especially interested to hear from those who have gone before me (so to a peak). This site has been very helpful, certainly providing more relevant information than my doctor's office.
  • I hope your surgery went well and you will share your experience. I have been waiting a while and have my first contact with the surgeon Feb/15. I do not yet know what type of procedure will be done, or when.

    What I do know is I want my life back and I hope this is going to help me do that.
  • Johnny New SpineJJohnny New Spine Posts: 14
    edited 01/16/2015 - 9:16 PM
    Hi Everyone,

    I am now 4 days post op. I came home yesterday. I want to talk about my experiences and see if I can help someone else who will be having this, as I relied a lot on people's feedback to gauge my own recovery.

    When I woke up in recovery, surprisingly, I didn't have as much pain as I thought. I was more out of it from the anesthesia and uncomfortable. The doctor said that they were going to give me a TAP block and maybe that helped. When I got wheeled into the room, the pain level did rise. But I hit the PCA as often as I could. But then I started getting nauseous. They gave me Zophran, and after about an hour, it still didn't work. It was during this time when I wasn't hitting the pump that the pain was increasing. When the Zophran didn't work, the nurse was sort of at a loss of what to do. Great. And since I wasn't hitting the PCA button that the pain spiked up.

    I use to sell Pharmaceuticals so I know my meds. I suggested to the nurse to give me Promethazine. She shrugged her shoulder and gave me only 10mg. It worked like a charm!!!! I think the nausea was because of the narcotics, and to me, the Promethazine has worked better for that in the past.

    Once I got the nausea under control I was hitting the button every 8 minutes, and faired ok. I think there's an unrealistic expectation about the pain. Even with as much stuff as they give you, about an 80% control is about what you're going to get. The pain was actually more uncomfortable and a feeling restless. It wasn't like the pain I had prior to surgery. It's hard to describe. You just feel really uneasy. When they get you up and change positions, that's when I felt the sharp pain at the incision site in the back. The front had little to no pain.

    My wife stayed with me for 2 nights in the hospital (she didn't get much sleep) and my parents during most of the day. If I could change a few things I would have someone (even if I had to pay them) stay with me 24/7 the first 2 days. You can't move, you can't get up and it gets old pressing the call button every time you can't reach for something or want more water, or for whatever. This also adds to the stress and the pain level. It would be money well spent.
    I would also not have any visitors. So many people wanted to come and told me prior to surgery they would visit, and since I've always liked to have lots of people around me, I told them yes and encouraged them. Its too much. Even though they tell you to relax, it's hard to do when 7 people are in the room looking at you. A good buddy visited me, and kept telling me how I looked well. When you just had major surgery and feel like crap that's about the last thing you want to hear is how well you look. Bottom line, don't have too many visitors.

    They took the catheter out 30 hours after surgery. I was stressing like a mad dog over this one. However, it wasn't too bad!! After they deflate the balloon, in the bladder, they inject some saline, so it sort of slips out with one tugg. I think it's bad when they leave it in over 48 hours or longer that it burns a great deal. It wasn't worth the stress. Rest assured of all the things to worry about, don't stress over the catheter.
    However, they do want you to pee within 8 hours after the catheter removal, or they would have to put it back in!!! Didn't know about this. I drank a ton of water to no avail. Talk about pressure and the clock was ticking. It wasn't until I added essential lemon, wild orange and lime oil to the water that I finally went.

    I spent 3 nights in the hospital. I made sure they discharged me with a front wheeled walker, and a raised toilet seat, which also can be used for sitting during a shower.

    I have a hospital bed in my living room since our bedroom is upstairs and they want you to talk a TON but avoid stairs. I just rented it on my own $400 but well worth it.

    So that's the story so far, I've been walking around as much as I can taking only 1 Percocet (they said up to 2) every 4 hours and 1 Soma 2 times a day. I think tomorrow I will progress to a cane as the walker is now more of a hindrance. I'll write more tonight when I get a chance as I'm sure I left some things out that fusion people might find interesting. :)
  • Im glad that your doing well now and are at home! i know just how you feel, I've had surgery previously for another matter and the nausea was the worst after anesthesia for me as well! not 100% positive what they had given me post-op for it but i think it was Zofran IV and that really helped me fast, im sorry it didn't work very well for you. I bet you are glad that the worst is over! please keep posted on how your progressing from here.
  • Thank you for the good wishes, i hope the best for you as well! im feeling just as nervous but ready for it to be over! please keep in touch on how your doing!
  • linda55llinda55 Posts: 39
    edited 01/18/2015 - 8:55 PM
    I hope to find someone acdfC3/C4
  • linda55 said:
    I hope to find someone acdfC3/C4
    hi Linda, I am having an SCDF C5-7 for sure and depending on my MR results from last friday C3/4 as well. When are you scheduled for surgery??
  • I'm having an open bilateral discectomy on 26th Jan, I'm absolutely terrified and on the verge of cancelling! Although I don't think I will. Family are not as supportive as they could be so its making it even more difficult.
  • I'm 5 days post op TLIF of L4/L5. Not nearly as bad as I was prepared for , but it's not a walk in the park either! So far I'm glad I went thru with it!

    Been battling low back pain and multiple herniated discs for about two years. I'm 31 and female. Doctors tried therapy, meds, you name it. Nothing helped. Finally has a laminectomy in Nov 2014. Felt great for about a month and then bam! Re herniated the same disc with excruciating sciatic and leg pain. Couldn't walk or stand more than a couldn't of minutes. Doc said germination was worse. Also have DDD. Afraid if we didnt fuse it would be chain reaction for other discs.

    Have a bad spine, but I'm also 100 pounds overweight. I have battled my weight my entire life! I'm also six foot, which doesn't jelly my spine with more to support vertically!

    Trying to view this back thing as an opportunity and motivation to Telly lose the weight and change my lifestyle once and for all!

    Love to hear from others! I think the communication support is going to make the process easier for me to recover!
  • Johnny New SpineJJohnny New Spine Posts: 14
    edited 01/20/2015 - 8:38 PM
    Hi all,
    It's been 9 days since my ant/post fusion for L5S1. Just a quick update.
    I'm doing good. There is some tightness at the back incision site, and it's numb, but I feel pretty good. The leg pain is gone! I'm down to only 2 10mg Percocet a /day.
    I still have the numbness at the bottom of my foot. I suspect that it will be there for a while until the nerve regenerates which might take months.
    I was stressing so much over the surgery, as people that do well DONT POST as often or don't do YouTube videos as much. They move on with their lives. So if anyone sees this, know that so far I am doing well and I would have the surgery again if I could go back in time.
    I saw a video diary on YouTube on a guy that had a fusion. He made several videos. I only saw the beginning ones and the end ones. He didn't have the most optimal outcome. Anyway, last night I saw a few of the middle videos, come to find out, the guy was doing a high impact workout (don't want to Put the name on this) at only 11 months post op!!!! He said that he was doing the easier ones. THERE ARE NO EASY high-impact workouts. People don't realize that once you get your back fused, you need to be careful. No jumping, no extreme bending. FOREVER. To me, he messed up his back. Know your limits.
    My biggest complaint is that boredom is slowly setting in. But I have some series I want to see and some books to I want to read.
    That's all for now
  • I messed up my back doing intense workout DVD's like insanity! Thant's what got me here.
  • Johnny New SpineJJohnny New Spine Posts: 14
    edited 01/21/2015 - 10:24 AM
    Hey Tallulah,
    I originally hurt my back 10 years ago doing Yoga!! It was the first time I ever did it. It was a level 1 class, but the poses she had us do were not level 1, they were way too intense. And she said if you have pain, to go with it, don't be mad at teacher for the pain. After 90 minutes I could barely move and then couldn't get out of bed for the next 3 days. That started the herniated disk.
    I was managing the disk with epidurals, getting about 2-3 year when recently, my foot was getting numb. When they did X-rays, and it showed the spondylolisethesis. Even though I use to do PT, it was even confusing for me to figure the whole thing out. The first surgeon I went to wanted to do a fusion. I couldn't belive it. I was thinking that I could just have a microdiscectomy and that's it. He agreed to do a microdiscectomy
    The second surgeon said the same thing, fusion, and also said that if I had a microdisectomy, it would make the segment more unstable and I'd be back into surgery very soon.
    I went to a 3rd and 4th doctor, they all said fusion, and that the disc wasn't the problem, it was now the slipping of the vertebra that was causing the pain.
    So fine, I needed a fusion, but what kind? there are so many different approaches: PLIF, TLIF, ALIF, XLIF, posterior approach, anterior approach, what's really confusing is that different doctors have different meanings for the different acronyms.
    They wanted me to have (and which I did) an anterior approach where they put a cage between the vertebra that is filled with artificial bone in the front, then turn you over, and put screws and rods in the back. They call it 360. I've seen so many blogs on people that had a TLIF, and asked why I wasn't a candidate for that. The doctor explained that for the best chance of a solid fusion that he would have to do a ant/post approach. Another caveat is that some doctors don't do TFIL's because they weren't trained with it. It depends on what manufacture they work with some only do the XLIF because that's a different manufacturer.
    All in all, it's been 9 days since the surgery and I'm doing good. I would have it again in a minute.
  • Hi, I just wanted to add my comments to Johnny New Spine about recovery. I'm now 10 days post surgery. Feeling really good. Taking Tylenol with Codeine for pain and Flexeril for muscle relaxant, and Gabapentin for nerve pain. I take it easy and sleep as much as I want to. I don't do any house chores.
    In the hospital, I had vomiting fits the first 24 hours due to the narcotic pain meds. So the doctor switched meds. Then the second day, I felt nerve pain down the right leg so the doctor prescribed steroids and painmedication for that. It feels like the same leg cramp I have had for years, but more activated. I'm okay with it because I think the nerve was disturbed during surgery and needs to settle down. I actually went out today to see a movie, my first outing since surgery, and sat through the whole movie without too much discomfort. I look forward to better mobility soon: being able to walk more than 15 min without pain!
    Lumbar fusion TLIF L4-5 Jan 12, 2015
  • Hi Joy,
    I'm glad you're doing good!! Did you have a fusion too? I am 9 days post fusion. See everyone, it's not all gloom and doom, people do get better :)
    My leg pain is gone, I still have the numbness on the bottom of my foot, but not as intense as before surgery. The front incision doesn't hurt at all. The back incision feels very tight, like grabbing. It's tolerable, it feels more "weird" than sharp pain. I don't know if it's from the staples (Which come out in 4 days) or the screws in my back. Only taking 2 pain pills a day which lessen the tightness considerably. They gave me Soma, but that doesn't seem to help. Maybe I should ask for Flexeril.
    I made the mistake of taking a hot shower and letting the water beat down on my back incision. It felt good at the time,, but paid for it afterward. That tight "weird" feeling multiplied by 10 after the shower. I won't be doing that again. I have a cold therapy machine and use it 3-4 times/day.
    I have not gotten out of the house except to walk. My wife has a job that allows her to work from home, so she has been helping me.
    If you're having surgery, get a grabber. It has been so helpful.
    I know there's a few people on this forum who are having surgery soon and I am sending you all good thoughts, as everyone here that has responded to my posts.
    More updates to come.
  • Hello all I am now 2days post-op ACDF cervical spinal fusion for three levels. Had to stay in hospital couple more days because if the storm in MA. It's a good thing I didn't end up goiing home because I had a bad reaction to the morphine...itching throughout the whole body...they hadto change my meds to oxycodone and Valium.walking was fine untlll I sat down then the pain hit. Haven't been sleeping well even with the pain meds but will be leaving hospital by Thursday. Will be going home with cane because I of course am lucky enough to live in an apartment complex that has three flights of stairs.!hope everyone is doin well. Will update on progress
  • Glad you're doing good Silver and thank you for the update. Take the time you need to heal and let us know how your are progressing.

    Even though Bora Bora would have been nice escape, it's a good thing we took care of ourselves first :)
  • skiingcowsskiingcow Posts: 9
    edited 01/31/2015 - 11:28 PM
    Johnny New Spine said:
    I am having my 360 lumbar spinal fusion (anterior and posterior approach) on Jan 12 for grade 2 spondyloliytheis.

    Anyone else here having surgery? how do we all feel about it?

    Love another's comments: on a bad day, I want my wife to put the pedicle screws in my back herself!.......on a good day I want to max my credit cards and fly to Bora Bora,,,,any takers???

    Hi there,
    I had alif surgery on 1/22 for a fusion on my l5/ s1. So far I've had to depend on meds to get me through it. In the last 2 days I've developed left hip pain/numbness from the ground area down to my knee. I will be calling my surgeon if it gets worse. I hope all went well with your surgery and sending prayers for a successful recovery.
  • Thank you for your post. I am sending good thoughts that your hip pain/numbness will resolve.
    I've had pain for 10+ years and have a good sense of what is "healing pain" and what is abnormal pain. For me, there has only been a few "twinges" of new pain that doesn't feel right. Luckily, it's been only after I've done too much, that I feel it.
    I was cleared to drive short distances 2 weeks after my 360 fusion. Car rides and driving don't feel too great as the stop and go puts a lot of pressure on my back. I'm limiting my car travels.
  • Hi everyone I'm hanging in there. Had surgery January 22. Still feeling like someone beat the hell out of me but I know it will get better. I hope all of you are doing good. I go back to the dr Friday so I hope everything goes well for me..

  • hi Linda, I am having an SCDF C5-7 for sure and depending on my MR results from last friday C3/4 as well. When are you scheduled for surgery??
  • Hi there,
    I too had surgery 1/22 and feel so weak. I worry I'm not walking enough. Ive have several complications with the nerves in my legs, constipation and nsusea/loss of appetite. The worst thing is the weak ness. Just had my post op apt and they assured me this all normal. I'm kinda scared I just sleep a lot, which I know is the meds. I going to try to walk a bit more, I wish you all the best and please feel free to reach out.
  • hi all i had my surgery 5 days ago on monday the ninth of february. It has been a really difficult recovery so far and i am really struggling to be honest. I expected to be able to get outside and do a little walking by this point but all i can do is get up and walk a little around the lounge before i am in too much pain and have to come upstairs and lie down on the bed again. i am having some real anxiety about whether or not i have made the right decision. I was not in a huge amount of pain before the surgery although i have been in the past. I had a large disc bulge at l5-s1 which has been causing me back pain now for 7 years and has been increasing. I guess i just thought by this point the pain would be less. For anyone else who has had this surgery do you also have quite intense pain deep in the spine around where the fusion was done? do you think this is normal? surely it have to be normal to have some quite intense pain in the spine as a doctor has just screwed to huge screws into the bone there. Thanks i just wanted to introduce myself i hope everyone's recovery and or build ups to your operations are going as smoothly as possible. Good luck everybody.

    TLIF L5-S1 09/02/2015
  • Hello January surgery buddies! hope everyone is doing well in their recovery period. I am now almost three weeks in from Cervical fusion and actually have been having a hard time eating, not just swallowing which has gotten significantly better, but with nausea. Anyone else having this issue? i haven't been eating much and i know added to that and taking pain meds is not a good combination. Have a post-op appointment on Tuesday so ill be sure to tell my surgeon but was just curious if anyone else was going through the same thing. have already lost 13lbs (definitely have no complaint about that lol). have tried ginger ale and sprite, gatorade, saltines and the works and nothing really seems to help : (

    Enough about me...how is everyone else doing??
  • Had surgery 6 weeks ago on January 9. Having severe pain that radiates down to left foot. Lower back is tight including both hamstrings. Very difficult to walk, lay dow or sleep at night. I am worse of now than before surgery. Really affraid Thad Coflex device has somehow moved as there a significant bulge at the surgery site. Doctor says its normal as the nerves are healing and nerve healing takes time. Hard to believe. Anyone out there for feedback
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