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My journey

DanielCDanielC Posts: 155
edited 04/14/2015 - 8:10 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I am after having a microdiscectomy 19 days ago.
I must say I knew beforehand it wasn't going to be an easy one and was prepared for the worse. Luckily so far this hasn't come. Most of the pain I was in it is pretty much gone except for when I am getting up from bed do walk around the house. It was a slow gradual process. I can see improvement in the way I walk and how much I am able to walk in a day. My surgery was a microdiscectomy on l5s1 which neurosurgeon said was a success. It is up to me and my genetics to have a good recovery.
To all you people out there who consider this option or had it already don't loose faith and stay positive. I will try and update you weekly on my progress and hope to see others doing it as well.


  • So it is 4 weeks since my surgery and can say this week has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I had pain on and off when walking but close to none when I slept during the night. I manage to walk around 1mile a day despite the pain. Im not going to give numbers of any pain scales as I think this is ridiculous for the simple reason that we are all different from pain tolerance point of view and I have always said when I had pain that it can be worse. I was right everytime. So dont buy that bollox with people estimating their pain on a scale. That being said I can tell you that the pain I felt and feel even now as I am walking and posting this is the kind of pain you would get if say for instance you would bang your leg against a wooden chair. A mild pain similar to muscle pain after a good workout. Its 2.30 am and the only reason I am not sleeping isnt pain but...take a guess.... COUGHING . Yes ladies and gents the ugly beast hit me since yesterday. Loads of meds for the cough which by the way work a charm untill I lay in bed to sleep, thats when all hell unleashes. I am terrified of the thought of hurting my disc because of it. The good part is..since today I have only walked very little I am now making up walking around the house for the past 1 hr and a half.
    Lads and lassies I wish you good luck and god bless I will be back in a week.
  • Nice to hear you're doing well. Don't over do any of your activities and make sure you rest properly while you're in the early days of healing. Thanks for sharing
    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
  • Exactly 6 weeks since my surgery and have to say these last two weeks were very confusing.
    Pain level increase and decrease with no apparent reason and also the pattern of the pain is different very often. I have started to do stretches last week and feel a bit of improvement in terms of mobility and pain levels. I am walking now close to 4 kilometres a day breaken up in 4-5 walks. Gentle walks as it doesn't matter the speed but the time you spend walking. I need to say pain levels are reaching a point where I become worried. Last 4 days are constant pain even if at a 30 - 40% of what tey used to be pre op. I have started to use ice as well and will let you know if that made any difference. To be noted that I am not taking any pain killers as I am trying to see te real recovery process and how my body responds to my exercises. I try to keep myself positive by watching comedies and eat nice food :). Optimism has a good effect on our minds so we need to stay positive.
    My pain in the morning as soon as I get up of bed really sore for a minute than subsides to a mild level after taking a few steps around the house. Then it becomes a dull pain that stays with me for the rest of the day except for when I rest in between my walks and stretches. At night my leg hurts very little and can sleep with no problems. I sleep on my back and also on my side like in a fetal position. After 6 weeks I can bend at a minimum level like 2 inches maybe. I could probably do it but my brain it's just telling me not to. Tomorrow I am having my first post op meeting with my NS. I will post a few lines tomorrow and let you know how that went.
  • 6 weeks is very early days in your recovery. Don't worry too much about your pain levels as hey fluctuate quite a bit in the first couple of months. However, you should be on a gradual trend of feeling a little better each day. You can start a pain journal and that way, go back weeks at a time to review your progress from a distance. Good luck!
    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
  • I am 3 weeks post op, with a L4,-S1 spinal fusion. l love reading ur post.,very helpful. Are u wearing a back brace?
  • DanielCDanielC Posts: 155
    edited 04/09/2015 - 1:28 AM
    therebak I am glad you are finding the info here helpfull.
    You need to always follow your doctors advice and understand that we are different and we get better at a different pace and have different symptoms. I had a microdiscectomy which is a different procedure than fusion. I Am not wearing a brace and never did after my surgery. One things I can add here is that I have a friend that came by two days ago and she had a 3 level fusion l2-3-4 done 7 weeks ago and she was bending at the waist like crazy so much that I was left in shock and horrified. She then told me that was her docs advice! She is incredivlbly mobile and she has very little pain. She drives fine too. With this kind of procedures the bed is the ENEMY! Stay as mobile as possible.
    I am after 6 weeks of my surgery and I am doing miles and miles of walking every day. Whenever I am resting I ice my leg and the surgery site. I try resting for an hour or so every 3-4 hours of being up, walking. And stretching my leg muscles. Mobility is the key.
    Also get proper rest at night. Try to sleep 7-8 hours max and be up and walking about for the rest of the day with the rest intervals I suggested.
    My condition after starting the stretches 1 week ago have dramatically worsen as my hamstrings and calves muscles were tight as hell. Also my s1 nerve still inflamed and tight. So I am in quite a lot of pain which gradually goes away as soon as I start moving again though. That keeps me in an optimistic state of mind. I have yet to see my NS as he rescheduled me for the 16 of this month.
    What I have learned from this last week is that I was still doing very little for too long and that affected me when starting to really up my walking and starting the stretches. But I have Also learned that stretching is very important for people in our position and should be done ASAP.
    As I wrote this post I am walking about in my garden which is a quite large size and allows me to walk in the privacy of my own home. I have very little pain just behind the knee and the top of my calf. My back is a bit stiff as today I have rested for about an hour and walked for about 4. As soon as I finish walking I will ice again. My painkillers regime is very scarce as I only took one painkiller last night worried that I might get pain during the night. In all these 6 weeks I took 12 painkillers. The only pill I take twice a day is Tiobec which is a sort of vitamin and minerals supplement that helped with nerve regeneration. That's all for today, I hope you are all well and are improving everyday.
  • kkuylenkkkuylen Posts: 86
    edited 04/09/2015 - 4:33 AM
    hey Daniel,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I just had microdiscemtomy two days ago and while my pain is tolerable, I am very disappointed to not have initial pain relief from my original pain in my butt and leg. I see so many that say once the disc is shaved off the nerve, their relief is immediate. Just wondering from your situation if you still had your original pain after your surgery. I am worried this was not a success and just looking for others stories. Thanks again and hope youre doing great.
  • Hi Maria. First of all let me tell you that you are wayyyy to early on your recovery phase to worry about that. Pain is a common factor for everyone having had this surgery.
    That being said I can share my own first day post op experience. This doesn't mean it will apply to you and your surgery will be a success even if you are still in pain right after. The moment I opened my eyes after waking up from anaesthesia I had very little pain and some numbness that wasn't originally there. Day went by and with movement came the pain. A tolerable pain nothing like before. You need to compare the now pain with the then pain. You will probably get more pain as you will slowly start moving around walking and doing the light hamstring stretches which are crucial to your recovery. For now you are fragile and will find walking difficult but that will improve. Now the pain receptors in your brain are on high alert with you being so worried and exacerbate every single pain signal they receive. Your pain is most likely due to the fact surgeons have touched and moved away the nerve during surgery so that left its mark. But it will go away don't worry. My personal advice is to get up of bed every few hours and walk around the house for a few minutes. Also use ice on your leg and buttock. Every move you make now will seem like a big deal to you and it's normal don't worry. Another thing you can do to improve your condition is eat healthy, sleep for 7 to 8 hours a night and not to spend too much time in bed. As soon as you feel rested get up and walk a little then when you get tired lay down and rest but don't become a couch potato :) That's counter productive. Oh and take the meds your doc prescribed. If he didn't prescribed any pain killers just get one that you know works for you. I advise you to take the meds before sleep. It is way more important to be pain free at night while you try to rest.
    Any questions just ask, I will be more than happy to answer and to see how you are doing.
  • Thank u. so much. I am resting in bed after,my walk. I thought about getting a fit bit to track my walking . I am praying I can state swimming next week after I see the NS.
    I had some muscle spasms this week after trying to do some calf stretches. What type of stretches do u do ? Please keep sharing. !
  • Thank you Daniel. I guess my surgeon didn't make me feel too comfortable when he said most people get immediate relief and almost seemed disappointed when I said I still have my pain. He said its too early to say if it failed or not and that for some reason freaked me out.

    I will follow your advice about not becoming a couch potato and try not to get discouraged. My pain wasn't excruciating before the surgery, it was just for a full six months that I couldn't sit for long without the pain starting, so I guess it will take some time to get used to not being inflamed. I was told only walking the first 6 weeks so am going to wait on doing any hamstring or glute stretches until cleared. Although I did remember them being a big help before the surgery so I agree they are helpful to those ready for them. Thank you soooo much for the reply. I know the battle will be as much mental as it is physical.
  • DanielCDanielC Posts: 155
    edited 04/09/2015 - 9:26 AM
    Maria you are right, half the battle is with our brain. We all freak out at some stage in our recovery due to spells of pain. But we need to realise that what's done it's done and we need to do everything that's in our power to recover. That's why staying positive is a big YES after surgery. If you are down you will find it more difficult to get up of bed and exercise and walk.
    As I was saying its never any good cry over spilt milk so stay positive!
    The nerve is still inflamed and it hurts and also it seems that nerves have a mind of their own hurting for no apparent reason. Every thread you will read in here contains a lot of pain in it even the success stories. That's how it works, how nerves work. Then you need to consider that on this website there are I don't know maybe let's say 2000 members from all around the world(I myself am from Italy). A very small percentage of them come here to share success stories. The rest share the worst. My point is don't get too caught up in reading the bad things. The people who had the surgery and feel well are not here. They are out and about gettin on with their lives :) I personally know a good few people who had this surgery years ago and even more recent ones that are doing perfectly fine. We'll be fine too you'll see.
  • Thanks Daniel,
    I really appreciate the pep, especially when you have your own problems to deal with. I am Italian but live in the US (New York). Been to Italy a few times and absolutely loved it. I agree with you 1000% percent that the success stories don't really come on here. Just the negative ones. I will try to be patient and pray for a quick recovery for myself, you and all those suffering.
  • Thank you so much for sharing a good outcome. I need a four level cervical fusion and have been scared out of my mind. It is very helpful to finally find a positive story on here. I have a difficult time staying positive with this surgery. I haven't got it scheduled yet but realize it is necessary.
  • Hi Ret. There are other success stories in here. Just search for microsuccess blog. Mine isn't a success story just yet even if I like to think and hopped that it will. It's ok to be scared but there's no need to freak out. Your body needs some help and surgeons will do just that. My advice is to choose your surgeon carefully and after the op take care of yourself an follow every advice to the letter. Now to put down a few lines about how I am doing.
    This last week has been a painfull one too same as te last one. I am on a dexketoprofen a day just before bed as I like to sleep during the night and not stare at my ceiling :)). I also like to think that most of the pain comes from the crazy s1 and calves stretches I am doing every day a few times a day. The only worrying pain I get is when I lay down in bed just on my left upper buttock. I don't worry too much as I like to stay positive and always look on the bright side of things. Heck today I painted my porch together with the painter, my fiancée and my inlaws :)). The other day I cooked some nice porck chops in the oven with an excellent mushrooms and chilli sauce. If anyone whants the recipe pm me :)). My day today was quite ok. Got up at 9 am had breakfast and then started painting. It's now 8 pm and only had a break for lunch and an hour after. I also had a shower just a few minutes ago :). Between painting, walking in the garden and stretches I also played a bit with my two dogs a beautiful German Shepheard and a Corso. I was in pain after standing still for too long when painting. During walking and stretching the pain was gradually diminishing. Now I'm icing my back and butt and think of all you guys and hope you are a little better each day!
    By the way how is everyone doing ??
  • You are giving me a little glimmer of hope.
  • I am planning to visit Italy for my big 60 birthday next year. I may need some guidance. I have increased my walking, and doing wonderful. Took ur advice,,Theresa
  • Hi Theresa I'm really happy you are doing well and are being positive. I live on the beautiful island of Sicily. I strongly recommend it( obviously :))

    Ret you need to stay positive and think of the days you won't be in pain anymore and do the things you enjoy doing. Keep reading positive blogs and chase away the bad thoughts that sometimes we all have. Don't let pain take over your life. Right now I'm in bed watching a nice program in TV together with my fiancée and despite the pain I have I'm happy and optimistic. It's the only way we can go on with our lives. Take care.
  • Yes, remaining positive is a MUST even,when u don't feel like it..... My father passed away and after the furneral this happened to me. I did not even have time to,grieve the loss of my father. So I allowed myself a 15 minute pity party every day for a week then decreased the time each week. I am down to a day per week for 5 minutes,lol. Somehow it helps,Ret. We all have fear but having a better quality of life is giving us hope . hope will overrule fear in the end. Daniel, has been,very inspirational . Sicily, is on my list, blessings,Theresa
  • Sicily ,is on my list. I hope to stay a month. Theresa
  • Theresa you should definitely visit the famous wine city of Marsala then :)
  • therebakttherebak Posts: 39
    edited 04/13/2015 - 2:47 AM
    U got it Daniel. Thx,
    Are u driving yet?
  • I haven't even got inside the car yet let alone drive :)). I have a sporty car so it is way to low for my taste right now. I'm postponing that for a while :)
  • DanielCDanielC Posts: 155
    edited 04/15/2015 - 6:56 AM
    Ok... So looking back at my posts I realise I'm in pain for 3 weeks now and it doesn't look like it's getting any better.
    Pain - sleeping is when I feel most of the pain. It's like someone or something decided that it is more important to feel less pain during the day and way more important to watch stupid late night boring shows :). I usually wake up once or twice during the night and in the morning my leg is in quite a lot of pain. I get up and get this shock going through my entire leg starting from top of my buttock to my foot. It goes away after about 20 seconds.
    Then I get moving start walking outside and things get back to normal where pain it's very light. This lasts till I start doing the s1 stretches and piriformis stretches. Then I'm in pain again but things calm down after I start walking again. I still rest in between walks or when I stand up for too long. During the day I sit only for my meals which are really quick usually about 10 minutes without too much pain or discomfort. The pain has greatly diminished compared to pre op but it is still there and what's a bit worrying is that it starts right from the s1 root region. I'd be so much more happy if that area was pain free :).
    Anyways I am trying not to worry too much as there's no point in that. I still try not to lift anything that could hurt me. The most I handled was a 2 liters water bottle. I ice regularly and get some temporary relief from that.
    Walking - I don't really measure how much I walk anymore. I used to do that in the beginning. I take a few walks during the day I think about 5 or 6 that usually last about 20 to 30 minutes. In between I might rest in bed and ice or do some light work eg painting walls or cook something or help my fiancée with light house work like dishes or ironing etc. I usually stretch during walks by placing my leg on a bench while standing and stretching the hamstrings. When I'm in bed relaxing I stretch again now and again.
    Meds - I'm in my 4 th day painkiller free. I decided that I wot take them to see if it would subside by itself. I get that random stuff in my head sometimes :)) like trying to experiment with how my body reacts to pain.
    Mood - mood is quite good considering I'm in pain for 3 weeks now. I'm surprised myself :). Joke aside I think I am doing fine from this point of view. I feel full of energy. I feel like I could run a marathon even though I'm sure it's just my brain that recovered already from the stress of the surgery. I'm sure I couldn't run do more than half a mile without having to rest :). Anyway all in all I am feeling alright despite the pain. I am optimistic and can't wait to see what the neuro surgeon has to say tomorrow for my first follow up post op.
  • DanielCDanielC Posts: 155
    edited 04/16/2015 - 8:03 AM
    Ok so it seems that the pain I'm experiencing is an issue only for me and not for my neurosurgeon. He completely dismissed the symptoms I am having as normal pain that the vast majority will experience after this type of surgery. This guy is one of the most renowned NS on the island of Sicily. He is indeed very good in what he does and has amazing stats. As a person though he lacks the most basic traits of a nice human being. That's ok I don't want him as a friend anyways :)).
    He of course told me to get a new RMN done and this time the one with contrast. He says that for him I am completely healed as the RMN is just for my peace of mind. Now I hope he is right I'd hate to go out in the rain and get wet again even though another cold shower doesn't scare me too much.
    Joke aside I am very pleased that the doc is happy with how I am right now. I was told that after I see the RMN I can start hitting the local swimming pool and start doing some light PT. I told him I do s1 stretches and he laughed like I was Jerry Seinfeld. I told him I read it on the internet and he's like I read once how to fly a 747 but I'm sure I would crash if I'll try it. Whatever. I'll keep on stretching my s1 despite his arrogance and dismissal. He was adamant I'm doing great and don't have xxxx. So confident that he asked me to go to his other office on Saturday to give him the RMN result. He's other office is 400 km away from my town. xxxx. It would take me 4 hours nearly to get there. I have never heard someone driving for 4 hours after 7 weeks from surgery. I told him I would mail it to him.
    Friends I am staying positive and optimistic and keep on icing and stretching and walking untill the day I'll hear my leg whispering to me I am ready to start living again :)
    Take Care of you people and stay positive. Many regards.
  • MagistraMarlaMMagistraMarla San Antonio, TexasPosts: 181
    We spent a month in Europe courtesy of the US Air Force just before my surgery. My hubby and his team had to install some equipment at three bases. The first was Molesworth in England. We enjoyed the English countryside, toured London, and took a side trip to Bath. We took a train through the chunnel to spend a night in Paris.
    Our next base was Ramstein in Germany, where we were able to sample a bit of the culture and the food.
    We took a train through the Alps, which was breathtaking. Did I mention that I love the trains in Europe?
    We stayed a night in Venice before going to the last base, Aviano, We stayed in a wine & golf resort not far from the base - it was lovely. When we left, we spent another night in Venice so that we could catch an early fast train the next morning.
    It was only two hours to Florence. We spent half a day and a night there. What a beautiful city!
    The fast train took us to Pompeii in two and a half hours. We spent a day just exploring the ruins.
    After only an hour on the train, we arrived in Rome (the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me), where we stayed across the road from the Forum. We toured the Forum, the Colosseum and the Pantheon.
    I did most of my traveling in a wheelchair, but I got in lots of walking. I would push it until I was tired, then hubby would push me in it. Pompeii isn't wheelchair friendly, but I was determined to see it and wore out a pair of shoes doing so.
    I'm a retired Latin teacher, so this was the trip of a lifetime for me.
    I would love to someday return to Italy and get the chance to see Sicily, as well as to more thoroughly explore some of the places that we saw this trip. I truly love both Italy and England.
  • Hey Marla, I'm really glad you liked Italy so much. There is so much to be seen here. I actually live very close to another US Air base myself here in Marsala. It's a NATO base or something like that. Maybe te next time you will have a trip sponsored by the us Air Force you will visit this one :).
    I like the way you focused on the beautiful aspect of the trip.
    How do you feel? How's your health?
  • Nice to hear you are *officially* cured! Let's hope the pain keeps on diminishing. Have you discussed with the doc a "management" plan for your back in the long term? What can you expect from now on?
  • Hey Berrios. My NS said I am doing well but I'm still early in my recovery so need to take it slowly.
    For the future if everything goes well I will need to stay active, swim and gym for strengthening my back and abs. Don't gain weight and stuff like that. Lifting is to be avoided for the near future I still need to limit myself.
    I'm staying optimistic and continue my journey to complete recovery. Of course he explained my back will never be the same with an essential part of my spine missing.
  • Went to the barbers today and got a haircut.
    This was my first let's say leisure outting :). It was a short car ride about 10 minutes during which I felt fine.
    My barber who hasn't seen me in a good while since December was glad to see I'm still alive :).

    I had to sit for nearly 20 minutes and then went out straight for a nice walk in the city centre. I then got picked up with the car by my fiancée since I'm still not driving and went home.
    I noticed that when I walk I get this sharp pain into my left glute just for a split second during which I loose power in the leg. Creepy stuff :).

    Anyways I'm going to ice, stretch and walk till the cows come home and think only of beautiful things. I salute ya.
  • Therebak keep up the walking. You will rip the benefits later on. I too am waiting on clearance from my NS to start going to the swimming pool.
    The stretches I'm doing are hamstring and piriformis muscle. There are loads of exercises for these muscles if you go on YouTube or just google it. They are very painful and will seem that you are getting worse but eventually your body will start responding well and pain will subside. I am doing them for a week more or less I guess and still have loads of pain but I know it's the stretches as I didn't have them before starting this type of exercises.
    I wish you well
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