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L4 L5 and L5 S1 discectomy and laminectomy

KwoodlandsKKwoodlands Posts: 1
edited 08/10/2015 - 1:03 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Before I had my surgery, I read this site extensively, so I want to pass on my good recovery for others to read. Had my L4 L5 and L5 S1 discectomies and laminectomies on 7/30/15, so now I'm eleven days out.

The first few days are rough - getting in and out of bed, moving around, etc. Not only was my incision painful, but I still had residual sciatic pain in my left leg. That sciatic pain scared me, but between my neurosurgeon's post-op information sheet and the many posts here, I knew I had to be patient. I overdid it (just too long walking around and in my feet) on the first Monday after surgery (day 4) because my A/C went out and I live in Texas. So dealing with that and the repairman was too much, and I felt it that night - the sciatic pain was the worst since the surgery. That told me I had to get back to taking it really, really easy. Which is what I've done for for past week - up in the morning for about an hour, just waking around the house. Then back to bed for a few hours ... Up again in the early afternoon for an hour or so (some walking, some sitting), then back to bed, then up again around dinner. All in all, a lot of time in bed. I have had to change from side to side and on my back to find the right position to be comfortable and out of pain, but I've always been able to find some position that works. Every three days were a noticeable improvement and I would feel more human. Now eleven days out I can honesty say I feel good - an occasional ache at worst in my sciatic, and although the incision is still a bit painful, it's nothing like my sciatic pain pre-op (to give you a comparison). I feel truly human again! I hope this is helpful for anyone about to have surgery - be patient, REST, and look for the successful stories out there. Best wishes for everyone having the surgery performed!

Two suggestions: take your stool softener or Miralax if you're on narcotics, and take them without fail! And consider purchasing a raised toilet seat WITH handles. Raising the seat by those four or five inches and having the handles has made things much, much easier. Mine was about $30 and took about 3-5 minutes to install.
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  • Hi KWoodland. Just to say a big thanku from the UK for sharing your post.. Firstly I am very pleased to hear your recovery is going so well and to plan. There are so many less fortunate whose stories have not been so positive and I feel for them very much. However it's always good to hear positive cases like your own. I'm awaiting surgery for L4/5, L5/S1 discectomy, decompression and fusion due 30/9/15. I have a very well experienced lumbar spinal surgeon and although I'm nervous about the entire outcome etc I am also looking forward to getting on with it and working through the next part of this unpleasant journey caused by spondylolisthesis grade 3. I am a nurse prescriber, have been on sick leave without pay since June this year when my lower back pain quickly progressed to excruciating sciatic pain buttock to foot in the right leg. This had has had a huge impact on me both personally and professionally and its taken all the strength I have to get my mindset ready for surgery. After an MRI revealed the damage causing spinal stenosis of the left and right nerve pathways my surgeon was amazed I was not experiencing left sided symptoms also. My current state is pretty well pain controlled on gabapebtin 300mg 3 x daily and I've built up a good a tolerance to them. Mostly I'm affected in both legs with weakness and tingling and I'm taking it really easy until surgery to avoid further deterioration. It's quite ironic for me that I'm penalised for not going to work to look after my patients when in fact I'm unable to mobilise safely! I've spent my adult life caring for terminally ill patients and their families and yet my NHS career does not recognise that sometimes employees may need support too! However there's no point dwelling on that, my glass is still half full! I'm not dying despite the pain at times, I am suffering from a condition like many others around the world. Yet we are so very lucky to have options from some wonderful surgeons who are able to help us. There are so many in other countries who don't have this and I think as a patient I owe it to those others to do my utmost to get through this surgery as best I can by listening to the expert opinions and taking their advice during the recovery period and way beyond! So I was very pleased to read a rare case on this and other sites of success, positivity and optimism! Well done and the very best of good health to you.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
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  • Hi Kwoodlands,
    I was so happy to see your post this morning. Thank you!! I'm scheduled for a laminectomy (no fusion needed) in early October and am very nervous and anxious. I find myself second guessing my decision to go ahead with the surgery. I've seen so many posts by people who have had unsuccessful procedures although I do know that the success rate for this type of procedure is very high. I'm also comfortable with the doctor and hospital I am using. It seems that more people post on blogs when they have poor outcomes...maybe because they have a greater need to talk about it than those who are having good
    experiences. I've been very concerned about recovery and what it will be like in those first couple of weeks. Your post was
    reassuring. I hope you continue to post about your progress...I wish you all good things for a speedy recovery and a pain free life to follow.
    Thanks again, Fransieanne

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