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International Travel

Shelms25SShelms25 Posts: 8
edited 08/24/2015 - 8:53 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi All,

I had a fusion on L3-L4 as well as laminectomy on Levels L2-L3, L5-S1 with previous fusions hardware removal on L4-L5. With that being said I have a vacation planned in France in two weeks (11hour trip from FL). I will be exactly 6 weeks post op, I do have insurance. In your opinion,s, will I be able to go on the vacation? I will be traveling alone and this is a seven day cruise on a Clipper ship with a one day before and after in France....


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  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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  • And went on a cruise 8 weeks later. However, I live in on the Space Coast of FL and we left out of Miami. That 3 hour drive about did me in. I can't imagine an 8 hour flight. I was OK on the cruse but didn't go on any excursions. If you have travel insurance, you should think about canceling.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    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
  • Shelms25SShelms25 Posts: 8
    edited 08/25/2015 - 12:20 PM
    Thank you for your response ADRjen. I live in Brevard and my surgery was in Melbourne, can you tell me if your surgeon was a Neurologist or an Orthopedic Surgeon?
    Also, I am going for an evaluation on Friday which will be my four week post op date to get his opinion on my trip. They had to do more than originally thought and although he said if R&R was all I'd be doing I should be OK, I don't feel like I will be ok at all. I will be glad to get his take at the follow-up. I feel like a mess as I am still having surgical pain and new issues like numbness and aching from right groin Dow my right leg to my foot. Both hips very tender.
  • I live in Brevard too, Malabar on the river. I went to an orthopedic. I don't think we are allowed to mention doctors names but he is in the beautiful Back Center building on the water near downtown Melbourne.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • What a small world! I am North of you in Merritt on the water.
    That is a beautiful building in Melbourne, mine is just a couple of miles North of there.
  • I also went travelling internationally about 8 weeks post op after a L4-L5 PLIF fusion. I was very thankful to have insurance as I had a lot of breakthrough pain once I arrived in Italy that I was able to go to the doctor and have them check me out.

    I would suggest (if you can afford it) upgrading to business or first class. If its too pricey, sometimes you can plead with the gate agents and see if they can upgrade you if there are open seats. Just explain the situation. Even in business class they have the sleep pods on most intl flights now. Those are life savers for trips like that.

    Take it slow and give yourself plenty of rest stop times!
  • I just returned from a week in Mexico. I was 15 weeks post op ACDF with hardware, and the three hour waiting at the airport on hard plastics chairs began the downward spiral. The three hour flight was ok, as I was in first class. The 45 minute ride to the to resort in a windy road was tough, even though I wore my soft collar.
    Once at the resort I had three nights of pain so bad I was awake until 4:00 am. And being stuck in a hotel, had no where to go, at least at home you can walk around and wander your house. The mattress was too soft for my back and neck. My stamina was still very poor from surgery so I tired easily. I thought I would be ok, considering I was almost 4 months post op. Looking back now, I was no where near ready.
    At 6 or 8 weeks post op I wouldn't even be considering it. If you have travel insurance, cancel the trip. Especially if you're not feeling like it's going to be ok. Listen to your body.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    I am sorry that you had to deal with the pain during your trip.

    Traveling after any spinal surgery is a gamble. There are many people that have zero problems after surgery. They travel, by car, plane or boat and things are fine. Then there are those that suffer with this.

    As I have mentioned here and in other posts about traveling. I have not had spinal surgery since 2000, but many other types of surgeries since then. I still am very careful when it comes to traveling. I need to plan for breaks, not allowing too much time in one area. I prepare making sure I have ice, medication and anything else I need to help me out.

    I fully understand that when you have a trip planned and it is important, you want to go through with it. Sometimes you have to weigh it out.
    Is the trip worth dealing with any pain and discomfort. I know I have gone ahead and taken the trip and dealt with the pain. Its all about what is really important to you.

    But above all of this, you should ALWAYS first check with your doctor to get their approval for your travel plans. If they say NO, I would listen to what they have to say about it.
    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
  • Hi,
    Just an update, went to see my surgeon yesterday for my four week post op and he will not release me for my trip to France in 12 days. He has ordered an MRI to see if my hardware is pressing or infringing on my nerve. I have developed weakness and some numbness on my right side down to my foot.
    I appreciate all of your thoughts and am grateful that I had taken the trip insurance. This was going to be a trip of a lifetime planned for a very long time but more important is my recovery.
  • Look at it as something to look forward to, maybe in a year when you are 100% recovered. I'm glad you didn't risk your recovery for a trip. It's just not worth it. We only get one chance to heal properly. Hang in there!
  • Thank you for the encouragement, it was a bitter sweet decision but an easy one. Only one chance to heal properly...this is a marathon and not a sprint.
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