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Lumbar fusion, December 2015, any buddies?

AbbyTruthAAbbyTruth Posts: 14
edited 10/30/2015 - 2:00 AM in Surgery Buddies
Hello all- I'm having L4/L5 posterior fusion on Dec 1, 2015. Anyone with a similar date who'd like to chat about our recovery process once we're there, please let me know. Or about the prep process, though all I've done is buy an electric bed, choose some books, and apply for FMLA.

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L4/L5 PLIF planned Dec 2015


  • Hi, I'm having L5-S1 fusion Dec. 10th. I posted the same thing the other day because I somehow missed seeing your post! Glad I found it. I developed isthmic spondylolisthesis over the past year, and am almost bedridden at this point. It used to be just a twinge, now the pain is awful. I'm 42, with three kids in elementary school. I'm hoping by the spring to be back up and about.
  • Hello MD. So glad to have a Dec buddy. I'm going in on the 1st, so I'm hoping to have that difficult first week post-surgery done by the time you go in. I'm 50, developed degenerative disc disease over time after a herniation four years ago. My pain sounds less than yours, but simply can't manage the constancy of it any longer and still have quality of life and work happily at my job.

    I have a husband and two fit, retired parents to look after me. No kids, pets, or even a houseplant for which I'm responsible. How will you manage with three young kiddos? Do you have a recovery plan? I'm not familiar with your diagnosis, but would be interested to hear more.
    L4/L5 PLIF planned Dec 2015
  • MomdownMMomdown Posts: 40
    edited 11/10/2015 - 12:08 PM
    It must have been a difficult decision for you to go forward with the surgery if you're not in excruciating pain. Although maybe I'm just a wimp! I kept going until I literally ground to a halt recently. Before last year I didn't have any chronic pain. It's two little stress fractures causing L5 to slip out of place (the vertebrae, not the disc). The disc in between S1 any L5 looks pretty flat, too, I think that's contributing.

    As for recovery plan... Aside from arranging for childcare the next few months for when my husband's at work, and canceling all plans, I don't have one. Someone told me to rent a hospital bed. I do have lots of pillows?
  • AbbyTruthAAbbyTruth Posts: 14
    edited 11/10/2015 - 12:50 PM
    I've purchased a bed. About $400-500 from Walmart. 'Pragmatic,' I believe it's called. It's electric with adjustable head and foot, good reviews, and the ability to keep it set up for intermittent use after the first few months. We don't often use our guest rooms, so it can stay there until summer. I thought an adjustable bed would let me maintain post-surgical restrictions and be a bit more independent. Or I could be fooling myself, but for a smallish amount of money, I'm willing to try it.
    L4/L5 PLIF planned Dec 2015
  • pointofyouphotoppointofyouphoto Posts: 5
    edited 11/14/2015 - 10:25 AM
    I have my pre-op apt on Nov 25th and will get to finally schedule the day I get my life back for December. I am nervous, but excited to get this done so I can be a mom to my kids and a wife to my husband, rather than a grandma to them and a burden to him. I am sure he would not categorize me as such, but I feel as I am. I do have a bed that he bought us a few moths ago. it is a memory gel bed with an electric base, I am glad that I do have this at this time to make my recovery easier. I worked so hard to lose over 50 lbs and in the last year, when I quit exercising I have gained almost 20 lbs back. I am depressed, and have wished many times that I did not wake up. I know that is not the answer, and would only hurt my 3 children, so I keep on trucking. My surgery level is L3-L4 and my cervical spine will be next :(
  • Hi all! I am a 36 yr old mom of 2 boys in elementary school as well. I have DDD. I had an artificial disk replacement 09/2014 which went really well but only took care of half the problem. It took care of my sciatica pain down my right leg but I still have terrible back pain. I'm currently seeing a pain management dr who is doing facet joint injections which helps the pain some but not completely. He wants me to try the radio frequency ablation before making a decision on surgery. I also see an orthopedic spine surgeon who says I will need a fusion of L3/L4 and L4/L5 but he says we might possible want to go ahead and fuse the L5/S1 artificial disk as well. I just recently got a second opinion from a neurosurgeon who says my L5/S1 artificial disk looks really good as far as he can tell ( it's hard to see on MRI and CT because of the metal of the artificial disk) but he says he says he can't guarantee that pain isn't coming from there. He says we should just fuse the L4/L5 because that disk is really bad and he's pretty sure that's the source of my pain. I'm scared to death to have another surgery . I would love to follow your recovery processes of that's ok. I hope all of you have a smooth surgery and a speedy recovery.

  • AbbyTruthAAbbyTruth Posts: 14
    edited 11/15/2015 - 1:22 PM
    Hello, Mindy- you're free to follow mine. I had disc injections for years before they stopped being effective. Tried only one facet injection and that wasn't effective. Source and type of pain has shifted for me as well from disc/sciatica pain to joint/lower back pain. I'm out of options, save fusion. We'll see how it goes.
    L4/L5 PLIF planned Dec 2015
  • Thanks Abby! I'm trying to hold out on getting the fusion but at the same time I'd just like to get it over with. Hope all goes well with your surgery.

  • Hi. I too am having surgery in December ~ the 11th ~ to be exact number having a fusion of l4/l5. I also have arthritis in my hips. I, too am considering a hospital bed. I can barely get out of mine if I've been in it for a couple of hours couch is out of the question. Too soft and hard to get up from. I wish you all the best with your surgeries. And a speedy recovery too.
    "Not all who wander are lost" ~ J. R. R Tolkien
  • surfeitssurfeit Posts: 5
    edited 11/21/2015 - 4:14 AM
    Hi- I am starting to get anxious about my posterior L3/4 and L4-5 fusion and laminectomy. It will be a minimum invasive approach. Also trying to figure out home needs like everyone else. I do have a retired husband and have been freezing a lot of food. So far have been getting essentials (clothing, etc) at waist level. Surgeon keeps telling me I can wait until after surgery to get durable medical equipment since will be covered by insurance. Post op 3 months in warm and form brace and no lifting (above 8-10 lb), and rest of restrictions. I suspect will need a hospital bed unfortunately will have to go in alcove by the kitchen. Grateful to have others I can walk this journey with.
  • Hi surfeit, I've been getting ready for post-surgical needs using the list posted on this site. I can't recall where, exactly, on the site it's housed, but it's pretty wonderful.
    L4/L5 PLIF planned Dec 2015
  • Hi Abby-
    I did download that list. Thanks for the reminder. I keep trying to cross one thing off the list each day (or couple of days) for preparation. But at times I just don't want to think about it. Had two college students come home last night so a good distraction.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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  • Hi all, I'm having L4/L5 fusion, TLIF on the 7th. I cant wait for it to get here in spite of my nerves about being shot!!

    I'll check in on this group as we recover....Good luck.
    46, Good health, active.
  • Mark- I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think. I was scheduled for this week, but have been delayed to the end of the month so I'll be among the last of us to go into surgery.
    L4/L5 PLIF planned Dec 2015
  • Abby,

    I'll be sure to come back on an post. A lot going on right now but, very ready for Monday to get here (and GO!).

    46, Good health, active.
  • Hello! I'm scheduled for ACDF c5-6 on 12/10. EEK! It's only 6 days away. I'm nervous, but looking forward to starting the healing process on my road to recovery, and praying this surgery is successful and without hiccup.
    I'm looking for surgery buddies for support and share notes, tips and experiences!
    I've already written my story on the thread titled December 2015 surgery, but it looks like no one has posted for a couple of weeks. I'm hoping this thread is more active....
  • MomdownMMomdown Posts: 40
    edited 12/04/2015 - 10:16 PM
    Hi, it's been some time since I checked in here and so glad to have so many more buddies. And some others moms of young kids, too! So silly, thought I might be unique. I am having l5-s1 fusion (tlif) dec. 10 and cannot wait. Pain has been bad since August, but was trying PT, steroid injection, and other "conservative" treatments. No luck, my spondylolisthesis pain has overall only worsenned with time. I'm prepared to find a whole new world of pain after surgery though, hopefully time-limited though and gradual recovery back to... normal, dare I hope?!

    My kids are 8, 6 and 6 (a girl and twin boys). I expect to be in the hospital for at least 3 days. I'm jokingly referring to it as my vacation. Although I haven't been able to do my fair share of the work at home for months, so I'm hardly in need of one. I'm going to miss my kids something awful. Hope this won't be too scary for them.

    Is Mark the first one with surgery this month, now that Abby's was postponed (so sorry, Abby!)?
  • I'm glad to find so many new december buddies. Is Mark the first to go on the 7th, now that Abby's was rescheduled (so sorry to hear)? I am looking forward to my l5-s1 fusion next Thursday the 10th. I've been in pain and pretty disabled since august, but encouraged to do PT etc. to potentially avoid surgery-- no luck.

    I have an 8 yr old daughter and twin 6 year old boys who want their mom back. I jokingly refer to my upcoming adventure as my vacation. I'm going to be away from home with them longer than ever before.
  • I keep trying to post but it won't save. This is my last try before giving up. I am having l5-s1 fusion for spondylolisthesis on thursday, dec. 10, and can't wait. I have 3 little kids who want their mom back to normal (or at least better). Is Mark first on the 7th?
  • Nursemom- not entirely sure, but I think you may be the only one of us who's having cervical fusion. I'm not very familiar with the recovery protocols for that, but your current symptoms sound just awful. I have pain and some lack of broad function, but Im not losing neurological function daily. As undesirable as surgery is, I hope you get some immediate relief from the neurological problems.
    L4/L5 PLIF planned Dec 2015
  • I'm praying for the neurological symptoms go away quickly too, although the NS says it could take weeks. I'll be happy if the radiating pain goes away relatively quickly.

    I don't mind being the only cervical spiney in this group. Just want people to talk to that understand what I'm going through as I sit at home for the next few months recovering!

    Trying to get everything together and ready for next Thursday (surgery day 12/10) so I went shopping today and I think it was a mistake. My hubby has been working a lot of overtime since I've been off work so he was working again today and everyone I know was busy. I was feeling pretty good this morning so I figured I would drive to the store and do a little groceries, and we seriously needed to, my cabinets were bare. I had my 9 and 6 year olds with me as helpers. My eldest was at her band practice but would be home in time to carry the groceries in the house. All was well, until the grocery cart wheel broke so my 9 year old and I had to struggle with the cart to checkout. On the drive home I had to brake hard and swerve to avoid a deer. I just about peed my pants. Scared me to death. My neck and arm have been excruciating since. I texted the hubby and told him no more driving for me, he's just gonna have to make time for the shopping etc. I didn't want to tire him out already before surgery ( he's working so hard as it is, taking up my slack in the financial department) but I just can't drive. Turning my head to look for traffic is soooo painful. Forget backing out of a parking space!
    I keep thinking 5 more days, there is so much to do! Trying to clean my house, get the girls laundry done and clothes set out for next week so getting ready in the morning for school isn't a chore for my hubby, but I hurt so bad I have to take a break every 10-15 min. I feel like I'm getting nowhere all the while running out of time. My girls are trying to help but it's tough, I feel like a drill sergeant giving orders from the couch....I haven't even had surgery yet and I'm so frustrated with not being able to move!
  • We share the same surgery date! I think it's funny you consider it a "vacation" from the kiddos. I kinda feel the same...away from the sibling rivalry for a day or two at least!.
    Honestly though I dread not being home to keep things in check. I fear like I'm gonna come home to find a house that looks like a tornado hit it, without mommy here to remind then to do thier chores it'll be a free for all. I gotta learn to let go and ask for help....that's the hardest part of this whole journey for me. I'll admit, im picky, like things to be organized, hate dirty dishes or piles of laundry. Maybe I'm a little OCD. I certainly like being able to put things in order. Now I have to rely on everyone else to do it. My girls now have to fold their own clothes, put them away without destroying their dresser drawers. I'm gonna have to trust they will keep their homework and backpacks in order.
    I know it's my fault because I always pick up after them, sometimes it's just easier than arguing. I just find it so hard to let go! I don't wanna have to clean up chaos when I heal...grrrr. Frustrated with feeling helpless! My sister in law is offering to help, it just weird to have someone else fold my underwear and stuff....
  • I noticed that, too, that our dates match. Coming right up! Our kids are similar ages, too. I am very stressed as well about how everything's going to go on smoothly without me, but hopefully I'm just flattering myself and my husband and babysitter will do just fine holding down the fort. I'm doing as much preparation as I can for all the childcare related responsibilities ahead of time. I'm a bit frantic. I have never been away as long as I will be for this surgery.
  • Just found out I will be having disc replacement surgery on my C6-C7 on Dec 16th.. This will be my first surgery ever, if you don't count wisdom teeth. So Fairly Nervous, but I am hopeful this will help fix the issue. Just went and rented a power recliner so hopefully that will help with recovery. The doctor seemed pretty confident that I should be up and could probably go back to work in about 2 weeks? anyone think that is possible? from what i have read most people seem to be 4 weeks out? I do not have a very strenuous job, but i can't imagine sitting at a desk is anymore enjoyable on your neck. Oh well hope to hear how everyone else is doing and I will update with my status.
  • Surgery scheduled for December 10th, I'm his second case that day, was hoping to be the first but I am just glad to have gotten scheduled so soon. I'm super nervous, but more excited to hopefully get my life back. I will be reading to check in with everyone's progress! Prayers to all!

    P.S. L3L4 PLIF
  • Welcome to the group! Yay I'm not the only cervical spiney anymore!! So you are opting for the replacement disc? Cool. My injury is a workers compensation case so they would not approve the replacement (claim its experimental) so I had to go with the fusion. Let me know how the power recliner works for you. I just have a regular one, but its pretty comfy so I hope it works for me. I get the nerves cuz the closer surgery day gets the less Im sleeping from all the worrying thoughts running through my brain...this will be my second surgery ever. The first was my gallbladder removal and that was a cakewalk. I don't know about being good to go at 2 weeks out, seems kinda soon to me. But you won't be worried about bone fusing, so that might be the difference. My NS said "maybe" back to sedentary/light duty work at the 4 week mark if X-rays show the fusion is taking. No full duty work (Im a critical care nurse and do a lot of lifting) for at least 3 to 4 months when the fusion is solid. He doesn't want to start physical therapy until 4 to 6 weeks either. IDK, every surgeon, surgery and patient are different.
    I wish you the best of luck!! Hopefully I'll have good news when I get home from surgery (going in thursday 12/10, should be home if all goes well friday 12/11) and will be able to post something before you have to go in on 12/16!!
  • Maybe you're right, I probably am flattering myself! They may even surprise me with a clean house and completed homework assignments when I get home from the hospital! Ill let you know post op, if this was all just wishful thinking :).

    How many days are you going to be in the hospital?
  • Another 12/10 surgery buddy! Good luck on yours!! Yes please check in when you can, I will too. I'm going in at 10:30a CST, so I think I'm second case too.....praying he sleeps well before surgery and eats his wheaties!!

    I absolutely love this site....its a relief to know Im not alone, there are other people in this world going through the same struggles and worries that I am. Not that I wish this injury and pain on anyone in the world....but I'm sure you guys know what I mean.
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