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Sugrery tomorrow and terrified

So im a newbie to back troubles. Having a microdisectomy on L5S1 tomorrow afternoon at 3. Supposed be home tomorrow evening afterwards. To say im terrified is an understatement. I will turn 35 on the 21st and only have high blood pressure no other health problems. Had a hernia repair done last year so I kinda know partly what to expect but it does not help. I know it will be worth it if it gets rid of this horrible leg-foot nerve pain and numbness and I can get of these 10mg percocets every 4 hours i been on for the past 2 months and back to my wife and 3 children. Pretty normal to be so scared or have that "something bad is going to happen" feeling before surgery or should I listen to that and cancel?


  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 732
    It's perfectly normal to scared... but try not to worry. Such surgeries are performed every day with great success. The surgery will resolve the root issue of you nerve pain... and being as young as you are you should be back to your wife and kids in no time. You may or may not wake-up with some or the same nerve pain as before the surgery... but don't panic. This is just because the nerves are still inflammed and it make take a few weeks for them to calm down.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Not sure if you'll see this before leaving for surgery, but please relax. I had the same surgery in 2010 at the age of 39 and it was a breeze. My sciatic nerve was flattened for a month so I still have some permanent nerve damage in my foot, however I had foot drop prior to surgery (couldn't lift up onto my toes...the foot/ankle just didn't work at all). I worked in a prison at the time and would have been back to work full time after 3 weeks if the nerve had come back more quickly to have full use of my ankle, but that took another 2 weeks. All in all, to be back to a job where I have to be able to fight inmates only 5 weeks after back surgery was surprising.

    Not having surgery could mean permanent nerve damage, and surgery recovery for me was much less painful than dealing with the sciatica. I'll be having ACDF surgery in my neck in a few weeks, and I'm more scared of that one.

    Good luck, follow the doctor's orders and you should feel great soon. Take care!
    C6/7 ACDF January 29, 2016
    L5/S1 Micro discectomy November 2010
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    is completely normal. I think anyone would be abnormal if they weren't somewhat scared.

    No matter how many people tell you not to worry, or how confident everyone is on your surgeon, the type of surgery,etc its still a very anxious time. Sometimes, the more time you have to think about the surgery, the more worried you may be. Having read all the details behind a given surgery is very important. You then know exactly what you are in for. That provides you with a good level of confidence and calmness. But that knowledge may also stir up some more thoughts.

    Just reading some of the posts here can frighten some folks. You read a lot about the negative things about surgery. But thats normal. You are going to hear more about the bad then you will about the good.

    I've had over 11 spinal and joint surgeries. That started in 1978 and recently one in 2015. I had a level of fear before each of those surgeries. That fear never stops, no matter how many times you've been there. What always made it easier for me, is being prepared both emotionally and physically prior to surgery, and the same on the return side of surgery. Having a family that is 100% behind me, behind my decision for surgery was a very stable influence.

    Here are some medical articles to take a look at regarding this topic.

    Assertivne Skills preparing for surgery

    Benefits of being psychological prepared for surgery

    How to prepare psychologically for spinal surgery

    Cognitive techniques preparing for spinal surgery

    Relaxation exercises preparing for spinal surgery

    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
  • Thank you all so much really appreciated.
  • Nick.nyNNick.ny New York,NYPosts: 121
    Just don't be terrified !
    Very well said from all three posters above ,its normal! But it will be history tonight when you'll be on the other side. I had my 2nd cervical surgery two weeks ago today and I perfectly understand you! I'm fused from C3 to C7 now. It's throwing curve balls but we'll deal with it. Wishing you the best of luck and waiting to hear your good news And share our recovery stories here!
    Good Luck to you,
    2011 ACDF C 4/5/6/7.
    2011 repaired sternum with fixation plate and 9 screws.
    4/2011,3/2012,11/2012 and 6/2013  Rotator cuff surgeries.  
    1/6/2016 revision ACDF C4/5/6/7, plus fusing the level above that C 3-4.
    Pending L5-S1.
  • Surgery was 4 hours late but I came out about 8pm. Home by midnight. Really sorry, shoulders even guess from laying on operating table. When I woke up in recovery my I.V was in opposite hand so it must of came out or vein blew out. Super sharp leg pains are half of what they were so I'm hoping for full recovery.
  • This might help.

    I'm 8 days out of a L4-L5-S1 fusion and I simply can't believe how good I feel since about day 6. Nights 3 and 4 were nauseous and uncomfortable, with some dry heaves etc, but that's behind me and I'm sleeping really good. Worst post operative pain I had was less than I had often experienced pre-surgery. But OTOH it was less familiar pain so maybe that sometimes made if feel a little worse than it really was. For me it wasn't so much the pain that was bothersome, but rather the discomfort and confinement of those first few days, and not sleeping well.

    I stopped the narcotic med this morning and don't miss it, and I have new respect for ibuprofen and muscle relaxant. And it's so nice to be off the Tramadol after two years. I am a very happy 70 year old guy.

    Went to the supermarket with my wife this morning and walked a lot with nothing more than a little soreness. I wasn't much help carrying anything, but it was so wonderful to have walked that much and not wound up in agony, as would have been the case pre-surgery.

    FWIW I can still feel vague, mildly numb "memories" of the old pain paths in my legs, but with every day they seem less and the doc says they will fade over a few months, based on what they're doing now. They're definitely not even mildly painful, they're just "there."

    So tough out those first few days. You may even feel you were stupid to have the operation. It'll pass, and right now I feel I absolutely made the right decision. Oh, AND FOOT RUBS FEEL GOOD AGAIN!

    PS try to get yourself into a comfortable position, and change position once in a while. If you're uncomfortable in whatever position you park yourself, your pain will needlessly feel many times worse than it has to. I got a big lecture on this from the PA and I'm glad I didn't try to sleep in my normal, flat bed initially. I have a plush, lean-back chair that has saved my life, and which also lets me use my computer from a semi-reclining position that I can hold for a long time. My regular bed is only now starting to feel comfortable again, but it was agony on my first day home. YMMV. Be sure to do what your Doc tells you in this regard.
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 732
    WOW... that is so great... 8 days post-op and you are strolling around the supermarket with your wife... AMAZING!!! At 8 days out there is no way I could have done that... and your even older than me. What was your fusion procedure... ALIF, PLIF, TLIF... ??? Do you have pedicle screws and rods..??
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Hi hvills! A PLIF, 6 screws plus the rods. Bad discs and spondylolisthesis that was getting worse, and stenosis. The surgical team was headed by a brain surgeon who lives and breathes neurosurgery, he's genuinely interested in it and is totally current. They have worked together on hundreds of fusions in the same operating theater, so maybe that had something to do with it. I was their second double fusion that day. This is my first (and hopefully last!) surgery, so I think that's also making it easier.

    How did that screw break? I look at my post op x-rays and think "now my back is held together with SCREWS!"

    Hope yer gettin better! Here's to good health.
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 732
    That's remarkable!!!! I want your surgical team... or better yet put them on the cover of time magazine!!!! Normally with a PLIF there's lots of back muscle trauma but your surgeon must have figured out some magical way to avoid/limit that. You are one lucky and blessed guy. Good luck iwith the rest of your recovery.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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