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L4-S1 Tomorrow on Groundhog Day (I hope it's not like the movie!)

Well, tomorrow's the day. Groundhog Day in the Lower-48, but we call it Marmot Day up here in AK.

I'm having a multi-level (L4-L5-S1) ALIF (cages, screws, rods, etc.) and decompression first thing tomorrow morning. It's been a long road to get here having tried just about everything less invasive to relieve my pain to no avail. I'm hopeful that the future will bring reduced, manageable pain. My issues are both degenerative and injury related. I'm a male, only 38, on active duty in the Air Force so I'm hopeful my age and relative good health help my recovery, but this surgery may make it so I'm unable to continuing serving this great nation...at least with my current employer. I can't help being somewhat apprehensive about the long recovery, and the possible negative impacts it may have on my career, but I'm approaching this (surgery) as good thing with a positive attitude. This page and its forums have been more helpful than I could have hoped for.

I had my final pre-op appointment today with my surgeon and he said he's hopeful that I'll only need to stay one, possibly two nights in the hospital, which was a big relief as he originally indicated up to 5 nights.

I'll check back in and let y'all know how it goes!


  • I had a PLIF with rods, screws, cages on the 8th of January. By what I've read on these forums/journal articles, ALIF patients typically spend less time in the hospital.
    I've been recovering slowly, but surely. Right after the surgery, I didn't have ANY of the sciatic pain I'd had before the procedure. ....while that was pretty awesome, I was reminded with the return of the sciatic pain 1000 fold a few days later that my nerves had just been "freed", and that the real business of recovery hadn't truly begun yet! My nerves are waking up, and although that's promising, it still hurts like hell! I worried a bit about that, but found out it's a fairly common occurrence for those of us with freshly implanted hardware! I'm no medical professional, though...if anything feels off with you after your surgery, let your doctors know asap.
    I've seen other posts here that have specifically mentioned that recovery is a bit of a long road when it's the L5/S1 area that's the focus. I also read in here somewhere that some people have a big ol' pain relapse at about 12 weeks post-op (something to do with calcium reabsorption rates)Only time will tell, but I can honestly say that the sciatic pain is gradually quieting ( had to do a steroid regimen) and I have already begun weaning off one of my pain meds! I'm just taking it one day at a time.
    Best of luck with your surgery!

    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Thank you for your service!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    I was 32 when I had the first surgery in that area. I got up dancing! I hope you have the same recovery!
    Thanks for serving and for freezing your butt off but I'd love to visit Alaska some day!

    I'll talk to Phil the groundhog- we're BFFs!


    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
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