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Precious BamaPPrecious Bama Posts: 34
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am new to this site. Polly told me to switch to this site because we have the same problem. My back problem DDD started in 2003 and I had laminectomy. In 2004 I had fusion in neck and it has done good. My problem now is at the same place in lower back. L4-L5 has deteriorated and L5-S1 has collapsed and bone spurs. I have lived with this almost one year and it has gotten to the point that I cannot do much without lot of pain. My dr. has always left it up to me about when to do surgery and I told him 2 weeks ago I was ready. Now I am so scared. The surgery will involve removing the disc, cage, rods and screws. it just sounds awful. It is set for August 11. Has anyone had this with good success. Thank you for your advice. I have been taking demerol as needed and I am scared they will not give me strong meds because the demoral I take at home does not do much.


  • Hi Brenda,

    My 77 year old mom just had a fusion of L5-S1 6 weeks ago with instrumentation (but no rods) and it completely rid her of the pain she had before the surgery. The worst of it, now, is just the weakness in her legs and pretty intense muscle spasms. Those have been a real bear and almost worse for her then the back pain before the surgery.

    What you will see in this forum, and anywhere else on the Internet, are a lot of people who have had fantastic experiences following surgery, but a great many others who have had difficulty in one sense or another; it's pretty common to see negative experiences because the ones who've had positive experiences feel no need to discuss their situation with others. You have some really great people on this forum who HAVE had positive experiences and are kind enough to continue posting about it, which is such an encouragement to others.

    You may need to talk to your surgeon about how much pain medication you've been on before surgery so they can anticipate how much you'll need following. Don't be afraid to ask for something different or a different dose if you're not getting the relief you need. You'll probably be on a pain pump after surgery that you control, so you administer your own meds; it doesn't allow you to give yourself too much.

    Hospitals are pretty responsive to pain management these days, so make sure you're vocal about it if you need more. It's also wise to have a family member or friend with you for a few days in the hospital to advocate for you until you're strong enough to do so for yourself. I never leave a family member in the hospital alone when they're sedated!

    All my best to you. Clearly, if you're considering surgery, your quality of life is low enough that you believe the experience to be worth it. Most back surgeries produce great results, so think positive and prepare, mentally and spiritually, for a wonderful outcome. The mind is as important as the body in your recovery.

    I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery!

  • Hi Brenda,
    You've come to the right place. Everyone has been very helpful and I've learned a ton here. I am 42, had L5 S1 fused last year and now L4 L5 fused with cage and instrumentation May 12,2008. I am still healing and progress is slow but I'm getting there. In the hospital they gave me a pump with pain med. that I controlled then weaned me over to Vicodin then Narco along with Valium for the muscles....my meds control my pain. Tell your doc your concerns ahead of time so he will be aware but don't worry, there are plenty of pain meds and post surgery pain is MUCH easier to control then the pain you are having now.
    You'll be in my Prayers,
  • Good luck!

    I think yhat you have come to the right place. Only you came make the decision on whether you are ready or not. As far as the PM goes, try to discuss this during your pre-op appt. They usually have you bring your meds anyway.

    I will say a prayer for you.

  • Its true it does sound like a big surgery and in truth it is. I know when the doctors start talking about hardware (plates, screws, cages,rods) it makes you nervous but it really isnt that bad. The surgery is really a last resort, after trying everything else, to get your life back without pain.
    I had both a cervical fusion and a lumbar fusion and had successes with each surgery.
    The doctors will give you enough medication to keep you pain free after the surgery.

    Wishing you all the best for your upcoming surgey.

    Christina :)
  • I had a three level fusion 25 weeks ago, with 2 6" rods and 6 screws. It has been very difficult to say the least. I went through absolute he## the first 3 months.

    Just get ready for more pain than your surgeon will describe, and a longer healing period than described. These surgeries are all about patience, patience, patience, and slow...slow...slow...

    But on a happier note, IT DOES GET THERE!!! I started noticing changes as soon as I was able to walk. Not dailey, but weekly. At first of course I was using my walker, then worked my way up and down my driveway with a cane. (I was also trying to do my stairs everyday). Now I walk 1-1/2 miles per day, everyday. Walking really promotes healing the fastest.

    I wasn't released to start PT until I was 20 weeks post-op. Until my NS saw fusion taking place pretty good. So I just recently started, which is wonderful. But I tell ya, it was sure frustrating waiting.....

    Good luck, and everything will be alright. Just prepare yourself mentally that it's a longer period than your being told.. :)
  • Hi....I think it was nice of you to schedule your special event on my birthday! LOL

    I had a Anterior/Posterior lumber interbody fusion at L5-S1 on May 12th. I have a plate & stabilization link in front, two bars with screws in back and BMP bullets (thats what it looked like to me) between the disc.

    Recovery is long, and mentally & physically challenging. BUT...I would do it again. I knew it was time to do something to help myself.It is not an easy decision, but one only you can make.

    Just remember...you will need to come first for quite a while. As women we are so used to being the one who takes care of everyhting and everyone, it is difficult to give that up. Fora while your going to have to let others do for you.

    Best wishes to you.
  • Anna, thank you very much. Funny about the date, it was either aug 11 or aug 18 (my birthday). So happy birthday early. brenda
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