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major spine surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Good News
On Oct. 19,2008, I had major spine surgery. I had a scoliosis repair, foraminal and spinal stenosis repair, 3 discs removed (replaced with Titanium spacers). My surgeon fused L1-5S1 (2 rods and 4 facets, anchored to my sacrum (with a screw). He was able to create lordosis (I'd become flat). I was nearly 65 years old at the time. The surgery took 9 hours (anterior/posterior). I was in the hospital for 7 days and then went home and walked up two flights of stairs with no problem. I was mobile after one day in the ICU. I spent a month at home recuperating, mostly just resting and walking around the house each day working up to about 40 minutes. Then I began to walk outside. I took Vicadin (for pain) with Hydroxizine (for the nausea) for a month, then just Tylenol. The pain was not a problem. I was back to work 6 weeks after surgery and back to working out at the gym 2 months after surgery. They told me walking was the rehab, but I did invent and research other forms of exercise and did it, which was helpful. The surgery was truly a miracle for me. Prior to it, I'd had severe pain in my hips, butt and theighs and down one leg. I tried epidurals, then nerve blocks and took Neurontin. Finally, fed up with the way my body was clearly deteriorating and tired of the side effects of Neurontin, I decided after a year and a half to have the surgery. Wonderful result. I am back to hiking and climbing and feel entirely normal. With all the bad news about spine surgery, I wanted to share my good news.


  • Christina,

    That's awesome news. Thanks for sharing it.

  • ditto- Great News =D>

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  • I'm so glad you posted this. I am 54 years old and looking at a 3 level lumbar fusion. The pain in my back and legs is horrible. I'm sort of afraid of being fused, so reading this really helps. My discs are so severely torn, they just can't fix them and no one in town wants to help me. I'm seeing a surgeon in Portland, two hours from home, who says he can help. I surely hope this will be the end of most of the pain for me.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Excellent news, Christina - Keep up the great recovery... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Thats some great news wtg and, it is so nice to hear spine surgery with a good outcome.

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  • I had the same surgery on 9/22/08. 8 screws, 2 rods down and one across. I also had a 3 level laminectomy. That was four weeks from today. I'm not ready to run marathons, but I am mobile and try to keep moving most of the day. I do laundry, using my reacher, empty the dishwasher, and a little dusting. Cannot lift more than 5 lbs, NO twisting or bending at the waist, pushing or pulling, which still means no vacuuming or anything like that. You get used to it. I wear a brace that was provided by my surgeon. Sitting for any long period of time is difficult (more than 45 mins); walking is easier. I currently walk around 4-5 blocks 2x day,(with my walker or cane for safety sake) plus the time I'm up and walking in the house. I am still in a hospital bed in my living room because it's easier for me to turn from side to side and to keep me elevated the way I'm comfy. I'll be losing the bed at the end of this week. I have slept upstairs a few nights, but only made it until 4 am or so. Medication: Norco, Soma and Lyrica. I have been taking the Norco less often in the past few days. My difficult time is turning from side to side and rolling over the incision, or when I think I feel like a million bucks and overdo it. Then I suffer. The key is patience. I do not have any of the pain that I had prior to surgery. Everything I feel now is from the surgical site. I will be honest; I feel like I really do have something in my back, and at times it bothers me. (more mentally, I believe). Anyway, the 7 hour surgery went well; my first set of x-rays was amazing. We took pics of the x-rays with our cell phones. Dr. said everything looks good and he'll see me back on 11/7. I have not returned to work, and according to my Dr. I won't be released until at least the 3 month mark. I'm feeling happy about that; I'm in no way, shape or form ready to return in 2 weeks (that would be the 6 week mark). I'm an otherwise pretty healthy 57 year old.
  • I am so glad to hear some positive recovery stories. I hope that you continue to recover and enjoy your path on the way to painless backs!!!

    One Love,

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