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9 weeks Post op / NS apt. and stunning news...

saltzworksssaltzworks Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all :)

I just had my 2 month post-op apt. and I feel GREAT. I only take Tylenol (regular strength, 1 pill) when I feel achy and I haven't taken any valium, robaxin or anything else for weeks now.

I went in and told the PA I was doing fantastic. He looked at the X-rays and I am showing some fusion around the outside of the spine. There isn't anything really showing inside the spine, but then, that's where the BMP was all removed in my second surgery.

I then referred to the fact that I expected to return to work at the end of October (the 3 month mark) and he said NO. I was rather stunned. It was such a shocker. He said let's talk about it in a few months - in December! But I'm feeling great??! Why no work??

Also, I was told I would start PT at the end of Oct. - again the answer is a big NO. He might consider it in January.

Thinking about it, I guess the lack of fusion in the spine is a factor.

Oh, but he also says there is no way I'll be able to go right back into a fulltime schedule, I'll need to work up to it. I don't have a strenuous job, I do have to lift up to 40-45 lbs at times (which the PA laughed at and said that's going to be a long while off) but I'm still kind of stunned to have such a change in attitude towards my return to work when I physically feel so great.

I guess you just can't go by how well you feel, you also have to be mending on the inside and show it in your x-rays.

I just have to keep in mind that if I a overdo it now, and I don't allow myself to heal completely I can totally undo everything the dr. has done. Despite how well I feel I have to keep in mind all my restrictions and follow them to the letter.

Oh, speaking of restrictions- this is what I am at:

I can walk (just around or in a pool)
I can ride a recumbant bike
I can lift up to 20 lbs from table height
No bending
No twisting
Minimal sitting (VERY minimal)
Minimal driving - it's just too dangerous and one simple fender bender could put me in a wheelchair for life.


  • I am new to this forum but have been reading it for a couple of months. I noticed some time ago that our surgeries were on the same date so I was really interested when I saw the post tonight about your progress.
    Sounds like you have a conservative surgeon - not necessarily a bad thing but I am sure it is frustrating when you feel like you are ready to do more. But I could not tell - or maybe I just missed it when I read your post - if it was the PA or the surgeon who gave you the conflicting info about returning to work and PT? Or did the surgeon initially tell you one thing and the PA is now saying something else?

    The PT I have been allowed has been basically walking and some minimal stretching in the pool. No mention yet of anything beyond that. From talking with 2 friends who have had fusions it is very clear that different surgeons have very different protocols for recovery. It is interesting that there is so very much difference and it would be interesting to know on what basis those decisions about what constitutes the best plans for recovery are made.

    It is wonderful to read that you are feeling so well! (I, too, have very little pain and have taken no pain meds for many weeks but am still really, really tired some days. And I have some beginnings of bone growth showing, too and was really excited to see that.)

  • That is great news that you are fusing, and that you are only taking tylenol. I also at my 8 week felt like we would be discussing back to work but not a thing. I just went back for 16 weeks and he still was in no hurry and set me up for more PT. We did set a date of Nov 13 to go back 1/2 days so that will make 5 months for me as well. I am with you, I would rather be safe, than go back to early and mess this up. I have been doing PT since 4 weeks and I still feel I have a long way to go as far as strenght. I started doing more and found it kills me in my hips/butt area on my left side. PT says all muscle, not to worry and they do deep tissue work and it helps a lot, but sure makes me realize how weak I still am. Don't rush it! I am waiting to hear if work approved my last extension to Nov 13th. I sure hope so. We had same levels done, although I had my own bone and no complications. Good luck with your continued great progress.
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  • Hey Amy and ladies,

    I am 12 weeks post-op today. I don't know how I feel about things and am waiting to see my NS next Wed. to find out if I am still on track. I can drive with reluctance from NS. I started PT at 8 weeks. In many ways I feel stronger but I don't always think I am where I should be. I've actually got a few new aches and pains and feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. I am still taking between 7.5 and 15mg of percocet in the evening before bed to help calm the pain. I also just saw the radiologist's report on my last x-rays from Aug and he states that I now have spondylosis at multi levels above the fusion section. That kind of correlates to the new pain and discomforts I have been having. Again I will have to wait and see what my NS says. I worry that the PT is too much?? I do 3 machines and several other exercises that I worry it might be too soon for. I do crunches,leg lifts with 1lb weights, row like pulls with the thera-bands and a few other things. Am I being paranoid lol? My physical therapist even told me to start bending. I rarely do because it worries me. I will bring all this up with my NS but wanted to compare notes with y'all. My FMLA is up and I don't know when I will be ready to go back to work as a mail carrier. I feel so overwhelmed. My husband maintains that my job is to continue to heal.
    So Amy I understand some of your frustrations.
    It is a long process. Still so glad to have the net and you guys.

    Sorry to be so long winded.

  • Hi Saltzy, glad to hear you are feeling well. Your xray sounds like mine, I have fusion over the outside (posteriorlateral)areas but none inbetween the discs. My doc says 4-7 months he expects to see it. I was wondering when they removed your bmp what did they replace it with, more bone chips, doner bone, or? Seems like it would have to be something cause a cage alone wouldn't facilitate bone growth.
    Yep surgeons sure vary. Mine is ready to send me back to work anytime as soon as I say go. He lifted all my restrictions and I started PT today (that I requested, he doesn't usually order it). Kind of scarey cause I am afraid to go back too soon and get hurt. When I do go back it has to be for full 12 hour shifts, 3 days a week, no restrictions allowed(since I'm not WC). I just have to see how this PT goes and then pick a date to return. FMLA is up on 10-27, so we'll see.
    Well, you just got a lot more time on your hands. Are you able to keep busy? I am bored but unmotiviated unfortunately.
    You take care, >:D< Cali-Sue
  • You may be feeling great and I am soo pleased for you but chill. You have the rest of your life ahead of you, why ruin it by pushing yourself.
    Most of us struggle with the dreaded " pacing" you know, do too much one day when feeling great and then knock yourself back again 2 steps.

    Working will put demands on you you will not have at home. Don't spoil that. It is hard to say nO when your at work.

    Yoo are lucky that you have such clear instructions.
    Good luck
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