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Newby..so many questions and so little time

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in New Member Introductions
I wish I would have found this site way before now :jawdrop:
:H I'm Debbie..live in the Midwest..small town Illinois..on the corner of Sticks N Hicks. Oh yeah..and I'm 50ish..I have L1-5 spinal stenosis..spondyolothisis with severe arthritis.
I've been dealing with back pain for a number of years started going to a chiropractor to a PT..from there getting acupuncture..to the pain clinic with multiple injections and 1 round of Radio Frequency Ablation...None of them helped in the least. I'm on viocodin..valium and muscle relaxers.
So off I go to my wonderful Neurosurgeon and he looks once again at my older MRI which was done in January..he says we need a new one done and we talk about my options and his words were "oh ouch..ick bad...worst back I've seen in ages"! hahah Wonderful..so having said that we scheduled surgery for Dec 3rd. L3 L4 and maybe L5 fusion..more will be determined after my next MRI in a few weeks.
SOOOOOO now for the questions..what all can I expect? Is 12 weeks a real number for recovery time?
After surgery do you wear surgical socks after surgery?
How long will I have to wait before I can fly? Are there any special precautions to take?
Why are most of the diets I've read here all liquids?
I have more questions but will save those for later..thank you so much.


  • Welcome,
    I am a midwesterner too! Wisconsin, Green Bay area, so I am watching the Game. Twelve weeks is a good number to start with depending on what the doctor finds and what your occupation requires. My surgery is set for Nov. 10th. I am a little anxious to get it over with. I want to get back to my life. As far as stockings, I don't think I will need them but who knows. Flying is a good question and is best left to the professionals depending on the surgery and the recovery process. Diets, I am trying but when you are stressed it seems to me food is helping me cope. I know that sounds like anaother issue but one at a time. I do walk at least a mile a day and try to keep my hamstrings stretched. I wish you all the best and a fast recovery. Keep looking at the website, lots of good information.
    Good Luck
  • Debbie-
    I too am a Midwesterner...I live in Southeast, MO. I have also tried everything to keep from surgery. I did chiropractics, PT, Epidural Injections none of which worked. I hate that I am only 28 and doing a back surgery. Thankfully though I am only having a one-level fusion at this point. I am definitely ready to get it over with and be on my way to recovery.
    I wish you all the best and hopefully we can help each other out during recovery. Goodluck to you!
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  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. well, i am proud to say i am a west coaster!! southern california! palm trees and beaches. i am 50ish myself. have a look around the different forums. make yourself at home. have you gotten a second opinion about your surgery? it is really such a good idea!! =D> the more information you have the better. there are many here who can attest to the wisdom of doing it. good luck and make sure you have ALL your questions answered!! Jenny :)
  • I, too, live in the Midwest. I had L4/5 fusion (Anterior/posterior) in late July. In terms of recovery, it can be quite different for each person depending on your fitness going into surgery, the type of surgery you have, etc, etc. But I think all who have had this surgery would agree that recovery is long and slow. Lots of reclining and lots of walking - minimal sitting and standing.

    What type of fusion surgery is your doc suggesting? Will he also be doing laminectomy, discectomy or any other procedure as part of the surgery?

    Flying - my surgeon said I could fly at 8 weeks post-surgery - but sitting for long periods was still quite uncomfortable then (and now). I waited till about 11 weeks to fly and by lying down on the plane (there was an empty seat between me and my husband) and in the terminal during the 3 hours layover I was not too uncomfortable. Last week I spent part of 2 days in the car - about 4.5 hours each day and was pretty sore after that.

    I was not on any special diet after surgery so not sure about your question about diet. As for surgical socks - while in the hospital I had the ankle things that expand and contract but nothing special after that.

    As for being prepared for surgery be sure to read the "Post-op Must have's" on this site - it is very very helpful. I really did not think I would need many of those things like the "grabber" - but I was very glad I had them! There are also a number of posts about recovery from fusion surgery that will give you lots of good info. And do ask questions - lots of experience here.

    I totally agree with Jenny that you should consider getting a second opinion - always a good idea for a surgery this major.

    Good luck!

  • Hi and welcome.
    First find out what type of surgery your going to have.
    Recovery like all said varies from person to person. Not one the same.
    I can say last yr I wasn't feeling to bad at 3 months but its still a tricky time. Recovery is long and slow. As there is no bending, lifting , twisting rules.
    Usually only walking until your dr relases you to do some stretches or physical therapy.
    Walking will be your only form of exercise for awhile.
    Some wear braces, some not. They have waist ones and full ones TLSO you will see written.
    Sitting is usually a 15 min limit every hour.
    Lots of ice packs THEY WILL BE YOUR BFF'S.
    Socks (compression stockings) are usually just used in the hospital after surgery.
    Liquid diet is what your on in the hospital due to the medication. Most are on a patient controlled pain pump PCP.
    They usally wheen you off the pump to oral meds then a full diet.
    Hospital stay depends on the person, surgery and Dr.
    Your usually released afer you can sit up, eat, able to keep your pain at bay with oral meds. and physical therapy can make sure you can walk up and down the hall, get out of bed by log rolling. Climb some stairs.
    They will send you home with most of the things you need as in toilet riser, grabber all the PT stuff. It usually is billed to your insurance company.

    Anyways its very tricky to answer all these questions as you will not know how any of this stuff goes till your op is over and your home recovering.

    Good luck on surgery I wish you the best!!
    Here is the link to post op must haves. It is a pretty big list. All I needed was the grabber and toilet riser and a few odd and end things for the hospital. So don't let the big list scare you.
    Also you can post in our Back/Neck surgery fourm. There you will find all types of surgery, recovery etc.


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  • I've been surfing and reading everyone's posts..so much to learn and consider.
    I've seen several NS and they all concur that the only way for me to get relief is for surgery as my facets have degenerated so much that it's all pushing on the nerve roots.
    I've been dealing with the pain and doctors for several years and no long term relief so surgery seems to be the last resort to keep it from getting worse and causing more problems later on.
    My only problem is being freaked about the surgery pain..along with the meds..what will help and what won't. I have a high pain tolerance but honestly this scares the S**t out of me.
    I've been rethinking my sleeping situation as our bedroom is at the top of 14 steps and the bathroom is on the main level.
    We have a large sturdy futon in the office on the main floor and I'm thinking of getting a firm feather mattress to add to it for support. Any thoughts on this? I have also purchased a large recliner to recoup in that has heat and massage.
    I'm also going to post on the main forum for answers.
    Again thank you.
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