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Newby here..Hello everyone

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone..I'm new >:D<

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. :SS
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. :D
Again thank you.


  • Hey there and welcome to SH. Sorry you are in such pain. Do you know what type of surgery your doc is suggesting?
  • Two weeks ago today, I was in exactly the same position. I was scared of the pain the surgery would cause. I to have a high tolerance for pain except for where the neck is concerned so I was terrified of what the outcome would be. I had the surgery on October 22. I woke up in the recovery room and had a little bit of pain but nothing like what I had been experiencing pre-surgery. They have me some morphine in the iv and 10 minutes later...no pain. I had a little bit more pain later that night but nothing that some OTC tylenol couldn't handle. That's pretty much been the last 2 weeks. I get a little minor pain and I take the tylenol right away and it works. I think there have been 2 or 3 instances where I've waited to long and had to take a tylenol 3 for the pain but compared to all the drugs I was on before surgery....that is almost phenomenal. As for the sleeping situation....the recliner is going to be your best friend most likely. I am still not at a point where I can completely lay my head back without feeling like I'm gagging or choking but it gets easier with every passing day. I wish you a speedy recovery and lots of relief with your surgery. >:D<
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  • Hiya Joy and Sarah
    I'm having TLIF L3 L4 and maybe L5 spinal fusion. It looks as though you and I have almost the same diagnosis minus the cysts. My surgery is scheduled for Dec 3rd. MRI scheduled for an update on the 20th as the older was one done in January.

    Sarah..thank you for the well wishes..I wish for you the same quick recovery. >:D<

    I'm trying to research and get as much information as possible before surgery so I sort of know what to expect.
  • Debs...all I can tell you is to expect a looong recovery period. My doc (who I really love in any other way) said that after 2 weeks you'll be fine...NOT. They really aren't realistic about the recovery. (At least not to me!) You can read the posts here about what to have at home upon your return from the hospital. Hospital stay varies. I was told 2-3 days but ended up being 5 because of low grade temp and bp issues. No bending, lifting, or twisting (BLT) for several months (for me it was 4 months). Please feel free to ask anything you want and I'm sure the great folks here will give you all the info they have. This is really a WONDERFUL place to get info, share stories and receive encouragement. WELCOME!
  • I agree Joy. The drs don't have reasonable expectations about the recovery process. I had 2 level cervical fusion and one of my biggest concerns was that I would be able to feel the implant. The assured me you can't feel it but I can. Everytime I swallow I can feel it. I thought at first that it might be the swelling but the swelling is gone. It's not as bad as I thought it would be but I can still feel it. I'm getting used to it though.
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  • I think your fears are natural for what you are looking at. I also have a high pain tolerance. After my MicroD they gave me Percocet. Did nothing. Then they gave me Morphine. Did nothing. More Morphine. Nothing. More Moprhine. Nothing. Finally they gave me Dilaudid. Then more Dilaudid, and I was fine.

    After my fusion I was worried because Dilaudid is 8 times more potent than Morphine, and that's what I needed after just a MicroD. I actually woke up crying from my fusion. I didn't know I was crying... I was crying while not being conscious to know that, and I felt myself crying then starting hearing people around me, then opened my eyes. Lol. It was really, really weird. They gad given me fentanyl in the operating room along with so many drugs that knocked me out I didn't even stay awake to the point where they put the mask on your face and have you inhale the anesthesia, like I was last time. (Last time my anxiety before surgery was so bad my temp went from 97 to 102 in just an hour, so I think this time they took extra precautions because operating with a fever isn't good apparently) and it must have worn off by the time I woke up from surgery. After surgery they got me a PCA pump with Morphine. Every 9 minutes I could press it again and get more, along with the constant flow. They had to up the dose FIVE times, and still wasn't killing the pain, and I was pressing it every 9 minutes on the dot, believe that. Lol. So they started injecting me with Valium and Dilaudid every 4 hours. I was still in pain, and sometimes so bad that I cried my eyes out... And I NEVER cry from pain. But nothing was really enough to kill the pain for me. My body is nearly immune to pain medication. It just makes a dent in the pain for me... And after my anterior/posterior fusion I couldn't even move an inch in my bed, LITERALLY, without being in excrutiating pain... I probably cried maybe a total of 10 times over the 4 days I was in the hospital. My roommate cried a lot more than I did, Lol. She had the same surgery as me, but on the level lower, and by the same surgeon. She was a day ahead of me, but they had us on the same schedule.... Which pissed me off. She didn't have to get up and walk around until 2 days after her surgery, and I had to get up and walk around first thing the next morning. Lol. But it turned out I felt better after walking. I'd get up every hour and walk all around the floor of the hospital. I'd get my ipod and clip it to my johnny, strap my brace on, and walk around and around. Lol. It made me feel so much better. I was in love with walking by the time I left the hospital. I unfortunately was on clear liquid diet the entire 4 days I was there, because my intestinal and digestive issues were really bad. My stomach filled up with gas so much it looked like I was pregnant Lol. I was taking milk of magnesia as often as I could, along with peri-colace as often as they let me, and the last day, a few hours before discharge I FINALLY got it out. FINALLY! So they let me go home that day. Otherwise I was going to have to stay another night :( Anyway... I also was worried about the stairs... But my doctor told me that as long as I limited my use of the stairs it wouldn't be a problem. I had to go up and down them every morning and every afternoon to get my son off the bus. The only time the stairs bothered me was walking up them when I got home from the hospital. Other than that it wasn't bad at all. As long as you hold on to a railing or have someone walk with you just to be safe, you should be okay. This part is just my opinion, but I really think you'll be better off in your own bed. Psychological perception is a major part of healing, and I think you will feel more comfortable in your own bed. Maybe if you could limit your use of the stairs to only a few times a day (if your bathroom is upstairs with your bedroom, food, etc.. ) you could be okay up there? I know in the hospital I felt worse, even though the bed could bend and move any way I wanted it to... In my own bed I felt so much better... But that's just my experience.

    Keep us updated. I wish you the best and I hope your surgery is smooth and successful for you, and I wish you a speedy recovery!!! :) If you ever want to talk, feel free to send me a private message, or IM me if you have AIM... blackdahlia14.


  • You might want to try to request something strong when you go home. I was given Dilaudid pills for the first 10 days home, which I guess they don't very often give to people around my age, to take every 4 hours. I was also given Valium 3 times every day. Now I am back on my Percocet and I take Valium only at bedtime... But it seems to work well now. Glad I had the Dilaudid in the beginning, though!
  • Hi Debs, welcome to SH. This is a great for information and support. Remember we are not doctors, just fellow Spineys who can share our experiences. I had a posterior fusion 13 weeks ago. The first 2 weeks are rough, but with pain meds it was manageable. Hopefully they will give you a pain pump after surgery, dilaudid or morphine is common. I had mine for 3 days, started Norco 10mg 2 tabs every 3 hours on the second post-op day. I also was on Soma then Skelaxin for spasms every 6 hrs. My doc is a little more stingy then some and won't give the percocet or valium. Just let your nurses know if you are hurting and they will try to get you more/better meds. You will need help at home for a week or two. Look at the post op must haves lists for ideas. Not everything on it is necessary, but gives you an idea. The hospital set me up with a walker, elevated toilet seat, grabber, etc., all paid for by insurance. Try to arrange your kitchen/house with things at waist level for easy reach. I had no BLT restrictions for 8 weeks, brace for total of 10 weeks. Started PT at 8 weeks. Driving short distances at 3 weeks timed when meds wore off to be safe.
    I pretty much layed in bed or walked and only sat for meals and in the car for the first 6 weeks. I had a 15 min/hr sitting restriction. I got a recliner at 6 weeks and even then it was hard to pop the feet up without bending. You may need some help to use yours. Some docs don't allow recliners either, so ask.

    It is normal to be scared. I ended up taking xanax to get through the last week before surgery. My doc gave me a chance to back out the day before, but I stuck it out and am glad I did. I can walk without a limp now and my back doesn't crack and crunch with every movement. I am still stiff and get sore easily, but it is early yet. I am going back to work on the 21st as an RN, hoping that goes okay.

    Good-luck, keep us updated. Ask any questions you have. This is a great forum! >:D< Cali-Sue
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