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3 months post op fusion and adr

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,
Its been a long time since ive been able to post, couldnt get on for some reason.
I had adr and fusion 22nd august, so im now congenitaly fused L5-S1, fused L4-L5 and new disc L3-L4, ive had problems with increased pain in my hips, and nerve pain in buttocks, legs, hips. My surgeon feels that I have scar tissue being pushed by the fusion screws onto the nerves, so im still struggling a little,ive also had nerve root lock injections which have helped the legs, taking slow release oxycontin 25mg twice a day, and oxynorm 5-10mg as needed, I do manage to walk alot, I push on despite the pain, I enjoy to get out and take walks, but im not driving yet! I went out with a friend in her car, and she had to do an emergency stop which was a big OUCH!! X( so ive not been brave enough to get back on the road especially with the meds too, Before my surgery I had planned to go back to work (nurse) in January, but clearly now thats not going to be achievable, and its been a hard journey emotionally with so much pain, and tiredness still. I guess I just would love some reassurance that this is all normal, and things will improve, I love my job, and really worry that I wouldnt be able to do it again.
hope you are all as comfy as possible out there
sarah x :H


  • So sorry you are having so much nerve pain . Pain really is exhausting, I think. I am at almost 4 months post-op and find the tiredness to be an on-going issue. Some days I have so much energy and then other days I am exhausted. I started driving at about 3 months - just nearby. It was really scary after not driving for weeks and I continue to be afraid that I will do something to hurt my back. But I find that I am able to do more than I was a month ago - even though I must be careful not to overdo or I pay for it later!

    You are so right that this is a very hard journey - physically and emotionally. Some days it is hard to stay positive and cheerful. Fortunately, just when I start to wonder if things will get better I have a day when I feel pretty good. I do hope you will have relatively pain-free days soon!
  • Hi Meg,
    thanks for your sharing reply, e definitely sound as though we are singing from the same hymn sheet at the moment! before my surgery I thought that I had reLLY Prepared for recovery, and in the short ter I had, but I think that I was vey optomistic in terms of thinking how quickly I would recover, and its been such a shock to be on the emotional roller coaster of recovery! I like you have good days, when I feel more energetic, but them im so exhausted, and isnt it tough to get the balance correct and pace yourself!! I like to keep busy, or otherwise I would think too much, ive just bought a sewing machine, and started to make a patchwork quilt to keep my hands and brain busy when im indoors! and I do little portions when I can sit for half an hour and sew,its nice to be able to do something a bit productive instead of feeling like I cant do the things I used to do.
    I hope that you are having an ok day, and I send you a big recovery healing hug
    sarah x
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  • what you're experiencing is totally normal. I had a three level fusion in the same area and am now at 9 months post. You're only at 3 months, and it ain't easy, you just have to take it one day at a time. I wasn't even allowed to start PT until I was 23 weeks, or until my NS saw some fusion, which was really frustrating cause I was "chompin' at the bit" to get going on it, cause I just wanted to get well.

    Walk, walk, walk.... that's all I can say to you at this stage. It helps you heal faster really.You've got a long ways to go so you've got to have the patience of a saint. I still get frustrated at 9 months, cause I still hurt and ache, and still have to take 3 pain pills a day, but it's coming along, slowly. I do PT once a week.

    I remember trying to drive at 4 months, OMG, it hurt. But how I COULD do it was I bought a cheap little lumbar pillow and wore my hard brace, and used a cane, cause at that point I didn't trust my right leg (from the surgery, it became weak, but it's gone now) also I had my surgeon give me a handicap permit, that helped a lot too. But even at that, expect to hurt, I remember almost being in tears whenever I would arrive to my destination. BUT, I was only driving to my appointments, no shopping, no stops along the way, just to the doctor is all I could handle, then come home, take a pain pill and lay in my favorite position vertical, lol.

    Lay on heat if your going to do excersises. After your done, lay on ice. Definately ask your doctor about a "Tens Unit", it's my best friend. At 9 months I STILL wear my "Tens" with a softer brace, use my lumbar pillow whenever I go anywhere. We live in the mountains, so we're a long ways away from everything.

    But just to put your mind at ease, your absolutely normal. You have had a major surgery, it takes a long long time to heal from it, not the 6 weeks your surgeon tells you. In reality it's 6 months to 2 years! The six month thing must come from if your 20, if your older than 20, all I can say is it does get better. And at your stage, DO NOT be vacumming, standing for a long time, no BLT's, I hope you got yourself a "grabber". I was still on the "big girl potty" too at three months, AND a shower seat, using my cane faithfully.

    Baby yourself, you have got to just settle into, patience, patience and more patience. But it does get better. Ask about a "Tens" really.... they are awesome. Good luck and take it easy...
  • Hi Lynnsy,
    Thanks so very much for your great post, its so very reassuring to read from people who have had the ame experiences. You are so right about the surgeons!! LOL!! mine said to take 3 months off work!! The biggest understatement ever!! =))
    Its such a long journey! I am able to walk alot though-I force myself to do so through the pain-but in a sensible way, and with my trusty best friend my cane! And ive got little hobbies to keep me busy at home, I just worried so much about the surgeon saying that I have the scar tissue problem, and I think that its always a worry in the back of my mind that this will never improve, but I do mostly just try to take one day at a time, and not worry about what the future holds-its too early for that!
    It was very reassuring to hear that you didnt drive for 4 months, ive read so many other peoples stories, and theyve been doing so much better at my stage, and driving around, but I dont need to drive so no point in pushing, I can walk to my local town, and back, my son is 13 and takes himself to school now, so im happy not driving, I think that I need to remind myself to stop the comparisons with other peoples recovery, as everyone is very different, and hearing how much further along than me people are just makes me feel like a failure, its very early days yet, you are right. and I thank you so much for taking the time to post, Im patient, but do worry, and you are right in saying that I do need to take the pressure off myself!
    thank you so much again, hope you are having a comfortable day.
  • I love that you are doing quilting. What a good idea - something fun, useful, and creative. Did you quilt before surgery or is this a new endeavor for you? It is something I think I would like but just have not ever gotten around to doing.

    Like you, I thought I was prepared for recovery - but it was definitely short-term. I truly did not REALLY expect the recovery to be so long. My surgeon talked about patients who had traveled internationally at 6 weeks, etc. etc. after this surgery. - and I suppose that in terms of the surgery itself that would be fine. But I certainly did not feel well enough at 6 weeks to travel! Some years ago when I had a total hysterectomy I was back at work in 2.5 weeks so thought my recovery from this surgery would also move along quickly (not 2.5 weeks but more quickly than people said). Hah! It is very hard to not push yourself - I battle this every day and keep thinking something must be wrong with me or I would be able to do more and feel better. I don't have the scar tissue problem that you have - at least, I don't think I do - but I, too, keep wondering if I will ever get better.

    I do have an issue with diverticulitis - long story but docs have said possible surgery for that - and it is hard to know if pain I have is from surgery or the diverticulitis. I definitely do not want another surgery - at least not anytime soon. But that just gives me something else to worry about. I have never been sick other than colds and allergies - until last summer I had not even been to a doctor in over 5 years except for annual PAP and mammogram. Suddenly, I am falling apart!

    I hope this is an energetic day for you - but don't overdo!

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  • Hi meg,
    Like you, when I had my first spinal surgery I was up and about so quickly-the decompression worked so very well, and i was back to work within 4 weeks, so even though I knew this surgery would be much longer, the experience is so different to how I thought. Its very refreshing to come onto this site and read though, I think its just so very easy to forget to remind ourselves that its very early days, and I would be the first to say it to someone else in my position, but its hard when its your own predicament, and its dealing with all of the uncertaincy, I like to have a plan with everything, and its just so strange to not know when I will be better, but i think that I may have to get 'Take one day at a time' tatooed backwards onto my head so that I read it whenever i look in the mirror!
    im sorry to hear about your diverticulitis, it must be hard having both things going on for you.
    As for the quilting its a new venture for me, I love it already, there are so many patterns, and they are beautiful, its also really beneficial, as a big quilt can take forever to make if you can only sit at the machine a while, but you can always see it coming along, its very calming too.
    anyway, I hope that you are as comfortable as possble at the moment.
    warm hugs
    sarah x
  • I have a TENS unit that I bought a couple of years ago to use on a long flight - but actually never used. That was just a the beginning of my back issues and I had totally forgotten I had it. Can I just stick the little things wherever it hurts or do I need to go to my PT and get her to show me where to place the little sticky things? (What are they called?)
  • Hi Meg,
    A tens unit can be very beneficial in taking the edge off pain, and ive used mine on and off for years, put the sticky electrodes where the pain is, they are best used in a symetrical pattern, do you have 2 or 4 pads? I put my pads one each side of the spine at two levels and do find it helps a little. Its well worth you giving it a try.
    how are you feeling today?
    warm hugs xx
  • Thank you for the information about the TENS unit - I will get mine out and use it!

    I SO overdid it (again) today. An hour of PT and then a meeting for an hour and then out to lunch. Then I decided I had to shop for a rug - which I did for only about 20 minutes I found a potential one but had to go home to get the sofa cushion to see if they would work together and then back to the store. Decided it was marginal and back home I went. I laid down for awhile and then decided - though I was really, really tired - that I needed to run over to SteinMart and get a turtleneck. SteinMart did not have it so I ended up at Belk's. By then it was 6:00pm and I was downright woozy I was so tired. My plan had been to also run into Home Depot. Hah! When will I learn? Now I am sprawled on the sofa knowing I need to pay bills tonight but too tired to get up and get the stuff. I will hate myself tomorrow - and the next day, probably. But I do so hate not having the energy to get anything done. So frustrating.

    I hope you were smarter than I was today and had a good day.

  • Hi Honey,
    Well the more I read from your posts, the more alike in ways i think that we are, I was indoors so long post op as my pain was not managed well in the beginning, so now when I have a day in less pain, i just get so carried away and excited about being out that I forget how much pain I will get myself into!!! And besides these shopping things are important for girl psychological well being!!!
    We must try t remember to break our days down a bit more!! glad to hear that the tens machine is out and dusted off! I hope that it offers you a bit of relief.
    I hope that you are not in too much pain today from all of the activities! Its the tiredness that always gets me!! I have an over active day, then Im so tired! but girls MUST shop 8}
    warm hugs
    sarah >:D<
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