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Worried and Angry

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
:?? Hi everyone

Ok, I am worried sick, hurting, and needing some answers.

I just went through my 5th lower back surgery. All other surgeries just trimmed off the ruptured disks from l4 & l5. This time however they re-trimmed the ruptured disks but also did a partial fusion.
What I mean by Partial fusion is that instead of rods being placed in my back I had 4 holes drilled around l4 & l5 with doner bone place in them to fuse l4 to l5.

Now the worry. I am only 5 days out from surgery. I know your not supposed to twist or squat and stuff like that but sometimes you have to. Sometimes just to move your having to move around in ways that are so painful you want to scream. My questions now..

1. How easy is it to mess up your fusion? I mean if you twist wrong can you break it? If you sneeze or cough?
I mean, if its really that easy to undo the surgery so to speak then i doubt they would have let me go home so early and placed me in a full body cast.

2. Have any of you expierenced this.. I talk to my doctor after the operation is done and he is short and somewhat rude with me. It made me feel stupid and embarrassed to even talk to him about my pain. As if I was wanting some form of attention. I told him, Im worried sick here. I can't lose my job! Im about to get married and buy a house!! I am in unbelievable PAIN!!! Can't you understand that? Maybe I just need some reassurance that I havent messed up the operation by moving around wrong.

Sorry for ranting but I am so worried I am sick! Anyone can help me here? I need any form of advice I can get.

Thanks And God bless


  • I am having an ALIF in 1 month and have been asking the nurse practicioner in my surgeons office alot of questions about how to move after surgery. She advised that before they send me home, I will meet with an occupational therapist to review specifics, and they will also supply me with a "grabber" so I don't have to bend. She also answered some general questions about squatting, or why sitting is okay but bending is not etc.

    Did you have any of these discussions before your surgery, or meet with an occupational therapist after your surgery? I suspect they are going to be better trained to answer those types of questions i.e. how to move, than your surgeon.
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • Scott-just wrote this whole email and it didnt forward. Heres the deal- ur 5 days out-and the pain is INSANE. I was taking 2perc every 4hrs/24hrs a day. You must try and relax- do u have valium? Everyone seems to bug out at the beginning. NO it is not easy to bust ur fusion or they would put u in a body cast. Youre 5 days and it is an impossible time. You must drink lots of WATER you'll get dehydrated. Also... get a big plastic garbage bag and put it under ur butt/back so u can slip slide around easily on the bed. Makes a HUGE difference. Take heart- ur fusion is still holding. Log roll and remember BLT( No bending, lifting,turning) but Ive done them and still alive. You cant break a fusion. It has to heal slowly over a long period of months.They do put an internal cage for xtra protection. Let me know how I an help.Email me at trotterleg@aol and I'll help you as so many here have helped me. Chill out and take ur meds. At 5 days I had just gotten out of the hospital. Ask for help. Its gonna take some weeks to recover- thats the honest truth.Go rest Scott and watch some boring TV along with the rest of us- so boring.
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  • It is not as difficult as you are worried about.
    Firstly - you need pain relief, so call your Dr and tell them or you may want to go to your local Dr for that.
    Secondly- It isn't asy to break the fusion. My Dr told me I would have to fall out of the first floor window to do damage so remember that.
    At the same time you have to avoid BLT so the fusion can actually take place. So this means no repetitive twisting etc. Accasionally we have to twist a bit, in bed, in the bathroom etc and this is fine. Just dont do it regularly.
    Now you really need to get a long handled grabber to help you pick things up or reach for them.

    Just try to relax as Vicki said. DOnt sit a lot, lie down when you can and remember to wwlk a lot as this is the best thing for you even if it isn't easy.

    I wonder why your Dr did not do a full fusion with hardware. Do you know? Also even if he is a lot grumpy- insist on getting some answers even if it mean staying sitting when he is trying to get you out the door.
    Stand your ground- remember you aer paying for his services so as someone said here you are his employer! (8)
    I hoe things improve for you soon
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I was a basket case 5 days out, In fact-I could not get on here for 9 days :) You are doing pretty well. The anger is even part of the emotion that comes hand in hand with the feeling of helplessness-at least it did for me. My husband said I was a bear!

    I know nothing about lumbar fusion, I had a cervical spine operation, but I do know I was told not to worry about the weeks ahead but think think about slow, steady recovery day by day. That may help you. If you are type A personality it will be hard, but it will be a reality check, too.

    I read a few of the other replies. I agree drink lots of water, listen to music, pet the cat or dog, think postitive thoughts and call your doctor if you have legit concerns. I always felt better once I talked to them about something that felt weird was going on. I come here for reassurance and a sense of normacy, but only your doctor can give you the answers that will allow you to sleep well.

    Good luck!
  • Try and sleep as much as possible. My first few weeks I stayed doped up and slept all the time. My Dr. sayed that was fine. Lay on ice as much as you can and it should get better. I couldn't even get outside and walk any after 2 weeks and I thought I was a pretty tuff guy. Hang in there and get plenty of rest.

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  • :D Thanks guys for the responce. This is very helpful and is very encouraging.

    Well the reason I only did the partial fusion was because of the time it would take to recover. I couldn't devote 6 to 9 weeks to recover, had to be back to work or risk losing my job. I am a contractor and if you sneeze wrong your out the door.

    The partial fusion was the drilling of four holes in L4 and L5 and placing doner bone in there to fuse the two together plus he did trim the excess ruptured disks off while he was in there but did not completely remove them.

    So no rods or screws or nothin like that. So my recovery time is far shorter then most peoples. I am just being grumpy because this makes for my 5th surgery and I am sick and tired of hurting. All of the other surgeries where disk removals that had ruptured. Just tired and sick of the meds.

    thanks again for your encouragements everyone. I wish each of you an awesome wonderful Christmas!!
  • I'm 11 days post Laminectomy PLIF at L4/L5, and every day gets a little easier. Hang in there. I never knew this site existed but I've learned that there are a lot of understanding and caring people here. Surgeons can be cold, and overworked to the point where they have little time to really listen and address your problems.
  • Yep--5 days out is a bear. So is 1 week, 3 weeks, 4 weeks, and now for me 6 weeks. The recovery is brutal. Some are blessed and wake up with no pre-op pain. I asked my PA about fusions breaking--I was concerned because I had been constipated and used every muscle in my body to, well, push it out. She said in 15 years, she has never seen one break. She said they don't break. However, what you need to think about is the level above your fusion. Right now--just take the drugs and try to walk as much as possible. I heard it put best that you will regret the surgery the first several weeks, then it gets a little easier.

  • My surgeon doesn't use the braces like some people do, and I asked him about damaging things and he said that this would not be a problem at all. So, relax about that. I would also recommend walking when you can and then sleeping a lot also at 5 days out. Big hugs. >:D<
  • one more thing. I have a 14 month old and sitting still hasnt been easy especially with momma having to work. so I am infact bending and lifting some. I have some swelling issues over the scare area and some sharp pains but there's no way to avoid this. Espcially changing diapers and whatnot. The swelling usually goes down after a few ibuprofens and laying down some. I wear my back brace as much as I can but I think I am just making my recovery hell but not endangering the fusion so much. Just adding more pain to my recovery. Unfortunately life did not give me much of a break to recover.

    So I am still worried I am screwing my back up but it almost can't be avoided right now.
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