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New to the site but not the pain and trepidation

kimm320kkimm320 Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:40 AM in New Member Introductions
In 2005 after years of cervical pain and numbness in my hand and swearing no one would go near my neck with a scalpel I had a cervical corpectomy. I was in the hospital less than 24 hours and came home in a hard collar but pain free for the first time in years and I could feel my hands. 3 Years later I stepped onto a curb and pain shot down my back and my legs collapsed. I saw a doctor who referred me to a surgeon- neuro. The surgeon viewed my MRI before entering the room, walked in looked at me got this very strange look on his face and walked back out. He came back in and stated frankly that by looking at the MRI he thought I was an 80 year old. I was 43. He proceeded to then tell me his second guess would have been a retired football player but seeing a woman he knew that wasn't the case either. I had three ruptured discs and the most severe stenosis he had ever seen and he was amazed I was still walking unassisted. I tried the steroid injections and had to have one a month for 3 months and that was the max I could get. After the third injection, which lasted a month, I saw the surgeon again and in 2 weeks on Feb 12 2009 I underwent PLIF and ended up with lumbar fusion L1-S1 with instrumentation. My husband was told 5-6 hours and the surgery was 8. The neuro surgeon was not anticipating fusing the entire lumbar spine. I was in the hospital until the 14th and used the pain pump only twice and that was the surgery day. I honestly do not like the way pain meds make me feel not to mention the side effects, especially the constipation. I was walking on the first post op day and it was the most comfortable walk I had taken in months. Once at home I had a couple of poor me days at first but that was due to not being totally prepared for the extent of the fusion. I got stuck on the potty but with the addition of a toilet riser that situation was solved and I felt helpless in tending to my hasic needs, needing help bathing and getting dressed. I am happy and proud to say I took very little pain med and was able to manage with tylenol and prior to walking the muscle relaxer my surgeon prescribed. I began walking outside with the walker and my husband at my side several times a day and by the time I returned for suture removal about 2 weeks later I wae allowed to start working from home a few hours a day and he told me I could stop using the walker. By March 20th, 5 weeks after surgery I was back to work 4 days a week about 4 or 5 hours a day and 3 weeks after that I was back full time. I still walk twice a day and have become very mindful of my weight. Just a couple of extra pounds makes a big difference. Just this week we went to disney with friends we have not seen in a year. Just prior to my surgery when we were at disney and I couldn't walk but a few feet without a rest. They were amazed at how different I was less than a year later and able to walk the whole park with no rest stops. Everyone is different and every recovery unique but moving is most important to get those muscles back into shape and functioning optimally. Best of luck to you all.


  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. how wonderful that your surgery was a success and you were able to celebrate at Disneyland. <:P what a triumph!!! please drop by anytime. :D and take good care of yourself! :D Jenny :)
  • As I was reading your post, I kept waiting for a "but" as most people who post are having a problem. Sounds like you are doing very well. We love having success stories as most don't take the time to report back when things are going well.

    Do you find your movement quite restricted by having the whole lumbar area fused?

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  • It's rough you've been so much. It sound like you're doing a lot better. Good for you. I'm glad you had a visit to Disney and able to walk so much better. I hope you continue to heal more everyday. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Kimm--how wonderful to hear your story!You have been through a lot,and you have won!Please keep up osted,Jeannie
  • Movement is slightly restricted, softball and tennis are a thing of the past and on those rainy days I feel stiff but I'll take that over the pain any day!!!!
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  • Welcome to Spine-Health. I really appreciate the inspirational story. I'm almost three weeks post L4/5 TLIF and know it's time for me to start with my own personal rehabilitation until official PT in May.

    I'm very excited to get going again and I hope your story inspires others to get their motivation up to start rehabing so a lot of us can come back with success stories, as well.

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