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j.howie's Guinea Pig XLIF surgery 3 mo.



  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,745
    on this thread. I have been away and not able to get on here much as my mother has been diagnosed with cancer. And have been concentrating all of my energy on her.
    Graham, I too was surprised at the surgeon lifting all of my restriction at slightly less that 50% fusion. The surgeon who did my other fusions wanted 100% fusion. And I have a cage, with no instrumentation. But like you I am not without pain. Sitting is difficult for longer that 1 hr. Sometimes less! And I am still stiff. VERY STIFF if I don't keep moving. And that makes it hard to get a full nights sleep. He said no physical therapy until 6 mo. And also on the lifting restrictions, He said "what ever you can bear" So knowing this was not my first picnic I think he meant let pain be your guide. But then on the other hand I did fuse at a remarkable rate for an old guy. LOL!
    Jelly, all of the incisions have closed up and the swelling and inflammation has gone down. I think I was just freaking out and rushing it a bit.
    The surgeon had told me that he thought he could bring my pain level down from a 6 w/ meds to a 3 w/ less meds. And that has happened. When I asked him about the stiffness, pains (concerning only this surgery) and some numbness. He said that I could expect to see some slow improvement over the next 18 mo. I had chronic pain from failed surgeries of past and he didn't say that he could make that any better. But what he did say That he thought he could do, He did. I only wish that this was available way back when!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Hi Jim

    That's great that your check-up went well, and 50% fused - yay. Terrific that you don't appear to have any nerve damage either.

    Keep getting well!


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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  • I thought I would find out yesterday if my fusion had started.
    No such luck :-(. They were running so behind with one x-ray machine out of action that although I had the x-rays taken, I'll have to wait for my next appointment in 4 weeks to find out if fusion has started yet.
  • It is interesting how these surgeons opinions on PT and the like differ. I must say the weight restriction makes really good sense. Lifting weight causes big strain. Especially from the floor to the counter. It is so easy to mix some or all of BLT by mistake. I've been paranoid of the lifting thing enough that I have done really well with not breaking that rule. And it sucked for a few months because I could not pick up my grand baby. She would come running to me with her arms out. I had to sit on the floor and hug her instead. Boy that really hurt because she didn't understand why I didn't want to pick her up.

    Now the PT and stretching. Did your doc also tell you not to stretch at all? The PT, depending on who you have, can be quite brutal. Some basic stretching though has helped me a lot. Even if I didn't do PT. A few simple stretches in the morning helps me get moving. Then during the day to give my back a break. Then at night before bed to relax. Nothing fancy, but enough so it feels like some of the tightness releases a bit.

    My 6 month appointment went really well. I'm going to do an update in my journal when I get chance. Basically, I'm fusing, hardware looks good, surgeon is happy, I'm mostly happy, next visit at 1 year unless something happens.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,745
    Great news! I'm glad everything is going well for you. And I know exactly how you feel on the grand child. I have 2 yr. old twin girls. And its been the same thing for me. Breaks my heart. And then I end up breaking the rules a little bit!
    The surgeon said NO stretching prior to the 3 mo. check up. But that is also lifted. And like you, It dose help. And If I can get even a 30 min. walk in, that also helps at night. But when I sit and watch t.v. I stiffen back up.
    I've been real busy and not on here much. But I'm looking forward to your 6 mo. addition to your Journal and hope I don't miss it!
    Jelly, hang in there when they get it fixed I'm sure you'll see fusion! So in 4 wk. I hope to celebrate!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
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  • I also feel the pain of not being able to pick up my 3 year old granddaughter. She runs to her granddad with her arms out to be picked up. She doesn't do that to me :-( She knows that I can't pick her up. It breaks my heart.

    The surgeon told me to carry on with my life on Monday. I asked if that meant picking up my granddaughter and gardening. Sadly he said to wait 3 months before doing that! But those things are part of my life.
    I wonder how many of his patients overdo it because they aren't given any restrictions. He even told me I could drive and 'carry on with my life' at 10 days after fusion surgery! I was warned that he has this type of attitude and I could double the recovery time that he says! This was by a doctor who works closely with him.

    Enjoy getting back to your lives :D
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