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5 months later and this isn't where I thought I would be!

jayhawkjjayhawk Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well....I am now 5 months post op L4-5 360 fusion and this is not where I thought I would be. And it makes me sad.

I am so much better and I have come so far, but I am not there yet. I really thought I would be. I am relatively young, strong and athletic and I thought I could beat this!

Sure, I heard 6-12 months, but really, I heard 6! Now I hear it is more realistic 12-18....

If I didn't need to return to work, I would be doing well. But work is just exhausting me! If I don't stay ahead of the pain....it can be difficult to find relief.

I was in an all day meeting on Tue, 8 hours of sitting. I squirmed, stood up, tried to pace and ended up in pain and with significant abdominal swelling. ugh

In 2 weeks, I have a 3 day training course I have to attend~so more of the same.

I really thought my recovery would be complete by now.....


  • It's difficult when the body doesn't perform as it always did -- never had to give it a second thought before. No matter how hard you try to concentrate on your job, that little devil pain just wears you down. The more pain killers you take, the loopier you get, resulting in triple checking your work.

    I had a lot of meetings to attend also. I brought a cushion and ice pack to my meetings -- I'm older so I just didn't care what people thought of how I looked -- just wanted to make it through the day. I'd go home and go straight to bed to try and rest up for the next day. And, I haven't had surgery.

    I just wanted to post a commisseration of sorts to let you know you're not alone. I'm pretty good now but it took almost a year.

    Sending good vibes your way that you'll get past this phase of returning to work and it will get a little better for you each day. I know the stress of trying to "Buck up" in front of your co-workers each day doesn't help the pain.

    Take care and hang in there,

  • but the healing is coming. It took me a full 18 months till I felt I could even walk like myself again. When you have to sit for a really long time (I do all day at work), you might want to try a BackJoy -- it's an orthotic for your butt that helps you sit up right and takes the strain off your back. You can get them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I have one in the car, one at the office, and one in my sewing room chair. I cannot sit all that long without one.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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  • Thank you ladies so much! You are both so right, the unending pain just takes the joy right out of you! I am so very tired of hurting and being exhausted.

    I go in tomorrow morning to have more blood work to see if my thyroid level is improving/increasing.

    The days I work, I come home and crawl straight into bed. My hubby has been travleing and my daughter has been with friends a lot. I feel like I need to let her as I am already in bed. but, it doesn't help my emotional state.

    Each week, I think, this will be the week it gets easier...then the next week, I think, maybe this week...

    Thank you both so much for your support! :)
  • I haven't had lumbar surgery yet, but like Linda, I use the BackJoy - One at home, one for the car. It's funny, they aren't big, and they are comfortable!!

    Sorry you're hurting so much still. Hopefully in the future as your healing continues, like Linda, you will be great! Support *hugz* to ya!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I know it's not much but I do understand.
    I'm 5.5 months out of revision MicroD and same thing. I was doing great...but the further away I get, I feel as if I'm not making progress and worry about going backward.

    I am relatively young and fit too. I didn't go through what you went through...but it's tough putting up a happy face when you are still recovering.

    Time, hugs, time, rest...
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  • Sorry you aren't where you want to be yet, but you will get there.

    Fusions are rough and you had a 360!!! Give yourself time to heal. As a "veteran" of 2 lumbar fusions I know its hard to be patient, not being able to do things, getting exhausted from "simple" things we used to do. It will get better.

    Get your rest when you can, its OK. That your daughter has a friend to be with so you can do that is a good thing.

    Take care,

  • Every person "is" different, and no matter how often I'm told that, I keep asking, "when will the pain end"? I'm 59. Had a double fusion, L3/4 & L3/5, just 4 weeks ago. I also had a bone graft. I am a very impatient lady, and not working, makes me even more impatient. But, my daughter who is 36 had a fusion with bone graft last August and she has days when she comes home from work extra tired because of her back. She is doing really well most of the time, but she still has to watch herself. Sounds like good advice from the other members, of which I may do myself. Hang in there.
  • I was 7 months out before I started to be able to sit for longer periods and feel more "normal" and I didn't have a 360. We get so sick of being in constant pain and just long for the healing process to be over and done with.

    Yes, you are young and strong but having to work and sit most of the day puts pressure on the spine, but I would think that you can't take more time off from work. It's hard to keep motivated when you're still hurting like crazy.

    After my laminectomy/discectomy in March 08 (which increased my back pain), I had to go back work, and it was "pure hell" and I don't know how I got through each day. I was at an age where I was able to retire at Christmas 08, and then I was able to plan for the fusion. During this time, because of the pain, I had a couple of "melt downs" in the office, something which is totally out of character for me.

    Are you able to postpone the training course? Three days of sitting in an uncomfortable chair will be very hard to cope with. Whenever I had to do training, the chairs were always uncomfortable and I couldn't sit still.

    From your other posts, I know you're doing everything you can to help yourself.

    Sending you >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008

  • I am so sorry that you are still struggling being back at work.

    That all day meeting, was just too much for you. Did you have a cushion with you? Although a cushion would help, that amount of sitting is just too much. I can so relate to your description of squirming, standing up and pacing. We were having a meal the other weekend, which was taking a long time. After doing a lot of squirming, I had to stand up and then walk about a bit. Very quickly, the waitress was there, asking if everything was ok. I felt a bit embarressed, but just couldn't sit for a moment longer!

    You have a lot of friends here Shari, who care and are here for you. >:D<

    Roll on the day when you can say ' I have a 360 spinal fusion, and the recovery was very tough, but now I have my life back and am so glad that I had it'. <:P <br />
    Praying for you, that things will get easier. :-)
  • I understand completely. I still have significant pain everyday. And if I do anything even like the 2 loads of laundry I did yesterday I hurt worse. I mean COME ON..lol..2 loads? are u kidding me?

    I was complaining to my husband yesterday that I was sick of hurting and then REALLY hurting bad when I do any little stupid thing. As you know I lost my position after 3 months and I am still out on long term disability.

    We are suffering finacially right now but I tell myself it won't be forever. If I could go back to work 3 to 4 hours a day I think I could but that is not an option now I lost that position. So now I have to wait until I can work a full 8 or 9 to go back. I know I am not there yet.

    We had surgery around the same time and we have both struggled with our recovery. Hang in there. It has to get better..right?

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