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My review appointment today.....

SueDSSueD Posts: 545
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Recovering from Surgery
It's been 9 weeks post operatively and, thank goodness, the x-rays show that the hardware is fine. However, the increased pain in my back and right leg sciatica has crept back over the last 3 weeks, which is disappointing.

I didn't see the consultant (who evidently looked at the x-rays today), but if the nurse said it once, she said it at least 3 times, that I am still very early in my recovery and that it can take up to TWO YEARS for the nerves to all settle down!!! I didn't know this - I thought it takes up to 2 years for the 'fusion' to be complete.

Anyway, I asked about driving again and going back to work (considering I'm on half pay and my occupational sick pay ceases on 4 October!), but she was very non-committal. I understand this I suppose as spine surgery is not an exact science, but she basically said it all depended on my pain levels. Aaarghh!

Anyway, I've been told that I will receive another appointment in 6 weeks.

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that the medication I have to take now for the increased back/leg pain and to help me sleep at night, does it's job quickly! It's a shame though, because at 5 weeks post-op I wasn't taking any medication at all and thought I'd cracked it. Disappointed that I'm back on them again, but delighted that I didn't damage the hardware due to the driving incident at week 6.

2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!


  • so my surgeon was right then ..when he said it will take about three years to totally recover from the operation that's a years to recover from the operation then another 2 years to get as good as you can get
    hope you are feeling better .
  • Sue, I'm sorry to hear of the return of your pain. I hope to see a report from you one of these days that you're feeling better and able to be off the heavy duty pain meds, but if not, don't be disappointed in yourself, it's just the way things are. Just hope the meds give you the needed relief. :)

    Thanks for sharing the info on recovery time, it's very enlightening and I'll keep it in mind over the future months.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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  • that the hardware is stable. :-)
    Was there any sign of fusion?

    I hadn't any sign of fusion at my 3 months appointment. Next x-ray to check it will be at 12 months mark.

    I hope that the leg and back pain goes again soon. As you know, I had the same thing happen to me. I think it could be because I am being much more active now.

    I am going to try again to return to work tomorrow. This time I will be VERY careful and take it easy. I am only going for the morning and will talk to the head about how we will phase in my return very gently this time. I don't want to fail again!
  • Hi Sue,

    Yes you are early in your recovery - whatever the docs say it seems to take longer than you think it will. It seems patience is key - they should give us some by IV while we are out! ;)

    How many levels did you have done? I had one done and went back to work att 11 weeks and I really struggled. I know that money issues are a concern but if you can find a way to manage as long as you can then do. I know that some people cope fine going back to work but I didn't feel ready (pain etc) and felt pressured to be back to normal. If you are struggling with pain then work is hard on top. Especially if you don't sleep well.

    Good luck to Jelly on you return tomorrow. Hope it goes better this time. Take it as easy as you can.
  • Jellyhall - take it easy tomorrow when you return to work. I'm sure you will as you won't want the same thing to happen again. Also, the nurse said that at 9 weeks post-op it's too soon to see any evidence yet of fusing on the x-rays, which is fair enough. You're right, when we feel better and sometimes do things on automatic pilot - the surgery site says "NO". It sometimes feels like two steps forward and 3 back.

    I'll see how it goes with the Occupational Health doctor next Tuesday (21st). Perhaps they can make some reasonable adjustments - though as you know, it's so difficult in primary schools as there is alot of bending and tiny furniture to sit on, OUCH!

    Nel - I had 2 levels done (L5-S1, L4-L5). To be honest, at 5 weeks post-op I was off all meds. I felt pretty good considering. It's only when I tried to drive at week 6 that I thought I'd damaged myself. I had sharp back pain when twisting round to reverse and by the next day the sciatic pain returned also. Hence the need for meds again as I haven't been able to sleep properly for the past 3 weeks because of the pain. Oh well, I won't be doing that again in a hurry - I'll rely on my wing mirrors as much as I can! I'm just so relieved that the hardware is OK.

    I will be extra careful from now on.

    Thanks guys and hope everything goes well for you all.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
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  • you sound like me. Im about 7 weeks out, same surgery, and on very little medicine. but i have right sciatic pain like crazy. And working doesn't help at all, but one can only go so long with no money. My hardware looks good, but the pain wont stop so now im told to get another mri to check it out. I also got a cortisone shot to help and it seems to have numbed the nerve a bit.

    Hope your pain goes away soon! And hope work goes well. :)
  • Hi Sue,
    I am a teacher too and I think that makes it really hard to go back when you aren't 100%. Once you are in the classroom you are "on". There is no respite till you go home - Oh no, I forgot all the marking, planning, parent's evenings etc!

    My school provided no support for my return at all. Make sure you get some when you do go back.

    I totally understand the 2 steps forward 3 back thing. I felt like that till about 6 months when I finally thought I was getting somewhere. (Unfortunately, right about then the proverbial has hit the fan in my personal life(Mom died, got ill, infection etc) and I don't feel I have made progress for ages.) I think the magic 6 months is true! Just I am fairly unlucky and must be hitler reincarnate or something!!

    Hope you continue to do ok. Let us know how you get on.

  • Thanks for your comments. You've had it rough, but hopefully now will be the turning point for you. I am surprised your employer didn't make any 'reasonable adjustments' for you when you returned to work. I am hoping mine will.

    Did you have any physiotherapy sessions before you returned to work? How long were you off? What surgery did you have?

    So many questions, sorry!

    I have posted another thread in "Recovering from surgery" relating to my work - if you have any comments about that, I'd be interested to read them (seeing as you also work in an educational environment).

    You take care!

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Yes I did have physio. I had an infection in my wound though so was prevented from exercising until about 6 weeks post op. I think that is why I had such a slow start to my recovery.
    My school is just rubbish. It is a private school run by a head who thinks he is above the law! I e mailed in about my concerns loads before returning and they didn't sort anything for me. In the end I threw my toys out of the pram and some things got better (but too late obv!).

    I had PLIF L5S1 and was only off about 10 and a half weeks. I wish I had been off longer. Most of my recovery was over the winter so walking etc was tough going on the ice!

    I am sure I would be feeling more positive if I felt any support at all from school. They were equally bad when my mom died but that is another story! Staff are just numbers to them!

    Once this infection in my back is sorted I am sure I will get better. Let the good times roll.....

    I replied to your other post by the way.
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