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I'm Scared I Ruined my Fusion



  • Hi Liz. Sorry you are having issues. You should try get in to see the actual surgeon and not just a nurse if you feel strongly about it. Even if just to put your mind at ease. Ask him about the walking....although I am sure he will want you to keep it up. Ask him about what shoes are best. Mine wanted me to wear running shoes that lift up a little at the rear. Not flat soles like skate shoes and definitely not flip flops....my favorite footwear.

    It sucks to have pains come and go after surgery. Recovery from back surgery takes a while and we have all sorts of moments of anxiety...after all we just voluntarily allowed our body's to be forever changed through major surgery with no going back. It is natural to stress from time to time.

    I took a nasty spill less than two weeks after my fusion surgery at L4/5. I had the ALIF done the 1st day and the very next day he flipped me over and did the PLIF. They made me walk around the ward on the 2nd day about several hours after my PLIF. Yikes!!!! It hurt. He made me walk every day and I complied.

    I was out walking when I bit the dust!!! LOL!!! Remember this is about 8 days after surgery.

    I slipped on the slope part of the handicap access portion of the sidewalk. Some hard berries had dropped from a tree that overhung and a slippery layer of dirt had collected there as well. The berries were like marbles.So there was this accumulation of super slippery crud laying there......a disaster waiting to happen to some poor schmuck! The tree was overgrown and low enough that I had to duck.....I'm 6'4" and the stupid branches were a tickle under 5 foot. So I was all out of balance when my foot came down on the berry marbles.

    I don't think it helped that I was wearing flip flops...... :D

    I went down hard and fast. It scared the poop outa me. Check out the bruise down on my foot as well. I took the pic to send over to my surgeon. All I got was a "you'll be fine, be more careful walking dude....but keep walking" from his assistant no less...LOL!!!


    I was certain I had ripped everything he did including all my stitches. I was totally worried about the front one's 'cos that part of the surgery was gnarly.

    I was on the phone to his office within seconds. As soon as I realized I was okay to continue home on foot, I called his office, and then my wife. LOL!!!

    I was fine. I was fully fused at 8 weeks and it reached full hardness after about 10-11 months.

    I am sure you will be fine. Maybe you just strained things a bit and it has radiated into your leg. You just had major surgery....it is going to take a minute. Take it easy and go see your surgeon a soon as he asks you to.

    Here is hoping you are totally fine....rest up and remember to always pay attention getting in and out of bed, off couches etc etc. From bed do the thing they teach you in physio to push up with your arm while your body is on it's side. Never sit up straight from being on your back like the predictable waking corpses always do in the B horror movies.

    All the very best.

  • Duplicate post... my smart phone was acting dumb again.
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  • Val, I'm sorry you had to go thru the surgery again. You are a strong woman! Ho was your appt. with the Dr.? I hope all is ok.

    I've been taking it easier and I do feel better. But with 2 kids, ages 14 and 9, there is SO MUCH to do. Today I am 5 weeks post op and got the ok to drive. I may try a very short drive in town this week, we'll see. I pray, like all of us here, that my nerve pain goes away forever. But even a low-grade level 3 would be somewhat acceptable.

    Thanks for your response!

  • I sat up straight in bed the other day and it was awful, like you said. That movement caused an injury to my back when I was 29 years old -- 20 years ago! I'll never forget it. But sometimes, it's an automatic when you wake up quickly and don't think!

    Anyway, I feel a little better when I rest more. Good luck to you and stay smart and healthy! No more flip flops or shoes without rubber soles for gripping.

  • You are way to early not to hurt. Especially if you are weening off the heavy drugs.

    I can't know for sure how each of us heals. But, I had a lot of pain for three months, then a big jump forward. It is hard to ruin your surgery unless you are doing a lot of repetitive twisting and/or bending. Or, there are complications. I did what ever I could without straining too much. Light housework at one month on. A little more each month. I occasionally overdid it and paid for a day or two. even at 3-6 months I had short relapses. You need 6 to 8 more weeks to really feel an improvement. Even when I thought I was improving at two months, I went thru a period of a lot of lower center back pain when trying to slide to the edge of the bed. That passed too after a few weeks. At six months no restrictions, little discomfort if I over do it, but really, really happy with progress. You will get there, but it is measured in weeks not days as far as telling how it is going. I to felt as if I damaged something and was it ever going to get better. It did.

    Good luck,

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  • Hi Liz,

    I don't know why I missed your post (I'm a crazy broken record, for anybody who has noticed, lol) but anyway we had our surgeries on the same day, remember? Mine was also September 29.

    For reasons yet to be completely understood, I've had relatively severe nerve pain in my right leg ever since surgery. It is the same nerve that was pinched before surgery but apparently my surgeon wasn't expecting it to hurt me MORE after the surgery since he said he opened up a space around that nerve big enough to drive a truck through! Anyway, they started me on Lyrica, which has slowly been increased until I'm taking 375 mg/day--not a huge amount, I realize, but more than they were expecting I would need, I get the feeling. He ordered a CT scan at around week 2 and it showed everything to be in place and nothing broken. He apparently was looking for a broken vertebra.

    I came home in a rigid clamshell brace which is full thoraco-lumbar in range. Quite uncomfortable to wear but it is to keep me from twisting and the support my spine during healing. I only wear it outside the house, when I'm running errands in town or puttering around outside. It was necessary because my bones turned out to be a little on the soft side when he went to put the screws in. My 6-week follow-up appointment is coming up in another week and a half. X-rays will be taken and if there are signs of fusion starting, I won't be required to wear the brace any longer. Naturally, I'm really hoping they see those little specks of cotton on the x-rays!!

    Let us know if your pain subsides, which I really hope it does. But do try not to worry, as others have pointed out. You (we) are still very early in the recovery process and things will likely change for the better for both of us. :)

    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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