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Just found out I am having a spinal fusion done and have some questions

wildfire_101wwildfire_101 Posts: 68
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am not new to this website but i havent written here in a while.. I just wanted some information and thought i would post and see what kinds of responses i got.. so here it goes..lol have to have a smile every now and then.. so i had a discogram about 3 weeks ago and it doesnt matter what anyone tells you about it, as in how much it is going to hurt or vice a versa, you never really know how you are going to react until it actually happens to you.. I read many posts on here about it before i had it done and really freaked myself out before hand. though when i got in there i only had one disc that hurt when they injected it, in which immediately after they gave me a shot of fentynal and the pain subsided.. so needless to say it wasnt near as bad as i thought it was going to be.. but dont get me wrong it is no picnic in the park and the pain lasted for almost 2 weeks after the procedure and i could hardly move.. I finally saw the doctor that did the discogram for me this past Monday and he told me that the pain i have been experiencing all along was duplicated when i did the discogram. In which i was glad to hear that because at least now i know where the pain is coming from. The disc that is affected is L5-S1 and was told that it is pretty much blown and a spinal fusion will more then likely fix my problem. Though i already knew that. That is the reason i had that procedure done was to make sure what they were thinking was correct and it is... I am very nervous to say the least. I go see my regular back doctor this Tuesday and will hopefully find out when i am having the surgery done. I have been doing so many tests for the last year and now i am finally here...I have a few questions that maybe some of you guys can answer or at least give me some advice on.. In July of 2008 i was diagnosed with RSD in my left leg from a knee surgery that went wrong. Basically instead of healing my body attacked itself during the healing process and that was what i was left with.. Along with i lost most of my ROM in that leg as well.. I also have an atrophyed quad muscle in my thigh on that same leg in which leaves me with no strength and i have been in and out of PT for over 2 years now and no one has gotten anywhere with it because i cant work past the pain which is very intense and nothing that i have ever felt before. I am on 300mg of Lyrica a day along with a pain killer that i take 5 times a day and so far still no change.. i had to give the short version of that back story because i have a question will this spinal fusion surgery affect any of that? i know when i had the discogram done my leg flared up terribly for almost 2 weeks.. I am wondering if my recovery process will be a little longer being i have this? And what do you have to do prior to having the surgery to prepare? as in pre op stuff..Just any info in general about the whole thing would be greatly appreciated as in i really dont know anything and have never had to deal with any problems related to my back until now... Thank you very much for reading this and i am so sorry it is so long but wanted to make sure everyone had all the info needed to be able to help give me some advice.. thanks in advance...


  • First of all, I'm sure you know a fusion is no walk in the park, but I had three totally torn discs fixed in one hospital stay (two surgeries) and I managed to survive. Actually, now that it's almost two years later, I can say I feel pretty good. I do get stiff. Of course, I've got a bunch more of my spine fused that you will have. As far as the RSD goes, you never know how or when that will affect you. I can tell you that I've been told I have that in my right ankle. I've also been told I have fibromyalgia. For me, I think those diagnoses are pure poppycock, but you may have reasons to accept your diagnosis. I think all my pain came from a series of injuries, ending with the one that blew out three of my discs. I don't think the back surgery made my ankle hurt any worse, but no one can guarantee that it won't cause problems for your thigh and leg.

    As far as preparing. . . get yourself a grabber, a long-handled shoe horn and some slip-on shoes, learn how to log-roll out of bed. That's about all I did and I made it just fine.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • as for what to do before you have your fusion .if you smoke then STOP NOW {i have } then if you are over weight then try to loose some .i am in the middle of tying to loose 3 stone {about 40 lbs} try to lead a very healthy and stress free life {i know its not easy} but the stronger and fitter you are the better your chances are of fusing and your recovery should be shorter {depending on what fusion you are having} the ALIF is about the biggest and hardest to recover from as its done using the anterior surgical approach {through your abdomen} and back.if you are having this be prepared for a long slow recovery
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  • I was also told by a different pain management doctor then i have now that it was fibromyalgia... but i ended up changing to a new doctor because he had me on so much methadone i couldnt think straight.. and we just couldnt agree on what kind of treatment to do.. and i have 4 children i had to be on something that i was able to function on too.. so needless to say i ended up getting a new pain management doc and we came to an agreement of what kind of treatment to do..in which is the Lyrica and the pain killer that i am on but still able to function during the day...In fact after all this back stuff is taken care of i am going to start discussing with him about neuro stimulation therapy... Which is an implant that they put in and supposably it stops the pain impulses from getting down to my leg... but it will get me off some of the meds that i am but that is a long process to get to as well and i wont even think about it until my back heals well enough to be able to take that.. but that is a whole other story...lol and i do have a grabber already because it hurts so bad now to bend over, so i try not to as much.. and i have plenty of slip on shoes because if i wear anything else my feet get swollen and then they hurt...And yes from what i have heard it depends on the person and their health as in how long it will take to heal.. My mom and sister are both nurses so i get some info from them being they work with people who have some type of surgery everyday...as well as my mother in law was also a nurse and she also tells me a few things.. her sister had this type of surgery a few years ago and i guess she bounced back quite fast and had really no problems and no pain and still doesnt.. but she is as healthy as a horse from what i hear... they live in Florida and i live on the west coast so dont see them much..But at the moment i have high cholestrol and my blood pressure bounces back and forth from high to normal and i just found out that i have high blood sugar and are riding the line of being a diabetic... so i am not exactly the healthest person walking around but hopefully that all wont affect the healing process much.. anyway thank you again for at least reading my post and answering a few questions.. every little bit of info i get helps settle my nerves a little bit...
  • They are going through my back to do mine not through my abdomen..and yes i am a smoker and i did quit not to long ago for about 4 months but my hubby couldnt kick the habit for stress related reasons from work and then i started up again.. though i am not smoking near as much as i used to.. I just started an anti depressant a month ago and since i have been on that smoking just doesnt taste good for some reason.. so i have cut down alot.. and i am working toward quitting all together... and yes i am a little bit over weight and really need to lose 45 to 50 pounds.. but that gets me to where i want to be but to be at a normal weight i need to lose 35 pounds...But my hubby is no help there either.. he is the biggest junk food eater i know...he is 6'2 and 220 so he could afford to lost a little too.. but we'll just keep that between us...lol
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