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pretty scared

bigpappabbigpappa Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
so i'm scheduled for a spinal fusion on june 8th, and i have to say i'm pretty scared. its not the surgery that bothers me. its the recovery. my back has been hurt for 10 years, and has progressivly gotten worse. i consider myself stubbornly active. i probably do way more then i should. but the time has come to get it fixed. i feel right about it. but the recovery time is lingering with me. i want to recover and get back to the gym and softball. i realize my powerlifting days will be over. but i enjoy those things and am very afraid i'll never be able to do them again....or go crazy waiting for my body to be able to do them again.


  • Follow your doctor's advice and take it easy for a little while, I am sure you will do great.

    For what it's worth, I had a microdiscectomy, and while its minor compared to a fusion, i was really scared about recovery too, but I was out and about the next day.
  • thanks. i appreciate it. this is my first surgery ever and i've been known to be a slight stubborn when it comes to doctor's orders. but even though i know its gonna be rough, i'm really looking forward to it. so that tells me i'm ready, finally
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  • I will likely, but not formally yet, be having a fusion soon after having over ten years of back pain after I fell off my roof. I haven't been able to play softball anymore ever since the injury and it is my hope maybe I would be able to play again one day. I played shortstop in high school and being unable to hardly play anything except for maybe a game of catch (unless it hits the ground) its sad to me. But I too am a little scared of the recovery because it sounds like a bear. But I have resigned myself to it and am just making a list of everything I will need post-op and as soon as the green light is given I will buy my things I need, set up shop and then get the surgery and hopefully my home will be back-surgery-patient friendly.
  • sounds like you're about where i'm at. i've been so active all my life and i'm just scared to death to not be able to ever get back to that
  • Hey there...I have not had a fusion but had a microdiscectomy and it was my first surgery ever. I too was scared.

    All I can say is follow the orders.
    Unlike other injuries, when you start feeling better, don't push or overdo it. Follow the instructions because the back needs time to heal and you'll do more damage if you don't follow orders.
    The toughest part is going from very active to not active for a good 6 weeks to 6 months. But it will pay off.

    I'm 1.5 years out of my 2nd surgery (revision MicroD) and am amazed that I'm almost back in my revised-normal routine (I had to give up running but I am hiking, taking cardio class without jumping, I'm doing light lifting, swimming, and have recently tried biking on flat surfaces).

    Good luck! If you are scared or frustrated with not being able to be out and about...come visit here. We'll keep you entertained during your recovery.
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  • not new to surgeries, but I think this is the biggest one ever, so I understand your concerns and fears for sure. I've had three c sections, an appendectomy, a hernia repaired, discectomy, a tumor removed from an ovary, a oophrectomy, and surgery on my knee, one wrist surgery at age 12 and a hand surgery about 12 years ago or so I guess. Just seems to always be a reason. But the back pain has been my constant companion for a long time. I was not able to be awake when my last child was born because of my back. They could not do an epidural so that they could do the c section while I was awake because of my back problem. They had to put me under general anesthesia instead. It was a bummer, I didnt see her until hours after she was born.

    anyway, off topic! :-) Good luck to you in your upcoming surgery and I truly hope it all goes well for you.
  • Your comments describe "my feelings" a few months ago. I lived with chronic back pain for almost 30 years and resisted/deferred the lumbar fusion until I just could not function anymore. On Jan 21 of this year I had a fusion of L4-S1.

    I have been an avid runner my whole life and my surgeon told me never again unless I wanted to be right back on the operating table. Initially, that was very difficult to accept. It really messed with me mentally. I walked out of his office DEFEATED! But, things are changing after this surgery. I have reprioritized my life. I am understanding that the route to physical wellbeing is not just one path. There are numerous activities that I shall explore. I have learned that I must "pace" myself in life as I did when I was a runner.

    Let me address the recover issue. It is significant. Your life style will change overnight. Everything will SLOW down, and you must accept that. However, the tempo will gradually increase. Some have marked recoveries while others are slower. Be a patient patient. Listen to your doctor and your body.

    One last statement. When I was in the Army I was a jumpmaster in the airborne. My primary task was to ensure that all soldiers safely exited the aircraft (jumped into nothing with total confidence in their training and equipment). Anytime that I saw a soldier who was not scared I would call him aside and speak with him because it was not normal to have no fear prior to that activity. Being scared prior to a major surgery is normal. If you were not scared then you have an additional "issue" besides your vertebrae. Fear is normal. Courage is taking action in spite of that fear.

    I have no regrets for submitting to fusion surgery. It has not been easy and my life has changed, but it had already changed. It's just that now I have hardware in my back and a pretty scar. Add two letters to pretty scar and you get "pretty scared."

    Good luck my friend.
  • Airborne72...wow, you summed it up quite well.

    The biggest challenge was the IMMEDIATE pace change. And, for me, I went for a microdiscectomy so I initially thought the pace change was going to only be for 6weeks or 3 months max. I had already decided to drop my runs to a max of 3 miles but little did I know that I would have to change that.

    I ended up needing a 2nd surgery and during the 2nd recovery, I had a ton more patience. I had my moments but I think it was only then that I accepted that I would have to change my perspective and approach to my active lifestyle if I wanted to stay active at all.

    I realized I had to remove running from my life.
    It was overwhelmingly depressing.
    My PT guy told me to stop removing stuff from my list. He suggested that I should just MOVE it to the bottom of my list. He said this way I won't feel as if I'm losing stuff.

    I tried to challenge him and initially thought "he doesn't get my situation". But then he said to me, I know what you are thinking. But the truth is if someone were chasing you...would you run? I realized the answer was yes. So I guess he was right. Running is at the BOTTOM of my list but if chased in life or death situation...I will indeed run.

    I share this because it was so hard for me to hit the 'off' button for exercising. But it can be done and you can learn how to turn the button back on without going full throttle and putting yourself at risk.

    I still miss running BUT I embrace what I do have...the ability to still be active by hiking, walking, swimming...and I even played golf a few weeks ago. I had to 'cheat' and tee the ball up so I wouldn't risk hitting the ground. I also have to do an improper swing (let my wrists 'break' because I can't twist to follow through) but I'm out there living life and people understand. They are actually just happy I'm out and about even if I can't walk as fast or run anymore.

    You will do ok...it will be hard to believe that in the first few weeks or months but you will do well.
  • He was waiting for a fusion and scared because he had never had an operation of this magnitude before. He had to have the operation and was confident in our choice of surgeon. So here we are 11 months later and everything he did after the surgery has paid off. He spent his time lying or walking for the first several weeks. And it drove him crazy as he is an active guy but he did it. When he was allowed to start PT he was faithful to what they told him and he continued to walk. And gradually and slowly he is being given his life back. He has started golfing again cautiously and he is very active in his workshop. He still needs to be reminded at times of how fortunate he is that he is painfree and mobile so that he does not overdo.
    Listen to what your doctors say and learn patience my friend. The recovery is no picnic but it is better than it was with constant pain. You may not play baseball again but you will have an active life if you 'behave' in the recovery time.
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