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Surgery in one week

jetskierjjetskier Posts: 19
edited 01/09/2014 - 10:20 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, I am a newbie. I have had two Laminectomies about 10 years/11 years ago. They helped a little but really not much. The last six months I have been in extreme pain and the doctor is doing a Minimal Lumbar fusion with hardware (just one). I have been reading a lot (Probably too much) and so many different answers. He said I would be in the hospital one-two days. I have friends staying with me for two weeks as I live alone and have two cats to worry
about. I am a little worried about what to expect after that. I think I'll post my questions in a list and please feel free to give me your opinion on what you think!

1) will I be able to feed my cats after 2 weeks?
2) Doctor mentioned going back to work after 3 weeks and this is what I told my boss?
3) This is the big question... I jets ski in a group. We ride only smooth water, I do no
lifting, just ride. Do you think in 3 months I can do this or a chance I can?? This is my
favorite thing to do. No horseplay just smooth riding.
4) I think mostly I am worried about how to take care of myself or much can I do or bend at
the knees to feed my babies??

Your input is greatly appreciated. I have friends that will help after that but I can't expect them to
be there full-time after 2 weeks.



  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 01/09/2014 - 11:05 AM
    Sorry to hear that your pain has increased and that you now need a lumbar fusion.

    Although a minimal fusion has a smaller incision, the work done inside is the same and you will still need to be careful not to over do it and to allow your spine to fuse.

    Having friends with you for the first two weeks will be a great help.

    There is a thread at the top of the Back and Neck Surgeries area about useful items to have for surgery. Apart from useful items to help you during the early recovery, reading it will give you an idea or some of your likely problems. Don't panic when you see how long the list is, it covers neck as well as lumbar spine surgeries.


    I decided to post the link! :-)

    To try to answer your questions :

    1) Generally after a fusion, we are told not to bend, lift or twist for 3 months to let the fusion process get underway without stressing it. It may be possible to use a grabber to lift up the bowl, fill it at counter level and then replace it using the grabber again. Do you have a grabber? If not, you are going to need at least one! I actually had 3 (I borrowed 2 and bought 1) I had one downstairs, one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom. It is amazing how often you will drop things and want to pick them up. I have even read of members who dropped their grabber and had to use another one to pick it up! I used to use mine to reach up to close the top window as I couldn't stretch up. I actually still use mine for this now.

    2) All depends what your job is. I personally think that 3 weeks after a fusion surgery before going back to work is nowhere near long enough. It is not unusual for surgeons to give a much shorter recovery time than is actually needed. What is your job? Do you have to do lifting? Or sitting for a long time? I hope others will give you their opinion about this. I had 5 months off work for my lumbar fusion and laminectomy but I was a Teaching Assistant and my job required lots of bending. I needed all that time off! For my 2 level neck fusion I had 3 months off work. Again because my job involved lots of looking down. Think about what will happen if you can't go back until later. Work out a strategy beforehand. Make sure that your surgeon knows what is involved with your job and check with him. There are members who do go back to work quite quickly. Often they struggle at first but manage, other times they have to have more time off.

    3) At 3 months your fusion will only just be getting underway. I think 6 months would be more realistic but again check with your surgeon. If you can ask someone else too do as your surgeon may underestimate how long the recovery takes. Although you say you only ride on smooth water, something could happen to make you fall. Believe me, you want to give this surgery its best chance to heal and fuse so you don't have to repeat it. Generally they say that it takes a full year to fuse properly.

    4) After two weeks I think that you will cope on your own, but having friends to call for help occasionally if you need it will be good. If you are flexible you will probably manage quite well by beding your knees and squatting to do low down things. I used to do that though and really flared up pain in my knees and they haven't been the same since. It sounds like you are younger than me so hopefully that won't be a problem.

    Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

    Have you seen there is a thread for people having their surgery in January?


    I suggest that you join it and get to know the others. Having the support of people who are going through the recovery alongside you can be very helpful and chatting with them will help to pass the time.

    Do ask if you think of any other questions. :-)

  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 765
    edited 01/09/2014 - 12:21 PM
    Hello and welcome - I hope you'll find this forum as helpful as I have. It's a great resource.

    I think that living alone you will definitely face some challenges, particularly the first week home from the hispital. If you have a good friend or a relative that has offered to live with you for those first difficult days, I would highly encourage you to accept the offer. For me, the hardest things to manage myself post-surgery were:

    -showering : wrapping my incisions to waterproof them was tough, especially my back incisions.
    -dressing : putting in and taking off shoes and socks especially
    -getting in/out of bed, re-positioning in bed, getting up from sitting etc
    -taking care of my cats: I have had my husband do all of the car related chores

    I've needed every single day of my recovery that I've had off so far (3weeks), and will have at least an additional 3 off for sure.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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  • Thanks for the help. I did buy a grabber today and will look over the list. I have slowly Been getting ready and will do more this weekend. My job is no lifting but sitting all day, working on the computer. I do have the ability to get up as much as I need. I also can take off longer but the boss won't be happy. I am going to move everything up I can this weekend.

    Thanks for the link, I'll join right way. I am glad my friends have arranged help for the first two weeks. I'll check with the doctor on everything. Thanks so much, appreciate the help.
  • I have had many fusions and I live alone. I have 4 cats but had 6 during a couple of my surgeriesI borrowed a long narrow table from work to put the cat food and water on. I did not have to bend over to feed them and they figured it out very quickly. It was a little lower than my kitchen counter and since it is only about a foot deep it doesn't take up much space. I also used
    some scrap plywood and those concrete cinder blocks and made a platform for the cat boxes since my cats are all old and stay indoors.

    Put the cat food on the long table and put everything you may need as far as cooking etc at counter top level. A grabber is essential. I found a shower bench and safety bar to be of great help. I am short and have a jacuzzi tub so this made it easier to get into the shower and then to sit and not get tired standing.

    I went back to work at 3 weeks after all my fusions except the last 2 which were my SI joints and since I had to be partial weight bearing for 3-6 weeks it took longer. I am very active and returned to swimming as soon as the incisions healed. It is great to be weightless.

    Of course ask your doctor about your activity level. I teach skiing in the winter and have been able to return to doing that. I can ride my bike but no running because of the jarring. Total healing takes a long time. I build bone really well and have a very sold fusion. Your doctor will be able to monitor this with xrays.

    Follow the rules of no bending etc etc. It is good you have someone to be with you at first. It is hard but it gets easier. Just remember it takes a long time. You will be back to your activities but they may have to be modified at first. Be patient and know that you be better and stronger in the future.

    Good luck and keep us posted. Feel free to ask me any other questions.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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  • I would be nervous about jet skiing at 3 months. I am 3 months since my fusion. I live in FL and we went on our boat on the river this weekend. I was terrified whenever we came near a wake and made my husband slow down. We have a jet ski too, but I'm not sure if I'll even go on it this summer.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
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