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6w out from T9-Pelvis fusion returning to work Monday...help!

Hello all, I posted a few times prior to my surgery and haven't since. I think I stayed away from fear of reading anything scary.

On Tuesday it will be 6w since my T9-pelvis fusion. I'm out of paid time off at work and they offer no benefits (STD or LTD) so if I want to be paid I have to return.

My doctor did say it was early for the consideration of the major surgery I had and that if I wanted to go the STD or LTD route on my own (since work doesn't have these benefits he'd help). But I also understand that process isn't overnight and unfortunately we are a two income household that relies on both incomes. (And disability doesn't even pay 100% from my understanding).

I work a desk position and they are unwilling to let me come back "part time". Their expectation is that when I come back I'm able to function and do my duties and not use this as a crutch. Not that I want pity, but some understanding.

I've been out of the house a handful of times since my surgery, but for anyone that has had this surgery you can probably relate that even the little things are tiring. Even a few hours of running some errands (shopping...something enjoyable!) can completely wipe me out. Going back to work isn't going to afford me the luxury of taking a nap every few hours.

Does anyone have any advice? Did anyone go back to a desk job this soon? Any tips on how to survive. I'm literally full of anxiety thinking about it. Even thinking about waking up and going through the process of showering, fixing my hair/makeup, putting on "real" clothes. Then walking back into a job that can be a stressful environment. All while putting on a smile and not allowing my recovery to bleed into the expectations of my job.

I think (after now having this surgery) 6w is too soon, but I also like to have money to pay my bills. So any advice would be more than appreciated.

Thanks!
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Comments

  • You won't know if you don't try.... I went back at 7 weeks....it wasn't easy... the first few months weren't easy, but it made me much stronger. Best of luck to you!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I also have a desk job, but my company has very good benefits. I was on STD when I went back and the doc released me to work 2- 4 hours per day. Most days, I worked 3 hours. I'm up to 6 hrs now, but if I had to, I could work 8. My STD runs out on April 8, and I would then go on LTD, but I'm fine to work 8 hrs at this point.

    Do you have a brace? If so, wear it to work everyday. Ask them to provide you with an ergonomically correct chair, if you don't already have one. Ask them to provide you with a foot rest, if you don't already have one. Do you get breaks or a lunch time? Use those to rest in your car. Do anything you can to get thru it. Best of luck!
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
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  • LeeLeeMccDeeLLeeLeeMccDee Boston MAPosts: 171
    hi texas girl, i am so sorry to hear about your situation. i had two level lumbar alif on november 13th,2013 and had a complication with the cage spacer used for grafting material at l5/s1 (it was a size too big causing the disc above to fracture and collapse. at 5 weeks post-op there was no way in hell i could have gone back to work. you really have a difficult choice to make but bottomline is that your health comes first. have you checked into fmla which gives a person up to 12 weeks of leave ( family medical leave act that protects you from being "let go" legally for you or a family member that can not work due to illness and other extenuating situations) there are certain regulations but here is the government link to the
    fmla guidelines: https://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm
    please let me know how it works out for you. and when all is said and done and you are feeling human again, the first thing i would do is find an employer with more understanding who will work with you instead of against you and have benefits like std/ltd. the best of luck to you.
  • LeeLeeMccDeeLLeeLeeMccDee Boston MAPosts: 171
    edited 03/24/2014 - 2:00 AM
    hi texas girl, i am so sorry to hear about your situation. i had two level lumbar alif on november 13th,2013 and had a complication with the cage spacer used for grafting material at l5/s1 (it was a size too big causing the disc above to fracture and collapse. at 5 weeks post-op there was no way in hell i could have gone back to work. you really have a difficult choice to make but bottomline is that your health comes first. have you checked into fmla which gives a person up to 12 weeks of leave ( family medical leave act that protects you from being "let go" legally for you or a family member that can not work due to illness and other extenuating situations) there are certain regulations but here is the government link to the
    fmla guidelines: https://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm
    please let me know how it works out for you. and when all is said and done and you are feeling human again, the first thing i would do is find an employer with more understanding who will work with you instead of against you and have benefits like std/ltd. the best of luck to you.
  • RubyTuesdayRRubyTuesday Posts: 195
    edited 03/24/2014 - 2:10 AM
    LeeLeeMccDee said:
    RubyTuesday said:
    Your symptoms sound very similar to what mine were. I started everyday with 800 mg of ibuprofen (not that it helped all that much), couldn't walk any distance, wasn't able to do my favorite thing - shopping!, sitting and lying down were the only things I could do comfortably. I have a 5 year old grandson and I couldn't get down on the floor to play with him or play in the yard like he would ask me to do when he came over. I finally couldn't take it anymore and I didn't want him to grow up remembering how his grandpa ran and played with him while his grandma just sat in the chair. I went thru the ESI's without even a tiny bit of relief, never was prescribed PT, had the MRI and went back to the neurosurgeon that I used in 2008 for a synovial cyst. He told me I could have the surgery now or risk damaging the nerves forever and make things worse. I opted for the surgery and haven't regretted it. Sure, the recovery was tough, I have bad days here and there, but I was able to take a long walk with my grandson last weekend and that made it totally worth it!

    I can't advise you whether or not you should have the surgery, I'm just telling you my story. Good luck with whatever you decide! :-)

    Ruby Tuesday, I love reading your encouraging comments. I have your symptoms as well. There are many out there that are in worse condition than me so I questioned whether I should wait until symptoms got worse or have surgery now. I will be 70 in April and decided to have the surgery while I am still fairly healthy. I am scheduled for April 16th (postponed by dr from 3/24, darn it) and hope I come out of it as positive as you are.

    LeeLee
    I'm pretty sure this comment came from Natonia, not you. The boards are really messed up this morning. Some of my comments are missing altogether.
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
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  • I wrote something to LeeLee, but Liz's post came thru as mine....lol. Thanks Liz!
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
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