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Going to have surgery soon and need support

Hi am Jay and am 34F and I have been living with back pain since 2007 and now some time this year will be having surgery. I have  arthritis from my L-3 to my tail bone, I have bulging disc in my L-4&L-5 , I have two pinched nerves one on each side, I'm always in pain in my lower back with inflammation , I get sharp pains in my legs from the pinched nerves , I have weakness in my right leg.. I have done physical therapy , shots, lost weight, stretching and nothing has worked. Had an MRI done in January 2016 and then another in August  and things have gotten worse and so has the pain , I can't stand or sit to long no matter what I do  am  always in pain...I go on 9/29/16 to find out the date of my surgery , I have two people who will be supporting me more physically vs emotionally but I need both cuz  I have read so many horror story's about the L4L5 fusion I was told that they will be putting two rods in and screws in my back... I'm terrified and just want someone to tell me if its as bad as i have heard , and to help me get thru the recovery process emotionally?  what will it be like the recovery? I will be alone most of the day cuz my children will be school , i just need a buddy so that we can go thru this togethere and actually knows what am going to go thru vs someone telling me that everything I feel is in my head . Any advise or tips or support will be greatly appreciated . Thanks and thank you for taking the time to read my story 


  • Hello Jay
    Your not going to be alone, many have had a procedure like yours and wil be glad to share the experience.
    You have a Spiney Family now who will understand the ups and downs.

    Please click the welcome message to get more info and resources here on Spine Health!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • MagistraMarlaMMagistraMarla San Antonio, TexasPosts: 217
    Hi Jay,
    I had L3/L4 and L4/L5 fusion in April, 2015.  The L4/L5 segment fused, but the L3/L4 didn't.  Therefore, I'll be having a revision surgery on October 25 to repair L3/L4, strengthen L4/L5 and fuse L5/S1, which has a Bertolotti's segment.
    I was just given my definite surgery date last week.  We may be going through this at close to the same time.
    I know from experience that it is very difficult emotionally to be alone all day after coming home from spine surgery.
    The emotional rollercoaster really caught me by surprise. 
    I know how important the emotional help will be for you.  Feel free to communicate with me whenever you like.
    I've already told friends who ask what they can do to help to just come by to talk with me for a while or to take me for a walk.  You will need to walk to help the fusion to happen.  I know that I didn't do enough of that because I was alone and despondent during the day.  Do you have any friends or relatives who might be willing to do that?
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  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 72
    Hi Jay, 

    You are not alone. I am having a Fusion L4 L5 on the 26th. I am very nervous about all this as well. There are lots of wonderful success stories here at Spine health. They have helped to calm some of my fears and even though we don't know each other we can all understand what our families will not. Lots of support here 24 hours a day. 

    Feel free to keep in contact anytime. Positive mental attitude will go a long way on your recovery.
  • HI Jay,  You and I sound a lot a like in diagnosis.  I have felt so much better (psychologically. Lol) just reading the success stories.  A friend of mine is a PT that has had an 8 hour Scoliosis surgery and said to completely stay away from the horror stories.  Who knows why they had problems, but stay positive and focus on your own success story.  Visualize the success.  I am working on helping to manage my pain with my procedure on October 17th with meditation exercises.  One guy said he had his family put headphones on with soothing meditation music on as soon as he returned from recovery.  Said it helped tremendously.  So....sounds like a good plan to me. :)  Keep us posted!
  • NotMeNNotMe Denmark, EuropePosts: 73
    Hi Jay
    I sure understand you. I was scared to H.. , when surgery was first mentioned. I just wanted to run away, making everything go away. I started reading about it on the internet and got even more scared. This forum is good. Nobody are trying to fool you and say it's a piece of cake, but there's lots of success stories and lots of fellow back pain patients going through the same. 
    I had a L5/S1 fusion with rods and screws etc 8 days ago (October 7th). I'm in the midst of recovering. I'm getting tremendous support from my fellow buddies in the October surgery buddies, where I've written almost every day since the operation. Look in there, maybe the updates from me and the other buddies can give you a picture of how it can be. 
    You're not alone with those thoughts, if you keep in contact with us here. 
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  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 72
    Happy to hear your recovery is going so well Not Me
  • NotMeNNotMe Denmark, EuropePosts: 73
    Thanks, RAM. Yes, I feel it's going the right way, but very slowly. I struggle to be careful with my back in order not to damage anything.
    How are you doing? I saw that you wrote that you're still on pain killers 3 weeks after operation. Is that on the same dose as in the beginning or have you been able to reduce it a bit? And what can you do by now? Do you walk? And how much?
    I've been told to expect to need strong pain killers ( morphine) for 3-6 weeks and Tylenol (acetaminophen) for much longer (maybe for a year). They also said that most patients need extra pain killers when starting PT after the 3 months (where the bones are supposed to heal). So I am expecting it be a long and hard road. 
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 72
    Someone here said its not a race it's a marathon, so true. You have to pace yourself. Nerves need rest and so do we. I am a mover so I understand the boredom and hating others doing the work. If you overdo you are the one that pays so keep your steady pace. Your doing great.

    I am only taking Percoset every 5 to 6 hours and muscle relaxers every 6. I was taking the painkillers every 4 hours like clockwork when I got home. Tried to cut down this week and it was a no go. I won't make myself miserable, I know better.  I am still having some issues with sciatica and numbness so I'm staying status quo until I see the surgeon on Thursday. I do walk but only inside most of the time, too hot here. I have started to do a little cooking with help the last few days but it's hard to forget to not bend or twist. My doctor fitted me with a brace and I use it for walking outside and when I cook. Reminds me to be good.

    Oh I forgot I went to the supermarket and rode in the scooter and helped my husband shop. Very exciting stuff. LOL It was nice to get out into the world. 

    Have a great Sunday
  • NotMeNNotMe Denmark, EuropePosts: 73
    RAM, if you've got pain while taking the meds, it doesn't sound like the time for reducing the amount. I don't know Percocet and had to look it up. It said that it is important to taper off the treatment and that Percocet comes in different strengths. I was told to reduce with just a fraction of the total daily dose each time and give it some days to settle before next reduction. Be careful when you start reducing your medication to taper it off. It's supposedly an awful experience if you don't. 

    Lol. Riding that scooter sounded great. We don't have motorized shopping carts or scooters here. I look forward both to be able to cook and to see the world out there again. 
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