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November 2016 360 Spinal Fusion L4/L5

I am scheduled to have both ALIF and PLIF procedures on Nov. 18th 2016. i have DDD and was born with my L5/S1 fused. I have been having experiencing progressively worsening lower back pain for sometime.

I stumbled upon this website in one of my desperate attempts to prepare myself for my upcoming surgery. I have never been on a forum or blogged. I am hoping to find a support system and as much useful information as possible in this group.
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Comments

  • lrwashkollrwashko Canton, CTPosts: 32
    Hi Stacey_lea_pea - I am having L5/S1 (PLIF) fusion surgery on Nov. 9, 2016. This is my last resort - I tried PT, shots, and chiropractors. Nothing has given me relief. I have pain in my lower left back going down into my butt and leg - along with tingling and numbness in lower leg and foot. I've had the pain for almost 2 years and it is gradually getting worse. I saw three neurosurgeons who all agreed that this is best for me - they say I need to fix the structure before it gets worse. I am 54 and have been very active all my life - soccer, softball, working out, and running. This all stopped about two years ago but I have been able to walk and do light weights with lots of reps to keep in shape. Being active is a blessing and a curse - it keeps you in shape but wears out your structure. The doctors tell me that because I am in such good shape, I will be better off in the long run. I am scared but I am confident that this is what needs to be done to get me out of every day pain. There is lots of useful information on this site. I have found a few new "friends" that are helping me with their discussions about what to expect after surgery, what to do and not to do, etc.. Good luck with your surgery on Nov. 18. Keep in touch.
  • LeeLeeMccDeeLLeeLeeMccDee Boston MAPosts: 171
    Hi Stacey and Irwashko! I too had APLIF like you're having Stacey 3 yrs ago. I had a lot of issues with my actual surgery and recovery. Bottom line is basically I didn't fuse at one of the levels and have had hardware failure within the past year So I am scheduled for a 3 level revisional fusion on Nov 28th. Just because I had issues doesn't mean all surgeries have poor outcomes The waiting is the hardest part and the tension and anxiety about the unknown can drive anyone bonkers I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have since it sounds like you're having the same type of surgery I had 3 yrs ago. At any rate please keep me up to date with your progress, surgery etc. not a whole lot of people can understand what it's like unless they've walked in our shoes....
    Take good care!
    LeeLee
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello stacey_lea_pea !

    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Hello.....
    You may be interested in reading....Post Op Must Haves....and ....Recovery the Most Important Phase...
    They can be found by using search, upper right on page.

    Search is also very helpful for any of your concerns..ex...your type of surgery...you may be led to current or older discussions.
    You may be led to medical side with articles and videos.
    Very informative!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • lrwashkollrwashko Canton, CTPosts: 32
    Hi LeeLee - you are SO right that waiting is the hardest part. Tomorrow is the day for me. L5/S1 fusion PLIF. At this point, although I am scared and nervous, I want to do it, get over the worst and get on with healing and feeling better. I will let you know how it goes.
    Lisa
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  • LeeLeeMccDeeLLeeLeeMccDee Boston MAPosts: 171
    Irwashko!! Good luck tomorrow! I will sending good vibes your way. You'll do great.....
    Be waiting to hear from you after your surgery. :)
    LeeLee
  • lrwashkollrwashko Canton, CTPosts: 32
    Hi LeeLee - I am home - discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon. The Dr said the surgery went well and he was happy with my progress so he sent me home. Was great to sleep in my own bed and no nurses checking vital signs every 2 hrs. As everyone has said, the first week after surgery is the worst. I sure hope so, because it's pretty bad. Ice is my friend and has helped with the pain. I have developed pain going down both legs -something I didn't have in the hospital. But I've been told it's normal because of all the trauma to the nerves. I am drinking tonic water everyday - which is supposed to help with leg cramps. Overall, the pain is not as bad as I thought it would be but it is excruciating at times. But so far, every day had been better and I hope it continues that way. As I start my recovery, I am being very careful not to bend or twist. I have to wear a very constricting brace when I am up and walking. Mostly just a reminder not to bend or twist. I do not want to jeopardize the repair. Did you have pain going down your legs after surgery. It is a totally different pain than I had in the left leg before surgery. The pain is so bad sometimes, that I can barely walk but after 10 or steps, it's a little bit better. Still too early to tell if the surgery worked but I haven't had the tingling in my lower left leg and foot since the surgery so I think that's a good sign.
  • LeeLeeMccDeeLLeeLeeMccDee Boston MAPosts: 171
    Hey Lisa! Welcome home! So you were only in the hospital 3 days? That's not a long stay, fusion wise. You must have been doing really good for them to release you within that time. I remember that sciatic pain post surgery and it can be more intense then pre-surg sciatic pain and different too. It's quite normal but can make you feel like having surgery was a mistake. Be patient...it WILL get better. You'll have bad periods of time but they should be less and less as time goes by and you're able to walk and move around more. Hang in there!! Sounds like you're doing all the right things. Are they managing your pain ok?
    LeeLee
  • lrwashkollrwashko Canton, CTPosts: 32
    LeeLee - It was about 2 1/2 days if you count the surgery day - which started around 1:00p by the time I got into surgery. I was released at noon on Friday, so that wasn't even a full day. Yes, the doctor said I was doing very good and would recover better at home. I doing okay with pain - I have cut the meds from 4mg every 4 hrs to 2mg every 6 hrs. I also take a muscle relaxer every 6 hours. The biggest pain, beside the incision, is the sciatic type pain down my hips and legs. But they have subsided a little bit and come and go. I have read that a lot of people have different types of pain after surgery that they didn't have before. So, I will be patient. I called the doctor and he didn't seem concerned, said it was normal. I know this is just the beginning so I will take it one day at a time. I am an active person and I am getting bored already. I am reading a book and doing some puzzle books. I have to find more things to do. Any ideas? Thanks for the words of encouragement.
  • LeeLeeMccDeeLLeeLeeMccDee Boston MAPosts: 171
    I know exactly what you mean about boredom. Weird thing is that you feel like time is going really slow then before you know it, 3 months has gone by. Anyway, what I remember doing is getting into a series like "MadMen" or "Sons of Anarchy" or "Walking Dead" what ever spikes your interest, and watching from start to end. Adult coloring books are great. I actually do that once in awhile anyway if I'm really bored. There are a lot of free courses online if you Google what your interested in. Otherwise I would read or play games on the computer or sleep!!
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