Re: xlif for L4-L5 plif for L5-S1
I am so very sorry for all you are going through. I don't mean to sound like a idiot, but what exactly is cliff and plif? I hurt my back 18yrs ago when I was only 26. I was a coach, physical Ed teacher and assistant athletic director at a small private school - which was actually the school I went to Hig School at. It happened when I was outside on lunch duty with the Middle schoolers. A completely out of the blue thing...the kids asked me to swing on the swings with them, unknown to them or me, the swing I got on was actually broken. So I swung for a few minutes and then one side of the seat fell out from under me and I went flying to the ground, feet up and landed on the hard ground smack on my low back. It took over a year for a dr to be able to tell me what was the matter with me - although I was in agony constantly and literally told the dr's it felt like something was sticking out in my low back. I had also been doing pt 3x's a week for over 6 months, wore a corset for 3 months had X-rays, mri, bone scan all to no avail . After 4 different dr's, I found one that said everything needed to diagnose me was in all the tests I had already had done. Anyway, I had a discectomy , fusion done at L5/S1 without hardware. Didn't start pt for about 4-5 months. 3 months of pt and I felt I couldn't do any more, the pain was too much so I had a ct scan done. The result- there wasn't a solid fusion. Soon a couple months later, back into surgery I had to go.this time, in order to make sure there wasn't going to be an issue with me actually achieving a successful fusion, the dr decided the best thing was to basically do 2 surgeries - an anterior/ posterior fusion of L5/S1 with a laminectomy, donor bone and more bone from my hip. That too was a VERY long surgery at 10hrs.
As far as recovery, things have probably changed in 18 yrs , especially as far as technic and how much they have to open you up...the more they open you, the longer the recovery will be. Back then, they had to do a 6" incision on my low back as well as a 6" incision on my abdomen which starts about 2" to the left of my belly button and goes down. My 1st surgery only had the incision in my back. Your body will need time to heal. It sounds like you had always kept yourself in very good shape prior to getting hurt, which is a really good thing. It's really important that you do not do things during the healing phase that you shouldn't . I found things I never thought of we're issues...reaching for a cereal bowl on the top shelf, trying to lift a gallon of milk, even a half gallon of OJ. Of course it's gonna seem like you suddenly drop things more than normal, only because you can't really bend to pick them up! Walking my big dogs was an issue. This may sound silly, but using the restroom...if the toilet is low is actually difficult as well. after my 1st surgery, i didnt do anything about that, but after the 2nd, I got one of those things that you put on the seat that makes it higher - boy, what a difference! You will initially be very tired, it can take a long while to get your energy back. Going through the anesthesia alone can be a lot for your body, especially if your under for a long time. I would definitely have that discussion about why he is choosing to do 2 different procedures while in there. My dr changed it to anterior/posterior , initially my 2nd surgery was supposed to only be anterior (through my stomach). A positive attitude goes a long way in your healing. Do you have a support system around that will be able to help you out at all? Take your time, don't rush things and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Good luck with everything.