My name is Jennifer. I am from New Jersey. I have been looking for a forum so that I have the opportunity to talk to people about what I am going to go through with back surgery. And my mother happened to find your site this morning. This is GREAT!!!
So in 20 days (March 8th) I am having back surgery. A two level fusion. I am a little nervous. But my family is more afraid then anything.
I was in a car accident four years ago and after all kinds of alternative treatment, I am in more pain this past year then I have ever been in. After seeing a surgeon who told me I had a fracture, I started researching for the best possible surgeon in the NY area. And I found him. SO my confidence is in him 100%, it is the recovery and outcome I am very afraid of.
I read and hear things about so many people having more then one surgery to correct their problem, or those who have more pain now then pre surgery.
How do you know you are making the right choice for the rest of your life?
I am having the surgery perfromed by Dr. Frank Camissa. Has anyone else ever had their surgery with him?
I am really excited to continue reading more on this site and finding situations I can relate to.
Where exactly is the fracture? I ask b/c 4 years is an awfully long time for a fracture not to heal (even it healed itself incorrectly). Back surgery is a tough thing...no matter how you look at it. In a case of a fracture, surgery may become the only option. The success rate of back surgeries (meaning the percentage of people who are "better" after having them), I'm sure you know is not that high. Most still complain of pain, or even more pain, after having had back surgery. I'm assuming that you and your parents have gotten a second opinion regarding this fracture and the need for surgery. If this surgery is a must, then continue to find out as much as you can about the doctor, the surgery, and any recommendations for post-surgery recovery.
I am sure you have 2 or more medical opinions on this matter, it sounds like you did your research. Back surgery should be your last resort, as I am sure it is. You can read on here how some people say it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be, and some didn't need much help the first week or two during recovery at home, and then there are some of us who thought it couldn't get any worse. It is a very painful surgery and recovery is slow. Alot of us heal in our minds alot faster than what are bodies are doing and it really can mess with you. Emotionally (sp?) it can be a struggle. I think every one agrees, great attitude and positive thinking pulls you through the hard times. I am three mos. post op 2 level 360 fusion (second time around ), the difference this time I feel better mentally, I am really positive, I am in such a better place. Long story about how I was last time (don't want to bore you). If you have decided on the surgery and you have a date set, then do whatever it is that makes you happy and store away all the good stuff in your heart and mind and pull it back out during your recovery. It helps, hope this made some sense. I didn't realize that I started to ramble. Take Care of your self! God Bless
Thanks Jean....that was very nice happy thoughts you shared
I have had two opinions. And I dug deep to find the best guy I could. I look at this surgery to be like open heart. When someone messes around with you back, it is just as big of a deal.
I am definetly trying to look at the postives and really not think much about it. I know my family and friends concerns, but everyone is behind me. I just worry about becoming depressed sitting home. I have a hard time sitting still. So the adjustment and recovery will be the hardest for me. Not so much the surgery itself. I am looking at this whole thing as a chance to start over. Not only with my back and the pain, but my mental outlook on life.
Sp I have to ask, 2 months post surgery, how are things looking as a whole? do you feel better and still happy with your original decision??
I am really looking to for advice from people on how they made it through the long recovery and an idea what to expect.
Jennifer, I am 6 weeks post-op from a 2 level fusion. I thought long and hard about it and got multiple opinions before I had it done. It is a life-changing decision. Jean is right, a positive attitude makes a huge difference. I have healed really quickly, and my doctor thinks a lot of it is due to my positive attitude. The recovery has been a tough process for me. Not because of pain (I have had almost none since about 2 weeks post-op), but because I have a hard time sitting around doing nothing. You have to realize that recovery from a surgery like this is going to take a long time. That has been one of the hardest things for me to accept. I was lucky in the fact that I was doing so well my doctor allowed me to go back to work part-time at 2 weeks post-op, and I had to be REALLY careful about what I did. At first I only did 2-3 hours a day, and now I have worked up to about 4-6 hours a day. Not everyone is this lucky, sometimes it takes months for people to go back to work.
To answer one of your other questions, I am very happy I had this surgery done. It was really the only way I could get my life back. I had tried everything that I could possibly try. It turned out to be a good thing I made the decision to have surgery, because when my surgeon got in there, he found a fracture that had not shown up on any of the diagnostics and more damage than he had originally thought. I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other- just sharing my experience with you. Sorry I've gone on for so long, and kind of jumped around! Good luck- you'll find lots of great support here!
I am two months post op from a two level 360 degree lumbar interbody fusion of L4-5 and L5-S1. I am doing great, though still on some pain meds (I also have neck pain too so that is also part of the reason). I had DDD in both discs and they were def the reason I had so much pain and fatigue. I wanted to be able to have as much of a normal life as possible, and with my pain levels, I knew I wouldn't. I couldn't do so much and at 27 that is a long life to lead not doing much or being happy. When I woke up it was the worst pain I had ever had (I had a front and back incision ). I had severe spasms every time I moved, getting up SUCKED. I was up walking the day after surgery, by day three I was up going to the bathroom by myself. I was in for six days, but when I went home did not need the walker. Hubby helped me to shower, but I could dress myself except for shoes and socks. At two weeks, it seems many of us hit a pain wall and feel like nothing worked, but so far we have all worked through that. I am walking at 3.3 mph on the threadmill for thirty mins a day. I wear a brace when I am up and a bone growth stimulator. I am so very happy with how I am doing. I wanted to tell you I started a thread for surgery sucess stories, you should check it out and see for yourself. Of course, you must always remember that we all heal differently, we all handlel pain differently. There is no text book way for any of this. I wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery and we are here if you need anything. Dont' worry if you get really scared all of a sudden too. Even though this was my sixth surgery (second on my back) and I wanted it, even I got freaked out. So, best wishes to you!
Hi, Jennifer...welcome to the boards. It sounds like you did your homework and looked for a very good doctor. Having faith in your choice is a big step towards a successful surgical outcome. You asked how you know you are doing the right thing? Well, when you have exhausted every avenue, when you aren't getting good pain relief, when your pain is interfering with every aspect of your life, then there really isn't a lot of choices left. No one wants surgery, and if they do, then they have a mental problem....sometimes we accept that surgery is what we have to do and sometimes the pain is so ferocious we will welcome anything to relieve it. I know my pain was so bad that even a bullet would have been okay.
Everyone heals differently; as long as you follow doctors orders you should progress at a rate that is right for your body. Usually though, by 2 months, you are well along in the healing process.
I wish you great luck and great success....and hope that the surgery is a success and that you have a completely uneventful recovery.
Your main concern seems to be what to do while homebound. First, know that your experience will be unique depending on many factors - your age, general health, procedure done, etc . So what you feel like doing will vary from all of us here on the board. One thing I found helpful was to prepare my home for my return. In part this meant putting activities that I might feel like doing within my reach. The other helpful thing was to get into kind of a routine everyday. Whatever that is. Wake up, flip on the Today show to check it out, put on brace and get up, breakfast, let dog out, get paper, read it, shower, pick up what I could of the house. take brace off, recline and rest, put on brace and get back up, walk walk walk etc. Whatever. It made parts of the days go fast and got me thru the first few weeks. I am now back to work part time and look forward to my rest periods. Something I never did before! The hardest time of the day for me is evenings. Since it is winter and dark I feel more housebound then and all there is to do is stuff I have already done that day. But I make it and you will too. Good luck and God bless you
Hopefully you & your dr. explored ALL the non-op options. I'm assuming, given the timeframe, you have done that.
As far as the fusion, hopefully you've picked the one that's the best for you and will have the best success rate. Graft and BMP, I've heard, are the most successful.
Although I had an IDET (non-op) for my Annular Tear and DDD, I was required to wear a lumbar brace and stand at work for 2 months!
So, my only REAL ADVICE is to go above and beyond your dr. recommendations!!!!! VERY IMPORTANT! And don't get impatient over the time it'll take to recover...everything they told me, I went well over to ensure I had a fighting chance.