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Old 04-19-2005, 09:20 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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rowboat HB User
I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

I've made my decision (I think). I called my neurosurgeon and scheduled my surgery. It's set for May 12. (gulp) Now the fear and doubting is setting in, so help me out. What am I getting myself into? He said he is going to do an "inner fusion" at L5-S1, using bone from my hip. He also told me I can expect to be in the hospital 4 days, but he would let me go home as soon as I can walk, eat, take only oral meds for pain and I want to go home. (He has no idea how stubborn I can be. I went through 46 hours of labor and had my daughter an hour before they were going to make me have a C-section just because I overheard my nurse say she was "sure" I would have to have a C-section!) But beyond that, I have no idea what I'm in for.

Is there any chance it won't be as bad as I'm afraid it's going to be? I have a fairly high tolerance of pain, so maybe it won't hurt so much? Right now I'm in pain every day, but I try to get through it and I haven't even taken a vicodin since my discogram last month. (not that I haven't needed it, like I said, I'm just stubborn)

Give me an idea of what to expect the first week or so. Please? Will I know right away if the surgery helped? Will my pain be different? I don't honestly expect that I will wake up after surgery and have no pain. (although that would be nice!!) I'm just hoping that I will be able to tell that it's pain from the surgery and not the same pain I've had for the past 2 years.

Thanks for your help. You can expect to see me here alot over the next few weeks as I freak out more and more

Becky

 
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Bionicwan HB User
Re: I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

Hi Bec,

You wouldn't be normal if you weren't freakin' out over this. It is a huge step and major surgery. I would be lying if I said I wasn't freaked, and an even bigger lier if I said I was not gonna freak out all over again!

I did really good (so they told me) *grin - I thought I was a big baby - but all of the nurse's said I was amazing in my efforts and in how fast I was doing even the smallest of things, like turning over then getting up, walking and so on. I will be honest. The 1st few hours after surgery (for me) were horrible. By the morning after I KNEW the worst part was over - still not easy going, but no where near as rough as the 1st 12 hrs or so.

IF possible it would be a good idea for hubby, a family member or friend, to stay with you overnight the night of surgery. Not that the nurses won't take good care of you, I just know for me, it helped me mentally and emotionally.

Now I am sharing MY experience. I have read other's stories here and was amazed and jealous. Some said they never even woke up until they were already in their room. I woke up in recovery....was given LOTS of pain meds and really don't remember "going" to my room, but do remember being there and getting settled into bed. I DEFIED my hubby to leave me~! (told you I was a baby)

The pain will be from the surgery Becky, not your normal pain. I'm sure your surgery will go perfect and all your "now" pain will be history. I do not want to imply that you'll be 100% pain free for the rest of your life, but the problems you have that are causing your "now" pain will no longer be there after surgery! I do not want to sugar coat things, so I won't. The pain will be very intense the 1st 24hrs or so, and then taper to a very manageable level. You most likely will be on a PCA and it will become your newest BEST FRIEND

I was walking day 2, and by afternoon of day 2 - PT had to MAKE me slow down and get back to my room. It's sorta like childbirth (not like the pain) as far as the "fear of the unknown" is concerned....once the surgery itself is over ~ you feel wonderful mentally!!! All of the months of worry, anxiousness and fear of the surgery are gone.

I can't speak for the hip - my upcoming surgery will be my 1st hip harvest. I am really worried about that myself but have heard many different experiences on it from not so bad - to VERY bad - to HORRIBLE?? so we shall learn this part together!

We will be in this together, so in the coming days expect to see a LOT of me too kiddo!

Hugs,
Bionic

 
Old 04-19-2005, 07:20 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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BobiM HB User
Re: I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

[QUOTE=rowboat]I've made my decision (I think). I called my neurosurgeon and scheduled my surgery. It's set for May 12. (gulp) Now the fear and doubting is setting in, so help me out. What am I getting myself into? He said he is going to do an "inner fusion" at L5-S1, using bone from my hip. He also told me I can expect to be in the hospital 4 days, but he would let me go home as soon as I can walk, eat, take only oral meds for pain and I want to go home. (He has no idea how stubborn I can be. I went through 46 hours of labor and had my daughter an hour before they were going to make me have a C-section just because I overheard my nurse say she was "sure" I would have to have a C-section!) But beyond that, I have no idea what I'm in for.

Is there any chance it won't be as bad as I'm afraid it's going to be? I have a fairly high tolerance of pain, so maybe it won't hurt so much? Right now I'm in pain every day, but I try to get through it and I haven't even taken a vicodin since my discogram last month. (not that I haven't needed it, like I said, I'm just stubborn)

Give me an idea of what to expect the first week or so. Please? Will I know right away if the surgery helped? Will my pain be different? I don't honestly expect that I will wake up after surgery and have no pain. (although that would be nice!!) I'm just hoping that I will be able to tell that it's pain from the surgery and not the same pain I've had for the past 2 years.

Thanks for your help. You can expect to see me here alot over the next few weeks as I freak out more and more

Becky[/QUOTE]


My son is 5 days out of surgery from a 2 level PLIF with bone harvest from iliac crest. He went home on day 3 . It was his own chosing. He is doing remarkably well. He does have some numbness in his right calf (he went in because of his left leg), but the doctor said it should get better and that it was probably from nerves being inflamed from the surgery. He said it isn't that bad though. He is walking up steps now and doing pretty well with his walker. The first two or three days were no picnic, but he told me that the pain he had from his discogram was worse. The pain he went in for is now gone.

The took the bone harvest from the iliac crest from the same incision. There was only one incision. He has no idea even which side of the hip they took it from. It hasn't bothered him any more than the spinal fusion itself and that's what he was most afraid of.

His surgeon is very conservative. He believes only in walking and not doing PT for at least 6 weeks and if he's doing good then, maybe never. He is wearing a clamshell brace and will wear it for 3 months. He says he's in some pain but takes only half the amount of pain meds they have ordered for him and he quit the morphine pump after 1 1/2 days.

It took him a long time to decide to bite the bullet and do it. Time will tell if it was worth it. But the visiting nurse and home PT (teaching him to do just steps) said they couldn't believe how well he's doing only 5 days out after surgery. It's early yet so we'll see.

I wish you a lot of luck in your surgery. I know a lot of people who were really glad they did it.

Bobi

 
Old 04-20-2005, 09:31 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern Michigan
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rowboat HB User
Re: I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

Bionic-

thanks for the tips. I hadn't thought about having someone stay with me. Since it's on a Thursday, I'm sure hubby will go home so he can get the kids off to school in the morning. But my mom is going with us the day of, and I know if I asked her, she'd stay. (She stayed with me the whole 46 hours I was in labor with my last baby). She's still upset that she didn't go with me to the discogram. We're pretty close, if you haven't guessed that.

What's a PCA? If it makes it not hurt, I'm all for it!!

My hubby said somebody at work told him I'm lucky in that it's the L5-S1 disc so they can get the hip from the same incision. I guess if you call this luck.....

How bad is it going to be when I get home?? Will I be able to do anything? How do you shower with a brace on?

You've made me feel a LOT better about this. Knowing that you got through it ok helps. I'm just looking forward to getting rid of my "now" pain. I'm fighting bronchitis right now, too and I coughed once last night so hard that the pain ripped through my back...you know what I'm referring to?

When is your next surgery?

BobiM-

How old is your son? How long did he wait? I've been dealing with this for 2 years now. I should have done it when I had my first MRI, but I was stubborn and thought I could make it with just PT. Big dummy!!

I'm happy to hear he doesn't even know which hip they took from. All I've heard from anyone else is that the hip pain is sometimes worse than the back pain.

My hubby and I were talking the other day and he said since I've been through so much, I have to catch a break eventually and maybe this will be it. I'll come out of surgery, pain free, go home the next day and live happily ever after. Hey, a girl can dream!!

Bec

 
Old 04-20-2005, 09:46 AM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Fl
Posts: 571
Bionicwan HB User
Re: I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

What's a PCA? If it makes it not hurt, I'm all for it!!

When is your next surgery?

-----------------------

Hi Becky,

a PCA is a pt controlled analgesic pump - it's hooked up to your i/v and each time you press the buttom pain medication is released (usually morphine) it is preset and only a pre-set dose will release every so often. I think mine was either every 7 or 8 minutes but that 1st night I spent the entire night squeezing that sucker even though I knew it wasn't time, then I got smart and started watching the minutes on the huge clock on the wall, instead of counting sheep I counted minutes til I could squeeze again ~ you'll be all for it

My next surgery hasn't been scheduled yet but will be sometime in May - already looked at the calendar won't be the same days as yours though, for my doc is in the ofc (seeing pt's) on Tues/Thurs. I will find out at my next appt on Tues 4/26. Am debating to enjoy Mother's Day 1st but was kinda leaning towards setting date for before in hopes of having my homecoming on Mother's Day - that was all before my appt was pushed up another week so looks like that answers that, if I don't see him til the 26th that will be pushing the calender to get it done and home by May 8th we'll see though.

So sorry your so sick on top of everything else
try using a pillow when you cough maybe you won't pull things so much..the guy's comment is right - it is good about the level your having in that all can be done in one incision - unsure if he'll be able to do mine like that - that would be a big load off of me if this is the case. GREAT that your mom and you are so close, maybe you will do fine and sleep through day one - I've heard stories of others who did, perhaps you could just have her on the ready and if your fine with things of course she can always go home and get some rest

I also saw where you said you hadn't taken your vicodin since the Disco, wow Bec! that's something in itself your right you do have a high tolerence for pain - and this and your desire to get your life back will serve you well in your recovery!!!!!

I pray this surgery helps you Becky and I honestly feel that it will. I want you painfree enjoying life and your precious little girls!

as far as showering with the brace = no idea will have to let the veteran's answer this one for I didn't have a brace with my 1st one (keep wondering if that is partly why I'm having a re-do fusion?) you WILL need your mom's help the 1st week or so at home, it will be rough and you'll be pretty much dependent on your family then. After the 1st week or so you'll be much more mobile and up and about the house with your walker. I know showering at 1st was a big production for me - hubby was IN the shower with me the 1st time and believe me it was not romantic more comical than anything else. My Dr wouldn't allow tub baths the 1st few weeks, he said to much stress placed on the fusion site getting in and out of the tub and also of course the chance of slipping and falling.

I hope you feel better soon and can spend so time with your family and start getting things ready for your big day.

Hugs,
Bionic
__________________
Lami L4 5 S1
Fusion L4 5 S1
Neuropathy Fibro Arachnoiditis
Pseudoarthrosis
awaiting fusion redo

Last edited by Bionicwan; 04-20-2005 at 10:00 AM.

 
Old 04-20-2005, 09:50 AM   #6
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flyonthewall HB User
Re: I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

You take the brace off to shower. My fusion was done with BMP so my hip didn't have to be touched.
fly

 
Old 04-20-2005, 12:52 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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BobiM HB User
Re: I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

[QUOTE=rowboat]

BobiM-

How old is your son? How long did he wait? I've been dealing with this for 2 years now. I should have done it when I had my first MRI, but I was stubborn and thought I could make it with just PT. Big dummy!!

I'm happy to hear he doesn't even know which hip they took from. All I've heard from anyone else is that the hip pain is sometimes worse than the back pain.

My hubby and I were talking the other day and he said since I've been through so much, I have to catch a break eventually and maybe this will be it. I'll come out of surgery, pain free, go home the next day and live happily ever after. Hey, a girl can dream!!

Bec[/QUOTE]

My son is 35 years old. He waited 2 years and then finally decided to bite the bullet. I just came back from his house and he is really doing quite well considering he's 6 days out of surgery. He uses a walker much of the time, but does sometimes go without it. He's not complaining about pain any more although I know there is still pain, but the fact he's not mentioning it is a good sign. His girlfriend is in nureses training so she has really been great. He does still have a low grade temp but they aren't concerned about it.

Bobi

 
Old 04-21-2005, 06:21 AM   #8
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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rowboat HB User
Re: I think I've decided, so now what should I expect?

Hey Bionic!

I just realized, you will get good news at your next appointment. Know how I know? Cause it's my birthday! So you'll get whatever surgery date you decide you want. I totally forgot about mother's day until after I scheduled mine. So I had to run and check the calendar. I didn't want to do it until after Mother's Day, so I got lucky there. I'm worried about how my kids will take it, anyway. My 6 year old is so hyper-emotional anyway, she makes herself sick when she gets worried about stuff.

Anyway,happy days are coming soon, right?

Bec

 
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