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Old 09-18-2008, 08:01 PM   #1
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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

I need to have this surgery in October, I've done my research, but would like to hear from someone who's had the surgery. Your experiences and about your recovery. I've put a lot of thought into my decision to have the surgery now, and pray I'm doing the right thing. Thanks for any incouraging words.

Last edited by whatwouldyoudo; 09-18-2008 at 09:21 PM. Reason: needed to reword

 
Old 09-19-2008, 05:35 AM   #2
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

I've had two fusions, one through the back 30 some years ago and one through both front and back almost 2 years ago. The recovery is long and sometimes painful, but for me, it was well worth it. Pain-free was never even a hope for me, but the reduction in pain was a gift I am thankful for everyday.

Have you seen the sticky at the top called "post surgery tips?" It's chock full of great suggestions that will make your recovery easier. You'll also get an idea of what recovery will be like. My best suggestions are to get a good quality grabber tool --- it will be worth its weight in gold your first day home from the hospital --- and to get a satiny type bottom sheet for your bed so you can slide to turn and not fight the friction of cotton. It will make your pain much less! Also, put a plastic garbage bag on the passenger seat of your car for the ride home after surgery. Same principal as the satiny bottom sheet: you can slide getting in and out. Put a large zip lock bag in the car, too, in case you get nauseous on the way home. You can zip in the mess and no one will have to clean anything up. Your driver will appreciate it! Get yourself a little notebook to keep track of your meds. You're going to be groggy and it's easy to lose track of what you took and when. If you write down everything you take, you won't over or under medicate yourself.

Expect to be mostly lying down and resting for the first month, maybe even two. You'll get up to use the bathroom and walk around as much as you can tolerate (vitally important for getting bone growth started), then lay back down. Get past any feelings of guilt over that now! This is a big surgery and you need to rest to heal. You will be told no bending, lifting, or twisting, and you'll have a sitting restriction. Get new batteries for your remotes and join a by-mail movie club!

If you have specific questions as you go along, we're here to help from our own experiences. Been there, done that!

I wish you the best as you move forward in this.

Emily

 
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:35 AM   #3
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

If I had to make a choice on my two level anterior/posterir fusion again?

I would do it in a second. I, like my friend Emily, nvere expected pain free-but I am in better shape than I was before!

It was a long and somewhat traumatic recovery but I recovered! God id gracious and gave me back most of what I had lost as far as living a normal life.

A spine specialist you have a relationship with and a great staff are a huge help.

Let us know how you are doing! We will be with you all the way-before and after!

Blessings,
Momz

Last edited by Administrator; 03-17-2014 at 05:33 PM.

 
Old 09-19-2008, 10:08 AM   #4
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

And Emily answered the million questions I had prior to finally deciding to have a fusion this past January. I took 3 years to make up my mind. I kept thinking that surely a new procedure would be developed. If they can do lung transplants, you'd think there'd be something newer than a fusion...but, it got to the point where I couldn't stand or walk...so I could take a chance or be housebound.

Doing your research is so important, and also finding a specialist that you are comfortable with. Get all your ducks in a row, and go for it!!

 
Old 09-19-2008, 06:11 PM   #5
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hi, I'm new here. Thanks for sharing some of your experiences. Positive testimonies sure help with knowing I'm making the right decision. But I still ask myself am I doing the right thing for now? I think so I'm so nervous.
Sherr

 
Old 09-19-2008, 07:48 PM   #6
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Sherr, that's completely normal! This is BIG! It's not like you're going in to have some minor little procedure. This will be a lot to go through, and you know that there's no guarantee, just the doctor's best recommendation based on his/her experience. It's a hard decision, but once you've made it, don't second guess yourself. It's normal to be nervous about it. Just remind yourself of the reasons you decided to go ahead with it.

I had a complete meltdown a week before my last fusion. I lost it! I was crying and frightened. My husband is a teacher, so he's pretty inaccessible during the day. I e-mailed him and also my pastor. My pastor called me almost immediately and prayed with me over the phone, and both of them prayed for me during that day. Momz was probably praying for me, too! I felt those prayers, and I felt a deep sense of peace. I was fine after that and went into surgery with a smile. I thought it would be hard in the surgical waiting area, but I had a great nurse who was really pleasant to chat with and I was completely calm. I knew I was making the right decision, and I knew that there were supportive people around me. And I knew whose hands I was in!!!

It helps to stay as busy as you can, especially during that last week before surgery. I did all my Christmas shopping, even down to stocking stuffers, and had it all wrapped and hidden away before I went in for my surgery. That was in September. Wow, there was nothing to do to prepare for Christmas, which was a huge blessing. I can't imagine how I would have gone out to a store! I couldn't have, period!

You'll get through it just fine. Come on here and ask questions, or just tell us that you're having a hard day, or whatever. That's why we hang around, so we can help YOU get through this, like others helped us get through it!

Hang in there! Take it a day at a time.

Emily

 
Old 09-21-2008, 08:42 AM   #7
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Thank you Emily for your wonderful advise, it sure does help. Some days I feel like I'm not hurting bad enough to need this surgery right now, but if I put it off, workmans comp won't pay for it. I hate that this is such a concern of mine, and that my decision partly is based on this. Is it wrong making my decision based on that fact? I know it will need to be done some day anyway, better now than when I'm older, right? This is constantly weighing on my mind. What do you think? thank you Sherr

Last edited by whatwouldyoudo; 09-21-2008 at 08:44 AM.

 
Old 09-21-2008, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Unless I missed it, you never mentioned what your symptoms are and why the surgery is being recommended.

If you don't have the surgery now, would you have insurance that would cover the surgery down the road in a number of years? I don't know all the ins and outs of workmen's comp. But I'd hate to feel I was rushed into something, particularly if it doesn't turn out as well as the doc is expecting it to. It's hard enough to recover without having something additional to "second-guess."

 
Old 09-22-2008, 07:38 AM   #9
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hi everyone again-especially my friend Emily-I am so glad I could put my old name on that last post! I have been here all along-just had to start over with the posting!
Sherr,
I put mine off for a few months because we were finishing building a church, I had stuff to do for my kids, then Easter (another busy time in a church!), then kids out for summer and my step-daughters coming to visit.....everything else seemed more important. When I finally did break down and set a date I even planned it so I wouldn't miss getting my kids off for the first day of school one month after surgery! They were in 8th grade and up! They didn't "need" me they had my husband and Mom! I just didin't want to make the decision. I was taking a ton of meds. My kids tease me and tell "ghost stories" of what I was like at night when I had to take so many meds just to sleep because of the pain-I was like a walking zombie ghost.
My choice was for me. I wanted to get my life back. I was told by a doctor I trust that I was an excellent candidate for this surgery.
It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through in recovery but I did recover and would do it again. I am better now than I was before.
I am praying for you. I still pray for Emily,Carol, MamaKitKat and Leslie (Sage48) who were up in the wee hours online at the same time as me because we couldn't sleep from the pain.
We are now and will be here for you as you go through this process! There are no stupid questions, embarrassing questions, or crazy thoughts that haven't been brought up here before. Your family will love you but unless they have gone through this they just won't undestand that sometimes just breathing can hurt.
Let us know when and if you decide to do the surgery. We will be looking for more posts from you!
Blessings,

Last edited by Administrator; 04-06-2012 at 02:01 AM.

 
Old 09-22-2008, 08:36 AM   #10
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hi, thank you for all you've written, it helps to hear from someone who's been there, especially from someone who had good results. My situation is L5S1, tear in disc, fluid leaking, so almost bone on bone, Dr says it will only get worse, also age related bone degineration. I don't have medical insurance, so that's why I feel anxious about having to do it now or miss out. This happened Feb 2007, I was in so much pain for over a year, tried everything, Chiro, PT, injections, meds, nothing's helped, but with Lyrica (nerve block) it has helped the pain finally, so I have good days and bad. But my life is not the life I want to lead anymore, I'am alowed to work 3-4 hours a day only 4 days a week and that's about all I can do anyway then the rest of my day is recouping from that. I was a very active person, always excercising and boating kayaking, walking, running all of it, not any more, and I want my life back, also get depressed, lay in bed alot, try to do some excercises the PT gave me to do. Just don't feel like doing much these days even days I'm not hurting all that bad. This is not me. Thanks for any encouragment
Sherr

 
Old 09-22-2008, 06:41 PM   #11
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

It is a hard decision to make, and for those of us that took the time to research the surgery, the statistical outcomes, the recovery period, etc. it is even harder because we knew what we were getting into!

It sounds to me like you've done your homework and have thought about your options. The fact that your surgeon has told you that it will only get worse kind of limits your choices!

There are many people out there that have had successful outcomes. I'm sure you will be one of them!!

We'll all be here for you. Do you have a date yet??

 
Old 09-22-2008, 07:16 PM   #12
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

No date yet, I'll find out at my Oct 1st appt.
What about traveling after surgery? My mother is coming to care for me and my family a few weeks after my surgery, she wants to take me home with her to California, don't think that will be possible from what I've learned the recovery time is. When do you think would be the soonest I would be able to fly? Of course I will ask my doctor too.

Sherr

 
Old 09-23-2008, 05:44 AM   #13
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

You're not going to be able to sit for an extended period of time for quite a while. I had a 15 minute sitting restriction for the first month or two, but I couldn't sit for even that long. I don't think you'll be able to fly across the country. You won't be happy even for the ride to the airport, much less waiting in lines, getting through security, sitting in the boarding area, and then the actual flight. Maybe in a few months you could go out there, but I wouldn't plan on it any sooner than that.

Sorry. Just being honest.

Emily

 
Old 09-25-2008, 02:54 PM   #14
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Thank you so much for that, now I can let my mother know, I'll see how I'm feeling after three or four months, it is a whole day of traveling, it's hard when you're at your best.

Thanks Sherri

 
Old 09-25-2008, 11:13 PM   #15
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hi. I had a anterior lumbar interbody fusion with cage and bone graft from my hip in June 2006. I was 20 at the time, I am now 22 and 7 months pregnant. If I could go back, I would have waited and found a better doctor. I was in a car accident in Sept. 2004 and now have DDD of my spine, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, my tailbone joint is shot, and my problems are moving up my spine. I like you, exhausted every other option before I turned to the surgery. I had countless epidural injections, PT, wore special braces, a discogram to find out exactly which ones were bad, took so many medicines and finally was so tired of it all, had the surgery on L4-5. I now have the same problem at L5-S1 and L2-3, and L3-4. The fusion at L4-5 worked and did what it was supposed to do, but it also put strain on everything else that was making up for what L4-5 couldn't do anymore. It also made all my other problems like my SI joints noticeable. The recovery time was about a year for me. Immediately after surgery I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and had to use a walker. The worst pain after the surgery was from the bone graft in my hip. I couldn't put any weight on my left leg for about 2 weeks and had to get around with a walker. I was 20 at the time using a walker, that was pretty depressing. Since my surgery my doctor won't return my calls and to get an appointment with him has been next to impossible. I feel like now that he got the money for doing my surgery, he is done with me. Just make sure that you have a doctor that you are comfortable with and feel secure with their decisions. Up until I found out I was pregnant I was seeing a musculoskeletal doctor on a regular basis trying to get my pain in my SI joints under control. Now that I am pregnant, I have to take narcotic pain medicines the entire time. Because of my back and hips, the baby is head down on my cervix putting pressure on my pubic bone making it hard to walk. I have started showing signs of preterm labor so I am on modified bed rest. Make sure that you take all of these things into consideration. Such as if you want to have children. Make sure that you think alot about the future because surgery is not a quick fix, especially this kind of surgery. I know that I am probably going to need further surgery in the future but now I have to think about what I am going to do with my child.

I don't mean to scare you, you just have to make sure that you have thought about everything before you go on with a surgery like this. If have already thought about this, that is great and I wish you the best of luck with everything. Not everyone has problems like me that just keep getting worse. Hopefully, you will be like all these other people who have success stories. Best of luck.

 
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