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Old 02-10-2009, 11:20 AM   #1
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Depression after a fusion....

Hi everyone........

I had my fusion done dec 16.....so a few days shy of 2 months ago. I had a 2 level ALIF. I am so depressed today. I feel so much better from my back surgery, therefore, I am wanting to do things. BUT, I can't. Simple tast just wear me out. I suppose I am rushing it and should slow myself and my thoughts down. I am very thankful that I feel better but at the same time I get depressed over things such as...not being able to super duper cleannnn!!! My husband helps me lots but it is not the same as me doing the work. I sound ungrateful I suppose How many others feel the same????
Like today, I did a few things in my house and tonight have to go to dinner with my husband for his work function. It is a major task to me to get fully dressed.Meaning...make-up, fix hair, find something nice to wear ect. UGH!!!!
I have to rest before i even attempt to get dressed for dinner.....I will be sooo happy when my full strength returns. Especially now that my back is better. DEVON....where are you? I need some encouragement!!!

LYNN

 
Old 02-10-2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hi Lynn,
I'm so glad you are feeling better after your surgery. I know you must be depressed but you know its only temporary. Don't rush too much and have a set back. It just takes lots and lots of time to heal. You'll get through it. It hasn't even been a full 2 months since your surgery. You've helped so many people reading these threads I hope some of us can help you with encouragement to feel better.

I'm 22 days away from my Laminectomy and scared, depressed and in pain. I keep telling myself it will be better soon.

Darby

 
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:51 PM   #3
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hi Lynn,
It sounds like you are doing really good. I know about the depression though. I am three months out from a L4-L5 fusion and just got my brace off this past week. That made a big difference as far as going out to dinner. I'm still uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time so we haven't had a long night out on the town yet. I still have my days of extreme aggravation at the things I can't do YET, and have had my crying jags and angry outbursts but each day is getting better. When I have those days I try to focus on the things that I am doing now that I couldn't do both prior to the surgery and immediately afterwards. I'm a long way from where I want to be but closer than I was three months ago!! Getting outdoors and walking always makes me feel better and seems to lift my spirits.

I read a response from a physician on one of my web searches that it takes up to four months for the fatigue from a major surgery to improve. I must ask my husband every day "Am I a wimp or something?" I've never thought of myself as one as I have always been independent and didn't like anyone to do my work for me. However, this has certainly been a humbling experience and I have learned to ask for help to avoid damaging the fusion. So, guess the word for all of us is Patience, Patience, and more Patience. (It's NEVER been one of my stronger virtues!)

Hope you were able to enjoy your social occasion. Jan.

 
Old 02-11-2009, 04:28 AM   #4
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Thank you Darby and JanK,


Awww thank you Darby......I am trying to stay positive. I just have bad days and it gets depressing. I am a doer and it is depressing when you are feeling better but you cannot do much. I look at things in my house that need DOING and I can't do much. I have got to just slow down and THINK...before I go to wanting to do too much too soon. I have had a great recovery. I am so thankful for that. After hurting for a year every single day and then be mostly pain free, a person is just ready to go on living like they once did <or somewhat like they once did> . I do have some projects I am looking forward to, like paining a bathroom, if i can learn PATIENCEE!!!!!! And absolutely cannot wait for spring. I dont know how much I will be able to do in my yard but, I will be able to do some. Last year I didnt feel up to doing much.

I have wondered about you actually. I think you was 1 of the first person i replyed to on here. Me and you both had RF abaltion done at the same time or maybe it was another procedure? AW and you are having surgery soon.....awww girl, just try to relax. Hopefully you will feel so much better like me. If it is successful, just think of NO PAIN! It is wonderful to wake up and have no pain. You will be so glad you had the surgery. Let me know how it goes for you. How long will your recovery be? And is it a possibility you may need something else done? I always wonder, why do some get laminectomy's and the other surgeries and why do some have a fusion? Is it different doctors opinions on it? Because I have read where some people get a laminectomy for disc herniations. And some doctors do a fusion for that. Good luck to you and come back and post if you need to...so good hearing from you

JanK...... I certainly feel the aggravation ugh.....Are you painfree mostly? I am also far away from where I am going to be it seems. I have mostly just surgical pain still and occasionally just have a bad pain day. BUT, most of all, I am not having the pain I was suffering from prior to surgery Are you showing any signs of fusing yet? I donot know how long it takes before you will see signs of fusing. Perhaps its different for all people. FATIGUE is exactly what i am having. My brain is telling me I donot hurt but my body says NO LOL
LOLLLLLat your wimp comment LOL I feel wimpy too. I always do for myself and I am having to ask my husband to do certain things which is ok really. And yes, you are correct when you say we must learn patience, as I am learing this all too well....I hope you have a great day and I am going to TRY to have a good day My social event last night was great and I sat through it with NO pain

LYNN

 
Old 02-11-2009, 06:38 AM   #5
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hey Lynn,
Would your husband understand if you didn't make the function this year?? Would you allow yourself to stay home? I understand the company thing because my husband is coporate but sitting for that long will be agonizing.
I faced depression bout my limitations about the same time as you follwing 360 two level fusion. My doc put me on Cymbalta which changed EVERYTHING for me. I was a very active 45 year old mom of three teenage girls, active in gardening, church, hanging with my "girlies"-just always go-go-go. This surgery threw me to a dead stop. It was SO BORING! I was so frustrated I couldn't do such simple things without pain or getting worn out. I remember crying my eyes out during one my "Judging Amy" marathons (daytime tv sucks) and thinking I would never get my life back. Everything I took for granted was always going to be too hard now. Cymbalta gave me back my sanity. I also looked for activities like a Bible study and book club where I could still be "active" and have something to look forward to that wouldn't wear me out so fast.
It GETS BETTER!!! I am two+ years out and I am doing 90% of what I used to do. You will be ok-it takes a lot of time time time. Patience, forgiving yourself for getting frustrated-and mostly allowing yourself to say "no-I just can't do that right now". That was really hard!!!!!!! I had to learn tho that my healing and health progress just had to come before everything else for a little while. Drove my family nuts. They were used to "Mom does everything". I just didn't want to end up back in that hospital for another round of surgery because I agreed to be assistant coach of my daughter's cheerleading squad again.
I am praying for you and Devon and all the other"newbies" who have come out of surgery in the last year- I am praying for good mental and physical health for everyone here.
Blessings,
Michelle

 
Old 02-11-2009, 07:19 AM   #6
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Lynn,
I know how you feel about the things that need to be done. I canít do too much because I have to sit down to ease the sciatica every 15 to 20 minutes. It was the RF ablation that we had done around the same time. My neuro said to plan on being off work for at least 3 weeks and maybe go back the 4th week part time. He said he did not think I would need a fusion with the Laminectomy, but may need the fusion in a few years. My laminectomy is for severe lumbar stenosis. The problem that I have which may eventually cause me to need a fusion is an anterior 2mm spondylolisthesis. Do you know how much slippage warrants the need for a fusion?

My daughter is taking me to the hospital for my surgery and when I get released she will be taking me home with her for the first week of my recovery. If I can get down her stairs to her computer Iíll write a few days after Iím there. She lives in Camdenton.

Hope you continue to improve and good luck.

Darby

 
Old 02-11-2009, 07:58 AM   #7
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Lynn-
Go out with your husband!!! Trust me, I hear you when you say that you need to rest before you can get dressed to go out. IT is a lot of work to get yourself ready to go out. I have had a few opportunities like that and have thought to myself "why am I doing thing" but in the end it was a huge uplift to get out of the house, see different people and enjoy some time. Stand if you need to, I have and it helps. Just enjoy the moment because they are hard but you will feel like a new person. We are all dealing with the same frusteratins and that is what is the hardest part of this recovery. I feel like a hermit in my home, which is so not me but I think I'm doing this so when spring hits or summer and I do those things I haven't enjoyed for years.
Today I changed up my routine. WOW did that make a difference. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning and walk. I'm tired of walking. So I showered and got dressed, put my laptop on the treadmill and here I am. I think after this I will start dinner. Change your routine and see if that helps! Hang in there..you are doing great!

 
Old 02-11-2009, 08:56 AM   #8
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hi Lynn et all,
I'm so glad you got out and about and enjoyed that dinner! I'm looking forward to doing that soon now that I am out of that ugly brace I could not disguise. Much easier to get up and walk around if needed when one doesn't feel so obvious!

I had my surgery due to herniated discs at L3-L4, L4-L5 with extrusion, spondylolithesis of L4 on L5, and spinal stenosis in this area. The neurosurgeon said that he was surprised at the amount of stenosis once he was in there and that things were very "tight". He did the bone onlay fusion of L4-L5 for the spondylolithesis and opted not to use hardware. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the fusion works. I'm not sure what the signs of fusing are. Are there specific physical things that let's one know that fusion is progressing? I just figured he determined that with the xrays. I'm still having some what I call 'lightening strike" type pain that is not anything consistent. I had prior to surgery numbness of both lower extremities and problems with bladder control after I recovered from the initial onslaught of disc herniation pain (that lasted about 6 weeks). So I figure those nerves are just waking up! (and hopefully recovering functionality).
Most of my discomfort is due to muscle fatigue (and mental anguish over not being able to do things!)

Thanks Michelle for your kind thoughts and prayers. Glad to hear you are 90%. It always helps to hear of people getting on with their lives!
Jan

 
Old 02-11-2009, 10:21 AM   #9
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hi ladies.....

You all are just the greatest and sweetest..... too bad we couldnt all meet up and have a get well party OK girls...lets meet in....<somewhere warm where we can be comfortable> Mexico? Bahama's? Sheesh, we all deserve a nice warm vacation free from PAIN....you all are so sweet! It would be nice huh? That way we would be away from our homes, being tempted to work. Ok....enough of wishing LOL

my husband tends to think I need to get out more. I really dont get out much due to the cold weather. I enjoyed the dinner and it was nice but I was so tired when i got back home. You know, you mention Cymbalta and I thought I may ask for a prescrip for that. I have taken anti depressants before but never cymbalta.My problem is....I am always thinking I should be up doing something. It is almost a guilt thing with me. I feel as though my husband is off to work and I should be cleaning and doing. I do clean some but I cant do that much without getting so tired. Like you say....it is going to take time and lots of patience....it sounds like you are doing great! 90% is greattttt! My doc is thinking I will be 75% better. I also have bad arthritis to deal with but I can handle that. I am thankful I am feeling better.....I for sure donot want to jeopardize my fusion and end up back into surgery. Did it take a while for the cymbalta to get in your system and start working? Thank you for your prayers, that is always welcome with me!

Darby.....I feel for you with that sciatic pain. That is so very painful. I had a set back 2-3 weeks after my fusion due to severe sciatic nerve irritation. I was re-admitted into the hospital on account of that < to get the pain in control> . It is called S1 radiculopathy...I hope to NEVER have that again. I am on lyrica for that and it seems to be helping me lots. Hopefully your surgery will take care of that terrible sciatic pain. I hope you get great pain relief from your surgery and hopefully <cross fingers and toes> that you will not need that fusion.I, myself, didnt have spondy but I have read different things about that condition and I think <not sure> when it gets to grade 4-5, that warrants a fusion. If i understand that right, when it gets to that point, you are pretty much bone on bone.... Having your daughter help you for that first week is absolutely great! You just take it easy and let her help you....and please post and let us hear from you when you are able. I will be watching for your post...

Backache.....I did go and I did enjoy it. I got to see some people that I really enjoy and that was so nice. It took me 2 hours to get ready LOL My husband was telling me, "you dont have to do ALL that"....men donot understand do they? LOl It is a woman thing. I like to look nice. I managed to stand and sit when needed so I did ok. Now....we have another dinner thursday night UGH LOL My husband is in management so it is often we have dinner. Sometimes I am left behind but I dont mind Oh girl, I am so looking forward to spring and summer. <tired of cold weather ack> I enjoy planting flowers and working in my yard. So, I have a couple more months to regain my strength Spring is my favorite time of the year..... now tell me this? How in the world do you walk on the treadmill and type on laptop? Or did I misunderstand? LOL..... you take care

JanK....I was so glad to get rid of my brace too. Mine is a corsett type brace and I found it hard to sit in a chair with it on. Mine was not so pretty neither ha I am with you on crossing fingers until I know my fusion took. Can you imagine going through such a major surgery and then the fusion didnot take? UGH I dont even go there in my mind. It has crossed my mind but I try not to think about that. It has happened to people....UGH OK nuff bout that...lol You had several issues going on huh? Sheesh girl, are you feeling better? I am not sure about your question about physical things to look for to know you are fusing...I wonder that too. You would think that the fact you are not in the pain you was in prior to surgery, that would be a good indication its taking but I am not sure. I get xrays everytime I go for an appt. with my doc and I do know they check on the xray to see if its taking. My doc always brings the xray up and points things out. But I am still too early to know yet if mine is taking. Yea, my major discomfort is muscle weakness and fatigue also and of course...not being able to do much.....well, lets just keep doing what we can and try to concentrate on our health. it helps to have this support.....and know you have mine as well!

LYNN

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Old 02-12-2009, 06:35 AM   #10
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Lynn,
A get well party sounds like a blast! You did hear me right. I use my laptop on my treadmill. My husband built a shelf and sits where the arm things are. So it's sits very nicely with the laptop. I only walk at 3mph, so the hardest thing to do is use a mouse while on the treadmill. It makes the time go by faster because it is just so darn boring to walk. I don't have a TV by it either so I had to improvise. I'm glad you got out and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. IT's amazing how much those things drain you. I have had something every night this week and I feel like I'm not well rested when I wake up in the morning. I try to look at it like this...every time I push myself it is building up some stamina, so I have to do it so I will feel better and as long as I'm not hurting my back or in pain, then it's ok. Although I will admit, sometimes I do wonder if it is worth it. LOL.

 
Old 02-12-2009, 09:16 AM   #11
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hi Lynn and everyone,
I did have a lot of issues going on in there! But, for now everything seems to be recovering from my pre-surgery condition. And I have always healed quickly without much scarring on the outside so I'm hoping that holds for me on the inside with the fusion also. I've been taking my calcium and Vitamin D, Vitamin C religiously and walking, walking, walking like a maniac so I've done my part.

Yeah, I had the hard plastic down the back with the hot velcro wrap around brace. No disguising that baby! I told a friend that if I had the body of Madonna and her closet of clothes I might be able to rig up something that looked "cute" to wear out in public with the brace, but of course neither of those possibilities are happening here! But at least that is in the past for now. I, like you Lynn, have to remain positive about this fusion working and maintain a sense of humour because I can't bear the thought of having to go through this down time again!! (Nah, not happening!)

Thank you all for being out there in cyberspace. I look forward to hearing from you all and wish you all the best. Looking forward to our Mai Tai on the beach in Maui? Bahamas? Jamaica? Tahiti maybe???
Jan

 
Old 02-12-2009, 06:56 PM   #12
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Ha Jan...

I've been to many of the places you listed so I am ready to go to any of them I do think a vacation on a beach would HELP my fusion recovery EVEN with a long incision on my belly UGH

I wished I wouldve bought me a treadmill for my home. I was going to the gym prior to surgery and was walking the treadmill 5 days a week. And I was using the other machines as well. My daughter would often bring a book and read while walking the treadmill and I didnt know how she did that LOL Maybe I am just uncoordinated? LOL Maybe its cause I am 47 and she is 25? Just kidding, I am sure I couldve done it as well You said you heal quickly. I do too and was amazed at how fast my incision healed. I really didnt even hurt too much from my incision.

Yes, lets stay as positive as we can about fusing. I try to NOT worry about it. But it does cross my mind especially when going for a doc appt. Gosh, the mere thought of re-doing this.....sends me into a frantic. I cannot imagine having to redo this. UGHHHHH

Let's set up our vacation. You said a MAI TAI < a drink right?> on the beach in Maui.......well, I will have a Pina Colado......sheesh, I will be happy having a coke even on the beach SOMEWHERE ha.....I am from the deep south and I lived near the beach all my life. I am very much a beachy person....definately NOT a cold weather person and definately NOT a snow person. I live in MO. now and I literally hate the snow....will be glad to see spring for many reasons Take care girl and keep walking and stay in touch wiff me...


LYNN

 
Old 02-14-2009, 09:36 AM   #13
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hi Lynn,
I responded to this yesterday but obviously forgot to hit the submit, but you are a lucky gal to have been to all those places. I've never been to any of them so all would be a great recovery retreat for me!!

Have you ever heard anyone who felt that their treadmill may have contributed to their disc disease? After my surgery I asked my surgeon if it was OK for me to walk on the treadmill and he frowned on it. Don't know if it was because I was only six weeks out or if he meant forever!! I'll have to ask him next time I'm there but maybe it is because I don't have the hardware and just a bone onlay fusion. He may have just been being very conservative as he doesn't seem to think the PT is a good idea either. I have a treadmill and I was using it 4 or 5 days a week on an incline and wonder if that contributed to my disc being in such bad shape. Who knows.....just wear and tear I guess! I'll be upset if I can't watch Oprah while treading though!! I've done web searches about treadmill and disc disease and can't find anything relevant to it.

Sounds like your social calendar is hopping. I'm sure it makes you feel better each time you get out.....breaks up those long days spent in the house!!
Take care,
Jan.

 
Old 02-14-2009, 07:00 PM   #14
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hi Jank....

I've not never heard of anyone that felt the treadmill contibuted to a disc issue. My doctor didnot want me to immediately walk the treadmill neither. And I asked about PT and at the time, when I asked about it, he said let's wait and hold off the PT. He has never suggested I go since that conversation. My doctor apparently is not a big fan of PT. He of course told me to walk. To tell you the truth, I could do what PT was doing, at a gym. And that is exactly what I did prior to surgery < I quit PT and went to a gym and worked out> . I didnt much care for the therapist that I was working with. She said to me one day, " you are SOOOOO weak" as if to say that was just a terrible thing LOL Well DUHHH, of course my legs were super weak. I suffered major leg weakness in my legs.

Jan. what is a bone inlay fusion? My fusion does have hardware so I dont know what that is. Ive had 2 fusions, 1 in my neck and 1 in my back and both have hardware. I am full of all kinds of screws and plates and cages. Ive read where some people have hardware issues....I wonder how these people feel the hardware? Or if it is something a doc sees on an xray or MRI?

Ive been to many places but you know the 1 place I havent gone to is Hawaii. You listed that 1 ha Lets go to Hawaii..... I absolutely love the islands. Once you go the very first time, you will be hooked <well, not if you dont like the beach, sun and water> We have been to many of the Carribean islands. I loved them all, some more than others. So, I think we will have a cyber Hawaii vacation HA Tell hubby to get ready, we going on vacation!

 
Old 02-15-2009, 09:43 AM   #15
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Re: Depression after a fusion....

Hey Lynn,
The type of fusion that this neurosurgeon recommended is what he called a "conservative" fusion and told me that if I went to an ortho surgeon that they would probably suggest the hardware with screws and rods. He didn't remove the entire discs at L3-L4 or L4-L5 where the herniations were; just shaved off the protrusions/extrusions from what I understand and did some foraminotomy work on the nerve roots. He then used cadaver bone and BMP to make just a right side fusion between L4-L5. My spondylolithesis was a Grade 1 so maybe that is why he chose this procedure. He sold me on this approach as he said that is what he would choose for himself if he had to have this procedure done. I trust this guy as I use to work where he was the Chief Resident so I've known him for a long time (and he has a good reputation in the community at large).

However, (this is the part that makes me crazy), he did say that if the fusion didn't take that he might have to eventually do the screws and rods. So, I am going to be Veeeerrrrryyyy careful from here on out. This just has to work as I can't imagine going through this again. I had researched on all kinds of approaches and had pretty much told him to go ahead and do the rods and screws if he thought my case warranted it, but he obviously thought this would be OK once he got in there. I'm counting on his expertise!!!

I have issues with my neck also with some bulging discs at C4-C5 and C5-C6. Fortunately, they are stable as long as I don't get out and chop wood!! I love to garden though and I am afraid this spring is going to drive me nuts as I can already see all the weeds and trimming that needs my attention.

Hawaii it is....get your sunscreen and sandals!!
Jan.

 
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