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Old 02-21-2009, 11:11 PM   #1
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Chrissy0109 HB User
Unhappy Help!! Dont know what to expect after 3level fusion

Hey Everyone,

I'm 24 and in 3 weeks i'm having a minimally invasive 3 level fusion on L3,L4,L5- S1..(please correct me if i'm wrong not to sure exactly how to identify the area). In Sept i had discetomy b/c i had a herinated disc that was covering 90% of my spinal canal, which cause me to have numbness and tingling in the lower left side of my leg, and also almost had drop foot (2 months I could barley walk).

Now for why i'm on here trying to get some advice.. I wanna know if anyone who else has gone thru a fusion what to expect after surgery..i MEAN A DOCTOR CAN TELL U SO MUCH BUT NO ONE WOULD KNOW BETTER THEN A PERSON WHO ACTUALLY WENT THROUGH IT. I just wanna know things like- am i gonna need alot of assistants with normal daily activities as showering, dressing, getting out of bed,?? N i'm getting a brace but its not a plastic one (from what i been reading most people seemed to be wearing a plastic brace) The brace i'm getting is cloth material and its only for the waist area, now is the brace uncomfortable and about how many hours a day you wear it?? and i heard that after surgery that u are very sensative example just being in the car and hittin a bump or the acceleration of the car really hurts the back?? anyone experience that?? N is a shower chair a nessecary ?? N iknow everyone different but how many weeks after surgery will i be able to do some things myself? i know i have alot of questions , but if anyone can help to answer one or some or any advice i would be very greatful... i'm relaly scared the closer it get ( surgery) n i dont know what i should be doing before the surgery to prepare and i dont know what to do just to calm down from being so stressed about it... Thanks for your time..Hope to here from someone soon..

Chrissy

 
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:14 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: MO. USA
Posts: 247
lynn1961 HB User
Re: Help!! Dont know what to expect after 3level fusion

hi Chrissy............

The disc you mentioned that you are having a fusion on, is the last 3 disc in your lumbar area. You are right in saying, a doctor can tell you what to expect but, it is great to hear from others as to what to expect. First off, just try to relax....calm down. You will do fine. You are so very young to be going thru this but thats quite an advantage actually. To answer some of your questions, yes, I would say you may need help for a week or 2. Maybe longer. Every one is different. For safety reasons, I highly suggest someone help you in and out of shower< to make sure you donot fall> You will be on medication that sometimes foggs us. Makes you unstable a lil bit maybe. As far as dressing, that to me was so hard to do after my fusion and I still have a time putting on socks. More than likely, you will be putting on sweats ect....for comfort. That is a bit easier to put on yourself, than say, jeans. If you live in a warmer climate, maybe try wearing longer nightie shirts at first. Do you live with your parents? If so, you will not have to worry with cooking at least. If not, well, the best advice there is, go to the grocery store and get foods that are easily microwavable. AND.....get lots of fruit. You may or may not have a constipation issue anyways. That is a common issue amongst people that have a major surgery such as a fusion. As far as getting out of bed.....the hospital will show you a rolling method that will help. I didnt really need help getting out of bed. But everyone is different. The brace I wore, was a corsett style brace < was not a hard plastic brace>. I found my brace gave me security. It wasnt so bad really. I was instructed to wear mine every waking minute I was awake and out of bed. I didnt wear it when I was in bed. I think, I am trying to remember LOL, I wore mine for 6 weeks after my surgery. <I had my fusion on dec 16, 08, it seems so long ago and yet its only been a couple of months ago> A shower chair? Well, I didnot have 1 and did fine. Again, everyones needs is different. Some people use a walker for a long period of time. I came home with a walker and didnt use it not 1 time after I came home. I didnot really go out and about much after my surgery because it snows where I live.< I dont like cold weather LOL> Plus the fact, I am scared of falling on snow and ice. So, as far as riding in a car afterwards, I only rode in a car when I was going to a doc appt. It may be a bit uncomfortable as far as hitting a rough spot in the road. The best thing to help your recovery is to walk as much as you can. At least the weather is warming up somewhat and perhaps you will be able to walk outdoors. During your recovery, and it is a very long recovery period, you may find yourself getting bored. If you enjoy reading, get lots of reading material. You are young and I am sure have many friends that enjoy going to the mall <my daughter is 25 and loves to go to the mall > go there and walk.....

Just relax.......well, TRY to relax. Get yourself prepared while waiting for your surgery. If you have more questions, just ask. I will try to help and others more than likely will chime in and give advice as well....

LYNN

 
Old 02-22-2009, 09:36 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Cambridge. England
Posts: 4
ArabellaB HB User
Smile Re: Help!! Dont know what to expect after 3level fusion

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Hi Chrissie,

As has already been said... don't worry! Your surgeon will know what he is doing, and the nursing team will be experts in dealing with people in your same position.

I don't know how a 'minimally invasive' fusion is done, so can only speak from my own experience of having an L5/S1 fusion 2 years ago, which was combined with the removal of a Pro-Disc (prosthetic disc) at that level. I had the Pro-Disc surgery in 2002, but problems continued & in 2007 discovered that it hadn't been placed properly. So in the summer it was removed via my stomach (same way it went in) and at the same time I had an 'anterior fusion' (i.e. fusion at the front of the spine). Seven days later I had another operation for 'posterior fusion' (the back of the spine) at the same level. So my L5/S1 level is thoroughly glued & screwed together!

I was up & walking the day after the second op, but carefully & under nurses' supervision only! By day three I was allowed to walk unsupervised and the physiotherapist was with me when I first attempted going up & down stairs. I live alone, so they weren't going to let me go home without being certain that I could cope. The biggest difficulty I had was putting socks on - they sold me a clever gadget which helped (it was about £3) but I rarely used it, I just wore slip on shoes without socks. Another clever gadget is like a helping hand, the sort of thing street cleaners use to pick up pieces of rubbish - very handy if you drop something on the floor because you'll probably find picking things up very difficult for a while. The last piece of useful kit I got was for the toilet, something which fits over the seat & raises it by 4-6 inches so you won't have to strain your back by lowering yourself too far.

I didn't have any problems when I got home & didn't even use all the pain medication they gave me. I found that I slept a lot, sometimes at odd times of the day. Don't be worried about that, it is just your body's way of telling you that it needs rest to help your healing. Try to do a bit of walking every day if you can. Pick a short route that you can do easily & time yourself once a week, that way you'll be able to see how you're improving.

You are young & your body will therefore be in a very good position to recover from the surgery. Good luck!

Bella

 
Old 02-22-2009, 09:39 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 69
JanKR HB User
Re: Help!! Dont know what to expect after 3level fusion

Hi Chrissy,
Excellent coverage by Lynn. I used the walker for maybe two days after coming home but probably didn't really need it. Just insecure. Needed help getting in and out of the shower and dressing for a couple of weeks. I didn't use a shower chair either but did use a raised toilet seat as our toilets in the house are really low (as well as being low flow!! HA). I have two grabbers that you can pick up at a hardware store or drug store. One I keep in the back of the house and the other for the kitchen, laundry area. As far as riding in the car I was driving at six weeks due to restrictions, riding in the car was not so uncomfortable, just getting in and out was a chore for a while and is still one of the more uncomfortable things (had my surgery mid November). I spent my days walking, reading, lying on the sofa with a heat pad to my muscles for the first few weeks but after that I could get up and do some light chores around the house, go to the store with my hubby, etc. My brace was a plastic one and you are lucky if yours is going to be cloth. I found the most uncomfortable thing about the plastic was it was hot (and I have the occasional hot flash and it just seemed to bring them on!) But I'm out of that now (although I still wear it when driving for extra coverage.

I'm sure you will do fine and there is so much good info on this health board and very nice folks who will provide encouragement along the way. Just remember, walk as much as you can and don't sit for prolonged periods of time. No antiinflammatories such as aspirin or NSAIDs either as it interferes with the fusion process. But you should get all that kind of info from your surgeon. Best wishes and stay in touch.

Jan.

 
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