Hello all my fellow Spineys
Been a while since I posted my weekly (or weakly) post op results but Im past 4 months now and wanted to let all those who were so helpful and pulling along with me post op close to my date (Nov 17 08) how I am progressing. Ill do the good news first. I have full range of motion without significant pain bending or turning this way or that..no significant pain upon walking and I do a mile at a good pace at least 3 times a week on an indoor track or lately the weather has been kind enough to do it outside much preferred. That weird "log in the back incision area" is gone. The leg pain is gone, the heel pain is gone, along with the phantom toe pain that would come and go..all gone and thank you God!. I sleep like the dead although I have some help with my low dose norco and valium..this helps immensely because if I sleep in an ordinary position I wake feeling almost perfect. I stand up upon waking and can tell you right then and there I have none zero pain at all...this is HUGE and I am so grateful for that 1-2 hours of feeling like a regular person for the first time in 3 years of agony. Before depression was following like a black cloud over my head due to the constant pain and my impatience in healing..nothing can ever move fast enough for me and I can tell you all that I spent many days to weeks feeling as if this whole thing was a complete failure and waste of time I was going to be crippled for the duration. I am SO NOT and am grateful for my progress.
Now for the not so great news...not sure if I can honestly put Bad News upon this because none of it is as bad as it was previous to surgery this time around. I still have pain. It hurts to sit...mostly tail bone oriented.. Long trips over 35 minutes driving Im feeling awful..but this is way improved to the 10 minutes I could sit normally before....I can describe it as a constant bad aching back. Not crying out loud pain but just enough to pull my butt to the couch and lay flat many many times during the day without pain meds. And for me, the worst part of this is that I am still on pain meds. I take a low dosage of norco 5/350 about 11 am then a 10/350 bout 6 pm. Just to be able to work and do my normal load of activities of life....then another before bed at 11 with a 5 mg of valium. A big improvement over the 10's I was taking every 4 hours round the clock in the beginning and just before surgery. Here is the hardest part for me mentally..I KNOW if I laid on the couch flat and did absolutely nothing I could do with out the pain meds - but for me that is not living, not to mention the state of the economy being bad in Detroit for large corporations?...small businesses like me ( I am self employed) has squashed me like a bug..I dont have that luxury as I assume most of us do not...I have to work or I dont eat..simple as that. Son of a Gun.....that was the one thing I had wanted most of all, is to not be reliant upon meds to get thru the day but there it is. I really am dependent in that way.
My last visit to the surgeon yielded words of confidence from him in the way things were showing on the Xray. Fusion was definitely seen and on schedule He could not be happier with it at 12 weeks. I again asked him about the reliance upon the pain meds as this makes me feel like a junky or Ill never be able to get off and he told me quite confidently that 6 months to a year of discomfort (another word for pain and different for everyone) was quite normal and that is what they were for. He had full confidence in my ability to NOT take them when the time comes that they will not be needed. He added that a so called pain med junky never asks when they will be able to get off but rather how many more can be prescribed...this made me feel slightly better...but feels like weakness to me somewhere in my own level of standards..I have to talk to myself continuously to allay that notion. Sooo...am I better YES..am I moving smoother Yes, am I pain free NO. Am I glad I did it Yes because before the surgery I was almost unable to walk. For those who think that this is all useless or that surgery is always a failure I would say that it is a wrong conclusion. However it is also a wrong conclusion that this is a perfect solution and that every fusion result is perfect..its not. But I would also ask...when the quality of life means you cannot walk or do normal things without agony...what else is the alternative?...for me there was no choice and I would advise the same as I did. Which is...do every thing else first that is injections, PT, acupuncture, tilting tables, crystal therapy what ever else seems reasonable to you..and if that all fails...fusion is the best we have at the moment and my quality of life although not perfect is 80% better...I say thats success and better yet..I have 6 months more to go before I can say I have arrived at where Ill be from all this.
Lastly and I apologize for the length and wordiness of this post. Please know that these boards and the experience of others going thru the same or similar thing has been the single most helpful process to me and others when I thought I was crazy or completely alone in this. The kind words of support, kind thoughts and prayers have been more help to me than I can express. PLEASE let me know how you are all progressing or feeling post op as I read and will try to help in any way I can in recovery
2007 L4 L5 laminectomy with tumor removal
2008 2 level posterier fusion with cadaver bone and bmp with instrumentation L4 L5 S1