Well, I'm back home from my L4/L5 fusion surgery I had last Monday and I thought I would take a moment to update you all.
To refresh you on my condition, I had an unsuccessful L4/L5 decompression last August followed by another surgery two weeks later due to a massive hematoma and infection. Since my left leg sciatica started in April of 2008, I haven't been able to sit AT ALL! I was able to stand and walk short distances as well as laying down, but I couldn't sit to save my life due to the severe sciatica.
After my first surgery last August, I was in excruciating pain and was barely able to walk much less get myself out of bed by myself. I had to have the doctor send me home with a walker. When I told the doctor multiple times I was in such pain, I felt belittled and was told that my surgery was very simple and that there was no reason for my pain, and an MRI didn't really show much. In fact, at my 6 week check up my doctor turned to a spine fellow that was in the room and said, "This is how it goes - you get someone like this that has a simple procedure and they scream they are in pain, then you have someone like our last patient who had a fusion and they are just fine." I was soooooo mad! Needless to say, I had a different surgeon do this latest surgery for me.
So last Monday I had the fusion surgery, and I was pleasantly surprised that the pain in the hospital wasn't nearly as severe as I was expecting it to be. I would say that I was in about a third of the pain that I had with my first "simple" surgery! I stayed in the hospital for 3 nights and was released. Don't get me wrong - it still hurt, especially to get in and out of bed. However, I was able to walk with a walker unlike my previous surgery.
I have been sleeping a lot, and the pain is improving every day. I am actually taking less pain meds now than I was before surgery. I still have some leg pain, but not nearly as severe as before the surgery. I am even able to sit for 20-30 minutes at a time!
My surgeon said I had an extensive amount of scar tissue wrapped around my nerve roots from my first surgery and he removed a lot of it. This is likely at least part of why I was in so much pain. I was told it may or may come back, but that I should change positions at least every half hour and walk a lot to break up any scar tissue that may start forming. Anyone else have any ideas on how to keep the scar tissue away?
I'm excited that the early signs are very positive, but I know I won't fully know how I'll be until several months down the road.
P.S. I highly recommend a toilet seat riser - it was wonderful and saved me a lot of pain the first few days!
Thank you so much for sharing your positive story - and for replying to my post about my hubby - since he is going into the fusion soon I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. I wish you the very best possible outcome!
I'm glad you found a different doctor! My goodness, what a jerk!!! Every person is different, and what causes no pain for one may cause excrutiating pain for another. I have severe scoliosis which has caused me a great deal of pain since I was 14. I met the grandmother of a friend in college who had just as severe scoliosis and said she'd never had a day of pain from it. Go figure!
As you know, you're going to have ups and downs during your recovery, but just hang in there and do what you need to do for YOU! Walk and rest, walk and rest, walk and rest.
As far as the scar tissue, a good physical therapist can do deep tissue massage to break it up. I don't know how deep they can get, but mine was broken up and has not caused me any problems since. Best to get it early on, before it gets bad. If it's way in there, especially wrapped around a nerve, I don't know if a therapist can get it, but it's worth a try!
I'm so glad for you that you're on the road to a better life! Now you behave yourself and don't overdo it!