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Old 06-14-2009, 12:24 PM   #1
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Anyone post surgery??

I am 26 and going to have a very involved surgery where they go in through the abdomen and then go in posteror. Anyway, I'm terrified! It has been running through my mind every since they scheduled it. I even have nightmares about it I know it will stop the pain in the long run, but I have never been under before and I am scared I wont wake up or something.
So to anyone who is post-op will you please give me the low-down on what it's REALLY like in those first few weeks of surgery? How bad does the pain get? What did you do to pass the time? Also I have a 6 year-old daughter and I am afraid she will feel neglected if I am unable to play with her etc. She's really a mama's girl (I'm a stay-home mom).
Anyway, any info and insights you can give will be greatly appreciated. This board is awesome and I am so glad I found it. I wish I contribute more than just asking questions but I am new to this whole thing and dont have much to offer others. When I know more about back pain etc I will be glad to share with others in the same posistion.

Thanks,
B


Also: I have read the thread about how to prepare for sugery and found a lot of great advice on how to prepare but I want to know what its like after.

Last edited by Brosiah; 06-14-2009 at 12:27 PM.

 
Old 06-14-2009, 03:34 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

B, I can understand what you are going through. This is very important for you to know what to expect; i will try to share with you a little.
First of all depends what exactly will be done and how many levels if this is fusion. More levels involved - longer it takes to recover.
Overall recovery after spinal surgeries depends on age, severity of the surgery, body's health over all. You are young and healthy hopefully so you will be much better than someone in there 70 for example. Makes sense?
Spinal surgeries are not a walk in park, I mean recovery. YOu will need a lots of patients, a lots of help, and positive thinking. This is very important since mind and body is one big system and works together. You have to stay positive to recover faster, for your child, for your future life.
You will be just fine, sweetie. Give yourself time to recover well though. It will be pain and a lot of it. Listen to your body, to your Doctor. If you are not allowed to twist, bend or lift - means stay away from it. This is something you don't joke about, otherwise you will pay later for doing something wrong.
You have to ask for help of others; you will not be able to play on a floor with your baby for a while...
Best wishes; I hope for the best!

 
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Old 06-14-2009, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

It sounds like I am having the same surgery at L3-4. My doctor just scheduled the surgery for August 20. I am also terrified. Never had major surgery before and by reading the post surgery posts, I realize I'm in for a long haul. But like you said, I have to stop this pain, especially my legs. Haven't been able to do anything since last July. When is your surgery brosiah? Also Moldova you have answered me several times on the message boards and I thank you for it. I am also in central NJ and going to a Dr. Reiger/Dr. Dorskey in Chatham. Do you know of them? Keep in touch Brosiah and maybe we can console each other.

 
Old 06-14-2009, 05:35 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

Brosiah >><< Moldova gave you some great advise as usual , There are some great people on this board who have been threw the ringer that can give you some GREAT advice - or just listen !!!

I had 2 lower back surgeries in the last 5 years {laminectomie l2 threw l5/s1 in 2004 & a 2 level fusion with hardware @ l4/5 & l5/s1 in 2008}.. Like mentioned every surgery and every individual person heals differently , but this is a BIG operation and it will take time to recover.. My 2nd surgery was done threw my back "posterior" , It took 10 hours before they zipped me back up and I was in the hospital for 6 days (which was like a 6 day fog).. They will have you some what comfortable on a cocktail of pain medication , I was on the morphine pump - which gave me medication every 15 to 30 minutes and was getting shots of tramadol every 4 hours.. After the 3rd or 4th day they switched me to oral medication , and had me walking around the floor i was staying on..

It is VERY important to listen to every thing your doctor tells you to do AND not to do , keep your self hydrated and try to remain a positive attitude threw out your recovery process.. There are some things that can make your healing process a little bit more easy for you and here are some suggestions.. I would purchase 2 good grabbers (CVS) , silk pajama's or sheets (makes it easier to get into & out of bed) , heating pad , books + magazines , a good gel ice pack , easy wipes (just to freshen and clean your self up) , and i joined NETFLIX which was awsome - you're able to order what ever movies you want & have them delivered to your home , you will be watching lots of T.V

I also had a little step next to my bed that made it a little more easy to get in and out of bed , while in the hospital they will show you the "leg roll" - makes it easier on you to get out of the sack.. I also put a catering table next to my bed , which was big enough to carry most of my personal needs like > magazines + books , remote controls , medication's (i would also get a journal and write dwn when & the dosage of your meds) just so you keep track of every thing.. You will be fine just take one day at a time and no that you're doing the right thing to get your life back , Try to have as much help as possible.. Family and friends are a VERY important key to recovery , I wish you the best of luck and if you have any more questions feel free to ask 24/7 okay..

GOOOOOOOOOOD LUCK , AND GOD BLESS YA`

DEv

 
Old 06-14-2009, 09:46 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

I had surgery 14 months ago. Truly, for me the worst part was before the surgery as I was so scared. I was a nervous wreck up to the point they put me out. The drugs are so much safer these days. When I woke up it was over and I was ready to have some coffee. I was pretty alert. I turned down pain medication until I got some food in me. By then I was uncomfortable. It was definitely a rough night but I was up out of bed with assistance to use the bathroom. By the time I went home 4 days later, I wasn't overcome with pain but I hurt. It was my choice to take just a 1/2 a vicodan so I probably hurt more than necessary.
I would lay in bed, sleep, read a bit, watch tv and then go sit on the couch, read, visit, watch tv. I would walk to the kitchen, get food, move around and then lay down. The first two weeks I was really tired. I just wore a tshirt and sweat pants to be comfortable. You can probably color or read with your 6 year old but you certainly wont be jumping rope for awhile.

 
Old 06-14-2009, 09:50 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

Hi Brosiah,
You have already been given some great advice and I know how scared you must be especially if this is your "first" surgery. I had the 360 procedure done last year and mine was done in two stages. I had the abdominal portion done first and then several weeks later I had the back portion done. You do have your age working for you (I am 61) and you need to keep positive thoughts but talk to your doctor about your fears and don't be embarrassed about them because it is all normal. I will not lie to you and say it is an easy surgery but you must look at how better you will be once you recover and hopefully your time with your daughter will be so much better. Like everyone else has said DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU TO DO OR NOT TO DO because that is a big part of your recovery. It is painful but you need to talk to your doctor about the medication they put you on and if it doesn't help your pain then tell the doctor.

Will you have someone helping you at home when you first get home from the hospital? My husband only stayed 3 days at home with me but my 14year old grandson did come over and help me a lot. He was a god send to me because of going up and down the steps to take our little dog out all the time. He would help get me something to eat or drink so that was a big help. I think if you take the time to explain to your daughter about your limitations and let her help were she can everything will be okay. My granddaughter was 6 when I had my surgery and she was very very considerate of my condition at the time. I will admit she did feel neglected but it did work out okay and it will also for you.

You will be okay and keep coming back to us and ask whatever you need and I am sure someone can help you. This board was and still is a godsend to me. These people helped me with so much during my recovery. We are all here for you. When is your surgery?

Gentle Hugs
Linda

 
Old 06-15-2009, 08:58 AM   #7
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

I dont know if I am overly emotional due to stress or what but you all had me in tears. How grateful I am to have found this forum! Everyone her is so supportive and sweet. You all have made me feel so much better. Thank you for reaching out to me even though I am new here. I will undoubtedly become a regular...well I am on here everyday anyway! Everyone had great adivce!
Just to answer some questions- my husband will be home with me for 7 days. My grandmother who is retired is going to come and stay for a month after that. My daughter is out of school for summer of course and I need someone to cook for her and take her to her swimming lessons and dance classes twice a week.
My surgery is on the L5-S1. I dont know the technical terms but in laymans they are going in front and back and taking out the disk and bone spurs and replacing it with a spacer type thing and then in the back they are putting in ''fake'' bone grafts. It wont be from my hip. I go to the doctor tommorow with my husband. The first time I went in alone and the doctor unloaded all this on my a I just glazed over. I thought I had a simple bulging disk. But I have spondylothesis/pars fractures and bone spurs and my vertebre moves 50% out of place when I bend over. What ever that all means.

Last edited by Brosiah; 06-15-2009 at 09:00 AM. Reason: typos

 
Old 06-15-2009, 11:08 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

BrOsiah- That's why this web site is a remarkable thing to help you get threw all of this.. I'm glad to hear that you have a good support system around you before you even have your surgery , they will be very use full to you indeed !!! ONE DAY @ A TIME >><<

DEv

 
Old 06-15-2009, 11:57 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

Hi Brosiah, and welcome to the board!

I've had two fusions. The second one was in Sept 2006 and was a 360, which is what you're having. That's what they call it when they go in through both front and back. It sounds like they're using BMP for you, which is a synthetic protein matter that helps fusion to get going. I had that and donor bone, not my own, like you'll be having. I also had a bone growth stimulator, since I was at higher risk of not fusing. I was fully fused at 6 months post-op.

Let me tell you what to expect, since this is your first surgery. You'll get to the hospital an hour or so before your scheduled surgery. They'll check you in, then have you go to the prep area and you'll say bye to your hubby until after surgery. That's where they'll give you a fancy new outfit. You'll get a hospital gown and paper booties and all your own stuff will go into a bag labeled with your hospital id. It'll follow you around until you get to your room later on.

A nurse will have you lie down in a hospital bed and will ask you questions, take your blood pressure and temp, start an IV, and just let you rest. The anesthesiologist will probably come in to see you, and your doctor will come in at some point, too. Mostly, though, you're just going to lie there and rest until they're ready for you. The nurse will be in and out regularly.

When they're ready for you, they'll add something to your IV that will put you into lala land. You may still be aware when they wheel you into the OR, but you won't remember anything beyond that.

The next thing you'll be aware of will be waking up with nice warm blankets snuggled around you. You'll slowly be aware of lights and activity around you in the recovery room. A nurse will probably be right there at your side, as they'll be expecting you to wake up. The nurses will tell you where you are and you can tell them if you're cold. The OR is kept quite cold, and it takes a while for you to warm up again. They have blanket heaters in the recovery room, so if you're cold, speak right up and you'll get more warmed blankets over you right away. I wish I had one of those things at home! Once you're fully awake, they'll want to know if you're in pain. You'll probably have a little button to push to self-administer pain meds. It'll be in your hand or attached to the front of your gown, and it's pre-set so you can only get a certain amount. You can't overdose yourself. They also give you other meds besides what you're giving yourself.

They'll determine that you're stable and ready to go to your room and off you'll go, with no effort on your own part. They'll wheel you to your room right in the bed. Some places make you then slide onto the bed already in your room, but many hospitals just keep you right in the bed you're already in. You'll probably be helped out of bed the same day and helped to walk around a bit. They want to get you moving as soon as possible. If you're hungry, they'll let you eat.

You'll probably be in the hospital for 3-5 days. Each day, physical therapy will be by to walk with you, make sure you can go up and down stairs, and if you'll need a walker, they'll teach you how to do stairs hauling it with you.

You'll be in a fair amount of pain those first few days. Make sure you tell the nurses and/or your doctor if the pain meds aren't covering your pain. They won't make you pain-free, but they should make it tolerable. I took books and music with me to the hospital, but I never used any of it. The meds made my eyes feel weird, and I was sleepy from them, too, so I just slept and occasionally watched TV.

After a few days, you'll be discharged. The nurses should give you pain meds about a half hour before you go so you can get home without too much pain. If you put a plastic bag on the passenger seat of your car, you can slide in, which will be less painful. I won't repeat all the other tips, since I saw that you read that thread about post surgery tips.

Once you're home, you're just going to want to sleep for a few more days. Since your husband will be home and then grandma is coming, that will probably not be a problem for your daughter. She's going to understand that you're not feeling well. Once you're past the surgical pain, in a week or two, you'll still be needing pain meds and still feel tired, but not all the time. You and your little one will figure out what works for both of you to spend time together. You can watch movies together, play board games on the bed with you lying down, do Mad Libs and stuff like that. You'll still be able to do a lot with her, but you may just need to be a little creative to find things you can do lying down.

You'll be so glad to get this over with! I hope it relieves your pain and you get your life back! For most people, that's what happens.

If you have other questions, we'll do our best to help. We're not doctors; we're just other back patients who have already walked those halls.

I wish you the best,
Emily

 
Old 06-16-2009, 04:37 PM   #10
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

Emily- Thank you for the run down on what will happen on the big day. It's nice to know what to expect. Its strange to just go to sleep and not know what happened for a chunk of your life. I hate the idea of it. I guess the fear really comes from not knowing what is to be expected. Also, thanks for telling what the procedure was called- 360 is easier to say than "front and back ..etc". I really appreciate you taking the time to write it all out.
** UPDATE:
I went to the doctor today to talk about the surgery with my husband. As I mentioned in an earlier post the nurses were quite rude to me and my husband was appalled. My nervousness only gets wrose everytime I interact with those *witches*. I dont want to have to deal with them but surgeron is so nice and competent! I would have mentioned it to the doctor but they acted like that right in front of him so I guess if he cared he would of said something. Its very frustrating to say the least.
Instead of waiting until next month for the surgery he said that he could make a special trip to the hospital I chose instead of making me wait until the scheduled date, so my surgery will be sooner than first thought. I am waiting on a call from the shedule lady for the firm date.

 
Old 06-17-2009, 11:55 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

Glad I could help! It's a lot less scary when you know what to expect.

That really stinks that you have such nasty nurses in your doctor's office. I'm surprised he doesn't say anything to them. Of course, he wouldn't in front of you, anyway.

How great is that, that your date can be moved up! The sooner the better! It'll be that much sooner that you'll be on the road to less pain!

Keep in touch here on the board! And whatever other questions you have, post away!

Emily

 
Old 06-17-2009, 04:53 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

Linda, thank you, honey! No, I leave close to Deal, not in that area which one you mentioned... I never heard of them, sorry.
Listen, you are long enough on this board and you know that so many of us go through this and everyone needs a very long time to get better (time depends on what was done during the surgery of course) but this is not a walk in park for sure.
Stay strong, girls, and be very positive. If you suffer now - this has to be stopped whatever it takes. You need your life quality, so do everything possible to get better!

I wish you all the best! You should get better, all of you! Love Moldova

 
Old 06-18-2009, 08:33 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

Thanks for the kind words moldova and the best to you also. Linda

 
Old 06-19-2009, 10:40 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone post surgery??

[COLOR="Navy"]The good news is that you are only having one level done. That means that there will be less time in the OR and less time on the table. I had a three level fusion 360. My surgery was 8 hours long. It was 4 years ago. I am working full time plus. So yes, there is life after surgery.

BUT one thing you need to remember, is that you will have a weight limit. Your doctor will probably tell you that you won't be allowed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk - which is about 8 lbs. for quite awhile. I know that you have a little one and this is hard, but you don't want to ruin the work that he has done, so it is something that you need to follow. i have a permanent 35 lb. limit for the rest of my life.

Remember that you will also be under the BLT (and that isn't Bacon Lettuce and Tomato either!) No Bending Lifting or Turning. You will probably have some sort of soft support brace to wear for awhile as you heal. They help support your back and keep everything in alignment as you get in and out of bed and start your walking about.

Make sure to eat plent of veggies and fruit and drink lots of water as the pain meds also cause constipation which can be miserable for a back patient to deal with on top of the surgery.

Take a deep breath and keep asking questions. That will make your day easier,Oh, make sure you get your toes done before you have yous surgery. You won't feel like doing it after.[/COLOR]

 
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