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Old 04-14-2010, 03:34 PM   #1
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Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Hi.
I am having L4, L5 ALIF May 6th and would really like to know how bad it will be. What do I expect at the hospital and when I get home from the hospital. I am scared and just would like to as much so I am prepared. Never had any surgeries before.
Thank you.

 
Old 04-14-2010, 08:21 PM   #2
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Realize that you will be having a pretty big surgery. Everybody is different and each of us react differently but be prepared if all things go well for a slow recovery. Your body will tell you but expect some time(months) to fullly recover. Of course, age, weight, and physical shape all play a major role.

I am 6 weeks post op from fusion of L4 to S1 and still have pain at times but meds do help a great deal. I thought I would have been alot better off at this point but what I'v learned on this board is that it takes time. This board has taught me to be patient. My doc told me to bring a great attitude and expect war. Many people have had this surg before and have done great. Just be patient and let time heal. Let us know how it goes. Take care.

Last edited by scoopy; 04-14-2010 at 08:36 PM.

 
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:33 AM   #3
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

[COLOR="Navy"]welcome!

Read the post surgery tips at the top of the board. They are full of helpful information that will get you through the first part of your post surgical recovery.

Be prepared. This is MAJOR surgery. You will not be without pain. Of course it all depends on how you react to pain. I have a very high tolerance to pain, but I had some complications that almost sent me over the edge! the most important thing for you to learn is to take your meds for your pain. That way your body can heal. If you let your pain get ahead of you you have to play catch up with th epain before you can play healing with your back.

If you have a few pds. to loose, do it now. it's an easier heal for you and your back. Get a pedicure right before your surgery. They let you wear polish now on your toes. It will be awhile before you can bend down to cut your toenails, so take care of them b4 surgery. Put some easy meals in the freezer for your family to take out, thaw and heat. You won't want to be cooking. Unless you have a wonderful willing family, get a cleaning lady for a few weeks after when you aren't suppose to bend lift or twist. Have easy pull on pants. Buttons ans zippers are just irritating.

This is a good start for you. You'll do just fine. Just keep asking questions....hang in there![/COLOR]

 
Old 04-15-2010, 01:59 PM   #4
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Thank you for your encouraging words. I have been basically in bed for 3 months now going through the shots to see if that would help. From the Fent.l patch they had me on I have lost a bunch of weight.

Where you able to walk very well when you got out of the hospital. I'm asking because my bedroom is upstairs and I figured if I can make it up the stairs then I would just stay up there till I was strong enough to make it down. I am trying to get a good attitude about this -- but it has been a hard time being in so much pain. I have gotten better staying in bed but I'm about to go crazy.

After 2 months can you be doing things more normal by then? We have plans on a fishing trip to a wonderful lake for the week of July 4th in the RV. I would like to make that my reward for working hard to get through this.

I really don't know what to ask.

 
Old 04-15-2010, 07:21 PM   #5
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Hi Ematork,

I haven't posted on this site yet but before my ALIF I used it considerably. I am 2.5 weeks post op L5-S1 surgery and I had very little pain from it. I went off all pain meds on day 2 of the surgery and only took a couple of paracetamol tablets for a headache after that. But this was only my experience. What I learnt from it though was that everybody is different with their pain thresholds and whatever happens you will get through it.

I was walking like normal 1 week after the operation and initially when the surgeon told me that it could be as soon as 6-weeks that I was riding my motorcycle again I thought no way. I would wait the 3-months. But I feel so good even now that if he gives me clearance at the 6-week checkup that I will be back on my bike that weekend.

I don't know why I am recovering so quickly. The surgeon said that my age was an advantage being only 32 but I also wonder if it was all of my pre-op physiotherapy that helped as well. I also had a great surgeon.

I really hope your surgery goes well and I only posted this so that you know that there are good stories about this surgery out there as well.

As for the stairs, well I was lucky because I have a single level house but when I did go up stairs it was a little bit painful but mostly because I had a bone graft taken from my hip.

 
Old 04-16-2010, 10:00 AM   #6
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

[COLOR="Navy"]My bedroom is upstairs. I had to spend a month in a rehab facility and they taught me how to go up and down the stairs. So at first I wouldonly do the stairs once a day, but as soon as I started to feel better the steps got easier also.

The fishing trip sounds wonderful. My only caution is that sitting in a car that soon after a surgery for long periods of time can be uncomfortable. Now if you can lay down, that's osmething else. It will all depend on how fast you heal. You don't see fusion for 6 months usually.

You will still be doing the no BLT. that is for your own safety as well as for your back to have a chance to heal.

Try to keep your spirits up. You will be fine![/COLOR]

 
Old 04-16-2010, 11:18 AM   #7
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Like Kylied, I as well am recovering very well. Iam just over 2 months post from a L5/S1 fusion with hardware and I was off all pain meds at week 2. I am 32 and was fairly fit prior to surgery.
Do realize that this is a pretty invasive surgery and expect a lengthy recovery.
I was walking the same day as my operation......

 
Old 04-18-2010, 06:47 AM   #8
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Hey,
I had an ALIF L5 S1 on March 30, 2010. It has not been terrible so go into it knowing you are going to hurt but when you wake up in the RR your deep core pain will be gone and if you have had leg involvement that too will be gone!! The worst part at first was log rolling out of bed with your tummy muscles cut and of course your back being incredibly sore. The worst part was when they jsck up your back to put the space between your vertabrae all of your low back muscles are moved as well. It feels like you did 100 squats but in your mid to low back. It took about a week in half for that to get better. I am almost 3 weeks post op and my tummy does not bother me anymore. If you over do it like I did last week while my 8 and 10 year old were out for Spring Break I feltr like I was a couple days post op again. I was up and down, up and down and trying to do the short, frequent walks they want you to do. This past week I mostly was laying down but only to get up to use the restroom, make something to eat and to walk around my house about 3 times a day and I am back on track!! My biggest confusion is how much activity to do and not to do. I was going by the no pain no gain motto but that is not advised. I was told by my MD that at a month post op patients turn the corner!! I am still on pain medication but am able to go about 4-5 hours between dosages. I am so ready not to be hurting as I have suffered horribly the last 4 months!! The pain is only surgical as you will have a plate and 2 screws in your vertabrae and when most people have hardware they also have a cast to immobilize the wrist,foot, leg etc.. but we have it in our backs so healing does take much longer. I can tell a huge difference that this is all going to be well worth it!! I am already on my way to getting my life back as I have really been miserable before my surgery like II said. Good luck to you and let us know how you are doing!!

 
Old 04-18-2010, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Thanks for that, fedupfor. All I want out of life right now is to lose the leg pain! I have yet to set a date for my surgery, last time I saw the neurosurgeon was when he broke the news that I was going to need it, and he sent me away to assimilate the information. This board has been really helpful, thanks to all of you who take the time to report your positive experiences, it means alot!

 
Old 04-19-2010, 03:57 PM   #10
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Smile Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Thank you all for all the help. This board has given me the hope I needed. I too have been in bed for almost 4 months and all the drugs they have me one have made me so sick I lost 35 pounds. I'm hoping to get rid of the leg and butt pain. My lower back just feels broke so anything other than this pain has got to be better!!! Because I have been in bed all this time I feel a bit better but I know I do not want to live this way.

The doctor gave me a brace at the last visit and it has helped a lot with the pain of moving around. I always prided myself for being in decent shape but laying this long I don't think so now.

It was so beautiful last weekend I went outside and had my 17 year old son move plants for me and yes I did do some stuff and now paying for it today.

The fishing trip will be in the RV, so I will lay on the couch for the trip and if I can't go in the boat I am prepared to stay behind and just relax in the reclining chair I bought.

Again thank you so much for all you input. I am feeling more comfortable with having the surgery.

 
Old 04-20-2010, 06:17 AM   #11
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

I hope you will have a speedy recovery. I am looking at surgery hopefully in the next few months. Going out in our RV is my only concern also. We spend as much time as we can in the mountains during the summer (waaay too hot to stay in Phoenix) so I hope I will be able to do that after I reach the point I can travel.

This board provides so much support and knowledge, I am very glad I found it and hope it helps you too.

 
Old 04-20-2010, 09:09 AM   #12
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Good Luck!!

You can't continue to live like you are so the surgery will get you out of bed and living again!!!

 
Old 04-20-2010, 09:38 AM   #13
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Everybody is correct in their comments, and it is different for everyone. You need a GOOD, EXPERIENCED spine surgeon, someone at home to help and a strong believe this is necessary. I am 1 week post op, L5-S1 decompression, interbody fusion. Bone removal to free mangled nerve and a grade two slip with bone on bone. I wasn't getting any better and if I waited any longer may have had permanent nerve damage. I had a lot of pain in hospital and this first week at home and wasn't prepared for that. Had plenty of meds. Things are now improving a LITTLE at a time. It will be 3 mos according to my dr to get fairly good nerve pain relief. Once fused I can do pretty much what I want. I may never be 100% pain free, but a couple tylenol 2 times a week beats what I have been going thru. Would do it all over again in a heartbeat.



Best of Luck,


Ken

Last edited by rugmankc; 04-22-2010 at 10:44 PM.

 
Old 04-22-2010, 11:00 AM   #14
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Last couple days I have had the bad pain again. Funny, because I was thinking last week while I was feeling better with hardly any pain, that maybe I would be alright. LOL
Guess not. I'm getting the mindset of can't wait for the surgery so I can stop hurting like this. When you think of it, this pain isn't going away and surgery pain, not knowing how bad that will hurt compared to this, will heal and go away. I think that pain can't be as bad as this can it?

When I saw the neurosurgeon last week, he corrected me, I'm getting L4, L5S1 two level --if that's how you say it.

Fedupfor, you have been a great help. The reason I signed up was of your posts before your surgery. I'm so happy that your getting better.

I ordered the satin sheet, pj's should be here today and a new grabber. The one my boss bought me sucks. Do you think I will need a lift for the potty? If the doctor prescribes it then the insurance should pay for it?? Can you think of anything else I should get before surgery that will help?

Thank you all for your help.

 
Old 04-23-2010, 06:04 AM   #15
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Re: Having L4, L5 ALIF MAY 6 Want to know how bad it will be

Hey Ematork,

I woke up in the RR and the leg pain was gone and the deep core pain was gone and I pray you will be the same!!! The last couple of days I really think I have turned the corner so I am 3.5 weeks post op! I walked yesterday for 30 min and it even had a pretty steep hill and I am not paying for it today!! You know I had seen before hand like you are doing of some ot the things I might need post op. The 500 thread count was a nice perk! I did not get a grabber or a potty lift thing. My hubby helped me get stuff along with my kids and I used my leg muscles alot in lifting up off the potty as well as my hubby helped, I would use him as a brace. See how you do before you spend the $$$ as they are not cheap. I did not want one as I knew I would feel very old (my grandmother had one) and I am only 42!! You can't live life as you are now and I too had some good day's that made me wonder and then really bad day's. It is a big decision but I am SOOOOOOOO glad I did it! I am on my way to getting my life back and will not need pain medicine to get through a day!!!!!!!!!

 
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