Well, I'm now almost exactly 14 days post-op and compared to when I came out of recovery at this time two weeks ago, I'm feeling great!
There aren't usually a lot of positive things on this board, it's people coming here with failed surgeries, more pain, etc, which is why I wanted to come back and tell my story.
I took it easy for the first week...real easy, did almost nothing, was waited on hand and foot, and aside from using the bathroom and walking around the house, I mostly just laid around.
The 2nd week, I started feeling a bit better every day, and was able to do more. 9 days post-op, I felt up to making a short trip to the grocery store to pick up a few items, and though I hurt a little more when I got home, it felt good to be able to do that. 11 days post-op, I made the drive into work to say hi to everyone and fill out some more paperwork so I could exhaust my PTO and collect whatever money I had left in there. The drive was about 20 minutes, and I started hurting toward the end of the drive, but once I was up and moving around again I felt fine.
I've cut back on how many pills I'm taking as well. I was doing 3x Valium, 4-6x Norco, and 2-3x Percocet daily to manage the pain, and I've at least cut that in half since. I still have flare-ups, but for the most part I'm feeling that the pain is subsiding and with any luck soon I'll be able to ease off them all together.
I've been walking a mile every day, and just started doing light tasks around the house. Nothing major, nothing that would interfere with my BLT restrictions, just enough to make me feel like I'm useful since I've felt like a part of the couch for the last two weeks.
I still have my good days, and my bad days. Some days I wake up in pain, others I wake up with virtually none. I've found I can control my pain by lying on my back with pillows under my legs, which most of the time can take the pain level from a 6 to a 2 within 30 minutes.
I use cryotherapy a few times a day, and just started using heat therapy a few days ago, alternating the two. They both give relief, which is always a good thing. I had a bone growth stimulator delivered a few days post-op that I wear for 2 hours a day. It's more of a nuisance than anything, it makes laying or sitting very uncomfortable, but if it's going to help speed the fusion up, I'm all for it.
My wound has completely healed, the surgical glue all came off, and it looks a ton better than it did the day after the surgery. I have no more local pain from the incision site, never had a problem with it draining, and no problems with infection.
My pain seems to be localized to the muscle group they went through to get to my spine, and I have some radiating pain to the right side, opposite to where they went in to get the disc, which I'm hoping is temporary.
I'm still very careful on how I get up and down from sitting or laying, but I'm now able to sit upright for periods up to an hour with a bunch of pillows behind me, and I'm walking fairly normally. I still walk with more caution than I used to, but I move a lot quicker than I did when I first came home.
For all of you that are going to have the TLIF procedure, there is hope. Before my surgery, reading all the posts on here (I literally read every one of them) I was a bit nervous about how my recovery would go, but not everyone has a bad story, there is always hope for a quick recovery.
I'll be back in a week or two with more. My post-op appointment and x-ray is on May 17th, hopefully the doctor will give me some good news