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    Old 03-21-2004, 03:37 PM   #16
    Brooke79
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Dear Ifoster21,

    No worries at all. I am a need-to-know-everything type of person, especially before something like this. Therefore, i just remember what i was like and so tell all now hehe. I am also an exercise science student and work in a gym so have a big interest in this kind of stuff.

    A few more things, and i'll post each time i remember more. Make sure before you go into hospital that your house is arranged so everything is easily accessible. I live with my mum and dad (but they work long hours) so i was home alone most of the time. In y bathroom for example, absolutely everything i would need i put on the bench top. Make movement minimal. I stil have everything on the bench. I bought little plastic boxes for things to go in. All my haircare stuff is in one box, skincare in another etc.. Make this a tidy arrangement because you want to keep yourspine as erect as possible for around 6 months to give everything a chance to heal.

    Ypu will want to get yourself a 'grabber'. This is a long stick with a 'claw' on the end and a hand operated lever at the other. You will get a lot of use out of this. This is used for when you drop things on the floor etc, as again you dont want to be bending. Do you live on your own? I always feel those who live on their own or even have young children really have a lot to cope with and a take my hat off to them.

    I also had a table that went over the bed (like the hospital ones) as i study a lot and need to rest. I have only just gotten rid of that.

    Try and find a hospital supplies store where you can often rent all these things, you'll need them. I still havent mastered how to put my socks on without bending, this still provides a bit of discomfort.

    The major things you'll want to prepare for is the mental challenge this will present. I am generally quite impatient and this has only just begun to teach me about patience. It is a frustrating time because bone heals slower than snails move. It can take 6 months to a year to fuse sometimes. Other times it is faster, again this kind of thing can not be predicted in advance. My surgeon had no doubts i would heal fast, in fact he thought i would be the fastest of his patients as i am only 24 and was quite fit before the surgery. Yet i have not fused (though i am only 5 months post op o still well and truly within the normal range). I have been so depressed and frustrated but i believe i wouldnt be this way if i had of dealt with this earlier and prepared myself better mentally.

    The anterior approach to this surgery is more risky that just the posterior approach because o the major organs and vessels in the way. These are removed from your body in that they are pinned to the side during the surgery and the risk to them is rupture of the arteries etc. You will most likely need to donate quite a bit of blood for the anterior approach. I am not sure of the recovery for an anterior approach so hopefully we will hear from someone who has had an anterior fusion.

    Brooke

     
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    Old 03-21-2004, 04:04 PM   #17
    magnetlady45
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Hi Everybody:

    First, thanks Brooke for sharing your experience at the hospital. It was very informative and I am sure so many will appreciate your input.

    My experience was different. Some of you who will be having fusion surgery may go through the same as Brooke. For others it might be different.

    I had my pre admission testing done a week before surgery. Besides the bloodwork they also did a test where they hooked up lead wires to my legs and back and ran electricity to locate the nerve endings. It was not a fun test but very important for later use during surgery. This way the doctor knows where the nerves are and doesn't risk severing them during surgery.

    I was admitted on a Wednesday morning. I was prepped, IV put in my left arm, lead wires put in place etc and then wheeled into surgery. One thing I would highly recommend is that you make sure the doctor's know what meds you are allergic to. We found out at time of surgery several meds that I was allergic too. Luckily, besides the surgeons, there is also a general practitioner there to keep an eye on other things. He noticed that I developed a body rash due to antibiotic that they had administered prior to surgery. He was able to take care of that problem while the surgeons did their work.

    After several hours, I was wheeled into recovery and then to my room. My surgeon told my husband that the surgery went well but I might have problems later on recovering because I am so thin. That became a true statement, and still deal with that.

    I was in hospital til Friday evening and at that time I was released to go home. I was very happy with that as I was experiencing problems with meds. Finally a good and kind nurse listened to me and quit giving me those meds and got permission to put me back on vicoden which I had been taking prior to surgery. Christi

     
    Old 03-22-2004, 08:00 AM   #18
    tonyroma
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Great!!
    I am finally on the right thread. Christi, thanks for getting me here!

    To recap:
    I am a 38 yo father of four who desperately wants to keep up with the kids and even return to competive running. I have a L5-S1 grade 1 spondy with a bad disc and persistant paresthesias and r foot drop. My pain is much improved but my neuro symptoms have not. After much research, prayer and finding an oustanding NS, I have opted for fusion (PLIF). I have failed PT, injections and time (6 months).

    This forum (overall....not this thread) had depressed me more than anything and am so appreciative to all of you who have shared your positive experiences.

    A couple of questions:

    Brooke: What has happened to Sean and the surfergirl? I would love an update if you are able.

    To all: I know this may seem a bit much to all who are in tremendous pain but I not only want to be pain free but I want to be able to return to athletics..especially running. My NS says he knows of many folks who return to a high level of sporting activity 8 -12 months after fusion. Are any of out there one of thses folks?

    Take care and God bless,

    Tony

     
    Old 03-22-2004, 05:39 PM   #19
    Brooke79
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Dear Tony,

    Firstly to answer your quezzies, Sean hasn't been around for quite some time. I think once people have gotten through the surgery, they feel its time for them to move on. As for surfergirl, i havent heard from her either. I think when the old good fusion outcomes wanted thread went, so too did its regulars unfortunately.

    Secondly, i am in the same boat as you (to a certain extent). I am an exercise science student and i work as a gym instructor and personal trainer. I am hoping to compete in the Body for Life challenge as soon as i have the all clear. I dont know if you've heard of this challenge? Anyway, i am desperate, desperate, desperate to get back into regular training etc as I eventually wish to compete again in some level of sport ( i used to be a great discus thrower but half the reason i ended up with my back the way it was, was from all my discus years - that and competitive equestrian).

    Sorry, i might have missed this, have you had the surgery? I am 5 months post op tommorrow and am now only just getting into the pool to do some deep water jogging. I am looking into the benefits of using this as a training mode after i have healed as well because i can get my heart rate up to 80% of its max and so with minimal impact why not? At this stage if i jog too fast i get nerve pain. That and i am extremely exhausted after 30 minutes of this. I literally need to go to bed after because of the exhaustion. All in good time i hope. I can sympathise though.

    Brooke

     
    Old 03-22-2004, 06:38 PM   #20
    magnetlady45
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Hi Everyone:

    I too think that some of the people who shared in the old thread have not returned to share with others. I thank those who are willing to participate in this thread. It is just as important to those awaiting surgery as it was for us. Personally, I am more than willing to help others before, during and after surgery. I also participated in the first thread.

    One thing as Brooke mentioned is that you must be patient during recovery. We all want it to be better right after we get out of surgery but that is not what usually happens. It takes time for our bodies to recover. This is not minor surgery. This is major surgery and as Brooke pointed out earlier, there are muscles which are stripped back, there are incisions etc. These take time to heal. I still have some muscle discomfort above the surgery site. The weather affects me big time but that doesn't mean that the fusion didn't work. You have to keep a positive mental attitude. Stress can actually slow down recovery.

    Keep the posts coming. You never know who you might help.

    Christi

     
    Old 03-22-2004, 09:14 PM   #21
    Harmony5
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    What is the best way I can prepare myself physically for surgery. I have 5 months before I will have my fusion so I have a little time. I feel like I am still recuperating from my last back surgery I had in July. It was a discectomy. I am totally out of shape and very weak at this point. It's hard to get conditioned for it if I can't walk very far. Thanks for everyone's input.

    Gail

     
    Old 03-23-2004, 12:43 AM   #22
    Brooke79
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Dear Gail,

    I am a gym instructor and an exercise science student so from my research this is what i suggest you do. If you cant not walk to well get into the pool as often as you can. By this i mean about 3 times a week.
    When we workout in the water there is little to no impact so its very safe for anyone recovering, injured or unable to land based exercise for whatever reason.

    I had my fusion in October and having been through it i would have trained my body a little better before hand. You will be needing as much strength in your arms, legs and core (tummy) as you can possibly get as you wont have your back to assist you (and its not till we dont have something that we realise just how much we need it.)

    Stomach/Core:
    The most basic and convieniant way to train your ore is simply by sucking your tummy in (naval to spine), all the way down to your pelvis. Start even by holding this for 10 seconds at a time. You must ensure you continue to breathe all the time even when your tummy is pulled in. You can do this anywhere, anytime. I now always have these muscles tight and even without trying to, all the time as the abdominals actually wrap around your spine, they form like a cylinder, so the tighter they are the more protected your spine is.

    Arms/ Legs:
    You can work on your arm strength and leg strength easily whilst in the pool. I have a floatee that goes around my waist and i get into the deep end of the pool and just jog/run as you would on land, but the weight of the water takes away the impact whilst allowing you to get your heart rate up. You can combine any running style with arm movements to increase or decrease the reistsnace, and therefore alter your heart rate how it suits you. The best arm strengthening routine i have found so far is to jog in the water whilst using breast stroke arms. This is a great arm workout but when in the water always remember youre posture. Because there is little gravity it is easy to forget your posture and people tend to lean forward whilst jogging in the water - this will stress your back. Always remember: keep your tummy in to support your core and you will find this will also help maintain your posture in the water.

    Water workouts can be just as tiring as land workouts and what's more is that you dont realise how much you sweat in the water. You should always keep a bottle of water nearby as you will be sweating quite a bit. Also keep the fluids up after the workout. Try not to eat before the workout for at least an hour as the hydrostatic pressure that the water applies to the body whilst submerged can make you feel sick if you've just eaten.

    An alternative to the deep water running is simply walking in the shallows of the pool. The impact of gravity is 50% greater than deep water but 50% less than land workouts. The benefits are that your feet have contact with the pool floor so you have better ability to maintain good posture than if you are in the depths where your feet are not touching the floor. By this method you can still give your arms a workout by pushing them through the water thus providing resistance for them.

    Hope this is of assistnce Gail

    Brooke

     
    Old 03-23-2004, 06:26 AM   #23
    tonyroma
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Brooke,

    I am scheduled 4/5 for L5-S1 fusion due to a bad disc, Grade 1 spondy causing persistent paresthesias and foot drop on the right. My pain is actually better, but because of persistent neuro symptoms and my desire for a very active lifestyle multiple clinicians including a top NS say now is the time.

    I am happy to hear that you are pursuing a very athletic lifestyle. I hope your Docs give the full OK. I have heard with a good fusion some folks have returned to there pre-fusion level of sport activity.

    I wish you the best of luck.
    Tony

     
    Old 03-23-2004, 07:48 AM   #24
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    [QUOTE=gaildw4]What is the best way I can prepare myself physically for surgery. I have 5 months before I will have my fusion so I have a little time. I feel like I am still recuperating from my last back surgery I had in July. It was a discectomy. I am totally out of shape and very weak at this point. It's hard to get conditioned for it if I can't walk very far. Thanks for everyone's input.

    Hello Gail ! I also had a discetomy in July and had a anterior / posterior fusion in November . That is the way i was before my fusion - could not walk very far , sit for very long , ect..... all i could do was lay in the bed on my left side - so i was not in shape before my fusion either .

     
    Old 03-23-2004, 07:18 PM   #25
    magnetlady45
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Hi Everyone:

    I didn't do anything in particular to prepare my body before my fusion surgery. Physical therapy didn't help but actually made it worse. My personal opinion is that you need more mental preparation than anything else. You need to believe that this surgery is the best thing for you and that you will get better as a result of it. Mental toughness is very important. Obviously you will be having surgery because you are physically unable to function as you once did.

    Mental toughness if so important as you will experience pain after surgery and you need to be strong mentally to be able to handle it. If you fret and panic and get depressed after surgery, then your healing process will slow down. I didn't understand this and would get so upset because I thought that my healing process was going to be short and sweet. The more I fretted and got upset, the more I would hurt.
    Tension causes even more pain. I am not trying to scare anyone here but I wish someone would have said this to me prior to surgery. I would have handled things so much better. Unfortunately I didn't even know that healthboards existed prior to my surgery.

    Have a great day.

    Christi

     
    Old 03-29-2004, 09:30 AM   #26
    Harmony5
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Thanks, Brooke, for your advice on how to strenghten physically. Your water exercises will be very helpful. I am going to print it out.

    Shaukc, it was good to meet you also and I hope you are recovering well from your surgery.

    Christi, thanks for the reminder of how we need to be prepared mentally as well.
    That is a hard one and something I will try to work on as well.

    I appreciate all of your input. I will look forward to someday being able to write about the success of my fusion to help someone else.

    Gail

     
    Old 03-29-2004, 02:23 PM   #27
    Brooke79
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Dear Gail,

    You're most welcome. The water exercises are great but take it very slowly and listen to your body (im sure you know that anyway). My fusion failed largly because of my spinal anatomy - no fault of the surgeon, but the second time round i think im also going to take it a lot slower than i did. I believe i over did things.

    Brooke

     
    Old 03-29-2004, 05:07 PM   #28
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Hi Brooke,

    What is the problem with your spinal anatomy that caused your fusion to fail?

    I have excessive lordosis which was one of the reasons my disk degerated at a young age. I am wandering if that will be a problem with my fusion.

    Gail

     
    Old 03-30-2004, 11:27 AM   #29
    tonyroma
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Hey folks,
    6 days till PLIF. What is making this hard is my pain is very manageable but my foot drop and sensory deficits continues hence my decision to go on with the surgery. MY NS thinks I have a greater than 95% chance of fusion (nonsmoker, not overweight and....determined to run around with my kids. Wish me luck.
    Thanks for all your experiences.
    Tony

     
    Old 03-30-2004, 11:39 AM   #30
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    Re: Good fusion outcomes wanted!

    Hi Tony,

    I wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery and will pray it goes well for you!
    Let us know how you are when you can. I will be thinking of you.

    Gail

     
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