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  • 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

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    Old 06-17-2004, 06:27 AM   #1
    back2basics
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    Cool 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    I have not posted in a long while, but wanted to give an update on my progress at this point to those that might be anticipating this type of surgery in the future. This board was instrumental in my recovery process as I was able to share experiences with others that had similar circumstances and learn from them. At times I think I would have totally "flipped out" had it not been for this forum.

    I would like to send a fond "Hello" to a couple of my fellow board members that I haven't seen posting for a while and wonder if they are doing well. Texmich, Daubie and Thom are you still out there? I hope you are all doing well!

    Also, StandingMan, I have read some from you over the past few months and know you are still working on self-improvement presently. It is good to know that you seem to have made at least some progress.

    Anyway, as for me......

    My recovery from this surgery seemed way too slow for me, but I am known to be a bit impatient. I somehow thought that 8 weeks later I was going to be totally back to normal. It was much longer for me, but I am over-all pleased with my surgery/progress and the things I am now able to do.

    I do still have a bit of numbness on the side of my left foot and wear tennis shoes most of the time. This seems to help the numbness, I'm not sure why, but it makes my foot seem almost normal. I have been able to wear the occasional sandal and dress shoe, but typically I limit the amount of time I wear them. I am lucky that my office has a casual dress code and I take full advantage of it!

    The nerve seemed to take forever to quit giving me "zings" on a daily basis, but now has settled down and only gives me an occasional wake up call!
    I still get the occasional spasm in my left calf as well, usually when the nerve seems aggravated. I have minor back pain occasionally, mostly when I over-do something. I would say that a couple of times a month I might need to take some Advil and maybe once a month I take a quarter of a flexeril (muscle relaxer). So I am basically off meds with the above exceptions.

    Sitting for long periods of time seemed to be my worst hurdle in recovery. I have purchased my own chair for the office which helped immensly. It has the cut out for the tail bone so that there is not so much pressure on my spine. Chair cost a bit, but well worth the money. I purchased a sleep number bed about 3 weeks post op that I still use as well. Long road trips still seem to aggravate my nerve and so I have also changed the vehicle I drive and now drive a van that lets me sit in a more up-right position and allows me to make longer road trips.

    All in all, I have adjusted some things to make life easier on my back, (sometimes I wish I had invested in these things 5 years ago and wonder if it would have made a difference), but I feel the surgery was still the best option for me given where I was at with the level of pain and fear of loosing the feeling in my foot entirely.

    I am certainly more cautious now, but am moving freely with no mobility issues at all. I have made a couple of road trips this year. One from Michigan to Florida and back with minor back/leg issues. While I was in Florida, I went for an hour horse-back ride on the beach with my husband, (something I always wanted to do), and walked all over Universal Studio's as well. We also went to the races in NC that I missed last year due to my back surgery and I totally enjoyed myself!

    Geez, this post is long enough don't you think!

    My very best to all!! Dee
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    12/2/2008-Diagnosed Dilated Cardiomyopathy
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    5/7/2003-Laminectomy/Discectomy L4/L5 & L5/S1

     
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    Old 06-17-2004, 05:07 PM   #2
    Racharina
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Hi Dee,
    I am Raiza, but I had to re-sign with a different name because I had forgotten my password and my email got cancelled due to change of companies (from DSL to Cable). I had to sign in with a new name: [i]Racharina[/i]. I hope you remember me from that forum. I really had a lot of emotionally support there.

    On July 16 I will have one year post operation of my [i]L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy[/i] in my Right side. Still feels quite painful and it seems I have to take a painkiller every other day. I take one [i]naproxin sodium[/i] and half of a [i]vicodin[/i]. Some weeks seems it is getting all good, at almost 0 pain but then the next week, bang! The pain has never been as strong as it was prior operation tho but still gets pretty painful. I got rid of the limpidness and the electric shocks I used to have as well as the numbness. But my legs hurt must of the time as well as my hips. Buttock pain has reduced enormously but when I get it, it really throbs. If you are at the point of taking one painkiller once a month I will say you are a total success story. I wish I was there. I don't know if I have low tolerance to pain or that I am still in a some real strong pain. Sitting is a killer.

    I walk everyday and try to swim more.. although the swimming part have reduced since I have gotten lazy. I tried to do abs but it seems to hurt more after 3 days I have started doing it. I try to do lunges or leg dips as well as squats and also give me a lot of pain. (Usually about 3 to 4 days after I have started the work out program). For that reason, I have kept it low key work outs and just doing the walking. But when i walk I do it for almost an hour.

    I still get really down emotionally when i get the bad weeks. I just don't know if it is normal that after a year of post operation I still have to go through this. I don't know if you remember, but I used to whine that I wanted to have children someday but this back problem was like a barrier that was not letting me make the decision. I said I was going to wait one year post operation to see if I could start trying, but I really don't know if I should.

    I sometimes wonder if I will need another surgery, but when I have the good days, I say, "nah, I don't' think so, everything will be alright".

    I am glad to hear you are doing well. One painkiller a month seems to be pretty good to me.

    Glad you posted back.

    -Raiza

     
    Old 06-17-2004, 08:30 PM   #3
    Standingman1
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Back2--Just want to thank you for your update. So often, we "lose" people and never hear more of the "rest of the story." Of course, it makes sense that this happens, but I'm glad you checked in. It does, indeed, sound like you have made a good recovery. Having to still make adjustments, etc., seems to be true for almost everyone, and you certainly sound like your life is much normalized from what it was.

    Yes, I walk on, still riding the non-surgical horse (but not on the beach!). Progress? Depends on what day you ask!!! Anyway, I wouldn't want to jinx.....whatever.

    Best,

    Standingman

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 11:29 AM   #4
    back2basics
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Raiza:

    Yes, of course I remember you. I am so sorry to hear that you are still experiencing issues with recovery, but please don't give up hope yet. I know I read a post at one time that said they did not feel normal until 2 years post op, (sorry, I can't remember who posted it, but I definately remember reading it). I do believe that the recovery period is different for everyone and that many things contribute to it, like how severely the nerve was compressed prior to surgery, etc...

    Have you talked with your Dr about maybe getting another MRI done to see if there is something still going on? I can tell you that what I will term my recovery symptoms seemed to disappear in 4-6 week increments. I know it sounds silly, but every 4-6 weeks I would suddenly notice that I could do something I had not been able to do since surgery. Sometimes they were little things, like getting in and out of the shower without pain or fear. Sometimes they were bigger things, like doing all my laundry in one day, or scrubbing the bath tub.

    Like you, I also try to exercise regularly. I mostly walked during the first phases after PT, but I now mostly use a Glider exercise machine. I try to get on it every morning for 20 minutes. When I run late getting up, I still try to at least do a few minutes on the glider as I think it helps the muscles in my back to loosen up before starting the day.

    Please do not loose faith, you are still doing the right things, exercising daily etc.. I will keep you always in my thoughts and wish you a complete recovery and a bouncing baby, (but not too bouncy!)

    StandingMan:

    Good to hear from you neighbor! Not sure if you remember, but I think we determined that we were in the same vicinity, (I work in AA). I still visit the board often, just haven't posted in a while. I think I had the same problem as Raiza, I changed my email. I was able to get my old login back by emailing the moderator. They are very helpful! At any rate, it took me a while to figure out that because my email changed, I could no longer post.

    Hope you are well and still improving.

    Wishing everyone on the board pain free days ahead! Dee
    __________________
    12/2/2008-Diagnosed Dilated Cardiomyopathy
    Left Bundle Branch Block
    5/7/2003-Laminectomy/Discectomy L4/L5 & L5/S1

     
    Old 06-20-2004, 11:35 AM   #5
    einie131
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    I am one year and 3 months post. Now there is recurrent herniation at l5-s1. Need surgery on July 1 2004.

    Not looking forward. I had a choice to try this again, or the dreaded fusion.

    Did anyone else have this happen?

     
    Old 06-20-2004, 11:38 AM   #6
    einie131
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    I am glad you are doing well! I have to have another surgery at L5-S1 in two weeks. Either that, or we would do a fusion.

    Has anyone else have this happen?

    Einie131

     
    Old 07-14-2004, 06:20 PM   #7
    Tung-Sol
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Hey Dee, it's Thom. I was checking back one year post-op hoping to see if some old friends might be around and here you guys are! (Hey Riaza!) Today is my one year anniversary ... amazing.

    Dee, I'm so glad you're doing so well and Raiza so sad to hear you're not. My story is actually a pretty good one. I only take Aleve for lower back muscle pain, much like I did before surgery. My footdrop is totally gone ... I don't quite have the same lifting strength but my gait is not affected. I still have some residual numbness in my big toe area, nothing major. No more shooting nerve pain that I had after surgery. Occasionally, I have the whole leg "squeezing" type of pain, but all-in-all I feel very fortunate.

    I do worry about further injury to other levels ... I did learn one thing from PT though, NAH! Neutral Spine, Abdominal Bracing and Hip Hinge. I am constantly aware of my spinal position and proper posture and support. I've learned to walk around with my abs braced (as if ready to get punched in the belly), ALL the time and feel this is the most important thing I do to prevent back pain. That, and making sure I never bend at the waist but at the hip.

    Well, that's my (long) story. It's so great to hear from you guys. I really missed the group ... Daubie (hey, you owe me a wine toast, where are you Daubie ), Linda, TexMich and everyone I can't even recall anymore. I want to send a big thank you out to all for the support and good vibes back then. Best wishes to everyone!!

    Thom
    __________________
    herniated L4-L5, free frag with footdrop approx. 6-30-03 with a month of lower back pain prior to that
    laminectomy/discectomy 07-14
    I have 5mm herniation of L5-S1 on right side that is asymptomatic, no surgery recommended

     
    Old 07-14-2004, 10:49 PM   #8
    Racharina
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Oh Hi [b]Thom![/b]
    I am so glad to hear from you and to know that you are doing so much better. On the 16 (in two days) I will have my one year anniversary!

    Actually I am not doing bad myself. I had a week crisis about a month ego, and all of a sudden it started improving incredible well. I started doing a lot of meditation cuz I noticed that I was getting accute pain when I was stressing out... e.g. when I could not find my keys and I was late... or I got upset/stressed about something. I can go on doing gardening and I am just fine. So I decided to look into reading more about "mind over body" cuz I thought what I was having left over was part in my mind... you know, after being in chronic pain for so long, your mind can get confused and think there is still a problem even tho surgery was a success. I am just hopping to continuing improving until I have no pain at all.

    I am swimming a lot and know I am able to work out. I am also getting a Yorkshire terrier in a couple of weeks , so I am so excited about it. I am reading how to train dogs, buying toys, dog's bed, you name it. I think all these have helped me to focus on something rather than pain. Without noticing it, I am now down to one Vioxx a week.. the other days I just get some minor hip pain but goes away real quick.

    I have been trying to tell people here in the forum to focus on something else and perhaps think Physiological rather than physical.... well, I guess it is working for me.

    I haven't heard from [b]Daubie[/b] in a long time!... [b]Dee[/b] always has good stories to tell, I always enjoy her posts... Oh Gosh, I miss the group ... remember that long thread that didn't want to die?

    Anyway, just glad you came out to say [i]HI[/i]..

    Man, I can [i]Yiak ...[/i]

    take care Thom!
    -Raiza

     
    Old 07-16-2004, 07:48 AM   #9
    back2basics
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Thom:

    So glad to hear that you are doing well. I have missed chatting with all my old buddies that pulled me through so much. I haven't heard anything from Daubie or TexMich since I posted this. Maybe they will check in sometime and tell us how they are doing. Chances are, they are doing great since they are not browsing out here. I try to check a couple times a week to stay up on new news about back surgeries, etc. I want to stay informed and of course lend my support to those that are just now where we were at one time. Check back in occasionally and say hello.

    Raiza:

    Sounds like you have made a break through in your recovery. I am so glad things are looking up for you. You are right, your mental attitude means so much in the healing process. I have to say, that the mental/emotional part of having back surgery is as much a factor to deal with as the back/leg pain. I am very thankful to have found such caring people on this board that helped me get through the whole ordeal. Enjoy your new pet, make sure he walks YOU every day as that is sooo good for you.

    Dee
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    Old 07-16-2004, 08:11 AM   #10
    LoveLiz
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    I've got a herniation/disc issue with L5-S1 as well, but glad to hear you're doing well. My ortho said I'd be a good candidate for a fusion but I really don't want to due to my age (I just turned 18 in May). I've had this problem for over a year and have tried EVERYTHING (2 chiropractors, 3 mos. of physical therapy, steroid packs, numerous pain-killers, 2 seperate epidurals), but nothing has helped so far. I've mentioned the procedure you had to my ortho but he said that if they went in there, they wouldn't have anything to do, which I think is rubbish. I've been from doctor to doctor and it seems like they all give me B/S and can't give me an exact diagnosis.

    But once again, glad to hear your well. Just had to vent a bit, heh.

     
    Old 07-29-2004, 12:00 PM   #11
    Tung-Sol
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Hi all ... busy as usual, two weeks just flew by but ...

    Dee ... glad to hear from you! I do miss everybody from last year too, but I sure don't miss the experience inching around the house, then the porch, then the driveway, etc., hehe! Take care, I'm sure I'll bump into you again here sometime.

    Raiza ... sorry if I misunderstood so congrats on your progress!! I agree that taking an active role and doing whatever it takes makes a big difference. Easier said than done for many, especially early on, but it's great to hear you're doing so well. Keep up the meditation, I'm convinced it will add years to our lives, even if only used for stress relief.

    Take care,

    Thom
    __________________
    herniated L4-L5, free frag with footdrop approx. 6-30-03 with a month of lower back pain prior to that
    laminectomy/discectomy 07-14
    I have 5mm herniation of L5-S1 on right side that is asymptomatic, no surgery recommended

     
    Old 08-13-2004, 08:21 AM   #12
    back2basics
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Bump to the top for Scosterlund. There are success stories who still visit this board. Wishing you the best!! Dee
    __________________
    12/2/2008-Diagnosed Dilated Cardiomyopathy
    Left Bundle Branch Block
    5/7/2003-Laminectomy/Discectomy L4/L5 & L5/S1

     
    Old 08-13-2004, 09:07 AM   #13
    Racharina
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    [QUOTE=back2basics]Bump to the top for Scosterlund. There are success stories who still visit this board. Wishing you the best!! Dee[/QUOTE]

    Thanks [b]Back2basics[/b] for bumping it up.
    Yes, we need to be patience... Nerves take a long time to heal, but with little bit of care, positivism, support, and doing the right thing, we can get closer and closer to being "normal" again.

    -R

     
    Old 08-13-2004, 10:43 AM   #14
    back2basics
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    Re: 1 year, 1 month post L5/S1 discectomy laminectomy

    Raiza:

    Good to see you back on the board. Hope all is going well for you. Dee
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    Left Bundle Branch Block
    5/7/2003-Laminectomy/Discectomy L4/L5 & L5/S1

     
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