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BionicSurfer 07-16-2003 09:54 AM

6 months post fusion-Life is great
Just checking in, it's been awhile.

Everything is absolutely wonderful. So great that I know I have a follow-up with my doctor sometime in August, but I couldn't tell you when. That's the first time in years that my life didn't center around medical appointments.
Since my 360 (anterior/posterior, global) fusion in January I've had days where I thought "what the heck have I done" but all in all I feel 100% better. Oh I pay for stupid things I've tried (note to self...although it's possible to move a television, you will pay!!!) Weather tends to bother me more than anything. I think it's low pressure that gets to me. I don't know if anyone else has noticed this??? I'll get to test that theory more as hurricane season approaches.

I can touch the floor from a standing position
I can lay on my back, my right side, my left side and even my stomach!
I can sleep (ahhhhhhhhhh)
I can swim, run, and play.
I'm just waiting for surfing, (oh please, oh please, oh please) golf and roller coasters. Hey doc said skydiving wouldn't be out of the question so???

I didn't drop in to toot my own horn I just wanted to even out the playing field a little bit. I had sooooo many questions before, during and after my surgery that were answered right here. Heck, some of my questions even came from here. Tends to be that those of us that are lucky enough to come out of this mess bruised and battered but not broken, dissappear. I just wanted to stick my neck out here and show that positive results are possible.

Hang Loose!!!

acme 07-16-2003 10:28 AM

Good for you BionicSurfer! 2- Thumbs up!!
I had L-4/L-5 Fusion Surgery Oct "01"....And I'm doing Great Also!!
Great to hear success stories!!
Life is Good.....

shg 07-16-2003 11:27 AM


Tell me more...what were you like before the surgery? How many levels did you have done? Where you able to return to work? If so, how soon after the operation? If you didn't have too, when could you have?

Anything you can offer me would be huge.


BionicSurfer 07-16-2003 12:35 PM

Ummm where to start, where to start?
Spring of 2001 I started with left hip pain. That's understandable, I had just tiled 2 floors, gutted our kitchen (including the built in oven) and placed aprox 200 edging stones, all while my husband was out of town for a month. See what happens when I get bored. Hip left hip pain turned into left butt pain (kinda like sitting on a golfball) then right hip pain, lower back and left sciatic pain. Eventually I couldn't sleep, couldn't tolerate sitting or standing for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I had the first 10 minutes every morning that were tolerable...and the day got worse from there.
for the next year and a half I jumped through all of the hoops; PT, MANY injections (hips, back, SI joint) and I can't tell you how many different drugs.
Long story short dx'd with DDD and fractured discs at L4-L5, L5-S1 leaking fluid.
Surgery was nearly 6 hours long and I woke up the Bionic Woman!!!I was out from work for six weeks. I begged and pleaded to return after 4 weeks but was told NO. It took me probably another 6 weeks to build up to 99.9% of the physical parts of my job. (I'm a Systems Administrator and I still won't move monitors)

Don't get me wrong, this hasn't been a picnic in the park but everytime I get down I remember how I felt before and I'm back on track. No day is ever 100% pain free but most days it's pretty darn close.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help!

ChristinaD 07-16-2003 12:52 PM

Hi there!
That is great that you are painfree! That must feel so wonderful.
I just wanted to leave you with a little piece of advice......
I had a fusion of 13 levels for scoliosis and I wasn't given a whole lot of restrictions except sky diving, rollar coasters, bungy jumping ect.
However, I do know that if I had known then what I know now, I would have never taken the doctors advice and I would have taken better care of myself. I never even knew what DDD was or ever had an inclination that type of thing can happen especially with past fusion patients. I lived a normal life and did everything I wanted with a few exceptions. Well, now I am suffering intense problems because the discs below my fusion are deteriorating and ruptured and my facet joints are shot. I would give back the world to have known about this. I would have taken way better care of myself.
I just wanted to let you know, no matter how great you feel it is very easy to come un-done again. I am definetely not saying that is gonna happen and I'm sure you will do great! I am just speaking out of experience, it is so worth it to give up rollar coasters, sports, surfing,ect if it means having a pain free life.
I'm sure you know from when you were in pain that even the simplest things make you happy and how important it is to be pain free. I am just saying that sometimes these few things aren't 'that' important.
I don't mean to sound negative or anything I think it is absolutely wonderful that you are so much better. I just have experienced some very 'ignorant' doctors and want to educate those who don't know these things. And I want people to know that even if the doctors says it's "okay" it may not be the best thing.
Best of Luck to you and I hope that you don't take me the wrong way.
I'm glad to hear someone is pain free!!!!

27 years old
1993: T1 to L1 fusion due to scoliosis at age 17
2000: Tore and ruptured L4 L5 & L5 S1-it finally got better after about a year. Did really well for about a year.
June 2002: Had a relapse and tore disc again. It is going on a year and my disc pain has subsided now I am faced with facet joint and bone problems restricting my movement.
Not sure what is next!
Still waiting to go into remission again but I think the damage is done!!
Current doctor say to wait it out.
Going for second opinion in July.

shg 07-16-2003 01:28 PM

Thank you for your response. It's interesting b/c of all the people I speak too, no one has mentioned to me the hip pain. This is important to me b/c I have one point it even radiated to the groin area. Now I have hip and back pain, no leg, etc (knock on wood) and I feel unstable.
When you awoke, how were you? When were you walking? Tell me anything else, please...You seem like me, very eager to return back to a normal life. (how old are you? If you don't want to answer, tell me if you're close to my age, 30). What is your activity level now? How about limitations?
Again, thank you so much

BionicSurfer 07-16-2003 01:47 PM


No offense taken at all!
You are an angel for speaking up and I appreciate that very much.
What a terrible thing you are going through. Can I ask if anything specific happened to cause the ruptures and deterioration? What can they do for you to resolve your pain?
I agree with you about value of living a pain-free life. I know I tend to come off as care-free and hell-bent on doing EVERYTHING, but I do worry. I wonder if the worst is yet to come. Nothing is so valuable to go back to the beginning. I guess I have this overriding, nagging feeling that we only get so many days here and I don't want to waste ANY of them. I could get squished by a car or taken out by a shark tomorrow.
I guess there's a happy medium between using common sense and asking for trouble.

Keep me posted and let me know how you are doing.

No problem, I don't mind helping at all. This place saved me when I had no idea what was going on.
Regarding the hip pain. I had hip pain for so long that I was dx'd as having bursitis for a LONG time. I think I had 8 injections into my hips before they figured out there was something else going on. I never really had groin pain but I had really severe 'vibrations' down there. Had it not scared the bejesus out of me, it might have been fun. It was so bad at one point that I kept thinking my cell phone was ringing on vibrate, thus I thought people were hanging up on me. DUH.
The hospital stay is really pretty fuzzy. I remember bits and pieces. First of all I turned 39 the day after my surgery (what a whopper of a birthday present) and I think I walked the first time on that evening. I can honestly tell you that as soon as I was home, me and my walker went for a stroll every day. I felt so much better after walking, and it still helps today.
As far as restrictions I was told I can do pretty much whatever I want as long as I have full control of my body position at all times. That leaves out surfing for right now. You may want to look at Christina's comments above. She brings up some very strong points.

Where are you in your treatment? Details, details, details

Hang Loose

[This message has been edited by BionicSurfer (edited 07-16-2003).]

jdlfmc 07-16-2003 04:03 PM

Bionicsurfer,I must say you have every right to toot your horn and I for one am enjoying your success vey much!!!I have to say though when I'm board I usally bleach my hair or some stupid thing like that!!!You have a sense of humor that is very refreshing and I have enjoyed reading your post very much it's always great to hear the other side of the story as was said most don't make it back when they have thier life back!!So thank you very much for comming back and brighting our days!!Keep up the great success story and drop in and often and let us know we all have a chance to live again!!!

shg 07-16-2003 04:50 PM


Thank you. Where am I? Lets see, I saw a doc today who told me I was not eligible for ADR b/c of a fracture. Therefore, I'm now at a point where I have to decide when to have a 2 level fusion. My issue is, I love my job and it requires me to be on the phone, working at the computer and entertaining, I'm in financial sales - I sell to financial advisors...therefore, I do NOT want to A) lose my livliehood and B) not be able to work at a job which I love. That's why I keep asking about pain, walking, etc...when were you able to get into a car and drive? How was it sleeping for the first week, 2 weeks, etc? How was it at home? When did you feel stable?

With me, I don't feel stable and I have some pain in my back and side...that's it. I don't have leg pain, numbness (knock on wood) or anything like that...all I have is the instability and back ache.

cardinal 07-16-2003 06:32 PM

Good for you! I wish I could say the same! I am recuping from c 5-6-7 fusion along with L5 removed now collpased. also have l3-5 bulging, degenerative and arthritis. I would love anything to be my old self!!! But will do my best to live on!! I don't want any more surgeries. It is great to hear success stories!!! Maybe cause I am older, 47 but that won't stop me!! Best wishes and enjoy every day!!!!!

ChristinaD 07-17-2003 07:50 AM

Hi surfer girl!
I actually am not 100 percent sure just what led to my living hell. I certainly acted as if I had never been fused for the most part because that is what the doctors led me to believe. I seriously thought I was 'cured'. So, I probably partied a little to hard, danced a little crazy, I worked in a plant out of high school manufacturing safety harness where I would probably lift too much and twisting around at the same time didn't help. I'm sure all this led up to it. I was told I could snow ski or water ski but anything that jarred me was not a good idea. Well, when you ski, your jarring your spine so I decided to NOT do that stuff. If I did, when they said it was okay, where would I be now?
I actually twisted and lifted I guess the wrong way when I first felt a slight pop. A little later I couldn't move and that is where it all started, I thought I broke my hip.
I finally got better after about a year of hell, then BAM I had a relapse. I was out in a skiboat, not knowing I was putting myself in danger, when another boat crossed in front of us leaving waves. Well, our boat jumped the wave and I went flying out of my seat landing on my rear pretty hard back down into my seat, with a huge jolt. I knew then, I was **** out of luck!
So, here I am, I'm not sure what is next. I don't think there is much that can be done. I go at the end of the month to see if there is 'something else' going on as I just don't feel like it is so much 'disc' pain. It could have something to do with my scoliosis too. I was blessed with not one but several spinal diseases!! Life is grand!
I'll definetely keep everyone posted, I'm sure!
I'm really glad your doing so well, Take care of yourself!!
Christina :round:

27 years old
1993: T1 to L1 fusion due to scoliosis at age 17
2000: Tore and ruptured L4 L5 & L5 S1-it finally got better after about a year. Did really well for about a year.
June 2002: Had a relapse and tore disc again. It is going on a year and my disc pain has subsided now I am faced with facet joint and bone problems restricting my movement.
Not sure what is next!
Still waiting to go into remission again but I think the damage is done!!
Current doctor say to wait it out.
Going for second opinion in July.

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