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  • Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

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    Old 05-18-2005, 01:01 AM   #1
    Fiona_Jo
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    Question Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    [COLOR=Blue]I thought it might be nice for those on the forum that are post fusion/back surgery share how they are doing now. What their life is now compared to prior to your surgery? How long since your procedure? What procedure did you have? Have you been able to return some or most of the activities you did prior to injuring your back and needing surgery? (I know for me; prior to surgery my activities were very limited, just walking across the room was challenging). Have the results of the surgery resembled WHAT your surgeon projected?

    I am one year post surgery. My surgeon projected about a 90% improvement in the nerve related issues and pain from having the procedure. My procedure was a single level fusion, with a discectomy and titantium instrumentation. I also had a bone graft of the left hip. (Which actually gave me some of the worse healing pain I experienced.) I would say my life is DEFINITELY better then prior to having the fusion, amazingly I noticed improvement to the nerve compression issues almost immediately. I had very severe nerve issues that resulted in foot drop and total loss of flexibility in my left foot (it just sort of hung there). I had terrible radiating pain into my left hip and much of the time the pain was so severe all I could do was cry. Having lupus I have had to deal with a lot of pain related issues, but the pain I'd experienced with my lupus was almost a cake walk compared to what I experienced with my back (I thought I had dealt with the worse pain in my life with the lupus) and consider myself a person with a high pain threshold. So, by all means my quality of life has improved since the fusion and I would say I am 85% improved over what I was prior to surgery. For the most part I am back to doing chores around the house; laundry, cleaning, gardening, etc .. however, I really have to watch how I bend and when I am rushed I tend to get careless and have been prone to strains. I still tire easy, but I do think that is the reality of the healing body and the way our body deals with pain .. our bodies are telling us REST, REST, REST. I need to remember to pace myself better. I walk two miles; five days a week -- though I took a week off of walking after my two clumsy moments that resulted in HORRIBLE back spasms; so now I am working my way back up. I thought it would be nice for us back surgery veterans to share our stories with the group. Thanks for sharing!!

    -Jo[/COLOR]
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    080807-Cervical-Stim~071707-ACDF-C5-C7 w/instrumentation/bone graft~'07/06 Lumber instrum. removed 05/04-Fusion(DDD/Collapsed Disc L5-S1)08/99-Microdisectomy(Herniated Disc) ~Lupus/EDS,Migraine

    Last edited by Fiona_Jo; 05-18-2005 at 01:02 AM.

     
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    Old 05-18-2005, 01:38 AM   #2
    caszyman
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    Re: Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    Jo,
    Thanks for sharing your success. My daughter's surgery is in 23 days (but who is counting!). We saw her ped ortho last night and he told us how much better she should feel post surgery (two level fusion w/ decompression and titanium hardware). So I'm glad to hear there are success stories and you're one of them.

     
    Old 05-18-2005, 01:50 AM   #3
    Fiona_Jo
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    Re: Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    [QUOTE=caszyman]Jo,
    Thanks for sharing your success. My daughter's surgery is in 23 days (but who is counting!). We saw her ped ortho last night and he told us how much better she should feel post surgery (two level fusion w/ decompression and titanium hardware). So I'm glad to hear there are success stories and you're one of them.[/QUOTE]

    [COLOR=Blue]I hope your daughter's surgery goes well. Please, keep us posted on how she is doing!! I will keep her in my thoughts!

    -Jo [/COLOR]
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    Old 05-18-2005, 05:23 AM   #4
    Quietcook
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    Re: Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    Jo,

    So glad that you are better after your fusion. Must ask though why your doc took bone from the hip. Did he use the BMP2? With the instrumentation for a one level and bone from the hip it doesn't sound like it. So sorry you have to deal with this on top of Lupus. Have researched Lupus for a friend who has it, and honey, you have your hands full. As you say, listen to that body and rest, rest and rest some more. It sounds as though you are a strong person and determined to do well and that is admirable. That determination will serve you well. My hat is off to you!

    It does take time for anyone to recover, even if their fusion is solid. With your Lupus it sounds as though you are doing fine and getting all your strength back may take you just a tad longer, but I still say a full year to regain strength for even someone without Lupus.

    My first 3 level fusion back some years ago was with bone from the hip, and I fully agree with you that it hurt worse than the surgery for the fusion. Thank goodness my spine specialist told me I would hate him in early recovery because the hip would hurt a lot worse than the back. Didn't hate him but he was right on the pain.

    The next two times in for a 3 level fusions (the original got broken in a MVA and then later 3 more levels needed fusing), it was a much easier go with the BMP. Those times he used ground bone from the laminectomies, so no hip pain. The BMP of course makes the fusion stronger than just bone, and those were a LOT easier on me all the way around. Happily, I too felt better post fusion each time and returned to an active and normal routines eventually.

    My last fusion was this past Dec was 10 levels, including resectioning and taking in the prior fused areas, so I now have the two titanium rods, 18 screws and at least 14 cages. It's hard to count all the stuff since I'm no
    x-ray techie. This was a rough ride indeed, and although I will never bend again except at the hips, the surgery has done it's task. I still use the Lidoderm patches and Ultram some on days but then nothing on some days. I'm actively maintaining an acre yard, the flower gardens and my home even though I have to vacuum on all fours using hand tools. The doc doesn't want me to stand up and pull on a vac nor ride my mower for a full year, so after mowing a few times with a little push mower, I have found someone to do my mowing. I found I could not mow every day and I normally do mow twice a week until July when we get less rain. As you can see, I'm doing quite well, thanks to a super spine specialist who has, I believe, performed miracles for me.

    To crazyman, best wishes for your daughter. Please keep us up to date on how she is doing after her surgery.

    Best wishes to you both.

     
    Old 05-18-2005, 09:20 AM   #5
    ARANGER
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    Re: Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    Wow Quietcook, a 10 level fusion! I couldn't even imagine. Sounds like you're doing ok despite that surgery.

    I have had two fusions in the last year, one C4/5 and the last one L5/S1 with rods and screws on March 8th. About two weeks after my surgery, my internal stitches opened, cutting an artery and filling up my incision like a football. The Dr said it was just a muscle spasm and to go back to bed (It was 1:30 am). Well, I went to the hospital instead where I underwent surgery within a few hours. I lost a pint of blood causing anemia.

    A week or so later, I had a temperature of 103.2 and a massive headache. Dr looked my incision and said it was fine. Again, I went to the hospital anyway. Turned out I had a staph infection in my spine and again was hospitalized for about a week.

    About 1 1/2 later, I developed a major reaction to the medicine (Vancomyacin) and turned lobster red, had breathing difficulties, began to vommit, and had a 103.0 temperature. Back to the hospital for another 4 day ride. Just got out and am now doing ok considering. They said I will take antibiotics for 1 year. It been pretty painful so far, hopefully I will be turning the corner soon.

    Wish everyone the best with there recovery from surgery.

     
    Old 05-18-2005, 11:05 AM   #6
    Quietcook
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    Re: Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    Wilson,

    Oh, you have certainly had a rough time of it. I've had to battle blood clots a time or two over the years, but my spine doc takes precautions early on, so things have typically run smoothing in the last several surgeries. Bless you with all the problems.

    Your doc doesn't sound like I'd want him. My spine specialist has me come right in if I call and explain what is happening. Never have they told me it was nothing to be concerned about, even if I call and tell his assistant that I just want to check even tho I may feel it isn't a great concern. I hope though that you are seeing a spine specialist and not a general ortho or general neuro, especially with you having cervical spine issues. If you aren't, please consider searching and getting yourself a specialist.

    Sincerely hope you are going to have a good recovery from here, without more events to cause hospitalizations. Take care and do let us know how things are going for you.

     
    Old 05-19-2005, 01:44 PM   #7
    Mistina
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    Re: Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    I'm 30 and had a 12 level fusion for scoliosis when I was 17 and did completely fine until about 2000 and I ruptured L4 L5 L5 S1 areas. 6 months ago I had a fusion at L4 L5 because my pain was debilitaing for three years and I finally got some help after going to NYC cause nobody was listening to me tell them I was in diar need of a fusion. I could feel the bone on bone they just weren't seeing it. I had the surgery, facets were SHOT at this level. I knew it all along.
    I feel soooooo much better. I work full time, inside sales and go home at night and sometimes walk, clean up or do laundry. I still am very careful with bending and twisting but I am a success story. I had NO life before surgery and I'm gaining on that.

     
    Old 05-19-2005, 10:15 PM   #8
    Fiona_Jo
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    Cool Re: Post Surgery Stories .. Life AFTER Fusion (or ANY back procedure)

    [QUOTE=Mistina]I'm 30 and had a 12 level fusion for scoliosis when I was 17 and did completely fine until about 2000 and I ruptured L4 L5 L5 S1 areas. 6 months ago I had a fusion at L4 L5 because my pain was debilitaing for three years and I finally got some help after going to NYC cause nobody was listening to me tell them I was in diar need of a fusion. I could feel the bone on bone they just weren't seeing it. I had the surgery, facets were SHOT at this level. I knew it all along.
    I feel soooooo much better. I work full time, inside sales and go home at night and sometimes walk, clean up or do laundry. I still am very careful with bending and twisting but I am a success story. I had NO life before surgery and I'm gaining on that.[/QUOTE]
    [COLOR=Blue]Mistina:
    Thanks for sharing your success story! It sounds like you had a lot to deal with to get to the point you are at now; but I know what you mean; it is definitely worth it when you get your life back!! I am a year post fusion (as I said in my earlier post), I had been doing REALLY well; walking regularly and very active, until I had two unfortunate accidents that really caused problems with my back. I am definitely NOT at the pain level I was prior to the fusion, but I am having issues with muscle spasms and increased pain, however the only nerve related problem I am having is a numbness between my left knee and foot. I saw my Doctor today and they want to be pretty conservative; I will have x-rays and then if anything looks out of the ordinary they will order an MRI and CT scan. I am so hoping this is just a strain that will pass! I DO NOT want another surgery. So, I will just keep resting, walking daily, and alternating heat and ice. Thanks again for sharing your story! I know for people considering fusion or any back surgery, that it is helpful to have access to all perspectives (I know it was for me), this forum has been the BEST knowledge source I have found and a wonderful support network.)

    -Jo :[/COLOR]wave:
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    080807-Cervical-Stim~071707-ACDF-C5-C7 w/instrumentation/bone graft~'07/06 Lumber instrum. removed 05/04-Fusion(DDD/Collapsed Disc L5-S1)08/99-Microdisectomy(Herniated Disc) ~Lupus/EDS,Migraine

     
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