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  • 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

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    Old 12-31-2008, 09:51 PM   #1
    NLena
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    Unhappy 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Hello Folks,
    Just an update on what my experience is 6 weeks post op spinal fusion L4L5S1. I can see improvement DEFINITELY.. I have reduced my need for pain medication from needing one 45 minutes before my four hour rotation round the clock the first week to 3- 4- in a 24 hour period. This is huge considering I was on norco for almost 2 years going in to this surgery for an unacceptable result of lumbar laminectomy on L4L5 with pseudo tumor removal..I never did quite recover from that despite all the efforts of 12 weeks of PT 3 sets of epidural injections and so on trying to avoid this final fusion. So where am I now? I can sleep the night thru without pain waking me up upon turning in bed. I can walk nearly a mile on a track indoors (too icy and slippery here in Michigan for outdoor walking) I can take a shower and all that includes without needing a full nap as I did following..the first 2 weeks.. I have more endurance and energy to do day to day things as I am allowed (still no bending twisting lifting) I can step up the step from my landing into my kitchen without pain..this actually hurt for a few weeks..stairs did hurt..now I take them up and down slowly without pain. All this is improvement and I am deeply grateful for it..I see the Dr's nurse next week to check the incision and to hear if my restrictions have changed hopefully..maybe driving might be the best thing I can hear. I still use my brace and maybe that will go then too..I will post here on that visit's result.
    the above is the up side...and mostly there is little on the down side but I think it might be helpful to add those things too here.
    I still have pain..and as described above still take pain meds. I want to feel good enough to cut them back even further and feel impatient with that not moving as fast as I want it to..I know tho that I am still within reason according to my Dr as far as what I am prescribed and what I am taking presently... I guess I just have a general (want the whole thing to move faster faster) feeling. Does anyone further out have the need for less meds as time moves forward? I also have bad days..frankly feeling achey from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed..just achy... and that feeling of a log in my back sort of a burning stiff log..Im sure there is a better way to describe this but I cant come up with one...will that go away?
    I think it was mentioned here that progress in healing for this type of surgery is not a straight line upward... there are dips and valleys...but the depression that results in those days also is hard to handle..I am sad irritable and find it hard to focus during those times. And I am still tired easily..find things like a grocery shop with Hubby and following that wanting to just lay flat for a couple hours after..not the strength I once had...will this return? I look forward to hearing from those of you who have had this and are ahead of me post time wise, and what they are feeling..also if any of you have had depressed times and found ways to cope with that. I would also like to contribute my experience if it is helpful for anyone who has had surgery behind me as to what I have found usefu
    l..and in closing..I wish all a very happy new year hoping 2009 brings us all better health and well being and less pain..I include myself in this wish..as being crabby and unhappy upsets those around me that love me. and that just makes it worse.
    best wishes
    Lena

    Last edited by NLena; 12-31-2008 at 10:09 PM.

     
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    Old 01-01-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
    brendaks1
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Lena - what a wonderful and inspiring message you bring for the new year! You have a very positive outlook and it reminds all of us to think of the positives as we endure our pain journeys.

    Wishing you (and me) and all of the other spineys a new year filled with the joys that life brings, including our families' support and love.

    Take care and continue getting better!

     
    Old 01-01-2009, 07:36 AM   #3
    Devon07
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    NLena,

    I dont have any answers to really help you but I would bet the time of year and all the ice and snow alone can give you some extra added pain....nothing like going outside in the sun and doing a little walking around.....the treadmill is good but it "demands you" whereas walking outside is at your pace and much more enjoyable....I understand your dont have that option but I am originally from sunny California and find that even the mild winters here in Oklahoma are very mood changing .....like right now its about 25 degrees out but the sun is shinning....im sitting in the sun indoors through the window....it helps me so much to get sun.....I guess what im trying to say is.....you may be having a little bit of the winter blues along with your wanting to heal quicker.

    I feel about like you (pain wise) but with no meds.....I feel like im going to have a bad day when the weather says stay inside.....I always have been very active and bet you are too.

    Have a little more patience and and mark how fast you really are healing.
    At first chance get out and do something that makes you happy.

    Devon throws a sunball at NLena......


    Have a great New Year!

    Last edited by Devon07; 01-02-2009 at 07:46 AM. Reason: spelling.....duh

     
    Old 01-01-2009, 08:34 AM   #4
    laf761
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Happy New Year Lena...

    Please be patient you describe all we have been thru....It's now almost a year for me....11 months actually...now I feel like my old self...

    It is a VERY slow process and they really don't tell you how slow....At 6 weeks after I showered and blow dried hair (that felt like I'd already put in a full days work)
    Like you if I battled the supermarket that too (without a husband) was way too much for me...then gettingthe groceries in the house. I'd have them pack almost one item per back since I have a condo up one flight..

    When you have the down moments (which unfortunately are frequent sit and make a list of all the things you CAN DO now....Chart your progress.....You'll be surprised how it lifts your spirits.

    Most back patients I have spoken w/ get frustrated because generally we are all "doers" active, piling alot into one day, which is why many of us have had problems w/ our backs..You must learn now to un-do and relax a bit...Chat on the phone w/ a friend, write a letter, meditate, listen to Andrea Bocelli and make believe you are in Italy.....

    Be patient it WILL change..I have a one level PLIF at L3-L4 and had the brace on 3 months...Once you start driving and feeling more independent you will certainly feel better.

    Spring is around the corner...you'll be able to sit in a warm pool somewhere hopefully.....and you WILL have a Happy New Year.

    The worst is behind you.....STay positive.

    Warm regards,

    LAF

    Last edited by laf761; 01-01-2009 at 08:35 AM.

     
    Old 01-01-2009, 03:39 PM   #5
    BlueAtlas
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Hi Lena,
    You're still very early on in this. Don't despair! You're going to get a lot better! Yes, the ups and downs are normal. Usually, there will seem like there's no rhyme or reason to why one day is good and the next is bad. On those harder days, just expect to rest a little more.

    I know you want to be off the pain meds, but that will come in time. Don't rush it. You need to manage your pain so you can get the rest you need to heal. Being tired after grocery shopping? That's a big outing! At only six weeks post op from a very major surgery, you SHOULD be tired after that! It's okay. It'll slowly get better and better. Keep doing what you're supposed to be doing and not doing what you're not supposed to be doing.

    I found that my 3 month mark was my first big milestone. That's when I started feeling like a human being again. I had more energy and could stay up longer during the day. That helped a lot to make me happier, too!

    Hang in there! And hang in here! The back board is a good place to hang out while you're recovering. You'll find encouragement and inspiration here, as well as good answers to your questions from those who have been there already.

    I wish you the best as you continue this adventure.

    Emily

     
    Old 01-01-2009, 10:19 PM   #6
    NLena
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Thank you all very much for your kindness and support. I can't express how much it means to me to find you all with back situations similar to mine and doing so well and even having enough left over to share good thoughts. Your courage is impressive! Thank You and I will keep posting here when I see the RN for the visit that hopefully might give me a bit more freedom.
    Lena
    PS catching that sunball and rubbing it in my back

    Last edited by NLena; 01-01-2009 at 10:20 PM. Reason: more thank yous

     
    Old 01-02-2009, 07:42 AM   #7
    Devon07
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    NLena,
    You can officially say "you have people!" lol We know all to well your state of mind and how it can get you down....you really are doing good as far as I can tell.....just take it one day at a time!....look back about two weeks ago....are you doing any better? I had a broken right arm that has hardware (two plates 17 screws) and it took much longer to heal then what you and I are doing now with major back surgery.....My arm took just at one year and therapy was another 6 months.....I barley regained control of my hand out of the deal.....so you see....we are doing good if we are getting better faster then the rate of a broken arm.

    Dont rush it......and thats coming from someone who was just told not to rush it...lol

    Today is another great day for me...two really good ones in a row.

    Devon

     
    Old 01-03-2009, 11:27 PM   #8
    Kathy90277
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Dear NLena:

    Happy New Year to you and it will be a fantastic new year. You sound so good. Remember, even though you are at 6 weeks, you will still have some good days and bad days as you said. Don't get down about that. Just think about how far you have come.

    I am so very happy for you and I will continue coming to this board to see how everyone is doing. We are the "fusion club" - Continue to post how you are doing ok? Hang in there. Here's an to watch over you.

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 04:37 PM   #9
    pat53
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    Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Hey Kathy....Pat here....I'm just 2 weeks out of back surgery and already going stir-crazy....like you said back surgery patients are usually extremely active, even at 53 that's me....I teach special ed, I work out 3-4 times a week, I love to re-arrange my furniture several times a year....that's how I originally got hurt.....I started walking the treadmill 2 days ago, went almost a mile and paid for it that night and again the following day....I know too much, too soon....can I be invited to be a part of your "fusion club"? best to you all Pat

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 08:13 PM   #10
    NLena
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    Thumbs up Re: 6 weeks post PLIF ups and downs

    Wow what a difference a day makes! First let me thank All of you for your kindest words of support and suggestions. Today was my "6" week DR visit even tho on Wednesday it will be 7..holidays got in the way there. I had no idea how worried I was leading up to this visit. I did not know on a conscious level how not knowing what would be seen on this Xray was working on me. and working heavily to the depression side of emotions... You see the dirty little secret is that I was, pre fusion a smoker... and to a MUCH lesser degree (I have to admit to a few feable smokes this past 6 weeks) still... almost a smoker..prefusion, heavy I suppose.. pak a day...and EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY will tell you that smoking will just reduce or even eliminate your chances of a successful fusion. Now folks dont desert me yet because I totally agree with that UNDERSTAND AND AGREE WITH THAT assessment. there is NOTHING GOOD ABOUT SMOKING PERIOD..and ANY ONE READING THIS SHOULD QUIT NOW NO MATTER WHAT YOU NEED TO DO INCLUDING ME WITH MY 3 IN SIX WEEKS JUST STOP...there.. that should cover it
    I literally had to BEG my surgeon to do the operation. He actually refuses to do spinal surgery on smokers..his rules. In a previous thread that is now closed I had mentioned that due to some tragic personal circumstances (not back related) unbearable pain and a failed laminectomy with tumor..I could not have been in a WORSE emotional state to quit cold turkey..which is the only way left to me since chantex made me literally nutz..(thats another thread)and no nicotine patches, gum,anything was allowed... Depressed? lets just say that I thought the worst and leave it there, prefusion.. My kind surgeon took me on anyway (he had done the previous surgery) and there I was 6 weeks post op expecting the pronouncement that no fusion was happening. X rays popped up on the light board and, there lo and behold little tiny MULTI threads of bone, either side of all the screws and rods...FUSION..baby threads of fusion..the nurse looked at me and smiled..and even tho it hurts...I sat down and sighed the relief of the world..I have baby fusion happening. YAY YAY.. surgical nurse said Dr had read the Xrays (wont see him for another 6 weeks) and could not be more pleased..its great!..Ok so what could be better?
    Ladies and Gents Im able to DRIVE..who would have thought that a woman of 55 would be so giddy at the chance of NOT asking one more trip from anyone..that would be ME!..restrictions still? for the next 6 weeks no lifting bending twisting and have to wear the brace..which for me doesnt really bother me I sort of find it a comforting thing it reminds me to be good when I go to try to do something I shouldn't. Happy? Im over the moon with this visit and resolve the quitting thing again completely!
    One thing that has to be mentioned (sorry Im going so long here but have alot to tell) I told the nurse very proudly that I was walking all the time indoors and once a week almost a mile round an indoor track..she interrupted me with my pride glowing and with a stern look said.."Lena, I would rather have you UNDER DO IT than OVER DO IT." I looked at her and said but shouldn't I be walking even more than that or stronger? she said not at the risk of stressing your progress...this was shocking to me in that I read posts here and of all the progress folks are making even less time post op than I and feel like I might be falling behind...so I guess we are back to her instructions..walk and stop BEFORE you are in pain or feeling weak..dont push it it will happen as it will when your body is ready..and Im going to take that to the bank!...good news all I think..happy Lena with baby fusion threads!... wishing everyone well and apologizing for this long run on post..I just hope something here will make someone feel like they are not alone as I did before I found you All
    thank you big time for being here
    Lena

    Last edited by NLena; 01-05-2009 at 10:03 PM.

     
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