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Questions about upcoming fusion surgery

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Old 02-23-2009, 06:48 PM   #1
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Questions about upcoming fusion surgery

1. My surgeon stated that I should only need pain medication for about a month post op. Is that really possible? My grandmother had this operation 9 years ago and was on Lortab for 8 months post op! From what I read on here it seems that most of you take them for longer. I am afraid that I will still be in terrible pain but he wont give me any more. I would however love to hear that it is possible, as I hate being on the meds.

2. He says I can do stairs right away. Now, from what I've heard from others, that is a huge no-no. I liked hearing that however because my house is two stories, and our one and only bathroom is on the second floor. I would hate to have to restrict myself to the upstairs only and I do not want to live with my parents for an extended period of time either.

3. He says I can be alone with my high energy, 27 pound toddler right away. He said he understood that I would HAVE to lift her. I thought, from what others have said, that you cannot lift anything heavier than a shoe for a long time.

4. He says I could return to a light duty job after only 3-4 weeks. What?!?

He basically made the operation and recovery sound like a piece of cake compared to what I have imagined it to be. He said that my age and health will play a huge role in my recovery, and I am young and healthy, and a non smoker. I would just like some others opinions on this.

He plans to fuse L5 and S1 by removing my herniated disc, using screws and rods, and bone from my free floating chunk of bone (part that is completely fractured off) in my L5 region. He also has a very good reputation in my area, so I am not worried that he is a bad surgeon.

Sorry for so many posts today!

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Old 02-24-2009, 05:51 AM   #2
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Re: Questions about upcoming fusion surgery

I think everything he said is possible.....but everyone is so different how would he know its your outcome?....I was off meds very fast....I had two levels (360) and could have gone back to work at 4 weeks "IF" it was light duty work (Im in construction) so I think with a great doctor and the right mindset anything is possible!....The high energy child is your issue here....You should arange for some help for will work out!


Old 02-24-2009, 07:06 AM   #3
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Re: Questions about upcoming fusion surgery

It all depends on you! You won't know until you get to that point because we are all different. I had a 1 level PLIF and was off pain meds at 12 days post op. I never would thought that would have been possible with my hospital stay. So just take 1 day at a time. My PT at the hospital had me doing stairs 24 hours after surgery. I live in a split level home so I had no choice. It was slow going at first and did not hurt to climb stairs just very unstable because of surgery and meds. They made sure I was stable before releasing me. Your toddler will be your biggest challenge. Make your life simple by planning ahead for things he/she might want/need. Have a sippy cup in the fridge at their level so they can get it. Keep snacks handy and easy for you to get without getting up and down so much. Make a game out of what you need, your toddler will help you more than you know. My 4yr old was so proud to be helping me put on my socks. It took forever and I learned patience but he helped and was thrilled.

Old 02-24-2009, 08:24 AM   #4
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Re: Questions about upcoming fusion surgery

Thank you for your responses! The more I think about the whole thing, the more scared I am becoming. I am really nervous about the incision in my abdomen, I am having a 360 as well. This morning I laughed and told my husband he should watch the procedure to see if any of my intestines are hanging out the side of my body! He thought I was disgusting for saying that! LOL!
My husband will be loosing his job in 3 weeks, and the ONLY positive thing about that is he will home with me to help with our toddler. She is just at such a demanding age right now. Her energy level is through the roof, and she is constantly climbing on me, which hurts my back. She has also started hitting. But I should be okay as long as I have help!

Old 02-24-2009, 11:37 AM   #5
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Re: Questions about upcoming fusion surgery


You will do fine. You are very young and will recooperate great. It is a GOOD thing hubby will be home to help with the baby <not good he is losing job tho> I have a 3 year old and couldnt have done it without help. My baby is adopted and I am not as young as you. UGH!!!! But, I did great myself. I would too, be concerned at the fact the doc will not prescribe pain meds after 4 weeks...sheesh, all people are different with pain and pain levels. I am still taking pain meds but have reduced as many as i was taking a day. I am a lil over 2 months post op and take meds in morning and sometimes at night depending if I need it or not. My incision is on my lower abdomen and it really wasnt that bad. <more than anything, I am vain and didnt want a belly scar ha but it is ok, I am feeling so much better> The 1 thing I dont understand is your doc NOT putting a lift ban on you. I find that rather strange as that is 1 of the BIG no-no's I had as far as restrictions. I was not even allowed to pick up a gallon of milk. Nothing over 5 pounds was my weight limit. All docs are different though, keep that in mind......just relax and prepare best you can before hand.....


Old 02-24-2009, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: Questions about upcoming fusion surgery

Like the others have said, most everything your doctor said makes sense except the lifting. Some here have been off all meds very quickly. Some have been on much longer, like your grandmother. It really depends on you, what exactly is wrong, and how much is being done. I hope you'll be off quickly, but I hope he'll continue to prescribe for you if you need it longer.

The lifting is a big issue. I was told nothing more than 5 pounds for the first several months. I'm sorry hubby is losing his job, but very glad he'll be around to help out with the little one. You're going to have to explain to her that mommy has a big boo-boo that hurts and she has to be gentle with you. Even small kids can understand that. You may need hubby to be present until she "gets" it, so she doesn't hurt you.

I did stairs from the start, even hauling my walker with me up and down. They'll teach you in the hospital. It's not that hard once you know the trick. (Most people won't go home with a walker, but some do.)

Good questions! Any more?

Hang in there. I know you're getting nervous, but keep the big picture in mind. It will be so worth it once this is all over!

Take care,

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