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  • 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

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    Old 03-17-2011, 07:13 AM   #1
    ssofalvi
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    2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    Hello,

    I have posted pre-op about my anxiety going into this and you all helped me enormosly, do I thought I would ask for your help, advice or support again.

    I am currently two weeks post op, I had a l4-l5-s1 fusion with decompression, hardware and a lamenectomy. The first couple of days out of surgery, I felt great. The procedure was succesful in medical terms in that my right leg nerve pain has been completely resolved and I still just had tingles and no feeling along the s1 nerve pathway in my left leg. I was doing better than anyone expected, walking within four hours post op, and leaving my walker behind after only two days... I have been in physio for 10 months so my core is surprisingly strong, and it definetly helped with stability of the fused area.... but that is where the good progress stopped.

    The nerve pain is back in my left leg with a vengance, which is actually positive... it is waking up after being dead for over four months... but the pain is horrendous.
    I hve sipped into this black place where it feels like I am absoloutely useless and a burden to those that love me. I feel like this is never going to go away, and that this damn injury has stolen over a year of my life... and there is still no end in sight. My pain is not being controlled and i am already taking over 50 mg of dilauded a day, and I am sick of being addicted to pain meds. I am sick of my fuzzy head and my broken body and I don't know what to do anymore. The unproductive questions like what did I do to deserve this at 25? and why did this happen to me? have been on a merry-go-round in my head.
    Do any of you ever feel like you just want to give up? Like maybe this fight insn't worth it if I have nerve pain for the rest of my life? Has anyone wondered why you can't just get better? How long did it take before you started to feel 'normal'? will I ever not be riddled with pain??

    Anything you have to offer would be amazing. I am finding that while my support group loves me alot, they don;t understand and just tell me to relax... How can you relax when you are in constant pain? I feel so alone. And like I am failing at my recovery. I am usually so positive, but I have no positivity left. My strength has widdled away from a 200 year old oak tree trunk to a toothpick and I don't know if it will ever be able to grow again.
    Thanks for reading.

     
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    Old 03-17-2011, 08:15 AM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    OK, now I've read it, so can comment more accurately!... Let me just give you my story for contrast. I had a PLIF at L4-5 in 2008. I was on all the pain medications that were prescribed me as I was leaving hospital for 8 weeks. I must admit that I would now do things differently but back then, it was my first surgery ever and I just blindly followed my surgeon's instructions. I realize now I was probably over-medicated.

    I remember that six weeks was a big marker for me, where I began to feel better. But it was three months before I began to feel more like myself...and probably six months before I regained stamina.

    I trust someone told you that recovery from fusion is a long road and requires a great deal of patience as you move down it. There will be times where you are taking one step forward, and two back. Again, this is a fairly common experience.

    Before I surgeon closes, a goodly dose of antibiotics,steroids and some sort of numbing agent are used to irrigate the surgical site. These typically last for about ten days before they have dissipated...so it is not unusual that the patient feels OK or even great for several days after surgery. Then as these drugs begin to wear off, the patient begins to discover new areas that are becoming painful. The idea of these drugs is to prevent infection, to inhibit inflammation and to keep the patient more comfortable during the worst part of healing.

    Your age and conditioning will help you in your recovery. You just need to make a mental adjustment in how you think about this whole procedure. Learn to take a more "big picture" viewpoint of this whole experience. Remember that although you'll probably be fused at six months, the bone will not be set up and strong ("cured" as I like to think about it) for a year.

    Since you are so young, you do want to be sure to do everything right...follow your surgeon's instructions perfectly because you want to do everything you can to insure that your surgery is a success and will be the only one you will require!!

    You might want to ask your surgeon for some medication for nerve pain, if you think that is your greatest pain generator. This would be a medication such as neurontin (gabapentin), Lyrica or Cymbalta. This might make you more comfortable as you are healing.

    I wish you well on your road to recovery. The most important activities for you right now are to walk and to rest. Growing bone requires a great deal of energy, so sleep is just as important as walking.

     
    Old 03-19-2011, 09:46 PM   #3
    guy484
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    ""what did I do to deserve this at 25? and why did this happen to me? ""

    DNA was destroyed from Dioxins. Causes neuro-degeneration. Did you have gray hairs at 17-18?

    National epidemic. Hence why manufacturing all went to China. So their DNA can be destroyed. Now China has a diabetes/obesity epidemic and will have a serious degenerative disc disease/neuro-degeneration to deal with.

    You're not alone in this. The human species is suffering DNA damage from dioxins. No matter how much it hurts just try to make it to the next day and remember there are hundreds of thousands of us in your shoes.

    We know.

     
    Old 03-20-2011, 09:02 AM   #4
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    Tetonteri has given you great advise. It is totally normal to feel the way you do after such surgery and it takes a great deal of patience to recover properly. Following doctors orders such as avoiding lifting, bending, stooping, etc is very important, as is walking as much as possible. The medications teri mentioned are very helpful to some people with nerve pain. You might discuss different pain medication with your surgeon, perhaps something long lasting that you need to take only twice daily for a while until some of the pain subsides. Nerves can take a long time to settle down, so do keep that in mind.

    I do understand your feeling like a burden and that, too, is common among us spiney's, so you aren't alone. I have to fight that myself...as a widow, I am dependent much more than I wish to be on my oldest daughter. It's been 5 months since my 3 level surgery and I am waiting for my fusion to be solid enough to undergo physical therapy to strenthen my core muscles and leg muscles. At least you do have that going for you which is going to go a long way in your recovery.

    Hang in there and stay in touch.

    Blessings,

    Carol
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    cervical fusion...2 levels
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    Last surgery Oct, 2010, 3 levels

     
    Old 03-20-2011, 03:18 PM   #5
    Jazdaddy
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    I do feel your pain - similar things in my life (3 months of pain-free living since 2008). I live alone, stopped dating, and some of my friends have fallen by the wayside since at times it takes all I can give to just keep me going.

    A support group is critical if you feel that way. You can't explain that kind of pain to someone who hasn't experienced it. If you can find people who have been in similar situations, you can get beyond the initial pity party and work on issues. Hopefully, a good group can help you find the pockets of positive, start putting them together, and find there's a lot more there when you bring things together.

    One thing I've wanted to do for decades is to go to Japan for 3 weeks (with this back I can't travel without having problems). I still want to, and I hope that when I can get over there I can help in some way. Find something like that to help channel your efforts. And remember, you aren't alone unless you want to be.

     
    Old 03-20-2011, 03:39 PM   #6
    KarenLynnn
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    I am three weeks post up this past wednesday, and i am hoping now you are feeling a little better. I also had a couple of days where i had some leg pain in the second week, but honestly just enough with the jolts to scare me into thinking OH **** NOT THIS AGAIN but they are gone now and I just want you to know that I feel a little better every day. Maybe you should call your doc and tell him, you might have some post op swelling pushing on your sciatic nerve. try ice. are you taking time release pain meds like oxycontin or oxymorphine? that is what my neurosurgeon has me on for post op pain. and yes i am still taking them, but the pain is different, it feels like healing pain. it hurts don't get me wrong... i've had both knees replaced so i've had a little experience with before and after pain. you should really make a call and go see him. i'm sure he can give you some advice and a new pain med regimen that would help. (((hugs)))

     
    Old 03-21-2011, 05:40 AM   #7
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    Ok, here it is, no pity party here, 2-weeks ain't nothing. Get off the pain med's as soon as you can. You can't heal if you can't feel. I know about pain as i have been thru the ringer the last 5 years. I am 56 i can no longer go hunting,fishing,or do much of anything around the house. It took me 6 months to get off all the pain med's that i was taking, like you i was taking masses amounts of narcotic's first percoset,then oxycotin,then dialaud...messed up my body functions bad. I was up and walking like you 3 to 4 hours after my last surgery. After 5 day's i went home, over did it and had to go back for spinal infection,another week in the hospital. While i was in the hospital the last time i met a young woman who had her back broken and she was my inspiration to manage each day the best i can and not expect to get well overnight. As of yesterday she is walking and back to limited work.(2-years later) you will get better it takes time. Just had some more tests done and now i have to go back and have 4 more disk's fused. I know now that my getting better is up to me and support from my friends and family. I know it suck's but you so will you. Don't let the frustration, pain and depression get to you, it did me and it took me a long time to get back to where i am today....

    Don't know you ,but,love you anyway
    john

     
    Old 03-21-2011, 06:44 AM   #8
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    i just had fusion l4 l5 fused with screws and rods 3 weeks ago and i just had my post op. appt. my surgery was not as bad as yours but i was so scared and depressed from the pain. my doctor told me that i was feeling exactly as i should be that the nerves were mashed and now there is pain with them coming waking up. also it is major surgery. he said just take the pills and don't do anything except to let my body heal and it will take a long time but he has no doubt i will be fine. so it made me feel better to know i should be feeling like this. i was in the hospital 5 days and had heard so many stories of people feeling good after but that is just not true. it is major surgery so just try and take it a day at a time. i am a lot older than you (55) but i have a friend that had major fusion when we were young long before the new medical procedures and she skis and plays golf without pain daily.

     
    Old 03-23-2011, 05:20 AM   #9
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    Ssofalvi, how are you doing?

     
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    Old 04-18-2011, 02:40 PM   #10
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    Any updates?? We're wondering how you are feeling by now...a month or so later....

     
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    Old 04-18-2011, 03:45 PM   #11
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    I started a new thread..

    Last edited by KarenLynnn; 04-18-2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: started a new thread

     
    Old 04-19-2011, 07:34 AM   #12
    ssofalvi
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    [QUOTE=tetonteri66;4733970]Any updates?? We're wondering how you are feeling by now...a month or so later....[/QUOTE]

    Hello tetonteri66, Maltluver, Twohands, Shelsers, Karen and all the other amazing people who have responded...

    Here is the long awaited update and apology for being woefully negligent of people who helped me so much...

    I have been woefully negligent with this forum. It was unintentional, yet intentional. I have been having... a normal time with this I suppose, it hasn't been a walk in the park, and it has definately been one of the hardest and worst experiences of my life, but in all honesty I am not as bad off as I imagined looking six weeks from surgery. (I guess it has been six and a half now, but I won't count the week until it is full when it comes to recovery milestones and measurement... If I compare my situation day to day I found it ridiculously depressing and unhelpful. I mean I realize that I have to notice any bad changes and I do, but I don't look for progress daily because i don't find it and then I am upset) Anyways... I suppose I meant that I found it hard to read improvment stories. And I found it hard to accept all the great and well meaning and so appreciated advice... I should mention that if it hadn't of been for the advice i probably wouldn't be as ambivalent as I am (ambivalence beats negative depressive thoughts, so that is good! I can't thank these people enough!)

    So back to the purpose of this reply... I am six weeks along and I am both content and frustrated. I find that it is the small things that are really bothering me. I still need to use a stupid sock puteroner, I haven't been able to shave my legs, despite some well meaning advice involving duct tape, a long rod and my razor, then there is the house work and intimacy with my boyfriend and above all... the pain... Gosh! I got an infection in the incision and the incision keeps reopening to let out stitches thta were supposed to dissolve but my body is rejecting so I still have three small openings along the incision.

    All these post-op problems have brought back all my swelling and pain... My left leg is hurting so bad. I have nerve pain down to my toe, and the surgeon says it is fine. I had no feeling along the nerve pathway before the surgery so it reawakening after being compressed for so long... The fact that I can feel it again is supposd to be good, but it feels so bad.

    Overall, even with all that negative post-op bs, I think I am feeling better. I want to stop taking meds, but because of the infection and such I am still in too much pain. I keep hoping that it will all just disappear, but I don't know if it is supposed to happen that way.

    With all this extra time however, I have definetly re-discovered some old passions. I have been journaling! (Something I had gotten away from since being overworked in Uni and then at my FT time job as a manager of a busy pharmacy, I ended up falling exhausted to bed each day... Now I spend so much time in here that I need more things to do that don't involve moving too much!) I think it has saved my sanity! Not to mention my boyfriends sanity not having to hear me lament everyday. Oh and i have rediscovered my love for good tea! It relaxes me.

    Maybe this won't be all that bad when I am not in pain and still just waiting for strength in the fusion, then I can just enjoy all this free time? Does that happen?? I don't go see the surgeon again until the middle of May, here's hoping for some nerve relief and spine strengthening before then!!

    I am finding it hard to limit myself, and to accept that I can't so everything (or most things) that I want to. I was never given any supports or braces, and I think I might overdo it sometimes not having the physical restriction.

    I guess I have rambled enough. Please feel free to responds as I would love to hear from any or all of you again!

    I am sincerely apoligetic that I have been so absent... I was trapped in my pain and will try not to be that way anymore.
    Best & Hugs,
    Sarah

     
    Old 04-19-2011, 01:32 PM   #13
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    Re: 2 Weeks Post-op L4-L5-S1 fuson: depressed and frustrated.

    Hi Sarah, My name is Bob I am 45 married with a 6 yr old son I had a bad fall 2 1/2 yrs ago at work..I fell from a scaffold and landed on my feet it felt like I was electrocuted I was able to work on and off for a couple more weeks and the pain-numbness and tingles got to bad I had to seek treatment after being diagnosed with 3 herniated discs bulging discs nerve damage and the fall kicked in my DDD the doctors said causing alot of sciatica and back pain.. my pain is pretty bad it is 24/7 from a 5 to 8&9 I have severe lower back pain that radiates into my left butt left hip left thigh and lower leg along with my left foot that is constantly numb and tingling with sharp pains in my toes..well after 1 year of 3 workers comp Dr.s saying I needed surgery and another saying I needed a fusion WC for some reason denied the Dr.s ever told me these things and they only gave me epidurals and tests then they sent me a letter stating I reached maximum benefit and enclosed was my last WC check...lol...I was in shock.. I never had a claim in my life or collected a penny from anyone...after contacting my lawer he suggested I use our own insurance and seek trreatment..Well after seeing a new Dr. we did a 3 level laminectomy l3 l4 l5 but just did not do the trick 8 months later I had a spinal cord stimulator implant which helps with pain but only when I am home taking it easy so after another 6-8 months I could not take it anymore and went to get more oppinions I saw a really good Neurologist in my area and after he did some tests and reviewed my reports he felt I need a fusion but he referred me to 2 of the best Neuro-Spine surgeons in NJ and PA I went to both of them this past Feb and March Dr. Sun Lee said my back was so bad thet I needed at least 3 levels fused l2 l3 l4 l5 after him I even went to see the other Neuro-surgeon Dr.Welch from the University of PA in Philadelphia...not telling him about my other oppinions he said the same thing..I was amazed I then took this info to my Dr. and we are all scheduled for an L2 L3 L4 L5 revision laminectomy and fusion with instrumentation and bone graft for April 27 2100....omg it is in 1 week I am so ervous...I have had the 3 level lammy and the laminectomy with the SCS can you help me with what I will experience after the surgery in the hospital and then once I get home...what will I need what will I do for the 1st week if nothing..lol...any tips will help alot..I am not worried about the pain I have gone through alot already..now I know it is going to hurt like a SOB but I am more concerned about recovery as I am set on doing everything right and not screwing this up...after my 1st surgery I did apply for SS disability benefits and did win my case on my own and I am receiving SS and they back paid me from when WC stopped paying which was great...

    sorry if this is sloppy I am not to good at typing...lol

    Thank you, Bob

     
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