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  • Spinal Fusion

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    Old 10-29-2013, 07:16 AM   #16
    teteri66
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    Re: Spinal Fusion

    Rosebud ~ If you are squeamish thinking about the bone being drilled for the graft, it may help to know that that is a small part of all the construction that will be done. The vertebrae will also be drilled in order to insert the hardware and you will not be aware of it. Your surgeon is really just a sophisticated carpenter, working in a more delicate material.

     
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    Old 10-29-2013, 07:36 AM   #17
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    Re: Spinal Fusion

    Wow, what a better way to look at it. Thank you so much for the positive feed back. God bless you

     
    Old 01-29-2014, 05:59 PM   #18
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    Question Re: Spinal Fusion

    Well..my surgery has been moved up to March. I am taking Calcium and other vitamins..not smoking..and just ready to get this done and over with. How long will I need my husband to stay at home with me after surgery? Will I be able to do things like shower and reach? I know I am not supposed to bend or twist. I know I will be able to walk..just wondering how long will I need assistance with getting in and out of bed..and...Thanks

     
    Old 01-29-2014, 10:39 PM   #19
    Jh99
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    Re: Spinal Fusion

    [QUOTE=teteri66;5232974]Welcome to the board. I am sorry you are having to go through a fusion. I hope you have consulted with more than one spine surgeon so you know the surgery is absolutely necessary.

    You didn't mention which level is causing the problems. Do you know what type of fusion you are having? Most are done with hardware of some type, and entry can be from the front, back or even from the side. It can make a difference in your recovery.

    Many people start to feel fairly OK by the third month, but often, if you are having radiculopathy or some type of nerve pain, it will take many months more for it to go away. The fusion itself is not fully complete (set up strong and hard) for a year, so you need to modify some activities until that point.

    If you look near the top of the main Back board you will find a "stickie" note entitled something like "Post surgery must haves...." It is a list of things that people have found helpful to have right after surgery. Most of the items are not necessary, but as you read through people's suggestions, it will help you to get an idea of life after surgery.

    You will not be allowed to bend or twist at the waist for several months post surgery, so plan accordingly. Arrange your kitchen so that the things you use often are at counter height or easily reachable. Get clothes that are easy to get into with an elastic waistband like yoga pants or sweatpants. With my first surgery I had a satin bottom sheet which made it much easier to turn over. I did not need it with a subsequent fusion, so perhaps it matters what kind of shape you are in to begin with and just where you have your incision.

    I also found a raised toilet seat to be necessary. Sometimes the hospital will send you home with one. If things go OK and the PT and OT feel you can manage on your own (doing simple tasks like toileting yourself, getting food, walking stairs if your home has them...) you will be realized after a couple nights in hospital. You will only be sent to a rehab center if the hospital staff feels you are not ready to go home. Most patients are able to go home.

    The most important decision is finding the best spine surgeon that is available to you. The quality of the hospital is also important as infection can be a big problem with fusion.

    It is a big surgery and you can count on the first week being difficult. But we all seem to make it through. Good luck.[/QUOTE]
    I can tell you after a month you feel weak but not miserable! Do everything the docs and pt guys tell you, no more no less ?... Pray and do your best! I will pray for u as well.

     
    Old 01-30-2014, 08:40 AM   #20
    teteri66
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    Re: Spinal Fusion

    Congrats on being able to stop smoking. I can imagine how hard that must be, but it really is as important as the spine surgeon says. There is some chemical reaction that actually keeps the bone cells from being able to grow and prosper...so you will be so glad you stopped and remember not to resume smoking post surgery!! It took 18 months for my second fusion to fully form and set up.

    It's hard to say how long you will need help. Some people use a walker for a while post surgery. With my first fusion, I think I used it for around 10 days. With the second one I used it to walk out to the car from the hospital, because they made me...but, thasont was it. My second fusion was a much more complex surgery, but I felt much better...and to this day I haven't figured out why.

    With my first surgery, my son, who was able to work from home, came out weekday mornings after my husband left for work, and stayed till about 5 pm. I really needed him the first week and part of the second, but then it was just nice to have him around for company.

    With the second fusion, I didn't have anyone...well, my husband was here in the evenings and cooked dinner, but he kept his usual work schedule. I never needed anyone to help me to the bathroom, to dress, etc. They aren't supposed to release you from hospital until you can care for your basic needs, toileting, dressing, feeding and walking up and down the # of stairs where you live. If you cannot do this, then they are supposed to move you to a rehab facility until you can care for yourself.

    I would think if your husband can stay home the first week, you should be OK. With my first surgery I really needed a raised tolet seat and I continued using it for about six months...for the convenience. You will need a shower seat, for safety if nothing else. You can start to feel weak when standing.

    Lack of energy is a big problem at the beginning. I can remember when I had a doctor's appointment, that by the time I got up, took a shower and dried my hair, put on makeup and dressed, I was so exhausted that I felt like I needed a nap. I quickly learned that I could only do one "errand" or appointment in a day. The days of leaving the house and doing multiple things in one trip were over...and that took quite a bit of time to get over. Most people say they don't start feeling like their old self for about a year.

    Now, that isn't to say you'll feel yucky the rest of the time...but you will gradually see an improvement. I think many are able to resume sort of normal activity after 2 months...and I remember feeling a lot better at 3 months.

    But be prepared for the first 10 days to be unpleasant.

    If you are really nervous about the surgery I would like to suggest something. There is a tape/CD called "A Meditation to Promote Successful Surgery" by Belleruth Naparstek (love her name).

    Sorry -- gotta run for now...I'll be back this afternoon to explain why this CD is useful!!

    TT.

     
    Old 01-30-2014, 10:52 AM   #21
    teteri66
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    Re: Spinal Fusion

    I'm back. I take my dog to doggie rehab every other week for acupuncture, cold laser therapy and manual adjustment! He has spinal issues similar to mine!

    Back to the guided imagery CD. I had never used anything like this before and don't do meditation or things like that...but I regarded my last fusion as my last chance to resolve my sciatic and other nerve pain issues, so I was willing to try just about anything.

    I found this CD as well as another similar book by a woman who had her techniques validated by Harvard Med. school. I only began using the CD about a week before my surgery due to time constraints. I wasn't particularly nervous and I have known relaxation techniques, etc. for years that I employ in stressful situations...but still, I really think it helped.

    I had learned from a woman I met on one of these forums who was a nurse anesthetist that the calmer the patient is going into surgery, the easier it is all around. The patient is easier to put under anesthesia, it is easier to control blood pressure and respiration rates, etc. This results in less blood loss for the patient and an easier experience for the surgeon and other medical personnel.

    I woke up quickly and easily from the surgery. The recovery room nurses even commented on the ease with which I awoke...and the easy time I had.
    I still think my surgeon was a magician...I was able to go off all meds by the 12th day. I am still amazed that given the complexity of the surgery I had that I did so well and had a good post-operative experience. How much the guided imagery helped I will never know...but, if I ever have another surgery, I will use it again.

    If interested you can find these CDs on line. The author has a long list of guided imageries on various topics and you can see users' comments on some of the sites.

     
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