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    Old 12-19-2008, 07:05 PM   #31
    StevieRayFan
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    [QUOTE=Kathy90277;3826042]Hi! I just wanted to say that all of us are different when it comes to the level of pain we are dealing with. Do not let outsiders make you feel bad or guilty for taking pain meds. The meds are there for a reason!

    I'm still on a pain patch but am off the Norco. Now, this is not to say I do not have any pain left because I do obviously. When I start feeling pretty bad, I lay down. I noticed I have more problems at night when I get out of bed to use the restroom. I tend to get up wrong and tweak my back a bit. Whoa does that hurt.

    Please please please do not listen to these people who preach to you about your pain meds. You should only listen to your doctor. :} [/QUOTE]

    Kathy... how far out are you? Sorry if I missed this earlier on the thread.

    The pain patch is a topical, right? I have a few of these left... they did no good for me prior to the surgery. You put on the patch, and the numbing medication enters through the skin, right? Does it get in there down to the bone level? Or is it working for you on a muscular level?

    Thanks.

     
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    Old 12-20-2008, 08:55 AM   #32
    Devon07
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    After a bumpy surgery with some complications Im home and doing very good....I am off all my pain meds at this point....I had my surgery on Dec 1 and the second on Dec 3.....because of complications they didnt do it all the same day (two level 360 lumbar fusion)....anyway Im walking around very cautious and without my walker 90% of the time....the only pains Im having is some mild muscle spasms and when I get in and out of bed or chairs....other then that Im doing good....I hope everyone is making headway on there recovery I feel fortunate to be healing so fast.....but Ive always kinda been like that.....some may take much longer so dont get discouraged as the mind is the main place for healing to begin!......Walking was hard at first but everytime I walk it gets better the next day.....listen to your doctor and try and motivate as much as possible.....

    Kathy....Im curious to hear more about your recovery once your feeling up to it......ohhhh ya! sitting very long is still a challenge....so I gotta go.................................................poof!


    Devon

    Last edited by Devon07; 12-20-2008 at 08:57 AM. Reason: I cant spell...lol

     
    Old 12-20-2008, 10:36 PM   #33
    Kathy90277
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    [QUOTE=StevieRayFan;3826191]Kathy... how far out are you? Sorry if I missed this earlier on the thread.

    The pain patch is a topical, right? I have a few of these left... they did no good for me prior to the surgery. You put on the patch, and the numbing medication enters through the skin, right? Does it get in there down to the bone level? Or is it working for you on a muscular level?

    Thanks.[/QUOTE]

    Stevie - I'm on a Fentanyl patch. I've been on it for a couple of years. I know what you are talking about but I am having some brain fog. It will come to me soon.

     
    Old 12-20-2008, 10:47 PM   #34
    Kathy90277
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    Devon - Hey there. Recovery is going well. I do get frustrated because I can't do the things I use to do prior to surgery. I hate depending on others. I use my reacher a lot. I have a friend who loaned me a laptop until my new Dell laptop gets here. I have been doing dishes but just do not carry anything heavy. I also use a Swiffer and it's my friend. Ha! I go up and down my stairs a few times a day. I actually did laundry today. Just a few towels but it felt good to do something. I keep my brace on all day unless I am resting. I must say, I feel pretty good and I am healing well. I'm tired but part of that is my Fibromyalgia/CFS. I'm proud I have gotten this far. Hang in there Devon and everyone else.

     
    Old 12-21-2008, 08:24 AM   #35
    Devon07
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    Im glad your doing good kathy.....I dont have a brace!.....doc said no!....Im getting in trouble already at this point because Im a clean freak and my wife wont let me even touch anything to do with cleaning......Its my comfort zone when I think.....kinda weird I know but it is!.....anyway Im glad all is well with everyone.....my main thing at this point is what is to much bending lifting twisting??.....I do all of it during my sleep.....when my wife is gone I try and do small things thinking its not any worse then what I do in my sleep....what are the limits??! Starting Monday I will try and do my 1 mile walk and gradually get up to the 2 mile asap.....I feel like I can and I know it will wear me out....but after good walks I feel better the next day......



    Devon

     
    Old 12-21-2008, 08:20 PM   #36
    NLena
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    [QUOTE=Devon07;3827156]I ..my main thing at this point is what is to much bending lifting twisting??.....I do all of it during my sleep.....when my wife is gone I try and do small things thinking its not any worse then what I do in my sleep....what are the limits??!


    Devon[/QUOTE]

    Hi Devon and happy holidays..good for you on your progress and goals for walking..re: how much is too much and doing it in your sleep? This thought has also crossed my mind as sometimes I wake up (usually cause I hurt) in some sort of twisted no no position. Something to keep in mind is...when we are sleeping or in bed we are horizontal..no compression on the vertebra and therefore stressing the fusion..this probably makes some difference when you combine vertical upright compression and bending twisting as opposed to laying and doing so if that makes any sense...probably the best thing is to call the Dr's and ask the honest question..I want to bend over to pick up my socks is that ok?..something like that...anyway thanks for posting your progress I find that anyone in a similar fusion "boat" and how they are doing is wonderful to read and inspiring.
    thank you
    Lena

    Last edited by NLena; 12-21-2008 at 08:27 PM. Reason: proper english has escaped me;-)

     
    Old 12-22-2008, 08:11 AM   #37
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    NLena......Happy Holidays to you as well.....Im so thankful for this place and all the good people willing to offer advice and help.....I will ask my doc next week if Im okay and make sure Im not over doing it.....I was just kinda thinking that I can be soooo careful all day then when I sleep I do all the No Nos.....but what you said does make sence about being horizontal......I was just over thinking it I guess....after all Ive been through I wanted to make sure I was doing all I can to NOT hurt the fusion process.


    Devon

     
    Old 12-23-2008, 06:38 PM   #38
    HadEnuf
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    [FONT="Century Gothic"][SIZE="4"]I have been reading this forum for about a week now and boy oh boy...I feel so sad for so many of you posting here with your multiple surgeries, long-term back pain and adjusting to a life of ongoing disability.

    On the other hand; I am impressed with the strength and honesty, the optimism and willingness to open up to others to help them. In my mind (what is left of it), that is what a forum is truly about.

    My story is a bit different than many I have read here. I NEVER had back problems until about July of this year. My husband, on the other hand, has suffered from back problems for decades. Though he has never had surgery, there have been many times he has been totally incapacitated by the pain. It has always been so difficult to see him when he is suffering so.

    This past April I had a gastric bypass and have lost 80 lbs. That's the good news. I had been obese for decades. Little did I know what this was doing to my back. As I mentioned before, by back never hurt (except for the occasional ache or pain here or there), though I did have both knees replaced; one in 2004 and one in 2006.

    The bad news. In July I woke up one morning and could not get out of bed as my back was so painful. I crawled on my hands and fake knees (which added to the pain) to use the bathroom and made it back to bed. My husband came home and the first thing we tried was the chiropractor. After a few "adjustments"; he gave up and sent me to my personal doc. She sent me off to physical therapy. This just made it worse. By now I was on oxicodone (having a gastric bypass changes the way you metabolize medications so you can use some pain meds and others not so much...this I could get in liquid form). Then I went to a PA who specialized in lower back pain. I got an MRI; which showed a large synovial cyst down at the bottom of my spine...well, actually within the spinal canal. Ah ha! At least we knew what was causing the problem.

    So now off I go to a neurosurgeon who takes a few x-rays, orders a bone scan and sees that below the cyst there is evidence of instability of the L4-5 level and also severe facet arthropathy at both the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels (bone scan). He advised me that the cyst probably was a result of this instability...and the cyst should come out and then he would do a lumbar fusion. For sure on the L4-5 level and when he got inside to "explore"...the decision would be made to fuse the L5-S1 level.

    All I could think of was get the cyst out, do the fusion and ta dah...all would be find and dandy. I went in for surgery on Nov. 24 and thought I'd be going home on the 26th. WRONG. I stayed in the hospital for 8 days. The cyst turned out to be much larger than expected and was all intertwined in the spinal canal and attached to the L4 nerve root. It took 2 hours to get that out, and he almost gave up because he was worried about doing more damage than good. But the thing finally just "popped" out and then he did the fusions.

    I woke up in the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. For three days I think I cried and moaned continually (thank goodness I was in a private room because I'm sure if I had a roommate they would have shot me to put me out of my misery and to get some rest). Then I found out that the nurses were only giving me HALF of what the doc had prescribed for me for pain meds. They were worried I would stop breathing. These were nurses!! I have never had such a group of sadistic nurses in my life. But when my doc found this out (which in my opinion he should have found out much sooner) he gave those nurses hell and they sure were nice to me from then on.

    So I got home and I have to say, this has been the most depressing and hard surgery I have ever had. I just don't know how many of you have gone through this over and over! I really don't have much pain and am already slacking off on the pain meds (though I'm afraid I'm already pretty dependent on them as I am already getting withdrawal symptoms).

    It's the boredom and the dang "turtle shell" brace that is driving me CRAZY. I'm not even sure how long I have to wear it. No one has told me if I should be walking or what. I do the exercises in bed that the PT showed me and I do try to walk up and down our hallway (we live in a very teeny, tiny house so there isn't much walking space). Have only left the house a couple of times. My husband has used up his "family leave" and some of his vacation though I can do pretty well on my own. My lovely daughter-in-law and son came over and put up our x-mas tree and decorated and cleaned for me. They're having US over for x-mas eve dinner so I don't have to cook.

    I feel so blessed to have this help.

    I am also thankful for this forum and reading everyone's various experiences with back pain and surgery. What a group of courageous people.

    So that's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Thank you so much everyone. Have as good a holiday as possible and a much better new year than your last.

    Huge hug...HadEnuf[/SIZE][/FONT]

     
    Old 12-23-2008, 09:09 PM   #39
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    Well hello hadEnuf..happy holidays and welcome to the board!. Sounds like you have been thru the wringer with this and I am glad you are mostly on the upside of it all. I'll keep a good thought for you and your hubby for a more pain free holiday!!
    Your post coordinates with my weekly progress posting..its been 5 weeks today post op. Im not sure what to say but for the first time, day before yesterday, I woke up..rolled slowly out of bed stood up and for the first time had ZERO back pain..I just stood there still half asleep but critically aware that even tho I was still a bit weak and shakey..there was no pain...the significance of this made me just over the top joyful because for me..it has been over 2 solid years of miserable unrelenting constant agony of lower back pain and its ugly spread down my legs involving even the bottom of my heel. This how ever short lived experience...(I got dressed and slowly went down the stairs made coffee and needed a pain pill..this was about 15 minutes) but hell...THAT moment..I cant tell you the joy. So where am I now that 5 weeks have past. The good: I move more easily in generally..I walk almost like a normal lady again..I bend only slightly from the hip not the back, in my brace and it doesnt kill...the pain pill need is getting farther and farther apart..from the HAVE TO HAVE IT 45 minutes before Im allowed to 5-6-7 hours apart during the day depending..now having said that I have still had times that "man give me that vicodin at 4 hours in the afternoon"...but those times are less and less thank God!!
    I generally sleep better not waking at every time I move or turn..and dont wake up aching from laying there as I once did..All good and all Im taking to heart because the depression is hard to beat back for me when there is either no progress or very little.
    Now for the bad news..that very same day I had that joyful moment from heaven..my son and DH had been out shoveling snow and left their boots on the landing in the hall on my way to the couch...so happy Lena moving quite confidently tripped and fell over them luckly catching myself with my hands on the seat of a chair a bit away..thank God it wasnt to the floor but the jarring and the quick waist bend and it was low and totally not allowed of course..was like someone shot me in the back..not only was the pain horrible but the total fear adrenlin response had me almost pass out from the shock of what had happened..I began to weep, inconsolable.... less from the pain but more from the fear that I had just broken any progress I had made to this point with this near fall..I laid on my back on the couch for the rest of the day and I dont think Im any worse for it cause this morning I woke up and although I did not have the moment of joy... I did not have any more significant pain from the fall. My guys felt so bad I could not even yell at them for leaving their boots in my path and doted over me all that day. One more bit of horror...inside my mouth on my left palate I felt a bump with my tongue..I know this feeling as an abscess as I have been loosing teeth for some reason during this whole 2-3 year ordeal as well..Go to my dentist who looks at it takes an Xray and says yep you need to visit the root canal guy and here take amoxicillin for the infection just hoping the whole thing doesn't get soo bad over Christmas that you can make it till the 2nd..JUST WHAT I NEEDED FOLKS FOR CHRISTMAS...root canal and amoxicillin, a trip and almost fall..needless to say...I wonder if I was an ax murderer in a former life or worse to have this kind of luck, payback karma?..and my timing is so impeccable being the holidays and all.
    I just hope I can make it thru the holidays with this bad tooth situation..can recover just a bit of my heaven of joyful moment of pain free back...Santa? thats all I could ever wish for for Christmas..that and for all of you spineys to have peace and love in your lives..and joy with your loved ones this holiday
    My warmest wishes to All and yours
    Lena

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 12:23 AM   #40
    StevieRayFan
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    HadEnuf,

    Thanks for posting. Sounds to me like a lot of us are going through, or will go through, some life changes. I can definitely see this thread expanding… and fortunately, for the benefit of us all. Welcome.

    NLena,

    Yikes. I had a similar moment some weeks ago while walking down the stairs. My right hip and leg just went out from under me. It may have been from over-doing the walking, because I was pushing myself. You know what I mean… like when we were kids you walk up behind someone and bump them behind the knee… Anyway, I almost went down. It’s happened several times over the past year or so. I want to start walking up and down the stairs as part of my exercise… but I am VERY scared and careful on the down-steps and have my cane there as best I can.

    -=-=-=-

    Guess what. We just got power back to the house after almost 3-days. Finally yesterday, (temps were around zero) we drained the water out of the pipes and left for Chicago (75 miles) where my wife works and spent the night there. The day before when we woke up, it was 40-degrees in the house, and we spent the rest of the day at a neighbors. This messed me up big time. I was cold to the bone, and not a comfortable chair or couch, then a very long drive to a strange house, where I slept for 12 hours on my back on a strange couch. Neighbors called and said power was finally back on. When we got home late tonight, and turned the water back on, we had a burst pipe upstairs and the kitchen ceiling was raining and the smoke alarms were shorted from the water. I had to go upstairs, cut the pipe and cap it (solder it). Lots of squatting, twisting, etc., pretty much what I was not supposed to do. My wife helped me as well as she could, but I am the one who does this sort of thing.

    Good news, we are dry and the furnace is chugging away and I am for the fort time in 3-days, warm. The 2 + hour drive back in a snow storm wasn’t pretty.

    So, speaking of Karma… I’m officially changing my depressed, negative put-myself-down-what did-I-do-to-deserve-this-crap, to: I’m being tested! The power company had projected 11 pm Dec, 24th! Somehow they got the lines up, and so out of 900 people in our little town, 356 of us have power back.

    I have no idea how this is going to affect me ‘cause my schedule and whole plan was messed up for 3-days. While in Chicago, I walked and walked from one end of the house to the other, so I don’t know. I threw in the towel and loaded up on the Norco and a half-tab of valium for the drive. Then I loaded up for the plumbing job and again for this sitting.

    I hope the 12 hours rest I got, plus the fact that I am now in my own home and can start my normal routine tomorrow, will help. I was having a few really good days there (comparatively speaking).

    I’m on my 9th-week, and I still have enough pain in the evenings to need med’s. I am feeling better though, and I am squatting down to pick something up, or pet the cat, etc., more easily and until recently, with more strength. So I too hope I haven’t had a set-back.

    But I was reading that stress on the bones actually stimulates bone growth! This is so very interesting… and why I focus so much on walking (and soon stair-stepping). Everything needs to be stressed and worked in order to strengthen and make a more solid fusion.

    My greatest fear was that I’d pull a screw loose. This is the main reason for the brace, BTW. But my doc told me that within that 1st 6-week period, that that is mostly when something can work loose. In my case, I was good to go after the 6-weeks x-rays.

    The pain is something I feel I can and have to walk out of. I lock-up while sitting, or lying. The walking stimulates (and stresses) the point of fusion, and so it will not just heal by itself. I’m very much looking forward to incorporating a stair-stepping portion to my walking sessions. Probably earlier on in the day while I’m stronger… then finish off the remainder of the day (and evenings) with walking. It was very, very boring at first, but now, as I stated before, it is like a job. I keep a journal for each day and keep track of how many laps I do, etc.

    If within the next few days my progress increases, I will have officially put the power-outage days behind me. For all I know they have made me stronger. We shall see.

    IMO, everyone here NEEDS to look at that glass as being half-full. Everyone will tell us that our state of mind is essential to the recovery-process.

    NLena, I’ve had one or two of those 15-minute moments too. It’s a reminder of what it is we are striving for. My right thigh stopped going numb several weeks ago now, but I still have a hot log in my back, and I’m 9-weeks out. Doc said walking and stair climbing was good. After researching some, I have come to believe it is more than good, but rather essential to the whole process… and it makes sense… stress the bone/s in order to make them grow. I’m looking for that fine line between doing just enough and over-doing it. At least for me, this will not be an easy process because I tend to over-do everything. I must learn patience as many have said.

    Last thing… many of us have been in pan for a long time prior to the surgeries. If you feel your lower back with your hand as you are walking, you will be amazed at how many muscles are moving. Just feel them with your fingers! Many of these muscles are moving for the first time in a long time, because when we are in pain certain muscles tend to shut down in order to lessen that pain. For some of us, they are moving again, and they need to be strengthened. In my case, I am still wobbly at times during the day and it feels like there are a few hundred extra pounds on my shoulders. It will take time to strengthen the torso, and it won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take work. Every step one takes is adding to the strengthening process. This is why I think stair-stepping is very important. I can feel whole sets of DIFFERENT muscles being used when I walk up or down he stairs. It stresses different areas, and I for one need to start this process ASAP.

    I’ll let you all know how it goes…

    I wish everyone the best, and not only for the Holidays!

    SRF

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 04:06 AM   #41
    lynn1961
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    Hi everyone,

    You all give me much hope after reading your post. I had a ALIF <L4-5, L5-S1> on dec. 16 and feel as if I am doing great. There has been a few really painful days but yet it has only been a little over a week. I came home with a walker but I donot use it. I have been waking up several times during the night in need of pain relief. That is 1 thing I will be so happy not to be doing. I did try to wean myself down to just 1 pain pill but I am no way ready to do that. I suppose my body will let me know when less medication is needed. I, like Steveierayfan, need to learn patience, I am so ready to get well and be able to function again. I am an active person so this back issue has caused me great depression. I do have a positive attitude about my surgery though I am also so glad I had my surgery before spring. Hopefully by spring time, I will be able to go outside and at least plant some flowers. My doctor has ok'd for me to go to the gym and use the treadmill as soon as I am up to that. I may very well try that next week. I am with you Steverayfan. I feel that walking is so very good to build your strength back. I was going to the gym as often as I could and as often as I felt like it prior to surgery. However, I felt it was doing me no good. Hopefully now that I had this fusion, strengthening my muscles back will help me recover sooner Good luck to you all and may you all have a great holiday season.

    LYNN

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 07:13 AM   #42
    HadEnuf
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    Thanks for the warm welcome StevieRay and Lena! At least somethings warm here in Wisconsin!

    I think one of the reasons I hate going out is the cold. So I hear you Mr. StevieRay because I live in the midwest and if it ain't snowing...it's so cold it freezes you right down to your bones. Lena...I'm sorry you had such a great moment followed by your near catastrophe moment. Isn't it always like one step forward and two steps back?

    Anywho...snowing again here. Quite beautiful out; especially it being x-mas eve. We're invited over to my sons for dinner so I have to go out. Arghhhhhh!!!! But it's just family so I'll be able to lay down when I get sore or tired and have someone else wait on me. It never hurts to milk it a bit. Just a bit though.

    Happy Holidays!

    HadEnuf

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 10:24 AM   #43
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    My wish for everyone here -

    I hope 2009 brings lots of healing and many-many wonderful pain free days for everyone. We've all been through some rough times with our back problems.

    I'm so glad I had the surgery to remove my diseased disc. Thank God I found a doctor who cared enough to really look into my complaints about the pain I was dealing with for so many years. I was seeing a Rheumatologist many years ago and I had some tests run which included an MRI on my back. It showed at that time my disc was in bad shape and you know what he said to me? It's all part of aging. I was only in my mid 40's at the time. He tried to make it like it was no big deal.

    Almost 15 years later and good health insurance, I found my spine surgeon who was also a physical therapist prior to becoming a doctor. She told me that is "hogwash" - that I did not have to live with this pain and there was a remedy. I had a discogram that showed surgery was necessary and voila, Dec 2nd I had the Alterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion.

    I'm doing good each and every day however, I am having problems with terrible swelling in my left leg. I was diagnosed with Lymphedema by a vascular doctor, then a few years later, a different vascular doctor said I had Chronic Venous Insufficiency. THey are not the same! I think I do have lymphedema and it is just acting up due to the surgery. My left leg gets huge. Talk about swelling...holy mackeral. When I rest my leg, the swelling does go down.

    Thank goodness for the grabber (reacher) - what a life saver. The back brace has also helped me because I am not sure if I am twisting the wrong way or what and the brace keeps me stabilized (if that makes sense). I do not want to mess up this surgery or the doctors handiwork. :}

    **REMOVED****

    I hope everyone has a good day today - Happy Holidays!!!!

    Last edited by Administrator; 12-26-2008 at 07:55 PM. Reason: Please remember to get yourself anonymous per posting rules.

     
    Old 12-25-2008, 08:05 AM   #44
    NLena
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    Hello All Spineys!
    Merry Christmas to all and a less pain wish from me. I just wanted to stop in for a sec and report another pain free moment 5.5 weeks out from a 2 level plif. I thank God and Santa for the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT I could EVER wish for..may you All see success in the new year and all my best for total recovery and BACK TO THE WORLD for all of us
    All my warmest
    Lena

     
    Old 12-25-2008, 08:21 AM   #45
    HadEnuf
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    Re: would anyone like to share recent lumbar fusion recovery progress?

    [FONT="Century Gothic"][SIZE="4"]Lena...I'm happy you got such a good pain free moment x-mas present. May you have many more, and more, and more just like that.

    Ragdolls...***REMOVED****

    Kathy...I'm happy to hear that you are finally getting somewhere with your back problem. It is such a relief to find people in the medical field who are actually HUMAN. ***REMOVED****

    Merry x-mas and happy holidays to everyone! hug to all...HadEnuf[/SIZE][/FONT]

    Last edited by Mod08; 12-26-2008 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Please keep personal information private.

     
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