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  • Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

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    Old 03-24-2006, 10:27 AM   #1
    sunshine221
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    Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    I thought I was doing pretty good - almost 7 months post laminectomy C4-C7.

    I was probably at my best about 6 weeks ago. Since then I've had a slight, but noticable increase in tremors and for the past 4-5 days my right leg is "colder" to my senses than my left. Two weeks ago, the doctor told me at my regular visit that ups and downs are to be expected, but this is a fairly big "down" (I have a call in to their office). My ongoing walking (gait) problem is slightly worse than 6 weeks ago but not in itself a reason of concern. His view is pretty much that I'm decompressed so I'm fine.

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    Old 03-27-2006, 07:03 PM   #2
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    No insight to offer.

    Just hoping you feel better soon.

    Hang in there!

     
    Old 03-28-2006, 06:03 AM   #3
    sunshine221
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Last Thursday, when I posted, was pretty bad, the top of my right foot was numb and "cold" for most of the previous 4-5 days, but now it's back to "normal" (or the "new normal" as some people here say) - so I guess it is just an "up and down" of the healing process. I'm looking forward to nicer spring days where I can walk outside instead of on the treadmill (although I can sometimes force a proper gait better on the treadmill than "on land")

    Last edited by sunshine221; 03-28-2006 at 06:04 AM.

     
    Old 03-28-2006, 07:05 AM   #4
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Hi Sunshine,

    I had the same levels decompressed 4-04 although mine was an acdf for myeolopathy and nerve root compression. Your symptoms sound alot like mine. My gait will never be the same, thats for sure. I had to laugh (not at you) when you mentioned forcing a normal gait. Everytime I do that I end up stumbling, I cant help but laugh when that happens, I'm better off gimping along, it's safer!! I realized how bad my gait was when I went to the store with a friend of mine, he had to stop and wait twice between the parking lot and the store. Thats not remarkable except that he's 66 years old, had a hip replacement, and had a stroke about 4 months prior. And boy does he like to ride me for being a gimper, I guess I did give it to him a little before he had his hip done in 2000, but we can do that with each other without hurt feelings.

    The hot and cold freaks me out too. My hands almost always feel cold. Mostly from the ring finger out, then other times they get real hot for no apparent reason. And sometimes my hands or feet will feel real cold and my girlfriend will feel them and swears they are warm! Weird. My right foot turned bright red the other night and freaked us both out. Thats the leg that took the brundt of the beating from the myeolopathy, The calf muscle has atrophied and shrunk to a couple inches smaller than the left and will not flex, only trembles like a spasm when I try.

    I have good days too. I learned the hard way that feeling good does not mean I could do everything I could do before. Been there, done that, spent time in bed for it. If I just take it easy and enjoy it it's great. Feeling good does NOT mean I can lift a piano (I didnt) anymore.

    The ups and downs, I can relate.

    For me, accepting/embracing the new normal is my main goal.

    Glad to hear you're feelin better.

    Take it slow, Mike

     
    Old 03-28-2006, 07:33 AM   #5
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Sunshine,

    I forgot to mention the fasciculations(sp) or tremors. I've had them in varying degrees since about 2 weeks post op. They sometimes dissappear for weeks at a time then come back with a vengeance. Doc claims they're no big deal and are not painful anyway.

    You're not alone

     
    Old 03-29-2006, 06:53 AM   #6
    sunshine221
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Mike:

    I think I saw some of your other posts which gave me some "hope" (and I believe introduced me to the concept of "new normal") -- this gait issue seems pretty rare. Before surgery I had balance problems too which are MUCH improved. In August I was helping my 19 year old shop for his first apartment at college and he was embarassed to be with me ("Mom you walk like a criple") (I really should have been using a cane at that point.) Now, even though I can't walk well, I feel good, so I just have to believe the doctor to give it time -- but I appreciate the info of the intermitant cold and tremors. It does frustrate me when well meaning friends say you still aren't walking correctly (before surgery I was banging me toe, now I'm more scufffing my foot so I feel its better).

    Tortise and Hare story. Met up with my kids and their dates at a Billy Joel concert last week - we were all about 2 hours away in different directions. After dinner, we're walking to the concert, I told them to walk ahead since I was slower (me, who used to be a power walker). My husband and I get to our seats, no sign of the kids - turned out they made a "potty stop"

    Last edited by sunshine221; 03-29-2006 at 10:14 AM.

     
    Old 03-29-2006, 08:41 AM   #7
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Sunshine,

    I had to wear shoes all the time for a while because of dragging my toes. Thats gotten better, but still happens a little.

    I liked the tortise and the hare story, We've got to keep that sense of humor!!!

    The first time my son saw me walking with a cane with a neck brace on he said it was better than watchin cable TV. Smart alleck.

    It's hard though sometimes, anytime I'm in the public people looking at me walking towards them ALWAYS look down at my legs then back up. I do be havin a funky walk!!! At first, it really bothered me and I started looking down all the time when I was in public, but I got over it. I'm still the same guy I was before. And it certainly could be much worse!!!!!

    Like I always say.... I have a new normal.

    Good to talk to you

    Take it slow......Mike

     
    Old 03-29-2006, 10:19 AM   #8
    sunshine221
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    I think this all has been hard on the kids (and to my parents) -- to the kids (19 and 21) - their parents can't be sick, they need us (for moral and physical support) and well I guess its the same with my parents (70 and 80) - their daughter can't be sick, they need me to be at their beck and call for their ills (I had to fly to FL about 3 months post op to take care of my Mom for a week).

     
    Old 03-29-2006, 10:38 AM   #9
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Sunny,

    Sorry to hear about your momma, hope she's better. I know what you mean with the being needed, I'm a single parent with 2 boy's. They aren't near as sensitive about it. They were a big help after surgery, and still are. The oldest, who is 20, moved out in Oct. but then my girlfriend moved in the week of x-mas. We all try to keep a sense of humor about it.

    My whole family has been incredibly supportive. It's kinda funny, you start out with your family, grow up and scatter, but when crap hits the fan you circle the wagons......

    This accident has given me a new perspective on alot of things, for that I am indeed grateful.

    Mike

     
    Old 03-29-2006, 09:31 PM   #10
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunshine221
    It does frustrate me when well meaning friends say you still aren't walking correctly...
    Don't they know? That's how the fashion icons in Milan are teaching all of the "hot" models to walk down the runway these days. And you're not walking too slow; your son is walking too fast.

     
    Old 03-30-2006, 06:16 AM   #11
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    I'll have to remember that one!!!!

     
    Old 03-30-2006, 10:23 PM   #12
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Hi sunshine..
    I think you are right on track for healing!
    I has a 5 level lami with no fusion two years 4 months ago. I was so discouraged at 7 months because I was still experiencing spasms....tremendous difficulty holding my head up the entire day ( I usually had to lay down at least twice a day for 20 min) I also had really weird nerve reactions...cold on one side of my body, "buzzing" feelings in my legs..like they were filled with bees! Feelings like worms were crawling over my lips..ick..I hated it. I was perplexed by esophagal, trachea and even diaghram spasms....docs here in Alaska didnt know what to do..kept giving me nexiuim and told me that I had GERD.
    I finally went back to my neurosurgeon in San Francisco and he told me it was ALL to be expected. Wish he would have told me sooner. He also told me not to expect FULL recovery for two years. That was both good and bad to hear..but when I considered that during those years I would continue to improve overall, I was relieved.
    Now, for the one therapy that I found that has brought me back to almost complete recovery?? Myo-facial release. My original PT was just too strenuous for me ( I am 48 and was in great shape before the surgery) I tried too hard and did too much and really set myself back. BUT, I changed PT's and the PT who performed myo facial release worked to release all of the muscles that had started to really "set up" in my neck, head and shoulders. She also stretched all of the scar tissue in my throat.I was really apprehensive at first to let anyone even get near my neck. But this is a gentle stretching. I cannot tell you the relief I have experienced from it. It took about 10 sessions..and it was all covered by insurance (thank god)I hopep you can find a good myo facial PT in your area. Mine was trained in sedona arizona but works here in Alaska.

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you not to be discouraged and that to feel all of the strange nerve sensations is OK. I would also encourage you to just e mail your neurosurgeon with any questions you have. It saves a lot of worry which we can all do without.
    Good luck...

     
    Old 04-04-2006, 08:19 PM   #13
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Akgirl:

    I'd love to hear more - a 5 level lamenectomy - ooohh!!! I thought mine was bad - it was C4-C7 - does that cound as 3 or 4? How are you at 2 years +

    My original PT wants me to come back to her for a treatment called "anadyne" (SP??) - it involves light waves and is supposed to encourage nerve response - I'm skeptical, but I'll try anything at this point - she'll do it n/c if I can't get a script from the doc -- we'll see. Meanwhile my (well meaning) friends tell me that my gait is getting worse and while I think its status quo, that still gets me down -- I know my other neuro symptoms are better, so I just have to believe and give it time - I was just in Vegas for a brief vacation and walked (hobbled) from the Luxor to the Venice - about 2 miles (we took a taxi back) - it was hard, but.........

     
    Old 04-06-2006, 07:55 PM   #14
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Hi Sunshine!
    Las Vegas sounds so warm about now. Alaska is slowly thawing but a nice trip to the desert sounds just great..
    You know, nothing got me down quicker than comments from well meaning friends..I would think I was making great progress and someone would say...'poor thing, you look so stiff...' it would bum me out for days.
    So, try not to let them effect your progress. How you think of your own recovery is all that matters. I had to remind myself that whatever I was experiencing, it was better than being paralyzed.You sound like you do a good job of keeping positive!
    My doc in san fran told me that nerves grow so so so slowly..and while they do grow, they create funny sensations etc. I would try anything your PT wants to throw at you...except premature lifting. I tried ultrasound, massage (skeptically at first as I didnt want anyone near the incision) but once I found the PT that practiced the myo-fascial release, everything improved. It may be partially a function of being about 20 months out when I started the therapy, but it certainly did wonders for me.
    I have a close friend here in Juneau who also had a 5 level with fusion..both anterior and posterior surgery...she also had gait problems as well as weakness in her arm...both improved within two years..she did not think she would recover, but she just kept on keeping on and she improved. The body is amazing...it just needs time and a little TLC.
    Give yourself a pat on the back for having gone through a major surgery..and come out the other side able to walk and enjoy your life. I am certain you will continue to improve...and if you have a few episodes along the way, take a few days off...treat yourself kindly, realize it is most likely to be expected after such a surgery, realize it is not a permanent set back and then expect to feel better.
    I dont mean to sound too optimistic, after all I too had awful days and was very discouraged..the only good part of it all is knowing that it does get better and trying to offer that to others.
    Hang in there and enjoy the sunshine....
    akgirl
    PS My entire lamina and spinous process was removed on c-3-4-5-6-7...Never knew I had severe congenital stenosis until three weeks before the surgery, and I was 47 years old...Yikes!

     
    Old 04-07-2006, 01:55 PM   #15
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    Re: Ups and Downs in the Healing Process

    Thanks -- I REALLY appreciate your information, definitly gives me direction. I was also 47 when I had the surgery, 48 now, and in two years I have to be able to walk my daughter down the isle (in Jewish tradition both parents walk both bride and groom down the isle)

     
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