← Return to Disk replacement & spinal fusion (L4-L5): Post-op concerns

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@grandmar

@user_chf56161a
Hi!
So sorry you are having so much pain! I certainly feel it for you, too.
I had an X-Lift fusion of L3/L4 and I am 12 weeks post-op.I also had disc replacement on C5/C6 at the end of February.
T suregery was done as an outpatient. In at 7:30am and out by 1:00pm. The disc replacement went swimmingly. I healed very quickly and I was off all meds within a couple of days. After 1 month, I healed so quickly that the doctor had me start PT (which was sooner than most). We worked on getting my range of motion back. I have, although I shouldn't hyper-extend it or turn my head quickly.
After that, I thought the X-Lift would be about the same. Boy, was I wrong. This surgery required me to stay in the hospital over night. My surgery was not as long as yours. Mine took less than 2 hours from start to finish. I was uncomfortable when I woke up. The pain drugs were great. Honestly, I really don't remember anything other than being in the operating room as they prepped me and meeting with the hospital OT, who showed me how to get out of bed and how to use the walker.
When I got home without the hospital-type meds, I had pain from hell (pardon my language). Not only did my back hurt but my left thigh hurt as well. That has to do with the doctor moving and cutting a muscle on my left side during the surgery. I also had terrible spasms for which I took meds, too. I could not lay down in bed and I slep in my trusty recliner for about a week. I could not sleep in my bed because my mattress is too firm and too high for me to get up on. Thank goodness I have a spare bedroom with softer mattress which is lower and easier to get on to. Going to the bathroom was difficult for 2 reasons. Getting on and off…..ouch, and the pressure on my thighs (while sitting) caused terrible spasms in my legs. Let's talk about blowing your nose or coughing…another big ouch, again down my legs. I also got a grabber to help pick up things around me.
I am very fortunate to have a VERY helpful and caring husband!! He was and is here to take care of me. I could barely make it to important areas of my home. It could take me 10 minutes just to walk to the bathroom (right across from the room I slept in). I couldn't stand to brush my teeth. Mouthwash? Forget that! I was lucky just to brush. Then of course, showers. Luckily, I have a free standing shower. Before my surgery, we put grab bars in the shower because I already had 3 falls. They have been a great aid. As for drying myself, I couldn't….in came hubby.
My biggest concern was the opiods I was taking. I am NOT a pain killer type of girl. Before this, I rarely took pain meds. I had weight loss surgery so my large dose Iburprophen is a no-no. I was afriad to take the pain meds for fear of addiciton so I only took the pain med when the pain became too much. Waiting was wrong because I couldn't get ahead of the pain. So, I started taking the pill as prescribed, every 4 hours. The meds did work fairly well. After a week, I called my surgeon because I still needed the pain meds but again, my fear of addiction took hold. With the help of the doc, we worked on a weaning schedule that worked great.
OK, enough about that. As I said, I am 12 weeks post-op. I still wear my back brace and will continue to do so until I see my neurosurgeon mid-December. I have not been cleared to drive, and I still sleep on the softer mattress. Sadly, during all this, I re-developed an issue in my left knee. It is probably a combination of the muscle cut during surgery and my very bad walking gait. I barely walked for months because of my horrible pain before surgery, leaving my legs VERY weak. At my 8 week post-op, my surgeon said no more walking aids (not even my cane). As far as pain, my right side is pain free except for my hip (again, probably because of the way I've been walking). My left side is greatly improved, too, except for the pain in my knee. Getting out of bed in the morning is difficult. Some days I can hardly move. I've started taking 2 fast acting Tylenol before I get out of bed, it helps. After I get up and wash, I get into my chair and use an ice pack on my left leg. It take me around an hour before I can get up and start my day. TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY i DIDN'T HAVE PAIN AND DIDN'T HAVE TO USE AN ICE PACK. I do not know if it was just a one day thing, but that is OK.. Sitting on the toilet is still difficult. I still get terrible spasms in my legs and back. However, as soon as I get up they are gone. My doc said it is normal.
I have found (as the surgeon said I would), that the more I walk, the less discomfort I have. I RARELY have the horrible pain. In spite of what the doc said, I cannot walk very far without holding on. This is NOT just because of the surgery, it is because of the weakness of my legs. I am sure that at my next visit I will be told to go for PT. I PROMISE IT DOES GET BETTER!!! YOU NEED LOTS OF PATIENCE!!! BELIEVE ME, I CRIED SEVERAL TIMES TO MY HUBBY BECAUSE I THOUGHT THE PAIN WOULD NEVER GO AWAY AND THIS SURGERY WAS A MISTAKE. I know the surgery WAS NOT a mistake, it was just my frustration on how long it took to feel any relief.
I am sorry to be so long, but so often we think we are the only ones experiencing these things or that we are loosing our minds.
Everyone has a different experience and recouperation from this surgery.

I hope this helps you!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Replies to "@user_chf56161a Hi! So sorry you are having so much pain! I certainly feel it for you,..."

My legs hurt so bad before surgery I wasn’t doing much either. My legs are shaky and weak. Thanks for your post op. You’ve given me some hope!

Thank you Grandma

Every word helped me. Thank you!

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