Recovering from Spine Surgery: Patience required
It was a big surgery and the recovery is tough. No bending, twisting or lifting heavy things My husband keeps on gets after me that I am still twisting, but I’m doing the best I can. I walked 4 blocks yesterday and going for 6 blocks today.
Since seeing my surgeon at Mayo in Rochester he was very clear about what I can and cannot do, since I have soft bones he said If I wasn’t careful I could pull out a screw or break a rod. He wants me to get off of Oxycodone and Tramadol. First I’m doing the Oxycodone and then I’ll work at getting off of Tramadol. I find the Flexiril muscle relaxant really helps. So I’m having more spasms in my muscles.
I have become depressed since I got home. I can’t seem to do anything and my husband is so good that he does most of what I can’t do. I take Tymlos to strengthen my bones. It’s and injection I have give myself every day. Just a very small needle into my stomach I may have to do it up to 2 years. I go see my surgeon again in 3 months.
I pray to God to please heal me. I’m sorry this is so long, but the degeneration caused a scoliosis and my L-4-5 and S-1 had stenosis .
very bad stenosis and the surgeon had to work having the nerves not being pinched. Then the fusion was from T-10 to my pelvis. I had complications after the surgery, but is won’t go into them.
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@lilypaws Howdy friend . Look at things positively and let your husband pamper you it will only last awhile you know . Be kind to yourself . You had a big surgery and it takes time for all the muscles,bones,nerves and other things to get use to the new you . You will be a new you when you are healed but it will take time so just go with the flow Jean
@lilypaws I've had a lot of the same feelings because recently I've been disabled by a bad ankle fracture and I had my second surgery for that at Mayo just a few days before your surgery and now own some titanium plates and screws. Healing sure does take a lot of energy, and it's difficult to be disabled, but we press on as best we can. Good for you for walking and making progress. That is good for recovery and for emotions. Just getting outside and hearing the birds sing and enjoying some sunshine is good for the soul. When I was recovering and rehabbing from my spine surgery a few years ago, what helped me a lot was riding my horse on trails through the woods, just at a walk. I sat with good posture, and that built my core strength which supported my spine. I wish I could ride my horse now, but that has to wait as well as walking and driving. I'm doing what I can to stretch out from constantly sitting and lying on the couch while in the confines of my cast. I'm close to the 2 month mark since my injury and once in a while, I feel discouraged too because living by hopping around on one leg is hard and I have to figure out how to try to do things when I need to use my hands on a walker. I do have some kitties that curl up with me which is nice. This has been a long and painful journey for me too, first with a fixation cage on my ankle, then a plaster splint/cast that expanded for swelling, then the fiberglass cast, and soon I hope, a boot instead of a cast. Oh how I wish I could soak my foot in the tub which I can only do when the cast is removed. I'm counting the days. My incisions don't like the cast rubbing against them. You will get there. Time seems to slow down when we are healing from something like this, and I'm missing out on things I wish I could do. We are in this together and we will just have to do the best we can. I had the the bending, twisting and lifting restrictions of 10 pounds when I had spine surgery. My cat was about 10 pounds, so I could still hold him and he would climb up on my lap. When I was getting close to 3 months post op then and still in my neck brace, I went to the shelter and adopted 2 kittens so my cat would have some friends. They kept me busy while I recovered. My hubby takes good care of me too. I know it's hard to accept help when you want to be independent, but think of it this way. You would do anything to help if it was your husband who had the surgery instead of you. Sometimes it's hard to let someone else be the caregiver, but that is what love is, so don't be hard on yourself or have expectations on what you think you should be doing. Give yourself all the time you need to heal.
Dear @lilypaws you had 1 of the toughest surgeries that I know about. Anything to do with ur spine, nerves & disc's is no joke & believe me when I tell you my best Friend whom I cherish had very similar surgery but not w/Mayo Clinic. We r in NYC. Their hospitals are top notch too. I just want you to give yourself plenty of time to be pampered by your Husband & other family or Friend's. Can u get a home health aid to help for few mos. You may want to look into that. Also want to wish you a speedy recovery & know we are all here for you with support love & compassion. I know too well what torture comes from herniated disc's, & spinal stenosis, bulging discs & pinched nerves. I'm hopeful that you will be btr than b4. I have Osteoporosis/but take Calcium & Magnesium supplements they help w/bones & prevent spasms. I too get Flexeril 10mg 2x a day. But I try not to use them so much unless my spasms are doing a dance on my shoulder blade or neck areas. I wish you all the best & as long as you have a positive outlook on it as with everything else, this chapter in your life will pass & you will be that much better for it. Just do as directed. As far as weaning off Tramadol or Oxycodone, start with Tramadol 1st, & then wean off of Oxycodone. I myself was on Tramadol/gave me bad depression after I broke my knee the 1st time & was given Tramadol & it gave me such migraines that I got off it fast. & switched to another pain medication. Now my Friend & most chronic pain patients & a few of my Lyme Friends are taking Medical Cannabis for chronic severe pain. It works for me & there are other ppl here who can give you more details on that subject. I take in capsule & gummy' chews form. They have helped with Chronic pain issues including my Nerve pain & my Sciatica acts up very rarely now. I can not take Lyrica or Neurontin types of medications they make me sick/not good for certain ppl.
So you might want to look into that instead of taking pain meds. I wish you all the best & a great recovery. There is going to be better days ahead, just take your time. As I always say to my Friends be happy life is always changing & after it rains the sun must come back. Meaning so will you when you are ready. Best wishes. Mimi🌷
@jenniferhunter Wow. I just had to wish you well too. I hope your ankle is doing better & give urself time to heal. I know what it's like to have pins & metal rods inside our bodies. With me it's just above my right ankle cpl screws & a metal rod holding my bone together. 12yrs ago. Give urself plenty of time to heal properly. & when they say no more than 10bs. Stick to it. My 🐱 she slept w/me on the recliner each & every day & nite. Her soft purrs made me feel better. It's amazing how felines can help heal us. Have u tried using a chair to rest ur knee on it while using ur hands? I used to take kitchen chair & put big fat pillow on seat & rest my knee over it so I could clean my dishes & cook for myself. I didn't have anyone to help me. I did have a home health aid come 4x a week for 3mos. She was a blessing. If I didn't have help I don't know how I would have managed. & I used crutches & wobbled on a big plastic board w/handles dwn my 5flights of stairs. But i cried & no1 wud help me. Finally my HHA/she saved me & I felt btr. It makes you tougher & more aware of just how fragile our bodies are. I wish you & ur fur babies a speedy recovery. 🌷😻Mimi
@msstoppainnagginme Thank you, Mimi. I also broke my right ankle, and in a compound fracture and the tibia fractured into the joint space on the front of the ankle. I have 2 plates on the tibia and a screw inside the fibula. Did you get post traumatic arthritis from your fracture? I kind of worry about that and more repair work down the road. Thanks for your tip; I have canvas folding stools in front of sinks, so I can put weight on my knee and stand. I also sit on the stool to be closer to the floor for chores. If I try to always keep weight only on one leg, it fatigues my hip and I need to sit down. My kitties do take care of me and follow me everywhere. I also put a webbing strap on a walker, so I can rest my knee in that, and once in awhile, I sit on the strap to rest a bit. The strap helps me get up that last step from the porch so I don't have to hop up a step, I just "walk" on my knee and it's more stable. I've also climbed the outside stairs on my one knee and good leg (without walker), also with one hand on the step and the other grabbing the rail, and I've scooted and crab walked. That's how I climb interior stairs too by sitting on them and scooting with my hands and the good leg and stand up at the top while I pull myself up with my hands on the banister. My ankle does get a bit better everyday. This cast should come off in the next few weeks.
Have you tried any physical therapy for your muscle spasms? You may want to look into myofascial release, and I talk about that a lot because it works to release tight tissue, re-hydrate it, and get it back to proper alignment. MFR has helped make my surgeries more successful because my muscle was looser before, and after it helps to break up surgical scar tissue when enough healing has taken place. Here is our discussion for information. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/ Thanks for your good thoughts and wishes. It makes me feel good!
@jenniferhunter Just checking in to see how you are doing in your recovery ?
@jenniferhunter Thank you for the encouragement. You are going through a tough time too. How did you fracture? I hope you get the cast off soon. I had to give up my very healthy 14 year old dog. Where we always boarded her wanted her a lot. The owner said "We would love to have Lily. We love her." So she seems to be very happy there and they send me pictures. She was very protective of me before the surgery knowing I was in pain. She got anxiety and wouldn't even let my husband get near me. But, she has never really liked him. Our first Papillion had a wonderful personality and loved everyone. We had a specialist come in and she showed us some tricks to help her. I loved her and miss her very much, but there's now way I would be able to take care of her. My husband hates cats.
I tried to walk further today. Got my perdometer (sp) from my daughter so I can see how far I have walked. I am still somewhat depressed, but mental illness runs in our family. I have depression and anxiety complex. My poor son is bipolar 1 and we have no contact with him. It's a long story, but his wife is very controlling and is part of the problem.
You are right about my husband being the care giver. I want to help him as much as I con, but I can't do a lot. I don't want to pull out a screw out or break a rod. I hope to get another dog once I am healed, but I'm 68 so it may be difficult. They take a lot of work.
Thank you again for your encouragement. May God Bless you and keep you under his wings.
I forgot to tell you the Mayo Clinic Rochester is 3 1/2 hours from our home. It's hard on me to drive that far, but I don't have to go back for 3 months.
@lioness Progress is slow, and my incisions will not be happy until his cast is off, but if I think back to how this felt when it started, I am a lot better. I started with lots of pain around the clock and using medication that nauseated me, and I slept a lot. I have been off pain meds since the 2nd week after surgery, except for when I have swelling causing pain that keeps me awake now and then. I am getting away with sitting up without my leg elevated all the time, but not all day, as it will start throbbing. Since there are 7 incisions, it's hard to not have something affected no matter which way I turn my leg. Last night, I had some stabbing pain in my little toes until I rotated my leg 180 degrees to the other side and it stopped. 2 incisions are pretty large with one vertical on the inside of my shin, and the one from the first emergency surgery that is transverse going around the outside of the ankle through the area where the bone broke through the skin… that hurts the most. My Mayo surgeon said he would have done that as a vertical and it was a bit in his way since his incision could not cross that one. I'm wondering if it will hit that and hurt when I finally get to wear shoes With each step it gets a little better. I was glad to get the fixator cage off, then I had a splint cast after the 2nd surgery and the stitches rubbed inside which hurt and drove me crazy. When those stitches came out and I got this cast, it was better, but the first couple days were hard because of swelling from removing stitches and being in a cast that solidly restricts everything, and I just lived on my back with my foot elevated and had to take pain meds. Now, it doesn't hurt most of the time. This has been painful for a long time, and more painful than my spine surgery was. Progress is progress. I don't get much done at home, but I am starting to work on some things as I can tolerate sitting up. I am about ready to do a little bit of painting, and when I come back to Mayo, I'm going to paint some studies of the stone barns that were on Dr. Charlie Mayo's farm. I'm pretty excited about having permission for that and it gives me a goal. I might have to sit with my foot elevated for that, but I'm going to try.
@lilypaws Hi Jeanie. Here's my story. I own an older horse, and usually take a trip with a group from the boarding stable to go trail riding once a year. My horse was not sound enough to go this year, and one of my friends loaned me a horse, and because the camp ground where we could keep the horses had re-opened after the lock down, we were able to go. In preparation, we all went trail riding several times as a group near home to get in condition for the trip, and put some training into the horses. I had to ride in last place because the mare kicked at other horses behind her. About half way through the trip, somewhere there was a loose dog and I never saw it, but the horse spooked as we came out of the woods where the trail bordered a field. She took off at a full gallop, and I did all I could to hold on, but she jarred me loose and I fell. It happened so fast and I didn't know I was falling until I hit the ground. I knew my ankle was broken and dislocated, and I got my first hour long ride in an ambulance and emergency surgery that put a cage on my ankle to stabilize it with pins into the tibia (shin bone) and my heel bone. I was taken there because of it being a better hospital with good orthopedic surgeons. I was in that regional hospital for 2 days because I wasn't well enough to be able to navigate on my own with a walker and get up and down stairs while I was in so much pain. My friends picked up a walker for me, and drove me home in my car. There were 4 of us and 3 vehicles, so that worked out OK. It was a compound fracture of the fibula, and the tibia was in several pieces. I then had to search for a surgeon to fix the fractures and I wanted a good surgeon, so I contacted the Mayo surgeon who did my spine surgery for his recommendation, and they reached out to me right away and I had an appointment with scheduled surgery in just a couple days. It was fixed with 2 titanium plates on the tibia, and a screw placed inside the fibula.
I was riding as safely as possible and wearing a helmet. When I fell, I fell on my side and didn't hit my head. It was just a freak thing and it happened with this horse because I was riding in last place. One of the other girls fell off also because the other horses all reacted, but she was not hurt. I am lucky that there were no other injuries other than my ankle, and I never did anything to break my fall because I didn't know I was falling, so I didn't hurt my hands or arms, neck or back. It didn't hurt that much right away, because the body goes into shock and prevents the pain signals. I was in the emergency room 2 hours later when my body noticed the pain, and it was bad, like a knife in the bottom of my heel and they got me into surgery within an hour of my arrival. The surgical nurse was talking with me about her horses outside the operating room while they waited for the results of the COVID swab test, and then took me into surgery. The surgeon hadn't decided if he would put plates on my bones or put a cage on, so I didn't know until I woke up. We didn't talk that long, but I remember his eyes behind his glasses which is all I could really see of him. His surgical nurse was great, and so nice to me, and I really was enjoying talking to her about her horses. This was the new me who was not afraid of surgery any more. Even coming to Mayo for the 2nd surgery didn't worry me, and I did just fine. I knew I was in good hands and I made sure the thank my surgeon. I have been told it's 6 months to a year for a full recovery for this type on injury and that I can develop post traumatic arthritis later. I hope not.
What a bummer, but as you say, just a freaky accident that you could not have predicted. At least your head didn’t take it. Plus, a broken ankle/leg better than your neck or back….sigh. I try to be grateful for the “best” outcomes!