View Full Version : 3 weeks post-op update

04-07-2010, 09:24 PM
Hi all, I know there are quite a few people that have had surgery in the past month so I thought I'd give an update as to where I am in case that might help some of those who just got through surgery. I had anterior surgery on March 17th, and Posterior on March 18th so I'm just about 3 weeks out. Getting through the first week was by far the worst...getting home made all the difference in the world. At this point I continue to battle my bowels thanks to the meds but I've started to taper off the meds and I've already noticed the difference. I had my post-op with the surgeon last week and he's real happy with how everything went and how I'm progressing. I was fused T10-Pelvis and my lumbar curve went from about 65 degrees to just under 20 degrees. I've gained about 2" in height and lost nearly 15 pounds...still haven't regained my appetite yet!

As for motion, I have to admit I've notice VERY little difference now vs. pre-surgery. Granted, my scoliosis and kyphosis in my lower back had really limited my motion already, but I've not had anywhere near the limited motion that I had feared. Sure I can't put on my own socks yet, but I can do nearly everything else, just need to squat to do it.

Overall I'm feeling really good....sitting in a chair was most difficult for me but I've made good progress and can sit for nearly an hour at a time now. I'm walking about 3 miles every day now thanks to the great weather in Virginia. I'm setting no ground speed records mind you, but I'm enjoying the nice stroll.

Sleeping has been a challenge for me....not sure if its the meds or what, but I was having a problem sleeping more than 15-30 minutes at a time. Dr. gave me some Ambien and that's worked wonders...can sleep several hours at a time now. When did others with surgery start sleeping on their stomach's? I'm honestly too nervous to try! Getting a bit tired of sleeping on my side or back.

Anyway, that's my scoop....those just getting through surgery keep you heads up and it will get better and better every day!


04-07-2010, 09:49 PM
A few questions since I might be getting sugery in the future.

How old are you?

How many days did you have to spend in this hospital post sugery?

How long does it take for you to get around on your own? I'm mainly considered about how fast I can go back to work.

04-07-2010, 10:35 PM
I would say you are doing fantastically. I was always a stomach sleeper but just can't get comfortable even yet since it puts so much pressure on my neck but I'm fused higher up. I thought I'd never be able to sleep. Surprisingly, I've had almost zero trouble sleeping since surgery. I usually had a lot of trouble going to sleep and now for whatever reason--drugs??--I hardly ever have trouble anymore. That was a plus! Glad you are doing so well. Janet

04-07-2010, 11:12 PM
Great to hear you're going so well Rich.

In answer to your question, I still can't sleep on my stomach because of the thoracic pressure. I can lie somewhere between my side and stomach, propped by pillows and it's a nice change to lie in that position sometimes. However, I can't sleep like that. But I have got used to sleeping on my back and side-sleeping has always been fine.

Keep up the good work, Rich!

04-08-2010, 08:32 AM
Hi Rich -

It's great to hear how well you're doing! The weather has been lovely hasn't it? With everything blooming I hope you don't have allergies! Sneezing is the last thing you need at this point in your recovery!

I have to echo Janet/Doodles post when I say I too was a stomach sleeper. I have tried since the surgery to lie on my stomach but as she said, it's just too much pressure (or something) on my neck, as I was fused to T3. I now sleep on my sides or sometimes my back. It was back only for a couple of months after the surgery but as time went on it felt most comfortable on one of my sides. I have a memory foam type mattress with an additional 3" topper and love it. Several times in the past months as we've gone on trips I have slept on regular mattresses and the first nights were dicey but the second nights were better. (But I've always had trouble adjusting to new mattresses while traveling.)

You seem to be happy with your surgery. :) I'm glad. I too live in Northern Virginia and checked out the Virginia Spine Institute when I was getting opinions - went with Johns Hopkins but Reston would have been a quick jump for us and much more convenient!

Keep us posted of your progress as you're able...

04-08-2010, 11:23 AM
Congratulations, Rich, on doing so well. As far as sleeping, I still have some issues and I'm 9 weeks out. Honestly, I have more stiffness and discomfort when I'm lying in bed than at any other time. I told my husband I wish I could sleep like a horse standing up! I know I was told not to sleep on my stomach at least at this stage. It is glorious walking in this mid-Atlantic weather right now, isn't it, although that's coming to an end. I am now walking laps in the pool (have always been a swimmer) and doing just a little bit of breast stroke and floating--nothing with any twist or sudden movement. Being in the water feels fabulous. Hope the appetite/digestive thing straightens itself out. Am sure it will once you're off serious pain meds. Keep up your good work!

04-08-2010, 02:18 PM
Thanks for posting update Rich. I have surgery exactly one week from today and nervousness is creeping in and out. Reading your post helped alot, sounds like you are doing really good. Congrats on your surgery!
Glad to hear the progress you are making! Thanks again, Shari B.

04-08-2010, 06:17 PM
Thanks for all the encouragement everyone, everyone on this forum have been so supportive and its great talking with people that understand what going through this is like.

Curious293, most of us have been where you are today with possibly surgery looking in the future. For me, I'm so happy I did it while I was relatively young as my recovery hasn't been too bad. As for your questions, I'm 41 and spent 8 days in the hospital. It was a bit longer than normal but I had 2 surgery's, one from the front, one from the back which resulted in a longer stay.

As for getting around on my own...hmmm...i have to say that it took me a little over 2 weeks post op to feel like I could take care of myself. The only thing I really need help with any more is getting my socks on, still need to work on finding a way to do that myself. Otherwise I'm in good shape, just can't drive!

As for getting back to work....well...I was working again, part time, 12 days after surgery. To be honest I'm bored senseless otherwise and I'm blessed that I can work from home. At this point, 3 weeks out, I'm working about 4-6 hours a day from home. Since I can't drive until I'm off the heavy pain meds I expect to be working from home another couple of weeks. Fortunately for me the meds haven't messed with my head too much so I can still think clear enough to work with intermittent naps in between! :-)

Thanks for the advice on sleeping...I might try on my stomach tonight to see what happens....I wish I had your luck on the sleeping thing Doodles, my experience has been the opposite, I had no problem before surgery but haven't slept through the night since. Ohh well, I really can't complain much about this given I'm doing well elsewhere. :-)

Doodie, all I can say is thank goodness for Zyrtec...I usually have terrible allergies but started on Zyrtec while in the hospital and have been fine so far. Clearly I'm thrilled with virginia spine...I'm glad you had a good experience at Hopkins...I thought about going there and saw Dr. Lauerman at Georgetown but felt really comfortable with Dr. Good at Virginia Spine, and I couldn't be happier at this point.

ShariMSU, keep up the positive attitude and it will all be fine. I'm convinced that is half the battle...think positive and all will be okay!

Thanks again everyone!