View Full Version : some thoughts

07-10-2011, 09:51 AM
I'm feeling SO much better than when I first came home. I'm eating, drinking, sleeping a bit, and pooping! :)

I am walking as well and doing stairs here and there. I have run 1/2 marathons in the past and worked out a lot. It's hard to see now that my muscle tone is dwindling so quickly. I'm hoping to get into some type of PT or pilates after a few more weeks.

I'm looking into getting a better matteress to increase my sleep time and then some type of recliner too, hopefully not too expensive.

Anyways, I was wondering if that feeling of stiffness gets better as time goes on? I assume it does as I'm only 11 days out of surgery. I'm fused T2-L1.

Thanks! Christina

Also, I know this process can be good one day and not so good the next. So I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself.

07-10-2011, 11:18 AM
Hi Christina,

I am SO glad you are feeling better! Your recovery so far sounds similar to mine...I definitely turned my first corner around 12 days.

The stiffness will get WAY better with time. You are so early in recovery right now. Keep walking, movement although sometimes painful is the key to recovery.

Keep up the good work!

07-10-2011, 01:11 PM
Hi Christina!

You are still so early in recovery, and you sound like you are doing great! A positive attitude plays a huge role in the days ahead.

You will be amazed at how you progress at time goes on. I went through all you are talking about-the pain, stiffness, not sleeping, wondering how I would be down the road and if I picked the right time to have surgery. My biggest enemy was lack of patience. I behaved, but was so anxious to keep turning around the next corner. I wanted to be doing better NOW, not later. I look back now, and hardly remember those tough first few weeks. Be patient, roll with the punches, and you will be there before you know it. By 4 to 6 months, I felt like a somewhat normal human being again, and not an invalid.

Be prepared for the bads spells in between a run of good days, and especially the plateaus. I had a couple of those where I didn't feel like I was progressing at all. But looking back, I really did. Pay attention to the little accomplishments, no matter how trivial they may seem. If you couldn't cook a meal or watch an entire movie on the couch last week, but did this week, it is a step in the right direction. Baby steps add up! If you have followed any of my posts, you can see how well you can do after this surgery!

And don't be surprised at your muscle atrophy... I have always been very active-weight lifting, snow and water skiing, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, etc. I was pretty shocked at how weak I became and how long it has taken to even get SOME of it back. I am on my way now! But before surgery, I lifted very heavy weights at work, using my thighs like squats, to protect my back. It was many weeks before I could even stand from a squat position without pulling myself up with help from the counter tops or furniture...

Best of luck to you, and keep us posted. We are here for you. I love the idea of passing the torch, or paying it forward, after others helped us with our own recoveries... It is what keeps this site going!

07-10-2011, 01:26 PM
Oh, and another thought....

It won't work for everybody, but I found a chair that worked great for me. I need a lot of support for my back. The couch and recliners are too squishy for me. I feel too much "sagging" and not enough support. I get sore when I sit too long in them.

If you can stand a firmer support, those reclining camping lounge chairs that recline way back worked great for me. If you need more padding, you could add blankets, foam pads, pillows, etc. They are the ones that usually run around 75 bucks. (I tried to attach a picture of it.) 1022 When fully reclined, it takes all the pressure off my spine, and I can adjust it to recline to any degree I need. There are also a lot of computer chairs that work pretty good, too. Both of these options are considerably cheaper than a recliner. And being portable, you can use them everywhere after recovery. I use the recliner camping, in the yard or on the deck, at concerts in the park, and in the early days when I visited my kids at their house. Young kids out on their own don't always have the most comfortable furniture.... LOL

It may not work for everyone, but it may be a low cost alternative for some of you!

07-10-2011, 05:17 PM

Your words almost bring tears to my eyes. I feel so ready to turn the next corner, but I know I need to be patient and keep myself safe because I am still so fresh from surgery.

You and all the others are an inspiration to me and I hope that I too can return the favor!


07-10-2011, 05:35 PM
It sounds like you are doing well for so soon after surgery. As far as recovery, I couldn't say it any better (or as well) as Jenee'. I was surprised by how my hard earned muscles had atrophied in one week, but I'm gradually getting them back. Keep us updated on your continued progress.

loves to skate
07-10-2011, 05:46 PM
"I'm hoping to get into some type of PT or pilates after a few more weeks."

Christina, Don't even think about PT or pilates until Dr. Rand gives you the OK. He let me start swimming at three months post-op and six months for PT. Aside from that, only walking, walking and walking.


07-10-2011, 07:28 PM
Sally, I wouldn't do anything without Dr. Rand's permission. I have an appt with him Aug. 18th. I can't imagine I'm just to walk, walk, walk until then?!

I've got to start moving more than that! I'm 30 and am/was in really good shape.

07-10-2011, 08:37 PM
I don't know how long your fusion is, but for most, we have the "no bend, no lift, no twist, no stoop" for 4 months (minimum),. I thought it was equivalent to a death sentence as I have always been extremely active, however, having a girlfriend who is paralyzed, I sucked it up and said to myself that this is temporary! At 3 months, I was allowed to add some simple exercises . . . most of them done while laying on my back. I started going to the pool at the Y at 3 months, as well, but wasn't allowed to swim. I sat upright on a noodle and used my arms and legs. Truthfully, it was enough. I never really considered walking much of an "exercise", but have found it to okay. I take my Ipod and sometimes friends and take off. I know many on the forum start PT early, but my surgeon was not in favor of it as he thought more harm could be done if the physical therapist was not experienced in long spinal fusions. Give yourself time to heal and like Jenee' said, "patience".

07-10-2011, 08:48 PM
My bad....Thanks, Karen and Sally. I should have addressed the exercising, also...

After all that we go through with our recoveries, we SURE don't want to blow it and have to go through another revision surgery someday-because we were impatient and risked non-fusion by not behaving. I was under the same no bend, twist or lift orders.... I was allowed to do light PT, but only after 4 months. I was told to do the same-walk, walk, walk! You will find it to be good. I have hilly areas that I could progress into as I got in better shape. And as you feel better and better, you can clip along at a fast pace up hills and I guarantee you will get enough work out! Baby steps!!!

07-10-2011, 09:29 PM
I know I need to calm down. Thanks ladies :)

07-11-2011, 10:04 PM
Thanks for your thoughts and progress. I'll be following in your tracks in about six weeks, so what you learn and post is of great interest to us still to go down the path.

Thanks--and saying prayers for you!

07-12-2011, 06:55 PM
Heard back from Hillary today about some questions I had for Dr. Rand. No pt/pilates until 4-6 months :(

But I can drive in about a month.
After I meet with him Aug. 18th. I will ask about possibly adding more to my exercise routine like the arm bike or leg bike machines.

Still feeling good on just tylenol....2 weeks out tomorrow!

07-13-2011, 05:21 PM
wow! i can't believe you're only on tylenol! I was still a drugged up druggie at 2 weeks!

if getting off the narcs before 2 weeks is any indication, you should be getting back to your old self in no time! =)

07-15-2011, 09:55 PM
I'm fused t4-t12 and was allowed to start swiimming and doing PT at five weeks. It has been great. I'm finally starting to feel normal, still taking Tylenol and Valium as needed. I'm also allowed to do the recumbent bike. So ive actually been able to the gym. Now mind you I'm not speedy gonzalez by any means but at least it's activity. I'm 33 if that helps.