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aileens
07-19-2013, 11:25 PM
Hi everyone,

I wanted to drop by and provide an update on what 5 months post op feels for an almost 39-year old who had two posterior surgeries to fuse t3 to sacrum:

I returned to work at 4.5 months full-time to a desk job, but my schedule is flexible in that I spend one day a week working from home. That usually means doing conference calls while lying down on the couch. The sitting is getting easier but I need to get up and move at least once an hour - when I don't, the pain kicks up noticeably.
I'm pretty uncomfortable and need Tylenol once or twice daily. I started acupuncture at 3.5 months and go twice a week. It helps with the pain but it really helps with my energy level. I'm pretty good during the day but I like to come home and head straight to the couch to rest my back. I get up to help with dinner and cleanup, then I'm back in bed usually by 9. I still need a ton of sleep, min. 9 hours a night.
Driving is weirdly comfortable for me, I don't need a back pillow or anything.
I try to walk 2 to 4 miles a day, which is much harder to do now that I'm back at work. I also go to the pool 3x a week. I start PT this week as well.
I've been cleared to start doing some bending - let me tell you, the first time I emptied the bottom rack in the dishwasher was a real letdown, I did not miss that chore. I still prefer to use a grabber or my foot.
I've recently started wearing flip flops but I use my cane when I do since I worry about tripping - otherwise I'm weaning off my cane use. I feel a little wobbly, super robotic and SO slow.

Overall I'm still happy I had the surgery done and I'm anxious to keep healing and continuing to feel better. One question tho for people with long fusions - my surgeon said its fine for me to lie on my stomach, but I actually don't know how to get on my stomach. Do you log-roll on to your stomach or flop down on the bed somehow?

Aileen

Irina
07-19-2013, 11:57 PM
Hi Aileen,

I do some PT exercises on my stomach and my surgeon has cleared me to do that. I have a fantastic physical therapist. The first one who was coming to my house was clueless, but this one knows her stuff. It's good that you're walking, swimming and going to begin PT soon. I hope that PT will make you stronger - it definitely improved my stamina by a lot.

I am fused T6 to sacrum and here is how I get on my stomach: let's say you begin log-rolling from your right side. Once you are on laying on your right side, you keep your right arm under your side and left arm is resting on the bed. Begin pulling your right arm from under your side towards your back. At the same moment, turn your whole body on the stomach by pushing against left hand. Who-la! Done.

susancook
07-20-2013, 12:22 AM
Aileen, you exhaust me! I'm even tired reading about your activities. You must be some kind of a Wonder Woman. Could you be my trainer?

Wishing you a continued recovery. Susan

titaniumed
07-20-2013, 12:42 AM
Aileen

Congrats on your reaching 5 months! Donít worry, things will keep getting easier as time passes.

I donít sleep on my stomach because of my neck. I can do a sort of side stomach position, but since Iím fused now and strong, its not about the back, its all about the neck position....And we have to cater to our necks as we age with full fusions. I didnít have any success with my modified stomach sleeping attempts till I was at least one year post.

I started PT for my broken shoulder at 9 months. No PT for the spine other than walking really....No prescribed PT or intensive therapy sessions for the spine is what I need to say.......easy in the beginning, built up slowly over 2 years.

The arm bike where you pedal with your arms is GREAT! This therapy moves the paraspinalís and muscles that lay over the rods and screws and toughens them up. Start slow, and pedal with your arms every second day. I did this for 6 months starting at 9 months post scoli surgeries. I used little resistance and went forward and backwards.

Log rolling is the way we start out and then what happens is either its modified, or totally ignored especially if not thinking about it. I guess the easiest way to move in bed is with the legs. If you throw a thigh and leg over quickly, the rest usually follows. To be honest, I donít what I do now....LOL I guess thatís proof that eventually you heal and your mind is off and not thinking about your spine....this is part of your recovery. This will happen in time.

I walked my 1st mile at 9 months....try not to feel like you have to meet some sort of goal with distance walking, itís the frequent movement that helps. Everytime I pushed on the exercise it resulted in setback. Itís a slow calculated process, knowing where and when to stop. It was during the 2nd year that I started pushing a little harder.

I was, and many experience being uncomfortable through the first year of recovery as middle age adults. Itís a see-saw like recovery with its ups and downs....improvement means less down days as time passes....I was just so happy to be done with the crippling pain before my surgeries, and accepting the healing of the traded surgical pain with patience.

Ed

JenniferG
07-20-2013, 01:06 AM
I like the sound of the arm bike. I think that's exactly what I need. My legs get plenty of exercise, but my arms don't. I'm going to try to track down an arm bike. Thanks Ed!

back2life
07-20-2013, 01:41 AM
Thanks for your update. It is wonderful to hear how well you are doing being I am just a short distance behind you. How awesome to be working! I am hoping to be able to volunteer back at our school this fall as it was my passion and quitting work was hard. (I was a school librarian) I have two kids aged 11 and 16 who will be doing those dishwasher and vacuuming duties for quite sometime if I have my way. ;)
Best wishes to you in your continued recovery.

*Jen
Surgery May 7,2013

titaniumed
07-20-2013, 02:20 AM
I like the sound of the arm bike. I think that's exactly what I need. My legs get plenty of exercise, but my arms don't. I'm going to try to track down an arm bike. Thanks Ed!

Jen

If someone is going to attend some sort of physical therapy program ordered by a doctor, ok, ask about the arm bike.

If you are not, save your money and use soup cans.

I know, Iím getting tight in my old age. LOL

Ed

JenniferG
07-20-2013, 02:45 AM
Haha yes, I suppose that would be the sensible, practical way to do it. Good thinking Ed!

aileens
07-22-2013, 04:32 PM
Hi Aileen,

I do some PT exercises on my stomach and my surgeon has cleared me to do that. I have a fantastic physical therapist. The first one who was coming to my house was clueless, but this one knows her stuff. It's good that you're walking, swimming and going to begin PT soon. I hope that PT will make you stronger - it definitely improved my stamina by a lot.

I am fused T6 to sacrum and here is how I get on my stomach: let's say you begin log-rolling from your right side. Once you are on laying on your right side, you keep your right arm under your side and left arm is resting on the bed. Begin pulling your right arm from under your side towards your back. At the same moment, turn your whole body on the stomach by pushing against left hand. Who-la! Done.

Hi Irina,

Thanks for the instructions, I finally got up the nerve to try it in bed this morning. I just put my arm under my head and log-rolled my way on to my stomach, lay there for a few moments and said ok, I'm done, and rolled back to my side. Seems like I need to get a bit of momentum going to roll but I assume it will get easier over time.

At PT today the therapist wanted me to use the foam roller for my butt and placed it on the floor. I stood there looking bewildered before I explained that I hadn't sat on the floor since my surgery. Funny how easy it is to forgot how to do things when you need to move deliberately.

aileen

aileens
07-22-2013, 04:34 PM
Aileen, you exhaust me! I'm even tired reading about your activities. You must be some kind of a Wonder Woman. Could you be my trainer?

Wishing you a continued recovery. Susan

Thanks - I didn't think I was doing that much, but perhaps that's why I'm so tired at the end of the day? Perhaps I'll take it a bit easier... Hope you get past your current situation and get back to healing exponentially.

aileens
07-22-2013, 04:42 PM
Aileen

Congrats on your reaching 5 months! Donít worry, things will keep getting easier as time passes.

I donít sleep on my stomach because of my neck. I can do a sort of side stomach position, but since Iím fused now and strong, its not about the back, its all about the neck position....And we have to cater to our necks as we age with full fusions. I didnít have any success with my modified stomach sleeping attempts till I was at least one year post.

I started PT for my broken shoulder at 9 months. No PT for the spine other than walking really....No prescribed PT or intensive therapy sessions for the spine is what I need to say.......easy in the beginning, built up slowly over 2 years.

The arm bike where you pedal with your arms is GREAT! This therapy moves the paraspinalís and muscles that lay over the rods and screws and toughens them up. Start slow, and pedal with your arms every second day. I did this for 6 months starting at 9 months post scoli surgeries. I used little resistance and went forward and backwards.

Log rolling is the way we start out and then what happens is either its modified, or totally ignored especially if not thinking about it. I guess the easiest way to move in bed is with the legs. If you throw a thigh and leg over quickly, the rest usually follows. To be honest, I donít what I do now....LOL I guess thatís proof that eventually you heal and your mind is off and not thinking about your spine....this is part of your recovery. This will happen in time.

I walked my 1st mile at 9 months....try not to feel like you have to meet some sort of goal with distance walking, itís the frequent movement that helps. Everytime I pushed on the exercise it resulted in setback. Itís a slow calculated process, knowing where and when to stop. It was during the 2nd year that I started pushing a little harder.

I was, and many experience being uncomfortable through the first year of recovery as middle age adults. Itís a see-saw like recovery with its ups and downs....improvement means less down days as time passes....I was just so happy to be done with the crippling pain before my surgeries, and accepting the healing of the traded surgical pain with patience.

Ed

Thanks Ed. I used to be a stomach sleeper but I don't think I'll go back to it since I worry about protecting my remaining un-fused verterbrae. I just wanted to make sure I could get on my stomach at some point for either acupuncture or massage, or PT if need be.

I tie my walking with errands - I find walking for the sake of walking to be pretty boring, so I try to plan walks with purpose. The other night I walked a total of 2 miles in search of a piece of fruit pie for dinner - I was unsuccessful in finding some pie, but at least I got a walk in while trying. :-)

I didn't think I was in excruciating pain before surgery, but I am amazed at how much I put up with now that my pre-surgery pain is gone. I'm also amazed that my pre-surgery pain is gone, despite the addition of all sorts of metal pieces. I can handle the mostly discomfort/occasional higher levels of pain in the recovery period if it continues to get better from here.

aileens
07-22-2013, 04:45 PM
Thanks for your update. It is wonderful to hear how well you are doing being I am just a short distance behind you. How awesome to be working! I am hoping to be able to volunteer back at our school this fall as it was my passion and quitting work was hard. (I was a school librarian) I have two kids aged 11 and 16 who will be doing those dishwasher and vacuuming duties for quite sometime if I have my way. ;)
Best wishes to you in your continued recovery.

*Jen
Surgery May 7,2013

You will have much to look forward to - continued success to you in your recovery as well!

Irina
07-22-2013, 07:51 PM
Hi Irina,

Thanks for the instructions, I finally got up the nerve to try it in bed this morning. I just put my arm under my head and log-rolled my way on to my stomach, lay there for a few moments and said ok, I'm done, and rolled back to my side. Seems like I need to get a bit of momentum going to roll but I assume it will get easier over time.

At PT today the therapist wanted me to use the foam roller for my butt and placed it on the floor. I stood there looking bewildered before I explained that I hadn't sat on the floor since my surgery. Funny how easy it is to forgot how to do things when you need to move deliberately.

aileen

Wohoo on rolling to the stomach! I have not done any exercises on the floor yet. I haven't asked my surgeon if I am allowed to do anything on the floor, may be it's OK, but I play it safe. My PT wanted me to lay on the floor and push my legs against the wall and I refused to do it. She modified it - I do it with a yoga belt lying on the bed. Did you check with your doctor about floor exercises?