View Full Version : How am I doing compared to everyone?

08-09-2006, 12:24 PM
Hey guys I made it throught surgery, and am now home. I'm three weeks post op and really am struggling. I think part of it is I'm very goal orriented and I don't know how to push myself. What is to much and what is not enough. I can listen to my body for sure but lately I feel like I'm not progressing as I should be. What was everyone else doing at 3-4 weeks? Walking, medication, sleeping etc...I'm an emotional basket case which is so not like me. I had a horrilble hospital experience and in general would just like to know when I will break though this... Thanks Alissa

08-09-2006, 01:06 PM
Welcome back! Not having had surgery yet, I can't give you any advice or comment on what you're experiencing. But, at least the worst is over and hopefully each day will get better for you. I'm almost afraid to ask about your horrible hospital experience though.

Wishing you a speedy recovery,


08-09-2006, 02:00 PM
Hi Alissa...

As I'm sure you've read a million times, we're all really different. At 3 weeks post-op, I was still spending the vast majority of my time in bed. I took 2 short walks every day, and got up for meals, showers, and to use the washroom. I was also very disappointed with my progress. I expected to see real differences every day/week, and that just didn't happen for me.

Post op depression is REALLY common. I'd urge you to set a goal for yourself to increase your walking time by some amount of distance or time every day. Not only will it help with the depression, but it will help with all of your other symptoms as well. I know how hard it is to get motivated to take a walk when it's so painful, but do what you have to do to make it happen.


08-09-2006, 02:05 PM
Hi Alissa,
First of all, congrats for getting through the surgery! Secondly, it's tough to compare yourself to others, but this board is great in that you can get an idea of where you should be or how you should be feeling at a given point in recover.

For me, at 3 weeks, I was sleeping A LOT and walking a little. My husband was pushing me to walk more than I was and I'm glad he did, but I just felt so damn tired and when I would walk, but body would get very tired, very easily, so I just didn't do too much. I was still taking some pain meds, but not throughout the day. Around week 3 or 4, I started taking Tylenol during the day and the pain meds only at night to help me sleep or when I was overly-active. It was a very tough time for me because I was more aware of my aches and pains and starting to realize the full impact of what had happened and missing the things I used to take for granted. Keeping a journal of your milestones from day to day or week to week is really helpful. When I would get down, my husband would say, "Remember last week when you couldn't do such and such? Well, this week you can and next week, you'll be able to do something that this week, you can't." It really helped me realize that I was making progress...although very slow progress.

Hang in there girl....you'll get through it!

08-09-2006, 02:59 PM
Hi Alissa, I am glad your doing good. You will get stronger everyday. It may not seem like it but you will.
At three weeks I was not doing much. I walked as much as I could. I slept a lot. I tried to stay up and not sleep so much but just couldn't. I think it was a combination of surgery and pain meds. I was still taking my pain meds regularly at three weeks. No way I could have done with out them. I did not think I was doing very good either and when I went to the Dr. he said I was doing great. That gave me the encouragement I needed. It is rough to get through and your body has been through a major operation so it will take you time. It is normal I think to get depressed also. I did. Good luck and hang in there.


08-09-2006, 03:33 PM
Hi Peachtree--

I had my posterior surgery July 24th, I think you were the 20th! I was in the hospital for 8 days. The 2nd half of it was rough because they did not have me on effective pain meds; but got on some before I was discharged, so was doing better by the time I got home.

I went for my 2 week post-op check-up yesterday and they said I was doing great! My incision is almost completely healed--just some steri-strips left on it that will come off when they are ready.

I'm not sure how old you are, but I am 47. I had some hip and lower back pain before the surgery and those areas are still somewhat achy although in a different way now. I was fused T-5 to L-5. My curves before surgery were T70/L77 and they got a 30 degree correction in each curve. My back looks straighter now; gained an inch and half in height.

I have a small hospital bed in my living room where I rest during the day whenever I get tired--about every hour or two. I sit up for brief periods during the day to watch tv, eat, or use computer. Also walk around the house and in my yard (of course, all is done very slowly). I have the turtleshell brace which I wear outside of my clothes when I am sitting or walking.

You are right, the progress is slow compared to other types of surgeries, but when you think of where we were 2 or 3 weeks ago, I think that we are doing great!! My husband had to do almost everything for me when I got home a week and half ago and now I can shower and dress myself with very little help needed.

Keep writing on the forum and letting us know how you are doing!


08-09-2006, 05:21 PM
At three weeks it's normal that it's slow and it hurts a lot, it's the first phase of recovery. I started getting off pain meds(just taking Tylenol that didn't do much), but that was b/c I was afraid of addiction and the doctors didn't want to give me more narcotics, just my sleep aid. So looking back that slowed down my recovery and taking some is not harmful. Being the insomniac that I am, surgery still didn't make me sleep afterwards, wich didn't help either. The nights I got 5-6 hours of sleep helped and walking did too. I watched TV in the recliner a lot. Try to eat even if you're not that hungry, and move but rest as well. You need to push yourself a bit, but not too much. Healing will come naturally and it takes time, a lot of it.

Take care.

08-09-2006, 06:41 PM
Alissa -

Congrats on a successful surgery. What I have discovered is that it doesn't really matter what "everyone else was doing" because none of us were doing the exact same thing. Because we are all different, we heal at different rates. What I can tell you is that you are not alone. I was also a "basket case" for several weeks after surgery. I cried a lot and I didn't always know why. We have been through quite an ordeal and it is o.k. to feel down, sad, depressed, confused, frustrated, etc. Try to remember that nothing lasts forever and you will feel better. I am amazed that at 3 weeks post-op you are online chatting with us. I was right around 2 months post-op until I felt up to getting online. Don't push yourself. Your body will let you know what it is ready to do. If you do too much - you'll know it.

Best of luck for a speedy recovery,

08-10-2006, 09:35 AM
Hi Everyone

I'm reading all these successful stories and I am crying. I have yet to schedule my surgery, because I'm very scared! I think I'm scared of the recovery. I know it's a long recovery and I know I am not looking forward to that. I just wanted to vent a little and this forum helps a lot (even though I don't write much, I do read most of the posts). Has anyone felt the same way?

Congratulations to all who have had surgery and to those of you who have scheduled their surgeries. Hopefully I will schedule mine soon! I would like to have it in June 2007, so I can recuperate for September when my kids go back to school.

Thanks for listening,


70 lumbar T12-L4
40 thoracic T5-11

Dr. Michael Neuwirth
Beth Isreal Spine Institue

08-10-2006, 12:01 PM
Hi Riri,

I feel the same way you do. I am also probably going to schedule my surgery for June 2007, and I'm most definitely not looking forward to it. This forum really helps you to prepare physically and mentally for the surgery, but at the same time it's scary to read about possible complications. In the end, we're all so different, there's just no way of knowing how it will be for us. But at least we'll be going into it with our eyes open.

Good luck!

08-10-2006, 12:22 PM

We are always our own worst critics. I too thought I should be doing better at times throughout my recovery. The emotional rollercoaster will pass as well so don't worry. You have been through a lot. Each day will seem like very little progress at times then you will look back and realise just how far you have come. 2-3 weeks ago you were still in the hospital, remember those days? Think of what you can do now that you couldn't do then. You will do great, it just takes time and patients. Not something a lot of us had before surgery but something a lot of us learned! Take it day by day, you will be fine. Its tough to know how hard to push yourself, you don't want to over do it and pay the next day. There is plenty of time to push yourself later, you may just need to sleep and take it easy a bit longer. It isn't a race to recover I kept telling myself. Best wishes.

08-20-2006, 07:33 PM
Yes, I had two of them (lucky me). I had a fusion of L-5 to S-1. Also had the illiac crest bone graft (so 2 incisions). The reason they opened me back up on the 8th, was because I awoke from the first surgery with a LOT of pain down my right leg (that wasn't there prior to surgery). So they went back in and "loosened the screws, and did some more decompression of the nerve canals". I still have sensitivity all along the right leg...and hope it will go away soon. I took my last pain pill (Hydrocodone) last night at bed time (along with a sleeping pill). Today I haven't taken any meds...because I only have one left. I think I'll just stop taking them...and try some over the counter pills. Unfortunately, I took some Advil today...but I don't think that anti-inflammatories are advised after surgery (not sure why).

So, it's only been a few weeks for me...but I feel better. I walk some...but get hot and tired. The brace is nice...but hot. I like to lay in the bed some throughout the day just to get the brace off and to rest. But mostly...I'm dealing with BOREDOM. (I'm 46 years old).

08-20-2006, 08:03 PM
Advil and other anti-inflammatories are not recommended for at least 6 weeks following surgery because they can interfere with the fusion process. I strongly suggest you speak with your surgeon regarding pain relievers.

Karen Ocker
08-22-2006, 07:02 PM
Advil and other anti-inflammatories are not recommended for at least 6 weeks following surgery because they can interfere with the fusion process.

Many doctors now say ONE YEAR because it can interfere with the fusion process.

08-23-2006, 06:10 PM
Many doctors still don't warn their patients though. My ortho told me once in a while it wouldn't hurt to take an Advil but it never does much for me anyways.

08-24-2006, 01:52 PM
Hi all, I am about 31/2-to 4 weeks post-op. I have not felt depressed but my mom who has been 'babysitting' me tells me I am kind of cranky around2-4pm...maybe it's drugs or lack of! I am 46 also and the week home has been very long but I have kept being as patient as I can & feel this recovery has not been what I had imagined before surgery. I think your imagination is always worse on what it will be like. I take it slow & lie down whenever my back aches which is quite often thru the days, I beleive today was the first day I have come downstairs to the kitchen for lunch...then back to lying down....nice accomplishment. Do try & be thkful for every day you make small steps to progress........Love, Lynne..................... :cool:
ps. peachtree--what was your horrible hospital experince--you can P.M. me if you want to..............

08-24-2006, 03:33 PM
Hi Peachtree,

You didn't write back to let us know how you are doing now that it is 2 weeks later than your post on the 9th when you were struggling. Hope that your problems are improving; each week does get better.

I am 4 1/2 weeks post-op and doing pretty well for the most part. The pain is way down and I feel like I can start cutting down on the meds. I am eating pretty well, although the constipation is still a big problem that hopefully will improve. The heat does bother me, especially with this hot brace. I sweat and get heat waves and queasiness at times.

In the morning when I get up, I am very stiff and my back feels arthritic, but once I get moving, it improves. My walking is pretty stiff and slow, but I can go about anywhere I want, just slowly, like a turtle! Getting in and out of the car is still pretty hard, but I can go out for short errands. Just can't stay out real long as I get tired quickly and have to lie down to rest. I'm going to keep my hospital bed out in the living room for another month yet, because it lets me get lots of rest without having to be isolated back in the bedroom all the time.

In general, my husband and I are pretty amazed how well this recovery has gone, especially at my age, 47. But of course, there are discouraging moments along the way. Let us know how you are doing!!


08-26-2006, 10:23 AM
Hey everyone, I'm still struggling in some areas but than I'm making good progress in others. I went for a walk with my daughter this morning and she commented on how fast I was getting...(I was walking to a yard sale and didn't want to miss the good stuff :) I haven't stopped to think about it much but she was right..My pace has improved and I feel like I passed a hurdle...I'm still not sleeping well, which can really affect my mental outlook and physical progress. I haven't driven yet I'm still chicken...The meds I'm slowly trying to ween myself but it's a bitter sweet thing, I try to do more and the pain level increases. This morning I made breakfast for the family for the first time. That was exciting and I felt like I was contributing to the family again. I'm going to sleep in my bedroom with my hubby for the first time this evening. We will see how it goes I guess. My ribs removal area is still very numb and painful in a strange way but I'm excited to read that that will go away in the next few months. Strangely it's going well I guess . This has for sure been the biggest and hardest thing for our family. The affects on the kids, my dear and awsome husband and our business have been affected. I hope your all progressing too...

08-26-2006, 03:49 PM
Deb, peachtree----you gals make me feel like all is ok! I just went for a walk with hubby & my 7 yr old son. We have a ski slope driveway/hill so they thought it best if they drive me down the driveway to level ground-so silly but safe I guess!!!! I did great! The hardest part as you said, Deb, is getting in & out of the car-rough with long legs! My son grinned from ear to ear when he saw me plugging along.....
I also get occasional chills & weird feelings from the pain meds(only on percoset now) I do not feel as emotional/ cranky /as I was on the oxycoton & percoset together. I was told by Pain Managemt in NYC-HSS that I probably should have stayed a bit longer on the oxycoton but it was too late, I went off 2 days ago & no strange feelings....so all looks ok...
Constipation has been the worse thing out of all of this surgery to me! It has been way worse than I ever expected......Hubby bought me Senecot today because the stool softner does'nt seem to help...is this the same for a lot of you???? thks Lynne :cool:

08-26-2006, 05:48 PM
Constipation is the worse thing about this surgery/recovery. Stool softeners do not work by themselves, neither do fiber supplements. I was advised to try Senekot S as opposed to regular Senekot or PeriColace as opposed to regular Colace because they both have Senna in them.

08-26-2006, 07:26 PM
thkyou Brandi-----I'm trying Senecot..... :eek: :eek: :eek: