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Thread: Time off work post-op

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160

    Time off work post-op

    Hi all,

    I am planning for a posterior fusion T10-pelvis sometime in the fall. My surgeon will leave it up to me as to when I am ready to return to work. My employer will welcome me back whenever I am able, and I will be allowed to have extremely light duty..i.e. sitting, doing light computer work, able to move around when needed. I think I will be in a brace for up to 6 months.

    How long should I plan to be off work? Is it reasonable to try and go back at 3 months, or am I kidding myself? I know I will be more than ready to get out of the house for a change of scenery by then! I have about 9 weeks of FMLA available (I took the other 3 weeks for my daughter's recent VBS surgery), then can take a personal leave for the remainder of the time. Unfortunately I will have to pay the full COBRA price for my benefits suring the personal leave, to the outrageous tune of about $1600/month, so I need to limit the amount of personal leave.

    Any advice or thoughts are appreciated.
    Gayle, age 49
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Gayle,

    Your employer sounds like a gem. I would think that there is a strong possibility you could return to work in three months. You are much younger than myself and at three months, I was off all pain meds except neurontin and if I wasn't retired, I probably could have gone back to work part time, not that I would want to. Think positive and I bet you can do it.

    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160
    Thanks, Sally. I am lucky that my employer is so accomodating. I want to make sure I am able to return without getting too exhausted during the day, even though it sounds like I will not be expected to do very much. And I know my work friends, who are wonderful, will take good care of me (I am a nurse).

    I would still love to hear from others about returning to work post-op.
    Gayle, age 49
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    Gayle, i don't think you should have a problem returning to work at three months post-op, especially with a very understanding employer that you mention. The only reason, that you may not be able to return, would be, if you are still on strong pain meds or having post-surgery issues like lethagy etc.
    Vali
    44 years young! now 45
    Surgery - June 1st, 2009
    Dr David Hall - Adelaide Spine Clinic
    St. Andrews Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
    Pre-op curve - 58 degree lumbar
    Post -op - 5 degrees
    T11 - S1 Posterior
    L4/5 - L5/S1 Anterior Fusion

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    41
    I would play it by ear. If you can work part-time, or go in for just a couple of hours a day or every other day at first, I would do that. Ease into it if you can.

    I took 3 weeks off after my t3-t12 fusion, then went back to work 3 days in the 4th week, then full time. Desk job.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Wink Going back to work

    I am planning on going back to work at 4 months after my revision surgery. I am just now weaning out of my brace and my back muscles are still very weak and I feel very fragile like I am going to fall apart, lol. I am 2 1/2 months out from surgery so I have some time to get stronger. My job requires me to be at full duty before I return. You may have to work light duty or half days at first.
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    17
    I had revision surgery in Feb 2010, and am just now feeling like I would maybe be able to go back to work. Unfortunately I am going on permanent disability due to complications from a muscle condition that I have that has caused many orthopedic problems for me. It's definitely been a hard thing to accept- as I am only 27- but I need to do what is best for me long term.

    My advice to you is to take your time. Don't rush back and risk causing more pain or injuring yourself. You only get 1 spine- treat it carefully! You deserve all the time you need to recover.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,794
    Gayle...

    This is one of those things for which there is no right answer. I've seen people go back to work in a month or two, and others who have never returned to work. And, clinically, there's often very little difference between the two procedures. If I knew what caused some people to recover so quickly while others seem to take forever, I'd probably be rich.

    --Linda

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