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Thread: One-Year Anniversary Post-op Dec. 7 and Very Happy

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    One-Year Anniversary Post-op Dec. 7 and Very Happy

    Today, December 7, is my one year post-op anniversary. I think it is as important an anniversary as my birthday or my wedding anniversary. It marks a day when I started a new life of freedom to stand and walk without pain. Many people take this for granted. I do not. I suffered with pain for over 20 years, both acute episodes and chronic. As I looked ahead to my senior years, I could see that I would need a walker and/or a wheel chair to get where I wanted to go. My chronic pain was in my right periformis and often down my right leg to my foot when standing and/or walking.

    On this anniversary, I can walk 2.25 miles at one time and have actually hiked for the first time in my life. I even bought hiking boots. I can go into a store without a shopping cart to hang over or hang onto. I can stand for hours until I am tired and not have pain to force me to sit. I am enjoying preparing baking, cooking, and entertaining again because I can stand. It used to be a painful experience.

    Though I haven’t tried biking, kayaking, or cross-country skiing yet, I have been given the go-ahead to try these sports again. I was able to do them pre-surgery because I could bend over and get off the nerve to do them.

    I am not completely pain free 24/7 because there are times when I have overdone exercise or sitting in a certain position for too long. Also, as Ed would say, I have experienced the “bear claw” in my lower back where I am fused. On the other hand, there are aches and pains associated with age.

    The surgery did change my flexibility. Tying shoes and boots, as well as reaching for things that fall are different now. I still use my grabber when I am too lazy to get down on one or both knees but do not need any of the other aides that I received at the hospital.

    It is all worth it.

    I want to thank the people on this Forum who have supported me and answered my questions pre-surgery and post-surgery. This is a remarkable group of caring, knowledgeable people who are assembled around the world. I hope I have helped those people who came after me. Where would we be without the internet?

    Thank you.

    Good luck to all those still debating, as well as all those who are post-op and healing.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________

    Below are milestones and some history of my year:
    December 7, 2010 surgery – 11 hours (four units of blood during surgery)
    Stayed in ICU for 3 days because of low blood pressure and Duramorph given during surgery. Had one unit of blood while in ICU. Had Drains removed on third day. Dilaudid on a pump.
    Discharged after 7 days. I did not go to a rehab. I had my husband to help, cleaning help, PT and VNA at home
    Didn’t eat or drink enough taking Oxycontin 10 mg so sodium and potassium levels down – In Metrowest Medical Center during week 3 for 3 nights with IV fluids to stabilize

    Off all narcotics at 6 weeks. Used only Arthritis Strength Tylenol for pain in back.

    Main Problems
    Pain in upper abdomen after surgery, more painful when standing or sitting, relief when lying down (tried intercostals shots, facet joint shots, Gabapentin, Lidocaine patches, Dilaudid, Skelaxin) ( had ultrasound, endoscopy, and CT scan of abdomen and it was all negative), CT scan of spine to see if slippage from cement at T9 also negative.

    Headaches (occipital nerve pinched – didn’t find out it was my position at the desktop computer until 7 months post op – went on vacation without the computer and had no headache, switched to a laptop) – until then, took Fioricet for pain, acupuncture may have helped as well

    Tried acupuncture at 9 weeks for pain in abdomen but regularly started at 14 weeks – by 23 weeks pain in abdomen was less but still there – went to acupuncture first twice a week, then once a week, then once a month, and continue to do so.

    At 19 weeks, found that sitting with a rectangular hard pillow behind me kept me pain free in my abdomen. I continue to use this pillow but don't really need it like I once did.

    Jewett brace 4 months (brace adjusted after 7 weeks, front was pushing on my chest) weaned off for 2 weeks
    Cane for posture 6 months
    Bone stimulator 9 months (received it 3 weeks after surgery)
    Used foam top for mattress starting at about 7 weeks and continue to use it.

    At about 8 weeks was having discomfort in low back and legs but muscular not nerve.
    First time out to restaurant at 8 weeks.
    Drove at 14 weeks
    At 16 weeks, can feel like electric shocks near waist in back. Back is less hypersensitive when touched.
    Took 10-week course in Mind Body Stress Reduction starting 16 weeks after surgery
    Wore bra at 18 weeks.
    At 20 weeks, my day bed came upstairs so I didn’t needing to lie down any more downstairs because of pain in my abdomen (I had the pillow)
    At 24 weeks, PT on land and in pool until 40 weeks. Then, post rehab pool time using exercises from PT.
    Last edited by backissues; 12-07-2011 at 08:37 PM. Reason: for accuracy
    1996 x-rays (none read recently) 50 degrees thoracic, 40 degrees lumbar
    Never braced, found out I had scoliosis at age 28
    At time of surgery, multi-level disc spondylotic degeneration,
    advanced lumbar degeneration, stenosis
    65 years young and very active but no lengthy walks or standing without pain
    Now, 67. walking and standing as much as I want
    Surgery Dec. 7, 2010
    T10-S1 posterior
    Dr. Rand
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston,

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