View Full Version : 1 year update

02-19-2014, 12:30 PM
Hello everyone,

I haven't been on here as much since things have been going well in my recovery, but I thought I'd stop by and provide an update for those who are less far out or are considering having surgery:

I had 20 hours of surgery (2 x 10hr operations, fused to T3 to sacrum) and was off work for 5 months.
Recovery for me felt like long plateaus, with unpredictable steps up in improvement. They seem to have occurred every 1.5 months and were marked by a step down in pain and/or increase in movement.
I had my biggest improvement around the 10 month point and it seems to be accelerating since then. My movement started to get much better and mentally I felt a lot clearer, as if I were really waking up.
I've stayed active throughout the recovery period, starting with outdoor and pool walking, then graduating to swimming, elliptical and stationary bike. I added the treadmill around the 9 month point when it got too cold and snowy (I live in the Boston area and we have plenty of winter).
I did PT from about 6 months until 10 months post-op. I found it helpful to have someone teach me how to move with my new spine.
I was able to return to the ballet-style barre classes (Bar Method) at 11 months. I need to do a fair number of modifications, particularly for the abs section, but it's been a great full-body workout. At the 1-year point I was able to do my first plank on my elbows - I couldn't hold it for long but I did it long enough to admire my surgeon's handiwork. Dr. Rand gave me a kickass spine!
I took my first flight at 11.5 months - 4 hrs direct to Puerto Rico. Was very happy to go through the imaging scanners and I felt fine on the plane, though I was perhaps a bit stiffer/slightly sore the next day.
I also caught my first cold at the end of the trip and have been coughing pretty hard for 2 weeks. I'm thankful that it happened now and not 2 months ago because I can't imagine being in pain and coughing - now it's just uncomfortable. It's around this time that I stopped taking daily Aleve.

Overall I'm very happy that I had the surgery because the pain I was in before is gone and the surgery-related aches are finally diminishing. I feel like it took longer for me to recover since I'm under 40 and was in good shape going in to this, but the ordeal has taught me a huge amount of patience. At my 1-year checkup, Dr Rand removed all restrictions so there's a few things I'm looking forward to doing e.g. ride a bike outside (if we ever finish winter), lift weights and regain strength/endurance since I'm nowhere near back to pre-surgery levels. Anyhow, good luck to anyone planning to undergo surgery and hang in there to those who are still healing...


02-20-2014, 12:23 AM
Hi Aileen,

It's so good to hear from you! I am glad that you're doing well and thank you for the update. I especially liked your description of regaining mental power at 10 months, "like I was waking up". This is exactly how I felt and this mental awakening also happened to me at around 10 month.

Your dance class sounds interesting - I've never geared of it before. Did you set off alarms at the airport?

02-20-2014, 01:58 AM
Good to hear from you Aileen! After such a huge surgery, you've done very well, it seems to me. Glad to hear your improvements are continuing and suspect that will be the case for another year or two.

02-20-2014, 09:40 AM
Your post will be helpful for those behind you in recovery. It sounds like you are doing wonderfully. I am sure you will continue to note improvements in you overall strength and lessening of aches during the next two years. I remember being ecstatic when I could finally ride my bike again and feel back to normal with most of my pre surgery activities. Keep up the good work.

02-21-2014, 11:44 AM

I left you a pm.


02-21-2014, 12:49 PM
Aileen, I am about one month behind you but more than 25 years your senior. Thanks for your synopsis of your recovery. It looked very similar to mine. We have the same amount of fusion and I also had 2 days of surgery. Best of luck for continuing improvement! It's all about attitude.

02-21-2014, 07:33 PM

I just wanted to say congratulations! You did it!

Nice thread.....we need these every once in a while.