Lumbar Fusion - need some support

  1. 0
    Hi, all.

    It is with great sadness that I find myself posting this to the forum. For the past two years I've struggled with an L5-S1 disc herniation. It has never been debilitating, however, it has kept me from doing things that I used to enjoy doing and has made me much, well, sadder.

    I can no longer work without taking 100 mg of tramadol at the beginning of my shift. Hell, I can't even sit down at a coffee shop to read or do some typing for long without some sort of pain medicine. Additionally, one of my greatest loves (photography) has been compromised due to my inability to travel on my feet for very long. I haven't quit doing any of things but I can't do them without pain and it is sucking the enjoyment out of it all.

    I tried everything. Physical therapy, epidurals, nervle blocks. The pain never went away. I wake up with it and go to bed with it. I'm at my wits' end so to speak.

    I had a discogram which was very positive. It was one of the most painful things I've ever endured. Thus, I've scheduled surgery for a posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) in May. The surgeon is very talented - he's done this procedure hundreds of times and is selective about his patients. He's very confident that the surgery will restore me to normal functioning. I'm a healthy 24 year-old male, don't smoke, eat healthy food, have a normal BMI, still excerise as best as I can, and the injury is only one level. In other words I'm the perfect surgical candidate.

    Yet, I'm still worried.

    I guess I'm just looking for some support from fellow nurses who might have been through this (or know anyone who has). I don't need any horror stories (trust me I've heard more than enough). Has anyone out there had a similar procedure with a good outcome? How was your recovery? I won't be able to work on my floor for 3 months time. I'll also be in a brace for that duration.

    Any advice, support, positive thoughts, or prayers (if that's your thing) would be greatly appreciated. I know this is the right decision - I just need some reassurance.
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I had ALIF & PLIF at the L4/L5 & L5/S1 level in December 2011. The discogram was a helpful tool & I didn't find it bad at all, which did surprise me. Guess it depends on who gives it. I am just now starting to feel like I am ready to return to work. (Unfortunately lost my job while on medical leave.) The reduction in pain has been tremendous! It's certainly not completely gone, but not debilitating anymore. I am concerned about finding a job where I don't have to do a lot of heavy liftiing because I am not planning on taking too many chances yet. Let me know of any specifics I might answer.
  5. 0
    I had ALIF & PLIF at the L4/L5 & L5/S1 level in December 2011. The discogram was a helpful tool & I didn't find it bad at all, which did surprise me. Guess it depends on who gives it. I am just now starting to feel like I am ready to return to work. (Unfortunately lost my job while on medical leave.) The reduction in pain has been tremendous! It's certainly not completely gone, but not debilitating anymore. I am concerned about finding a job where I don't have to do a lot of heavy liftiing because I am not planning on taking too many chances yet. Let me know of any specifics I might answer.
  6. 0
    I had a large disc herniation at that level about 12 years ago and had a discetomy without fusion. Made a complete recovery and returned to full function without limitations.
  7. 0
    Vlmusicalsound, how was your surgery? Your recovery? Are you working now?


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