Monday, January 9, 2012


This morning was my seven-week post-op check up. But let me first tell you what I did this weekend. Nothing spectacular, I'm sure you'll think...but for me it's a tiny step forward. I was able to use my garden edger and edge around one of the bigger azalea beds in our front yard. For those non-gardeners, an edger is one of those things that look somewhat like a shovel, but the bottom is rounded and very sharp and used to push into the soil to form an 'edge' between the bed and the grass. It requires some strength in the legs to push it into the ground. Most of the pressure then translates to your hips...hence, then to your pelvis/low back. But, I was VERY careful and completed the task without pain or problems. Gardening is my zen time and I have REALLY missed it over the past 18 months. I have done some things, but am now unable to do it all by myself anymore. It's the new now and my husband and I have figured out ways to do the tasks without strain on me (or him). It's a passion for me and something I will NEVER give up...I'll just have to find ways to do things to cause no FUTURE back problems.

...back to the doctor....he wasn't in today...well, he was, but had to leave for a meeting before he could see me. They were running very behind this morning. X-rays were taken and I got to see his assistant, who is also training with him to do surgery. Man, did I feel old....she couldn't have been more than thirty!! Anyway, one advantage today was that she wasn't as rushed as the doc sometimes is. She addressed my concern about the left scar really hurting and the two 'bumps' at the top and bottom of the scar. Those areas are where a l-o-n-g stitch was put under the skin and the thread ends were pulled through. My body has not completely absorbed the thread yet. Also, that scar is hurting because the nerve endings are coming 'back to life' where the edges meet and are very tender. She recommended massaging and gently scratching the area several times a day in order to send the message to the brain that this is 'new' skin and needs to be recognized as such. So, you can guess what I've been doing all day.

The three dots on my x-ray that are in the new 'disc' implant are there to help the surgeon measure the height of the disc space during you are constantly being x-rayed during the procedure. The blue arrows in the photo show those dots. It seems they used a different disc implant this second time around. I'm hoping it's as successful as the first implant seems to be. A lot of these surgeons actually are investors in the companies that supply the hardware for these procedures. I am fully aware that my surgeon is an investor in NuVasive, hence, he uses their products. There's no doubt they don't want hardware failures to occur (can you say malpractice?), so they do use tried and true medical devices, not just items 'sold' by the prettiest representative. doctor's assistant said that I cannot do any machine weightlifting for another six weeks, which will be when my next appointment is. My leg weakness is normal and should eventually she said. I can continue to walk all I want, ride the stationary bike and lap swim, which I haven't done yet as it's still a bit cold here in Florida. And, yes, I was given a pass to start driving again. Yeah!!

I'm having good (little to no pain) days and bad days (pain level at 4+). I know that eventually the good will outnumber the bad. It's the waiting that is really killing me. The fusion of the L4-L5 from October 2010 showed a LOT of bone growth between the two vertebrae on the x-ray today. The growth of bone can (and does) continue well past the two year post surgery mark. And, truthfully, I feel absolutely NO PAIN at all from the first fusion. I am having some muscle soreness at mid-back from time to time, mostly at the end of the day when I am tired and have done to much. I have found out that I still need to rest from time to time during the day (mostly just lie down on my bed for about 30 minutes) in order to make it all day and not have to deal with so much muscle soreness. I had two really good night's sleep this weekend and that really has helped. Yes, I am still taking one Tylenol PM 1/2 hour before bedtime...I wasn't going to do that this weekend, but I really needed the sleep. Otherwise, an occasional extra strength Tylenol is all I need when the pain level gets too high to function....which, thankfully, isn't too often. The assistant at the office today said I was doing remarkably well seven weeks post surgery....I wonder if she says that to everyone. Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly agree with her...

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