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L5-S1 fusion...

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  • Original Poster

    I can't even imagine denying a surgery (I'm in Canada), so all my fingers and toes are crossed all this works out for you.
    Home of well loved ponies...


    • #62
      PC, thinking of you and hoping all goes well with your appeal.

      BCBS is ridiculous - I just received the explanation of benefits from my surgery. The doc's office billed out $203,372.00 for my surgery (that's not including hospital fees). BCBS paid the doc $23,827.17. Thankfully I'm not responsible for the balance, but the reimbursement is next to nothing!


      • #63
        HOLY CRAP Tarynls!!

        My brain surgery for earlier this year was less than your bill.

        Happy update though, I found out last night that my appeal was granted, so all systems go for Tuesday's surgery! I'll check back in when I can!


        • #64
          Excellent news, PC. Best wishes and I'll keep you in my thoughts on Tuesday!


          • #65
            Update - I had surgery Tuesday morning, and left the hospital Thursday afternoon. Since I can't take painkillers there was no point keeping me there to just swallow Tylenol.

            I haven't used the walker since Friday and can get up and down without assistance. Sitting is still uncomfortable and I don't do it often. Staples were to come out at 10-14 days, I was pushing for the 10 day mark because every time I have stitches they are partially overgrown at the minimum mark. I called today for my appointment and the doctor is out Thursday and Friday, they tried to push me to Monday at 13 days, to which I protested. So I go in Wednesday at 3, I told them I would rather have to go back because it was too early than to go late and have them cut open my skin to get the staples out.

            I feel that I am doing pretty well considering I am not even a week post op, and am working from home today. I was messed up with my days and nights until Saturday, so it was nice to sleep normally then. I do have problems sleeping, mostly because of this godawful brace that rides up all the time. What's the point in wearing the damn thing if it doesn't stay near the surgical site? LOL


            • Original Poster

              Good to hear you are doing so well!!
              Home of well loved ponies...


              • #67
                PC, glad to hear you're doing so well. Had a setback here - and then another setback. The leg is affected again; pain mgmt says I'm still very early in the healing process and not to panic just yet. I do remember with the first two fusions it took about 6 months before I felt halfway normal and I'm at 10 weeks now; trying to keep that in perspective.

                Currently doing acupuncture to help calm down the nerves and ease the pain some; after 4 visits, I don't notice any difference but the acupuncturist did tell me I would take longer to respond (due to multiple surgeries and being in pain for over a year). He wants me to do 16 visits to get the acute stuff under control. We'll see... I started a thread here asking for acupuncture experiences if anyone is interested; there's a lot of helpful responses there.

                Hope everyone is doing well!


                • #68
                  That stinks, tarynls. I have no human acupuncture experience but can vouch that it took time but was well worth it for a horse I had that was in chronic pain from being left out of whack for so long.

                  Recheck was yesterday, both sets of staples are out. Xray looks great, go back in 5 weeks. He cleared me to drive and to work, since I have a desk job, as much as I feel I can do. I am impatient for the 6 month mark and I am only at 9 days, lol.


                  • #69
                    PC, be *very* careful with your activities - I, too, felt great around the two-week mark, started PT at 4 weeks, really pushed myself over 3 PT visits and that's what got me in the mess I'm in right now. It's not worth it! Even if you feel like you *can* do something (picking something up, etc)... Be careful.

                    You'd think I'd have learned this, being this is the 3rd time around...


                    • Original Poster

                      Yep, my doc is very conservative. No bending, lifting or twisting the spine for three months. No sitting for more than 30 minutes. Even though you may feel like you can do it. No physio until 3 months post op. It's been pounded into my head by the nurses pre-op (and by my family!). I'm doing well and only have had two pain setbacks that were related to getting impatient. So I'm starting to think he may actually know something But, the absolute frustration of trying to be good...you just want to get on with life...it's been a really big mental battle trying not to jump right back into things.
                      Home of well loved ponies...


                      • #71
                        Ah, the voices of reason... thank you.

                        I am here at work today, but am getting up and walking frequently. I have not bent over at all or lifted anything heavier than my allowed gallon of milk.

                        Dr. was ok with me returning to work and did not set a limit on my sitting but did encourage me to move about at will, which fortunately is not an issue here. He also said no PT until 3 months.

                        Now, I know that there's no twisting... and I haven't. But I wish that someone would DEFINE twisting!! Obviously, don't swivel around like a bar stool - but, say, when you turn your head, if you let your body follow a bit, and it doesn't hurt at all... is that ok?!

                        I am trying very hard to listen to my body and rest when needed - although I am so impatient!


                        • Original Poster

                          Twist = Shoulder check. That was an alrightee-now moment for me. Not to be repeated for awhile. Maybe a long while
                          Home of well loved ponies...


                          • #73
                            You mean you looked at your shoulder? See, this is why I am confused!! I can do that just fine!!

                            Maybe I am just dense... I think my husband wants to put me into an induced coma until the 6 month mark, lol.


                            • #74
                              Twisting, for me, was defined as "turning your body, as if you were going to back out of a parking spot & needed to look out the back window".

                              I can actually do that without pain at this point, but I still try to find a parking spot where I can pull straight through, even if that means I have to walk a bit further. Never know when you're going to have a random nerve zing down your leg.


                              • #75
                                I can't twist that far yet, actually haven't tried, but my husband has a stroke every time I turn my head to look at something and my shoulders pivot a bit - which doesn't hurt/bother me AT ALL.


                                • #76
                                  I think it's kind of dependent on what exactly was done in the back. I've followed this post, but can't remember who had what done. I had S1/L5 L5/L4 fused with hardware at those levels and an iliac bolt into my right hip on 2/27/13. Doc said basically the same thing as TwinCity outlined.

                                  I think the "no twisting" for me, whether it caused pain or not, was so the "weld" of the fusion did not break or come loose. That was my understanding of it anyway!

                                  Glad everyone is doing fairly well!


                                  • #77
                                    Hi soG -

                                    I had L5/S1 done with a plastic cage to restore height and accommodate synthetic bone, plus a small amount from my hip. I have 4 screws and 2 small rods to stabilize the cage.

                                    I just get kinda nervous because I have a super high tolerance for pain.... so what if I do something that doesn't hurt me, but might hurt the procedure?! Don't get me wrong, glad that pain doesn't bother me, especially since my "allowable/tolerated" painkiller is Tylenol, lol.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Yes, the should check twist that involves the hips. Anything that would put pressure on the "weld". Good term .

                                      One of the biggest challenges for me right now is sitting. Before pain told me I couldn't sit, now that is more or less dealt with. I'm pretty good about the 30 minute rule, but I finally got myself a timer just to make sure! One of the stats I've heard kicking around is that sitting puts 30% more stress on the back/discs than standing. Whether that's a reliable stat, I don't know, but it does make sense.

                                      Interesting, was just chatting with a friend who knows someone who went curling a month after fusion surgery because he felt "great". He now needs another surgery
                                      Home of well loved ponies...


                                      • #79
                                        I have never "curled" but I am fairly certain that was a bad idea.

                                        Although I do feel really great, I still will not bend or twist. I am squatting to get near the floor, but am conscious of keeping a "flat" back (thank you years of dance lessons!)

                                        I would imagine that if you screwed up the surgery you would have some pretty intense pain. I had a bit of discomfort over the holiday because I was out and about more, but nothing that was outright painful.


                                        • Original Poster

                                          Yep, ice sport involving throwing rocks down a sheet of ice. Think shuffle board on ice. Not tackle football, but apparently not a wise thing to do after fusion surgery

                                          Now getting up because the timer went off.
                                          Home of well loved ponies...