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spondylolistheses, arthritis and fussion surgery?

delicateclouddelicatecloud Posts: 16
edited 3. Aug 2014, 09:51 in Living with Arthritis archive
Dear all,

I hope everyone is doing well.
I was advised by my rheumatologist to have a fusion l5 s1 because the pain I am having comes from a spondylolistheses. I am so scared, could someone please, who hás had a fusion, tell me how it went after? How it was to recover, do you have a fairly normal ative life? My rheumatologist said i would recover quickly but he jokes so much to put me at ease that i am frankly scared of going ahead with it. I would be so grateful if someone could give me some confort please. Keep smiling.

Comments

  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 26,000 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry, I've no experience of this delicatecloud, but bumping it up in the hope that someone else will. Unfortunately, it's weekend when not many look on here.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • delicateclouddelicatecloud Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh, it,s okay :) it is kind of you to answer even though you have no experience about it. I hope you are having a lovely weekend. :):):)
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 26,000 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Try this http://bit.ly/1keUHtK

    It covers former threads on different kinds of fusion surgery but I'm sure your kind will be in there somewhere :)

    Mod Edit
    Link shortened using https://bitly.com/shorten/
    Long links cause problems within some browsers
    Mod B
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • frogmellafrogmella Posts: 1,115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have had two fusions.

    The first was L5S1 and to be honest it was a nightmare! I got an infection (Do NOT shower for at least 10 days post op whatever they say!!) and it ended up on the hardware. Surgeon didn't believe me and I had repeated bouts of fever and pain for well over a year (I think more like 18 months or so) before he removed it.

    But, cutting a very long story short, I ended up getting fused at L4L5 last february because I had arthritis at that level. This time a new, much better surgeon, better hygiene, prophylactic antibiotics etc and it has been the best thing ever. I am pain free. We have just been on a holiday to the Lakes and we managed 11 Wainwright's. 6 in one day!!

    So my advice is to ask loads of questions of the surgeon. A good one won't mind. I am happy to expand on my full story - ask me anything. During my bad times I did loads of research so know quite a lot about spine things now. I could probably write a book....
  • delicateclouddelicatecloud Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello,

    stickeywicket, thank you for the thread on fusions, I will certainly read it. Frogmela, I am in two minds about the fusion. My rheumatologist said I have spondylolistheses, grade 1, that it is minimal but it will progress. I don't like his atitude a lot because he seems to think exercising is a waste of time, yet, since I have been doing physiotherapy privately, I am feeling a lot better. I am very afraid of a fusion, because people say inevitably the next level will have to be fused at a later date. If you don't mind, I would like to ask a few questions. God willing, if I don't have any infections, and I know it depends from person to person but how long does it take to recover enough to function normally, I mean, clean, Cook, shower, dress etc? What can you not do pernanently after a fusion, bend, stretch etc? Do you still wear a brace? Will you have to adjust the hardware in a few years time?
    I am glad you enjoyed your holidays. At the moment, I can walk 1 hour but I have to stop after. I am currently in Portugal with my family going back to the Uk next tuesday. Mind you, we had 20 degrees, no one would say I am in Portugal, normally we have 36 c.
  • frogmellafrogmella Posts: 1,115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I could dress myself before leaving hospital after both fusions. The first one I was in three days the second a week. Needless to say I felt a lot more confident after a week! I Came home from the second one and cooked tea that night! You shouldn't shower until the staples/stitches come out after 10 days. That was the mistake the first time. I was told to have a shower in hospital. The dressing got wet and I believe that is where it all went wrong. New surgeon says no showers for 10 days. I admit I could not put my own surgical stockings on - couldn't bend enough, so always needed someone around after shower to help with that. I was banned from real housework for a year second time around. Much stricter surgeon but a much better result!

    It doesn't have to be the case that the next level goes - I already had some OA in my second level pre-fusion - just my old surgeon didn't think to mention it, only found out at a second opinion appointment during the infection period.

    As for things I can't do now - lift very heavy things but I couldn't anyway. I can actually bend more now I'm not guarding the area than I could before. I suppose I am careful about how I carry things - always use a back pack not a shoulder bag etc but they are sensible things to do anyway. I am always aware that my next level will be vulnerable so I NEVER bend and lift. But then we shouldn't anyway!

    I never wore a brace - the muscles can't strengthen with a brace, seems to be predominantly the US where that happens, although i did meat a man at the cricket who had fusion without hardware and had a brace instead.

    I won't need the hardware adjusting. It should just stay where it is now.

    Having been the worst case and best case scenario of fusion I still have to say I am glad I did it. I have a new lease on life now and can do all the things I want.
  • delicateclouddelicatecloud Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Frogmela,

    Thank you for geting back to me. When you say banned from real housework, is hoovering banned too? Do you have to hire someone to do housework? Can you now after fusion, for instance crawl, if you have to play with small children? Would pregnancy be safe 1 year after fusion? I asked my surgeon and he said after a fusion forget being pregnant. I have already had a miscarriage, the idea of not having children scares me a lot. I am sorri for asking so many questions. :D [size=85 :D ][/size]? :D
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 26,000 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've not had a fusion, delicatecloud, and I hope frogmella will get back to you with her much better knowledge on this, but, for my money, hoovering is fairly high on the exercise stakes as one naturally keeps shifting the weight from one foot to the other. I'd also guess that crawling would be out because of the position the ankle has to be in, though shuffling on one's bottom might be OK.

    If your surgeon told you to forget about pregnancy after a fusion you must take that advice seriously. Did you ask why? I can see that the added weight, coupled with the awkward gait of late pregnancy, would maybe put pressure on it but there might be other factors too. I think, in your shoes, I'd want more info from the horse's mouth.

    Could you explain how the thought of not having children actually scares you? As a mother of two (I'd had RA for about ten years before I had my first son) I can see how the thought of having children when you have arthritis is scary :wink: but, for me, not having them would just have been a sadness. One of my daughters-in-law had several miscarriages and they finally adopted a lovely 4 yr old boy. Might that be a route for you?
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • frogmellafrogmella Posts: 1,115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I was banned from hoovering, absolutely banned from that, for a whole year post op. Mind you, my first, rubbish surgeon, was less strict and I went back to those things earlier that time. Look where that got me!! :lol: It was hard having cleaners for a year - they didn't do things how I liked and I did begrudge the money a bit really. I suppose I should have grown a pair and told them to do it better! I was allowed to do light bits and bobs after about 6 months I think. Basically you should avoid BLT for ages - bending, lifting and twisting. In fact I still would never bend and lift at the same time, nor would I twist and pull etc. You have to think about protecting the next level up. The level that is fused will be rock solid but the adjacent level will now be taking extra strain. I watched my friend put her car seat thing in and out after she had her baby and winced every time - that looks like a bad thing to do in terms of backs. Now she keeps telling me she has back ache! It's that bent over weight bearing thing that is bad. I can quite see how pregnancy might be out of the question. Mind you I can't see how you would do it with your back like it is anyway. Maybe this is something to talk about with the surgeon and your GP/counsellor?

    Now I can even mow the lawn - but our mower has powered wheels so I don't have to push it around just steer it.

    Now, after 18 months, I could play on the floor with kids if I liked. I do play on the floor with my dogs.

    The main thing I can't do is put the sheet on the bed. I just can't lift up the mattress to do it. But given all the things I can do now I think that is a fair trade. I take nothing for granted anymore. Waking up pain free is so liberating after all the years of pain that I can put up with minor things like that!
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Small children are like arthritis - both are demanding, relentless and don't come with an off switch. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
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