Spinal Fusion Surgery - 3 month out

Some notes on my recovery up to this point:

I had my 3 month follow up last week (which, technically, was more like 3 months and two weeks) and my doctor said things looked "Awesome". As usually, that was a HUUUUGE relief to hear. I'm an anxious person by nature (working on that) and so the entire time between my first post-op x ray and the one last week I was just worried "oh the hardware is shifting" or "what if it's not fusing"....but it's all going well! PHEW!

It's made me really grateful that I got strong and healthier prior to surgery. Looking back several years, when I first had the idea of surgery and my doctor at the time said "You're too young, no one will operate on you", I'm actually grateful for that. I think my recovery would have been much harder if I was weaker and heavier. The first week, especially, would have been so much rougher if I had been weaker. I can't even imagine what those first few steps would have been like.

-In case anyone is wondering, I got cleared to lift things up to 25lbs and gradually work my way up.

-I'm still on the Bending/Lifting/Twisting restrictions, but I have more flexibility than I did a couple of months ago and I'm able to do a little bit more. I squat a lot, but I guess that just means I'll get great thighs out of all this. Ha.

-I took a cross country plane ride two weeks ago. And it was fine! I was probably annoying the flight attendants because I stood up and walked up and down the aisle a LOT. I also wore compression socks, and I think those two things helped.

-I spent a day walking around Washington DC and walked about 9 miles in one day. And my back was FINE! That was a pretty nice little milestone to hit. Pre-surgery, I would have been pretty ouchy at mile 2, and I would have been in tons of pain that night. But it was fine!

-Day to day, I'm back to work. I have a stand-up desk so that's really nice and helpful.

-I average about 3 miles a day walking.

-I have taken Calcium/Magnesium supplements the entire time, and I would venture a guess that those have helped my fusion to a degree.

-Oh AND! *drum roll* I'm TOTALLY off pain meds. Completely! Have been for a couple of weeks now. That's another huge huge relief. Maybe it's my anxious nature, but I was mildly stressed out (ok, maybe majorly stressed out) about being on all those hard core meds for so long. No more drugs! I am cleared to take Aleve and other anti-inflammatorys now if I need to and having those to rely on instead of narcotics is a huge weight off my shoulders.

Sitting here looking at the past almost-4-months of recovery, I feel like it was totally worth it. I'm glad I did it. Maybe it's not for everyone in every situation. But I'm happy I finally did it and it's almost sureal to be able to do thinks like stand up for more than 20 minutes without pain. I can look back and say I did everything possible to avoid surgery, and in the end I think those things I did to avoid surgery actually aided in my recovery. So it wasn't all for naught. :)

I've had a few folks email me asking me questions about my process and recovery. Please feel free to ask questions, that's why I'm posting this! When I was prepping for surgery, I found very little personal info about fusions, and it was hard to find positive stories. I'm more than happy to share about my experience, so don't worry about offending me or asking too personal a question....it's all fair game.

I have my next check up and x-ray in DECEMBER! It feels crazy to be out of the doctors office for that long.  Here's to a productive 6 months until then! I'm pretty excited to see how fused things are by then. Probably pretty nerdy, but I am.


  1. Thanks for posting your fusion experiences! I am considering the recommendation for a minimally invasive TLIF at L5-S1, looking for blogs that I can glean info on. Can I ask how you are doing at now February 2018?

    1. I'm doing GREAT. For me, I'm incredibly glad I got the surgery. Recovery was brutal but the relief is worth it. I tell everyone who asks me about it that I think it's super important to prep for your surgery and eat REALLY well after and focus on rebuilding your core muscles. I worked on my core a lot before surgery so I think my recovery was faster and easier than most. I was very focused on getting my walking distance back up and worked really hard to move a lot in recovery. Move move move and eat with the intent of healing your body!


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