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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I'm coming up on my anniversary from a PLIF with extensive laminectomy, rods, screws and cages to replace the disc at L5-S1. I'm doing fairly well but still disappointed that I'm not 100%; I knew going into it that it was going to take time. My job was on a manufacturing production line working 12 hour swing shifts...constant tugging, pushing, bending, climbing, twisting and lifting; often 65-70 (or more) pounds. I used to be a tomboy and preferred this type of work to sitting behind a desk, but at 48 years old I'm ready to slow down.

My daily drug regimen is 2-25 mg. amitriptylene and 3 x 300 mg gabapentin (neurontin), plus feldene (an a/i) that doesn't seem to help at all. The amitriptylene (elavil) is my wonder drug as it helps with the numbness in my feet - it's an anti-depressant, a sleep aid and most importantly, for nerve pain control (it ups your pain threshold level). And taking the edge off stressful situations is a definite bonus!

My DB plan allowed me to stay home until after 6 months post-op - I got to work at a temporary light duty job 4 hour days for 3 months, but since I'm not returning to my physical labor job, I need to find another job in-plant or will be terminated in June. Sitting at a desk is terrible for my toes (15 minutes and they feel like they're immersed in a bucket of cold water). Walking REALLY helps that; as soon as I get moving, the sensation turns nice and toasty. I got to walk a lot the last month of my job there, but ran into another problem....a stabbing pain in my left hip, which I suspect is SI joint related, from walking in a huge plant on concrete. Then there is the infamous "tailbone inflammation" that seems all too common in fusion patients. Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair seems to help. I see the surgeon in a few weeks and will ask for a different a/i.

I walk at least 5 miles each day; my surgeon doesn't believe in PT just "walk walk walk" therapy. I started a couch-to-5k running plan at the 7 month mark, took it slower than I needed and built up some mileage (ok, 2 miles may not seem like much to some, but to me it was HUGE). Now I'm dealing with a dislocated/broken shoulder :mad: but that's finally on the mend after 3 months. Hope by next spring I'm healed up and ready to train for the triathlon. Again.

I've been taking classes in medical records coding for the last 4 years, and next week start an unpaid internship at a local hospital. Hopefully it will turn into a paid position that I can do from the comfort of my living room. Yup, my dream job is working in my jammies and slippers, everyday a shower-optional day, sipping my coffee and taking a spin around the block on my bike during my break. :D (plus a big stick to take out wayward dogs who get in my way!!)

Last year at this time, I couldn't wait for surgery to fix my spondy and get me back to my previously active lifestyle. Chances are slim that I'll ever win a triathlon or a 5 K; heck I'll just be glad to FINISH. I've had to adjust my attitude a ton in the last year; but I'm NOT letting anyone tell me I [I]can't[/I] do this or that..I'll let pain be my guide and will be a whole lot smarter about the intensity.

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