Photo of Spinal Fusion Incision – L4 & L5

Good morning, attached is a photo of my incision as a result of a recent fusion of my L4 and L5 vertebrae.  Coming in the next day or so will be a journal detailing my recovery from this spinal fusion.  The incision extends about another inch below the belt line of my pajamas.  At this time it is still tender.  The other marks on my back are from the brace I must wear constantly.  After 10 days, my journey has gone well.  May God bless you on your journey.   Remember, through it all, God has your back! 

 

78 Responses to Photo of Spinal Fusion Incision – L4 & L5

  1. Tonya Booker says:

    I am 36 years old. A mom of 2 young children. I had curent MRI’s with and without contrast 2 weeks ago. I am in the decision making part of trying to decide if I should do the L4-5 fusion as suggested by my Dr. I have had 2 other back surgeries, May 2010, Nov 2010, and 2 sets of SI injections & 1 set of facet injections. I also have been diagnosed with bilateral sacrollitis. I have been in severe chronic pain since Nov 2009, taking mediaction daily, using a TENS unit daily & I have completed two 6 week sesions of physical thrapy, all with very little pain relief. I am hoping as I go through your blog, it will help me in my decision making process in regards to the L4-L5 Fusion.

    • Sorry to hear that you have not had any relief from your pain. You will be in my prayers. After 9 weeks, I feel very good. I attended a 3 day insurance seminar the other day and I arrived each day at 6:00 am though the class did not start until 8. I got out each day at 5 and I remarked to my wife that prior to my surgery I would have been sore and bent over for at least 3 days from sitting in those conference chairs. My lower back did not bother me at all! The surgery has been a very good decision for me. I am still wearing the brace and I met a man at the conference who had the same surgery this year in January and he said he is also having excellent results. He was out of his brace after only a couple of months. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me directly at pastorpstephens@aol.com. May God bless you and your family and may you have a good night’s sleep.

      • marygrime says:

        I also have a new grandchild and am scheduled to have spinal fusion of L4-5 next Thursday, July 14th. I was scheduled for July 7th and went through all of the anticipation, but insurance denied my claim at the last minute. Found out at 6 p.m. the evening prior to surgery. I have so enjoyed reading your blog. My faith is very important to me and will help me get through the ups and downs.

        Mine is an anterior and posterior fustion-stabilization from front and back. I am very nervous and have four more days until surgery. I am calling this week my “groundhog week”. Anticipation, my last celebration with friends and family for a while, and cleansing on the day prior to surgery.

        God bless and continue on your road to recovery.

      • Sorry to hear that you had to go through the week before surgery twice. I am sure that was disappointing. I am glad to hear that you will be able to rely on your faith as you go through your recovery. What a blessing to know we serve a Lord who never leaves us nor forsakes us. I will join with your friends and family in praying for an excellent outcome and a speedy recovery for you. May God continue to bless you.

        In Christ,
        Pastor Phillip

    • Ed Sargent says:

      For me it’s 12 years of pain med and the side effects. Hospital for bleeding colon from med. But without med I would go insane with the pain. No win situation rods and screws 2 surgeries and no change. At least no more crackling in back from original operation. if your in pain or a long time chances are surgery will not help. Hope in future for new ways to reduce pain but for now grin and bear.

      • Hi Ed, sorry to hear about you pain. I know that some people have degenerative conditions and sometimes the outcomes are not what we hope for. I will be in prayer for you to receive relief from your pain and for God to do a miraculous work in your body that doctors have not been able to do.

        May God bless you and your family,
        Pastor Phillip

  2. Tonya Booker says:

    Thank You! I am enjoying your blog! If you don’t mind, please add me to your prayer list. I am still in the decision making process of trying to decide about the L4-5 fusion.
    God bless!
    In His Love,
    Tonya

  3. Heidi says:

    I hope you are recovering well. I am 25 and have been to my third opinion this week, all spine specialists, all recommending the same thing – lumber fusion. I do not want to do this but do not have much pain relief and worry about what will happen as I get older. I have gone through years of PT and yoga, both help sometimes. Also I have lived with a heating pad since I was 12 or so. I am very nervous on what is the right choice to make. This is a life changing decision and I want to make the right choice.

  4. Tracy says:

    I had a 360 spinal fusion July 11,2011. I have an incision in front ,back and on my hip because of a bone graft. Before surgery I had been diagnosed with spondylisthesis, retrolisthesis, and degenerative disc. They fused L4-S1. I had severe right leg pain before that came on very quickly. Unortunately, I still have it . The doctor says it is from nerve inflammation and will go away with time. It is very hard to be patient and has been a huge test of faith. It has been 8 weeks today and I really thought I would be okay by now. I need to go back to work and want to take care of my family again, though my husband has been a huge help and my children who are in high school have also stepped up. I try to stay positive but every day I wake up and think the pain will be gone but it is still there.I feel very isolated and my friends from church have not exactly been helpful and that is also very disappointing. How can I keep my faith alive during this difficult time?

    • Hi Tracy, I would base all of my answer on James 4:2 “ye have not because ye ask not”. First, if you are still hurting that badly, talk to your doctor and your insurance carrier – you should not be going back to work yet. I know someone else who was out for 10 weeks for the same surgery I had, even though I was out for 5. Everyone is different and that is okay. Second, talk to your pastor. Let them know that you could use some additional prayers and some additional support. Be sure to have some specific items ready to ask for and some general healing and support ready to ask for as well. Third, talk to a friend from church or Sunday school class who can be an accountability partner and who can check up on you from time to time. Speak to someone who you can confide in, someone you trust. Let them know you are struggling a bit and you need their support right now. I know they will come through for you. Fourth, talk to your Lord. Ask Hiim to help you through this hour…then the next…and the next. He will do it! Ask Him to give you specific wisdom and knowledge on how to occupy your mind and how to best relieve the pain that you are having. Ask Him for a good night’s sleep tonight and a good day of rest today and let tomorrow worry about itself. Hope that helps. Please let me know how it goes. You can email me directly if you like or continue to post here. I will be praying for you and asking the Lord to grant you strength and relief. May He bless you and your family.

  5. Tracy says:

    Thank you for your reply. I have lots of medication it just doesn’t help with nerve pain. I have been talking to the Lord a lot and I know that He will heal me in his time not mine. It is just hard to be patient but I do think I am slowly getting better. I go to the Dr in another 4 weeks and will hopefully be able to get out of my brace. I think mentally that would help a lot. My children are in sports and I try really hard to go their games but it is hard to sit through them. I am glad I found your website and will keep checking back. Thank you for your prayers!

    • Tammy says:

      I know this post is from 2o11, I am experiencing low back pain and taking Gabapentin which is for nerve pain, contemplating L4-5 spine fusion surgery and I am very nervous and will get a second opinion regarding the severity of the surgery.

      • Hi Tammy, You are wise in getting a second opinion. I will pray for wisdom and healing for you in whatever you decide.

        May God bless you and your family,
        Pastor Phillip

  6. andre Swanepoel says:

    Thanks! Enjoyed the reading. Greetings from South Africa. 6 weeks post L 4 and 5 fusion and through God’s grace no problems! Kindest regards. Andre.

    • Hi Andre, glad to hear things are going well! God’s grace is good indeed! Continue to follow the doctor’s orders and you will be fine. This week I am one year past my surgery and feel great. May God bless you with a wonderful recovery.

      In Christ,
      Phillip

  7. Mimi Turpin says:

    Had surgery February 1, 2012. My back feels really good but I can not straighten my right leg when laying down or standing. If I sit in a chair and straighten my leg it is o.k. Went for a M R I last Friday and talk to the doctor this Friday. I really need to get back to work plus this really scares me. When I first came home form the hospital I could do all the exercises. Now I can’t because of this problem. I came home from the hospital on a Friday and ran fever the whole weekend. They never could come up with a reason for the fever. Also, can not sleep because my fingers go to sleep really bad. I am thinking this could be a side effect from the Neurontin. It swells my feet but the doctor says to continue taking it.

    • Hi Ms. Turpin, I had a similar problem for a couple of weeks but it soon passed. Continue to keep your doctors informed. It sounds like the nerve is “waking up”. The fever may just be something unrelated such as allergies or cedar fever (I’m in Texas and we get that here). Let me know how it goes when you see the doctor. Was your surgery on the middle to upper back? Stay patient, I will pray for you. I know the Lord will take care of you.

  8. kim says:

    Had an anterior/posterior fusion on march 1 L4-S1. Woke up with weakness and extreme pain on opposite leg. Was in hospital for 5 days went home, surgeon called next morning very worried about my drop foot, scheduled 2nd surgery for that night. Back in hospital. 3 more nights for pain control….so after some days I dont really remember I’m finally ready to move forward. M & T were great, today I’m low in pain and feel like a gigantic burden….but googled spinal fusion recovery and what pops. Up God has your back! I calmed and realizes He has me and my family! Thank you!

    • Hi Kim, I hope that your recovery continues to get better. Sometimes it is like a roller coaster with some ups and downs. I pray that God will bless you richly and lay His hand of healing and patience upon you. May His favor and grace be upon you and your family.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

  9. T.D. says:

    I,m 35 an im afraid that all the story’s you here about back surgery is one of the reason i have put it off as long as i have what are some of the pros an cons of having the surgery

    • Good morning, My experience has been really good. The Lord has blessed me with a very good outcome. I can pull weeds, work out and stand for hours without the problems I had before. It has been 13 months since I had my L4 and L5 fused. The cons are that the recovery takes a lot of patience. There are 6 months of not lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds and being very careful and you have to wear a brace for 3 to 6 months depending on your situation and your doctor. Read through the first 6 months of the blog and you will see some of the things I encountered – some sleepless nights during week 2 and 3 due to nerves causing pain in my foot. But overall I did not have any lower back pain once I got out of surgery. It was a very good decision for me. I will pray that the Lord will give you wisdom in making your decision and relief no matter how He leads you. May God bless you.

  10. Tracy says:

    I had a 360 lumbar spinal fusion 10 months ago because I could no longer walk. After surgery I expected my leg pain to be gone, it wasn’t. The disappointment I felt was unbelievable. The first two months was all I could do to get out of bed, however I slowly started to regain my strength and the gratefulness I felt at being able to walk was what got me through the next few months. I still have the pain in my leg but if I look back at even two months ago the improvemnet is amazing. I wish I had never had to have the surgery, however, being able to walk and enjoy my family again makes it all worth it. I still have days where the muscle spasms are intense but I also went back to work full time three months ago. It beats sitting around thinking about pain. Cleaning house is a challenge but my family understands I can no longer do things the way I used to or want to.I would consider every option possible before having it but after you exhaust all of those sometimes we have to make choices we rather wouldn’t. May the grace of God be with you making your decision.

    • Hi Tracy, I am not familiar with all of the medical terms involved with all back surgeries so I am not sure I understand the entire scope of your procedure. I agree that every individual must prayerfully make their own decision. I am glad that you have received some relief and have had some improvement. I will pray that you will continue to progress so that you can get back to doing even more things than you are doing now. May God bless you and your family. (On a related note, when my sciatic nerve was waking up during weeks 2 and 3 my doctor told me it might be several months for things to settle down. He mentioned that sometimes due to years of inflammation, it takes a while for the inflammation to subside to the point of “normalcy”. I will stand with you in prayer that you will see great improvement.)

      In Christ,
      Pastor Phillip

  11. First time I saw your blog when I googled fusion. Had back surgery 2 yrs. ago to remove a disc fragment & was in extreme pain. That horrible pain is gone but have had to continue with low back/left hip pain for the past 2 yrs. Still have to take nightly RX pain pains & advil during the day. My Problem is with L4-L5 & saw a spinal specialist yesterday who said he would put it off spinal fusion as long as I could due to degenerative disc disease, arthritis & my age (71). I’m able to take care of myself & my husband but am in constant pain. Wear a TENS unit 3 hrs. day, do PT @ home & have taken 4 acupuncture treatments which are helping some. Would appreciate your prayers as until one goes through this they haven’t got a clue how bad the pain can be. As a christian who has prayed for healing, claimed healing & believes in healing I will not give up because I know in HIS timing God will see me through all of this.

    • Good evening Linda,
      I will stand with you in regard to praying for your continued healing in the Lord. I pray that you will have relief very soon. May God bless you and strengthen you in every way.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

  12. Thanks for your reply & prayers. The prayers of a righteous man availeth much.

    In Christ,
    Linda

  13. Brian says:

    Wow, I love this site. I am 13 days post op from a L4 L5 microdiscectomy. THIS IS MY 2nd . This past one was a revision from 4 years ago. I really believed I over did it the first time and never gave it time to heal. I didn’t follow through with exercise and continued to do stuff I should have been really careful doing.

    So far, 13 days out, I am doing great. I still have some calves and leg issues in my left leg. I re-herniated the disc and it was in really bad shape impinging the nerve so I am expecting a slower leg fix. The doctor wanted to do a fusion prior to this surgery but I would not, probably because of all of those negative sites and he ok’d a revision.

    Like most of you, I am in a constant state of worry. I am 28 years old and had 2 surgeries and very little disc remaining which terrifies me. Is anyone else in the same situation as me and relatively the same age? I go back to the doctor on Monday and I am going to ask for therapy. I know I have to walk daily and do a daily stretching regime. I am walking 1 15-20 min walk ago. Today, I am going to bump it up to 2.

    What do you suggest with the little disc remaining, wll i be fine? Will I be able to play with kids and have an ok life? Also I notice my legs burn or ache when I lay on my right side, this never was the case, that typically was the only side I could be comfortable and now it isnt.

    Sorry for rambling. I was searching the web endlessly last night and this site actualy relaxed me enought to sleep. I just hope someone else has had 2 disc surgeries at the same level and in later 20s to help. It is mental more now than anything but I am overly cautious doing anything.

    Much appreciated feedback. Brian

    • Hi Brian, I think that you will have a great life and be just fine! You may want to be careful about doing too much walking. My doctor slowed me down. I was putting in up to an hour a day after 3 weeks and he pulled me back until after 6 months other than just 10 minutes a couple of times a day. But my doctor took a very conservative approach… but then again he was dealing with a 48 year old man… now I am rambling.

      Follow your doctor’s orders to a “T” and you will be fine. Trust in the Lord and know that you will be in mine and others prayers too.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

      • Brian says:

        Thanks Pastor Phillip. This is very encouraging. Although, I don’t anticipate getting a fusion, its just the fact the doctor wanted do that and after we talked we decided to try the microdisectomy again. I have heard many discouraging fusion stories and I am too young to want to risk that. I think I saw your email above and may email you from time to time. It is always nice to have a person to talk to that is going /went through the same thing. My plan is to be very careful and not do some things that I did in the past that I really don’t need to do. Of course, walk and stretch more. Do you know what type of fusion that they did? Take care, Brian

      • Hi Brian, mine was a L4 and L5 fusion with a laminectomy. Basically, they cut off the spiny part of the backbone, ground it up into dust and made a past to put onto a circular wire mesh that took the place of the disc. A couple of pins and about 4 tungsten screws hold it all together. Seems to be working fine. I have some of the technical terms on the weeks 1 and 2 blogs – sorry I can’t remember them.

        I think it is fairly common for the doctors (or insurance companies) to suggest the microdisectomy and see if that works first. It is less invasive, less expensive and gives some people the results they need.

        You will be in my prayers.
        Pastor Phillip

  14. Patty says:

    Hello, I was so happy to read this blog!! I am scheduled for a L5/S1 and L4/l5 360 degree fusion. I have been in physical therapy for 6 months and have seen many doctors trying to find pain management medication that will not drug me out and take me out of my life. My doctor and I have made the decision to move ahead with survery. Please pray for me and my well being while I wait 3-4 months for my surgery. I know God is with me and when I focus on Him, I am more calm about waiting for the surgery.

  15. Heather says:

    Hi Brian, I am also 28, had a micro d on L4/L5 and am facing the decision of a fusion. Feel free to email me if you’d like to talk further.

    Heather.sotak@gmail.com

    God Bless,
    Heather

  16. Shay Gibson says:

    I am going for a 3rd opinion next month regarding my ongoing back issues. On 5/4/2011, I picked up a box at work and messed my back up. The box wasn’t very heavy but it was wet on the bottom and I moved wrong when the box started to tear. The funny part is that the box was full of small luncheon milk cartons, and milk is supposed to do the body good…hahahaha. Well, after 2 microdiscectomies, over 10 series of injections, a laser rhizotomy (nerve burn), and countless medications…I’m still in the same pain I was on the day of injury. My neurosurgeon is at his wit’s end and has told me I’m certainly not a “normal” case and has said that he wants to do a fusion in hopes of relieving some pain at L3-L4 and L4-L5. Since I got hurt at work, I was sent for a second opinion yesterday, and he immediately said I needed the double fusion. I’m also scheduled for a 3rd opinion on August 13. I don’t like to complain, one bc it doesn’t make anyone (especially me) feel better and two bc no one really wants to hear it. I have worked with students that have had terminal illness in my past teaching career and I really feel guilty for even thinking about complaining or asking for help bc I saw these students on their best and worst days with a smile on their faces and trying to help/comfort those around them. So who am I to complain or not do for myself. But I know that I do need help and need help managing my pain, I just don’t like admitting it I guess. To say that I’m terrified of another surgery is putting it mildly, I woke up from anesthesia from my first back surgery thinking both of my feet had been cut off..I had no feeling in them at all and after a year the feeling has not come back. I have absolutely no feeling in either feet from a little above my ankles to the tips of my toes..so I’m terrified of having more complications from another surgery. I was like a toddler trying to learn how to walk and now walk like Frankenstein but I can walk, so that’s a blessing in itself. I found this website and it was a true blessing to know that others are going similar situations.

    • Hi Shay, I will pray for your continued healing and progress. I am glad that you have your faith to lean on. My L4 and L5 fusion has gone very well. I am sure yours will too! Keep me posted on your progress.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

  17. Fern Trujillo says:

    I am scheduled for a similar surgery in 2-3 weeks, I am obviously concerned. My additional issue is that the vertebrae has shifted forward at L5 so the surgery is necessary as it is pinching my nerves directly. Both L4 & L5 will be replaced and fused.

    Your site has given me quite a bit of relief, God bless and Good Luck.

    • Good morning, I know how painful that pinching of those nerves can be. My surgery was about 18 months ago and I am doing fine and exercising regularly. I will pray for your speedy and full recovery. Stay patient, prayerful and follow doctor’s orders.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip
      p.s. keep me posted on your progress

      • Fern Trujillo says:

        Thanks for the reply and the prayers.

        The surgery is scheduled for monday morning, with the good Lords help I should be on here in a few days to report on how the back is feeling.

        Thanks Again

        Fern

  18. liz moore says:

    hi my name is liz, I had spinal fusion surgery L4-L5 lJune 27,and I am still in a lot of pain in my back and legs, it feels like I never had the surgery, maybe I am rushing it, I just want 2 be pain free, how long did you have to wait until the pain disapears

    • Hi Liz, I would have to check my blog to get specific. But I would say that I felt really good at about 3 months. After about 8 weeks I did not have much leg pain at night. My doctor told me that some people have problems with the nerve pain after surgery for 6 months to a year in some rare cases. Continue to keep your doctor informed. My doctor told me I was not resting enough and retricted me from walking the first 4 months. I will keep you in my prayers.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phil

  19. Tracy says:

    Liz,
    I had a two level fusion ,L4-S1, July 2011. It was November before I started feeling somewhat normal again. I did go back to work in December but I still think it was too soon. I just wanted so badly to feel normal again. I still take 6 Lyrica a day . I just tried to wean off of it for the third time and the nerve pain in my leg became unbearable again. It is a very long journey. I would feel a little better one day and horrible the next. I would become very frustrated feeling like God had abandoned me. I now know He did not and that even though I don’t know why this happened to me there is a reason. I hope you start feeling better very soon. Just follow the doctor’s instructions and let people help you. It does get better. I still have to take the Lyrica like clockwork but as long as it helps thats okay.
    In His Name,
    Tracy

  20. Fern Trujillo says:

    Hello,

    I had the two level fusion with disk replacements two weeks ago yesterday.
    The pain in the Hospital was formidable/unbearable as well as the first few days back home. Yesterday I finally had some relief, and I can see there is light ( I pray) at the end of the tunnel.

    The Doctor put me to walk as soon as I got home, The resulting pain to the entire hip,back, leg area was extensive but a lot of it I think was soreness from the exercise. Today I had the followup and everything is going well according to him.

    He wants me just walking and raising my arms over my head for the first 3-4 months before PT starts, he says walking right away is the key to good recovery. I am definitively less sore today that I have been the past two weeks.

    My doctor does not believe in prescribing a brace, he feels the constriction does more damage than good to the healing process, so I have been spared the Burden some have.

    My prayers are with those of you suffering or attempting to recover from this very painful injury.

    Fern

    • Ida Miranda says:

      My husband will be undergoing fusion surgery on Friday, Sept. 21st. He is 74 years old with a history of heart attacks. In 2008 3 stents were placed in his arteries. He has been given the O.K. by his cardiologist to have the surgery. Needless to say, we are both nervous about this surgery. He is not able to walk for any length of time without a lot of pain in his legs and after two epidural procedures, physical therapy and pain medication, all to no avail, he has decided to have the surgery.
      Please keep him in your prayers. Thank you and God bless each and everyone of you who have had this type of surgery.

      • Good evening Ida,
        I will definitely keep you and your husband in my prayers. I pray that he will have relief very soon and a very quick recovery.

        Blessings,
        Pastor Phillip

      • Ida Miranda says:

        My husband has his surgery on Friday, Sept. 21st. The surgery went very well and he is now recuperating. The first day after the surgery the physical therapist had him get up twice from the bed, the first time he walked a few steps around the room, the second time he walked the entire corridor. The pain medication is working well as of today. The powerful prayers of friends and family have been a great blessing. Thank you so much.

        ________________________________

  21. I am so happy come across a positive blog about this surgery!

  22. Ida Miranda says:

    My husband is now home from the hospital since his surgery. He is walking some but he has a lot of pain where the incision is. He was told not to sleep on his back, only on his side and this has proven to be quite difficult for him, as a result he is up most of the night trying to get comfortable.
    Please pray for us!

    • Good afternoon Ms. Miranda,

      I will definitely keep your husband and you in my prayers. I hope that he is able to rest this evening and that he recovers very quickly.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

  23. Carrie Weiser says:

    Hello Everyone,
    May God bless us all. I had L4 L5 fusion on Oct 11, 2012 and still have nerve pain in my legs and still have pain in my lower back especially when I sit. I’m taking Neurontin for nerve pain which has helped and Percocet when my back pain gets real bad. Hope this helps.

    • Good evening,

      It has not been that long since your surgery. I did really well the first couple of weeks and then (if I recall – I would have to check the blog archives) I had a flare up in the leg pain during weeks 4 and 5. It is not uncommon for those nerves to come back “awake” and have some pain from time to time in the first 6 months according to my doctor. My pain did not last very long. I pray that yours will go away soon and that you will be blessed with a quick recovery.

      Blessings to you and those you love,
      Pastor Phillip

  24. Cindy Sandene says:

    Hello,
    I realized I have been forgetting to pray for us all. I must be getting better! My L4-5 fusion with disc replacement and removal of a large synovial cyst was 10-31-12. I am 55 and was quite active before the pain became unbearable July 23,2012 and I had to quit my job as a nurse.
    This surgery seems to have a very long recovery time.
    The hardware in my back looks huge on Xray, but I really cannot feel it.
    I still have leg and hip pain, but I have been able to sleep through the night. Before, the surgery, I found it hard to sit through a movie at the theatre.
    Now I can and I can also drive an hour to go see my boyfriend in another city. I can cook and bake cookies. I rode across Nebraska last week to see my son in Colorado. I wouldn’t attempt that alone yet.
    I still dont like to bend my knees and get way down to pick things up, but I do. I didn’t use the grabber at all last week.
    I love my diet coke and still can’t lift a 12 pack. I wonder if I ever will be able to.
    I am writing this to reassure others that are afraid of having the surgery. This surgery , before and after ,was the most painful scary thing I have ever been through. I came back to God, because I needed Him! That is the one postive thing that happenned.
    Jesus is the vine of the grapes and we are the branches. Sometimes we need pruned to bear good fruit. The one postive thing about this is that it took away my vanity and made me depend on God and other people, whereas before I thought I could be in charge of everything.
    Cindy

  25. Sylvia Sikkelerus says:

    HI Pastor Phillip, I am scheduled for L4/L5 Lumbar fusion in 2 days. After about 20 years of on and off pain following an acccident at work, and the last 3 months of constant pain, trying physical therapy and a trip to the ER, my surgeon decided nothing more could be done other than this surgery. After consulting 2 other surgeons and my regular doctor, they all agreed. I was looking up Spinal Fusion and Stenosis and found your blog. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read and re-read every word. I’m still nervous about the surgery and recovery, but I wanted you to know that your blog has given me hope that I will have similar results. I think the 6 month recovery time will be worth it if I can play soccer, among other things, with my grandson again. Please keep me in your prayers and I’ll check in after and let you know how things are going.
    Thanks again for taking the time to write the blog. I know it has helped comfort many in the same situation.
    God Bless You,
    Sylvia

  26. kim says:

    I just had a consutation w/my neurosurgeon and he said I needed a spinal fusion. I have DDD, stenosis, and my disc is pinching my nerve. I wasnt sure what to expect and when I told my friend about this she thought it was extreme. Im wondering why he would suggest this over a discectomy. This was just a consult so I wasnt sure of what questions to ask. Anybody know why he would suggest a fusion over a discectomy. I am 41yrs old and have tried steroid injections on 2 seperate occasions(3 rounds each), pt, and pain meds all of no help. I am having back pain as well as pain down my right leg and in my hip. Any suggestions would help.

    • Hi Kim, Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I know that a discetomy is a less invasive procedure and has a shorter recovery time. Most insurance companies prefer that this is a first attempt to be made in lieu of a fusion. Some of them will not pay for a fusion unless it is a last resort. You can always get a second opinion from another doctor. My experience with my fusion has been good. I suppose it really depends on what that diagnosis is for your condition. A discetomy, as far as I know removes a portion of a bulging disc that impinges on a nerve. A fusion realigns the vertebrae and keeps them from pressing on the disc which then presses on the nerve. A discetomy will not help if your vertebrae are too far out of line or if some other condition is the root cause. I will be praying for you to receive wisdom and most of all, relief and healing.

      In Christ,
      Pastor Phillip

  27. Doothy Hartline says:

    Hi,
    What a blessing you site is. I am 74 years old and in great health….exception my back. Just had an injection for diagnostic purposes. However, because my back is very unstable…protruding discs, moderate scoliosis and the sciatic pain, the surgeon is recommending fusion of L4and 5. My son, a physical therapist also had a surgeon friend review my MRI and he concurred with the fusion recommendation. It is a big decision for me and I am definitely seeking the Lord’s wisdom. You great results are an encouragement. How long before you were resuming normal activities. I have four rescued dogs and they require my attention… although I have a very helpful husband. My problem will be taking it easy after surgery, because I usually think if I push myself I will feel better. I would appreciate your prayers and I certainly felt the Lord’s presence during my injections. Thank you, Dotty

    • Hi Dottie, I will certainly keep you in my prayers. It sounds like you are pretty active so I think you will be fine. I went back to work for half days at four weeks in the claims office. Do your best to rest and follow doctors orders. Every now and then in the first couple of months you will have some nerve pain in your feet but nothing severe if you are like most people. I kept pretty extensive notes the first year in the blog but let me know if you have any other questions.
      In Christ,
      Pastor Phillip

  28. Dotty Hartline says:

    My surgery is scheduled for Aug 1. I am, to be honest, getting a little apprehensive, but also am drawing close to the Lord and trusting Him for His peace and healing. I really appreciate all prayers for a successful surgery and also for my husband that he won’t wear himself out trying to “do it all”. I don’t know about how long it will be before I can return to work since my job involves standing most of the time, lifting (etc). I work at a health food store, so we are always bending/ twisting to get things for customers. Another thing to trust the Lord for His perfect timing.

    God bless and thank you for your prayers.
    Dotty

    • Hi Dotty, Myself and some others have been praying for you. I know that the Lord will be watching over you and your husband during this time. I went back to work at 5 weeks. If you bend with your knees and try to turn your entire body you will be just fine when you return to work. You will have a brace on and the screws that are in place are really secure so I think you will be just fine. Follow doctor’s orders and trust in the Lord and things will go fine.

      Blessings to you…keep me posted!
      Pastor Phillip

  29. Dotty Hartline says:

    Thank you so much for your reply and the prayers. I praise God for His faithfulness, love and protection. Dotty

  30. dana says:

    I am going to have L4 -S1 fusion. I too am scared and worried that it wont turn out well. I also was wondering how long it takes for a recovery well enough to return to work. I work in the sheriff’s office. I deal with filing, computers, people, in contact with inmates, stairs ( several stairs) and constantly getting up and down for copies and files. I read several comments about how pain differed. I guess it is all up to each individual. But for the most part would you say a couple of month? My Dr said I could go back to work initially in 2 weeks and start PT in 6 wks. That just did not even sound right but I explained my work habits and they said 6 to 8 wks. How do you know what to plan for? Or even when to plan it as I am a mother of 2 and (1 in high school 1 in college)I don’t want to miss church or other activities of that manner .They need me and if I do this I will need them and don’t want to be a burden.

    • Hi Dana, I went back to work after 5 weeks. I did not do any real working out or physical therapy for 6 months but believe I could have begun much sooner. I tracked my progress each week of the first year on the blog. Check it out and let me know if you have any specific questions. You can email me directly at pastorpstephens@aol.com

      I felt pretty good at 4 weeks even though there were some occasional brief twinges of pain from time to time.
      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

  31. Tracey Dibbern says:

    I came across this site when I was looking for different options for fusion. My husband was told he needs an L4 L5 fusion. The only problem is that he is our only FT income right now ( I substitute at a small Christian school that my kids attend). Also because he is a semi-truck mechanic, this surgery will end his career as well. We are trying epidural shots and pain rx until I finish grad school in May and hopefully I can find a FT teaching position for the next school year. We also have a 5 and 7 yr old to take care of too. Please pray that we can make it through the wait for surgery, that my husbands pain can be managed until then, I find FT employment, and that through this my husband will come to know the Lord. I know that God can use this for good, but I am extremely tired of the chaos life is throwing at us right now. Please pray for us.

    • Hi Tracey, I will definitely keep you in my prayers. I know that everyone’s experience with the spinal fusion is different. My surgeon had one patient who was a professional hockey player who was able to resume his career 6 months after the surgery. I am back to lifting and running several times a week. Your husband’s job does sound pretty strenuous. We will pray for relief of his pain, his healing, your school work, both of your vocations and God’s provision for you.

      Stay strong in the faith,
      Pastor Phillip

  32. Dotty Hartline says:

    Hi Pastor Phillip,
    It has been 8 weeks since my surgery.and I am back at work. As far as my pain is concerned, I am pleased with the results of my surgery. My main problem is fatigue. I just can’t seem to get my energy level back. At the end of my work day, I notice an heaviness in my back and legs and of course the area around the incision aches. I work at a health food store and am on my feet most of the day waiting on customers or putting product on shelves. I also have 4 dogs that I have to take care of. So, maybe I am expecting too much of my self. I pray daily asking the Lord for strength and wisdom, but honestly am getting a little discouraged . Any wisdom and of course prayer is greatly appreciated. Thanks and God bless you,

    Dotty

    • Hi Dotty, Glad to hear that you are doing well enough to go back to work. Also glad to hear that the surgery went well. It sounds like you are still suffering a little bit from “surgery fatigue” as your body is still on the mend and putting a great deal of its resources into the mending of bone and healing due to the invasive procedure that took place. I know that my sleep patterns were disrupted during the first few weeks and that alone took me awhile to recover from. Hang in there and do try to take it easy and pace yourself. We will keep you in our prayers. May God bless you with renewed strength and continued healing.

      In Christ,
      Pastor Phillip

  33. Nui says:

    Hello,

    I have had surgery last Monday and although the pain is different, I am still having pain high in my thighs. Can’t sit for too long or lay down for too long. Walking feels good but I still have staples and burns and hurt when I sweat. What do I do while I am waiting to get out the staples? Please help?

    • Hi Nui, sorry to hear that you are having some challenges. So far what you are describing sounds pretty normal. The incision will burn and itch for a few weeks and the nerve pain in the hips and legs will slowly dissipate. It may come back sporadically in the first 6 months as the nerves heal. I would suggest doing something to occupy your mind. Maybe reading, crossword puzzles, watching movies or something like that. Perhaps writing letters or something else will keep your mind off of the normal aches and pains associated with the healing process. Keep me posted on your progress.
      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

  34. Keri says:

    Having L4 fusion tomorrow after numerous rounds of sacroiliac joint injections, PT, and medications that have not relieved unbearable pain and limited mobility. Although my physician expects to be able to utilize minimally invasive lateral approach due to my small stature, I have tremendous anxiety. I am fairly young at 34 with 6 children at home, including a 19 month-old and worry about the stress of the recovery period on the family. I want to make sure I allow myself adequate healing, but feel sure I will feel conflicted with needing to meet their needs as well. All prayers for a safe procedure, speedy recovery, and smooth adjustments with lots of grace in our home are appreciated!

    • Hi Keri, I will keep you in my prayers. My surgery was 2.5 years ago and I am doing well. I played full court basketball last night for 2 hours and 45 minutes. The back is fine. One calf did cramp up about 2 am last night though!

      Trust in The Lord and follow doctor’s orders and you will be fine. Keep me posted.

      Blessings,
      Pastor Phillip

  35. Esther says:

    Dear All,

    I have found words of encouragement through your messages. Please pray for me I am a bit scared though I know God is a miracle working God. I had my first surgery on L5 in 2012 and improved a little bit. It looks like my doctor wants to schedule a second surgery because the same kind of pain is back .Your advice will be appreciated.

    Be blessed

  36. Beatrice says:

    Pastor Phillip,

    I just wanted to say Hi! I’m glad you shared your story and are helping others who need advice and guidance in their personal journeys. Maybe my experience can help others, too. I hope you don’t mind the long post.

    I am 48 years old and had my L4-S1 double fusion three years ago-it was my 5th surgery in 11 years, and the best decision I’ve ever made. My last two surgeries were only a couple of months apart, so the inflammation from the long-standing nerve irritation and the surgeries took almost a year to subside. My pain did not begin to subside for about 14 months. I still have residual nerve damage in my entire leg that continues to heal veeeeerrryyyyy ssssllllloooowwwwwlllyyyyy….but I smile with glee every time I realize I have a little more sensation, a little more feeling, a little more muscle activity. I had some severe damage to begin with from a combination of spondylolisthesis and a recurring herniated disc, so I know it could be years before I’m done healing. And the bone needs time to grow around the screws!

    I was out of work on disability for three months, in a back brace the whole time. But even after the brace came off I was extremely careful in my movements and body mechanics, and still am. I lifted nothing heavier than 5 pounds for the first 6 months. I took every advantage of physical therapy to learn how to lift, move, stand, sit, and strengthen my core.

    One important thing for me is to make sure I eat the right food and stay as healthy as possible. The nerves and bone need proper nutrition to be able to heal and grow. I also try to balance moving around with resting throughout the day, too. I work in an office so got a sit-stand work station from Ergotron (purchased at Office Depot) so I don’t have to sit for too long, which puts a definite strain on your back. The way I look at it is, I have a certain amount of energy to get me through the day, and I need to pick my priorities on how to spend that energy. For the first year out of the brace I prioritized work so I’d have an income, and everything else went to the side. Many dinners were cooked in disposable/recyclable aluminum pans and eaten on paper plates so no dishes had to be cleaned afterward. I let the garden go for a while.

    It took a long time for my energy and stamina to come back. Even after 3 years I still get tired at times and wear out, and I try to plan my days knowing I may not last the whole time without crashing. If I know I’m going to be on my feet all day I make sure to take rest breaks at least every hour to sit 10 minutes or so, plus stretch. Walking on concrete all day in flats is harder on my back than walking on carpet in the office, so I keep a pair of sneakers in the car to change into if I need the extra cushioning for my feet. My best days now are when I’ve been active all day and totally wiped and exhausted from activity and not from healing, and there is NO pain. I know I can be very active for one day, maybe two, but not three or four days straight.

    I’ve learned the difference between nerve pain and muscle pain. I have no more nerve pain, but as the nerves heal and the muscles begin to work I do experience soreness (that I am thankful for).

    The best words one physical therapist ever told me was to not stop doing what you want because of your back. You may need to make adjustments and modifications, but don’t stop. So instead of thinking I can hike 10 miles all day, I will hike a while, take a break, hike some more. I may pick smaller mountains that are less steep, too. But I still hike.

    I’ve made adjustments that I know will last for the rest of my life. For others going through this, please try to be patient. Learn as much as you can from your doctor and physical therapist. Listen to your body and give yourself permission to take a break. I wish everyone peace as they contemplate or go through this surgery, and as rapid and successful a recovery as possible.

    Blessings and prayers to all!

    • Hi Beatrice, thank you for sharing your story and your good advice! May The Lord continue to bless you in your recovery and may He pour out His favor and grace on you and those you love.

      In Christ,
      Pastor Phillip

  37. pastorpstephens, do you still post on this blog? If so, I sure need your prayers, having decompression and fusion of L4 L5 on Tuesday October 28, 2014…Thank you and God Bless!
    Lena

    • Hi Lena, yes I post every week. You can go directly to Godhasyourback.org to see the weekly posts. Sometimes I post twice per week.

      You will be in our prayers and in the Lord’s hands and I trust that you will be just fine. Please feel free to email me directly and let me know how you are doing.

      Blessings to you and those you love,
      Pastor Phillip

  38. Sandra McDaniel says:

    I am in the process of waiting for fusion of L4 & L5. Waiting for insurance clearence.. But this site has been helpful and truly a blessing.
    thank you Pastor Stephens..

    • Hi Sandra, glad this site has been helpful. May the Lord bless you with a quick recovery. It has been three and a half years since my surgery and I am feeling great.

      Blessings to you and those you love,
      Pastor Phillip

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s