Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spinal Surgery Follow-Up Visit

So today (Monday) was the day of my first surgery follow-up with my doctor & surgeon in Gainesville, GA - Dr. David Weiss with Specialty Orthopedics of North Georgia. I was ready to hear what Dr. Weiss thought regarding my progress (which I feel has been extraordinary) and ready to move forward with new things after being cleared to do a few simple things, like drive.

Dr. David Weiss with patient, Beth Anne Cochran
Day 11 Post-Op, 4.6.2015
The other goals for today's visit were:
To check the wounds
Remove stitches
Check ROM (range of motion)
Check pain originators in comparison with original complaints & findings in SI joint (did surgery help?)
Make sure patient is on-track to start physical therapy

As soon as he walked in and asked, "well, how have you been doing following surgery?", I gave Dr. Weiss a resoundingly clear answer that I had been feeling amazingly well, and having only the expected post-operative pain following surgery & just a little sciatica, as well as the normal pain from the stenosis, DDD (degenerative disc disease), bulging & torn discs, and scoliosis, which was not operated on - I have had little to none of the most severe sacroiliac joint pain (we are continuing to pray & believe that it does not return like before)!

I told him how I was walking daily with the walker. My next question was then "when can I ditch the walker?" He hesitated for a moment and looked at how many days post-op I was. As of today, I am only 11 Days Post-Op, so he seemed a little surprised that I was asking so soon. He made sure to tell me to not over-do and to listen to my body - when I am in pain, then I need to discontinue whatever activity I am doing (including physical therapy exercises that induce pain). He then told me I could phase out of using the walker as slowly as needed, but there is no rush. I was, of course, excited to hear this.

For those who are worried about me pushing too hard too quickly, I think your concerns are legit. And honestly, I might have pushed the envelope a little too far here and there through my recovery in small ways. But I also tend to catch myself fairly early on in those situations and realize what I am doing and to slow down.

For those reading my blog due to interest in the surgery, here is a list of just a few things I should NOT do following surgery unless in physical therapy protocol:

1. No sitting for longer than one hour without a standing break
2. No driving or car riding for more than one hour
3. No standing or walking for longer than 15 minutes
4. No bending or twisting at waist
5. Sleep with a pillow between knees
6. Sit straight with a pillow to the small of the back
7. No lifting anything over 10 lbs.
8. Avoid stair climbing. If you stair climb, lead with the stronger leg and take one step at a time
9. No single leg standing
10. Do not develop a walking program until at least 8 weeks post-op, and then only the directions of your physical therapist

Lifetime Restrictions:

1. No bungee jumping
2. No parachuting
3. No rock climbing
4. No step aerobics
5. No stairmaster
6. No chiropractic manipulation of the low back

As far as progress from the walker to unassisted walking, I know it will take time and a gradual process of working up my strength (18 months for a full recovery). And I am so excited to know that God's story of healing in my body is not yet complete....may God continue to restore me, from the inside out.

Isaiah 40:29 
He gives strength to the weary and increases power to the weak.

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