I saw my surgeon last week, well his assistant anyway, and it was good. She was happy to see I’ve been improving. In her words, I beat the odds. She said most people move towards surgery, not away from it. I’m moving away. It’s funny. Pretty much everyone, my surgeon, his assistant, my two physical therapists, everyone, says back surgery is not a good thing, especially spinal fusion. I agree. You do it because you have to.
I educated myself and decided against it. I think many doctors in our litigation happy society play it safe. If the patient wants it, they do it. They aren’t going to go too far to convince you otherwise for fear of being sued. I’m not so jaded to think doctor’s are just looking to make a buck, however, they are trying to save a few. Of course, there are exceptions. Still, you have to educate yourself and make an informed decision.
So, enough of that. Moving forward I am going to consult with another doctor to talk about other treatments. The new doc specializes in rehab. I may not continue to see him, but I want to know all my non-surgical options and get referrals if need be. My physical therapy is going very well. My therapists are learning that I can handle more than the average patient and are pushing me to do more and more. Bring it on!
I’ve also purchased a new mountain bike on the advice of my therapist. I’m glad I did. It allows me to exercise without the limitations of walking. I did 13 miles over the weekend after Thanksgiving and because of it, I only gained half a pound! I need to get some gear, namely padding for my butt and hands, to make it all nice and comfy. After my six mile ride, I did two 3.5 miles rides also to make the 13, my but was sore and my hands were numb!
This won’t be perfect. I’ll have pain and I’ll need to manage that pain, but my therapist told me another patient of hers has had 5 surgeries and I could expect something similar as each fusion causes damage above an below that would require more fusions. I can’t imagine that many surgeries, especially considering the recovery time is 12 to 15 months for a fusion! That’s 5 or 6 years spent in various stages of recovery. Every time I get down, I remember that and my attitude adjusts instantly.