My spine surgery journey: from preparation to recovery

Ohh, thank you so much everyone. :)
You're blessed to have such a wonderful team of doctors and nurses to give you this beautiful gift.
I really am. What my team have done for me is just, lifechanging, in the absolute best possible way. I will be forever grateful to them.
Thank you for taking us on your journey with you.
And thank you all for deciding to come along for the ride. It means the absolute world.

I had a really special moment today.
Actually, it was a day of special moments but this one was spine related.

I took my boyfriend home to meet my parents. And while we were there, we were looking through things in my wardrobe, and I tried on my highschool senior year ball gown.

I love that dress so much, it is beautiful. I was lucky enough to have it hand made for me, but of course back then (about 8 years ago), I was pre op.

Today I wore it for the first time since surgery.

I got to see myself in that dress as I think deep down I always hoped I would, but never thought would actually eventuate.

And it was very very cool.
Exactly 8 months today of being a bionic, chimeric (thanks to the lovely human(s) who donated their femoral head from their hip replacement, so that I could have some extra graft material to supplement the rib of mine they used) bellbird!

Today, specifically, is a day I looked forward to in the lead up to my surgery. My best friend since kindergarten, who had a spinal fusion 10 years ago, told me that she started to feel "normal" again after about 8 months.
My surgeon said it would be about 6-12 months.
I started to feel the beginnings of "normalcy" after 3.5 months, which was around the time I started swimming 3 times per week (definitely causation as opposed to just correlation).

And now sitting here at 8 months, I'd say I'm pretty much there and getting stronger with every day.

Yesterday morning I walked 11km, no pain, no real fatigue. In fact I jumped around on the spot a bit when I got back to my house to prove the point to myself :laugh: then in the evening I did 2 sets of 5 full push ups, 2x 1 minute planks, and some side planks for the first time.
No pain or discomfort today, but we can have a rest day to celebrate this time round :happy:
Last edited:
Happy 9 month spinal fusion anniversary to me! ?????????

Exactly nine months ago I would have just gone to sleep in theatre (it's morning here in NZ).

Later that day, I would wake in ICU, very out of it thanks to a ketamine infusion, morphine pump (controlled entirely by my ICU nurse at the time) and local anaesthesia, plus the residual effects of general anaesthesia from my 6.5 hour surgery.
I would have a pneumothorax (collapsed lung), and a tube about the thickness of a hose pipe inserted in between my ribs, bubbling with the fluid it was draining from my chest cavity for the next three days.
Even with all the analgesia and anaesthesia, I would be in total agony, though I (fortunately) remember very little of that.

But a few hours later - that night, nine months ago, I would realise that I could wiggle my toes. And no pneumothorax or heavy drug cocktail could take away from how utterly over the moon I felt because of that.

Imagine if I could go back and tell nine-months-ago me that wiggling her toes was only the beginning; tell her all the things she'd achieve in the next 3/4 of a year:

She'd become completely pain and discomfort free.
She'd be able to walk up the five storeys of stairs to her office again, and walk 10+ km without feeling any fatigue or pain.
She'd be able to run, swim, dance, jump, do push ups, plank, the splits, downward dogs.
She'd overcome her many years of body dysmorphia.
She'd be 4 cm taller than before her surgery.
She'd stay without the depression diagnosis that she'd lost just prior to her surgery.
She'd start to taper down her antidepressant and have no withdrawal symptoms.
She'd have no midday medication dose for the first time in 18 months.
She'd keep her eating disorder in remission.
She'd dance with one of her demons and throw out all of her laxatives and emetics she'd been stashing.
She'd have no problem bending down to plant her vege garden and tend to all her crops.
She'd first author a scientific paper published in a peer reviewed journal.
She'd have nearly finished all of her first year Masters courses (two more days to go!).
She'd have her first relationship since the Abuse Years, and it would be healthy.
She'd be falling in love.

And she'd pinch herself every day that this is all real.
Nine months??? Stairs????
Yeah!! :)
Considering at 2 weeks when we were discharged from hospital, four stairs was incredibly challenging and utterly terrifying. Even when we first went back to uni after 2 months, we couldn't manage them.

But now we do the whole lot usually at least twice a day. Sometimes just for fun because we can :happy:

GP asked how we celebrated the anniversary --
"By jumping on the spot 9 times" :D
I’m so happy for you!!! :hug::hug::hug::D
Thank you, sweet friend :hug:
Yes well done there bellbird - kicking goal after goal. :hug:
Aw, thank you, b! :hug:
Have loved being able to follow along with your own *life changing* journey of getting B.
Omfg you ROCK.

So. Hard.

So :happy: for you, Bells.
Ohhh, you sweet Ro. Thank you :happy:
Counting down the days to my one year fusion-iversary (can we call it that?) and got the reminiscent bug hard.
Nine days out!

Took a look back in this thread, and it seems on this day one year ago I was
Getting excited about my post-op mints.

It's been a few months now since I've posted here, but I've still been tracking really well.
No pain, and I'm continually getting stronger, fitter and more sure of my body with each day.

I have a wee something planned next Friday, as a celebration of making it one lap around the sun with a hunk of metal in my spine.

'til then :)