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After Back Surgery, Does Follow Up=Doped up or Movin' Up?

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Yeah! Made it through another couple of days without any complications. The x-rays came back and everything looks good so far. I was moved from ICU tonight down to the regular oncology unit.

Yesterday I had my catheter taken out and then today finally my chest tube and the IV that was stuck in my neck. Both were extremely comfortable and huge, so what a relief to be free of the cords and have mobility! I actually did some laps around the floors for about 30 minutes! It is really difficult getting use to wearing the pink armor suit. Each time I sit outside of bed, I have to have the suit put on to support my back. It is kind of a pain, but I guess it’s needed to stablize the vertebrae and make sure that I don’t undo whatever was fixed during surgery.

So now the plan is to wait and recover. The main thing to get me off of the IV drugs so that I am able to go home (meaning the Dilaudid). I have been here in the hospital for 27 out of the past 30 days (I think) and have been taking IV drugs to help alleviate the pain. This is going to be a difficult transition of testing to find out what works best without doping me up too much while still managing the pain. If I go longer than about 2 hours without taking “breakthru” pain medication, then I get behind in schedule and it is very difficult to catch back up to get the pain under control. My body has now been trained to wake up every 2-3 hours in the night without an alarm to make sure that I am receiving the medication. Currently, I have the following regiment of medicine:

*One Fentanyl Patch, which is applied to the skin and delivers fentanyl, a potent, strong opiate analgesic. The drug is slowly absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and can relieve pain for up to three days from a single patch application.
*Oxycontin: 3x daily (Opiate)
*Dilaudid: Every two hours and pain pump available every 30 minutes as needed
*Lidocaine Patch: Used topically for spot treatment and taken off every 12 hours
*2 stool softeners/2 laxatives: This is for all of the narcotics I am on that make me constipated
*Potassium & Folic Acid: This is from the chemotherapy that has robbed me of my vitamins and minerals
*Lovenox Shot: 1x per day. Used to treat deep vein thrombosis (my bloodclots) and prohibit new clots from forming
*Neurontin: 1x per day, Used to take for nerve pain
*Lexapro: Anti anxiety pill taken 1x per day
*Benedryl & Xantax: Used only as needed to help with sleep at night when feeling pain

So, as you can see I have to be careful in what meds I am taking when and in what combination. I have been testing all varieties to from the day of diagnosis to now to find the best solution for pain management…which is almost impossible because my pain is always changing. The doctor says I will never go a day without any pain. I can handle this. I just need to get to a point where it is tolerable and I am able to function in daily life without feeling “doped up”.


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Great to hear you're doing better and freed from the tubes. Have a good recovery and get rest.

July 15, 2009 - 4:26pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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