Can anyone tell me what to expect after surgery? How I will feel, how long it takes to recover, when you start to feel better, etc. I have read about this and talked to the doctor, but I wanted to hear first hand from those who have had the surgery already and actually experienced it what it was like. I would really appreciate it. I am having surgery on May 21st with Dr. Oro in Colorado.
Everyone is different, but I can tell you how mine went and maybe it'll give you an idea:
I'm not going to lie to you or sugar coat things - the first few days can be pretty bad. The first couple of days after surgery I was in intensive care in quite a bit of discomfort. After I was strong enough to get out of bed and move around a little on my own, I was sent to a regular room. I stayed in the room for a couple of more days. I had surgery on Tuesday and came home on Saturday.
I know of others who recovered much faster than I did. Including getting up the day after surgery, so it all depends on the individual.
After about 4 or so days, you'll be sent home. I was able to walk into the house and walk up the steps to my bedroom when I came home. I stayed most of the first couple of days in bed - I was able to get up and go to the bathroom and even come downstairs and sit on the couch for short periods of time, but I was hurting or at least uncomfortable most of the time.
Someone will need to be there the first few days. My sister was able to stay with me during the day so my wife could go back to work.
After a couple of days, I was able to take care of myself during the day - I could make sandwiches or microwave things as long as I didn't have to stand too long. Make sure you have things to eat and drink that'll be simple to prepare, sandwiches, hotpockets, pudding cups, maybe cans or small bottles of cokes or whatever - you shouldn't be lifting anything heavy - like a 2 litter-bottle or gallon of milk - for a little while. Nothing that makes you strain.
In general, it seems like most people start feeling better after about a week. You'll still be very weak though. It took me about a month before I could go anywhere for more than maybe an hour at a time. At about a month after coming home, my wife and I went out to dinner with some friends - I was gone maybe 2 hours and it wore me out! But again, I know others who recovered quite a bit faster. Lovemygirls on these forums went back to work as a school teacher 6 weeks after surgery.
Usually after 6 - 8 weeks you'll be able to resume your job, school, life, etc. But you'll still be pretty weak for awhile. It's important to push yourself somewhat, but don't overdo it. We are talking brain surgery here. :)
Thanks Shane! That really helps. I am really nervous about it! I am just really worried because I have been sick for so long. Dr. Oro is a wonderful doctor and I feel confident in him, but I have been sick for over a year and am worried the surgery won't make me 100%. Dr. Oro said I would not be at 100% until at least a year after surgery. I worked retail so it is hard and straining on my body. I have been out of work for almost a year and am suffering from multiple conditions. I had surgery for DDD and had complications and am worried that will also happen with the decompression surgery. I feel so awful right now that I am willing to do just about anything to feel better. The doctor said that I will have to do physical therapy after the decompression surgery. Did you have to do this? I am hoping that I bounce back quickly, but Dr. Oro said not to hope too much or I might be disappointed if I don't get better really quickly. I am hopeful though and realistic. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it. Take care.
Please understand that there is no cure for Chiari. The surgery helps, but it doesn't fix you completely. I don't mean to rain on your parade or anything, but you need to understand that you most likely won't be "100%'. You will feel much better, and it will help you from getting worse, but you will still have Chiari and the potential for problems.
Yes, I had quite a bit of Physical Therapy. My primary problem was my neck muscles. I have a 22 inch neck - that's a lot of muscle to cut through to get to my skull. Therapy was slow going and caused me to be tired afterward, but it's not really painful.
I also have DDD, but haven't had surgery for it. Possibly this summer, but I'm hoping not. I've had quite a few procedures over the last year. I'm hoping to put off more cutting on me for a while anyway.
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