Please pray and help if you can

I’m a type 1 diabetic on loop who is having back surgery this Tuesday 9/22 at 10:30am. THey are fusing L5 to S1. I’m hoping to go home in 24-48 hours and then have a 2-3 MONTH recovery where I can’t work, can’t drive for at least 4 weeks, and will be going stir crazy I think!

If you are the praying type, please do.

We’ve created a caringbridge site if you want to follow my progress at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/bradpollina

and if you’d just like to help with meals and expenses, a meal train at https://mealtrain.com/e80201

I will keep this thread up as best I can as well. They are fortunately allowing me to keep my Dexcom G6 and my Omnipod on during everything so long as it is not in my stomach where I usually put it. I just have so sign a waiver and didn’t need a doctor’s note.

I asked and they said they would NOT be using any steroids, so my sugars should not be affected by the meds themselves.

First major surgery I’ve had since being diabetic, so any pointers on what to pack would be appreciated. I’m thinking things like chargers, battery backups, tablets/kindle, book, and what else?

I really appreciate any thoughts and prayers you can send my way.

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@BradP:

While I’m not the best prayer, I will send you my best wishes and keep you in my thoughts.

While I don’t have extensive experience in this arena, I had two day surgeries over the past 3 years.

I was using a Tandem t:slim and a Dexcom G5 so no closed loop. In my cases, all of the detailed discussion took place with the anesthesiologist … because they are going to be doing the watching. In fact, they taped my receiver (well, my pump) up close to my shoulder where they could easily see it, but it was out of the way.

The wanted to see that I had a reasonable reading going in that was, ideally either flat or slowly rising. While they didn’t give me a number, I was under the impression that 130 mg/dL or higher was their preferred zone. I didn’t have any closed loop at the time so I don’t know what they would say … but I’m betting “no” because they are clearly worried about running low. Maybe others have more relevant closed loop experience. Usually, you don’t get to eat before hand so IOB should not be an issue. As I recall, they asked me to dial back my basal to something like 30-50% of normal for tge expected duration of tge surgery PLUS recovery.

I don’t know how you will be positioned, but I would do my best to find a sensor location where a compression low is not a possibility. If they saw a drop, they would start a dextrose drip immediately.

As far as supplies, although I don’t have any overnight experience, I’d probably consider an extra sensor, an extra pod, and even syringe/pod backup … who knows what might get pulled off during table to gurney to bed transfers.

All the best!

John

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Thanks John. From what I understand I will be on my back the entire time as they are going through my abdomen. THey said the entire stomach area from groin to breasts is a sterile zone, so nothing can be there. I typically wear both on my abdomen. Has anyone wore an Omnipod on the leg? I’m thinking upper leg maybe on top, inside or outside but am unsure. The diagram says anywhere on upper leg. I’m going back to stomach right after surgery. I’m used to that and do well there.

I had a series of infusions in March and it yes it is rough. But my surgery was so worth it. I wish you the very best.

rick

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Oh boy, Brad.
Now is the right time.

If you have to be outta work for surgery anyway, at least there will be no
covid exposure through work.

I feel good about this.

I know money is tight, but long term, its better because your wife will be home with you.

Asking Him to keep you in his care, give the medical team all wisdom and guide their hands. Praying you mend quickly and all will be well. No confusion, just peace through the entire ordeal. Blessings!

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Hi, Brad:

The front of the upper thigh works fine for me with Omnipod. I also use the backs of my arms, and sometimes my lower back (what I call the “love handle region”). I had it on my lower back for a recent cardiac ablation, and it worked perfectly.

Good luck with your surgery! You should do great. Try not to worry too much!

Hey Brad, I hope everything went well and you are on track for a speedy recovery. Prayers and positive thoughts heading your way.

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Sorry I haven’t commented in so long. I wish they had prepared me better for post-care. I honestly thought that when I woke up that my hip pain and leg pain would be completely gone and I would be a little sore, but nothing earth shattering. Boy was I wrong! I came out an my pain was off the charts! I had to have 3 shots of Dilauded (?sp) in the first 25 min. Once I got a room for the night nearly 5 hours later, I was placed on a morphine pump and woke nearly every hour for vitals and pills. Everything hurt worse than I came in, and I could barely sleep. The very next day, my doc came in mid morning and announced that I would be going home THAT DAY after 4:30. They said they were full, and he didn’t wanting me catching anything. So they sent me home with a stool softener, muscle spasm pill, and Hydrocodone 1-2 every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. I also opted for a shower chair and a walker.

Since being home, my normal morning routine, which use to take 30 min, now takes about 90 minutes. I have to be very deliberate in how I move and what I do. But I’m definitely on the mend and can see progress. Tomorrow 10/7 is my first follow-up visit with my general surgeon who will check my stomach to make sure there is no infection. Next week my back surgeon will evaluate the back itself and decide what meds to change. Eventually we will formulate a plan to get me back to work. I really hope we can do that as a team, because my back doctor himself is a very fast, arrogant male but has a fantastic team of nurses that are just the opposite. My work doesn’t allows part-time work nor light duty, so I want to make 100% certain that I"m ready rather than be forced to try and then fail.

But thank you all so very much for your prayers and concerns. Please keep them coming!

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btw, from a diabetes stand point, the hospital was awesome. They made me move my G6 Dexcom and my Omnipod elsewhere during surgery itself. I chose my arms and hated it, but it worked. I’m still looping, so I opened the loop during surgery but got my phone back once in recovery. I had to sign a form saying I would be responsible for everything diabetic, and I never went over 150! I even had a nurse that was interested and actually helped me by holding things like my vial when it was time to change it out. I wish every hospital could be so easy.

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I really did remember to mention you in my regular prayers, and intend to continue to do so.

I’m glad your surgery turned out well (even if the whole process was far from perfect).

I think that your approach to the practical details is very wise.

Good luck.
M.

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So glad to hear you report an update!

I had a much smaller surgery recently, and I too was taken by surprise at how ill-informed I was about recovery. It would have been so much easier and less worrisome if expectations were set properly - or even at all!

Wishing you well as your recovery continues! Hope the follow up goes well!

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@BradP - Glad to hear you’re returning to full health. The pain is a son-of-a-gun isn’t it? I went through much the same when I broke my hip in June, the first 2 weeks were sheer hell.

By 3 months I was 95%, and now I’m better than new :muscle:t3:. You will be too!

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@BradP Hi! It’s good to see you posting! I hope you are doing well? Good thoughts and prayers are going your way!

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Thanks everyone. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for all the post-op pain. The pain pill Hydrocodone / Acetaminophen says I can take 1-2 every 4-6 hours. Went through the first bottle already and am on the 2nd bottle. During the day when I’m at the computer or on a walk, I can tolerate 1 and sometimes every 6 hours. But if I’m napping or sleeping, the pain still wakes me up to tell me it’s time for more! I hate being dependent on such drugs, but I know it won’t last.

Went to the general surgeon last week and he said the stomach incision is healing very nicely. Internally he used dissolvable stiches and the a surgical glue with sterri strips, so real easy to care for. He said all I have to do is keep my waist line from rubbing, so any bandage, gauze or whatever I had lying around would work. Monday I go to the back surgeon, but from what I understand he can’t do too much as it is it is too soon for any Xrays/scans. Basically just a pain tolerance visit. And I have a very low tolerance for pain, so I feel like I’m being a baby doing so little.

I thought by now I’d be watching movies, reading e-books and even going through some internet marking stuff that has been collecting dust on my hard drive for so long. But I can’t seem to concentrate for more than 2 hours at a time. And sleeping / napping is very sporadic and not really on a set schedule.

At least my diabetes is well controlled. I’m spoiled with all the healthy meals church family brings over and the mandated 2 walks per day.

Thanks for the prayers and well wishes.

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I hope you keep up the recovery. It’s good to see you posting and things will get better as everything heals.

Best wishes and prayers your way.

Glad to read that your surgery is past and you’re mending well. Great job on managing your blood sugar through everything.

This seems reasonable to me. Not going over 150 is quite an achievement but I suppose not eating helped some. I would think that the stress trauma of a significant surgery would tend to drive glucose higher just by itself.

In any case, your diligent BG management set you up for the best wound healing possible. That 150 ceiling also indicates you avoided any infection, always a worry.

I hope you make a full recovery from back pain and you continue on your uneventful convalescence. Thanks for posting us with updates.

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Be careful, the narcotics will slow down intestinal peristalsis, resulting in slower absorption of food. This may be the cause of your better BG/CGM data. I have experienced this myself after 3 back surgeries.

Is the pain at the incision site? Try using an ice pad for 20 min. every hour. I have to ice my lumbar region almost every night before bed.

Mike

One more note, in 2012 I had L4-L5 bilateral hemi mastectomy. In 2019 I was dxd with spinal arthritis which caused spinal stenosis; and needed c3-c5 laminectomy with a fusion and hardware. I then had an L4-l5 laminectomy 6 months later.

Mike

Just wanted to update everyone. Surgery went well and the fusion did take. Now the problem is that the rest of my back has learned how to absorb the pain and I’m starting over! Not as bad as it was, but definitely painful. Just saw the doc for a checkup and he gave me naproxin and said to try PT and let him know. He reminded me that I deinitely have arthritis in the area. It definitely hurts the area to bend over or to stoop. I’m also thinking of going back to the chiropractor.