My recovery is going really well, except for some annoying muscle spasms in my lower back. They show up randomly and severely weaken my walking ability sometimes. It seems my muscles are adjusting to the increased height of the disc, which is only a few millimeters but you also have to take into account all the surgical work done in the area.
I've been walking around the hospital about 4 times a day, down the corridor and back. Walking is VERY comfortable and I feel ZERO pain walking. The post-op team is VERY serious about taking it easy... It's something I wasn't expecting considering all the stories I read online about walking miles a day after surgery... but spinal surgery is something I respect and definitely don't want to screw up. I know any little mistake could set me back months in recovery, but thankfully everything has been going really well.
I did hydrotherapy for the first time today. They took me to the heated pool downstairs to do 5 ot 6 exercises to get my core strengthened and my muscles moving a bit. Then they recommended that I stay in bed for the rest of the day.. They continue to stress: DO NOT OVERDUE IT. I agree with them, I prefer to be on the safe side!
Now i'm back at the hotel near the hospital. My family's here, a little bored, but they understand they need to take care of me. They usually go out for the day and come back at night with food. I entertain myself with movies and reading. I'll be staying here for another week and then heading back to the states.
As for pain levels, there is absolutely no wound pain, which surprises me considering that they had to go through my stomach. I can squeeze my abs with no issue at all. There is a bit of back pain that comes and fades depending on my activity level. Some pain in my legs is there but should clear soon. But like I said, while walking, I feel NO pain at all and is actually very comfortable.
They say after 6 weeks I should be 80% recovered and 100% after 3 months. They recommend hydrotherapy for 6 weeks and then more land-based core-strengthening after that. They say the disc should have very little risk of slipping or subsiding, but still I should avoid bending, twisting, etc.