Melissa Gilbert recently underwent her fourth spinal surgery

By Maria Pasquini
November 29, 2020 01:15 PM
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Melissa Gilbert is counting her blessings.

One week after undergoing her fourth spinal surgery, the former Little House on the Prairie star, 56, reflected on all she had to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

“Though I am only one week out it is clear that this surgery for me has been a life altering experience,” Gilbert wrote alongside a video of the procedure, which was performed on Nov. 19.

“On this Thanksgiving day though I am isolated from all of my loved ones, I am so filled with gratitude. I know that this isolation is only temporary and that next Thanksgiving, not only will we all be together again, I will be able to cook, play and enjoy this holiday free from pain and limits,” she added. “Be well and safe everyone. I send you all oceans of love.”

In another health update the following day, Gilbert shared that she was getting tested for the novel coronavirus after flying to New York from California, where she underwent surgery.

“I flew from California four days ago had a negative test three days before that. If this test is negative I can actually be in a room with my husband!” she wrote. “Still maintaining distance because of the potential 14 day incubation period. But I’m one step closer and very hopeful!”

Fortunately for Gilbert, the results were negative. “Yeeeeeehaw!!! I can go to our place upstate. Now we just have to be cautious and mindful for ten days, then we are home free!” she wrote on Saturday. “Can’t wait to hug my hubby!”

Gilbert, who had to undergo another surgery after finding out that her third spinal fusion in 2016 had failed, recently told PEOPLE that she first knew something was wrong when she started to experience "numbness and tingling in the three middle fingers on my right hand.”

"I always had this sort of constant hum of, I can't describe it other than the sort of low hum of ache," she explained. "There was just an ache. Every once in a while, my whole neck would just lock up. It would tense up or flare-up, and I would be unable to turn my head right or left or lift my head up.”

However, since the surgery, Gilbert said that she’s been “feeling great.”

"Now, it's all going to be about staying still and not pushing, because I feel so good," she added. "I don't want to mess anything up. So I have to be very, very careful."

Credit: Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert
| Credit: Melissa Gilbert

Gilbert has had a long history of neck and spine issues from injuries she sustained in 2012. First, she suffered whiplash and a concussion after a fall on Dancing with the Stars, and a few months later the balcony of a house she was renting in Studio City, California, collapsed over her head.

"I am accident-prone. There's no two ways about it," the actress told PEOPLE. "But, I've made a conscious decision not to live my life from a place of fear.”

As for something she’s looking forward to in the future, Gilbert said she’s “very excited” to be able to play with her grandchild-on-the-way without pain.

“I'm very excited to be able to freely travel to where they are and just snuggle that little grandbaby, and hug and kiss them, too,” she said. “I'm a young grandma. I get to wrestle and play. So, I would like to be able to do that to my full ability.”