View Full Version : Three years post-op and all is well

06-15-2010, 07:48 AM
I went to New York yesterday to have my third set of annual post-op x-rays done and everything looks perfect. Afterwards, I walked 40 blocks to visit a friend in midtown Manhattan and it felt great!

There were a lot of people in Dr. B's waiting room yesterday, and I was especially struck by one fragile-looking older woman -- probably in her late 60s -- with a huge, deforming curve. She was on oxygen and even while sitting quietly in a chair she was obviously struggling to breathe. It made me doubly grateful to have had the surgery with a good outcome, even though I have struggled at times (emotionally and physically) with some limitations. This is truly a debilitating disease and we are fortunate that so many talented surgeons choose this specialty.

06-15-2010, 08:00 AM
Thanks for posting this. I actually had a nightmare last night about the surgery (scheduled for September) and woke up wondering (again) if I'm doing the right thing. Posts like this make me feel better!

And CONGRATS! 3 years is certainly a milestone!


06-15-2010, 10:02 AM
Congratulations, Chris, on your three-year milestone. Im cornering in on two years myself. Time sure flies when were having fun.:D

The description of the woman you saw reminds me of a photo shared with me by a friend about a year before I scheduled my surgery. My friend went to her 50-year high school reunion and one of her classmates with scoliosis was there in a wheelchair and on oxygen. This poor woman waited too long to be evaluated by a specialist, and by the time she did was told surgery was too risky. If she had come in even five years earlier, she might have been treatable. My friend told her about me and my indecisiveness about surgery, and she told her to tell me to just do it before its too late.

I will always be grateful for what my surgeon was able to do for me.:)

06-15-2010, 11:57 AM

Congratulations on 3 years... Glad to see you are getting around just fine.

Its always interesting going back and seeing your surgeon, and the place where you made your decision...I remember that day and place where I said, "Yes, I'm ready" The most critical words of my life.....

For those that remember Alfred Hitchcock, well, that is almost how I relate to my early days, talking to surgeons in the 70s. Black and white television, and extremely critical events...

Now, life is in color....

Debra JGL
06-15-2010, 12:05 PM
Chris, That's awesome how well you're doing 3 years post op! 40 blocks, I'm impressed & inspired. Thank you too for sharing about the woman in the doctor's office, I truly hope Dr. B can help her. I have an appt. with Dr. Boachie on Thursday. I am hoping I'll be able to schedule surgery. It's taken me a long time to come to this decision, but I know the longer I wait the riskier the surgery becomes.


loves to skate
06-15-2010, 05:56 PM

It's so good to hear you are doing so well at your 3 year mark. Did you notice any more healing in the third year? When I look back one year, I notice a big improvement and hope that by the time I reach the 3 year mark, things will be better still. Thank you so much for sharing. I love Ed's analogy of life now being in color.

Debra JGL, I'm glad you have decided to wait no longer. You will get through it just fine.


06-15-2010, 07:58 PM
Congratulations Chris--I'm so glad things are good for you. I am emotional when I see an advanced case in someone. I always think, but for the grace of God, that could have been me......

Anyway, congrats again and good job on walking 40 blocks!! Isn't funny we just don't think about those things any more as 'can't do?'

06-15-2010, 09:42 PM
Hi Chris, So glad to hear you're feeling well and life is good 3 years later. Like Debbe, it seems as though I am noticing more people with advanced curves and it does make you stop and think about the decision that changed your life. There was a lady, I'd guess in her 60's, at the pool the other day who had a significant thoracic curve. She asked me about my surgery (since the scar is pretty obvious in a bathing suit) and she said she couldn't imagine going out of town and having the surgery that I did. I told her I never thought I'd do it either, but it was one of the best decisions of my life. The result was definitely worth the risk! Thanks for the encouragement from three years out!

06-16-2010, 09:08 AM
Thanks guys for the kind words.

Sally -- yes, I saw significant improvement between years two and three although at the time I was convinced that I was "done" at year two. Mostly I gained additional flexibility and endurance, in that I'm now able to spend about an hour at a time planting and weeding -- something I didn't feel like attempting last year at this time. I'm also using my grabber a lot less to get stuff off the floor although I'll never stop using it to pull stuff out of the washer and dryer. I hope you continue to heal well from your most recent surgical adventure!

06-16-2010, 04:31 PM
Great news Christ!

06-16-2010, 04:34 PM
Great news Christ!

Ha ha ha -- yes, I AM very saintly....!! :D

Sharon C
06-17-2010, 12:53 AM
Hey Singer,
I remember your moniker from years ago as I love to sing too. I have recently posted on Revision Surgeries about being 5 years out and not doing so well. Seeing your post got me teary eyed. Dr B sure seems to be the poop! When you said you walked 40 BLOCKS I actually gasped! REALLY??? And are you talking just you and no cane/walker?? That is absolutely AMAZING!!! I am thrilled for you, and if you've looked around this site you'll know just how fortunate you really are. I would love to walk ONE block without any external means without discomfort. Keep up the good work and enjoy every precious day that you have. It is very inspiring to hear the positive accounts as well as eye-opening to hear the disappointing ones. We all just try to make the best decisions we know how, and run with it. I am so glad you are reaping the benefits of your bravery.

Sharon C:o

06-17-2010, 07:51 AM
Thanks guys for the kind words.

Sally -- yes, I saw significant improvement between years two and three although at the time I was convinced that I was "done" at year two. Mostly I gained additional flexibility and endurance, in that I'm now able to spend about an hour at a time planting and weeding -- something I didn't feel like attempting last year at this time. I'm also using my grabber a lot less to get stuff off the floor although I'll never stop using it to pull stuff out of the washer and dryer. I hope you continue to heal well from your most recent surgical adventure!

Hi Chris,

Could you elaborate on your gaining flexibility? That I don't get. I mean, if you're fused to L5, how do you get more flexible?

06-17-2010, 08:20 AM
Chris-- I already gave you my congrats on FB, but I'll repeat it here too. I just want to chime in on here also about the difference between years 2 and 3. I know I posted about it at some point... I thought I had achieved whatever there was to achieve at each of my annual anniversaries, at years one, two, and most recently, three, but there's a world of difference looking back at what I can do after each year's progression. I remember so well your lamenting about no more gardening. And I remembering sending you the suggestion of some raised bed gardening book for challenged people. :rolleyes: Do you remember that? I guess this teaches us patience. That is soooo wonderful that you are able to do that again. Yay!!! :cool:

Since we've made improvements each year, I'm looking forward to what the future brings (I hope!!!) My only concern is the popping I've been having the past few months. It mostly happens when I reach forward, like when I'm washing dishes, cooking, making a salad, etc. Plus I'm one of the ones who has aching, and I stick to limitations. AND there was the difficulty at the end of the school year from all that blasted scanning of over 13,000 books... But even so, I consider myself a success story. I have some ups and downs, but feel fine most of the time and am in good spirits and enjoy life. What more can you ask for??? The Lord is good!!! I am very glad I had my surgery. I go for my next appt. with my surgeon in early August. Anxious to find out how I'm doing too! Take care!

06-17-2010, 08:20 AM
Sharon -- I'm truly sorry you are having such difficulties. Yes, I think Dr. B is definitely "the poop," as you say! And yes, I walked from 72nd St. to 32nd St. in about an hour under my own steam....short city blocks, not as difficult as it sounds.

I had a severely weakened right leg after my surgery (temporary nerve damage) and used a walker for 3 months, and a cane after that for a few months more. I had three rounds of physical therapy, including gait training, to get my leg strong again, and now it is -- but it took a long time. I walk 3-4 miles a day almost every day and am extremely grateful to be able to do so.

Debbe, as far as flexibility goes -- every year it seems that I can bend further from the hips. For example, I can shave my legs and cut my toenails with more ease than I could last year at this time. I can also get socks on without the sock putter=on thingie. So even though I certainly have lower-back stiffness, I have a slowly increasing range of motion there.

06-17-2010, 08:46 AM
Wow, as I am 6 weeks out, that is all I can say


06-17-2010, 10:41 AM
20 city blocks..the shorter ones, not the ones from avenue to avenue...equal one mile...so that is great...you walked 2 miles!

i remember back when i could do that...and also when Lyme disease took that away from me...i got the ability back, only to lose it again from scoliosis and degenerative disc disease!

i had a dream last nite...very weird, too..but in the dream i had already had the surgery...so i dont know if that means i'll get there with my decision...

Sharon, i hope you find a surgeon who does revision who can help you...naptown (kristie) seems to have had such great results from her revision surgery...


06-17-2010, 02:45 PM
Hi Suzy! Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I remember our gardening discussion..!! I hope the popping in your back is nothing -- lots of people seem to have it so I doubt that it's anything serious. I would agree that you are doing well, especially with a physically demanding job. Enjoy your summer off and especially enjoy those grandkids!!

06-17-2010, 03:24 PM
Thanks Chris. And yes, hopefully my popping is nothing serious. You KNOW how it is though. Is MY popping the same things as theirs is? We'll see in about 6 weeks. In the meantime, Indiana baby and his family arrive in a few hours and will be here till Saturday, and then hubby and I leave on Sunday for a road trip to NH to visit that little grandson and his family, so I've got some fun time coming up. :D

Melissa-- you've got to understand that we were well-resigned to the fact that we (at least this was how I felt, maybe not Chris) had had this big whoppin' surgery and after a whole year had gone by, this was "it"-- I mean, this was as good as I was going to get. I don't think it's that way with everyone-- I think a lot of the younger people bounce back lickety-split and others that are older do too. Some of you who remember Ginger-- remember how fast she rebounded???-- she was doing all kinds of things like some sort of wonder woman clone... hiking the canyon near her home in the Rockies, going on one of those (I don't even know what they're called-- zip line(?) where they strap you to a line and send you on a trip... in some place like Costa Rica???) sounds like a nightmare to me. And she was something like 62. I loved her-- she was sooo full of life-- and her blog was fantastic! :cool: Anyway, we are all different. It took me forever to stop stooping and lengthen my stride and build up my strength again. The surgery had zapped me completely. Every year I'm stronger and better able to do more.

Chris-- I am soooooo jealous of you and your nails and shaving and all that-- I have the hardest time and I can tell it's not good for me. I cut my nails, but with great difficulty. And I use my sock aid. The only thing that made me feel better was seeing you aren't fused up as high. Mine goes almost to my neck. I know my "end pieces" are in jeopardy so I try to take it easy on them. Cutting my nails is as far as I go on stretching like that-- I can barely reach them, part of the problem is the arthritis in the hips. And I do a crummy job, but at least don't have to ask hubby to do it anymore. :p Besides, I think Ed does his ok... Oh well. Life goes on. And aint it great?!!!

06-17-2010, 04:46 PM
Chris-- the other thing about the popping is "why now?" I haven't had it for 3 years. It just started. That is why I am a little concerned. But it's probably just the same thing as what it was with the other people. Just started happening now. I'm slow! :rolleyes:

loves to skate
06-17-2010, 07:58 PM
My back is doing a lot of popping lately and it is not anywhere near the fusion. I don't know what is up with that.

dolores a
06-17-2010, 08:00 PM
Hi Chris, I've been wanting to respond with thanks to this thread of yours for a couple of days. It's great to see that there will be even more improvement as the years go by, even though I don't regret having this surgery, there are still days that I say will it get better as I do still have some limitations, some of which I will always have, being fused all the way down. Anyway it is great that you posted this as it was a great encouragement to me.

06-18-2010, 01:49 PM
Chris, Susie and others--You give me hope that I will keep improving! I can relate to most of what Susie described and am still battling new aches and pains most of the time. I still can't figure out the leg/sciatica pain?? This has been going for a month. I guess it makes my usual back soreness/stiffness etc. not so noticeable! I'd been told for years I had a high tolerance for pain. Maybe I just turned into a big weenie! Janet