View Full Version : 4 month post-op!!!

04-14-2011, 02:56 PM
Hi everyone,
I am so sorry that I disappeared for the last 2 months... but here is my update.
Currently I am feeling so great! I have some pains here and there but nothing major. So, my surgeries were Dec 6th and 10th, anterior and posterior for 100+ curve. When I went back home, approximately Dec 16th, I felt that I made a mistake having this surgery. Everything hurt... EVERYTHING!!!

Then, right at the beginning of the year (January 2nd), I ended up at the ER with a brutal case of vomiting. The doctors run tests and decided that I had an intestinal obstruction. I went back home after a week to continue my recovery.

To my surprise same thing happened AGAIN a month and half later. Yes, February 20th (a little over 2 month post-op), I ended up at the ER vomiting my guts out!!! This time the doctors really made me go through a several Gastrointestinal exams. I was determined to know what the hell was wrong with me, because it wasn't only this rare cases of non-stoping burfing, it was also, the everyday stomach pains. So, long story short, I was dignosed with SMA Syndrome!!!
I haven't been back to the hospital since then... there is not much they could have done for me unless I got very sick or emaciated. In that case, they would have to operate reconnecting my stomach with my intestines through another path/way. The other option was to gain tons of weight so this artery would have lots of padding around it not putting pressure on my stomach. YES, THIS IS A COMPLICATION OF SCOLIOSIS SURGERY.
Ever since, I have been eating everything and anything!! and it has been fun! I have not had another episode, and better yet, my stomach does not hurt everyday like it used to. I have a belly now... (i know that is partly a result of the lordosis from the surgery), but it does not matter to me, I don't care about looks or having a super flat stomach, all I care about is not coming back to an operating room!
Anyways, besides all these... I think I look great!! hahahaha
I wore, for the first time in my life, a nice skirt that ties up to my new waist!!!! It feels great!
I still have a bit of a hump back, but my back looks so much better than before. The clothes fit well and I am taller than some of my friends... :)
Finally, I am happy to report that at 4 month post-op, I am not taking anymore narcotics!!
However, my hormones are totally out of wack. I had my period for the first time 2 weeks ago... (last time I had it was right after surgery in December). Now, I am having a bit of a problem with acne...well, not a bit a big problem! I always had acne, but now it is almost everywhere, face, chest, back, and neck. My dermatologist recomemded Accutane.... I am thinking about it.
Wow, that was long!!!
How is everyone doing???


04-14-2011, 03:06 PM
Holy cow, I've read about SMA Syndrome but haven't heard of anyone actually having it. I'm so glad you're okay now!! Having to eat a lot sounds like great therapy to me!!
Best wishes for an uncomplicated recovery from here on!

04-14-2011, 03:21 PM
You sound great! I had to look up SMA and it sounds really serious. I hope it doesn't cause you anymore trouble and if eating as much as you like is doctor's orders, then eat on, lol.

Had a look at your before and after x-rays and they look amazing.

04-14-2011, 05:29 PM
hi Pilar
so sorry that you went thru so much...but i am glad you are in a good place now!

please be careful with Accutane...i thought they took it off the market in the USA because it is a very dangerous drug...
i guess it is still on the market in Canada, where you are...but i would be afraid of how dangerous it is...the FDA in the States doesn't take medications off the market lightly...


04-14-2011, 05:34 PM
Jess, Pilar is from Los Angeles.

There was a discussion here the other day about Accutane (I'll try and find it) and its side effects and yes they did take the name brand off the market but it is still sold other other names.

04-14-2011, 05:38 PM
whoops...thanks Elisa...mixed up your home address info with hers..
so...LA...then i really thought the medication would not be available here in the States!

i think perhaps it was Ballet Mom's daughter who was on the medication for awhile...not for acne, though, i don't think...something about anti inflammatory qualities of the drug maybe....
i think Accutane has really bad side effects, from what i've read....

i do believe there is safer prescription medication out there by now for acne....
i would check that out first, Pilar!


04-14-2011, 05:48 PM
I am sooo very happy for you, Pilar!! I am sorry that you had such a rough time. . .but, that which does not kill us makes us stronger (in the last months, as I recuperated from my 3 surgeries, I often reminded myself of that).

Accutane is a great drug, when used under the correct medical care. My husband is a dermatologist, and he put out 4th offspring on it a little over a year ago, after other options (antibiotics) didn't work. My son looks great! What a difference! I don't think he'd be as self-confident now if it weren't for the result he got from the Accutane (next week, he'll be 20). Obviously, my husband would not have used Accutane with our child if he had any concern about its safety. Of course, my husband monitored our son's blood work throughout those months, and he was under strict orders to NOT DRINK!! while taking Accutane.

Pilar. . .again. . .I am so happy to read your post. Keep healing!!!

04-14-2011, 05:56 PM
well, it is described as a very "difficult to obtain" drug in this country because of the potential side effects
i do know my friend was refused the medication by her dermatologist, who insisted she try another option...which worked for her acne...
i do not know what happens if one has a husband or father who is a doctor...
i am just speaking about the patients without doctors in their families....

i had a colleague who has a daughter with Crohn's Disease...she developed the disease after being on Accutane....
i would research it thoroughly and discuss potential side effects as well as alternatives....
just a suggestion...


04-14-2011, 06:13 PM
Thanks so much for all your responses,
Yes, I've come a long way... well, it has only been 4 month and I still have a lot of healing to do. Like I said before, I still have muscle pain and disconfort coming from different parts of my torso, but it is not bad enough for me to take any medications.
I can totally see the difference from one month to the other, so hopefully it will only get better and better from now on. I just have to remind myself not to overdo it. And hopefully I won't be having any more problems with the SMA syndrome.
Dr. Pashman says that the fusion looks great and that I am doing good. I saw him last month for my 3 month post-op mark and I will se him again in June for my 6 month appointment. For now, he does not want me to do any excersice, only walking or easy hiking.
In respect to the acne problem, Yes, I know Accutane is a very powerful drug. That's why I am still thinking about it. My cousin went through this treatment 2 years ago and she swears by it. My dermatologist is a very good one, he also works at Cedars Sinai Medical Center here in LA. The doctors there are excelent and I totally trust his opinion. Anyways, I am taking antibiotics for that now (just for a month), but I have taken antibiotics before for this problem and nothing happened, so I do believe that I am a candidate for it. We will see... I have a month still to think about it.
Thanks for your input!

Ballet Mom
04-14-2011, 07:56 PM
Hi Pilar,

Wow, you've had quite an experience! Glad you're feeling better.

My daughter is the one who was on Accutane/isotretinoin who had complications. Most dermatologists don't prescribe high doses of accutane, however, there is a group of dermatologists who do. If you're a small person and you're being prescribed 80 mg per day or higher....run away and get a new derm. The risk of complications becomes much more probable.

My daughter's former dermatologist is a highly regarded Stanford Medical School grad with all other wonderful qualifications and he felt free to put my daughter on way too high a dose, because some derms put all people, no matter what they weigh, on the same dose. It's a big problem for the lower weight people. Just a word of warning.

I would also make sure you run the decision to use accutane past your orthopedic surgeon before you use it because accutane is restricted around surgeries, I would think especially when you have fusion needing to occur. Accutane is known to cause bone remodeling problems.

04-14-2011, 08:31 PM
You're about 1 month ahead of me. I'm so sorry you had serious problems. Dealing with normal recovery is difficult enough. I've been very, very fortunate so far and I'm hoping it continues. I'm glad you're doing well now. Thanks for the update.

04-14-2011, 08:44 PM
So good to hear you're doing better!!! I remember reading your posts while I was still super groggy/painful, and remember thinking how I needed to be thankful for how well my recovery was going.

Hope you continue to get better, and way to go getting off the narcs! Getting off those isn't easy, especially with such a difficult surgery. Your x-rays are just amazing.

I had horrible acne all over too, and my hormones were whacky, it didn't level out for me so I went back on the birthcontrol pill for now. I am married and don't want to risk getting prego right now (had been off it for a while pre-op, because we wanted to start a family, but then decided to wait when my new pain started) anyway, the BC cleared up my skin immediately and got my hormones back on a pretty normal cycle. I will say that my pms (sorry if it's tmi!!!) is still super strong, but it's not as bad as the last few months w/o the BC.

Anyway, so happy for you, and continued prayers for that SMA! Will it ever go away, or is that a permanent side effect?

04-14-2011, 11:16 PM
Pilar, I hadn't realized that you had your x-rays attached. WHAT AN AMAZING RESULT!!! I am so happy for you.

04-15-2011, 01:21 AM
Thank everyone for your kind words!
My only concern about Accutane is its side effects with bones. Since I am still fusing, I am not sure that I want to risk it. I actually did ask DR. Pashman about it but he said that he wasn't familiar with the drug, that as long as it is not an anti- inflammatory that it's ok.
My dermatologist didn't seem concern about me being only 4 month post op, so I don't know. I think I am going to go to a regular physician for an opinion and a blood test.
Mgs, maybe you can ask your husband about it, he is familiar with the drug and spinal fusion...

04-15-2011, 01:39 AM

You made it! Yahoo! You know I love saying that!

And wasnít that fun?..... Not!

Isnít it nice to have this behind us? Now, you should be able to relax some. It was the one thing I noticed a few months post....

You will keep healing for some time, and should expect things to get much better than they are from this point on. It took me 2 years.

I have read about SMA, its considered very rare. I was wondering during my ďvomitronĒ stage, when my golf ball sized gall stones where blocking my duodenum and having ileus problems. Funny how when the plumbing gets blocked off how it has to come out, and up through the mouth. Iím glad you are through all of that, vomiting a thousand times is hard on the body. I would say if you ever vomit more than once occasionally, you should go to the hospital immediately. After you experience this kind of thing, you will know if something is very wrong. SMA is in Dr Moeís textbook of scoliosis, as a complication, written by Dr Transfeldt, thatís Fierce Like Tigers surgeon. Hope she is ok, its been 2 weeks on her 2nd revision.

It would be a good idea to get copies of your hospital reports. I wanted to have these documents in my possession, as I have had records lost in the past. Itís a little book, with all the details, a history that any hospital, doctor or surgeon would appreciate just in case you move in the future....its YOUR invaluable personal detailed medical history.

I went motocross riding today...I think you would have to wait at least another week to join me. He he

04-15-2011, 02:51 AM
Great news Pilar, you've come a long way. It was a rocky road, but it's great to read you're doing so well and sounding so positive!

04-15-2011, 06:35 AM
I just sent you a p.m. - not sure if it went through. .. let me know if it didn't.

Ballet Mom
04-15-2011, 11:27 AM
Accutane does have anti-inflammatory properties.

You will be required to be on birth control pills prior to taking accutane so your acne may just clear up from those, since it does sound hormonal, before you make a decision. Good luck.

04-15-2011, 02:52 PM
Yeah... I will put a hold on the Accutane for bit.

MaryAnn: I got your PM, did you get my reply?

Ed: That was fun... still is!
Thanks for your support through it all!
And I don't think I can ride a motorbike for like forever... I think that and skydiving and bungee (sp?) jumping are a life restriction... at least in Dr. Pashman's list. Too bad because my boyfriend loves and has a motorcycle. Oh well...

04-15-2011, 05:08 PM
Pilar, your reply didn't come through. . .I think you're wise to spend this time getting strong again (and then go for the Accutane later, if you decide to) . . .your body's taken a tremendous couple of hits.