View Full Version : 6 weeks post-op

12-18-2004, 08:56 PM
Hello from Arizona,

Thursday made 6 weeks since surgery and I had a visit/check-up with my surgeon last Tuesday. He said my recovery is progressing as well if not better than he expected. We viewed the before and after x-rays and I was absolutely knocked over by the wonderful sight my eyes beheld. Could not believe it was my spine, besides all the stuff (instrumentation....:>) he achieved a correction to 5 degrees. All those guys (vertebraes) are just as level as I could have never imagined, he also showed us the adjustment he made to avoid flatback. My husband said I was glowing and I imagine I was, because he gave me the best Christmas gift I could ever receive ~ an opportunity to have my life back! My incision is healed and neat as a pin. He told me to keep doing what I was doing and we would have a phone consult (we live 100 miles from Tucson) in 3 weeks and an office visit in another 6 weeks. He is certain that he will be able to see a significant improvement in the fusion process on that visit.

I am feeling well, the pain in my feet and legs is gone, the only pain I experience now is in my back and hip, that associated with the surgery. It is not excruciating, more like a tired/ache and some stinging sensation off and on. I have nearly discontinued the use of narcotic pain relievers. Only use them (maybe one or two) when I have overdone. I am gaining more stamina each day, I can pace myself and see that I am able to function physically a little more as the days progress. Also; I don't know when it happened, but it has definately made my life and I am certain my husbands much easier. I finally quit fighting the brace and aids like the raised toilet seat, walker and having to wear baggy clothes. Apparently, I wanted to be well so badly I fought these necessary items daily. The brace I grumbled, groaned and even brought myself to tears over the uncomfortable, ugly thing. I guess I finally accepted the fact that the brace was going to win....:>) if I was going to recover fully. Of course I have most of the recovery road ahead of me, but I am glad I made the decision I did, and I think at this point I could do it again (not that I would choose to) if I HAD to. I am so grateful to this forum for the support it has given me, my world class surgeon and support team at home, and I wish them all the blessings of this holiday season.

12-18-2004, 11:35 PM

Glad to hear that you're doing so well. I'm unclear about something, however. Are you still using a walker?


12-19-2004, 02:08 PM
Hi Linda,

Yes, I still use the walker, surgeon said he wanted me to continue with it because: "I don't want you to waddle". I didn't ask him to elaborate, we had so much to cover in so little time. I still do not have my walking gait really perfected so I assume that was what he meant. I also still 'lilt' to the right quite abit which pre-operatively was the way I had been slanted by the scoliosis curve. It is more pronounced when I stand, sitting I look almost as straight as someone without scoliosis. It is even more noticeable when I walk. That is a new ? when I speak to his office again. The orthotics folks pointed that out when I had my brace adjusted; however, they don't want to pad and stuff to force my body in another direction because my surgeons protocol is no PT, walking only for exercise until he feels the fusion is strong enough to move on. I am assuming that all the muscles, tendons and joints have been in that position so long, that although my spine is straight it may take considerable time for the rest of my body to follow. Do you know anything about that?
Hope this clears up your question.

12-19-2004, 02:25 PM
Hi Gayle...

I don't know if it's anything about which you should be concerned. I always like to tell people that a second opinion may be a worthwhile exercise if for no other reason than to put their mind at ease.


12-20-2004, 06:30 PM
Here are a few questions I have been wondering about :
1. When do you start driving?
2. You mentioned baggy clothes. Do you wear your clothes underneath your brace? Or do you wear them over your brace?
3. Why do we use a walker? Do we lack balance after
surgery, and do we waddle? I'm not sure I understand
the procedure.
I am so glad you are doing well. You are 6 years younger then I am; I have watched your inputs from surgery with great interest. My surgery will be February 10.

12-20-2004, 08:31 PM
Hello Kathleen,

I will try to answer as best I can. Please remember that different surgeons around the country have different protocols they apply to their patients. So if you get the opportunity these may be appropriate to address your surgeon or his office staff. My surgeons office staff especially his clinical nurse have been invaluable to me.

First: Driving, Dr. Dzioba lets his patients begin driving as early as 3 weeks. It depends of course on how your recovery is coming along. I, made a personal decision to wait until 4 1/2 weeks post op because I didn't feel comfortable behind the wheel until then and I didn't want to drive if I had taken any narcotics.

Baggy Clothes: Again, I think this may also be a matter of personal preference and comfort. I found it was more comfortable to wear my slacks and underwear over my brace ( a TLSO brace - kind of like a turtle shell), which comes about 4" below my waist. So in order to compensate for the bulk of the brace I bought about 2 pairs of inexpensive elastic band slacks and 2 pairs of scrubs from Walmart all in neutral colors. Since I wear alot of knit sweaters in my size they looked awful over the brace so it being winter I wear large sweatshirts and button up blouses (I purchased at a thrift store for $3.00 each) I'm not particularly Vogue but I am comfortable.........:>).

Walker: Last but not least, I use a walker because my balance is not 100% and I certainly don't want to fall. My balance is somewhat unstable because the correction in my spine changed my center of gravity. I'm not sure what a 'WADDLE' is myself so I am thinking my gait is affected for what reason I would hesitate to say. But my PCM said today it very well be my body compensating for thestructural changes and the pain I still experience as well, which made perfect sense to me. I can walk without it but I feel it is just an added precaution in the recovery process.

Hope this helps you in some small way, feel absolutely free to ask anything you feel the need to. I will answer as well as I can, and if I don't have the answers often times someone else on the forum has an experience to share. Also email if you would like and I will respond as soon as I possible can. I can remember how I felt at the point you are in your approaching surgery.

Regards, Gayle

12-20-2004, 11:03 PM
hi, kathleen! which surgeon did you choose? weren't you considering dr. shelekov? i got permission to drive 6 weeks after surgery; i don't know what is important about the 6-week mark, except to say i was taking fewer doses of pain medication by then for sure. i literally walked away from my walker right at the 6-week mark as well and never looked back. i still use my walker if i have to walk a long distance like, say, half the length of northpark mall; i preserve my strength. i still keep the walker by my bed; it helps to grab it when i'm log rolling out of bed...as for clothes, i'd never worn elastic waist pants before and it was a shock to have to do that in order to get pants over my brace. however, i wear slim-leg pants and hip-length tunics/zip-front hoodies over my brace and i'm told i look quite nice (i am sick of wearing the same 4 pairs of land's end pants, though!). good luck with your surgery...it won't be long now, will it?

12-21-2004, 05:13 PM
Yes I have decided my surgeon will be Dr. Shelekov. I
have talked to five other women in their late 50's and early
60's and they all believe their surgeries were successful because of him. I will have my surgery in the new Bayor hospital in
Plano. I believe it will be a teaching hospital as Dr. shelekov
teaches (I believe at Baylor in Dallas). He also got good
marks from a neurosurgeon who was questioned . My
surgery will be Feb 10. I will be 63 December 27, and I don't
feel young. I am so glad to hear that another mature woman
is doing well after surgery. I am only worried about infection.