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Mojo's Mom
12-13-2011, 08:31 PM
What's it like, long fusion people, the first time you feel a body that won't bend anymore? Or do you get used to it very gradually since you are in such a fog from heavy medication the first several days?

I just have this fear of coming out of surgery and trying to move and suddenly feeling this new body that doesn't bend, doesn't twist, and knowing that there is no going back, and feeling trapped! Like stuck in a permanent body cast, or back in my Milwaukee brace that will never come off. I don't have a choice, I have to do this, but I wondered what it's like? Do you feel trapped, or do you adjust as the meds wear off and not feel such a sudden drastic change? I haven't seen anyone talk about this, so there must be a reason.

nanlo
12-13-2011, 08:48 PM
Dear Mojo's Mom,
Hi - I had surgery in August of 2010 - I am fused T1 to sacrum. I can only speak for myself, but I honestly feel like I have a lot of flexibility. For the first year post op, I was very cautious w/ my movements, and mindful to keep my back straight (no bending, no twisting). But now that those restrictions have been lifted, I can twist pretty far (!) and bend all the way to the floor.
It is the case that my spine was fused in two spots before this most recent surgery, so I already did have limited flexibility in my spine, but I don't experience any stiffness or restricted movement at all! So I hope that is encouraging for you...
take care,
Nancy

Mojo's Mom
12-13-2011, 09:01 PM
Nancy, that's tremendously encouraging, thank you...it's not the long term flexibility I'm concerned about, but that initial reaction when you feel the "new you". I have a great deal of hip flexibility (can do full splits, for example), so I'm hoping long term that will help a lot.

LindaRacine
12-13-2011, 09:27 PM
Both times I had surgery, it felt normal right away. I expected that the feeling of not being able to bend as far forward as previously would be abrupt, but was not the case for me.

JenniferG
12-13-2011, 11:33 PM
Stephanie, your post gave me a giggle!

It's funny, but I don't remember any strangeness, as one would expect under the circumstances. The first time I stood up, I noticed being taller and instantly loved it. The most spectacular, amazing thing was looking in the mirror naked that first time. And almost as good, putting day clothes on and seeing how much better they looked. Now that was amazing, because I'd given that part of the surgery, very little thought.

bluestone
12-14-2011, 08:15 AM
Im fused T2-L4 and the 1st time I stood up I felt like I had an ironing board strapped to my back, but you do get used to the feeling.Its not a feeling of being 'trapped' or anything.You do feel incredibly upright but its not an unpleasant feeling.

When I looked in the full length mirror once I was home I was amazed-I couldnt believe how straight I looked and I had a waist! I felt so happy.

During recovery there are times when you get the 'ironing board' strapped to your back feeling but its usually if I had been on my feet for too long or walked too far-it does gradually ease.

Now im 13mths post op im bending more and its getting easier all the time-somehow your body just adjusts to the situation-its amazing how this happens.

jeneemohler
12-14-2011, 11:56 AM
Right after surgery, there is so much going on that you don't really pay much attention to feeling straight or stiff. You are dealing with pain medication schedules, bowel movements, sleep, etc. You are pretty out of it that first week in the hospital. There are a lot of distractions. And you aren't very mobile or active yet, so you don't have much to compare to. The only time I really noticed it was getting in and out of bed. I still log roll to this day!

Besides, the beauty of your new, straighter body is so amazing, that you can't help but keep looking at it in wonder! After years of living with being all crooked, it is surreal. And wonderful!

I also feared feeling like I was in a brace like the old days. It is nothing like that. Are you going to wear a brace after surgery? I had to for a couple months. I felt so free after I was out of it! So no, it is nothing like the feeling of being confined in that brace. You won't feel trapped!

The first part of recovery is tough. You want to get better and feel normal right away. Be patient. There is a point where I felt better enough to feel frustrated, (and bored) but not better enough to start normal activities. That was the hardest part for me. But there are many of us on this forum that have gone about our days with very little change. It just takes time. I am also very flexible and was able to paint and trim toe nails, paint the bathrooms, put on shoes with ease, even at a couple months post op. So you have that advantage going in. Being active, it would have put even more of a cramp on my lifestyle than for non-active people; if fusion was that bad. Have you seen golfnut's recent picture of her tap dancing at less than a year post op? Ed tree skiiing? My climbing a huge Mayan temple at 6 months? It truly isn't as confining as you imagine. But it is good to be realistic, also. So a little concern is ok. You will do fine.

At almost a year post op, I am still aware of it all the time, but it doesn't really bother me or confine me in any way. It is just different. Kind of like new shoes. They feel kinda weird at first, and you are aware of them being new and feeling different. Eventually they break in and you stop thinking about them!!

Marina63
12-14-2011, 12:01 PM
What's it like, long fusion people, the first time you feel a body that won't bend anymore? Or do you get used to it very gradually since you are in such a fog from heavy medication the first several days?

I just have this fear of coming out of surgery and trying to move and suddenly feeling this new body that doesn't bend, doesn't twist, and knowing that there is no going back, and feeling trapped! Like stuck in a permanent body cast, or back in my Milwaukee brace that will never come off. I don't have a choice, I have to do this, but I wondered what it's like? Do you feel trapped, or do you adjust as the meds wear off and not feel such a sudden drastic change? I haven't seen anyone talk about this, so there must be a reason.

Of course the first six weeks, moving wasn't an option. Then came the realization that I couldn't sit hunched over anymore and yes, it was a "trapped" feeling. That feeling slowly went away and now that I am more mobile, I don't feel that way at all anymore. But, believe me, you won't have that feeling coming out of surgery. You'll be amazed at how quickly your body adjusts. I was.

What are your fusion levels going to be?

Mojo's Mom
12-14-2011, 09:57 PM
Marina, my fusion levels are in my signature. Probably T5 to S1 with pelvic fixation.

Thanks to all of you for very helpful, insightful answers. Jenee, I have NOT seen your climbing photo, although I've seen the tap dancing and Ed's skiing. I'm very optimistic about long term results, but it's that first reaction that I was curious about. You have all given me your experiences and that helps very much.

I am very active now, working at trying to get into the best possible shape for surgery, within the limitations of my pain.