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Roxjanine
01-18-2012, 01:58 PM
I went to see Dr Vora at Hershey Medical yesterday for my pre-op appt. And well, I am now freaking out that something will go wrong! Things I am freaked out about:

He said my spine is rigid and that he only expects 50-60% correction ( I was hoping for a better correction since one of my "incentives" was having a better looking body-not that I am doing this for cosmetic reasons, the idea helped me with coping with what is to come). Right now my curve is 60 degrees- I am hoping I see a difference..........

I had to sign a disclosure stating that there is no guarantee that my surgery will be successful and I could actually get worse. I know these are typical things that you have to sign before having a major surgery, but the idea still freaks me out! Yes I am in pain almost everyday, but I can still work and live a good life. I am afraid I will mess up the life I have now for no reason. I am afraid I will be worse off.

The are putting a tube through my artery to keep track of my blood pressure at all times. Besides already dealing with my spine, I am afraid that someone will mess up. I know it sounds silly, since these are experienced doctors but still...

I am so unsure about everything and its stressing me out. I know in the end I should get the surgery, but I need to put my mind at ease because I am stressing myself out. If anyone can give me any encouragement, I would greatly appreciate it!

JenniferG
01-18-2012, 03:02 PM
I went to see Dr Vora at Hershey Medical yesterday for my pre-op appt. And well, I am now freaking out that something will go wrong! Things I am freaked out about:

He said my spine is rigid and that he only expects 50-60% correction ( I was hoping for a better correction since one of my "incentives" was having a better looking body-not that I am doing this for cosmetic reasons, the idea helped me with coping with what is to come). Right now my curve is 60 degrees- I am hoping I see a difference..........

I had to sign a disclosure stating that there is no guarantee that my surgery will be successful and I could actually get worse. I know these are typical things that you have to sign before having a major surgery, but the idea still freaks me out! Yes I am in pain almost everyday, but I can still work and live a good life. I am afraid I will mess up the life I have now for no reason. I am afraid I will be worse off.

The are putting a tube through my artery to keep track of my blood pressure at all times. Besides already dealing with my spine, I am afraid that someone will mess up. I know it sounds silly, since these are experienced doctors but still...

I am so unsure about everything and its stressing me out. I know in the end I should get the surgery, but I need to put my mind at ease because I am stressing myself out. If anyone can give me any encouragement, I would greatly appreciate it!

I was the same Roxjanine. I only had the one appt with my surgeon and no pre-op, so I got to sign these forms 9 months before my surgery. It freaked me out too. I was a mess. But when you think that these forms are for legal reasons, everyone signs them, and very few have their surgery go wrong, the odds are pretty good that you will be better off after surgery. For those who've had trouble, there's almost always something that can be done to improve the situation, however, we all only want to have the one surgery.

As for your correction. I was corrected to 22 degrees and you can barely notice I have scoliosis. Only someone else with scoliosis would notice, I'm sure, even then, probably not. So if you're corrected to 30 or 25, I feel you'll be very happy with that result. My surgeon said 60% as well, but got closer to 70% (I think.)

Try to remember, your doctor won't be working alone. There will be a whole, very experienced team there alongside him, all watching what he does, checking and more checking.

What you're going through is so normal, in my opinion. All part of this difficult journey. Try to think past the surgery, to a calmer time, when you're living with a much straighter body, less or no pain, and don't need to worry about the curve progression any more.

Best of luck!

Roxjanine
01-18-2012, 03:48 PM
Thanks JenG for your voice of reason. It helps me a lot to hear from other people who have been through the surgery and who are doing so well! :)


Yesterday was very overwhelming as well, there were 2 resident students with my doctor and somehow I felt intimidated. I forgot to ask questions so I ended up having to email my doctor my additional questions today.

Another thing- the Anesthesiologist I met with said it was okay to drink alcohol up to the day before surgery- I was a little skeptical. Has anyone ever been told this? When did you stop drinking before surgery. (My fiance and I brew beer, so we beer is a regular as a dinner beverage).

LSKOCH5
01-18-2012, 07:06 PM
Roxjanine, it can be unsettling reading & signing forms in which they spell out the worst that could happen so they're legally protected. But, as you see all over the forum, the results almost overwhelmingly are positive. Also, our surgeon told us to expect about a 50% correction - he did so much better than that! You can't let all that take up negative room in your thoughts right now, you need "clear your plate" work & home wise before surgery, including getting items on the checklist of what to take to the hospital & what to have at home to make life easier. But more importantly, look positively to the future, of being on the other side of surgery & having a positive recuperation, moving towards your wedding day. You have an exciting future!
Do you have your fiance or someone else go to all appts with you? So much better to have someone else listening out for you, along w having a running list of questions. One last thing, mentioning residents, as so many hospitals are teaching - we made it clear we didn't want anyone but him installing hardware, screws, etc - in essence, doing any part of the surgery. Worth bringing up. (he assured us no one but him does any part of the surgery.)
Once again, focus on the positive future! and let us know how it goes - these last few weeks will fly by.

nanut
01-18-2012, 07:20 PM
Roxjanine
Everyone on this forum understands the magnitude of pre-op anxiety. As my surgeon said to me " this surgery is a big deal, anxiety is to be expected". I am six months out and feeling great. My advice to you is eat a diet on the softer side for a week pre surgery, go easy on the food post op and walk. Walk as much as you can tolerate. Walk the flats-no hills for a while. At my five month mark I had walked 200 miles! I attribute a lot of my healing success to walking! Admittedly a little boring but it did the trick. All of the monitoring during surgery is a good thing. I am a nurse and the arterial line is essential! I had mine in the big artery in my groin. This forum is the best venue for information and support. I will be forever grateful to all the members for sharing their experiences
PS
On the night before surgery drink some of your home brew and get as good a night sleep as possible. :)
Best of luck in the upcoming days!
Nan
54 years old
55 degrees lumbar curve pre op
7/12/2011 -University of Utah Health Science Center T10-S1

LindaRacine
01-18-2012, 08:18 PM
Hi...

I definitely think it's normal to freak out, and it's probably a good thing. While the chance that you'll have a really significant complication are minimal, if you're the .01%, statistics are completely meaningless.

You'll often see me write to adults about exhausting other non-surgical possibilities before moving on to surgery. Since I see patients every day, I can tell you that the people who go into surgery with a lot of pain and disability, tend to do very well, especially if they have a positive attitude. People who are not terribly disabled and who have less pain, are often unhappy with their outcomes, because they think (even though they're told to expect pain and disability), that they'll be better after surgery. After all, that's usually the case with your average surgery. With scoliosis surgery, the trade off for stopping curve progression, can be long-term pain, and a feeling of being less able. We read all the time about people who can feel the implants, or who hate their new limitations. I think we all really need to think long and hard about undergoing this surgery. I was pretty disabled going into my surgery a year ago, and certainly knew what I was getting myself into. Yet, I still have moments when I'm a little bothered by my limitations. (Think of trying to hook your pants over your foot and missing half a dozen times when you're in a hurry.)

Some people will tell you that this surgery is horrible, and you should avoid it at all costs. Other people will tell you that this surgery is fabulous, and you'll love the results. The truth is that the vast majority of us fall somewhere in the middle.

Hope I haven't added to your anxiety, but I really do think it's good to go into surgery with a positive attitude, and a healthy set of expectations. If you expect perfection, there's a good chance you'll be disappointed.

Best of luck with your journey.

Regards,
Linda

mabeckoff
01-18-2012, 11:36 PM
I really cannot add to the good advice that you have been given except to say that I was allowed to drink up to the night before surgery.
Please keep us informed as soon as you can

Marina63
01-19-2012, 07:52 AM
Try not to stress too much. I think a positive attitude is key.
I was only corrected about 50% as well. My surgeon told me that they don't correct 100% as it may stress the body too much to go from such a curved state to a completely straight one. I was only guaranteed 50% as well. As it turns out, it's fine!
Best of luck to you!

Roxjanine
01-19-2012, 09:56 AM
Thank you to everyone who gave me positive feedback. I know that there are no guarantees with the surgery and there are risks involved. All I need now is positive feedback and advice from those who are on the "other side". I was suppose to get this surgery when I was 17 years old but put it off so I could go to college on time (plus I was scared and not ready) I know this is the time to do it, I just get anxious, nervous because the surgery is coming up in less than 2 weeks. The positive feedback helps me so very much.

Thank you,

RoxJanine

Pooka1
01-19-2012, 10:13 AM
Roxjanine,

You are still young enough such that you might group with the teenagers rather than the adults in terms of having a relatively quick recovery and return to a normal lifestyle. Most kids are back to school in a few weeks for example and are off pain meds many weeks prior to many adults.

That is a positive thought you might take going into this.

The other thing is that my second kid who had surgery had such a positive outlook from seeing how fast the recovery was for the first and what a good cosmetic result she got. She had a much easier time in recovery and while that is likely due mostly to a different reaction to the drugs, maybe part of it was because she could see the prize in her twin sister and wanted that. That prize is moving on past scoliosis and living without thinking about her back.

You will be a star. Good luck.

bluestone
01-19-2012, 01:39 PM
To give you some hope that you might end up with a better correction than expected-I was 44 at the time of surgery and I was told that my spine was very rigid and that because of that I might have needed anterior as well as posterior surgery.

My curve was 72 degrees so I didnt think I was going to get very straight.
After a 10hr surgery I woke up to my surgeon telling me he had got me lovely and straight with no need for anterior.I cried when I 1st looked in the mirror because I couldnt believe how I looked.
My surgeon said that until you are on the table they cant be certain of the outcome-so you may end up with a straighter back than you expect!

Wishing you all the best.X

titaniumed
01-19-2012, 07:43 PM
It can be scary hearing about no guarantees....many of us here have heard it. It was easier for me since my pain was through the roof.....just think about all the pain and heartburn you will save since you will be dodging the bullet. The pain I endured through my 40’s was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Have a positive attitude and have faith and you will do just fine.

This past week included antics on the mechanical bull at Gilly’s Las Vegas! A great way to loosen up that stiff neck! (just kidding) When surgeons finally give “clearance” after you have recovered some, I’m pretty sure that “mechanical bull” is not included......
“I luv ya Sissy”.....”Hit it, Wes” Ye-ha
Ed

kennedy
01-19-2012, 08:08 PM
Roxjanine it ok to freak out I did on the day of my spinal fusion because of a rash on my arm when they did my blood tests

Confusedmom
01-20-2012, 09:57 PM
Rox,

I was also disappointed when I was told I have a rigid spine and can expect about a 50% correction. But then the doctor said, that will put you back about where you were when you graduated from college. I was 38 at the time, and for some reason that made me feel good. Even though my spine was curved in college, I really didn't notice it!

Good luck,
Evelyn

golfnut
01-21-2012, 02:00 PM
Roxjanine,
I don't have anything to add to what has already been said, but just wanted to wish you the best on the 2nd and hope you have a smooth recovery. Good luck!

Mojo's Mom
01-21-2012, 06:36 PM
Roxjanine,

Do not underestimate how much difference a 50 to 60% correction will make...When I look back at the body I had in my early 20s, when my curves were more than what yours would be at 50% correction, I would take that body in a heartbeat! No one ever knew I had scoliosis, even though I always had some rotation in the lumbar.

It's terrifying surgery. That's all there is to it. I'm sure you didn't get two weeks away from it without a lot of deep thought and soul searching and weighing the benefits against the advantages.

When I get within two weeks I think I will be a basket case, and it may be one of the times in my life when I actually consider accepting some pharmaceutical calming, although I'm hoping it doesn't come to that. If only someone could just knock me out while I'm sleeping one night, when I'm still thinking it's a couple of weeks away, and not wake me until it's all over.

Confusedmom
01-21-2012, 08:43 PM
Yeah, like if they could just knock us out right about now (7-8 weeks out), and wake me up when I've recovered for a couple of months! (Rip-Van-Winkle-style scoliosis surgery!!)

:),
Evelyn

golfnut
01-22-2012, 12:24 AM
I know what you mean, Evelyn. John and I were on our way home from a nice vacation playing golf in Gulf Shores knowing that it would be the last for quite some time, when I checked our answering machine which had a message from Dr. Lenke's office with the schedule for my my whole day of pre- op tests The reality that I was going through with major surgery scared me unbelievably since I had seldom been in a hospital. This was also exactly at the time that well meaning friends and family members expressed their opinions that I was crazy to have major back surgery when I was in little pain. I finally told myself that I trusted my surgeon enough to go through with the surgery regardless of what others said, especially since they had no knowledge of scoliosis.

Roxjanine
01-22-2012, 04:29 PM
Well if I needed to be reminded that I need this surgery I was reminded today. I have great days but days that are the worst. My whole right side hurts, and the knots in my neck lower back and hip are killing me. I can't sit comfortable and even lying down is uncomfortable. I can't imagine what it would be like 20 years from now if I don't get this fixed. I feel crunches and compacted and even my right leg and arm hurt. I have to remind myself of days like this after my surgery, hopefully it will help.

rohrer01
01-25-2012, 07:15 AM
Roxjanine,
I'm sorry you're feeling so aweful. But, like you said, it is a reminder of why you are having this done. Just imagine yourself 20 years from now without the fusion. You are still very young and have age on your side. I'm having a bad time of it right now, too. But surgery isn't quite on the table for me, yet, as my curves are not as large as yours. I'm having trouble with a lot of sciatic pain for the last few days. Argh! It's not related to the scoli, as far as I know. I have DDD in my lower lumbar. So even if I have the surgery, it won't fix that unless they fuse the last couple of lumbar. I've never heard of fusing the T-spine and skipping a few and then fusing the lower L-spine. I hope you get to feeling better physically and mentally as your surgery date gets near.

Rohrer01

Confusedmom
01-25-2012, 09:07 PM
Rohrer,

I think LisaB has fusion L5 to S1 and then a thoracic fusion. She did hers in two different surgeries about a year or so apart, though. The first to fix the pain in the lumbar; the second to deal with the scoli.

Best,
Evelyn

rohrer01
01-26-2012, 12:52 AM
Thanks, that's encouraging. I haven't had imaging done in about a year and a half, at least on the lumbar. I lifted something VERY heavy in December 2010 and now the sciatica is going both from the left and to the right. My doctor didn't believe me about the right pain because it was a new injury. He's moved on, so I might either get another MRI or go back to my scoli doc and get the imaging that he wanted to do last time I was there. It's time to go back, but I'm hesitant because of what happened last time. But one thing I know for sure is I don't want to do it two step style. If I have to have one done, then I'm going to get both done within the same hospital stay at least. I don't want to drag things out if they both need fixing. I have terrible surgery anxiety. I've had too many surgeries for other things and have one coming up possibly very soon. ARGH!

Sorry, Roxjanine. I'm not meaning to hijack your thread. I know you have important issues of your own, and I'm certainly concerned about you. Take care!

Rohrer01

Roxjanine
01-26-2012, 04:43 PM
No problem! :)

Here is my new blog: http://everythingwillbejustspine.blogspot.com/2012/01/first-blog-post.html

Pooka1
01-26-2012, 04:53 PM
No problem! :)

Here is my new blog: http://everythingwillbejustspine.blogspot.com/2012/01/first-blog-post.html

Clever blog name!! Nice blog. I love your attitude. You will be a star. :-)

GOE
02-01-2012, 09:56 AM
Hello Roxjanine -

Read this thread a few weeks ago but I was out of the country with limited access to email. I'm back now and while there is not much to add to all the helpful words of encouragement you have recieved I just wanted to let you know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow.

I am about 7 months out from my surgery and while I still have some nerve pain I know it was the best decision to go ahead with the surgery at the time. Like you I was petrified about the arterial line that would go in my neck, anesthesia, post op pain etc. I honestly don't think anyone could have been as scared as I was but somehow just before the surgery I found a peace that helped me go through with it:) I will be praying for that peace for you and also the trust that these are qualified people who do this all the time so everything will go great.

About the correction, I had pretty large and stiff curves so even after the surgery I still have visible curves but like was already mentioned even the 50 -60% correction made a huge difference. I am sure you'll be happy with your new body even if he achieves only 50% correction.

Best wishes for tomorrow and see you on the other side !!!

JenniferG
02-01-2012, 12:12 PM
Wishing you the best outcome and a smooth road to recovery for 2/2, Roxjanine!

Roxjanine
02-01-2012, 01:10 PM
THANK YOU! I will be happy to have it done and over with- the anxiety part is not fun! I get to listen to my guided imagery cd before, during and after surgery. I read that it really helps with calming nerves and reducing blood lose. I will be sure to post as soon as I can after my surgery.

:)

Confusedmom
02-01-2012, 09:35 PM
Best wishes for tomorrow!!! You should be straight, beautiful and fully recovered for your wedding next year!

:),
Evelyn

nanut
02-01-2012, 09:53 PM
Best of luck with your surgery and recovery! You will do great!!

rohrer01
02-01-2012, 11:28 PM
THANK YOU! I will be happy to have it done and over with- the anxiety part is not fun! I get to listen to my guided imagery cd before, during and after surgery. I read that it really helps with calming nerves and reducing blood lose. I will be sure to post as soon as I can after my surgery.

:)

That's really neat that they let you listen to your CD during the operation! You probably won't get this message until after the big event, but wanted you to know I'm thinking about you!

Take Care,
Rohrer01