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golfnut
03-27-2012, 06:11 PM
Most of you who have been active with the forum for the past year or more know that I had serious reservations about having this surgery and needed the support and encouragement from this forum to take the plunge. I seriously doubted that my life would ever be the same after surgery, but didn't want to continue to worry that my curve would eventually cause serious problems as well as make me even more self conscious of my appearance. Since I have had surgery, I feel so much more confident in new clothing that is not loose fitting and still receive compliments from people who I even see on a regular basis. I am doing a little yard work and housework, occasionally dancing with my husband, performing with my tap dancing class, riding my bike, playing 18 holes of golf every chance I get, and substitute teaching when I have time. I have hope that my golf scores will improve, but I'm pleased with how I'm hitting the ball even though not quite as far as before. I love being back on beautiful golf courses with my friends and my husband. Please know that I am not gloating, but want to express gratitude for all of you and my surgeon. Maybe it's the beautiful spring weather that has me so euphoric today . . . In the back of my mind, I still occasionally think about the possibility of a nonunion, but certainly hope that doesn't happen, as we all do.

Best of luck to all of you with surgeries scheduled in the upcomig months.

Marina63
03-27-2012, 06:23 PM
Karen, it's so great to hear that you are doing incredibly well just over a year post op. You have a much longer fusion than I do and it gives me hope that I will be able to do everything I used to do(I'm getting there!) when I'm a year post op.
Thanks for sharing your euphoria^^

Doreen1
03-27-2012, 06:51 PM
I'm tagging along behind you ladies! :-) I saw my second movie postop last night and how wonderful it is to be a participant in life rather than an observer I had become months leading up to my surgery (debilitating pain kept me in bed 75% of my days). I talked with one of the doctors in St. Louis today who is managing the Bridwell/Lenke study I'm part of. He asked, "Are you pleased with the outcome of your surgery?" My response, "Hell ya!" He got a good laugh out of that and said, "I'm putting down your exact response on the form." He went ahead and scheduled me for my 1 year postop appointment. I'll be back in St. Louis May 16, 2012 and Feb 20, 2013. Life is grand!

Warmly,
Doreen

golfnut
03-27-2012, 07:01 PM
Doreen,
I love your response "Hell, ya!" My husband still wants to meet you to drink dirty martinis sometime!

Doreen1
03-27-2012, 07:04 PM
Doreen,
I love your response "Hell, ya!" My husband still wants to meet you to drink dirty martinis sometime!

How about evening of May 15? ;-)

golfnut
03-27-2012, 07:06 PM
Perfect!!!! I will write it on the calendar and we'll figure out a time and place. I am excited to meet you and Jeremy.

Doodles
03-27-2012, 07:13 PM
Karen--
You are an inspiration to a lot of people on here! Good going! So pleased for you.

Doreen--
It sounds like you are doing extremely well too.

Continued good luck to you both. Janet

JenniferG
03-27-2012, 09:33 PM
"Life returns to normal." That's just the sort of inspiration anyone facing this surgery will want to read Karen! Congratulations. Enjoy your beautiful golf courses, your dancing and everything else you enjoy.

Singer
03-28-2012, 08:50 AM
I'm very happy for you!

scooter950
03-28-2012, 07:22 PM
Hi Karen, loved reading about your new normal... but I wonder: how do you slouch? What do you do when you want to sit back and SINK into a comfy chair? Or read in bed, propped up against a stack of pillows? I do that often, to stretch my spine and I wonder :"how will I do this post op ?" when I have a solid fusion- it must hurt, it must ache and be so tiring to always be erect. <sigh> I am living with the pain, and I expect I will still have pain post-op ; deep aches -like when it is going to rain, my body hurts so badly. But I will move forward, I will schedule this surgery because I want to stabilize my curves, and maybe lessen the pain. but how do you "slouch" now, post-op? LOL! Feel free to jump in , Doreen and share your experiecne too! xxx Jamie in TX

Doreen1
03-28-2012, 07:56 PM
Hi Karen, loved reading about your new normal... but I wonder: how do you slouch? What do you do when you want to sit back and SINK into a comfy chair? Or read in bed, propped up against a stack of pillows? I do that often, to stretch my spine and I wonder :"how will I do this post op ?" when I have a solid fusion- it must hurt, it must ache and be so tiring to always be erect. <sigh> I am living with the pain, and I expect I will still have pain post-op ; deep aches -like when it is going to rain, my body hurts so badly. But I will move forward, I will schedule this surgery because I want to stabilize my curves, and maybe lessen the pain. but how do you "slouch" now, post-op? LOL! Feel free to jump in , Doreen and share your experiecne too! xxx Jamie in TX

I'm living in the No-Slouch-Zone :-) I didn't think about slouching until now. It will be interesting to see Karen's response. I read in bed but lie flat with the book propped up on my chest, depending on the weight of the book. I don't get tired of being erect, a good portion of my back is still numb. I'm learning it's all about adaptability. When will you schedule your surgery?

Warmly,
Doreen

Doreen1
03-28-2012, 08:01 PM
Karen--
You are an inspiration to a lot of people on here! Good going! So pleased for you.

Doreen--
It sounds like you are doing extremely well too.

Continued good luck to you both. Janet

Hi Janet,
Share with us what your life is like 2 years post op. :-)

Quick question for the Lenke Ladies. Jeremy noticed a few weeks ago a little "goose egg" appearing toward the top of my hardware just slightly to the right of my spine. It is less prevalent in the morning, but by the time I go to bed, it's pretty noticeable. I asked Kelly about it and she said it's probably a muscle laying at the top of a rod that is getting inflamed. Since my back is numb in that area, I don't feel any pain or sensations. Have any of you experienced this?

Warmly,
Doreen

golfnut
03-28-2012, 08:10 PM
To everyone,
I have felt "normal" for a long time, but just being able to play 18 holes of golf and tap dance the same day was an "above average" day for me. Those were two of my favorite activities that I didn't know if I would ever be able to do again after surgery. If you go to Shutterfly in my signature, you can see a picture of me tap dancing 10 months after surgery and golfing 13 months post-op. Once I could drive the car by myself, go shopping, walk my dogs, walk for several miles, seldom take even Tylenol, teach school, life was great and pretty much back to normal. I just wasn't given permission to play golf until I was a year post-op, so that's my latest celebration. For those of you in the early stages of recovery, try to celebrate each and every accomplishment as you recover (i.e.-no longer needing various aides (sock aide, portable toilet seat, pain pills, etc.)

Scooter,
I do not slouch, but really didn't enjoy slouching before surgery, so I don't mind at all. I still am most comfortable with a pillow behind my back in the car and when sitting on our couch. I feel like the rods and screws are basically an internal brace and that they are keeping my vertebrae in line and separated and giving me support. Therefore, I am much more comforatable than before surgery when sitting for long periods and especially when standing. I am comfortable leaning back on some chairs, while others I might just sit more upright. It just depends upon how the chair fits my back.

golfnut
03-28-2012, 08:16 PM
Jamie,
I forgot to mention that I also like to read in bed before falling asleep, but I don't use any pillows at all unless I'm sitting up pretty straight. I lay completely flat and prop the book up on pillows on my stomach. I don't know if it really makes a difference or not, but I don't sleep with a pillow either because I am afraid I will develop kyphosis if my head is propped up on a pillow. (That's just my idea-no one has told me not to use a pillow)

Doreen,
I have not noticed the lump that you mentioned.

Doodles
03-28-2012, 09:37 PM
Karen's description of reading in bed is exactly what I do too. I have to have just the right pillows on my stomach to prop up the book. I have had a few occasions of falling asleep to be awakened by a book falling on my face.
I'm actually 3 years as of March 30th. I really do extremely well. Compared to some cosmetically mine isn't as great due to a rib hump (better than pre-surgery) and still some rotation. I know if I hadn't had it done it would have been LOTS worse. I had just retired so didn't need to worry about going back to teaching--at this age I don't think I could have. Which reminds me I should change my signature to 60 before it's 61 in a couple months--darn! I do lots of exercising--zumba is the best. I still get my husband to vacuum now since that for some reason causes difficulty. (If that changes I'm not telling.) I worked a couple hours in the yard a few days ago and sort of messed myself up though. Since I can't bend, I kneel down and I think the up and down sort of does me in. I may have to stop that. But--I'm older than most of you guys! Overall, you learn to compensate for some of the flexibility things and it's no big deal. For example, tie shoes with foot propped on the bathtub or kneel down. There are other options too. Would love to say I can do yoga again but I get on the floor with legs out and tip over! None of this is bad when I think from whence I came! Janet

Confusedmom
03-28-2012, 10:05 PM
Hi guys,

I'm just 2 weeks post op today. And, yes, I DID enjoy my first shower!

Doreen, I have that small hump, right at the top of my hardware. About where a crewneck shirt line would fall. I am thinking I must have some mild kyphosis above that, which makes it appear more prominent. Ironically, the only other place I can feel the hardware is the very bottom--right by my tailbone. I joked with my husband that maybe I should gain 20 lbs, so these little things wouldn't be noticeable.

Karen, I do so like the idea of feeling normal again. I know it will be a while, but I am okay with that.

Question: How long were you able to sit up early in your recovery. I'm getting into pretty bad pain by 15 min. I seem to be able to lie down and walk almost indefinitely, but sitting is a real pain in the a@&. Literally. Is that normal? Thanks!

Evelyn

scooter950
03-28-2012, 10:29 PM
I'm going back to my surgeon in April, hopefully to discuss surgery - i will probably schedule it for Nov timeframe, like when I did my cervical spine in 2011. It's a relatively "slow" time at work ... As for neck humps: I have a posterior neck hump- I hate it, I think it's from the C spine fusing - so the Cspine no longer rotates, but the thoracic spine does rotate- so the junction sticks out. Very un-attractive but my hair is shoulder length, and I keep it that length because: #1 - I feel it hides the shoulder disparity and #2- now it hides the neck hump. HA! who am I kidding? LOL

golfnut
03-29-2012, 06:24 AM
Janet,
I had to chuckle when I read that a book has occasionally hit you in the face when you fall asleep. It's happened to me several times as well. I had better stick with paperback books.

jrnyc
03-29-2012, 06:44 AM
so happy for you guys doing so well...
Janet...the image of you sitting on the floor and tipping over had me giggling...and i am not
even a giggler!!
i kinda figurd none of you would be slouching ever again...
are you guys what servicemen might call "ramrod straight"??
Karen..sounds like you have a new, straighter "normal"

jess...& Sparky

Doodles
03-29-2012, 02:02 PM
Karen--Yes, hard back novels can be deadly.

Jess--The image is bad! That keeps me out of yoga classes and in zumba.

Doreen1
03-29-2012, 02:43 PM
Hi guys,

I'm just 2 weeks post op today. And, yes, I DID enjoy my first shower!

Doreen, I have that small hump, right at the top of my hardware. About where a crewneck shirt line would fall. I am thinking I must have some mild kyphosis above that, which makes it appear more prominent. Ironically, the only other place I can feel the hardware is the very bottom--right by my tailbone. I joked with my husband that maybe I should gain 20 lbs, so these little things wouldn't be noticeable.

Karen, I do so like the idea of feeling normal again. I know it will be a while, but I am okay with that.

Question: How long were you able to sit up early in your recovery. I'm getting into pretty bad pain by 15 min. I seem to be able to lie down and walk almost indefinitely, but sitting is a real pain in the a@&. Literally. Is that normal? Thanks!

Evelyn

How wonderful... your first shower!! :-) Sitting early in my recovery was very painful and 15 min was about my limit for a few weeks. I believe it is normal. Things got better with each passing week and now I can sit through a 2.5 hour movie comfortably as long as I am in the straight back chair.

Warmly,
Doreen

Doreen1
03-29-2012, 02:46 PM
so happy for you guys doing so well...
Janet...the image of you sitting on the floor and tipping over had me giggling...and i am not
even a giggler!!
i kinda figurd none of you would be slouching ever again...
are you guys what servicemen might call "ramrod straight"??
Karen..sounds like you have a new, straighter "normal"

jess...& Sparky

Hi Jess,

Someone just recently asked me how long will I be ramrod straight. My response, "Forever," with a big smile on my face. :-D

golfnut
03-29-2012, 04:00 PM
Evelyn,
I couldn't sit comfortably for very long during the first month or so. I think that's why I walked so much! I also seemed to find relief in laying on my back and taking afternoon naps.

nanlo
03-29-2012, 07:46 PM
Hi All,
So happy and excited for you, Karen and Doreen, and all who have a new life post surgery. I am extremely happy with my results too, especially knowing that my future looks much brighter than if I had not had surgery.
Karen, what's a non-union? Inquiring minds want to know! Or do they?

golfnut
03-29-2012, 09:33 PM
Nancy,
I thought that a non-union was the same as pseudarthrosis which can result in rods breaking which I have read about in the "Revision Section". This is the definition that I just found:

"Nonunion is permanent failure of healing following a broken bone.

Nonunion is a serious complication of a fracture and may occur when the fracture moves too much, has a poor blood supply or gets infected. Patients who smoke have a higher incidence of nonunion. The normal process of bone healing is interrupted or stalled. In some cases a pseudo-joint (pseudarthrosis) develops between the two fragments with cartilage formation and a joint cavity. More commonly the tissue between the ununited fragments is scar tissue.

Since the process of bone healing is quite variable, a nonunion may go on to heal without intervention in a very few cases. In general, if a nonunion is still evident at 6 months post injury it will remain unhealed without specific treatment, usually orthopedic surgery. A non-union which does go on to heal is called a delayed union."

nanlo
03-30-2012, 04:24 PM
thank you, Karen!

djkinkead
03-31-2012, 08:05 AM
Hi Everyone,

I am now seven months post surgery.

In answer to the books hitting you in the face as you fall asleep, the answer is iPAD! :-) Pretty light weight, but I guess the edges are a bit sharper than a book's. :-)

To Jamie's question about slouching--you don't slouch. You can't. I am finding in the past couple months I am getting more flexible. I can now empty the lower part of the dishwasher--couldn't reach it the first three or four months. Picking something off the floor would have turned into a Laurel and Hardy moment with the chance of hurting myself. Love those grabbers....still use them occasionally.

I still have a bit of a rib hump on the right side and I find there are chairs that I simply cannot sit back against without discomfort within about five minutes. Some chairs are okay. Ergonomic (sp?) chairs are totally out for me now--with the spine being held in place by the rods and screws, there is no "give" so I can't sit back.

To this day I have a nice soft pillow on the back of my office chair. It helps me sit up straighter and its nice and soft so I am comfortable. I still have to get up and walk around for a short period of time about every hour, but you should do that even without any surgery. It's good for you!

I also found that for a while some of my brain cells were sluggish...it worried me a bit, but now at seven months post surgery, I seem to be getting back to what I consider my normal sense of intelligence and memory.

For taking a bath, I purchased a bath pillow set with foam in them....its the only way I can lean back and soak a bit.

Sorry for the rambling....just wanted to relay life at seven months post surgery.

golfnut
03-31-2012, 09:58 AM
Where did you find the bath pillow? That sounds good to me. I have an Ipad but it was a couple of years old. I know the newer ones are lighter. I am planning to get a reader of some kind mainly because I can't find a decent nightlight for reading that doesn't bother my husband. I've bought some clip on lights but haven't really found a good one.

golfnut
03-31-2012, 09:59 AM
I forgot to congratulate you on being 7 months post-op. It sounds like you are doing really well!

djkinkead
03-31-2012, 01:32 PM
The pillow I bought looks like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Better-Sleep-Inc-Bath-Pillow/dp/B004KZ7UIG/ref=sr_1_30?ie=UTF8&qid=1333218228&sr=8-30

I found my at Bed Bath and Beyond, don't see it online though through their store.

It doesn't always behave itself and the suction cups don't always hold--but actually if you google bath pillows there are LOTS of designs. I know I can't sit and relax in a tub without that to lean against.

What's nice about the iPad and reading at night is the screen is lit up--so you can probably read away while husband snoozes. Or you can go whole hog, get some nice Bose headphones and watch movies/tv shows on the iPad as well. I love the iPad. The newest IPad has better resolution. Not sure how important that is.

The only caveat I am finding is being able to walk super long distances--I pretty much am done in after two miles.

Otherwise I think the recoop is going pretty well.

One thing funny--everyone talks about the stomach kind of sticking out more after surgery. Yep, I have the same problem--and it's right at the same level where my ID badge hangs from the lanyard--so as I walk it starts bouncing off my stomach...very annoying. I have to hold my badge in front of me so it doesn't go in to full swing of beating me while I walk. :-)

mabeckoff
03-31-2012, 10:40 PM
Glad to hear that you are doing so well