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View Full Version : August 8 upcoming surgery with Dr. Lenke/ questions



jane d
06-14-2012, 08:35 PM
Hi, everyone. This is my first time posting on this forum. I first learned I had scoliosis around 1992 when seeing a surgeon about problems in the cervical part of my spine. It didn't concern me too much as my mother had scoliosis and it didn't affect her although she had 3 different surgeries for herniated disks.*
About four years ago I started losing height and have lost 5 inches since then. That is a lot when you start out at only 5ft. 2 in. I'm now 4'9". Three years ago I saw several spine surgeons and the last one I saw was at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He said I should not have surgery until I was in unbearable pain as he said this surgery is "worse than having a heart transplant." That discouraged me and so I dropped my search until last summer when I talked to someone in my city, Columbia,SC, who had had surgery by Dr. Lenke. They were so pleased with their results that I made an appointment immediately with him. I saw him in November and his first available surgery date for me was this coming August 8. I go next week on June 19 & 20 for my pre-surgery tests. I have a 67 degree lumbar curve. His diagnosis is degenerative Lumbar Scoliosis, stenosis L5-S1, coronal and sagittal imbalance, kyphosis. My surgical procedure is: posterior fusion T2-sacrum/ilium, decompression L5-s1, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion L4-L5,L5/S1.*

I will be having intraoperative halo traction and that causes me some concern because of the issues in my cervical spine. (3 vertebra fused together on their own about 20 years ago) Did any of you have halo traction during surgery?

Since I saw him in November I have been having more pain from my lower rib pressing down hard on my pelvis. Also now lying down has become more uncomfortable, especially turn
Ing over in bed.

I have been working our with a trainer twice a week for the past 3 years to remain strong and walking.
As I will be 67 in November I guess I will be the oldest in this group having surgery. Your comments have educated me a lot about what this surgery will be like.

I have 3 children and 3 grandchildren, soon to be 5 grandchildren as one of my sons is flying to Latvia on Father's Day to adopt 2 children they hosted last year!

Two other small question's: will I ever again be able to get down into a tub for a tub bath and will I be able to raise my arms overhead to blow dry and curl my hair? Not high on the scale of importance but would like to know. This was a long post. Whew!
Jane

djkinkead
06-15-2012, 06:15 AM
Hi Jane,

I had the surgery about nine months ago and it is pretty much from tippy top to the bottom. You can see my spine photos in the link below.

I never had the traction, but several of my vertibra were already fused together, so my surgeon straightened everything he could as best as he could and he did not break the fused ones--and although the correction is tons better than before, I still have a slight curve, but the rib hump is much less on the right side.

I will state this: my surgeon was very conservative in letting the vertibra stay fused. I think some surgeons break them apart to make them straight. I think it depends on the style of the surgeon and other factors (I would assume would be age, bone density, etc).

Regarding bathtubs. I have a small tub and I didn't use it for a good six months because I felt like I couldn't get out of it. Even now, it's a bit of manipulation to turn my body (it now doesn't hurt when I do that) so can push myself out of the tub. The one thing I do have in the tub are waterproof pillows to lean back against. If you read my other posts--always think soft for surfaces!

This is the pillow I have in my tub:
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=14777636&RN=182&

I can raise my arms above my head pretty much after surgery--I was able to put on t-shirts....

Best of luck during you surgery. Will say prayers for you!

jane d
06-15-2012, 08:13 AM
I will get one of the pillows to use now and hopefully in the future be able to take baths after my surgery. My legs are strong now but think it might be difficult to get up out of a tub as I won't be able to work out as I have been for the past several years.
Jane

hasteffen
06-15-2012, 09:29 PM
Hi Jane,
It was so very nice to talk to you on the phone! Please keep me updated (with another call) after your pre op appointment. I have found this site very helpful.
Take care!
Heidi

gardenia
06-16-2012, 12:12 PM
Hi Jane,
I am going back to see Dr Bridwell July 5th & 6th for a flouroscopy and surgical scheduling (they think 2-3 months out). When I saw him in the beginning of May, he had me take a bunch of xrays, pulmonary test, MRI and threadmill eval. I was frustrated about not being able to have all this done in one shot but seeing that Dr Lenke is booking a year ahead makes me feel more OK (I guess it is the sentiment that I can't express).

Please keep us posted as to your visit and how long will you be in St Louis?

This is a great forum and wished we could one day meet and compare our happiness of the after surgery...

gardenia
ccmail4g@gmail.com (if you like to exchange support feelings etc)

nanlo
06-17-2012, 07:35 PM
Hi Jane,
Isn't the forum great? I bet you are excited / nervous as August 8th gets closer! We all remember how nerve wracking that time was!
I had surgery w/ Dr Lenke in August 2010. I had severe lumber stenosis, my curves were 91 and 86 degrees. I had had a fusion in 1967, so two sections of my spine were fused. Dr Lenke did saw through some of the fused lumbar area. Now I am fused T1 to sacrum. Because of the prior fusion, I did not get the dramatic results that some people get, my curves are now about 50 and 45, but they won't progress!
I was 100% thrilled with the results of my surgery. I have much more stamina now, and it's a relief to have my ribcage off of my pelvis. I can get into a tub, and lift my arms over my head, no problem (and basically do everything I could do before except w/ a straight back). The fact that you are working out and staying flexible and active will help you a LOT!
Nancy

hasteffen
06-20-2012, 06:32 PM
Jane,
Just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you today! How did it go? Tell us about your day
Heidi

jane d
06-21-2012, 07:50 PM
Guess I should change the name of this thread as my surgery has been changed to July 28! I had wanted it to be earlier as I have been waiting since November but had adjusted to the idea of August. Now I will have to scramble to get everything ready. My new grandchildren come from Latvia less than two weeks before my surgery so I won't have too much time to get to know them. My surgery is now on a Monday so we will have to fly back to St. Louis on Thursday, July 19 to have my central line put in Friday morning, then have my anesthesia appointment, another MRI of my lumbar area and then to the hospital Monday morning at 5:30am for 7:30 am surgery. Dr. Lenke now says he will fuse from T-4 to the sacrum. His nurse said all of the hardware in my back will weigh about 3 lbs.! He said it would be 8-9 hours of surgery. I have learned a lot already from this forum. As this date is quickly draws closer I find I'm getting a little nervous. My husband is very supportive but still wishes I were not having this surgery. We met a patient of Dr. Lenke's in the waiting room who was just 7 weeks post-op. She looked really good and has already cut way back on her pain meds. She lives in St. Louis and was there for her first post surgery check. I noticed she had a bed pillow behind her back and had been waiting about 2 hours by the time we met. She said she had driven only around the block in her neighborhood at this point.
I may post more tomorrow as our plane was delayed and we had to drive home from the Charlotte airport late last night and didn't get to bed until 1am last night! (hope my flight after surgery goes better, we had a thunderstorm and a bumpy ride for a while.)
Jane

titaniumed
06-22-2012, 01:42 AM
Jane

Just wanted to welcome you to the forum.

I had no problems getting into and out of my tub....I have a large and deep tub and took many HOT baths in my recovery, it worked well for pain.....I also had no problems reaching my head in the shower, even if it was only 1 arm since my right shoulder was broken when I did my scoli surgeries....(smiley face) What can I say? stuff happens.

You are a brave one. I also had many that were saying ďdonít do itĒ as they were very scared.....this happens to all of us.

I got to the point where the pain made my decision....

Deep breaths now....you are almost there.

Ed

Jenna.KB
06-22-2012, 04:42 AM
Guess I should change the name of this thread as my surgery has been changed to July 28! I had wanted it to be earlier as I have been waiting since November but had adjusted to the idea of August. Now I will have to scramble to get everything ready. My new grandchildren come from Latvia less than two weeks before my surgery so I won't have too much time to get to know them. My surgery is now on a Monday so we will have to fly back to St. Louis on Thursday, July 19 to have my central line put in Friday morning, then have my anesthesia appointment, another MRI of my lumbar area and then to the hospital Monday morning at 5:30am for 7:30 am surgery. Dr. Lenke now says he will fuse from T-4 to the sacrum. His nurse said all of the hardware in my back will weigh about 3 lbs.! He said it would be 8-9 hours of surgery. I have learned a lot already from this forum. As this date is quickly draws closer I find I'm getting a little nervous. My husband is very supportive but still wishes I were not having this surgery. We met a patient of Dr. Lenke's in the waiting room who was just 7 weeks post-op. She looked really good and has already cut way back on her pain meds. She lives in St. Louis and was there for her first post surgery check. I noticed she had a bed pillow behind her back and had been waiting about 2 hours by the time we met. She said she had driven only around the block in her neighborhood at this point.
I may post more tomorrow as our plane was delayed and we had to drive home from the Charlotte airport late last night and didn't get to bed until 1am last night! (hope my flight after surgery goes better, we had a thunderstorm and a bumpy ride for a while.)
Jane

Wow Jane,

Good result in getting your surgery moved forward, especially if you've only been waiting since Nov. I say only just because I was referred back to my surgeon for full fusion in Oct 2010 and am still waiting. I'm currently trying to kick up a fuss with the hospital. In the UK the NHS say that they will see you within 18wks of referral and treat you within 18wks of your first appointment so they are about 12 mths late with me. Their rules now so they have an obligation to transfer me as a priority surgery so fingers crossed.

You won't have as much time to get organised but I'm sure your husband and family will keep everything going whilst your recovering. I know you will be nervous but you must be so excited as well. :-)

My curves are similar to yours, didn't know the hardware would weigh approx 3lb! didn't think of that for some reason. Least we can knock that off when we're on the scales :-)

Good Luck with the surgery!! keep everyone posted

hasteffen
06-22-2012, 07:25 AM
I am glad your pre op appointment went well. I would love to hear details. What did they say about the plane ride home? how long did they tell you to stay at an area hotel? I am glad your surgery got moved up...mine got pushed back 2 days. Take care and talk to you soon, Heidi

Irina
06-22-2012, 11:07 AM
I am glad your pre op appointment went well. I would love to hear details. What did they say about the plane ride home? how long did they tell you to stay at an area hotel? I am glad your surgery got moved up...mine got pushed back 2 days. Take care and talk to you soon, Heidi

Hi Jane,

Itís great that youíve got an earlier date. This waiting must be the hardest part, but youíre almost there! I have the same questions as Heidi (hasteffen) about the flight back and for how long would you stay in a local hotel after the surgery. Or maybe youíre going to a rehab facility after the surgery?

jane d
06-22-2012, 11:54 AM
I won't know if I will have to go to rehab until they see how I do after surgery. They said I would be in the hospital for about a week and didn't tell me how long to stay afterwards. If I don't go to rehab our plans are to stay in the connecting hotel until the Friday after spending a week in the hospital which would put me flying home about 11 days after surgery. My husband has already booked our return flight but can change it if necessary. This week we flew from St. Louis to Charlotte and then drove almost 2 hours back to Columbia. After the surgery, we have a different flight. We would have to be at the airport around 7am and will fly to Atlanta and then directly to Columbia and then drive about 20 min. to our home. We booked two one way tickets so we will be flying back first class.(have never done that.) Hopefully the flight won't be as bumpy from storms as the one this week. We were on a smaller connector plane this week and had to also go down stairs to the Tarmac to get our luggage. After all I've read on this forum I do plan to take a twin size memory foam topper to use on the bed in the hotel.

I have been waiting for this surgery for the past 3 years and have seen many good surgeons so it is hard to believe that it soon will be happening!
Jane

babyboomer16
06-22-2012, 09:59 PM
Hi Jane, I saw your post and it caught my eye as I also will be having surgery with Dr. Lenke. I saw him May 16th, and won't have surgery till Feb 13th, 2013. Oh my, it seems forever. I have had two previous huge surgeries that didn't work. It was because of lack of experience. They were to correct a fusion I had on L3/4 L4/5 in 2006. I developed adult onset scoliosis and a severe saggital imbalance and thus I had the two revision surgeries in 2010. I looked around and finially found Dr. Lenke on this site. And then sent everything to his team. I was thrilled to get in to see him. He said at my appt. he would be reinforcing me from the front(not done previously) and also lots of other techniques that he will be using on me to make it a success. I also will be fused from top to bottom. (10 hr. surgery) all posterior. I am bent over in front so my ribs are crashing into my pelvis bones. And I have a lot of pain most the time. I am 60 yrs. old. I canott walk without a walker. Well, I can, but I pitch forward and fall downward . It's very painful.
I am so happy for you and will be following your posts to see how things turn out. I am in So. Dak.(central). So it is quite a drive to St. Louis. But we have a son in Lawrence Ks. that breaks the trip up for us. That's four hrs. from St. Louis. You said you will be in a "halo". Interesting~~ I don't think laying back in a tub would be very comfortable after a huge fusion.(down the road) But you will just have to see. We are all a little different. And you truley should be able to blow dry your hair. I have curley hair too! It can be a pain at times. You are going to be just fine. I have all the confidence in the world when it comes to Dr. Lenke. Breath easy, and know I will be thinking of you. Warm Blessings for you~~Linda

golfnut
06-23-2012, 08:46 AM
Jane,
I know you are probably feeling a little rushed, but it's good that your surgery was moved up. I waited (and worried) for 13 months, and although some cancellations opened up, they didn't work for me. Please feel free to email me: pottoff@htc.net I will give you my phone number if you are interested in talking sometime. The pre-surgery time was extremely stressful for me as I was petrified and doubting myself constantly. Not being in pain, made it difficult to elect to have major surgery. I have not regretted it for a single day. Choosing a top-notch surgeon is half of the battle-actually more like 98%. I have tons of faith in Dr. Lenke and his staff and would recommend him to anyone. Best of luck!

twistedRN
06-23-2012, 10:35 AM
Hi Jane,
I had surgery with Dr Bridwell at the end of March, T2-sacrum with pelvic fixation. I did have halo traction during surgery, which is honestly a good thing as scary as it sounds. It will hold your spine perfectly still until they remove it. I don't remember anything about it - it was obviously put in and removed when I was under anesthesia. I had a couple of small scabs on my forehead and the back of my head under my hair, but I honestly did not even notice them until about 3 days postOp and by then they were about gone. They were not sore at all.
As far as drying your hair, I was able to do that pretty much immediately (had my first shower/hair wash 6 days postOp). I did feel some slight pulling on the incision so didn't push it. I was able to reach up and put on t-shirts within days of surgery.
I haven't had a tub bath (too hot here in Atlanta!), but I would imagine you could do that when you are cleared by Dr Lenke to do so. It may be a bit uncomfortable with your new straight back, but you will find pillows or a position to help you with that! I was in a pool the other day - not swimming because I am not cleared for that yet - just wading around. At one point I realized I was on my knees in the shallow end! It felt great. I stayed in there for about an hour and then when I got out my back felt SO heavy....almost like it did right after surgery. I guess the water really lightened the load, so to speak, so it was a wierd feeling when I finally got out of the water!
Good luck with all the planning for surgery - it'll be here and over with before you know it and you'll be able to get on with life and your new grandchildren!
Suzanne

jane d
06-26-2012, 09:34 AM
I see in my last post I put in 2 different dates! It is the 23rd of July. We will fly to St. Louis on July 19 and I will have the central line put in early the next day, Friday morning. I have more of a peace about it now. I'm grateful to have a lot of people praying for me.

One concern I have is hearing about a lot of muscle cramping (the "bear claw" thing?) people are talking about. But, the intense pain I get if I accidentally flex my lumbar area and the rib pressing down on my pelvis on the left side remind me that this surgery is something I need.

I'm grateful for all of the information you all are giving me!
Jane

JenniferG
06-26-2012, 04:29 PM
Not everyone gets the bear claw thing Jane. I didn't, so try not to concern yourself about it. Best of luck in July and I hope this last waiting month goes quickly and smoothly.

golfnut
06-27-2012, 02:51 PM
I didn't get the bear claw feeling either. Stay focused on all of the positives of having the surgery and you will have it behind you before you know it. I preferred the recovery period to the stress I had worrying about the surgery and wondering if I was making the right decision. Dr. Lenke is the best ( or st least one
of the best)

susancook
06-27-2012, 09:39 PM
I am following your blog and am wishing you the best of luck with the surgery. Sounds like you are in very capable hands and that you are psychologically prepared. You say that you are the oldest among the group here, and I may need you for support in the future. I will be 66 in August and am still comtemplating surgery. For me, it is at least a year out, as I do not consider myself in enough pain to undertake a T3-S1 fixation, but only time will tell how this all progresses for me. Be assured that there are many "twisted sisters", many senior ones also, that are sending their warm thoughts and prayers your way. I have heard that the surgical journey is "more difficult that you had planned", but when you look at what your future would have been like without the surgery, we all see those crumbling little old ladies in the wheelchairs in the clinic and we don't want to be there.

Keep a notebook of "helpful hints" for those of us yet to go though the journey, especially us older ladies.
HUGS to you. Susan

jane d
07-05-2012, 05:16 PM
We have been very busy these past couple of weeks. Thanks again to all of you for your encouragement. I have had 2 of my grandchildren for a number of days this past week as my son and his wife wrap up their trip to Latvia. They return home Saturday night with their 11year old daughter and their newly adopted son and daughter. That will give them 5 children and a very busy household starting Sunday.

It seems hard to believe that my central line will be put in 2 weeks from tomorrow and my surgery will be 2 weeks from Monday!

Did any of you need a bed rail of some sort to help in getting out of bed when first at home? I have considered ordering one thinking it might help me in pulling up to a sitting position before getting out of bed.

I feel like I have gathered together most of the things I will need after this surgery. Wish I had time to cook up a bunch of meals to stock my freezer! But, with my new grandchildren coming and other weekend guests coming tomorrow I probably won't. What did most of you do about meals post surgery?

Thanks, Jane

JenniferG
07-05-2012, 06:32 PM
Jane, I cooked up a bunch of meals but they weren't eaten. My partner cooked every night and did a great job and I finally threw out the frozen meals I'd cooked! He also left food for me for during the day. He didn't miss a single day off work! Though he left early a few times. It worked out just fine.

golfnut
07-05-2012, 07:13 PM
Jane,
I didn't have a bed rail, but had bought a medical step stool with a handle that wa.s probably 6 inches above the mattress. We bought a new mattress and box springs and then put a memory foam topper on top of it. I needed the step stool in order to be at the right height to logroll. The handle really helped in getting in and out of bed.

JenniferG
07-05-2012, 08:02 PM
I was in hospital for 19 days and they placed a lever to the right side of the bed, which helped a lot. Once home, I used the chest of drawers beside the bed. I didn't really do any log rolling after the first few days.

Confusedmom
07-05-2012, 09:39 PM
Jane,
I just logroll. No rails. But I have to tighten my abs a lot.

For meals, neighbors brought us a lot. (A friend signed me up for bringameal.com.) Then we bought a bunch pre-made at Dinners by Design--one of those places where you can go in to prepare meals to freeze.

Best wishes,
Evelyn

nanlo
07-09-2012, 07:41 PM
Hi Jane,
We all know how nerve wracking it is the couple of weeks leading up to surgery! Best wishes as you prepare.
I found that I didn't need a rail once I was released from the hospital. The meal thing was very tricky for me because the pain meds messed with my appetite SO badly. There were not many things I ever felt like eating. I had a few friends scheduled to bring over meals, but quite often I couldn't bear the thought of eating what had been prepared! Kind of like when I was pregnant and only wanted to eat certain things. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can make things ahead, but you might end up sending someone out to get something different!
I also can't recommend the extra foam pad enough. I ended up ordering a second one for a double layer. Made a big difference.
GOOD LUCK!!
Nancy

amelot
07-14-2012, 03:46 PM
(Guess I should change the name of this thread as my surgery has been changed to July 28! )
Jane[/QUOTE]
I'm really excited and scared. I hope your pre-op goes well. I also hope I pass mine:)
Pam

hasteffen
07-18-2012, 07:12 PM
Hi Jane,
I was thinking about you today and praying for a most successful surgery! I think waiting is so hard... Please call me if you need to talk.
Best,
Heidi

SisterFriend
07-18-2012, 10:14 PM
Dear Jane, I was excited to hear you were going to have surgery 8/8/12, because I am scheduled to have surgery on 8/13/12, perhaps we could have met in the therapy room. Ha ha. But am happy to hear that your date has been moved up to july 23rd. I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. Would love to hear minute by minute recovery updates if you plan on taking computer. God Bless Laurie


Jane,
I know you are probably feeling a little rushed, but it's good that your surgery was moved up. I waited (and worried) for 13 months, and although some cancellations opened up, they didn't work for me. Please feel free to email me: pottoff@htc.net I will give you my phone number if you are interested in talking sometime. The pre-surgery time was extremely stressful for me as I was petrified and doubting myself constantly. Not being in pain, made it difficult to elect to have major surgery. I have not regretted it for a single day. Choosing a top-notch surgeon is half of the battle-actually more like 98%. I have tons of faith in Dr. Lenke and his staff and would recommend him to anyone. Best of luck!

mdtaffet
07-20-2012, 08:28 PM
Jane,

I know things are getting very close for you now, and don't know if you'll see this until after your surgery.

I just wanted to say that I did have traction during my surgery (T9 to sacrum with pelvic fixation). I don't know if it was halo traction, but it was definitely traction. After the surgery, there were two staples in each knee, which were a result of the traction (some nurses initially assumed I'd had knee surgery -- go figure!), along with a bit of an abrasion on my right hip, also due to the traction. And there were also a couple of spots on my head that were left by the traction.

In my case, my muscles and ligaments were so weak that my surgeon was able to get me much straighter than he initially assumed would be possible.

While I had definitely made a conscious decision/effort to get back into shape in 2007 (surgery was on 1/23/2012), I had to cut way back on my exercise due to the pain from neurogenic claudication caused by the lumbar stenosis. And I was extremely busy working on a contract up until the Friday before my surgery, which was also on a Monday. Unlike Dr. Lenke's/Bridwell's patients, the only prep work for Dr. Tallarico's patients is Xrays, MRI and CT scan done within 6 months of the surgery, and one pre-op visit.

Good luck on Monday!

-- Mary

jane d
07-21-2012, 09:40 PM
Well, I will be "on the other side" as y'all say in about 48 hours from now! We flew in Thursday night with some problems but it all worked out in the end. Our plane was ok from Columbia to Atlanta but the plane to take us from Allanta to St. Louis had mechanical problems so we sat locked in it for 3 hot hours on the Tarmac! Finally I told the stewardess that I had to get here for my surgery and after about 20 more minutes they let all of us off and cancelled that flight. The same stewardess got my husband and me quietly and took us and changed us to the last two seats on another plane and we arrived here at about 9pm. Our luggage arrived at the hotel the next night. I had my central line put in yesterday, another MRI of my thoracic area(Dr. Lenke didn't like the quality of the one they did in November), and my anesthesia appointment. The central line bothered me somewhat late yesterday but is ok today. Last night my husband's iPad in a hard case slipped out of my hand somehow and it dropped it's hard corner on my big toe and today it is swollen and black and blue. The IPad is ok though! We went to the St. Louis Art Museum this afternoon in Forest Park and enjoyed it. I hope one day after healing from this surgery to start back painting. My daughter came yesterday and will stay until the day after my surgery. She plans to fly back after I leave the hospital to help my husband when I am in the hotel. If all goes well, we plan to fly back home on August 4.

I hope my husband will post some for me while I'm in the hospital. The wifi signal in the hotel only works on the 7th& 8th floors so I'm sitting in a chair on the 7th floor outside the elevators. Our Verizon cell phones don't work well anywhere in the hotel or the hospital. Have had to go out on the street most times to use them. (the temps the next several days will be between 105 and 108 degrees! I thought Columbia was hot!)

I really appreciate all of the advice and encouragement I have received from all of you!
Jane

hasteffen
07-22-2012, 06:37 PM
Jane,
I popped on here tonight to tell you that I will be thinking about you and praying for you tonight and tomorrow... and days after too :) but especially tomorrow. I know you will do great! I can't wait to hear about your journey and recovery process. Feel free to call me when you are feeling up to it. Tell your husband to hang in there! I know he has not been the biggest fan of this surgery but I am so glad that he is such a great support/ caregiver to you. God Bless you both. Talk to you when you reach "the other side"!

Best,
Heidi

JenniferG
07-22-2012, 07:37 PM
Hope it all goes smoothly, you get a great result and a complication free recovery. You sound very organised and prepared so that will help. I look forward to reading news from your husband or yourself, at some stage post-surgery. All the very best Jane.

Confusedmom
07-22-2012, 09:07 PM
Best wishes for a successful surgery and smooth recovery! Post as soon as you can.

Best,
Evelyn

mabeckoff
07-22-2012, 09:48 PM
Best wishes that all goes well

Doodles
07-22-2012, 10:10 PM
Jane--
I will be thinking of you tomorrow and praying for a great outcome! You sound very optimistic and ready to go. Best of luck in the coming days. Janet

Jenna.KB
07-23-2012, 03:40 AM
Hi Jane,

Good Luck for your surgery! I'll be on the other side very soon too, I'm being admitted on 25th for surgery on 26th. Hope to come on here to say how well I'm doing and see the exact same from you.

I'll be thinking about you x

Irina
07-23-2012, 11:56 AM
Hi Jane,

Good Luck for your surgery! I'll be on the other side very soon too, I'm being admitted on 25th for surgery on 26th. Hope to come on here to say how well I'm doing and see the exact same from you.

I'll be thinking about you x

Hi Jenna,

Good luck with your surgery. I am so glad to hear that they are finally doing it for you.

hasteffen
07-23-2012, 06:38 PM
Hi Jane,
By now you are probably out of surgery and I hope are resting well. I just wanted you to know that I am thinking and praying for you.
Wishing you the very best,
Heidi

djkinkead
07-23-2012, 07:56 PM
Jane,

By now you are through with the surgery and are experiencing your first day post surgery. Always remember it will get better. Be sure to communicate with the staff when you are in pain--and your family can be your go between to make sure you get your medication on time. Sleeping is natural right now--your body is healing.

They will have you standing in a day or two! I know it seems impossible, but it will happen!

Prayers for you and your family!

Same thoughts for you, Jenna!!!!

jane d
07-24-2012, 05:22 PM
Hi, this is Edwin, the husband, posting for Jane.

Finally it is over. Surgery was yesterday -eight hours from first cut to finished. Everything went well and I was fused T4 to sacrum with two cages. Dr. Lenke came in around 7:00 AM this morning with his Fellow and is very pleased with the results. He corrected two thirds of the curvature (from 68 degrees to around 23 degrees.) He got rid of my kyphosis down to zero! I spent the first night in a Critical Care Area, which is not quite ICU and had to use the pain pump about once per hour. My night nurse did not know that the doctor had written an order for a muscle relaxant so I did not get one until I asked the day nurse who gave me one this morning which was a help. The pain has not been as bad as I thought it would be. The most uncomfortable part so far is constantly itching skin (the Dr. says it is due to the pain meds) but the Benedryl has helped it some. PT came at 9:00 and got me up and I was able to walk about twenty steps. Someone came and took an x-ray while I was in the bed, the respiratory person came with a spirometer which I am to use for ten breaths every hour.

I had requested a private room and was able to get one around 2:00PM and here I am. My pain level has increased (still not unbearable) but has improved since I got the muscle relaxant. Occupational therapy was supposed to be here at 4:00 but as of 5:10 is not here yet. I will have to get up and walk again but am not looking forward to it now. I can only have ice chips by mouth until my digestive system starts working again. Edwin spent the night in the CCA room in a recliner and is going to be on the couch in my room tonight.

Thank you to everyone for all of your concern and words of encouragement!

Jane (via Edwin)

JenniferG
07-24-2012, 07:49 PM
Hi, this is Edwin, the husband, posting for Jane.

Finally it is over. Surgery was yesterday -eight hours from first cut to finished. Everything went well and I was fused T4 to sacrum with two cages. Dr. Lenke came in around 7:00 AM this morning with his Fellow and is very pleased with the results. He corrected two thirds of the curvature (from 68 degrees to around 23 degrees.) He got rid of my kyphosis down to zero! I spent the first night in a Critical Care Area, which is not quite ICU and had to use the pain pump about once per hour. My night nurse did not know that the doctor had written an order for a muscle relaxant so I did not get one until I asked the day nurse who gave me one this morning which was a help. The pain has not been as bad as I thought it would be. The most uncomfortable part so far is constantly itching skin (the Dr. says it is due to the pain meds) but the Benedryl has helped it some. PT came at 9:00 and got me up and I was able to walk about twenty steps. Someone came and took an x-ray while I was in the bed, the respiratory person came with a spirometer which I am to use for ten breaths every hour.

I had requested a private room and was able to get one around 2:00PM and here I am. My pain level has increased (still not unbearable) but has improved since I got the muscle relaxant. Occupational therapy was supposed to be here at 4:00 but as of 5:10 is not here yet. I will have to get up and walk again but am not looking forward to it now. I can only have ice chips by mouth until my digestive system starts working again. Edwin spent the night in the CCA room in a recliner and is going to be on the couch in my room tonight.

Thank you to everyone for all of your concern and words of encouragement!

Jane (via Edwin)

Thank you Edwin! It's great to know Jane's surgery has gone smoothly and she's on her way to recovery already. Tell Jane that the walking will strengthen her, not weaken her as it may seem, especially in these early days. I'm so glad to hear things are going so well for her.

Jane's results are very similar to mine. I had a 68 degree curve which was brought back to 22 and I'm completely pain-free now. Miracles do happen!

I hope you are able to sleep on that couch, Edwin! This surgery can take its toll on family as well, so take good care.

mabeckoff
07-24-2012, 09:01 PM
Glad that you made to the other side

Irina
07-24-2012, 09:06 PM
Glad to hear that the surgery went well. Must be such a relief for this to be over with.

Confusedmom
07-24-2012, 09:50 PM
Hi Jane,

Your experience sounds EXACTLY like mine so far! Same doctor, same levels, 8 hours, night in critical care, good correction and itching from pain meds. However, I didn't walk the first day, and nearly fainted when I sat up. So, kudos to you!! You are on the coveted "other side" and on your way to recovery!!! Keep us posted.

Best,
Evelyn

Doodles
07-24-2012, 10:58 PM
Jane,
Your results sound fantastic! I sure hope you continue with recovery so well. Good luck! Janet

hasteffen
07-25-2012, 07:38 AM
Edwin thanks for posting! Jane, so glad that you are on the other side and on your way to recovering. Thanks for keeping us updated. Sounds like you have fantastic results! Did you gain any height? Hang in there.
hugs,
Heidi

golfnut
07-25-2012, 04:56 PM
Edwin,
Thank you for posting for Jane. I'm glad she's doing well and her surgery was successful. Dr. Lenke is an artist when reconstructing our backs. Tell Jane not to hesitate to use the pump. I also was relieved that the pain was not anything like I had imagined (feared!!!). I know it's hard on the hubbies, so try to get some rest when you can.

jrnyc
07-25-2012, 05:46 PM
Edwin
just one more thank you for posting for Jane...
good to know she came thru surgery OK and has
begun the healing process....
i hope her recovery is uneventful and as fast as possible...
with excellent results when she is all healed...

jess...& Sparky

king14
07-25-2012, 06:40 PM
Jane and Edwin:
Thank you so much for your update. So good to hear about another smooth surgery.
Keep your chin up Jane!! You did it!!!~~~

titaniumed
07-26-2012, 02:25 AM
Ed

Great to hear everything is ok with Jane.

Its been a few years now for me, and reading reminds me of the fears I had in immediate recovery. It can be scary adjusting to our new spines, and dealing with the pain. It does get better as time passes, itís a slow process but totally worth it....You guys hang in there.

BTW, Iím also an Edwin, a fused Edwin (smiley face)

Ed

jane d
07-26-2012, 04:56 PM
This is day three post op.
My pain is less than Tuesday and Wednesday, probably because of the pain meds. They are giving me Flexeril 10mg, a muscle relaxant, every eight hours; OxyContin every twelve hours; Percocet every four hours; and Benadryl for itchy skin every six hours. All these combine to make me very sleepy. They are giving me a unit of blood right now and say that it is common to need blood a few days after surgery.

They might remove my drains and bulky dressing on the incision tomorrow.

I just had PT and walked 80 feet and can turn in bed without help. The tech was very pleased with this.

I am very impressed with the staff of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. So far everyone has been very helpful and knowledgeable. At this point I am also pleased with my progress.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Jane

BTW - this post was typed by Edwin, and then edited by Jane's daughter, Neely. It's a real family effort!

JenniferG
07-26-2012, 05:49 PM
Thanks again Edwin and Jane. Things sound very much on track for Jane. I also received blood on day 2 or 3. It made a big difference to how I felt and it stopped the dizziness when I stood up.

"Sleepy" is good, in my opinion. Sleeping at this point is probably the best way for Jane to spend her time!

jane d
07-27-2012, 09:28 PM
Jane has had a good bit more pain today. She is off the pain pump and has had more PT activity today. She walked three times the longest about 100 ft., climbed the three step device, brushed her teeth, and got very tired. She dosed several times but no solid sleep. We are watching the Olympics opening ceremony - the first hour sitting in a chair. Still waiting for bowel activity but did have the first gas. Tomorrow they have planned to remove the drains from her back, the Foley catheter, and the wound dressing. That should make life in bed more comfortable. Tomorrow she should get her first sponge bath.

She has developed a bed sore which hurts but the thick bandage they put on it is also very uncomfortable.

I hope all of you have a great Olympic weekend

hasteffen
07-28-2012, 07:00 PM
Jane,
Sorry to hear about the bed sore! I am surprised that happened after 4 days. Do you know if this is common? I am thinking about you and your family. Sounds like you are doing rather well.
Best,
Heidi

jane d
07-30-2012, 12:13 PM
This morning Dr. Lenke's Fellow made rounds this morning and said they are concerned about her blood count and fast heart rate (above 100) and said he might want to give another unit of blood and keep us for another day. Now we worry her constant "tiredness" might be blood related instead of the normal lack of sleep from being interrupted all night.

A couple of hours later Dr Lenke's nurse just came by and Dr. Lenke is letting us go home and prescribed an iron supplement for the blood concerns. We are glad to be going home but now have nagging concerns about being tired. I (Edwin) have to remember that the doctor knows more than I do and if he thinks the iron supplement is correct, I should not question it.

However, I have a question.
We were told to stay in St. Louis for a few days in the hotel just in case something goes wrong we are close by. Since we are not taking vital's or doing blood work, how do we know if something is going wrong which might be masked by the tiredness we are experiencing?

Jane (by Edwin)

titaniumed
07-30-2012, 08:43 PM
Edwin

I agree with sticking around, itís a wise idea and doesnít cost much.

You know when you are in trouble, you just do. Its probably best to see how Jane is doing and leave it up to her.

Being tired after major surgery is to be expected. Your tired, and sleep if you can get it, isnít worth much. Sleeping like a cat seems to be part of the program for awhile.

The 1st few weeks are hard weeks...itís a battle we all go through.

One day at a time.

Ti-Edwin

JenniferG
07-31-2012, 04:21 AM
I agree with Ed. You'll know if something goes wrong. If it does, and it most likely won't, you'll be glad that you're nearby the hospital.

I think you'll both sleep better in the hotel, than the hospital. By now, you'll both be needing as much sleep as you can get. Sleep goes a long way to making you feel human again!

Personally, I'm also a little doubtful about the iron - she's likely already having constipation problems thanks to the pain meds and iron has a bad reputation that way...but as you say, the doctor does know best. I'd also be feeding her lots of iron rich, high fibre foods and keep her on the laxatives. A little red meat, spinach and bran come to mind - if she can stomach them!

As Ed says, these early days are very worrying, but we all get through it. Good luck and try not to worry.

susancook
08-01-2012, 01:41 AM
Wow! I have been on vacation and am so pleased that you are doing well.
Be careful about constipation...with pain pills and iron, you will probably have constipation.
Take your iron pills with Orange juice or a vitamin c tablet, not with milk.
Get some colace. Lots of fiber.
Keep a diary of things that I should know.
I'm new to all of this, and if and when I need surgery, I will need everone's help.

Take care of yourself.
Ed, take care of yourself too.

Susan

hasteffen
08-04-2012, 08:36 AM
Jane, I am thinking about you as you travel home. Please let me know how it goes.
Best wishes and safe travels!
Heidi

Confusedmom
08-07-2012, 01:01 PM
Tiredness is to be expected with that drug regimen. I was on the same one and can hardly remember those first couple of weeks. Make sure she is taking her senna and colace, as well as Miralax if needed. I had to take 4 senna plus and Miralax daily while on oxicontin. If you don't, it can be very painful.

Things to go back to the hospital for would be major chest pain, seepage from wound, severe disorientation. Basically, signs of a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism or infection. These complications are EXTREMELY rare, so don't get too hung up on them, but it's better to be close by just in case. Plus, Jane probably could use a few days before traveling, anyway.

Best,
Evelyn

Irina
08-07-2012, 03:16 PM
Tiredness is to be expected with that drug regimen. I was on the same one and can hardly remember those first couple of weeks. Make sure she is taking her senna and colace, as well as Miralax if needed. I had to take 4 senna plus and Miralax daily while on oxicontin. If you don't, it can be very painful.

Things to go back to the hospital for would be major chest pain, seepage from wound, severe disorientation. Basically, signs of a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism or infection. These complications are EXTREMELY rare, so don't get too hung up on them, but it's better to be close by just in case. Plus, Jane probably could use a few days before traveling, anyway.

Best,
Evelyn

Evelyn,

How do you get off the meds? Is it something that your doctor guides you thru or you just start increasing interval between taking the meds, cut pills in-half, etc? Do doctors tell their patients how to wean off the meds or is it left up to us to play it be ear?

Confusedmom
08-07-2012, 08:25 PM
I have asked that question a few times myself. There are a few threads on it. Try searching "pain meds" or "weaning." For me, whenever I would call for a refill, the medical assistant would tell me "okay, but this is the last time we'll refill this one." Or "okay, but we're prescribing a lower dosage." A couple of times I got: "we don't refill that one." (Oxicontin, valium, Flexeril.) When you get down to the last one, which for me is Norco, you just start spacing it out more and more. It has taken me FOREVER, but I am down to 1/2 pill a day! Plan to stop altogether next week.

Best,
Evelyn

Irina
08-07-2012, 10:12 PM
I have asked that question a few times myself. There are a few threads on it. Try searching "pain meds" or "weaning." For me, whenever I would call for a refill, the medical assistant would tell me "okay, but this is the last time we'll refill this one." Or "okay, but we're prescribing a lower dosage." A couple of times I got: "we don't refill that one." (Oxicontin, valium, Flexeril.) When you get down to the last one, which for me is Norco, you just start spacing it out more and more. It has taken me FOREVER, but I am down to 1/2 pill a day! Plan to stop altogether next week.

Best,
Evelyn

1/2 a pill is good! Let us know next week when you're totally off the meds. Waiting to hear for the good news.

jane d
08-17-2012, 08:32 PM
Hi, all. This is my first time posting for myself since my July 23 surgery with Dr. Lenke. I think I am doing much better than I thought I would be by this time. I walked 3/4 of a mile outside today without assistance! I am at this point starting to reduce pain medication, trying the strongest, oxyContin , every other day instead of every day and am only taking the Vicodan a couple of times a day. I am able to sit more than an hour at a time. Most of my pain has been muscle pain not spine pain. Some of the issues I've had have been: found out at end of my hospital stay that I was allergic to Percocet (had horrible hives and itching), have run a low grade fever every afternoon for past 3 weeks and no can seem to be able to find a reason, and my head seems to turn slightly down and to the right(they have me wearing a cervical collar part of the day to remind me to hold it more upwards and straight.) Tonight I had no fever for the first time so maybe it is over. Hope so. I do think working out twice a week for the past 3 1/2 years gave me a big advantage. I am looking forward to being "out and about" more soon. Jane

jane d
08-17-2012, 08:37 PM
I am now 2 inches taller and my spine looks pretty straight on x-ray!
Jane

jrnyc
08-17-2012, 10:01 PM
wow, jane, congratulations on how well you are doing!!
not even a month out from surgery....amazing...so happy for you!
i hope you feel a little better every day....

jess...& Sparky

JenniferG
08-17-2012, 10:34 PM
Congratulations Jane. Sounds like you're doing exceptionally well. Hope the remainder of your recovery continues as well as it is now.

jane d
08-18-2012, 07:56 AM
I appreciate your encouragement!

Last night I didn't give the real reason for my good recovery, prayer! I am grateful to have so many people who have been praying for me daily. God is my main strength!
Jane

titaniumed
08-18-2012, 10:53 AM
Jane

You made it, congratulations. You are almost past the hardest part, things will get better soon.

Keep notes on everything, meds, diet, etc.

It sure is something when the nurse brings in that first x-ray when you are in the hospital....I never expected such a correction.

Hang in there
Ed

king14
08-18-2012, 12:53 PM
Fantastic Jane!!
You're doing amazingly well!! And you're only 3 weeks post op!!! what an inspiration! I'll keep those prayers coming!!

golfnut
08-19-2012, 02:26 PM
Jane,
You sound so good. I'm happy everything is going well for you. At 5 weeks, I started going out more for lunch, dinner, to the Y, etc. Seeing other people (and hearing their compliments) was a huge boost for me. I knew I had a huge recovery still ahead, but the first month was over and things kept getting easier.

mabeckoff
08-19-2012, 07:49 PM
Jane,

I am glad that things are going so well for you

Melissa

Doodles
08-22-2012, 07:44 PM
Jane--
I am so happy for you! All sounds right on target. Continued success with your recovery! Janet

Confusedmom
08-22-2012, 10:44 PM
Wow, Jane! You are doing great to be able to cut back on pain meds so much already!! Glad the fever seems to have stopped. (I assume they ruled out infection?) Really hope I get to meet you in St. Louis! You sound like a strong, resilient woman!

Best,
Evelyn