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View Full Version : Irina’s Surgery – March 5/7, 2013



Irina
02-24-2013, 12:08 AM
It’s hard to believe that my surgery is just nine days away and I wanted to thank everybody for their advice and support. The most difficult part for me was making this decision, and this is when wonderful people on the forum helped me a lot. Now, I just can’t wait to get it over with.

I’ve been surprisingly calm since the decision has been made with just a few rough patches in between, but feeling a little blue today. The house is fully prepared for what is to come and I am running out of things to do. I still have nine days to go, but I am almost done packing for the hospital and even prepared a discharge bag so that my husband doesn’t forget anything. Loss of control will be one of the biggest challenges for me, but I am trying to look at it as a new experience.

I will ask my husband to give you an update, but he’ll probably do it after the second surgery. Or, may be Susan will post for me, will you, Susan? Please, wish me luck and I am looking forward to talking to you from the other side and paying forward to people who are struggling with making this difficult decision.

Irina.

aileens
02-24-2013, 12:19 AM
Irina, best of luck - you are in good hands. I just completed my 2 posterior surgeries - they were almost 10 hours each, from t-3 to s-1. Dr rand at the New England baptist knew he had too much to do in one slot alone, I think the anticipation was way worse than the experience itself - keep in mind that I am only a week out of my second surgery and already home, so my experience is limited. Don't get me wrong, this is a hard procedure on the body but you will get through. Try to do as much relaxation and resistance workouts beforehand - the relaxation I am sure helps with better surgical outcomes, whereas the arm, leg and core strength are really needed to get around.

Sending positive thoughts your way for a successful surgery!

mabeckoff
02-24-2013, 12:24 AM
I will keep you in my prayers. Please keep us informed as soon as you can. Soon you will be on the other side

JenniferG
02-24-2013, 02:48 AM
Not long now Irina. I hope somehow, the time goes quickly and suddenly you'll be on your way to recovery, with a new spine. Looking forward to hearing how it all goes.

kennedy
02-24-2013, 10:29 AM
good luck irina

Doodles
02-24-2013, 08:37 PM
Irina--
Wow, it's almost here! I'll be sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers your way. Can't wait to hear about your successful surgery and recovery! Janet

susancook
02-24-2013, 09:28 PM
I will gladly post for you! You are an amazing person! I was awed by you during our lunch together in California. I must say, that you are a gorgeous woman right now, and after your surgery in your slink dresses after your posterior hump is corrected, you will be even more awesome!

You are in very skilled hands with Dr. Hu. Both of us chose her for very good reasons. She is very skilled and experienced and she will be able to deal with whatever happens. You are strong and young and after surgery....you will be amazing!

For what you cannot control, take a deep cleansing breath, close your eyes and say out loud or to yourself, "Trust". Trust is the bridge between what you can and cannot control and saying it gives you control.

If you need to be busy now, walk or swim or rearrange the bathroom, clean your kitchen shelves, weed the flowers out front, or whatever you need to do to keep busy. I find that walking is painful, but reminds me that the surgery is thr right decision. I have started a journal of my thoughts and fears and find that if I write it down, I face it better. Maybe that will work for you!

I will visit you briefly in the hospital. I will stay no more than 5 minutes or just wave from the door if you want. I will be in Oakland/San Francisco on March 11th [arrive late on th 10th]. I am a Nurse Practitioner and if you would like me to have a shift in the hospital, or spend the night with you, I will gladly do that anytime that week. Please do not hesitate to ask. I only need to attend the pre-surgery class on Monday night and have my brace fitted on Monday afternoon [the 11th]. I am very serious about offering to sit with you or support you at night.

I am praying for you and thinking about you. I cannot wait to see you in your slinky black dress!
Susan

Irina
02-25-2013, 12:13 AM
Susan,

You’re so sweet! Thank you! I would be glad to see you in the hospital, no need to spend the night with me or pull the shift though. I tell my friends and relatives that I only want immediate family in the hospital because I don’t want to scare anyone. My daughter wanted to bring her boyfriend to the hospital, but I told her that it’s not a good idea because I don’t want this poor boy to run away screaming. But you’re my “twisted sister” and as a nurse, there is probably nothing you haven’t seen, so you’re very welcome to visit. Stay strong and positive, and before you know, your surgery will be behind you too.

susancook
02-25-2013, 05:12 AM
Susan,

You’re so sweat! Thank you! I would be glad to see you in the hospital, no need to spend the night with me or pull the shift though. I tell my friends and relatives that I only want immediate family in the hospital because I don’t want to scare anyone. My daughter wanted to bring her boyfriend to the hospital, but I told her that it’s not a good idea because I don’t want this poor boy to run away screaming. But you’re my “twisted sister” and as a nurse, there is probably nothing you haven’t seen, so you’re very welcome to visit. Stay strong and positive, and before you know, your surgery will be behind you too.

The offer is still open if you want to spell you daughter or husband from caring for you in the hsopital. I have done all kinds of nursing in hospitals and clinics. I worked in OB GYN for 23 years as a Nurse Practitioner. I guarantee that you wouldn't scare me.

I agree that the boyfriend shouldn't come to the hospital. Your daughter might marry him someday and he should see you at your best. And, under drugs, who knows what you might say?

I am at peace with my decision to have the surgery and will stay strong. Pain for me has been a great motivator.

Take care of yourself and start eating prunes. Costco has a Kirkland big bag of pitted prunes that are pretty good! And think what they might do for constipation!

HUGS from your Twisted Sister,
Susan

tae_tap
02-25-2013, 06:57 AM
Good luck Irina. I will be praying for positive outcomes.
Tamena

Confusedmom
02-25-2013, 07:53 AM
Irina,

I will be thinking of you! You may have one of these short, amazing recoveries. I hope you do! If it takes a little longer, though, I'm here. Feel free to email anytime. I will understand your feelings. As I get closer to my one-year anniversary, everything is seeming a bit more normal. Best wishes to you for a smooth surgery, straight back and pain-free life!!!

Best,
Evelyn

golfnut
02-25-2013, 07:48 PM
Irina,
I'll be thinking of you and wishing you a successful surgery and a smooth recovery. The waiting is the most difficult part, but staying busy helps. I exercised like crazy which seemed to help me mentally as well as physically. We'll be looking forward to your posts. How nice that Susan will post for you!
(Susan, I'm glad you are feeling better about your decision for surgery)

titaniumed
02-27-2013, 12:35 AM
Irina

You are ready.....

My final days of waiting were actually a release, where it didn’t matter, I wasn’t really scared, and just wanted to get it over with. This happens when you wait for surgery for a long long time.... I think that you are going to do just fine. Walk around the block if you get anxious. Breathe deep, really deep.

If you want me to come down I will after a few days.....The only problem with that is I would probably make you laugh and laughing hurts in the first few weeks....its something you will get used to.

The head nurse down there really knows her stuff.....I forget her name (Joanne?) but she came and spoke at a meeting.... She has nursed thousands of scolis over decades, and she just really impressed me for someone who not being a scoli understood or understands our feelings. This only comes through working with many patients through the years....You will meet this lady. So big thumbs up for the nursing staff, which is extremely important. You will understand what I’m saying later on after this is all over....(smiley face)

Releasing control isn’t easy for some, especially for someone like me. After they wake you, you realize that you have no control at all. Its at this point that you have to accept this brand new situation which can be especially difficult. This is where the “really” good nurses get separated out....they are going to be the ones that will talk to you, spend time with you, coach you, and build trust. This trust is so important..... Standing up the first time can be scary, it feels so strange, and you feel so tall, and delicate. They had me just standing for the first few days, and I didn’t even know it. When I finally realized that I was going to stand up, they told me that I had been standing a bunch of times over the last few days....wow! Are the heavy meds that strong? Yes, they sure are.

Many people came and visited me and I don’t remember them coming....I told them not to come, they came anyway. I heard about it later.....”I came” “No, you didn’t” “Yes, I did”. Wow! Funny how all the get well cards stacked up in the room.

Through all of this haze, when my mind “did” work, I thought and knew that it was only temporary and that eventually I would heal in time, and come out just fine and you know something, it worked. I always kept my eyes on that prize. Always think ahead, not about now, always ahead. Project your mind into the future, and never look back.

We will be following along here....the national scoliosis foundation cheering department.

Ed

Wish2bstraight
02-27-2013, 10:15 AM
I am now 5 weeks post op. I don't remember very much at all from my hospital stay. I know my husband came to see me everyday, but I only remember 3 visits and I was in the hospital for 11 days. I only remember sitting up in a chair once, and I only remember that because I read the threads my daughter wrote to keep every updated, which jogged my memory.

the best thing I did for myself was to be sure I was very good at log rolling and did exercises to keep my core and thighs as strong as I could. After my stay in the hospital, I ended up in rehab for another 11 days, so needless to say, I was really a mess. I am now proud to say that I am walking around without any assistance around the house and when I go out I have to use my cane. since I was in bed for so long, I have lost a lot of muscle tone and building that up is very time consuming and sometimes painful, but the fact that I can now go without the cane helps my mental state knowing that I am improving on a daily basis. This is why I say to get as strong as you can before surgery.

I am hoping that when I see the doctor next week, he will let me take my brace off more often. I have a love/hate relationship with that thing. It feels great when I pull it tight first thing after getting up from bed, but when sitting in a chair, I would like to throw it away. Also sitting here at the computer is not comfortable.

Best of luck to you, Irina and Susan.
Your other twisted sister.

Libby

Irina
02-27-2013, 12:27 PM
Thank you all for your kind words. Ed, I've met Jo-An at my second appointment with Dr. Hu, but I don't think I'll recognize her. My appointment was on Halloween and she wore a funny costume, so when I see her without that wig, I may not recognize her :-)

We were talking with mom the other day about how lucky we are to be here, in the US, - this surgery was not a possibility in Ukraine and if somebody told me many years ago that I will have a scoliosis surgery at the age of 45 in San Francisco, I would think that that person lost his mind :-) I divide my life in three parts - before immigration, before the surgery and afer the surgery. The second part was much better than the first part, and I am sure that the third one will be the best.

susancook
03-06-2013, 02:22 AM
Dave just sent a note: Sounds like everything is going well:



This is being written by Irina's husband, Dave:
Today, Irina had the first of her 2 surgeries to correct her scoliosis.
It went well. They started at 9am and were done just before 4pm, which is about the time we expected.
She spent a lot of time in the recovery room because the hospital is very full and it took time to find an open room
for her.
She has taken some solid food already today, but is feeling a little nauseous.
She's learning how to rest and get comfortable with all the tubes sticking into her.
The second surgery will be on Thursday and I'll send out another message that night.
- Dave Adaskin

Susie*Bee
03-06-2013, 08:00 AM
So glad to hear surgery #1 went well. Thanks for posting for Irina/Dave.

mabeckoff
03-06-2013, 09:15 AM
Glad that the first surgery went well.

JenniferG
03-06-2013, 02:35 PM
Glad to hear Irina's doing well. Hang in there, Irina!

golfnut
03-06-2013, 08:49 PM
Thanks for posting for Irina. These are long days for you. We'll be looking forward to your next post after her surgery on Thursday.

susancook
03-08-2013, 12:42 AM
I received an email from Dave:
Irina's second day of surgery went well and Dr. Hu said that she thought that she would be happy with the results. She lost a lot of blood during the procedure. She is having difficulty finding a comfortable position.
I will visit her on Monday at UCSF and say hello from everyone.
I will read her all of the messages from everyone if Dave has not been into the forum.
Susan:mad:

JenniferG
03-08-2013, 03:53 AM
Happy for her, all she needs is time, now. Thanks for letting us know Susan.

Wish2bstraight
03-08-2013, 01:48 PM
Iranian, so happy to hear both surgeries went well. I,too, lost a lot of blood during my last procedure. Relax and listen to your body when it says stop and rest. I am know two months postoperative and feel good. I definitely lost a great deal of muscle tone and consequently have some muscle pain to deal with at night. If it weren't for the evening pain, I. Would not be on any mess at all.

Life can be a beautiful thing. Before you know it, you will want to be in the stores shopping for new clothes.

Libby

tae_tap
03-08-2013, 02:35 PM
So glad you made it through well. Now for rest and healing. Praying both will come easy for you.

Tamena

Irina
03-08-2013, 04:09 PM
Thank you for all the support.

They are giving me Benadryl because I was itching a lot. Now I'm very sleepy. '

During the second surgery I lost a lot of blood because my platelet count was low. They gave me several units of packed cells and a few of just platelets.

My husband is the best husband in the world. [She really told me to type this!].
He's feeding me from a spoon like a baby.

I'll post more later.

Irina

jrnyc
03-08-2013, 04:17 PM
thanks, Irina's husband Dave, for the update...
thoughts and prayers to your wife for an uneventful recovery...
hope you can get some rest while she is resting...
you will need to take care of yourself, so you can take care of Irina...

jess...and Sparky

golfnut
03-08-2013, 05:22 PM
I am glad to hear that both surgeries went well. Thanks for posting.

susancook
03-08-2013, 07:40 PM
Hi Irina! I have prayed for you during your surgeries and am so glad that you are now on the other side. It's all healing for now. You are on your way to the new you! I know that everyday there will be a very small improvement....probably too small to tell by the day, but more by the week. Someone suggested writing down what you do everyday, like how far you walk, etc. then, you can look back and see that you are making a little bit of progress. If you were taking Benedryl, you were probably allergic to something. I had to take Benedryl after I took codeine. The itching was awful!

You have been a role model of courage for me! You will gradually get your strength back and keep thinking about that slinky black dress!

See you on Monday!

Love you,
Your twisted sister, Susan

Confusedmom
03-08-2013, 09:05 PM
Irina,

You did it!!! You're on the other side!!!!! Congratulations. :-) Now the recovery can begin. Be kind to yourself and don't forget to eat (and take Miralax)! You will be feeling better soon.

Best wishes,
Evelyn

susancook
03-08-2013, 09:07 PM
Thank you for all the support.

They are giving me Benadryl because I was itching a lot. Now I'm very sleepy. '

During the second surgery I lost a lot of blood because my platelet count was low. They gave me several units of packed cells and a few of just platelets.

My husband is the best husband in the world. [She really told me to type this!].
He's feeding me from a spoon like a baby.

I'll post more later.

Irina

Wayne, you are hired! Take care of Irina and be her nurse. I look forward to meeting you. After I am restaurant ready, my husband and I can go out with you and Irina. That will probably be when I come back to SF for my 3 month checkup. Our table will be the one with the 2 women sitting up very straight! Susan

titaniumed
03-08-2013, 09:20 PM
Irina

I just wanted to say congratulations on being on the other side....

It is hard getting comfortable.....but it will get better soon.

Hang in there

Ed

mabeckoff
03-08-2013, 10:42 PM
Glad that you are on the other side and that you are doing so well

Irina
03-09-2013, 04:59 PM
(Posted by Irina's husband, Dave)

At 2 days out from the last surgery, I've only been able to sit up a little bit. The nurse had me standing for a few minutes but I was very dizzy. The physical therapist didn't want to try standing because my O2 level was too low.

To all the other post-op people out there:
When did you take your first steps? Did you have a lot of dizziness?

Thanks,
Irina

JenniferG
03-09-2013, 05:32 PM
Irina,

Congrats on having the surgery over with! Regarding standing/walking. I was sat up on the side of the bed, with the intention of walking on day 2 but I was very dizzy and they lay me back down again. They then topped me up with another bag of blood and next day I stood and walked easily. The blood made a huge difference. Don't be disappointed - each day makes a big difference. Relax and go with the flow, it'll all work out well in the end. You sound like you're doing just fine.

JuliaAnn
03-09-2013, 08:05 PM
Irina, I sat up on the second day but was too dizzy to stand. The third day they helped me stand up and move to sit in a chair for a short time. I was still dizzy though and my blood pressure dropped so that was all for the third day. The fourth day I started to be more alert in bed and move around. I'm keeping you in prayer. You're doing great.

maggie6
03-09-2013, 09:29 PM
Irina I'm only a little ahead of you with my surgery, Feb 18. I can't remember much of the the first few days after surgery. My sister told me they tried to get me up the 2 day. Now Im walking 3-4 times a day on my "track" I made at home. Most of the time I walk eat and sleep.

titaniumed
03-09-2013, 10:40 PM
Dave and Irina

I don’t remember....Everyone told me that I had been standing, but in the fog of it all, I just don’t remember. The hospital reports said that it was done the next day. They must have been holding me, I was beyond wasted. The morphine, dialuid, and lortab is powerful stuff and you need it to keep the pain in check.

After major surgery, the body is running in overtime....white blood cell counts are high and the blood needs to adjust. I agree with Jen. The blood transfusions really are a huge help....it took a few days for me to finally feel good enough to want to get out of my hospital bed. It was around the 4th or 5th day that my mind came back and realized what was going on.

On heavy meds, the dizzy’s will come and go.....it will get better each day.

You guys hang in there....her body is going through major adjustments right now. Healing quickly, every single second.

That goes for you too Maggie...congratulations!

Ed

Confusedmom
03-10-2013, 12:28 AM
The day after surgery they wanted to get me up to walk. But when I sat up in bed I thought I was going to faint. So they waited until the next day, and then I walked. You'll get there soon!!

Evelyn

LindaRacine
03-10-2013, 01:17 PM
Hi Irina...

Patients usually stand the day after surgery, but you shouldn't judge your own health by that fact. After my 2011 surgeries, I was up the next day, but couldn't stay awake enough to stand on my own, so spent the next 2 days in bed. I think I was up on P/O day 4, and was just fine. They'll figure out what is making you dizzy, and you'll be up before you know it. Hang in there.

Regards,
Linda

loves to skate
03-10-2013, 01:30 PM
Irina,
Glad to hear you're on the healing side. I think I stood up on the second day. I think I must have been too drugged to stand up on the first day. I don't remember too much on that first day except having hallucinations. Glad your hubby is taking such good care of you.
Sally

Irina
03-11-2013, 09:54 AM
I am getting off the bed now to sit on a chair or to use a commode toilet. All the tubes are out except for the oxygen. Docs are still working on figuring out meds and to get my bowels moving. The cosmetic improvement is dramatic - I have not seen my back, but my mom says that I should kiss my surgeon,s hands because my back has never ever looked so beautiful.
Edited to say that this post is written by Irina.

tae_tap
03-11-2013, 10:54 AM
Irina,

I am impressed that you are able to post while still in the hospital. You sound like you are doing great. Will keep the prayers coming that each day gets easier. It took me a while before the insides got to working as well, but it will eventually come to pass. Keep up the good work!

Tamena

JenniferG
03-11-2013, 04:49 PM
I like your mother's expression! Oh yes!!!

You sound good Irina. Posting so early amazes me. I didn't even think about the internet for a couple of weeks. It's great to follow your progress and know you're doing great!

kennedy
03-11-2013, 05:05 PM
i took my first steps 3 days post-op and yes i felted really dizzy

Doodles
03-11-2013, 10:34 PM
Irina--
You sound wonderful and your back must look wonderful too! Congratulations for being on this side as you go through the slow steps of recovery. I remember standing very briefly the next day--or maybe they just told me I did! But I certainly remember dizziness for some time & I guess I had to have extra pints of blood during the first week so it's not unusual. Hope you have steady improvement over the next days and weeks. Janet

JuliaAnn
03-11-2013, 10:48 PM
Irina, I too am amazed you're able to type a response. Holding a spoon and bowl was as much movement as I wanted to do. You're doing so well! I'm praying for you.

susancook
03-12-2013, 06:23 PM
I took the train and bus into SF to visit Irina and talk to the folks in the brace shop about my brace. Irina looked quite good actually. Dave seemed like a competent nurse ;+}. He showed me a photo of her back with the bandages on, of course, and her rib hump was very missing! She looked so straight.
Her biggest problems are oxygen saturation levels and the big C....constipation. She said that she feels 5 months pregnant. Once she gets that solved, I am sure that things will be going better for her. She's eating regular food and says that the food at UCSF isn't too bad.
She is on oral meds: Oxycodone....which isn't making her constipation any better!
I am so happy that she is doing well. She has waited for so many years to get up the courage to do the surgery. She said that Dr. Hu rarely sees anyone in their 40s with her kind of scoliosis that did not have surgery as a teen. Irina lived in the Ukraine until she was maybe 19 or so, so she did not have any early correction.
Susan

JenniferG
03-12-2013, 11:02 PM
Once she gets that constipation problem fixed, she'll feel much better. Having a freshly fused back and an enormous tummy is not a good combination. But at some point, we all manage to get rid of it and feel much more comfortable.

I often wonder if those who eat early get the worst constipation. I said I was hungry on Day 2 and unexpectedly, they brought me food, which I ate and enjoyed. (I had no appetite problems whatsoever.) From that point on, I had three meals a day. All healthy stuff and I enjoyed it though initially they were small servings. It took me 9 days to "go" and it was no fun.

mabeckoff
03-13-2013, 01:39 PM
Glad to hear that she is doing well and hope that her tummy problems get solved soon

golfnut
03-13-2013, 06:33 PM
Oh, the constipation is such an issue with most of us. Once I got that under control, my recovery went smoothly and yours will, as well. I'm sure you look fantastic with your new straight back!

susancook
03-14-2013, 01:54 AM
Irina is feeling better and hopes to go home tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing the great pictures of her straight back!
Susan

maggie6
03-14-2013, 11:10 AM
Irina, so glad to hear surgery went well. I feel like we can recooperate together. I can't remember when I actually stood. I couldn't even remember my brother coming to see me five days after surgery.

JenniferG
03-14-2013, 04:32 PM
Susan, thanks for letting us know how Irina's doing. Wishing her a smooth recovery at home.

Irina
03-17-2013, 10:43 AM
I am slowly improving, but hate nights. I wake up many times to take medication and use a restroom. My husband is with me all the time and would not let me out of bed without him - day or night. I feel terrible for doing this to him. What were your early nights like? Any suggestions on how to make it better? Thank you!

tae_tap
03-17-2013, 10:59 AM
Irina,
I too had a husband that would rise every time with me, but don't feel bad for he is showing you love and caring for you as I am sure you have done for him. It would hurt my husbands feelings if I didn't let him help me, and Lord knows I needed the help. He even gave me his side of the bed because it was easier for me to get up from, which we all know after so many years of marriage is a huge gift.

It will get easier in time and things will go back to normal, but keep yourself on a schedule for your meds so that your body doesn't tire from the pain.

Still praying during your road to recovery.

Tamena

LindaRacine
03-17-2013, 12:06 PM
Hi Irina...

Just about everyone has those sleepless nights for awhile. After my last surgeries, I spent the first 2 months barely able to sleep at night. It's exhausting and depressing.

The good news is that it will get better. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Hang in there.

--Linda

titaniumed
03-17-2013, 12:59 PM
Irina

The nights can be especially hard. It always seemed that the pain events for me would always happen during the night for some reason.....

You are in the “survival mode” I have mentioned here in the past, and can be a tough period. This is an extremely tiring period, and any sleep you can get is valuable......My 1st 4 weeks were the hardest and then suddenly I would have a little bump of improvement.

Now you know why we type the words “hang in there”....they have special meaning to us.

I am applying this right now for myself as my mother passed away a few days ago. Sometimes I wonder how strong I have to be, I conquered scoliosis surgery but this is about as tough as it gets.

May our recoveries pass quickly.

Ed

susancook
03-17-2013, 02:07 PM
Irina

The nights can be especially hard. It always seemed that the pain events for me would always happen during the night for some reason.....

You are in the “survival mode” I have mentioned here in the past, and can be a tough period. This is an extremely tiring period, and any sleep you can get is valuable......My 1st 4 weeks were the hardest and then suddenly I would have a little bump of improvement.

Now you know why we type the words “hang in there”....they have special meaning to us.

I am applying this right now for myself as my mother passed away a few days ago. Sometimes I wonder how strong I have to be, I conquered scoliosis surgery but this is about as tough as it gets.

May our recoveries pass quickly.

Ed

Ed: YOUR PM BOX IS FULLL, so I cut and pasted what I wrote: Sorry about the loss of your mom. Moms are special people and their loss at any age is difficult. I have lost my mom and dad in the past 6 years, mom at 87 and dad at 91. I have such wonderful memories to buoy me up when I feel sad, and I still feel sad. Take your time to go through her things....don't throw them away too quickly. My brother liked a shirt that smelled like my dad.

When I was in Fiji in a village, I suddenly felt my mom's presence. It was just for 10 seconds or so, but it was completely out of no where. It was strange and wonderful.

My surgery is Tuesday and I will be thinking of you and thanking you for all of the advice that you have given to me. Your mom had a wonderful son.
Susan

susancook
03-17-2013, 02:14 PM
Irina: I hope that your nights are better. I wonder if a longer acting pain pill/patch would be better at night? If Dave is like my husband, he really does his part in the marriage, so I am sure that he feels that it is his role, and he probably takes great pride in taking good care of you.

Thanks for sharing your journey with me at UCSF. I did not receive any calls from anyone that had surgery at UCSF, so you are my only source....actually someone else emailed me about her experience, which unfortunately for her was with a postop infection.

I hope that it is sunny in San Jose, maybe you can sit outside for a short while.

Take care. Susan

golfnut
03-17-2013, 03:55 PM
I dreaded nights because of insomnia. Like everything else, it gradually got better. Hang in there!

Irina
03-17-2013, 08:15 PM
I am 3.25 inches taller - a whopping 5.95 and when my friends and family see me for the first time since
surgery, they all say: "OMG", "It's a miracle" etc ant it's a music to my ears.

golfnut
03-17-2013, 08:24 PM
That's wonderful. The new physical appearance is such an ego booster, which may sound vain, but I loved it and you will, too.

JenniferG
03-17-2013, 09:28 PM
Wow! 3.25 inches. Just goes to show how scrunched up we get. No wonder it hurts!

Confusedmom
03-17-2013, 10:46 PM
Irina,

In the early weeks I took everything they let me take right before bed: Valium, oxi, Norco. Then I kept a full water bottle and night pain pulls next to the bed, along with my iPhone. I set the alarm schedule on my iPhone to go off with the pain pill reminders. Example , 2 a.m. Alarm: "1 pill Norco" would show up on screen. I would take it, drink the water and go back to sleep without getting up. I kept only those pills I would be taking in a small cup by my bed, to make it less confusing. It's a little difficult to keep everything straight when you're half asleep and on pain meds, but it worked for me with the iPhone. My hubby never had to get up. (He did have to hear the alarm, though. But I kept the volumn reasonable.) It won't be long before you can go 6-8 hours without pills and sleep through the night. Congrats on the new-found height!

Evelyn

Confusedmom
03-17-2013, 10:48 PM
Ed,

I'm so sorry to read of your loss. I know you are a very strong person, so for you to say this is the biggest challenge, I know it must be. Hang in there and remember that she is still living--in you!

Best,
Evelyn

Irina
03-18-2013, 12:51 AM
Ed, I am very sorry about the loss of your mother too.

jrnyc
03-18-2013, 09:01 AM
Irina...hope you feel better every day

Ed...deepest condolences...only thing i know that helps is time...
after the years pass, it hurts a little less...
i hope your mother did not suffer...
i am so sorry for your loss.

jess

jackieg412
03-18-2013, 04:03 PM
Irina,
You will get better and better. Isn't the change in height something. I only gained an inch but I felt different. I felt taller!Keep doing great!
Ed, so sorry about your mother. I could not message you.
Take care all,
Jackie

JuliaAnn
03-18-2013, 06:07 PM
Irina, you are getting through the hardest days now. Soon you'll start to notice small but very good changes. As for those difficult nights, I found they were more manageable when I didn't think of "night = sleep", but rather "In bed = holding still and healing". So sometimes I would have the light on and for the first time in my life, I would fall asleep with the light on. Waking, sleeping, I allowed sleep time to be any time I needed it, whether it was day or night. And wake time was anytime too, whether day or night. It was just a little psychological thing but I found it helped me. It helped me feel less frustrated when nights didn't turn out the way I hoped.

Hang in there. We're thinking of you!

Irina
03-21-2013, 12:17 AM
I am at a local hospital with a few complications - huge hematoma and blood / urine infection. I developed severe abdominal pain the day of discharge from UCSF. They did x-rays that only showed gas. They told me it's a bad constipation and sent me home next day. At home, my abdominal pain was getting worse to the point that I simply screamed.

We called 911and were taken to the nearest ER. The docs there did x-rays and ct-scans of my belly and found an enormous hematoma. On Tuesday I had another surgery, where they removed FOUR liters of blood from my belly. If that's not enough, I developed an infection in my blood and urine. Infectious disease doctor told me they will put me on antibiotics thru IV for several weeks and then I'd have to take antibiotics orally for months and possibly years. I am worried about hardware infection, but doctors here tell me that there is no real way of knowing if hardware was infected.

Any experience with infections? No need to say that I'm worried.

JenniferG
03-21-2013, 01:25 AM
Oh no...I'm so sorry to hear that Irina. Sorry, I don't know much about infections but I just wanted to wish you well for total recovery, smoothly and quickly.

Susie*Bee
03-21-2013, 05:17 AM
How frightening for you. I'll be praying that the problem will be solved with the strong course of antibiotics. Hugs, Susie

tae_tap
03-21-2013, 08:08 AM
Irina,

Praying for you and that the infection goes away quickly.
Tamena

Wish2bstraight
03-21-2013, 09:06 AM
Irina,
so sorry to hear about your complications. I am hoping and praying that you feel better soon.

Ed,
sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. My mother is presently on her death bed. Just a little more than three years since my dad pasted away. Even though we all know that time does help with the pain, it doesn't always help in the present.

My best to both of you.

Libby

mabeckoff
03-21-2013, 10:25 AM
Irina,

I am so sorry to hear about your problems
Praying

Doodles
03-21-2013, 12:55 PM
Irina--
I'm so sorry to hear about this. I truly hope and pray things are going to improve for you very soon. Janet

JuliaAnn
03-21-2013, 12:57 PM
Oh Irina, so sorry to hear of your complications. They sound dreadful. I will pray that whatever caused it is fixed effectively. Rest well. I'm praying for you.

jrnyc
03-21-2013, 01:14 PM
so sorry to hear of the complications...
shocked that it wasn't clear what was happening on initial Xray.
i am so sorry you are going thru this...
i hope the antibiotics knock the infections out of you and that
you do not need to be on them as long as they are predicting...

thoughts and prayers for your recovery...

jess

titaniumed
03-21-2013, 01:43 PM
Irina

I am so sorry about these complications...

Try not to worry, the antibiotics will do their job and you will be fine.

My thoughts are with you...

Ed

golfnut
03-21-2013, 09:28 PM
Irina,
I am so sorry to read about your complications. I hope everything will soon be resolved soon so that you can get home and continue with your recovery.

maggie6
03-21-2013, 10:12 PM
[QUOTE=Irina;148134]I am at a local hospital with a few complications - huge hematoma and blood / urine infection. I developed severe abdominal pain the day of discharge from UCSF. They did x-rays that only showed gas. They told me it's a bad constipation and sent me home next day. At home, my abdominal pain was getting worse to the point that I simply screamed.

We called 911and were taken to the nearest ER. The docs there did x-rays and ct-scans of my belly and found an enormous hematoma. On Tuesday I had another surgery, where they removed FOUR liters of blood from my belly. If that's not enough, I developed an infection in my blood and urine. Infectious disease doctor told me they will put me on antibiotics thru IV for several weeks and then I'd have to take antibiotics orally for months and possibly years. I am worried about hardware infection, but doctors here tell me that there is no real way of knowing if hardware was infected.

Any experience with infections? No need to say that I'm worried.[/QUOTe
This is terrible news. Have you spoke with your surgeon who operated. Maybe he can give you more information. I am going to keep you in my prayers.

Irina
03-22-2013, 01:35 AM
Thank you all for prayers and good wishes. I am feeling better and they transferred me from ICU to a regular room. I took my first shower today and it felt like heaven. They will probably keep me in the hospital over the weekend because I am still very weak and they monitor my heart all the time. I never had cardio problems, but after this ordeal I had high heart rate that concerned doctors.

babyboomer16
03-22-2013, 12:05 PM
Irna, I am praying for you that the antibiotics heal you fast and you can concentrate on your spinal surgery. I am so sorry to hear you had to go through such an ordeal. We all know how hard it is to recover from these huge surgeries without any problems. Accept my prayers for your body to heal soon! Warmly, Linda

maggie6
03-22-2013, 06:28 PM
Glad to hear you will be going home soon. Keep us posted on your recovery.

jrnyc
03-22-2013, 07:52 PM
Irina, i hope the wkend is uneventful and you can get some strength
back....and i hope you will be able to go home soon...
maybe with an IV catheter or long line for the antibiotics...?

feel better...
jess

Irina
03-22-2013, 11:44 PM
I'd have a long term IV for home care.

Irina
03-23-2013, 04:16 AM
so sorry to hear of the complications...
shocked that it wasn't clear what was happening on initial Xray.
i am so sorry you are going thru this...
i hope the antibiotics knock the infections out of you and that
you do not need to be on them as long as they are predicting...

thoughts and prayers for your recovery...

jess

Initial x-rays did not show anything, but ct-scans did. UCSF only did x-rays, but no abdominal ct-scans. It was a local hospital that we all here look down at, who did both abdominal x-rays and ct-scans. Local hospital also said that x-rays did not show anything and they wanted to do ct-scans. CT-scans showed hematoma and they were able to diagnose me within minutes.

I don't want to sound negative and will stop here.

jrnyc
03-23-2013, 04:05 PM
i am so sorry this wasn't caught sooner...
amazes me what medical professionals overlook...
i know humans and dogs are very different....
but the need for more radiology shouldn't be rocket science...
my dog suffered for a YEAR because the vet did X rays but did not do an ultra sound, needed to be able to see that something was wrong with
poor puppy's prostate...apparently, X rays do not show everything that
other kinds of radiology show...
you kindly do not want to be negative...i will do it for you...
no one...not 2 legged or 4...should suffer needlessly because some stupid
medical doctor who should know better fails to be thorough in searching for
the cause of pain and suffering! thank goodness that little hospital did
what was needed...

i hope you get better steadily and rapidly and that the antibiotics do their
job....i was on antibiotics with an IV cath for a long time for Lyme...it took
many changes of medications, but i finally improved...
i hope things go faster for you...
feel better....

jess....and Sparky, the wonder puppy

Irina
03-26-2013, 05:31 PM
I am home finally after spending 18 days in the hospitals. I have a picc line and home care nurse administered antibiotics today. My husband will be doing it from now on. He just has to connect bags and hoses, no poking involved. Last day of antibiotics thru IV is April 2. After that, per infectious decease doctor, I'd be on oral antibiotics somewhere between 6 and 12 months, depending on how my body takes it. Then I would have follow ups with three doctors - orthopedic surgeon, cardio-vascular surgeon who removed my hematoma and infectious decease doctor, who will be my friend for a long time. I am feeling better and getting stronger. If it were not for complications, I would say that my back and leg pain are not that bad.

Confusedmom
03-26-2013, 10:48 PM
Irina,

I'm so sorry you are going through this--but glad to hear you are home and on the mend!! What do they think caused the hematoma? Will your spine doc check the hardware for infection at some point?

Your situation is rare, but there have been a few others on this forum who have had IV antibiotics due to various kinds of post-op infections. They have all seemed to recover and heal--just takes a little longer getting started. You were in good health pre-op, so I'm sure you will be doing much better soon. My thoughts and prayers are with you!!

Evelyn

jrnyc
03-26-2013, 11:02 PM
hi Irina
i had a catheter (for Lyme) after a long line (PICC) got infected...
just be sure to keep the entry point of the PICC covered and clean...
it should be fine...

i was on oral antibiotics for months and months for Lyme after i was
done with IV antibiotics...
just a suggestion...be careful of stomach irritation that oral antibiotics
can sometimes cause...
i was sorry i didn't take Carafate, or something like it, while
i was taking oral antibiotics...i finally had to quit the oral meds
due to stomach irritation that ended up giving me problems...

i think you will recover well from the complications...
and i wish you an uneventful recovery from the spinal surgery...

jess...and Sparky

Irina
03-28-2013, 01:23 PM
hi Irina
i had a catheter (for Lyme) after a long line (PICC) got infected...
just be sure to keep the entry point of the PICC covered and clean...
it should be fine...

i was on oral antibiotics for months and months for Lyme after i was
done with IV antibiotics...
just a suggestion...be careful of stomach irritation that oral antibiotics
can sometimes cause...
i was sorry i didn't take Carafate, or something like it, while
i was taking oral antibiotics...i finally had to quit the oral meds
due to stomach irritation that ended up giving me problems...

i think you will recover well from the complications...
and i wish you an uneventful recovery from the spinal surgery...

jess...and Sparky

Hi Jess,

We are doing picc line only until April 2 and oral meds then. Only 5 more days of IVs so I hope picc line won't get infected. I spoke with Dr. Hu's office and they said that the treatment I am getting is perfect and the chance of hardware infection is very small (if I follow doctor's orders with antibiotics of course). That was a relief to hear. If it were not for my complications, I'd say that recovery from spinal surgery is not as bad as I expected.

Irina
04-03-2013, 12:48 PM
My picc line is out and I am on oral antibiotics now. It is so nice not having to deal with this picc line when having shower etc.

I am working with physical therapist to decrease my right hip pain, which started after the surgery. This is L4-L5 nerve that causes it and the pain goes all the way down to my foot, specifically my big toe. I would say that hip-foot pain bothers me more than back pain. I hope pt and gababertin help, and if not, I may want to remove the illiac screw at some point.

mabeckoff
04-03-2013, 03:57 PM
Glad that you are doing better.

Hope you get some relief from your hip pain

jrnyc
04-03-2013, 08:13 PM
good to hear that the PICC line is out and now the oral meds will
help you....i know you have more freedom without that long line in.
hope you feel better every day....and that the PT and meds help you.

jess...and Sparky

Irina
04-03-2013, 09:44 PM
good to hear that the PICC line is out and now the oral meds will
help you....i know you have more freedom without that long line in.
hope you feel better every day....and that the PT and meds help you.

jess...and Sparky


Actually, PT makes my hip/leg/foot feel worse. I've had two sessions and told the physical therapist that I was hurting after the first session, well I was hurting way more after the second session today. I was plain miserable the whole day after this session in the morning. Not just ache - bad pain! People who had PT, please share your experiences - was PT helpful at all?

titaniumed
04-03-2013, 10:15 PM
Irina

The nurses and PT people were coming to my house for 6 weeks to make sure I was doing something......Just walking 200 feet for me was a major endeavor.

After surgery, some areas are just so raw that just about any movement triggers pain. Its something that I would battle through on a SMALL scale....walk smaller amounts many times during the day.

These things are little tests and we have to learn to balance our therapy carefully. If its too painful, you might want to rest and back off PT for a day or two. Nerves and some soft tissues seem to heal at a non-linear rate. The pain can stay elevated for a long time, then suddenly quit just like turning off a light switch.

Try to stay strong. You are at a tough point in recovery. The 4-6 week mark was the hardest part for me.....

Ed

LindaRacine
04-03-2013, 10:18 PM
Hi Irina...

I'm guessing that Dr. Hu and Jo-An would tell you to back off, at least with your current therapist. Who are you going to, and what are they having you do?

--Linda

Irina
04-03-2013, 11:19 PM
Hi Irina...

I'm guessing that Dr. Hu and Jo-An would tell you to back off, at least with your current therapist. Who are you going to, and what are they having you do?

--Linda

Focus Healthcare is coming to my house. The exercises I am doing are:

1 While laying in bed, bend the knees at 90° and squeeze the ball hard. Lower the knees and repeat, lower the the knees to almost flat position and squeeze the ball again.
2 Sitting - tie the knees with rubber band and push the legs apart as wide as possible
3 Sitting - have somebody wrap a rubber band around your leg and pull the band away from your body. At the same moment, resist and pull the leg under the chair.

She had me do many repetitions of those and then we went for a walk around the block - it's 1/3 miles walk and I walk around the block twice. My left leg is fine, but right one was killing me.

JenniferG
04-04-2013, 12:31 AM
Ouch!

Is it worth checking that this is ok, with your surgeon? At my 6 week checkup, I asked my surgeon should I be seeing a Pt. "No!" was the stern reply. I know lots of people do, so I'm unsure why he was so against it, perhaps because there was none that he trusted in my area?! He just wanted me to walk.

Personally, I'd be afraid of anything that hurt that much.

golfnut
04-04-2013, 06:59 PM
Dr. Lenke doesn't trust any physical therapist except the one who works in his office. I was anxious to get back in shape as quickly as possible, but he did not allow me to see a PT until I was a year post-op. His PT gave me some easy exercises to do at home-almost all were done while laying on my back on the bed.
His quote to me was that most physical therapist don't realize the magnitude of this surgery and they do more harm than good. He said the best thing that I should do was to walk.

Irina
04-04-2013, 08:05 PM
Dr. Lenke doesn't trust any physical therapist except the one who works in his office. I was anxious to get back in shape as quickly as possible, but he did not allow me to see a PT until I was a year post-op. His PT gave me some easy exercises to do at home-almost all were done while laying on my back on the bed.
His quote to me was that most physical therapist don't realize the magnitude of this surgery and they do more harm than good. He said the best thing that I should do was to walk.

I totally agree with it. Even a physical therapist, who is coming to my house, said that the best thing I can do is to walk. It is true that they don't fully understand the magnitude of the surgery and all the limitations. Next time I'll ask her to do some easy general strengthening exercises, perhaps for my arms or breathing exercises would be even better. Today I took it easy - just walked outside for a total of one hour in three intervals and I feel much better.

Confusedmom
04-04-2013, 09:32 PM
Irina, at one month post-op, I was lucky to make it around the block - about 1/2 mile - 1-2 times per day. Plus walking the "track" in my house. Like Karen said, we weren't allowed to do PT. I'd back off and try again in a few weeks.

Evelyn

jackieg412
04-05-2013, 05:33 PM
Hi,
I am glad you are getting better. I was also told nothing but walking at first. I did that little by little and increased 1st the amount of times I walked and then the distance. Keep up the good work and this will get better!

JenniferG
04-06-2013, 01:10 AM
I totally agree with it. Even a physical therapist, who is coming to my house, said that the best thing I can do is to walk. It is true that they don't fully understand the magnitude of the surgery and all the limitations. Next time I'll ask her to do some easy general strengthening exercises, perhaps for my arms or breathing exercises would be even better. Today I took it easy - just walked outside for a total of one hour in three intervals and I feel much better.


Glad to hear you're feeling much better Irina. What you did today sounds just perfect for so early out.

Wish2bstraight
04-06-2013, 07:27 AM
Focus Healthcare is coming to my house. The exercises I am doing are:

1 While laying in bed, bend the knees at 90° and squeeze the ball hard. Lower the knees and repeat, lower the the knees to almost flat position and squeeze the ball again.
2 Sitting - tie the knees with rubber band and push the legs apart as wide as possible
3 Sitting - have somebody wrap a rubber band around your leg and pull the band away from your body. At the same moment, resist and pull the leg under the chair.

She had me do many repetitions of those and then we went for a walk around the block - it's 1/3 miles walk and I walk around the block twice. My left leg is fine, but right one was killing me.

Hi irina,

Those exercises sound too difficult to do at your stage, to me. I had physical therapy come to my house at about four weeks postoperative. We did simple core strengthening exercises. The second one you mentioned, I am just starting to do now and I am three months postoperative. I am not able to walk around the block yet. It was suggested to me to go to a store and shop. You walk and stop to look at things and this way you aren't thinking about walking. It has helped me a great deal. Last week I was still not driving so a good friend took me out to lunch and shopping in one store. After a total of three hours, I was exhausted, but felt good that I was out in the general public. Take it slow and easy. It will all come in time. Best of luck to you.

susancook
04-10-2013, 08:19 PM
PT shouldn't hurt but can feel a little bit stretchy, if you know what I mean. I spent a week in a rehab hospital doing OT and PT. For PT, I mostly walked with my walker. I also sat in a chair and alternately put my balls of my foot down and then my heels. While sitting in a chair, I pointed my toes alternately up and down. I also looked in a mirror and tried to stand up with shoulders straight.

I just started PT at a local hospital here. Unsure what I will do.

Sorry about your leg pain. Hope that time helps it.
Susan

Irina
04-10-2013, 09:39 PM
I am taking it easy with PT because several of other exercises she wanted me to do were clearly breaking my restrictions and I flat out refused to do them.

For people who might be interested in when you can cook - I started doing it at 4 weeks. I am 5 weeks post-op now and already made omelets, pot-roast in a crock-pot, chicken curry and chicken - stroganoff (similar to beef stroganoff) with pasta or rice . Plus many salads, cole-slow etc. I only had someone else to wash the chicken and open a few cans for me, but the rest - slicing, dicing, stirring etc I did by myself. I was dog-tired afterwards, but felt happy that I was able to do something I always enjoyed.

JuliaAnn
04-11-2013, 10:43 AM
Irina, it's great that you're able to get back to cooking. I found that reaching up to get dinner plates out of the cupboards was hardest for me. And I'm just now able to roll out dough without feeling the strain in my back. Rolling dough and putting casseroles in and out of the oven was the hardest. I'm glad you have help.

That's good that you tell PT what you feel comfortable doing. Some years ago a physical therapist had me bending to touch my toes each session. That did a lot of harm to my slowly collapsing scoliosis. She was just trying to "increase my flexibility" but I really think that some physical therapists don't understand scoliosis at all! I had to tell her "I don't want to be 'more flexible', I want you to teach me to move WITH the limitations I have!" She just didn't get it and I ended up in traction. I'm glad you're being careful with the PT. You know what's best for your body.

So glad your surgery is behind you and you seem to be healing well.

aileens
04-11-2013, 03:44 PM
Irina, you're definitely ahead of me when it comes to cooking! At 4 weeks, I managed to weakly peel a bunch of carrots and shakily throw a few other things in a pan to cook before I was wiped out. At 6 weeks I noticed I could peel carrots much more confidently, but its only now at 8 weeks tmw do I feel like putting together more elaborate meals. Glad to hear that you're recovering so well - it's taken me a little more time but I really noticed a bump in energy at 7.5 weeks.

Irina
04-17-2013, 04:00 PM
I am about six weeks post-op and today, for the first time, I walked for an hour at once at almost the normal speed with only a few stops. My hip and leg were a little sore after the walk, but I didn't have any pre-op pain (low back or ribs on hips pain). I came home home and thought that before the surgery I was only able to walk for half-an-hour and I had to go to bed and rest for at least another half-an-hour because of low back pain. Granted, I am still using a cane for walks outside the house and taking oxycodone and gabapentine for nerve leg pain and I don't know how it is going to be without these medication... we'll see.

As one of the forum members told me - enjoy your recovery and now I am getting to a stage where I can actually enjoy it. I can just take it easy and sleep in, watch TV, read books, let other people take care of me without guilt (very strange feeling for someone super-independent!). This is my once-in-a life time opportunity to relax and take care of ME and not think about work, cleaning, cooking etc.

JenniferG
04-17-2013, 04:34 PM
<thumbs up!>

You're doing well Irina!

golfnut
04-17-2013, 05:51 PM
Yes, Irina, take advantage of your recovery time. For the only time in my life, I didn't feel guilty taking naps, watching a movie in the middle of the day, not doing housework, etc. I read a ton of good books, too. I definitely don't want to do it again, but since it is necessary to rest to help your body heal, do plenty of it (between walks) and don't feel guilty. You're doing great!

susancook
04-17-2013, 06:56 PM
Irina, I am impressed that you are cooking. There is no standard for expected activity. As you can see, some people walk a lot after surgery, but can't cook at 6 weeks like you can. Some of the individual variations may be due to preop conditioning, anemia, pO2, varying fusion levels, etc. the important part is the every week there is a little bit of forward progress.

You are awesome!
Susan

Irina
04-17-2013, 07:25 PM
Irina, I am impressed that you are cooking. There is no standard for expected activity. As you can see, some people walk a lot after surgery, but can't cook at 6 weeks like you can. Some of the individual variations may be due to preop conditioning, anemia, pO2, varying fusion levels, etc. the important part is the every week there is a little bit of forward progress.

You are awesome!
Susan

I was cooking so early (at 4 weeks) because I just love it. My husband keeps telling me that I should start a cooking blog. Cooking is a chore for some people, but fun for me. On our 11-day trip to Spain, I went to a half-a-day cooking class because I was just dying to learn basics of Spanish cooking and it was highlight of the trip for me! Before the surgery, I would come home from work tired and cranky, but was excited about making dinner. Chopping, slicing and dicing would calm me down, believe it or not. So, cooking was therapeutic for me during recovery too. It was simply a proof to myself that I was getting better.

Irina
04-20-2013, 11:22 PM
A few days ago I was able to walk for an hour in one stretch with only a few short stops. I thought I was a hero and could handle anything. Today was a hot day here, in California, and we went for a walk with my husband. After about 20 min of walking I felt dizzy, hold on to my husband's neck and told him that I am about to pass out. Luckily, there were some people outside of the house that we were standing next to, and Dave asked them for a chair. I was totally out by the time he put me to a chair. After some rest and a glass of cold water I felt better.

Ouch! I didn't expect that happen especially since I started venturing out of the house by myself. Lucky me I was with my husband today. I guess I should stay inside when it's hot, but before hot weather would have no effect on me. I guess things are different now...,

JenniferG
04-21-2013, 04:11 AM
Don't be discouraged, Irina. But walking with someone is probably a good idea, if that's possible. At 6-7 weeks I began to get dizzy. It was on and off dozens of times a day, I'd feel the room turning. It went on for over a month. Every time I lay down, rolled over in bed, or when I got up from sitting or lying or when I stretched, upon waking. GP had no idea why, and the surgeon suggested it was the antibiotics given during surgery (nearly 2 months earlier??!) which I found difficult to believe. But it passed and never returned. One day it simply stopped. So to this day I don't know why, but it was distressing. My point is, sometimes things happen for which we never get an explanation but then come good of their own accord.

Perhaps it was a bit of low blood pressure, perhaps it was a combination of the heat and dehydration? Perhaps others have an explanation. I hope it's a one off event and your walking continues without incident!

susancook
04-21-2013, 07:34 PM
The spring heat can certainly make a difference in how you tolerate walking. Wearing a hat might help and drinking before you go out. Maybe consider the longer walks after the sun goes down. Mark carries some ice water for me. We went to Berekely bell tower today and I was really wiped out. Two days ago I tried to walk round trip to the library and while I did ok walking there, going back, I had to rest on someone's wall and Mark got the car to bring me home.

We are both learning that recovery is not a linear process, but has some ups and downs. Like you, I am eager to get back to normal, active life....then I look at the huge scar on my back and remember 2 days of surgery and lots of blood transfusions, and I am humbled and amazed that I am able to do as much as I am with the setbacks.

You are doing well...just listen to your body. Susan

Confusedmom
04-21-2013, 10:45 PM
Could be low blood pressure from the pain meds? Or maybe you still need to build you blood back up a bit? Do they have you taking iron? Just make sure you're eating and drinking sufficiently, and I bet you'll be fine. Be careful with the shower, though. Others have had trouble with dizzy spells in the shower--maybe from the heat? Anyway, you don't want to fall, obviously.

Evelyn

Irina
05-13-2013, 03:49 PM
It's probably silly to talk about, but my toenails are driving me nuts! I am used to regular pedicures and since the surgery my husband was cutting my toenails. Let's say he won't make a living as a manicurist. My toenails are still long, edgy and rough. When my mom saw my feet, she asked me what animal bit my toenails? :-) So, I fired my husband from the manicurist position and granted it to my mom ha-ha. I am holding on going to the nails salon because I am still under 90 degrees hip restriction and when you sit in a pedicure chair, your knees are higher than your hips. Am I playing it too safe? Should I just go and have my toenails done? My next follow-up appointment is on May 22 and I am going to ask Dr. Hu if it's safe to get my toenails done.

LindaRacine
05-13-2013, 08:02 PM
It's probably silly to talk about, but my toenails are driving me nuts! I am used to regular pedicures and since the surgery my husband was cutting my toenails. Let's say he won't make a living as a manicurist. My toenails are still long, edgy and rough. When my mom saw my feet, she asked me what animal bit my toenails? :-) So, I fired my husband from the manicurist position and granted it to my mom ha-ha. I am holding on going to the nails salon because I am still under 90 degrees hip restriction and when you sit in a pedicure chair, your knees are higher than your hips. Am I playing it too safe? Should I just go and have my toenails done? My next follow-up appointment is on May 22 and I am going to ask Dr. Hu if it's safe to get my toenails done.

Hi Irina...

Maybe it's the type of chair that you've used in the past, but I'm fairly certain my hips are not lower than my knees when I get pedicures. You can always recline the back of the chair so that you're not breaking 90 degrees.

--Linda

mabeckoff
05-14-2013, 03:28 PM
I agree with Linda. It is safe to get a pedicure. Go for it!

Irina
05-22-2013, 10:46 PM
I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Hu - everything looks good and she let me take off my brace for as long as tolerated. And I can get pedicure! Yay!!! I don't have a lot of back pain and my leg is doing better. I need to rebuild my strength though as I still get tired quickly. I am hoping to get off oxycodone in a few weeks. Hopefully... it's not easy to get off this drug completely.

While I was waiting for my appointment, one woman in her sixties asked me if I had a surgery with Dr. Hu. I was happy to talk with her - I remember how I was looking for people who had the surgery with my doctor, and now I can help others. The woman was in a lot of pain and had difficulty breathing and I thought that it would be me in 20 years if I had not had my surgery now.

golfnut
05-23-2013, 06:07 AM
Definitely, go get that pedicure. I thoroughly enjoy treating myself on a regular basis (at least in the summer). I make sure that the vibrator is off on the chair.
I'm sure you will continue to improve and regain your strength. I found that as I was permitted to add new exercises to my daily routine, that I noticed improvements even after two years and I thought I felt really great at a year.

Irina
06-12-2013, 10:14 PM
I went to my hairdresser (Luda) today that I've been going to for years. This was the first time Luda saw me since the surgery and she was floored by the look of my back :-) She kept saying that she could not believe her eyes and her colleagues were also staring at me with eyes wide open. She told me that she thought that they would improve my back a tiny bit, but could never imagine that I would be so straight. It was music to my ears and I was smiling all the time while I was in the salon. Thank you, Dr. Hu!

JenniferG
06-12-2013, 10:49 PM
Wonderful, isn't it? I know the cosmetic improvement isn't the main reason to have surgery, but it's a huge bonus!

susancook
06-13-2013, 12:43 AM
You deserve to finally have a straight and beautiful body! Great that you are getting such great feedback to confirm how you feel.
Susan

Confusedmom
06-13-2013, 10:32 PM
Love it!! :-)

golfnut
06-14-2013, 07:00 AM
Isn't it great? We all know the cosmetic outcome isn't why we have the surgery but it sure is the icing on the cake!

Irina
06-30-2013, 03:33 PM
We went to San Francisco with our friends yesterday and spent 3.5 hours walking with a few short stops for lunch and coffee. I felt great and was able to keep up walking with everybody else at a decent speed. At the end of the third hour my right hip and leg started aching, but it was nothing comparing to the before the surgery time. As I call it "Before the Christ Era" (before the surgery) I was able to walk 30 min only and then I was in a lot of pain. I was so happy yesterday strolling the streets of the city, stopping at the stores looking at clothes and being without pain at all! I think I am ready to say that I am glad I had this surgery. First month was a nightmare, but this is all behind me now.

Every day I look in the mirror - I think I am paranoid a little because I am afraid that my back will start curving again. I even ask my husband and parents often if they think that my back is the same and not getting any worse. They all laugh at me. Does anybody else do that?

I think that scoliosis surgery changes not only our bodies, but also mentality... I became much more patient and compassionate towards other people. I learned to enjoy life, just every moment of it. I learned how to enjoy simple pleasures and be happy even without going on extravagant vacations.

Susie*Bee
06-30-2013, 03:55 PM
What a great post, Irina! I'm glad you had such a nice time and that you shared with us the difference both between pre and post surgery walking and your outlook on life. Walking around SF can be a workout with some of those hilly areas! My uncle lived on Elizabeth St. which had steps instead of a sidewalk! It was SO STEEP!

I remember my first winter and realizing I had developed an 80 or 90 year old's mindset... one look out the window and thinking, "oh no, can't go out today-- there's snow and I might fall..." It gives you a different perspective for the slow people in the grocery store, or the people with handicap plates that look too young. I remember one of our college girls saying someone chastised her for taking a parking spot when she had no business to do so. It opens our eyes to others' problems. It's wonderful to feel so blessed, in the little things as well as the big-- thanks again for sharing.

jackieg412
06-30-2013, 04:15 PM
Yes Great post. It truely makes us slow down and say not evrey hardship is visable---we need to have compassion for all.