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susancook
03-12-2013, 07:53 PM
I am now 6 days away from surgery! YIKES!!! My previous blog mentioned needing confidence....well, I have that now and am surprisingly at peace with the whole surgery! I am in SF now staying with my son and daughter-in-law, both of whom are Nurse Practitioners who attended UCSF. They live across the bay in Oakland.

I went up to UCSF yesterday to check the place out and visit Irina. I found the registration and the orthopedic floor, and attended a "Get ready for surgery class". Half way through the 2.5 hour class, I laid on the floor as my back was killing me and I couldn't sit any longer. The instructor was surprised, but I stayed on the floor for the rest of the class with my son's jacket under my head. If I had doubts about needing the surgery, the last week has decreased them! I now carry a child's chair with me as I cannot stand for very long [like longer than 3 minutes]. I get stares in downtown SF as I waited for the bus sitting on my small kiddie chair....but there were no seats at the bus stop! I guess SF people just stand up!

A month ago, I was a basket case, but now, I am feeling confident. I decided that I was not the 1/100 that would die in surgery [the number that Dr. Hu gave me for my age and procedure.] I have trust in Dr. Hu and I believe that everything will work out. I feel kind of drugged....yes, I am taking Nucynta right now for the pain. My back hurts in so many places! Dr. Hu wasn't sure that the surgery would decrease all of my pain.....and that would be a real bummer. I just pray that I can get relief! My CT scan shows moderate degeneration of my cervical vertebrae discs, so I wonder if I will need to have something done on them in the future. They might be the cause of some of my headaches and certainly my upper back pain. A heating pad helps a lot.

My husband [who has a terrible cough right now....so I avoid him and hope that he gets better by the time of my surgery], my son, my brother, and my daughter will hopefully stay with me in the hospital. They will take shifts. Probably because nobody can take me longer than 8 hours! Nurses [and doctors] make the worst patients.

I will try to stay busy, but am limited on walking and sitting. I hope to go to some museams in SF and do some swimming at the Y. The weather is sunny here, so maybe sit outside a lot.

Your Twisted Sister, Susan

I will have a family member post while I am in the hospital.

golfnut
03-12-2013, 10:12 PM
What a great post! I'm glad you're at peace with your wise decision to improve your quality of life.

Confusedmom
03-12-2013, 11:41 PM
Susan,

You sound like you are all ready!! Congrats--I will be sending prayers your way.

Best,
Evelyn

JenniferG
03-12-2013, 11:50 PM
Your post brought back memories of trying to stand. My life was filled with painful queues in those days. 30 seconds was all it took before the lower back pain set in and just got worse until I could sit or lie down. Arrgghhhh. I have none of that now, so hopefully, neither will you.

With a bit of luck, having your spine straightened, might slow the progression of the degeneration in your cervical spine? Perhaps one of the knowledgeable people here could answer that.

But I'm with Karen, having this surgery is a wise decision. Glad you're at peace with it, Susan.

tae_tap
03-13-2013, 10:51 AM
Susan,
I am excited for you as the day drews near. It is an exciting yet nervous time, but it will all be worth it when you can do the things most take for granted without pain scaring you away or keeping you down. I am praying daily for you as many here are.

Tamena

thatrobyno
03-13-2013, 01:35 PM
Sending good thoughts your way! Best of luck, my friend!

mabeckoff
03-13-2013, 02:35 PM
Glad that you are at peace with your decision. Try to enjoy the next several days

loves to skate
03-15-2013, 01:12 AM
Susan,
Before my surgery, we took our grandsons to Plimouth Plantation which required quite a bit of walking. I took a little camp stool with me so that I could sit down when I needed to which was often. I will pray that your surgery removes all of your pain. Even though I still have some pain, it was worth it to have surgery. Life is so much better than it was.
Sally

babyboomer16
03-17-2013, 12:07 PM
Susan, please accept my Prayers for a successful surgery and many pain free days ahead!!! You are a remarkable woman and have given all of us support through our surgeries. Now it's your turn. ~~ just remember, those first couple days are the worst you'll have to go through. And compared to all the pain you've endured, you'll do great! Keep us posted ~~~we'll be looking forward to hearing from you!
God Bless~~Linda

susancook
03-17-2013, 04:51 PM
My surgery is in 2 days and I am a combination of sort of resignation, scared, and optimism. My back has hurt so much in the past 2 months as if to remind me why I am having surgery. I have a pre-op appointment with Dr. Hu tomorrow. I have a list of questions for her, but I guess that it won't matter much what she says. I am looking for any vestige of reassurance, I suppose. Reassurance in what? I am unsure. I have trust in Dr. Hu. I even read her chapter on Adult Scoliosis Surgery....just in case she needs my consultation. Is this the right decision for me to have surgery? All I can say, is that the alternative looks like not much future at all. Is this the right time? I'm only going to degenerate more with time and get older....not much future there!

Fortunately, I don't need to be very organized for the surgery. Just show up in my birthday suit with my lip gloss! UCSF allows pedicures, so my toes are bright red. I'll have to remove my toe rings that I have worn for many years that I bought in India on one of my medical support trips. Too bad, they are a nice touch. I usually wear many rings, necklace, ankle bracelet, toe rings....I will feel depersonalized! But, I'll smell great like fresh Hebicens soap!

I had 2 acupuncture treatments in the last 2 days which helped some. I'm going to eat lightly f,or the next 2 days. It is sunny outside, so I will enjoy it! I used to be able to do backbends in my youth, so maybe I will try to do one this afternoon! I want to twist and turn and lean backwards as I know that will be impossible after surgery. I wish that I could know what it felt like to be fused. Wish that I could practice.

Guess that you are never really ready for the surgery. Susan

JenniferG
03-17-2013, 07:07 PM
You are going to do great Susan. You know this surgery is necessary and you're prepared for it. It's such a small period of time before things will start to get better and better and better. If you could just wish away the next week or ten days, you'd be at the stage of huge relief, feeling better and taller and admiring your new shape!

I felt the same the day before surgery. I wondered what I could do then that I wouldn't be able to do after surgery. A cartwheel! I hadn't done one for about 10 years but was fortunate enough to have been able to get very fit so I went into the back yard, and on a lovely, green, expanse of lawn, I did a cartwheel. One was enough - it hurt. But it was worth it. I haven't attempted it since and nor will I. But it was such a good feeling, I'm glad I did it.

I wish I could explain to you how you are already at the most difficult point, it all gets easier from now on. The anxiety, the doubt, the fear, it's all about to disappear. Place yourself in the hands of people with the skills, knowledge and dedication to provide you with just what you need and keep you safe. You'll do great!

Susie*Bee
03-17-2013, 07:50 PM
Susan-- I am excited for you and know will be so glad to be on the other side of this... You are in my prayers and thoughts. Soon you'll have the waiting over and the healing will begin. I'm excited for you! It's hard work, but well worth it. Know that we are all rooting for you and will be waiting to hear how you are doing. Hugs, Susie

golfnut
03-17-2013, 08:33 PM
I ditto everything that Jennifer said, except I didn't try a cartwheel. Now, when someone asks me about my back, I am thrilled to talk about it as opposed to avoiding the subject before surgery. Choosing to have the surgery was probably one of the best decisions of my life. I'll be sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. You'll do great!

Irina
03-17-2013, 09:07 PM
I typed a long response, but it disappeared. Best of luck, Susan! I'll be thinking about you next week and can't wait to receive an email from Mark with a good report.

tae_tap
03-18-2013, 04:27 PM
Susan,

I have you on my mind today. I know you are probably getting anxious awaiting that final day before this big change. I am praying for you! Good luck!

Tamena

susancook
03-18-2013, 10:58 PM
I had a pre-op appointment w/ Dr. Hu today. She answered many questions and was her usual informative and supportive self. I have never seen a side view on x-ray of my kyphosis. She took additional x-rays and showed me and I almost fell over! It looks terrible! She measured it at 60 degrees. I always thought that I protruded on my back and looked abnormal, but the x-ray was really distressing. The resident and Dr. Hu talked with me about trying to straighten it an she is unsure how much correction she can get. She said that she may have to remove a rib and maybe I'll have a chest tube. The resident was really concerned about my +11 something coronal balance, a change that I noticed in June. The resident wants to do a muscle biopsy as he thinks that it is really abnormal to change that quickly. I asked him what muscle diseases he was considering and he just said that there were many diseases.

Dr. Hu asked me how I was doing and I said, "great!" She said that nobody has ever said that before! I amazingly am feeling very good about everything and look forward to fixing my back. I am not afraid of the surgery and figure that the pharmacist and anesthesiologist will figure out the pain meds. One month ago, I ever thought, ever so briefly about canceling surgery. After seeing the x-rays today, I am very convinced that I am in the right place with the right surgeon I feel very proactive and very ready. I am actually looking forward to surgery and less pain.....sometime in the future, anyway! My right leg is very painful when I walk and I so hope that the pain will go away after surgery. I am motivated!

Thank you to everyone that has been so supportive. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I am so glad that everything has fallen into place.

Tomorrow morning as we head to the hospital, I might be singing a different tune, but right now, I have phenomenal confidence. Bring it on! Susan

JenniferG
03-18-2013, 11:44 PM
That's great to hear. You won't be any different tomorrow Susan, just anxious to get the show on the road. Which really is the best way to be.

Best wishes for a great correction and a smooth ride through recovery. You're nearly there!

mabeckoff
03-19-2013, 04:25 AM
You are in my prayers.

SpineTime
03-19-2013, 04:46 AM
Hi Susan,

I don't know if you'll see this before you go into surgery today or not, but I just wanted to wish you well. It sounds like your attitude and frame of mind are fantastic, and you're ready! May you have smooth, uneventful surgeries and recovery, as fast and pain-free as possible, so you can get back to doing all the things you love! : o )

loves to skate
03-19-2013, 01:00 PM
Susan,
I will be praying that your surgery goes well and you will be pain free after the healing time. God Bless.
Sally

tae_tap
03-19-2013, 03:51 PM
Anxious to hear how Susan is doing after the first day.

Tamena

Doodles
03-19-2013, 04:06 PM
Susan--
Today is the day! Many prayers and positive thoughts for both days of your surgery and a strong recovery! Janet

susancook
03-20-2013, 09:24 PM
Susan's surgery went very well per Dr Hu.
She is doing much better today compared to last night. She had a lot of pain and had low O2 levels yesterday. She received two units of blood and got her pain under control thus she seems to be doing very well now 24 hrs after surgery.
Main event is Friday for day 2 surgery.

Mark Cooksey

tae_tap
03-20-2013, 09:42 PM
Thank you Mark for updating us. I have been checking hourly to see how she was doing. Keep us posted and let her know many are praying and rooting her on from a far.

Tamena

JenniferG
03-20-2013, 10:03 PM
Thanks Mark! It's so good to hear she's doing ok and she's halfway there. Unfortunately I'm going away for four days tomorrow so I'm going to have to wait a while to hear how she is after her second surgery. Thinking of her and barracking for her from afar!

JuliaAnn
03-20-2013, 11:22 PM
Thank you for the update, Mark. I really appreciate it. I've been wondering how Susan is doing. I recall being on oxygen for a couple days after my surgery and had very low blood pressure, which seems to be normal for a lot of patients. I'm glad her pain is under control. I'm keeping Susan in prayer.

mabeckoff
03-20-2013, 11:41 PM
Glad that she is doing better. Please let her know that she is in my prayers

Irina
03-21-2013, 12:42 AM
Thank you Mark for keeping us updated. Say hi to Susan and good luck. I wish I could be more active, but I had some complications and am back into local hospital.

Susie*Bee
03-21-2013, 06:20 AM
Yes, thank you for the update. Let her know she's in my thoughts and prayers-- and you are as well. It's quite a time when you're going through this. So glad she's doing a little better now. Take care of yourself also and get some sleep when you can. You'll need to stay strong for her.

babyboomer16
03-21-2013, 08:05 PM
Thank-you Mark for letting everyone know what's going on. She seems like a strong lady (in body and mind)! My thoughts and prayer are with her and you too, as I know it's hard to watch our loved ones going through this. But I was told to focus on the prize at the end of it all!! Tell her "hi" from Linda!
God Bless you both!

golfnut
03-21-2013, 10:24 PM
Thanks, Mark, for posting for Susan. Tell her we are all rooting for her and will be thinking about her during her second surgery.

susancook
03-23-2013, 10:42 PM
Susan had her first surgery on Tuesday and things went very well except for
getting pain under control in the first 12 hrs after surgery and some
minor issues with some lung congestion and low O2 saturation level.
She did very well with the first surgery overall.
I stayed with her for 2 days till she was taken to her second day surgery
on Friday at about 6:30AM.
Fridays surgery was delayed for several hours while they decided if it was
safe with her lung congestion. This I learned was probably due to her very
sore rib, they harvested bone material during Tuesday's surgery, thus
making it painful for her to breathe deeply. This was the main surgery for
rebuilding much of her spine and per surgeon went very well after the la
te start.
Fridays surgery went well and everything that was planned was successfully
completed. She did not get out of surgery till after 6PM and was then taken
to ICU where she has been since. No real unexpected issues or problems.
Lots of pain control needed and balancing and close monitoring of her lung
status but no real issues. It appears she will also spend tonight in ICU
and be released to a room Sunday.

Hope this helps update everyone. Thanks for your support, prayers and well
wishes. Please pass along to others who might be interested.

Mark Cooksey

tae_tap
03-23-2013, 11:24 PM
Again, thank you Mark. Happy to hear the surgery went well. Now for healing, we will all be praying. Give Susan our love.
Tamena

Irina
03-23-2013, 11:51 PM
So glad to hear that the surgery went well. It's actually good that they are keeping Susan at ICU - she'll get more attention this way. Give Susan a gentle hug for me, please.

leahdragonfly
03-24-2013, 11:28 AM
Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for updating us on Susan--please tell her Gayle from Corvallis is sending best wishes.

These first few days are definitely tough but each day will get a little better. Please tell her we are all thinking of her. Take care of yourself, too.

JenniferG
03-25-2013, 05:35 AM
Very glad to hear Susan's surgeries are over. Now all she needs do is sleep, eat, walk and heal. No more worries about the upcoming surgery! Everything sounds very normal. The rib will be very sore but hopefully there'll be no further issues. Each day will be another step towards normality. Hope you can get some sleep as well. How trying this is on everyone concerned!

loves to skate
03-25-2013, 02:06 PM
Thanks for the updates Mark. Please let Susan know that she (and you) are in by thoughts and prayers. It is such a tough surgery, it is amazing to me that our bodies can withstand such an onslaught. Getting the pain under control is so important. Try to get some rest yourself whenever Susan is asleep.
Take care and God Bless, Sally

Confusedmom
03-27-2013, 12:01 AM
So glad to hear Susan's surgeries were successful. Please tell her we're all thinking of her and looking forward to hearing from her when she is ready. In the meantime, thanks for keeping us updated!

Evelyn

Doodles
03-27-2013, 12:28 AM
Thanks so much for the info, Mark. So glad the surgeries are over and she's doing reasonably well after such a huge surgery. Many positive thoughts and prayers for a steady and good recovery! Janet

golfnut
03-27-2013, 07:08 AM
Thanks for posting. I'm glad Susan no longer has to stress over making the decision for surgery and now can devote all of her energy to the healing process. We will be here for her every step of the way. Best wishes for a smooth recovery and a future without pain.

susancook
03-29-2013, 11:59 AM
Hi everyone. I am in rehab on nob hill at a very nice place with views or SF. Had a scare last night with severe chest pain which ended up to be atelectasis.
Happy that I had surgery. Pain from back deceasing.
Susan

Irina
03-29-2013, 02:57 PM
Hi everyone. I am in rehab on nob hill at a very nice place with views or SF. Had a scare last night with severe chest pain which ended up to be atelectasis.
Happy that I had surgery. Pain from back deceasing.
Susan

So glad to hear it! Yay for decreasing back pain!

JenniferG
03-29-2013, 04:55 PM
I had to look up atelectasis.

Very happy to hear you're doing well and that you're glad you had the surgery. All that worry about surgery gone - that's a biggie!

Hope your recovery continues smoothly.

Confusedmom
03-29-2013, 10:48 PM
Collapsed lung? I take it they re-inflated it?

Did you realize you wrote "deceasing" back pain? As in the pain is on it's way to being deceased! No more pain! Let's hope surgery killed the back pain for you. :-)

Best,
Evelyn

susancook
03-30-2013, 08:24 AM
Thanks everyone for your support. Pain is Slightly decreasing.
Dealing with urinary incontnence.
Susan

loves to skate
03-30-2013, 10:29 AM
Susan,
So glad to hear that you are on the healing side and that the pain is slightly decreasing. That is a very good thing. I too had to look up atelectasis. You are amazing to be able to post so soon after two surgeries. I couldn't even figure out how to use my flip phone for days after, much less how to use a computer. Thinking of you as you get better and better.
Sally

susancook
04-01-2013, 01:37 AM
I will be in rehabilitation for another 10 days. I don't know how anyone could do the postop without this intensive rehab. The hospital kicks you out too quickly. I am working on walking again with zero coronal balance. I leaned a lot to the right starting 6 months ago.

I still have lots of questions for Dr. Hu like why did I lose 8 units of blood in the second surgery. Susan

leahdragonfly
04-01-2013, 08:43 AM
Hi Susan,

Great to see you here on the other side and already at rehab! That's amazing. It must feel so weird to stand up right now and walk with your new back.

Will be curious to hear what Dr Hu says about the blood loss, but that really sounds about par for many of us. I had similar blood loss probably during both of my surgeries, and was transfused both during surgery and a few days later. Make sure they follow your blood counts and gave you enough blood back. It makes a big difference in how you feel.

Take care, and please update when you can.

Doodles
04-01-2013, 01:52 PM
Susan--
So glad you are at rehab. I agree I don't know how people do it without! The blood loss does sound very familiar. My experience was almost exactly like Gayle's. I almost had a 3rd after I was home a few days but they decided to wait and slowly my blood pressure, dizziness resolved itself. Good luck--you're on the way! Janet

JenniferG
04-01-2013, 05:30 PM
I lost 6 units. Susan, drink lots of water. Whenever you think of it, at least have a sip.

tae_tap
04-02-2013, 11:49 AM
Susan,

I am glad to hear you are doing well. I think we all lose or need blood during or after surgery. I was given four units after my short fusion. But I would not worry too much about that. Focus on the recovery for that is going to take all the energy you have at this moment. Keep pushing forward! Prayers are still being said.

Tamena

loves to skate
04-02-2013, 12:46 PM
Susan,
Blood loss in not uncommon especially in us older ladies. Bones tend to bleed a lot when they are cut into. I lost 8 pints between my two surgeries and when I went in for more decompression 2 years later, my Hct dropped from 45 to 24. No transfusion then, just lots of Iron pills. Rehab was good for me too. I couldn't have done without it. Another age related necessity. Take care, you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Sally

jane d
04-02-2013, 10:58 PM
Susan, one of the reasons that I did not choose the surgeon at Emory was that he would have corrected my spine through two surgeries (one posterior and one anterior) and it was my understanding that there is a lot more blood loss with an anterior approach. Dr. Lenke performed my surgery with an all posterior approach. I did need 4 units of packed cells which was what he had predicted and I was able to have that much blood on hand from donors I had lined up before my surgery. I did take an iron supplement for about 7 weeks after my surgery. I am glad to hear your recovery is going well. I have been praying for you.
Jane

susancook
04-03-2013, 12:06 PM
Thank you everyone for your support. I am able to walk further already than I was before surgery. I am very encouraged. I will graduate from rehabilitation to home on Friday.
Again, I need to say how happy I am with the surgery and outcome. So, if you have degenerative scoliosis, the changes are so great!
Susan

JenniferG
04-03-2013, 05:03 PM
Wow! It's so good to read that Susan! And so early out. Very happy for you!

golfnut
04-03-2013, 08:54 PM
What a great post from you, Susan! This is the most difficult time in the recovery and you are handling it like a champ! I'm so glad you feel better already than before your surgery. Wait until you're further down the road to full recovery! Aren't you proud of yourself for having the courage to have this surgery?

Confusedmom
04-03-2013, 10:09 PM
Susan, that's great!!! Keep us posted on your progress.

titaniumed
04-03-2013, 10:53 PM
if you have degenerative scoliosis, the changes are so great!
Susan

I agree. My pain scale in my lumbar went from 10 to 0. I never expected these kinds of results......

Everyday things will get better Susan. Just a little bit each day....

You did it! Congratulations!

Ed

Irina
04-04-2013, 12:40 AM
I am so happy for you, Susan!

susancook
04-07-2013, 01:43 PM
Collapsed lung? I take it they re-inflated it?

Did you realize you wrote "deceasing" back pain? As in the pain is on it's way to being deceased! No more pain! Let's hope surgery killed the back pain for you. :-)

Best,
Evelyn

I am getting caught up on life from the last 3 weeks. Thanks Evelyn for your email. Everything over the past 3 weeks was written in a drug induced fog, so hard to say what I really thought that I was trying to write. The atelectasis was just a very small area and I used a pressure breathing machine to expand my lung. They called 2 "rapid response codes" on me for the 2 episodes of chest pain.

I had a lot of pain intermittently before surgery, and that pain is gone. After surgery, that here were a few times when they couldn't control my pain. Then I was overdosed and they had to give me Narcan. It is a fine balance between relieving pain and overdosing.

Thanks for your support. Susan

JenniferG
04-07-2013, 07:46 PM
Hi Susan,

So glad to read that awful pain you had pre-op, has gone. This is the best we can hope for. Did you gain much height?

tae_tap
04-08-2013, 03:35 PM
So glad to hear that you are doing better. Do you feel thirty again? (wink, wink)

Tamena

susancook
04-10-2013, 09:22 PM
So glad to hear that you are doing better. Do you feel thirty again? (wink, wink)

Tamena

While I may feel 30, I look like an old lady with my walker, support hose, brace, and depends. Quite funny, actually.
Susan

susancook
04-10-2013, 09:50 PM
I am at my son's home in Oakland and am starting to feel somewhat normal. I am almost 3 weeks from my second surgery. The first surgery, anterior and XLIF took 5 hours and I had 2 units of blood. The second surgery almost didn't happen as my PO2 was down to 79 percent. I sat in the preop area doing blowing treatments with the anesthesiologist for about 1.5 hours. Then the anesthesiologist and Dr. Hu decided that I was ok for surgery. Dr. Hu said that they suctioned out my lungs under anesthesia as I had a lot of fluid on my lungs. The PSF took 8 hours and 8 units of blood. I spent 2 nights in the ICU, then on to the regular ward. I saw ants all over the floor marching in formation. I told my daughter that they should clean the hospital better. When my daughter said that they were not there, I believed her, but still saw them marching around. It was rather humorous and entertaining, and must have been due to one of the meds.

I went to an acute rehab ward of a hospital for a week. I had PT and OT three times a day and quickly learned everything that I needed to learn.

I was incontinent after the catheter was removed for about a week. Then, I went to my son's house. The incontinence is better now, I am incontinent about once a day now. The incontinence was very frustrating and I was worried that I would be wearing Depends for the rest of my life.

I retained a lot of fluid everywhere and now wear TED hose. I took diuretics IV in the hospital and stopped the PO diuretics yesterday. I get up every 1.5 to 2 hours at night to urinate and then pain pills every 3 hours. Needless to say, I sleep poorly.

I have some good days and some poor days, but think that I am gradually doing better. All of my back muscles hurt. Dr. Hu said that is from my poor coronal balance before surgery and my muscles being pulled to the right.

My incision looks awesome! My kyphosis is pretty much gone in the thoracic area, but the upper, cervical part remains the same, somewhat humped. Dr. Hu said that she was afraid to do anything about the upper part as she spent considerable time on the mid-Thoracic which was the major pivot point for my kyphosis.

I am pleased with the results and can already walk much further than I could before surgery. I get tired when walking and generally ache, but am not in the pain like I had preop. I walk around outside every day and love being out of doors.

I cannot figure out how to get my picture of my back off the disc and my cell phone. When I figure it out, I will post them with my signature.

Susan

Confusedmom
04-10-2013, 10:15 PM
Susan,

You have a good sense of humor. Love your story about the ants!!

Glad to hear you are progressing well. Could the incontinence be related to the diuretic? Hopefully it will go away completely now. Your body also has to flush a lot of fluids post-op. I had bed sweats and my hair would be literally soaked. (And I am not in menopause!)

The fact that you are already walking farther than pre-op sounds very promising to me! Keep up the good work.

Best,
Evelyn

JenniferG
04-11-2013, 02:10 AM
Hi Susan,

It's great to hear you're doing so well. You must be relieved and happy. And as time goes by, things will keep getting better. Sounds like Dr. Hu has done a magnificent job.

JuliaAnn
04-11-2013, 11:34 AM
Susan, I'm so impressed that even with your grueling surgeries, you're able to walk outside. I was such a wimp, I didn't even go outside for a month after my surgery. You're very strong and determined. I really appreciate your updates.

How are your pain meds doing? It sounds like you have pain under control.

mabeckoff
04-11-2013, 10:06 PM
Glad that you are doing well

susancook
04-14-2013, 01:38 AM
Hi Susan,

So glad to read that awful pain you had pre-op, has gone. This is the best we can hope for. Did you gain much height?

By my home measurement, I gained 2.5 inches. Yea! Back to 5 foot 2 inches.

susancook
04-14-2013, 01:47 AM
Susan, I'm so impressed that even with your grueling surgeries, you're able to walk outside. I was such a wimp, I didn't even go outside for a month after my surgery. You're very strong and determined. I really appreciate your updates.

How are your pain meds doing? It sounds like you have pain under control.

I go outside for a walk every day. The sunshine In Oakland is refreshing. I walked to a Saturday market today but needed to stop once to sit outside someone's house. It was about 3 short blocks.

Pain is somewhat controlled, but since I had so much preop pain, I am used to it. I take Dilaudid 6 MGM every 3 hours. I don't know if that is a lot or not much. I was on 8 mgm every 3 hours in the rehab hospital. My lateral thoracic back aches and the Lidocaine patches have helped that some. I also take Baclofen 4 times a day.

I take 2 naps a day.

How much pAin meds do people usually take at 3 weeks postoperative? I am allergic to oxycodone.

Susan

susancook
04-14-2013, 01:50 AM
Hi Susan,

It's great to hear you're doing so well. You must be relieved and happy. And as time goes by, things will keep getting better. Sounds like Dr. Hu has done a magnificent job.

She could not fix my upper part of my kyphosis and that is a little bit disappointing. I never really noticed that the upper part was so angled as the lower part jutted out so much. The lower part is gorgeous!

My anterior scar looks ugly. Hope that it looks better with time.

Susan

golfnut
04-14-2013, 08:46 AM
Susan,
I am sure you will gradually notice improvements every week. To answer your question . . . at three weeks post op, I think most of us were on maximum pain control. This is truly the toughest time, so you have much to look forward to with your recovery.

aileens
04-14-2013, 09:04 AM
Susan,

At 3 weeks I was on 30mg of OxyContin 2x/day (down from 40mg 2x/day the week prior) and 15mg of oxycodone every 4 hours. It was a lot and I'm a tiny person, but I needed it. My visiting nurse encouraged me to cut back on the oxycodone and so I started to wean fairly easily after that. Weeks 2 and 3 were the worst for me - I felt awful from the narcotic side effects and the weather was too lousy in New England for me to get outside. Like everyone says here, it slowly gets better every week. I'm 8 weeks now and feeling significantly better - I'm walking 2 miles at a time and I've been cleared to go back to the pool, plus my energy has improved to the point where I'm only lying down for a couple of hours during the day.

I hope you continue to have a smooth recovery...

Irina
04-14-2013, 01:25 PM
Susan,

At 3 weeks I was on 30mg of OxyContin 2x/day (down from 40mg 2x/day the week prior) and 15mg of oxycodone every 4 hours. It was a lot and I'm a tiny person, but I needed it. My visiting nurse encouraged me to cut back on the oxycodone and so I started to wean fairly easily after that. Weeks 2 and 3 were the worst for me - I felt awful from the narcotic side effects and the weather was too lousy in New England for me to get outside. Like everyone says here, it slowly gets better every week. I'm 8 weeks now and feeling significantly better - I'm walking 2 miles at a time and I've been cleared to go back to the pool, plus my energy has improved to the point where I'm only lying down for a couple of hours during the day.

I hope you continue to have a smooth recovery...

aileens, are you still using a cane when walking outside? If not, when did you stop using it? I am 5 weeks post-op and walk without anything at home, but take my cane when I go outside. I don't feel comfortable walking without a cane outside yet and wonder when would be the time to ditch it. I know we're all different and since I have right hip/leg pain, I'd probably need a cane for a while...

aileens
04-14-2013, 02:52 PM
Irina, I'm still using my cane when I walk outside of the house. I still feel a little wobbly so it's nice to have, and my surgeon likes me to use to keep proper posture. It's also kind of nice to have a visual cue - people give me lots so space and are helpful when they see the cane. Not entirely sure when I'll be able to put it away...

In terms of other things to look forward to, I drove for the first time today! It was only 5 mins to the grocery store on a Sunday morning when the streets were quiet and it went fine. I was surprised by how exhausted it made me and how weak my muscles still are, so I will leave the driving to my husband for the time being.

Irina
04-14-2013, 02:58 PM
Irina, I'm still using my cane when I walk outside of the house. I still feel a little wobbly so it's nice to have, and my surgeon likes me to use to keep proper posture. It's also kind of nice to have a visual cue - people give me lots so space and are helpful when they see the cane. Not entirely sure when I'll be able to put it away...

In terms of other things to look forward to, I drove for the first time today! It was only 5 mins to the grocery store on a Sunday morning when the streets were quiet and it went fine. I was surprised by how exhausted it made me and how weak my muscles still are, so I will leave the driving to my husband for the time being.

Congrats on the driving, aillens! Yes, it's better to leave the driving to our husbands and take it easy, but it's a good to know that you can drive if need be.

JenniferG
04-14-2013, 03:45 PM
Susan! 2.5 inches is amazing! You must feel like you're walking on stilts!

Regarding pain meds at 3 weeks, I was on the full dose, I didn't start weaning until 6 - 7 weeks.

You seem to be doing great, considering your two gruelling surgeries.

Susie*Bee
04-14-2013, 04:16 PM
Ditto what Jennifer said, Susan. You are doing amazing!!! And you, too, aileens!

susancook
04-15-2013, 12:14 AM
Susan,

You have a good sense of humor. Love your story about the ants!!

Glad to hear you are progressing well. Could the incontinence be related to the diuretic? Hopefully it will go away completely now. Your body also has to flush a lot of fluids post-op. I had bed sweats and my hair would be literally soaked. (And I am not in menopause!)

The fact that you are already walking farther than pre-op sounds very promising to me! Keep up the good work.

Best,
Evelyn

I wake up soaked most of the time, not from hot flashes. My hair is also soaked. Thought that it was just me. Susan

susancook
04-15-2013, 12:38 AM
My daughter has shared some of the funny things that I said when she stayed with me in the ICU. Apparently, I had a British nurse who asked me what I wanted to drink with my pain meds. I told her a beer. She brought me a cranberry juice and I quickly downed it and told her that it was "great beer". Later, the nurse tried to establish whether I was oriented and when she asked me where I was, I told her an "English pub" drinking beer. At least everyone had a great laugh out of it.

I remember the marching ants really well. At first, I told them that the hospital was dirty because I saw bugs. I tried to pick them off of the covers. While they finally convinced me that I was imagining the ants, I could still see them marching around the floor. There were a huge number of black and white ants. I actually find them amusing.

My Son told stories tonight at dinner about visiting me in the ICU. I had just finished 8 hours of surgery and my hemoglobin was 5.4, so they started 2 units of blood. When he arrived, I was sobbing with my hands covering my face. He called the nurse who insisted on asking me my pain level from 1 to 10. I just kept sobbing. She returned with some powerful iv push pain meds, and shortly thereafter, when I relaxed and stopped sobbing and was higher than a kite, she asked me my pain level. After I couldn't figure it out, my son said that it "was not an existential question, and that I could just say small, medium, or large". I continued to say, "I can do this" over and over, but never did. Then I did a Hawaiian hula in bed and sang, "somewhere over the rainbow", then went to sleep. Unsure what the nurse wrote down, but that sounds like a zero pain to me.

Susan

susancook
04-17-2013, 08:03 PM
Last night was a bummer. About 6 pm, something said made cry and the dam broke. I don't remember others talking about crying once they got home. I am better today and went out to the gardens in Berekely. I slept well afterwards, and now feel good. Wonder why I had such emotional lability? I think that I might still be anemic.
Susan

golfnut
04-17-2013, 09:21 PM
Do not worry. It's definitely the drugs. I am always pretty upbeat by nature. There was one day or more that I just started crying after my surgery and I thought what the heck am I doing? Many people have posted about being extremely emotional after surgery due to the meds.

Irina
04-17-2013, 09:25 PM
Karen is right. I remember other people saying that they were crying a lot - it's drugs. And I am sure your husband and son understand it.

susancook
04-17-2013, 11:08 PM
My family asks me if I am depressed. I do not think that I am, as I am truly pleased with the surgery, but to get everyone to quit asking me about being depressed, i agreed that i was depressed. Now that I read your comments, I agree that it is a combination of things, mostly the drugs.
Thanks for your support. I feel that there is an awesome group of people going along with me on the journey. I cannot thank everyone enough. T here are 2 things that I have found out: that I am very surprised how pleased I am with the surgery and secondly, how much work recovery really is. While every day is getting a little bit better, it is so slow. And it is blurred by drugs. And I worry every day that I am not taking enough precautions with my movement and that my back will not fuse.
Bye, I am so tired, Susan

JuliaAnn
04-18-2013, 12:23 AM
Susan, you are doing just fine. The first two months of recovery seem to crawl by at a snail's pace. I remember thinking I would never get better and it was so frustrating. But during that time, cell by cell the bones were fusing and getting stronger. I finally noticed a difference in recovery during the third month. And then the fourth month had some big changes. From then on, the recovery seems more rapid. It's just the first part of recovery that seems to drag on forever. Hang in there. You're getting through.

Confusedmom
04-18-2013, 12:43 AM
Yep, it's the drugs. And more specifically, withdrawal from the drugs. If you are cutting your amounts or extending time between doses, that can bring it on. I am totally paranoid about the withdrawals; that's one reason I weaned super super slowly. If I did it again I'm wondering if it would be better to just be faster and get it over with. Anyway, you sound like you're doing great, and this is all just part of the process.

Evelyn

aileens
04-18-2013, 08:58 AM
Susan, I had tons of crying bouts while I was on the narcotics - they are CNS depressants so its not surprising if you seem depressed. My mood improved immensely when I quit OxyContin after 6 weeks and my recovery seemed to take a big leap forward as well. Now I'm just crying watching the news here in Boston after what happened at the marathon - while I still have a fair amount of pain that Tylenol does an ok job of managing (along with lying down), I can't imagine what recovery will be like for the injured.

In any case, it's nice to hear that you're so pleased with your surgery. It wasn't until recently when I realized that I can walk for 2 miles without having any sciatica pain that made me think that this was all for the better. I got quite good cosmetic correction and 2 to 3 inches of height, but oddly enough I actually wasn't straightened out all that much. Then and again I had a very large and stiff curve that should have been fixed 25 years ago, so I trust that my surgeon did the best he could while keeping me safe.

susancook
04-18-2013, 03:42 PM
Aileen's, Julie Ann, and Evelyn, thanks for your reassurance. I realize that the Narcotics are needed to get me moving. However, they are super sedating, and decrease my energy and i feel tired. At 3.5 weeks after surgery, I doubt that I could do without them. I took 8 MGM of Dilaudid every 3 hours in the hospital when I left, and now feel ok with 6 MGM most of the time. Sometimes, I go up to 8 again. Drugs are a win-lose situation, but without them, I would be toast.
Thanks again for adding some clarity as my mind is foggy now. It is frustrating that I cannot remember words sometimes.....drugs.......Susan

loves to skate
04-18-2013, 05:00 PM
Susan,
I laughed at some of your posts. I heard repetitious music while on drugs. It was rather annoying. I am glad to hear you are getting stronger and better each day. Recovery really is a challenge and at my age, everyday is a challenge. My husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last weekend and then our granddaughter and her mother came for a visit, so I didn't get to the computer for several days. However, you have been in my thoughts.
Having lived in the Boston area for 34 years, I feel a real kinship with the suffering and sadness of the people there in the aftermath of the terror bombings. I hope they find the perpetrators and throw the book at them.
B-Strong Boston.
God Bless you Susan.
Sally

Wish2bstraight
04-19-2013, 03:52 PM
First, I want to say that by now everyone probably knows that the Boston Marathon bombers are known. At this posting one is dead and the other is being sought. They are brothers originally from Russia. Anyway,onto scoliosis talk. Susan, after my surgeries, thanks to the drugs I had very unusual looking people visiting me while I slept. This lasted until all The anesthesia was out of my body.

It took me a while to come off all the meds. The only problem I have is when I sleep, I have pain in my buttocks that wakes me up and I have to change position, every hour. As far as my posture is concerned, I still cannot stand up completely straight up. Pt is working very hard with me. Right now with the way I stand and walk I feel like an 80 year old woman walking with a load in my pants. I am only able to walk a half of a block, and I used to be able to walk an hour before my rib hump would start to hurt. On the good side, I am more even than I have ever been, and my husband is is excited about my new figure.

I am going to the doctor next week, and I am curious to see what he has to say about my restrictions. Every few days I find that I am more flexible and able to do more, except walk.

JenniferG
04-19-2013, 04:43 PM
The meds made me very tired as well Susan. But I just went with the flow. I slept like I'd never slept before. 9-10 hours at night and up to 3 hours during the day. I relaxed and gave in to it. Think of it as the best rest you'e ever had in your life. I'd climb into bed at any time of the day, as soon as my eyes felt droopy! And I'd be out like a light.

It won't last forever. As soon as you are off the drugs, you'll be wide awake, so make the most of it. Good healing time!

susancook
04-19-2013, 09:20 PM
Tried to walk many blocks to the library. Couldn't make it home, so I rested on someone's steps until my husband brought the car. My R sciatica started to hunt. Bummer! Hope that it was a temporary thing. I am so wiped out. Time for a nap. Susan

JenniferG
04-19-2013, 09:44 PM
Sounds like you over-did it Susan. Rest, and hopefully the dreaded sciatica will disappear.

susancook
04-20-2013, 12:58 PM
It is a challenge sometimes to figure out what is the right amount of sleep and activity. I think that I was prove something, like I was back to normal.....pretty crazy thinking at 3-4 weeks. I sometimes wake up and for a few minutes forget that I had such massive spinal surgery. At my first move, reality sets in although I really don't hurt as much as I thought that I would.
When I was walking to the library, Sandy reminded me that when we tried to walk there in the week before surgery, I stopped to rest every 1/2 block since I was in so much leg pain. I had forgotten that.
Someone suggested keeping a diary as I helps you to remember where you have come from. Sometimes that is difficult when you are taking baby steps.
I try to get out almost every day for a short while. I think that improves my sense of normalcy.

My heart goes out to those who had spinal surgery and had problem postop. I read their blogs and know that i could be there. It is too soon for me to assume that I will not have problems. Even some of the best surgeon's patients have problems. I think that having postop problems is a crap shoot. Some is probably attitude.
Jennifer, thanks again for your support. Susan

aileens
04-20-2013, 11:55 PM
I remember waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and when I came back to bed, I remember thinking it was the first time I had moved a bunch and didn't think about it at all. It was probably a combo of the meds and sleep, but it gave me hope that someday I wouldn't feel every single movement. I'm still not there yet, but After 2 10-hr surgeries and 11 not so pleasant weeks (9 weeks post 2nd op), I can say I'm truly happy I went through all this. I also hope I don't develop complications as I have read of people having ongoing issues many months out, but tonight I was able to stand for an hour as we waited for a table at a restaurant, then sit for 2 hours on a bench with no backrest. Before I would have been in agony but I came home and didn't need a Tylenol. The wine may have helped...

Hang in there Susan, it gets better...

titaniumed
04-21-2013, 12:23 AM
Susan

Back when I was 4 weeks, I was sleeping around 4-5 hours per day, in 2 sessions. It was many months before I could sleep 8 hours straight through....I wanted to sleep but couldn’t get any quality sleep and was exhausted for 2 full years. That was a long time.

Try not to push yourself into pain with your walking.....certainly triggering sciatica pain is something I wouldn’t have wanted to happen again. I had the worst sciatica pain before my surgeries, I don’t know why I put up with that for all those years....That was not worth it.

Getting outside is important. I would do short walks multiple times per day with no goal setting. I think that since I was comfortable with just walking down 2 houses and back multiple times per day that I was fine with that. I increased to walking 3 houses after another month....so you can see that it was slow going.

On one trip, a friend brought his RV over and we went to Virginia City. After walking around on the crooked planks of this old western town for 2 hours, it took me 3 days of rest to recover from the pain from that trip. That was at 4 months.

I guess we all push the limits.....you will learn what you can do as time passes. I was walking a mile after 10 months.

Take it slow, you have a long way to go.

Ed

susancook
04-25-2013, 05:30 PM
How do you figure out how to decrease drugs? I called the Nurse Practitioner and from her brief comments, I thought that she said to keep pain at a 5 or lower. So I should just step down the Dilaudid every week or so? Should i take more in the day and less at night? I'm also on a Fentanyl patch which the NP is lowering.
Susan

Irina
04-25-2013, 05:42 PM
How do you figure out how to decrease drugs? I called the Nurse Practitioner and from her brief comments, I thought that she said to keep pain at a 5 or lower. So I should just step down the Dilaudid every week or so? Should i take more in the day and less at night? I'm also on a Fentanyl patch which the NP is lowering.
Susan

First, I started increasing intervals and then decreasing doses. I went from 4 hours intervals between 10 mg of oxycodone to 6 hours, then I started doing 4 hours intervals between 5 mgs. I decrease the dose during the day and still on 10 mg at night so that I can sleep. Take it slowly, Susan. If it takes you a week to increase interval or decrease a dose, that's fine.

Confusedmom
04-25-2013, 11:12 PM
Susan,

If you want to avoid bad withdrawal symptoms, it's good to take it slow and reduce one drug at a time. I decreased dosage first. Not by choice; they just refilled me at a lower strength. Then I dropped middle of night doses. Then I started increasing hours between during the day. Sometimes I would get "stuck" at a dose for a couple of weeks because the pain was too bad to go lower. I felt okay with that as long as I wasn't going backwards. I was 4-5 months postop before I was totally off narcotics. Then another month or so with the Tylenol. Oh, I did replace some doses of Norco with plain Tylenol when I was weaning. It seemed like it took forever, but now I'm not sure why I was so stressed about it. Take your time; you'll get there.

Evelyn

susancook
04-26-2013, 11:28 PM
Thanks everyone for suggestions.

I know that everyone is different and certainly each person had different back problems, but when were you OFF regularly scheduled drugs and just taking maybe one or two Tylenol a day? How many weeks out?

Susan

Irina
04-27-2013, 01:28 AM
Thanks everyone for suggestions.

I know that everyone is different and certainly each person had different back problems, but when were you OFF regularly scheduled drugs and just taking maybe one or two Tylenol a day? How many weeks out?

Susan

Susan,

When I told Sharon at my 5 weeks follow-up appointment that I was on 40 mg of oxycodone per day and tried to wean off of it, she was surprised that I was able to manage on such a small dose. She said that people with the magnitude of the surgeries that I've had are usually on narcotics for 3 - 6 months and that I should not get ahead of myself with weaning off oxycodone. Anyway, I am down to 30 mg per day now, but it's not easy... I don't know how your surgery is compared to mine, just a data point...

leahdragonfly
04-27-2013, 10:18 AM
Hi Susan,

I am glad to hear that you are doing so well and so pleased with your result at this early stage!

The drug weaning is a very individual thing. There are some who are off narcotics within a matter of weeks, and there are others as Irina said who are still taking narcotics at 6 months. Don't push yourself to get off the drugs too quickly while you still need pain relief. You will be able to decrease them when your body is ready.

I don't tolerate narcotics well---they make me extremely nauseated. I took myself off oxycodone and oxycontin after my first surgery way too soon, because I couldn't deal with the nausea and inability to eat any more. I switched to Tramadol and tylenol. I suffered a lot of unnecessary severe pain and my husband was very worried about me. He begged me to take more pain medicine and I should have listened but didn't. I found at around the 3-4 month mark that my severe pain was gone, but I still had very significant "aches and pains" for several more months. Tramadol didn't help this pain so much and I was just taking tylenol by around 3-4 months with a tramadol 1-2 times per week.

After my major revision surgery in 2011 I think I was off oxycodone by 3-4 weeks, again because it made me feel so bad, and I was able to switch to tramadol with tylenol. The revision was somewhat less painful than the original surgery, so the tramadol was adequate (but again not ideal) by around 4 weeks.

Your med weaning will depend a lot on what you were taking regularly before surgery. Like Irina suggested, I stretched out the time between doses at first, especially at night if I could sleep through. I started stretching out my daytime doses by 30-60 minutes, no more. I could tell when I was overdue for a dose of oxycodone because I would start to feel anxious, sweaty and jittery. Next I cut down the dose strength. You just have to kind of work on it depending on how your body feels. Once your doses are down and you change from severe pain to significant aches and pains, you will realize that the narcotics don't really help so much. I definitely remember a time from 3-9 months or so where I still had a lot of significant daily discomfort but it improves over time.

There are others here who have been on regular narcotics for 6 months and beyond, it just really depends on individual pain levels. I think if you search the archives you can find detailed threads about drug weaning.

Hang in there and keep up the good work! When are you coming back to Oregon?

susancook
04-28-2013, 03:22 AM
Susan,

When I told Sharon at my 5 weeks follow-up appointment that I was on 40 mg of oxycodone per day and tried to wean off of it, she was surprised that I was able to manage on such a small dose. She said that people with the magnitude of the surgeries that I've had are usually on narcotics for 3 - 6 months and that I should not get ahead of myself with weaning off oxycodone. Anyway, I am down to 30 mg per day now, but it's not easy... I don't know how your surgery is compared to mine, just a data point...

There is not a first place prize for the one who decreases pain meds the fastest. After I wrote the comments about decreasing pain meds, it occurred to me that I was battling with myself in an effort to prove something. Unsure what I am trying to prove to myself or anyone else.

I am trying to listen to my body.
Susan

susancook
04-28-2013, 03:39 AM
Hi Susan,

I am glad to hear that you are doing so well and so pleased with your result at this early stage!

The drug weaning is a very individual thing. There are some who are off narcotics within a matter of weeks, and there are others as Irina said who are still taking narcotics at 6 months. Don't push yourself to get off the drugs too quickly while you still need pain relief. You will be able to decrease them when your body is ready.

I don't tolerate narcotics well---they make me extremely nauseated. I took myself off oxycodone and oxycontin after my first surgery way too soon, because I couldn't deal with the nausea and inability to eat any more. I switched to Tramadol and tylenol. I suffered a lot of unnecessary severe pain and my husband was very worried about me. He begged me to take more pain medicine and I should have listened but didn't. I found at around the 3-4 month mark that my severe pain was gone, but I still had very significant "aches and pains" for several more months. Tramadol didn't help this pain so much and I was just taking tylenol by around 3-4 months with a tramadol 1-2 times per week.

After my major revision surgery in 2011 I think I was off oxycodone by 3-4 weeks, again because it made me feel so bad, and I was able to switch to tramadol with tylenol. The revision was somewhat less painful than the original surgery, so the tramadol was adequate (but again not ideal) by around 4 weeks.

Your med weaning will depend a lot on what you were taking regularly before surgery. Like Irina suggested, I stretched out the time between doses at first, especially at night if I could sleep through. I started stretching out my daytime doses by 30-60 minutes, no more. I could tell when I was overdue for a dose of oxycodone because I would start to feel anxious, sweaty and jittery. Next I cut down the dose strength. You just have to kind of work on it depending on how your body feels. Once your doses are down and you change from severe pain to significant aches and pains, you will realize that the narcotics don't really help so much. I definitely remember a time from 3-9 months or so where I still had a lot of significant daily discomfort but it improves over time.

There are others here who have been on regular narcotics for 6 months and beyond, it just really depends on individual pain levels. I think if you search the archives you can find detailed threads about drug weaning.

Hang in there and keep up the good work! When are you coming back to Oregon?

Dr. Hu said that people who take a lot of narcotics preoperatively have more difficulty postop. I took some narcotics preop, but found that they did not help the R sciatic pain, so I quit. I am pleased to find that they helped me postop.

I use a lot of ice bags to relieve the tightness in my back. My back and thighs are quite numb.

I don't know how anyone prepares for this journey and I don't know how you faced the revision, Gayle. Dr. Hu estimated that I had a 1 in 5 chance given my preop condition, age, etc that I would need a revision.

I am glad that I achieved my academic success before the surgery. My brains are really scrambled! I have difficulty remembering words. That is probably due to the anesthesia or maybe some hypotension in surgery. I'm hoping that it comes back or my writing and speaking days are limited.

My 6 week preop visit is on Monday, then back home to the Northwest. I have lots of questions for Dr. Hu. I do remember her visits postop but I don't remember what we talked about. I hope that I didn't sing "Somewhere over the rainbow" for her in response to one of her questions.

Susan

JuliaAnn
04-28-2013, 01:42 PM
There is not a first place prize for the one who decreases pain meds the fastest. After I wrote the comments about decreasing pain meds, it occurred to me that I was battling with myself in an effort to prove something. Unsure what I am trying to prove to myself or anyone else.

I am trying to listen to my body.
Susan

Yes, listen to your body! It will let you know what you need. It's crazy to go off meds too soon. I stopped all meds around 7 weeks Only because I kept getting vertigo, severe constipation and my blood pressure was all over the place. I had to decide which was worse, the pain or the debilitating side effects. I just couldn't live with erratic blood pressure and vertigo so I decided to tough out the pain. There were days in months three and four where I nearly couldn't stand with the pain. I probably should have tried another pain medication but decided to tough it out. It was brutal. I do NOT recommend going off pain meds too soon. I noticed a big decrease in pain issues during the fifth and sixth months so take your time. You'll get there.

Each night when I lay down during the first months, I felt like I was gently cracking open a fragile fusion at one spot in my back. It hurt like crazy and made me weep at night. But then one night, March 10th to be exact, I did not feel that tiny "pop/crack" and searing pain when I carefully logged rolled into bed as usual. It never happened again and I think on March 10th, that was when the final vertebrae fused. That was five months and one week after my surgery. Growing new bone just takes time.

You're right, I don't know how anyone can prepare for this surgery. I remember all your posts on the board asking questions and your hesitation in getting surgery. The hardest part is now behind you! You're doing great! Love your sense of humor.

susancook
04-28-2013, 11:51 PM
Yes, listen to your body! It will let you know what you need. It's crazy to go off meds too soon. I stopped all meds around 7 weeks Only because I kept getting vertigo, severe constipation and my blood pressure was all over the place. I had to decide which was worse, the pain or the debilitating side effects. I just couldn't live with erratic blood pressure and vertigo so I decided to tough out the pain. There were days in months three and four where I nearly couldn't stand with the pain. I probably should have tried another pain medication but decided to tough it out. It was brutal. I do NOT recommend going off pain meds too soon. I noticed a big decrease in pain issues during the fifth and sixth months so take your time. You'll get there.

Each night when I lay down during the first months, I felt like I was gently cracking open a fragile fusion at one spot in my back. It hurt like crazy and made me weep at night. But then one night, March 10th to be exact, I did not feel that tiny "pop/crack" and searing pain when I carefully logged rolled into bed as usual. It never happened again and I think on March 10th, that was when the final vertebrae fused. That was five months and one week after my surgery. Growing new bone just takes time.

You're right, I don't know how anyone can prepare for this surgery. I remember all your posts on the board asking questions and your hesitation in getting surgery. The hardest part is now behind you! You're doing great! Love your sense of humor.

Thanks for your thoughtful post. I guess that I am still unsure how to decrease meds, but I will wait and talk further with the pain management MD in Portland.
Susan....I looked at your preop MRI, that was pretty scary. So glad that you had that fixed!

titaniumed
04-29-2013, 01:17 AM
Yes, listen to your body! It will let you know what you need. It's crazy to go off meds too soon. I stopped all meds around 7 weeks Only because I kept getting vertigo, severe constipation and my blood pressure was all over the place. I had to decide which was worse, the pain or the debilitating side effects. I just couldn't live with erratic blood pressure and vertigo so I decided to tough out the pain. There were days in months three and four where I nearly couldn't stand with the pain. I probably should have tried another pain medication but decided to tough it out. It was brutal. I do NOT recommend going off pain meds too soon. I noticed a big decrease in pain issues during the fifth and sixth months so take your time. You'll get there.


Same story here only I was 6 weeks. I also took 5 hot baths per day for 3 full months for pain without meds.

It seems many ask about weaning right around 4-6 weeks post.....I could set my clock off some posts around here......

If you guys are asking, your thinking about it. Weaning should be a goal....

Ed

susancook
04-29-2013, 02:51 AM
Same story here only I was 6 weeks. I also took 5 hot baths per day for 3 full months for pain without meds.

It seems many ask about weaning right around 4-6 weeks post.....I could set my clock off some posts around here......

If you guys are asking, your thinking about it. Weaning should be a goal....

Ed

I see Dr. Hu tomorrow and will ask her about pain med reduction and her thoughts.
Right now my neck is killing me. Ouch!
Susan

susancook
04-29-2013, 08:58 PM
Had a great 6 week visit with Dr. Hu and the ortho resident. She said that I was ahead of where she thought that I would be. I had 16 questions that she patiently answered. I have really cool pictures of before and after surgery which I will try to post when we return home and I can download my phone.

She measured my kyphosis before and after surgery and said that it was 90 degrees to 62 degrees. The reason that the after is so high is because my bone was osteoporotic (normal bone density on hip, so she did not expect that) and she was unable to fix the upper end. That was her only regret in the surgery.

Also, great question to ask postop: what was the biggest surprise for you in my surgery?

I told her about my neck pain and scapular and trapezius pain. She said that everything was so stretched out with the preop coronal balance shift and scoliosis, that maybe some of it is just my body getting used to the postop dynamics of trying to keep me upright. I asked her how the surgery might affect my future cervical degeneration, and she suggested PT and seeing how things shake out/adjust over time.

I also talked to her about waking up in the recovery room still intubated (ironically, i had told her at the preop visit that i was worried about waking up intubated and she said not to worry that it rarely happens) and I couldn't get anyone's attention to extubate me inspite of making big hand signals and beating on the side rails to get someone to come over to my bed. If i had been more clever, i would have held my breath and set off some alarms, but it did not occur to me at that time. When someone finally came over, it seemed like 15 minutes or so went by, I used sign language to tell them what I wanted. Nobody knew sign language. Then they gave me a card to point to the letters of what I was trying to tell them. I didn't have my glasses so I could not see the letters. Finally, someone took it out....I remember the guy saying, "this is going to be uncomfortable, so try to relax". Relax....I was felt so clostrophobic, I didn't care how much it hurt. Actually, it did not hurt. I cannot describe how relieved I was to get it out. Dr. Hu apologized for what happened. I said that I just want to know what to do so it will not happen again....then I told her that it won't happen again, because this was my last and only surgery!

She gave me 20 minutes of off brace time 3 times a day and prescribed more PT, especially for my neck.

So, it was a awesome visit and I am off to Washington and Oregon tomorrow. Yahoo!
Susan

golfnut
04-29-2013, 09:23 PM
Congratulations! It's so reassuring to hear from our surgeons that everything is going well and here you are ahead of schedule!
That's awesome!

Irina
04-29-2013, 10:49 PM
I am happy for you and have a safe trip home!

loves to skate
04-30-2013, 02:22 PM
Susan,
Great news for you so that you can get back to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I am so glad things have gone so well for you. I hope that when you recover from the surgical pain that you will no longer have the horrible back pain and sciatica that you had.
Love and prayers,
Sally

mabeckoff
04-30-2013, 03:41 PM
Susan,

I am glad that you are doing so well . I pray that this will continue for you

Melissa

susancook
05-08-2013, 02:40 AM
Bummer....since Sunday I have had left sided buttocks sciatic pain. Never had left sided pain before. I am disappointed. I knew that it was too good to be true that I was doing so well. No falls, no twists, and I am wearing my brace. Crap.
Susan

susancook
05-12-2013, 05:13 PM
Is there a problem with a retained suture? Feels like a suture knot at the bottom of my XLIF incision. No reddness or tenderness.
Susan

JenniferG
05-12-2013, 07:48 PM
How is your sciatic pain, Susan? Fingers crossed it has gone.

I've read on this forum of other patients who had sutures under the skin. Perhaps a search might pull up something?

susancook
05-13-2013, 12:42 AM
How is your sciatic pain, Susan? Fingers crossed it has gone.

I've read on this forum of other patients who had sutures under the skin. Perhaps a search might pull up something?

Sciatic pain is mild but continues in spite of my increased Lyrica. Why did this pain start almost 2 months after surgery? I want all of my pain to go away! I had a really bad day as I went hiking yesterday and then went to a semi-formal benefit. I died about half way through. When people asked me why I wore a brace, I told them that I heard that it was a really tough crowd and that it was a flack jacket. What goes with a plastic brace? pearls, I decided. I looked OK, but rode to the event in my husband's 20 year old Miata and by the time we arrived, I hurt and was nauseated. I told him, no more Miata.
I am becoming increasingly impatient with healing. I think that I forgot how much pain I was in before surgery. Susan

JenniferG
05-13-2013, 04:37 AM
You're doing way more than I did at the same time. You're about 6 weeks post op, right? I was only leaving the house for my walk at 6 weeks so I'm in awe of what you're doing. Perhaps it's too much? I hope the sciatica is something simple like that, and easily fixed. I really hope that it resolves - it's the worst.

tae_tap
05-13-2013, 05:41 PM
Sciatic pain is mild but continues in spite of my increased Lyrica. Why did this pain start almost 2 months after surgery? I want all of my pain to go away! I had a really bad day as I went hiking yesterday and then went to a semi-formal benefit. I died about half way through. When people asked me why I wore a brace, I told them that I heard that it was a really tough crowd and that it was a flack jacket. What goes with a plastic brace? pearls, I decided. I looked OK, but rode to the event in my husband's 20 year old Miata and by the time we arrived, I hurt and was nauseated. I told him, no more Miata.
I am becoming increasingly impatient with healing. I think that I forgot how much pain I was in before surgery. Susan

Susan,

Baby steps! You have shocked your body for it is still healing and will be for the next year or so. I can not believe you are hiking two months out, I am 6 months and would not be able to go very far. Just take things slow, for it is next to impossible to jump in at the speed you were running prior to surgery. Just take some time to let your body calm down from all the activities you have been doing lately and then be cautious of the speed you go for the next few months. Your body will tell you when you are doing too much. Use a Jacuzzi or soak in hot baths, it will help some.

Tamena

leahdragonfly
05-13-2013, 06:43 PM
Hi Susan,

It sounds like you are really doing too much at this point. Believe, I TRULY understand how hard it is to be patient with this recovery, but as others have said, it is a one-year plus proposition. Please let your body have the healing time it needs. You don't want to go through this again, I guarantee it!

Walking some is good, but too much walking is bad. There was someone here a few years ago whose surgeon told her to work up to walking 10-15 miles per day, which she did pretty early on. It came to light later that she had harmed her fusion (I forget what happened but the excess walking was directly cited by another surgeon as I recall).

Daily moderate walks plus maybe some easy pool exercise is all you need right now! Let your body heal---it is not a race to recovery and there is absolutely no way to speed it up!

Fondly yours,

Susie*Bee
05-13-2013, 07:00 PM
Susan-- I can't even imagine getting in and out of a Miata! I agree-- no more Miata. And yes, give yourself space (as in time) to heal more. I know you are anxious to get back to being active. Listen to your body. When it complains, then you are doing too much, so back off and take it slower. You'll get there. We do.

susancook
05-14-2013, 02:59 PM
You're doing way more than I did at the same time. You're about 6 weeks post op, right? I was only leaving the house for my walk at 6 weeks so I'm in awe of what you're doing. Perhaps it's too much? I hope the sciatica is something simple like that, and easily fixed. I really hope that it resolves - it's the worst.

Thanks. I am impatient and am tired of restrictions. The sciatica continues and I will ask the physical therapist today about a shoe lift. I have a love/relationship with my brace. It is hot and restricting. Enough whining.......thanks for listening!
Susan

tae_tap
05-14-2013, 03:43 PM
Thanks. I am impatient and am tired of restrictions. The sciatica continues and I will ask the physical therapist today about a shoe lift. I have a love/relationship with my brace. It is hot and restricting. Enough whining.......thanks for listening!
Susan

I agree! I hate my corset and love to forget to put it on while seeing patients, but then pay for it later that evening. Keep on keeping on and things will get better.

Tamena

susancook
06-27-2013, 02:15 AM
I had my 3 month postop visit today. I flew to SF alone this time which is the first time that I have been in an airplane/security screening since surgery. My biggest fear was that some big TSA dude would go through my purse, pull out my metallic butt wiper tongs and announce to the awaiting crowd, "what is this?" Guess that they aren't weapons of mass destruction.

At the visit, the X-ray looked "good" so nothing is out of alignment. Dr. Hu freed me from brace wear by slightly more. I confessed that when I do not have the brace in that I occasionally bent over to pick something up. She said that was OK "once a month". Oooppppssss. Gayle admonished me in an earlier post to be more diligent, and while I took her advice to heart (I still cringe at the post about the "pop heard around the world", so I trust her advice), I obviously pressed the limit more than I should. Note: promise to yourself to NOT bend. Need more grabbers and less dignity.

The rest of the visit went as planned: do more physical therapy, plan on things getting better with time, eat good foods-walk or swim more-take calcium supplements.

Dr. Hu announced that she was leaving UCSF and then started to say that I could follow up with a provider here if I choose. She only got half way through her sentence, and I told her that she was stuck with me, and that I would follow her anywhere. I came all the way down to SF because I had total trust and confidence in her and that there was "No way that she could get rid of me now". I was personally hoping that she would go to the Bahamas, so I could have my appointments at a more exotic place. I suppose that Stanford is exotic and that mapquest would find it for me.

My next visit needs to be at UCSF as she said that she will be between practices, and "Cleaning house". I almost laughed at a woman who probably makes maybe $500,000 a year, probably doesn't clean her own house. Whatever.

I filled out the seemingly zillions of questions that are routine at the visit to track progress or lack thereof and to give some researcher material for a publication. The only one that struck me this time was, "How satisfied are you with your results?" I remember the conversations on Ed's thread recently concerning functioning and I responded"mostly satisfied". The truth is that if I am in the exact same shape at my 2 year visit, I will mark "completely satisfied". I am hoping for some improvement in the next year and 3/4, but if this is truly as good as it gets, then I am OK with that.

Still need help with reaching butt hygiene and putting on my right sock,
Susan

JenniferG
06-27-2013, 03:42 AM
As good as it gets at three months? Hell no! I bet you're going to laugh at that idea in another three months then again at 12 months. You're still very early out Susan and have a lot of improving yet to go.

Many of us here had rapid improvement between 3 and 6 months. I know I did.

Glad to hear your appt. went so well.

golfnut
06-27-2013, 09:30 AM
I would follow Dr. Lenke any place he would move, as well. When I heard he was offered as position out East, I figured we would just make it a vacation for my check-ups. I know that I have improved so much after 24 months and you are only three months. I am glad you got a good check up. Please don't attempt to bend for any reason. I had grabbers in every room of the house so that I wouldn't be tempted. Fusing is so important during the first six months. I remember various incidents during my first 6 months where I had to ask for help from total strangers-dropped my keys by the car at the grocery store, dropped a credit card on the floor when shopping, had loose coins rolling all over the floor at the grocery store, etc. I didn't even stoop down on one knee with my back straight to pick something up for probably 6 months. It has all paid off for me so far. Yesterday, I was shopping for a new dress for a wedding (by the way, it's so nice to not attempt to camouflage a rib hump :) since it is gone! ) and the door to the dressing room locked when I closed it to show my husband the dress I was trying on. An employee came to unlock it and had to crawl under the door because she didn't have a key. Well, stupid me, did it again a few minutes later. I thought that no way was I going to ask her again to crawl under, so I did it myself. It was simple. I kept thinking-boy, have I come a long way . . . My point to all this is that you have the rest of your life to increase activities and enjoy your favorite things, but take at easy during this crucial period.

Wish2bstraight
06-27-2013, 08:38 PM
So glad to hear that you are doing well. I had to laugh and then Read your comments about airport security to my husband. I was concerned about security, but they were fine. I told them I was full of titanium and they made sure I went through the proper body scanner. I consider myself very fortunate since I am able to put on pantyhose, carefully. Then I thought better of it, and decided to call the doctor to be sure that this type of bending was okay, since I am only a little shy of six months post op. he said yes I could bend. What he does not want me to do is garden. I am okay with that, except I would really like to pull some weeds. He was not to keen on that idea unless I sit, no kneeling. Well, I guess most of the weeds are going to do their own thing. I will always have next year.

My big problem is that I still don't stand up completely straight, most of the time and when I try to carry things, even a couple of dishes, I am not able to stand straight. I bend at the knees while bending over. It has gotten better, but not fast enough for my patience.

Looking forward to hearing that your next soctor's report is just as good, if not better

Confusedmom
06-28-2013, 01:03 AM
Susan,
Glad to hear it's going so well!! I totally agree with others that you will continue to see LOTS of improvement.

One question: HOW do you bend? I literally cannot bend. I can squat. But there is no bending of my back to be done. Don't try it -- not a good idea. But I didn't even realize it was possible for S1 folks?! Can other S1 people bend?

Evelyn

JenniferG
06-28-2013, 01:03 AM
Hahaha! (Karen!) Isn't it great that you can crawl under change-room doors! Hahaha!

titaniumed
06-28-2013, 01:14 AM
My biggest fear was that some big TSA dude would go through my purse, pull out my metallic butt wiper tongs and announce to the awaiting crowd, "what is this?"




Austin Powers would say “That’s not mine” (smiley face)

Sigh.....I was told that I might not be able to wipe my.....”Krackatoa”. That was a scary thing to have to listen to...... I guess I was lucky. Whew......

I think that after you heal completely, you can work on your stretch. Right now, I wouldn’t try or pull down too hard, your still VERY early.....I didn’t do any pulling down till I was around 8 months post.....I waited patiently.....The icing on the cake comes later.

Dr Hu is a special person.....”Cleaning house” probably means that she will be clearing her mind so she can write scoliosis related material.

I wouldn’t worry about seeing any of the other surgeons at UCSF.

Your doing fine Susan....the next 3 months will be much better.

Ed

susancook
06-28-2013, 01:57 AM
You guys are so great! Thanks for all of the posts and your kind words. Part of my problem is that I feel so good. I forget that I need to be careful. Maybe if I were in pain, I would remember better.

Thank you for your admonitions. Irina told me where I can buy folding reachers, so I will be more careful.

Onward to more physical therapy!

Susan

JenniferG
06-28-2013, 06:16 AM
After all that pain you were in, feeling no pain must be heavenly, Susan!

Susie*Bee
06-28-2013, 09:01 AM
Susan,
Glad to hear it's going so well!! I totally agree with others that you will continue to see LOTS of improvement.

One question: HOW do you bend? I literally cannot bend. I can squat. But there is no bending of my back to be done. Don't try it -- not a good idea. But I didn't even realize it was possible for S1 folks?! Can other S1 people bend?

Evelyn
Even having been fused from T2 to "just L4", I can't bend either... When you consider having approximately 20" rods running down your spine, there is no way to bend except at the hip. Those rods will not bend! My PT said even then, you need to take it easy and bend the correct way, which is with a golfer's style bend with one leg going up as your arm goes down. It relieves the stress on your lower back/hip area. At least most golfers do that when retrieving the ball from the cup. That is why golfers do that--or the repetitious movement would cause problems. I sometimes think of it as similar to a ballet arabesque, if you have your arms out "just so". (big smile)

Irina
06-28-2013, 03:48 PM
Susan,

Here is the folding reacher I bought. It fits in my purse and I like a yellow clasp that keeps it closed. I purchased another folding reacher before and it was a total waste of money, but I recommend this one. When folded, this reacher looks like a gun, so be careful with it in the airports :-)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CXB12Q/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

susancook
06-28-2013, 06:17 PM
After all that pain you were in, feeling no pain must be heavenly, Susan!

Sometimes when I wake up, I forget that I had surgery. I feel so "normal". The memory of my lying on the floor at the airport awaiting the plane loading to go back to the US is still vivid in my mind.

Thanks for your support. I feel that you a re a good friend.
Susan

susancook
06-28-2013, 06:22 PM
Susan,

Here is the folding reacher I bought. It fits in my purse and I like a yellow clasp that keeps it closed. I purchased another folding reacher before and it was a total waste of money, but I recommend this one. When folded, this reacher looks like a gun, so be careful with it in the airports :-)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CXB12Q/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Thanks! I will order 3 so that I have more available.
Susan

Irina
06-28-2013, 11:25 PM
Thanks! I will order 3 so that I have more available.
Susan

Susan,

I only use this folding reacher when I am out and drop something on the floor. It is not as sturdy as regular reachers, but it's very handy because it fits in the purse and will be a big help if you drop something on a floor in a grocery store etc. I have one folding and three regular reachers at home.

rohrer01
06-28-2013, 11:55 PM
Susan,

Here is the folding reacher I bought. It fits in my purse and I like a yellow clasp that keeps it closed. I purchased another folding reacher before and it was a total waste of money, but I recommend this one. When folded, this reacher looks like a gun, so be careful with it in the airports :-)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CXB12Q/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Okay, girls. I'm totally eve's dropping here.
Irina, I had to take a peek at what this reacher looked like. It kinda looks like a gun! LOL... Don't try to get through security with it! =)

babyboomer16
06-29-2013, 04:07 PM
I want two or three!!! I think of how great this would be later when I am able to go shopping again. Much later I may add!! I'm always dropping something out of my purse~~~I too am eve's dropping!

susancook
07-12-2013, 03:48 PM
I noticed that my belly button was listing toward the R side of my abdomen about 2 weeks ago. I thought that I was imagining things. My lower abdomen has always been a little pouchy, so I just assumed a little bit of weight gain. Then my husband and I were laying in bed and I was lying on my back and someone said something funny and my R side of my abdomen ballooned up when my diaphragm went down to laugh. Sounds like an incisional hernia to me.

I sent a note to Dr. Hu's RN who wrote back that "most heal on their own". Unclear how that happens if the incisional sutures tear open and the opposing sides are not next to each other. I also thought that incisions have to be "fresh" to adhere to one another and reseal on their own with any kid of permanent closure. Then she said that if the hernia was "big"....what's that? baseball, softball, basketball sized? "To see a general surgeon".

Crap...just when I thought that I was getting better.

Anyone else have an incisional hernia?

Susan

susancook
07-19-2013, 04:29 PM
Frustrated! Incisional hernia looks like I am having my menopausal baby. Pants do not fit. Looked up hernia and found others with same problem with ALIF. Also a response by me that I old ask for the mesh on closure. Oopppssss.....forget that! I won't do anything about it for a few months. There is a surgeon here who does laparoscopic repairs. Sounds like the way to go.

Headaches awful seemingly due to cervical neck problems. Physical therapy has switched to neck now and will probably have some trigger point injections.

Maybe this is just the 4 month slump.....it is difficult to remember how poorly I felt preop at this time.

Must say that in general, I am pleased with my surgery. Not ready to post that I am happy with surgery yet. Wonder if so much of that is due to my having adult degenerative scoliosis and only having 1.5 years to think about surgery whereas others have 10 plus years that have scoliosis of earlier onset.

So, I will refill my ice bag and go on today. Just bummed..... Susan

Susie*Bee
07-19-2013, 05:33 PM
Susan, it's ok to feel disheartened and have a slump. It's two steps forward, one step back a lot of the time-- and sometimes the opposite. The main thing is that "in general" you are going in a forward direction. Sometimes it helps to step aside and look back at how far you've come. I was glad I made a scrapbook. It helped me when I felt down and like I was making no progress at all. There it was for me to see-- undisputed. What a bummer about the incisional hernia. Hopefully it will be taken care of soon.

I get a lot of common migraines-- not classic migraines, and am on a preventative medicine for them and it seems to finally be keeping the #s down somewhat, but not gone altogether. I had been getting 8-9/month and now it's about 2-3. Have you seen a neurologist about them? I don't remember... Sometimes I think they are also from the arthritis in my neck and I can feel the grating and grinding there. But also they have all the symptoms of common migraines. There are triptan medicines that work really well with me once the headache begins, if I take one, but then I found that they can become one of those problems where IF you take them they can cause you to have more headaches. Life is never easy, is it??? So I try not to take them unless we are having something special going on and I would miss out. (sad face).

As far as not getting to think about your scoliosis for very long, I've told my story before but you haven't heard it (probably) so I'll tell it once more. I slipped through the cracks somehow... I've had scoliosis at least since my teen years because I remember in high school some friends mentioning how "cool" my spine looked in my 2 piece swimsuit-- the way it snaked around... And my doctor mentioned it when I was pregnant at age 27-- "BTW, do you know you have scoliosis?" But I didn't know I needed to do anything about it or that it should be monitored or anything like that-- so nothing was done until my mid 50s when my "arthritis" (what I thought) in my back was killing me and I asked my (by then) different doctor about it and he was surprised he hadn't realized... So my scoli journey started at that point and my surgery was approximately 1.5 years later. My first x-ray just about scared the pants off me. I had had sore back problems and aches a lot during my life, but toughed it out, thinking that just happens and I'm a tough cookie. So you are not the only one who didn't have long to think about it. I didn't want to wait "too long"... so got it over with at 56. I'm glad.

You'll find that you'll make progress for awhile, then nothing will happen and you will get dispirited. It happens to all of us. (I think!) You just hit a plateau for a little bit--and no wonder with that hernia! You're doing great. It just takes time (and we don't like that, do we???) to heal and recover and be up and about our business. You'll get there! Praying for you and that hernia!

Irina
07-19-2013, 07:31 PM
Sorry to hear about your hernia, Susan. What do you think might have caused it? I hope this issue be resolved quickly.

titaniumed
07-19-2013, 11:42 PM
Susan

I’m also sorry to hear about this....I thought I had an incisional hernia but after CT scans, it turned out to be huge gall stones and I lost my gall bladder.at 15 months...Which really was an easy thing, not at that time, but it was.

I had a very lumpy belly, and was very funky in the first few months while it was healing. I have an area where some nerves were affected and have a hard spot on my front left about the size of a deck of cards. Movement of the abdominal muscles was “different” and it was only after I forged through with my full recovery that they did balance out......Now everything is strong. I have a vertical scar from my xiphoid process all the way down the front dead center.

My scoliosis surgeon referred me to my vascular surgeon on this......Funny how he mentioned that there was NO way he was going back in so soon. He shook his head. He mentioned that to me at 2 months post and I had to wait. Funny also since I had another scoli surgeon think it was indeed an incisional hernia. Diagnostics answer many questions.....

I just wanted you to know how I dealt with some of my post op issues.....

Cheer up, you will get through all of this.

Ed

susancook
07-20-2013, 12:03 AM
Sorry to hear about your hernia, Susan. What do you think might have caused it? I hope this issue be resolved quickly.

Unfortunately, incisional hernia can happen postop w/ abdomenal incisions. Common causes are heavy lifting, obesity, previous abdomenal surgery.....I am a little bit overweight, but have not lifted much since surgery. In early June, I started to get sensations like electric shock in my lower abdomen. They were quite unpleasant. They have gone away, and now I suspect that they were the sensation of the muscle opening.

Since it does not seem to be acute, I think that I will wait until November to have it repaired.
Susan

susancook
07-20-2013, 12:08 AM
Susan

I’m also sorry to hear about this....I thought I had an incisional hernia but after CT scans, it turned out to be huge gall stones and I lost my gall bladder.at 15 months...Which really was an easy thing, not at that time, but it was.

I had a very lumpy belly, and was very funky in the first few months while it was healing. I have an area where some nerves were affected and have a hard spot on my front left about the size of a deck of cards. Movement of the abdominal muscles was “different” and it was only after I forged through with my full recovery that they did balance out......Now everything is strong. I have a vertical scar from my xiphoid process all the way down the front dead center.

My scoliosis surgeon referred me to my vascular surgeon on this......Funny how he mentioned that there was NO way he was going back in so soon. He shook his head. He mentioned that to me at 2 months post and I had to wait. Funny also since I had another scoli surgeon think it was indeed an incisional hernia. Diagnostics answer many questions.....

I just wanted you to know how I dealt with some of my post op issues.....

Cheer up, you will get through all of this.

Ed

Thanks, Ed. No gallbladder here, so that cannot be the problem. I hate looking poochie. I will get through this. I am impatient and feel that I have aged 5 years since surgery. I was in the supermarket pushing a cart and I noticed that I was shuffling my feet and walking like an old lady. Not ready for that!
S.

susancook
07-20-2013, 12:14 AM
Susan, it's ok to feel disheartened and have a slump. It's two steps forward, one step back a lot of the time-- and sometimes the opposite. The main thing is that "in general" you are going in a forward direction. Sometimes it helps to step aside and look back at how far you've come. I was glad I made a scrapbook. It helped me when I felt down and like I was making no progress at all. There it was for me to see-- undisputed. What a bummer about the incisional hernia. Hopefully it will be taken care of soon.

I get a lot of common migraines-- not classic migraines, and am on a preventative medicine for them and it seems to finally be keeping the #s down somewhat, but not gone altogether. I had been getting 8-9/month and now it's about 2-3. Have you seen a neurologist about them? I don't remember... Sometimes I think they are also from the arthritis in my neck and I can feel the grating and grinding there. But also they have all the symptoms of common migraines. There are triptan medicines that work really well with me once the headache begins, if I take one, but then I found that they can become one of those problems where IF you take them they can cause you to have more headaches. Life is never easy, is it??? So I try not to take them unless we are having something special going on and I would miss out. (sad face).

As far as not getting to think about your scoliosis for very long, I've told my story before but you haven't heard it (probably) so I'll tell it once more. I slipped through the cracks somehow... I've had scoliosis at least since my teen years because I remember in high school some friends mentioning how "cool" my spine looked in my 2 piece swimsuit-- the way it snaked around... And my doctor mentioned it when I was pregnant at age 27-- "BTW, do you know you have scoliosis?" But I didn't know I needed to do anything about it or that it should be monitored or anything like that-- so nothing was done until my mid 50s when my "arthritis" (what I thought) in my back was killing me and I asked my (by then) different doctor about it and he was surprised he hadn't realized... So my scoli journey started at that point and my surgery was approximately 1.5 years later. My first x-ray just about scared the pants off me. I had had sore back problems and aches a lot during my life, but toughed it out, thinking that just happens and I'm a tough cookie. So you are not the only one who didn't have long to think about it. I didn't want to wait "too long"... so got it over with at 56. I'm glad.

You'll find that you'll make progress for awhile, then nothing will happen and you will get dispirited. It happens to all of us. (I think!) You just hit a plateau for a little bit--and no wonder with that hernia! You're doing great. It just takes time (and we don't like that, do we???) to heal and recover and be up and about our business. You'll get there! Praying for you and that hernia!

What a lovely note, Susie! You made my day! My course with discovery of the extent of my problem with scoliosis was much like yours. I was certain that they had mixed up the patients! The radiologist said, "oh, you didn't know?"

Keep praying for the hernia, I appreciate it. You are so sweet!
Hugs, Susan

titaniumed
07-20-2013, 01:01 AM
I am impatient and feel that I have aged 5 years since surgery.


In my signature a few years back I had age 49, the new 34. Of course this cannot remain the same but you get the idea.

Think younger and act younger.....regardless of how your body is reacting. I think that this is key and I try to do this as much as possible......Your recovery is just a little pitstop in life. Your posts in a few years will reflect this, count on it.

Do you have any advice on Malaria? I’m going into some heavy duty areas of Colombia and Panama in 2 weeks. I hope I don’t die down there. (smiley face)

I’ve gotten shots for everything else....

Ed

susancook
07-20-2013, 03:57 PM
I just reread the "I am happy about having surgery" thread. It was reassuring that many people waited 1 to 2 sometimes 3 years to respond and post that they are happy. I WAS happy at 2 to 3 months and now at 4 months, I am down in the dumps. I have daily headaches, an incisional hernia and look like I am having my menopausal baby, and I have limited mobility as my knee and leg hurt. The disadvantage of having a surgeon 12 hours away is that I would like to have an assessment of what is going wrong. I am disappointed and down in the dumps. I know that this process is a back and forth, but I am WAY back.
Susan, bummed.....

Irina
07-20-2013, 05:09 PM
I just reread the "I am happy about having surgery" thread. It was reassuring that many people waited 1 to 2 sometimes 3 years to respond and post that they are happy. I WAS happy at 2 to 3 months and now at 4 months, I am down in the dumps. I have daily headaches, an incisional hernia and look like I am having my menopausal baby, and I have limited mobility as my knee and leg hurt. The disadvantage of having a surgeon 12 hours away is that I would like to have an assessment of what is going wrong. I am disappointed and down in the dumps. I know that this process is a back and forth, but I am WAY back.
Susan, bummed.....

Susan, I just want to give you a hug. Can you talk about your issues to someone locally? When did your knee pain started - before or after the surgery? I know that joint pain can be related to some medication. Is that just one knee that hurts or both? Hang in here, it will get better!

JenniferG
07-20-2013, 06:17 PM
Sometimes after being on a high (the relief that the surgery is done, you survived and it was successful, why wouldn't you be on a high?) then something goes wrong (the incisional hernia) we can fall in a slump. I'm sure you already know this, but when it's happening to us, perhaps we need to be reminded? This is a slump, that's all, you will get these problems fixed and your life is going to be great with your new back. It's a shame you have encountered these problems. I know that I fully expected to never have anything ever go wrong with me again after undergoing such a huge surgery, (wasn't that the least I deserved? <grin> )
but when I then had gall bladder problems then heart problems, I did fall in a slump. I'm out of it now though, and I'm still thrilled with my back. Nothing will change that. It was worth it, a zillion times!

mabeckoff
07-20-2013, 08:24 PM
Hugs Susan


Melissa

Confusedmom
07-21-2013, 12:15 AM
Susan,

I agree with Jennifer. In fact, I think I read in Wolpert's book (it's been a while), that it's not uncommon to go through a slump or even get depressed around 3-4 months post-op. That's when the early surgical pain is gone, but you start to realize exactly how long this recovery is going to take. Everyone has unique issues. You've got the hernia and leg pain. At that time in my recovery I was still having trouble getting off the last of the pain meds, sitting for long periods of time, and I had recently started having sciatica. It's not 100% perfect for me now, but things have improved a great deal over the year since then, and I am no longer feeling down. Hang in there -- you WILL improve. Can you see a surgeon about your hernia, or does that need to wait? Also, is your leg pain related to your back surgery? I don't remember you mentioning it before. Think about how far you've come! Just a few months ago you were sitting on the floor of an airport, if I remember correctly!

Best wishes,
Evelyn

susancook
07-21-2013, 03:21 PM
Susan,

I agree with Jennifer. In fact, I think I read in Wolpert's book (it's been a while), that it's not uncommon to go through a slump or even get depressed around 3-4 months post-op. That's when the early surgical pain is gone, but you start to realize exactly how long this recovery is going to take. Everyone has unique issues. You've got the hernia and leg pain. At that time in my recovery I was still having trouble getting off the last of the pain meds, sitting for long periods of time, and I had recently started having sciatica. It's not 100% perfect for me now, but things have improved a great deal over the year since then, and I am no longer feeling down. Hang in there -- you WILL improve. Can you see a surgeon about your hernia, or does that need to wait? Also, is your leg pain related to your back surgery? I don't remember you mentioning it before. Think about how far you've come! Just a few months ago you were sitting on the floor of an airport, if I remember correctly!

Best wishes,
Evelyn
Thanks, Evelyn. Lying on the floor at the airport for over an hour was a very low point for me and was a motivator for surgery. I plan to see a surgeon soon for an evaluation of my incisional hernia. I need to go shopping at Goodwill for some bigger pants. There is a surgeon in Portland who specializes in hernias and uses a laparoscope. My son is going to have his ACL repaired in September and my husband and I are going down to Oakland to help his family. I don't remember the recommendation, but I believe that my surgeon wanted me to wait 6 months for elective surgery.

My R leg was painful before surgery with sciatica from a stenotic L4. Now it is somewhat weak and my knee is painful and slightly swollen. I have L leg butt pain which I did not have before surgery. looked at my X-ray and noticed that my R pelvis was lower than my L side, so I put a lift in my shoe and that has lessened the discomfort on my L buttocks. Unsure what the R knee pain is about, maybe unrelated to the surgery. I need to have that assessed.

I am tired of going to Physical Therapy, doctors appointments. My life revolves around medical appointments. I finally went to the dental hygienist for a cleaning and brought a pillow for back comfort. I was sitting up when she lowered the chair to put me in a lying position. I immediately said "stop" as I have not lowered my body like that, I always use my arms and go down on my side first. Wish that I had thought that through. Then she said that I needed to followup with the dentist for a small cavity. I don't think that I am ready for that.

I somehow thought that after the surgery, I would just heal and progressively improve with some ups and downs. I am frustrated with myself for not asking for a mesh on the closing of the ALIF. Of course, I thought that I would not have any major problems after surgery.....which I didn't and then at 2 months, the L butt pain started and then the R knee pain, then the daily headaches. I was walking well for the first 2 months, but that is limited now. I have gained about 10 pounds since surgery and I would really like to take it off. Feeling depressed hasn't helped any. Bummer......

My neurologist ordered trigger point injections and since the spots on my neck are so painful, the injections worry me. I cannot imagine ever having cervical surgery.

You mentioned the Wolpert book, he said that older persons should not have surgery as it was too dangerous. Interesting comment that caused me to hesitate to have surgery.

I am trying to take it one day at a time and not think about the big picture. I am trying to structure my day with my physical therapy exercises and schedule appointments to see various MDs.

I have very little back pain, just tightness and the feeling that something is stuck to my butt. Of course I have lots of numbness in my back and legs.

Thanks Evelyn and everyone who has sent supportive comments. I wish that you all could come over to my house and we could sit around the living room and talk. I would serve fine northwest wines to everyone not on narcotics, and everyone else could have herbal tea. I am sure that would be more helpful than seeing my counselor.

Susan.....trying to crawl out of the dumps

Irina
07-21-2013, 04:39 PM
Susan,

Could be your buttock pain related to illiac screw? It is common and I remember Dr. Hu saying that 50% of patients have these screws removed. It is an easy procedure with an overnight stay in the hospital and then taking it easy for two weeks. I am not saying that this is what you have, just thinking aloud. I had right buttock pain that radiated all the way down to my foot, but it started immediately after the surgery and is getting better, actually much better. I can live with that.

Did you take an antibiotic before your dental cleaning? Jo-An told me to take antibiotics before any dental procedure for two years. May be it's just for me because I had an infection with my hematoma, but worth checking Dr. Hu. Also, some antibiotics, levoflaxycin specifically, have joint pain as a side effect. But you're saying that only one knee hurts, so I doubt it's a reaction to some medication.

And, hey, don't think of yourself as an older person - you're hip and adventurous woman who traveled the world and has wonderful sense of humor. This is just a small bump on your road to recovery!

JenniferG
07-21-2013, 06:13 PM
I am wondering if any knee pain might be caused by the need to squat or partially squat, much more than pre-surgery, which might bother susceptible knees. I had sore knees at some stage in the early months, but my knees seemed to adapt and the pain went away. I still combine bending from the hip and partial squatting to pick things up from the floor.

I agree, a soiree with tea and wine would do you (and the participants) heaps of good, seeing each other and talking about things. I believe there should be more of it!

susancook
07-21-2013, 06:38 PM
Susan,

Could be your buttock pain related to illiac screw? It is common and I remember Dr. Hu saying that 50% of patients have these screws removed. It is an easy procedure with an overnight stay in the hospital and then taking it easy for two weeks. I am not saying that this is what you have, just thinking aloud. I had right buttock pain that radiated all the way down to my foot, but it started immediately after the surgery and is getting better, actually much better. I can live with that.

Did you take an antibiotic before your dental cleaning? Jo-An told me to take antibiotics before any dental procedure for two years. May be it's just for me because I had an infection with my hematoma, but worth checking Dr. Hu. Also, some antibiotics, levoflaxycin specifically, have joint pain as a side effect. But you're saying that only one knee hurts, so I doubt it's a reaction to some medication.

And, hey, don't think of yourself as an older person - you're hip and adventurous woman who traveled the world and has wonderful sense of humor. This is just a small bump on your road to recovery!

Nobody told me about antibiotics before dental cleaning....hmmmm......hope that I didn't miss something.
What I would like is for someone would do a thorough evaluation of all of my problems and help me figure out what to do. If the answer is "patience", then I know what to do.

Thanks for your vote of confidence in me. Sometimes I am not objective. You are an awesome friend!
Susan

LindaRacine
07-21-2013, 11:17 PM
The protocol is, indeed, antibiotics before teeth cleaning for 2 years. FYI, I haven't done so, and, knock on wood, have not had an issue.

--Linda

leahdragonfly
07-21-2013, 11:52 PM
Antibiotics before dental work seems to be surgeon-specific. My surgeon does not recommend antibiotics for any teeth cleaning, but does for one year for anything involving drilling.

Susan,

the 4-month post-op slump is very common. You are now past the survival mode, and thoroughly sick to death of being a patient and going to medical appts, having limitations, having pain, etc. I remember the feeling very well at 4 months. Depression is common at this point. It is very easy to fall into a slump and feel disappointed with your lack of progress.

You will continue to improve quite a lot. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and walk several times a day if you can. We have all been in your shoes. Things will get better.

susancook
07-22-2013, 12:58 AM
The protocol is, indeed, antibiotics before teeth cleaning for 2 years. FYI, I haven't done so, and, knock on wood, have not had an issue.

--Linda

Whose protocol?

Swell, wonder when my surgeon was going to tell me? I do not believe that it was written on anything that I received from Dr. Hu and I was fairly diligent about reading everything that she gave me.
Susan
PS: my teeth look great after the cleaning!

susancook
07-22-2013, 01:17 AM
Antibiotics before dental work seems to be surgeon-specific. My surgeon does not recommend antibiotics for any teeth cleaning, but does for one year for anything involving drilling.

Susan,

the 4-month post-op slump is very common. You are now past the survival mode, and thoroughly sick to death of being a patient and going to medical appts, having limitations, having pain, etc. I remember the feeling very well at 4 months. Depression is common at this point. It is very easy to fall into a slump and feel disappointed with your lack of progress.

You will continue to improve quite a lot. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and walk several times a day if you can. We have all been in your shoes. Things will get better.

Gayle, thanks for your support. Progress happened so fast early on. I felt that I escaped problems associated with surgery except the mild atelectasis. I did not expect problems after the 2 months. I actually had a good day today. My leg hurt a little less and walking was a little easier. My bathing suit doesn't fit well, and I just bought it. Looking 20 weeks pregnant doesn't help.

I will check on antibiotics before I have my cavity fixed. Thanks for the information. Hope that I did not miss other information.

Susan

mabeckoff
07-22-2013, 11:12 AM
Both of my surgeons want me on antibiotics before any dental work as well

Melissa

loves to skate
07-22-2013, 03:06 PM
Susan,
I am sorry to hear about your latest hernia setback. These bumps in the road can really get us down. About antibiotics before dental work, go to the ADA website and read what they have to say about it. It used to be recommended for people with mitral valve prolapse and no longer is. After implant surgery, it seems to be surgeon driven. My surgeon never mentioned it and I had a cleaning within three months of my back surgery. I wasn't told to take antibiotics and I refused anyway. I don't believe in killing off the good bacteria on the off chance that the bad bacteria will cause a problem. I don't want a "super bug". If the bad bugs get me, then I will deal with them.
Take care my friend, Sally

JenniferG
07-22-2013, 09:49 PM
Like Sally's surgeon, my surgeon never mentioned it to me either. I had a clean and one replacement filling in that first year, can't remember exactly when, and I was fine.

LindaRacine
07-22-2013, 10:35 PM
Whose protocol?

Swell, wonder when my surgeon was going to tell me? I do not believe that it was written on anything that I received from Dr. Hu and I was fairly diligent about reading everything that she gave me.
Susan
PS: my teeth look great after the cleaning!

UCSF. Jo-An is supposed to tell you during the preop teaching. She also didn't tell me.

Confusedmom
07-23-2013, 11:52 PM
Susan,

Maybe you are doing too much? Dr. Lenke doesn't generally let patients do PT until 6 months postop at the earliest. Could PT be aggravating your knee and/or butt? Also, regarding the hernia, if it can wait (medically) until a year postop, I think that would be better. You don't want to do anything invasive if you can help it because of the elevated risk of infection. Maybe lay off the doctors appointments and PT and just give yourself time to heal?

Also, have you recently decreased pain meds? That in itself can cause depression, especially if you were taking anything with codeine and/or Valium. I even felt slightly down when I discontinued Flexeril (muscle relaxant).

The butt pain: definitely could be the screw. I hate to tell you this, but I still have that pain at 16 months. I didn't have it preop, either. That baby is most likely coming out next spring!

The weight gain: I hear you, sister! I gained weight post-op and haven't lost it yet. But I don't think it's time for you to worry about that. Focus on healing, resting, walking, and eating healthy. The rest will come.

It is very normal to be down at this stage. Give yourself a break. Try to find something besides your back that can distract you. I read The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Gray. Easy, brainless, but kept my attention. This too shall pass, and you will feel better! Then you can plan our scoliosis wine/tea group. :-)

Evelyn

P.S. My son (age 10) had ACL repair this year, too.

susancook
07-24-2013, 04:16 AM
Susan,

Maybe you are doing too much? Dr. Lenke doesn't generally let patients do PT until 6 months postop at the earliest. Could PT be aggravating your knee and/or butt? Also, regarding the hernia, if it can wait (medically) until a year postop, I think that would be better. You don't want to do anything invasive if you can help it because of the elevated risk of infection. Maybe lay off the doctors appointments and PT and just give yourself time to heal?

Also, have you recently decreased pain meds? That in itself can cause depression, especially if you were taking anything with codeine and/or Valium. I even felt slightly down when I discontinued Flexeril (muscle relaxant).

The butt pain: definitely could be the screw. I hate to tell you this, but I still have that pain at 16 months. I didn't have it preop, either. That baby is most likely coming out next spring!

The weight gain: I hear you, sister! I gained weight post-op and haven't lost it yet. But I don't think it's time for you to worry about that. Focus on healing, resting, walking, and eating healthy. The rest will come.

It is very normal to be down at this stage. Give yourself a break. Try to find something besides your back that can distract you. I read The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Gray. Easy, brainless, but kept my attention. This too shall pass, and you will feel better! Then you can plan our scoliosis wine/tea group. :-)

Evelyn

P.S. My son (age 10) had ACL repair this year, too.

Thanks Evelyn, the PT that I am doing is very mild and I am working with a PT with experience with patients with spinal fusion. I am mostly working on neck exercises. I will also do some gentle swimming.

I also think that my scar should be on my front and I would be more impressed with the enormity of my surgery. When I look in the mirror at my back, I am frequently amazed. When I look at my X-ray, I am amazed and cannot imagine that all of that hardware is inside of me!

The hernia....that's what I assume it is, I would like to go to a surgeon and have an assessment. I do not want to have it repaired unless there is a surgeon's concern about the intestines getting stuck.

I am at 4 months and stopped narcotics: Dilaudid at 2.5 months. I am doing a little bit better now, thanks to everyone's support. I am not a patient person and I always feel that I can somehow fix the problem. Right now, I am worried about fusion and my ugly hernia....and my headaches. My back hurts very little, mostly tightness on my butt and some on my back. My R leg weakness has improved some and the L leg butt pain has greatly improved with a lift.

Again, thanks for your and so many others support.

Pinot Gris, Evelyn? Susan

susancook
08-08-2013, 04:26 PM
I saw a general surgeon about my hernia today and I have a complete separation of the rectus muscle that was cut with my ALIF.....about 8" plus he said. Crap. We talked extensively and he said that with such a large hernia that he cannot repair it with a laparoscope and he will use mesh with the repair.

He wants me to lose some weight before surgery as weight loss increases the chances of a successful surgery. I will probably have it done in November. I look like I am pregnant with my menopausal baby.

Susan

back2life
08-08-2013, 04:39 PM
I saw a general surgeon about my hernia today and I have a complete separation of the rectus muscle that was cut with my ALIF.....about 8" plus he said. Crap. We talked extensively and he said that with such a large hernia that he cannot repair it with a laparoscope and he will use mesh with the repair.

He wants me to lose some weight before surgery as weight loss increases the chances of a successful surgery. I will probably have it done in November. I look like I am pregnant with my menopausal baby.

Susan


You and my husband!!! You both need to be on the mend with these hernias! He is sick of looking like a pregnant male! I feel so bad for you Susan. You have been through so much. Please be kind to yourself especially exercising (PT) with the hernia.

Todd (my husband) goes in tomorrow for some results on blood work. Things did not look good. We are very nervous as he has had cancer years ago but we are staying positive as he has always defied the odds! But all prayers are welcome. Just hoping it's a simple medication needing to add to his daily cocktails!

I will keep you in my prayers. Walking can be a successful way to lose weight! You can do it. Try cutting back one high calorie favorite snack one at a time and before you know it, you won't be missing them. If you need motivation, I will keep on you like a barking dog. (And no, I still have not made my appt. The peps in my life have taken priority!...but I will!)

Hugs to you girl! Hang tough!

Susie*Bee
08-08-2013, 06:51 PM
So sorry to hear that, Susan. That's quite a hernia! Take it one day at a time-- and Back2life had some good solid advice on starting slowly with losing weight. I've had a lot of luck with Weight Watchers also, and have found the accountability there helps. Just remember to eat healthily no matter what.

I'm sorry to hear about your husband also, B2l... I'll be praying for all of you.

JenniferG
08-08-2013, 06:52 PM
The news you didn't need, Susan.

Cut back a *little* on all meals especially dinner. Start to enjoy that slightly "empty" feeling, slight hunger even, that will happen in a few days. Your tummy will be slightly flatter. You'll know you're losing weight. That plus walking and changing snacks from unhealthy to healthy, if applicable, should see a small weight loss between now and November. You can do this, because you want a successful outcome.

susancook
08-08-2013, 08:26 PM
You and my husband!!! You both need to be on the mend with these hernias! He is sick of looking like a pregnant male! I feel so bad for you Susan. You have been through so much. Please be kind to yourself especially exercising (PT) with the hernia.

Todd (my husband) goes in tomorrow for some results on blood work. Things did not look good. We are very nervous as he has had cancer years ago but we are staying positive as he has always defied the odds! But all prayers are welcome. Just hoping it's a simple medication needing to add to his daily cocktails!

I will keep you in my prayers. Walking can be a successful way to lose weight! You can do it. Try cutting back one high calorie favorite snack one at a time and before you know it, you won't be missing them. If you need motivation, I will keep on you like a barking dog. (And no, I still have not made my appt. The peps in my life have taken priority!...but I will!)

Hugs to you girl! Hang tough!

Tell your husband that I will be sending positive thoughts his way. While I am somewhat overweight, having a bulging lower belly really looks like I am out of control.....or having a menopausal baby! Walking is sometimes difficult as I get burning in my lower abdomen. I will keep trying to exercise, maybe try swimming.

I have decoded to eat every 3 hours, small meals of protein and veggie. I know that I need good nutrition for my spine to fuse, so I do not want to interfere with that.

I will send you PMs about my weight changes, so I would love to have you as a coach.

Take care of yourself! You may be needed to help your husband after his hernia surgery.
Susan

susancook
08-08-2013, 08:32 PM
So sorry to hear that, Susan. That's quite a hernia! Take it one day at a time-- and Back2life had some good solid advice on starting slowly with losing weight. I've had a lot of luck with Weight Watchers also, and have found the accountability there helps. Just remember to eat healthily no matter what.

I'm sorry to hear about your husband also, B2l... I'll be praying for all of you.

Thanks for your support! I am glad that I had my hernia validated by the surgeon. It is pretty obvious really. I sent an email to Dr. Hu's office about my symptoms and got an email back that "it probably is not a hernia as they rarely happen. It is just a separation of the muscle that will heal." Right! Even my husband who is a nuclear engineer could see that it was a hernia!

I will take it slow and eat protein and veggies and take my Centrum Silver vitamins.
Susan

mabeckoff
08-08-2013, 09:20 PM
So sorry to hear about your problems

Prayers your way

Melissa

mabeckoff
08-08-2013, 09:22 PM
You and my husband!!! You both need to be on the mend with these hernias! He is sick of looking like a pregnant male! I feel so bad for you Susan. You have been through so much. Please be kind to yourself especially exercising (PT) with the hernia.

Todd (my husband) goes in tomorrow for some results on blood work. Things did not look good. We are very nervous as he has had cancer years ago but we are staying positive as he has always defied the odds! But all prayers are welcome. Just hoping it's a simple medication needing to add to his daily cocktails!

I will keep you in my prayers. Walking can be a successful way to lose weight! You can do it. Try cutting back one high calorie favorite snack one at a time and before you know it, you won't be missing them. If you need motivation, I will keep on you like a barking dog. (And no, I still have not made my appt. The peps in my life have taken priority!...but I will!)

Hugs to you girl! Hang tough!


Prayers going your way and for Todd as well

Melissa

Irina
08-08-2013, 09:42 PM
Hi Susan,

The good news is that your general surgeon confirmed the hernia diagnosis and he will take care of it. I feel for you and it is so unfair to have this hernia several months out, but it could have been worse if nobody knew what's going on. I am just trying to cheer you up...

susancook
08-09-2013, 02:22 AM
Thanks Melissa and Irina for your kind words. It was a relief today to have a plan and to see an end to this process. I remember the first time that I met Dr. Hu. I was worried that she would say that " there is nothing that I can do for you, Susan". Instead, she told me that she recommends surgery (i thought that surgeons do not recommend surgery, but just offer choices, surprised me!) and that if i did not have surgery that i would probably continue to deteriorate. Same with today....knowing that there is nothing that can be done must be a very frustrating situation.

I really liked the hernia surgeon, hernia repair is his specialty. And he had personality!

Onward to getting ready for my next adventure! Hernia surgery should be a piece of cake compared to 2 day spinal surgery. Maybe he can do a small tummy tuck at the same time....
Susan and her menopausal baby

JenniferG
08-09-2013, 06:17 AM
Wouldn't it be good if we could have a raft of things fixed in the one go? Where I live, Queensland, it's the skin cancer capital of the world. I have a mole near my spine, just near where Dr. Askin cut and I half expected him to nick it off while he was at it but he didn't. A friend of mine had a breast reduction and got her friend, a hand surgeon, to come in after the breast reduction, and fix a couple of ganglions she had on her hands. Seems sensible to me.

mabeckoff
08-09-2013, 11:01 AM
Wouldn't it be good if we could have a raft of things fixed in the one go? Where I live, Queensland, it's the skin cancer capital of the world. I have a mole near my spine, just near where Dr. Askin cut and I half expected him to nick it off while he was at it but he didn't. A friend of mine had a breast reduction and got her friend, a hand surgeon, to come in after the breast reduction, and fix a couple of ganglions she had on her hands. Seems sensible to me.


I am so glad that I saw Dr Bederman before my hip surgery and not afterwards. Hopefully, this will eliminate one surgery for me

Melissa

JenniferG
08-09-2013, 07:28 PM
I am so glad that I saw Dr Bederman before my hip surgery and not afterwards. Hopefully, this will eliminate one surgery for me

Melissa

Absolutely. Some things do work out for the best! Even if it doesn't necessarily seem that way at the time. I'm just glad Dr. Bederman is doing his best for you because it's probably unusual to have two different surgeries under the one anaesthetic. I think this is a "special" for you Melissa. I hope that both the hip surgery and this broken rod surgery sees you in a great deal less pain. Forever. (You've already had more than your fair share.)

Hangin' in there with you!

susancook
08-09-2013, 08:32 PM
The news you didn't need, Susan.

Cut back a *little* on all meals especially dinner. Start to enjoy that slightly "empty" feeling, slight hunger even, that will happen in a few days. Your tummy will be slightly flatter. You'll know you're losing weight. That plus walking and changing snacks from unhealthy to healthy, if applicable, should see a small weight loss between now and November. You can do this, because you want a successful outcome.

Love you, Jennifer!
Susan

Confusedmom
08-11-2013, 12:13 AM
I saw a general surgeon about my hernia today and I have a complete separation of the rectus muscle that was cut with my ALIF.....about 8" plus he said. Crap. We talked extensively and he said that with such a large hernia that he cannot repair it with a laparoscope and he will use mesh with the repair.

He wants me to lose some weight before surgery as weight loss increases the chances of a successful surgery. I will probably have it done in November. I look like I am pregnant with my menopausal baby.

Susan

Susan, is that a tear within the muscle itself? The reason I ask is, it's also possible to tear the sheath or fascia material that holds the two sides of the rectus abdominal muscle together. Those are the long muscles that make up the "6 pack" on each side of the belly button. Anyway, I tore that fascia material ALL the way up under my sternum when I was pregnant. I saw a surgeon about having it repaired, and he said he couldn't do it because there was nowhere to anchor the mesh. I looked pregnant for a loooonnng time. However, eventually I think my abdominal muscles got strong enough to sort of hold everything in on their own. It took about 2-3 years, I'd say. I'm just saying this all to give you hope that in addition to any necessary surgery, your abs may do some mending all on their own. But it takes a while. As far as the weight loss, I'm right there with you! I've been doing low carb, high veggie, lean protein, healthy fats. I've lost 8 pounds since the middle of July! But I still have 10 to go to get back to pre-surgery. Persistence!

Cheers,
Evelyn

loves to skate
08-11-2013, 02:49 PM
Susan,
I am so sorry to hear about the hernia, but at least, you know that it can be fixed. Sending along some hugs and some prayers.
Sally

susancook
08-11-2013, 11:24 PM
As I understand it, the incision from the ALIF through the rectus muscle opened. My belly button is on the right side of my abdomen and the left side bulge. I believe that he said that it would not repair itself through strengthening my abdomen.

I am still gathering information. Thanks everyone for your support! Susan....and her menopausal baby

Confusedmom
08-12-2013, 12:21 AM
Got it. That sounds very uncomfortable! Sending good thoughts your way. Keep us posted as the surgery approaches.

susancook
08-13-2013, 03:35 AM
First of all, Evelyn, I forgot to congratulate you on your weight loss! Awesome!

I am feeling overwhelmed in being my own case manager. Seems that I just try to figure out what to do myself mostly. Remember, my area of expertise is OB Gyn. Orthopedics is not my specialty.

Since surgery, my R leg is weak, my neck is painful, my headaches are out of control, my back is actually doing well except those periodic electrical zingers, my allergies are awful, and my incisional hernia looks like I am 20 weeks pregnant and burns, aches frequently. I need someone to help me coordinate all of this!
I do physical therapy, acupuncture, and one session of trigger point injections. I take headache relief meds almost everyday and am having medication overuse headaches. I need to lose 30# before the surgeon will deliver my menopausal baby....whine, whine, whine....

S.

PeggyS
08-13-2013, 10:23 AM
Susan - thank you for sharing the details of your recovery. I just read the entire thread. I appreciate having the information that you and others have shared. I'm sorry to hear about your complications with the hernia.
Sending hugs & prayers!
Peg

mabeckoff
08-13-2013, 11:41 AM
First of all, Evelyn, I forgot to congratulate you on your weight loss! Awesome!

I am feeling overwhelmed in being my own case manager. Seems that I just try to figure out what to do myself mostly. Remember, my area of expertise is OB Gyn. Orthopedics is not my specialty.

Since surgery, my R leg is weak, my neck is painful, my headaches are out of control, my back is actually doing well except those periodic electrical zingers, my allergies are awful, and my incisional hernia looks like I am 20 weeks pregnant and burns, aches frequently. I need someone to help me coordinate all of this!
I do physical therapy, acupuncture, and one session of trigger point injections. I take headache relief meds almost everyday and am having medication overuse headaches. I need to lose 30# before the surgeon will deliver my menopausal baby....whine, whine, whine....

S.

Susan,

We all whine sometimes .If not here, then where else?

Melissa

leahdragonfly
08-13-2013, 12:25 PM
Hi Susan,

It's ok to have a good whine now and then--we all do. I like to tease my kids by threatening to call "whine-one-one" for the waa-mbulance. Makes them so mad but it's very funny!

I think generally we are back in the hands of our primary care provider after the first couple of months post-op. Of course you can check with your surgeon about the directly-related things like leg weakness, etc, although likely they will advise giving things more time to heal and not to push yourself (heard that before?). But your PCP should be willing to address the hernia, the headaches, etc, even if it means referrals.

Good luck, keep plugging along, and things do get better slowly with time, I promise.

Fondly,

susancook
08-13-2013, 10:48 PM
Susan - thank you for sharing the details of your recovery. I just read the entire thread. I appreciate having the information that you and others have shared. I'm sorry to hear about your complications with the hernia.
Sending hugs & prayers!
Peg

Thanks, Peg. It seems to me that everyone has some postop problem: most are small, some are moderate, while others really problematic or life threatening/ require another surgery.

The surgery is HUGE and should not be undertaken unless you have no other choice. As you know, my postop problems are: mild pulmonary atelectasis, mild weakness of R leg, and incisional hernia. I do not know if my back has or will finally fuse, and if not, that might require further surgery.

If you have any question, pls do not hesitate to send me a PM. Cannot remember if I gave you my regular email address or phone number, but will gladly give them to you.

Hugs, Susan

susancook
08-13-2013, 11:07 PM
Hi Susan,

It's ok to have a good whine now and then--we all do. I like to tease my kids by threatening to call "whine-one-one" for the waa-mbulance. Makes them so mad but it's very funny!

I think generally we are back in the hands of our primary care provider after the first couple of months post-op. Of course you can check with your surgeon about the directly-related things like leg weakness, etc, although likely they will advise giving things more time to heal and not to push yourself (heard that before?). But your PCP should be willing to address the hernia, the headaches, etc, even if it means referrals.

Good luck, keep plugging along, and things do get better slowly with time, I promise.

Fondly,
Thanks, Gayle....patience my ass, I am going to go out and kill something (a cartoon of a vulture on a perch)....

The R leg needs time. It has improved very slightly but I still cannot put on my R sock and some shoes. I do have the sock aid but it is never where I need it. I have a neurologist for headaches, PT for headaches and acupuncturist for HAs. I saw a surgeon about my hernia, so have him in place.

Thanks for your reassurance! I am not a very patient person, and am deluding myself to think that at 4.5 months, I should be back to being very active.

Let me know when you are in Portland and I will treat you to lunch!
Patience my a.....Susan

susancook
09-01-2013, 07:26 PM
I am now 5 months postop, and many people on the forum have mentioned that there is an improvement then. Well, I am here to report that it is true and I am so glad! My back pains which have been mild and occasional are much less. The electrical zingers have pretty much stopped.

Remaining problems/concerns:

Incisional hernia at ALIF site: looks like I am pregnant with my menopausal baby! My lower L side bulges and is quite firm. Some pain and burning, but that seems to be decreasing. As mentioned before, I saw a surgeon who is a specialist in hernia repairs and he wants me to lost 30#s. I am 30#s from my ideal weight, granted....but I am challenged to lose the weight right now. Need to get motivated....guess that I need to get naked in front of my mirror and I will get motivated! Not a pretty picture! and no, Ed, I will not post photos!

R leg still weak: Found it difficult to climb bleachers last week as that leg does not raise as high. I have an appt w/ a Rehab MD in 2 weeks for an assessment. That was the side w/ the severe stenosis of L4, so maybe in surgery, there was some damage. My leg works fine when walking, just problem raising it. I have problems putting on my R sock and shoe.

Still need to use the butt wiper reacher: Hope that I am not tied to that implement for the rest of my life! In truth, I have not actually tried to bend and reach as I am worried about fusion issues. Gayle's thread convinced me to be careful! I will ask Dr. Hu at my 6 month checkup if I can try to do that. Bummer that my genetics gave me short arms and long torso!

Neck pain, headaches Unsure how they relate or not to the surgery as I have been struggling w/ HAs for years.

To sum it up, I am pleased w/the surgery but need to figure out the above problems. I do not have much patience and want to get on w/ my life as I knew it 5 years ago. I was hiking, backpacking, traveling to developing nations and providing health care. I will post in the happy-that-I-had-surgery-thread when I figure out how to post pictures.

I still wear my brace most of the time per Dr. Hu's instructions and all of my relative's threats to "call Dr. Hu" if I do not have it on. In some ways, I do like it as it gives me a lot of support and frequently a chair as people realize that I am somewhat disabled. But, it is my personal sauna and in the heat, my t shirt is soaked when I take off the brace.

This forum is awesome as it has given me the info that I need to understand that healing takes time. There is a cartoon of a vulture sitting on a branch with the quote: "Patience, my ass, I want to go out and kill something". That pretty much sums up my impatience.

Thanks, thanks, thanks to everyone for their support on the forum, emails, phone calls, and cards.

Susan.....the turkey vulture http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-cMXcgEwZw5E/T2MZ_WI0NRI/AAAAAAAACnk/ogqM2WvJlPc/s400/vultures-patience-my-ass.jpg

JenniferG
09-02-2013, 06:11 AM
Hi Susan. Glad to hear you're getting that 4-6 month boost in improvements. I did as well.

Re the inability to lift your leg higher. I have the same problem - with both legs. It's not really a problem and if someone asks me if there's something I can't do as well, I usually don't mention it because I have forgotten it. But just occasionally, if I have to take a high step, or when I lift my foot onto something to shave my legs/cut my toenails, and I have to lift my leg with my hands. I've always thought it had something to do with the pelvic anchors but have no facts to back that up.

Yes, get naked in front of the mirror, do whatever it takes to find that motivation. Read diet magazines, look at pictures of before and after. You need that hernia repaired to get on with enjoying the benefits of your spinal fusion. Your life is already better. It can be so much more!

JenniferG
09-02-2013, 06:16 AM
Hi Susan. Glad to hear you're getting that 4-6 month boost in improvements. I did as well.

Re the inability to lift your leg higher. I have the same problem - with both legs. It's not really a problem and if someone asks me if there's something I can't do as well, I usually don't mention it because I have forgotten it. But just occasionally, if I have to take a high step, or when I lift my foot onto something to shave my legs/cut my toenails, and I have to lift my leg with my hands. I've always thought it had something to do with the pelvic anchors but have no facts to back that up.

Yes, get naked in front of the mirror, do whatever it takes to find that motivation. Read diet magazines, look at pictures of before and after. You need that hernia repaired to get on with enjoying the benefits of your spinal fusion. Your life is already better. It can be so much more!

Confusedmom
09-06-2013, 11:26 PM
Susan,

Glad to hear you're feeling a little better. Your sense of humor is back!!! :-)

I think you are doing very well and will look back on this in a year or so and be amazed at how far you've come!

Now, let's join Weight Watchers. :-)

Evelyn

Irina
09-06-2013, 11:39 PM
Susan, you crack me up, as usual!!!

susancook
09-07-2013, 02:32 AM
Evelyn, I am amazed on a daily basis! I am amazed that my body actually works! When I look at the scar on my back, I think, Holy Cow, I actually survived the surgery! I knew that I wouldn't die in the surgery....I'm too stubborn to let that happen. I do recall being in the preop area with the female asesthesiologist at 8 AM blowing on a spirometer and the anesthesiologist saying, "your PO2 is only 79 percent....keep blowing". Dr. Hu was standing there impatiently wringing her hands, just wanting to get on with it and start cutting...and I just sat there and kept blowing on the tube and Dr. Hu kept wringing her hands. After a blood test and more bad news that my PO2 was still low, the anesthesiologist decided that she could somehow suction out my lungs and the game was on. I, of course, worried that with my PO2 low that I might exit from the surgery with brain damage, but I didn't get a vote.

My menopausal baby and I are doing well, trying to slim down so that I can get the basketball taken off my lower abdomen. The general surgeon somehow thought that I could take off 30 pounds before November, but I am aiming for the spring for hernia surgery. I will be one year postop at that point. Seems more realistic to heal one part of the body at one time. Maybe I can get a tummy tuck at the same time?

Thanks, everyone for your support. And Gayle, when my children whine, I say to them, "You want red or white?"

Susan....I prefer Pinot Gris....guess that I shouldn't be drinking in my pregnant state, huh????

Afterthought: I re-read the, "I am happy that I had surgery" thread last night and was thinking about making my entry....Of finally committing to falling off the wall on one side or the other. Then, I thought that I might jinx my recovery, so I will wait.....until Spring.

susancook
09-07-2013, 02:37 AM
Susan, you crack me up, as usual!!!

Glad that I can be of service, Irina! Someone needs to add some merriment to the forum. If I don't laugh at my expanding lower abdomen, I just might cry!
Susan.....hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahaha.......

susancook
09-07-2013, 02:42 AM
Irina, do you know what the person that is ruining our forum with the bogus entires and spam is saying in Russian?
Susan

Irina
09-07-2013, 01:15 PM
Irina, do you know what the person that is ruining our forum with the bogus entires and spam is saying in Russian?
Susan

It's a totally random list of instructions for maintenance of different machines (generators, ships, cars etc). Doesn't make any sense - must be some automatic spam. There is a link on top of each entry and I don't want to click it because it might be a virus.

golfnut
09-07-2013, 05:07 PM
Susan,

We all love your sense of humor. I just know we would have a good time going out and sharing a bottle of wine or even iced tea.

You will be so amazed when you are a year post-op and realize how far you have come. I had accepted at several different times during the past 2 1/2 years that I had come as far as possible, however, I definitely improved between 6 months and a year, gradually during year 2, and even after my 2 year anniversary. I truly believe that I have less back aches than most 63 year olds. Actually, I feel younger than my years and couldn't be any more pleased with my results and what I am physically able to do without pain.

susancook
10-07-2013, 03:16 AM
Glad to be back! Since last posting my incisional hernia has increased in size. Bummer. It aches on a daily basis. I am on the wagon on weight loss and have joined Weight Watchers. I am motivated as I need to lose 30 pounds before surgery. Looks like February for surgery seems possible.

Problem number 2 might be related. For the last week, when I walk, I feel like someone in back of me pushing me forward. Unsure what to do, so I am trying to stand up straight which feels like leaning slightly backwards to be standing up straight. My doctor, Dr. Hu is moving to Stanford and is not yet there, but she has left UCSF. I feel a little bit like an orphan.

Suggestions? And the wiseass that suggests prenatal vitamins (like my daughter did when she last saw me) will receive an excorcism!

Susan......and her not-so-cute-menopause-pregnancy

I just re-entered forum and my thread and this was like a coming home to me tonight! I missed my thread so much. This is my only diary of my struggles and triumphs in my scoliosis surgery. When the forum went down, I was so deflated, I am so very glad, so very happy that the forum is back. My genetic family understands parts of me and then the forum addresses that unique part that only someone who has been there can relate to. Thank you to everyone who has made my journey so meaningful. We are back!

leahdragonfly
10-07-2013, 08:59 AM
Hi Susan,

I am glad to see your update, overall you sound like you are doing great! Your sense of humor is intact, obviously. Love that.

Does your hernia reduce when you lay down? The comment about it aching makes me worry a little about it getting incarcerated.

Ok, now can you make a snappy comeback about your menopausal baby who got incarcerated? Hahaha....

Fondly,

susancook
10-07-2013, 01:50 PM
Love you, Gayle! The surgeon said that he is not worried about my hernia becoming incarcerated as the opening of the incision is 8 inches. He said that he worries about the little ones of 1 inch or less. I do not think that it reduces when i relax at this point. i can run my fingers along my ALIF incision line (only a medical person would do this) although the suture lines are tender. Talk about getting to know your body!. I asked him the same question about the possibility of incarceration, and when I though about it, of course, it made sense that the larger the incision separation, the less the likelihood of incarceration. So, life is just one day at a time and a low calorie meal at a time. I needed to lose the 30# anyway. It was easier in India when I had diarrhea! (But not much fun)

I still owe you lunch, so let me know when you will be in Portland long enough that we can get together. We have a small duplex near OHSU now, so if you ever need a place to spend the night, let me know.
Susan

golfnut
10-07-2013, 09:09 PM
Susan,
You just crack me up. I love your sense of humor. I thought of you and many others when the forum was down. It was such a huge support for me during my recovery. I'm glad it is finally back and we can all keep in touch. Good luck with losing weight. You can do it!

Marianne
10-11-2013, 09:37 AM
Hi Susan,

Glad to see the forum up and running again and that you have not lost your sense of humour even with all your problems. Here is hoping you will be losing your extra weight soon so you can get rid of that baby. I am sure it will be hard with Thanksgiving and Xmas coming up. You will have to eat something healthy before going to anyones house for dinner so you are not starving when you get there and eat all the fattening stuff. Easier said then done I know.
Wishing you all the best.

Confusedmom
10-12-2013, 11:55 PM
Susan,

Sometimes I get that kind of "pushed forward" feeling, and I think it is a muscle spasm (mildish, cause the bad ones hurt) in the middle of my back. Usually exercise makes it better after a while.

Can you go to Stanford with Dr. Hu? Or do you have to stick with UCSF?

:-),
Evelyn

babyboomer16
10-13-2013, 12:49 PM
Love you, Gayle! The surgeon said that he is not worried about my hernia becoming incarcerated as the opening of the incision is 8 inches. He said that he worries about the little ones of 1 inch or less. I do not think that it reduces when i relax at this point. i can run my fingers along my ALIF incision line (only a medical person would do this) although the suture lines are tender. Talk about getting to know your body!. I asked him the same question about the possibility of incarceration, and when I though about it, of course, it made sense that the larger the incision separation, the less the likelihood of incarceration. So, life is just one day at a time and a low calorie meal at a time. I needed to lose the 30# anyway. It was easier in India when I had diarrhea! (But not much fun)

I still owe you lunch, so let me know when you will be in Portland long enough that we can get together. We have a small duplex near OHSU now, so if you ever need a place to spend the night, let me know.
Susan
First let me say how sorry I am that you are having these problems! I read what you said about "incarceration" but my question is"what does that mean?" It sound bad~~when it involves a hernia.?
Are you still feeling like you're being pushed forward~~I think that's what you said. I don't know what's causing that. But as long as you still feel like you're standing straight up with no problem, that's the main thing. What kind of excessive do you do? My back is terrible tight and I am concerned about the fact there's kind of like bumps in back right below my waist on both sides. The right side is worse. It feels swelled. It almost feels like my hip bones , but they are so high! Oh well, sorry I got off track. This post is to tell you that I'm thinking of you and hope you get this baby out soon! What a nuisance that must be!!! Anything that interferes with the healing process of our backs is a bummer~~ to be sure! Keep us in the loop!
HUGS TO YOU!! Linda

susancook
10-13-2013, 01:17 PM
Susan,

Sometimes I get that kind of "pushed forward" feeling, and I think it is a muscle spasm (mildish, cause the bad ones hurt) in the middle of my back. Usually exercise makes it better after a while.

Can you go to Stanford with Dr. Hu? Or do you have to stick with UCSF?

:-),
Evelyn

They gave me the choice of whether I wanted to stay ay UCSF or move W/ Dr. Hu. I traveled all the way down to San Fran to choose Dr. Hu, I am not bailing on her now! In the letter that UCSF gave me at my last visit, they said that she is "moving down the peninsula". They are so creative! They certainly did not want to lose business! Not that my insurance, Medicare and tricare-for-life pay a lot but we are business. I will look her up on the map and find her clinic and fill out all of the papers and start again in a sense, but she of course so intimately knows my back, but as any practitioner knows, you only remember the patients that were problems or the ones that you make a clinical error in treatment or judgement. My son is a Family Nurse Practitioner and I am a Nurse Practitioner and when I asked Dr. Hu a question at the 3 month visit, she paused and thought for a while and was trying to think of the answer. My son and I laughed as we told her that we had talked before the visit that we as practitioners, on so many details, only remember the patients on which there was something that was unusual or there was a problem. She laughed and agreed! Then, she said that she remembered me! I was the patient that she had to wait on for an hour an a half until the anesthesiologist decided that my O2 sat, which was 79percent was sufficient for anesthesia. I then remembered Dr.Hu standing there in the background ringing her hands as if to say, "Can I cut now?". The anesthesiologist finally said that she would suction out my lungs under anesthesia, which sounded like a lot of fun, and that was the last that I remember.

I know that my hardware is there in a daily basis, but I am slowly improving. I have daily small twinges, almost no pain, can pretty much move as I want ( but have not tried to test the limits), still have challenges putting on shoes and socks most days.....why am I whining? How quickly I forget lying on the rug in the airport on Fiji with an ice pack on my back. I do not have any complaints. I am happy! I sometimes pause to consider that I took for granted that the surgery could have gone horribly wrong and that I could be in pain or have a neurological deficit. Just rambling! I feel great!

Thanks Evelyn for your comment and I hope that you are doing well. I saw a woman yesterday that was bent over at a benefit. I looked at her and thought to myself, that could easily be me in 10 years. I am grateful.

Susan.....looking forward to repair of incisional hernia in February 2014 when I am 30 #s lighter

susancook
10-21-2013, 04:04 PM
First let me say how sorry I am that you are having these problems! I read what you said about "incarceration" but my question is"what does that mean?" It sound bad~~when it involves a hernia.?
Are you still feeling like you're being pushed forward~~I think that's what you said. I don't know what's causing that. But as long as you still feel like you're standing straight up with no problem, that's the main thing. What kind of excessive do you do? My back is terrible tight and I am concerned about the fact there's kind of like bumps in back right below my waist on both sides. The right side is worse. It feels swelled. It almost feels like my hip bones , but they are so high! Oh well, sorry I got off track. This post is to tell you that I'm thinking of you and hope you get this baby out soon! What a nuisance that must be!!! Anything that interferes with the healing process of our backs is a bummer~~ to be sure! Keep us in the loop!
HUGS TO YOU!! Linda

Linda, sorry that I did not answer you before now. A hernia is a separation of the muscle and in the case of abdominal incisions, the intestines can slip through he separation of he incision. When the intestines slip through, and then get caught or stuck, then it is incarcerated. That usually gives great pain. If the incarcerated intestines burst open, then intestinal contents...poop....gets into the abdominal cavity and can set up a massive infection and frequently death if you do not seek medical care with antibiotics and a good surgeon.

Hope that you are doing well. I think of you often. Susan....and hugs to you also!

susancook
10-21-2013, 04:50 PM
I am getting ready for my 6 month visit at Stanford. I hope that there will be good news of fusion signs on X-ray. If not, I will figure out what to do. But, I am optimistic. I looked up the Stanford Univ. hospital and was pleased when I saw Dr. Hu as Chair of their spine department. When I called for an appointment 6 weeks ago, the scheduler mispronounced her name. I bet she has set them straight.

I am now looking for a second opinion on my incisional hernia repair and feel like I am starting all over again finding a surgeon. How do you choose? Wish that I worked in the hospital and could check out their reputation among the people that work for them.

I reread part of my thread and I was touched by the prayers and wonderful thoughts of friends during and after my surgery. I do have some great friends on this forum. Thank you everyone!

Susan

titaniumed
10-21-2013, 09:22 PM
When I called for an appointment 6 weeks ago, the scheduler mispronounced her name. I bet she has set them straight.


Yeah, I guess Hu is a hard one, I’ve even had people that couldn’t handle my name Ed, I just tell them its Ted without the T. (smiley face)

Susan, please hold your hernia if you watch this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WAM41Dxfb0

My surgeon hand picked my vascular and general surgeon.....who knows me better than anyone I know.

I figured since Dr Menmuir picked him, that was enough for me.

Ed

susancook
10-21-2013, 09:35 PM
TED, how are you? Thanks for the note. I hate to stereotype, but if anyone should be able to pronounce an Asian name, you would think that it would be someone from the Bay Area. She said, Dr. Hue as in hue of color. It's Hu or WHO, as in the other Dr.

Thanks for the laugh....I held my hernia w/ 2 hands!

I think that I got the general surgeon that Dr. Hu works with, but the sew up was probably the cleaning lady or fourth intern down. Being smarter now, I would have chipped in some of my Social Security $ for mesh.

Susan [pronounced "sue-san"]

susancook
10-21-2013, 09:36 PM
TED, how are you? Thanks for the note. I hate to stereotype, but if anyone should be able to pronounce an Asian name, you would think that it would be someone from the Bay Area. She said, Dr. Hue as in hue of color. It's Hu or WHO, as in the other Dr.

Thanks for the laugh....I held my hernia w/ 2 hands!

I think that I got the general surgeon that Dr. Hu works with, but the sew up was probably the cleaning lady or fourth intern down. Being smarter now, I would have chipped in some of my Social Security $ for mesh. Apparently, Irina got the board certified surgeon as her incision has held together!

Susan [pronounced "sue-san"]

Irina
10-21-2013, 09:49 PM
Ha-ha-ha! They really sell this stuff on amazon! I should have bought it earlier - my husband is having colonoscopy tomorrow!

Sue-san :-) Oh, you would think that people in the Bay Area are used to all the different names, but you'd be surprised. If I make a restaurant reservation, I always call myself Jackie. Much easier than hear people calling me Trina, Urina (lovely!) etc. My family is used to it - when we go out, they expect a hostess to call: "Jackie, party of three" :-) So, when we meet with you next month, look for Jackie, party of four.

susancook
10-21-2013, 11:12 PM
Ha-ha-ha! They really sell this stuff on amazon! I should have bought it earlier - my husband is having colonoscopy tomorrow!

Sue-san :-) Oh, you would think that people in the Bay Area are used to all the different names, but you'd be surprised. If I make a restaurant reservation, I always call myself Jackie. Much easier than hear people calling me Trina, Urina (lovely!) etc. My family is used to it - when we go out, they expect a hostess to call: "Jackie, party of three" :-) So, when we meet with you next month, look for Jackie, party of four.

Irina...haha, I typed in Urina and it spell checked to Irina! So, no gross jokes jokes from me! Colonoscopy tomorrow for Your husband, the thought of the procedure brings back such fond memories. Hope that he and you get some sleep tonight! My sister took her husband out for Mexican food afterwards and a week later she said to him, "Great Mexican restaurant wasn't it" and he responded, "We went where?" Save your money and do a drive through burger stand.

Looking forward to seeing you and Dave for a real dinner, Susan

titaniumed
10-21-2013, 11:39 PM
TED, how are you?


I’m good.....No problemo...... The back is fine, the rest of the body is falling apart now. What are you going to do? Paying my dues I guess....

I think after you get your hernia fixed, you should be good to go. If your back pain is subsiding now, that’s a really good sign. After you get this hernia repaired and healed up, by that time you will be doing a whole lot better......I did my recovery with a broken shoulder and arm, and at 8 months had that repaired then did PT for the arm......It really helped with the back, kind of a combo thing, delayed 8 months. After getting all the small issues taken care of at 14 months, arm repaired, and gall bladder removed, I was doing much better.

Susan, I know its hard with the hernia, but how far along with recovery do you feel you are at, at 7 months?.....I felt I was around 70% give or take 10%

And Irina, how far do you feel you are now?

Ed

susancook
10-22-2013, 12:04 AM
Great question...how far healing am I? Now, that TED, is a good question. Compared to preop when I was laying on the stinky floor at the airport in Nadi, FIJI writhing in pain? Light years! Since surgery? I recently pulled something in my upper and lower back taking off a sock. Sounds ridiculous, but I am still in pain 2 + weeks later, but it is getting better. If I had to commit, I would say 70 percent healed is about right. The hernia has me frustrated as none of my clothes fit in spite of not gaining weight since June....I have lost 6#s in the past 3 weeks....not impressive, but in the right direction! The protuberant lower abdomen is gross.

That was good for me to think about, so thanks for asking the question. I still want to gain strength in my R leg and want the aching in my back to subside. I have taken little pain meds since about 3 months postop. When I look in the mirror and see the huge scar on my back, I am amazed that I am doing as well as I am!

Susan70percent, and my menopausal pregnancy

titaniumed
10-22-2013, 12:27 AM
Ahhh, I had the same thing happen dealing with the socks. I also had a soft tissue injury at 23 months post that hurt like the dickens! I was told it was a soft tissue injury, 14 days of 9 and 10 level pain, 1” circle right off the side of my L3 area.....It went away on its own. Recovery and building soft tissues later in recovery is a slow process. Its unfortunate that we all just seem to “test” the limits at some point.

I lost 18# in 2 months on a gall bladder diet. Wasn’t trying to lose weight, I was trying to curb the gall attacks which hurt like hell and last for 6 hours. It must have been the bean soup....I wouldn’t be here without the bean soup! Ha ha. Limiting fats seems most logical with gall issues.....

I had to throw out all my jeans and pants after my scoli surgeries since my waist size grew 2 inches after surgery. This was also after losing 40# in 40 days.

All this stuff is temporary, you know that. A royal pain while doing it, but keep smiling because it only gets better!

Ed

Irina
10-23-2013, 12:01 AM
I’m good.....No problemo...... The back is fine, the rest of the body is falling apart now. What are you going to do? Paying my dues I guess....

I think after you get your hernia fixed, you should be good to go. If your back pain is subsiding now, that’s a really good sign. After you get this hernia repaired and healed up, by that time you will be doing a whole lot better......I did my recovery with a broken shoulder and arm, and at 8 months had that repaired then did PT for the arm......It really helped with the back, kind of a combo thing, delayed 8 months. After getting all the small issues taken care of at 14 months, arm repaired, and gall bladder removed, I was doing much better.

Susan, I know its hard with the hernia, but how far along with recovery do you feel you are at, at 7 months?.....I felt I was around 70% give or take 10%

And Irina, how far do you feel you are now?

Ed

Hi Ed,

Thank you for asking. It's hard to measure the percentage of recovery and say that I am X% back to normal because there is a new normal.

My stamina is probably 90% back to normal. If we talk about my ability to walk and stand still - I am 200% back to normal - before the surgery I could walk for about a mile and stand for 5 minutes and was in pain. Now, I can walk for as long and as fast as I want, until my feet get tired. Same with standing - no problem. I am over the moon with that!

Sitting - didn't have any problems before the surgery, could sit for as long as I wanted and I had a desk job. Now, my tailbone aches after 2 hours of sitting and I have to take a break. But hey, everybody should take a break after 2 hours of sitting, surgery or not. I sit better in some chairs than the others. So, sitting is probably at about 60%, but it improves every day.

I do have occasional aches mainly in my upper back and sometimes 'bear claw', but it is WAY better than before the surgery.

Self-esteem? 200% better!!! Could not be happier with how my back looks! I am noticing that my husband became more jealous since the surgery :-)

titaniumed
10-23-2013, 12:29 AM
90%? Wow!, that sounds pretty good. I didn’t recover that fast.....

It seems that you are extremely satisfied with your surgery, and I’m happy for you. It was good that you were active here posting and prepping for the big day. You did have all your ducks in a row.

The old “bear traps”, I call it that because they “grip” and “hold”, and I do get them, usually in November when the storms approach. We will see once again if this happens, it will be my 6th season of the bear traps. If it happens this season, I will consider a move or fly south for the winter. I’ve been thinking about moving to a warmer climate anyway.

Try not to make the hubby too jealous.....(smiley face)

Ed

susancook
11-02-2013, 03:07 AM
I fell last week when I was on an up escalator arm in arm with a girlfriend and she lost her balance and fell backwards on top of my brother and pulled me with her. At first, I was generally sore. I started Ibuprofen 600 three times a day. My main problem is now when I walk, I have a tightness between my scapula and a tightness at the very bottom of my spine. The tightness is painful and I need to stop every 1/2 block to rest for a short time. Bummed. The Ibuprofen does not seem to help much, and I wonder if anyone has used Tramadol? I really do not want to restart narcotics again. I want to get walking again and get my endurance up, but am disappointed that I tire so easily and am in pain.

I see Dr. Hu in a few days for my 6 month follow up and I am sure that she will do X-rays. I was feeling so well and not ready for a setback. I am really bummed.

Susan

Susie*Bee
11-02-2013, 08:53 AM
I have taken tramadol. I believe it is an "in between" or step-down pain reliever. Not the hard stuff. You should be fine with it. My only problem with it is if I take it at bedtime and then it keeps me awake. I don't know if others have that side effect. I don't take it very often, but it doesn't begin to cut the pain if I have a migraine or something like that, but I guess that is a whole 'nother ball game. Anyway, it doesn't seem very strong to me.

leahdragonfly
11-02-2013, 09:06 AM
Hi Susan,

Sorry to hear about your fall...hoping you will feel better soon.

I am familiar with tramadol. Like Susie notes, it is pretty weak. For me it was useful paired with tylenol, but it is definitely not strong. Kind of like a super-Tylenol. It did the same thing to me as Susie mentioned, keeping me awake at night. During the day it made me feel sort of slow and a little stupid. I just so dislike the feeling I get from narcotics. But maybe it could be useful to you in the short-term here. Have you tried laying on a heating pad or even ice? That might help since this sounds like a soft-tissue injury.

Take it easy,

titaniumed
11-02-2013, 04:54 PM
I always thought it was supposed to be where “we” fall, and pull someone else down. (smiley face)

I’ve never taken tramadol....and would be hesitant to re-start back up if your clean. (I say this since I was recently reading about Jerry Garcia at Serenity Knolls) His addiction, along with his 300# weight, LSD, Heroin, hot dog and milk shake diet.....that’s quite a diet. Garbage in, good music out....(I can’t figure this out)

Try to take it easy.....You know I suffered with daily fatigue till I was 2 years post. I sure miss those daily naps!

You will re-heal....

Ed

Irina
11-02-2013, 07:24 PM
I was taking tramadol for several weeks when I was weaning off oxycodone. I alternated the drugs, then switched to tramadol only and it worked well for me. Tramadol didn't give me any side-effects, and like Gayle said, it's like super-tylenol - not a narcotic, but stronger than tylenol.

golfnut
11-02-2013, 08:11 PM
Susan,
I am so sorry you were pulled down for a fall. We try to be so careful, but it's when you least expect something to happen. I hope your x-rays are perfect.

jrnyc
11-02-2013, 10:16 PM
tramadol didn't do much for me, but made me sleepy...
i know what leahdragonfly means when she says it made her feel
"...slow and stupid"
i didn't like it and didn't stick with it long...

NOTE...."drowsiness" is listed as one of the side effects...
also...it is dangerous if taken with an antidepressant like Prozac
(just a cautionary note)

really sorry your friend dragged you into a fall...
hope you feel better soon...

jess

Dora
11-03-2013, 05:14 PM
I can't weigh in with much experience but I know Tramadol was the only pain reliever I used for an abdominal surgery years ago because I usually have a hard time tolerating narcotics of any kind.

No other help but "OUCH" and I hope that you feel better soon. Do you think that perhaps having the Tramadol might be a good thing to do so that you can continue to walk etc during your healing?

susancook
11-04-2013, 01:44 AM
Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions on Tramadol. It was a bummer that my friend pulled me down on the up escalator. Do you know how difficult it is to stand up when you fall backwards on a moving up escalator? My brother helped me to get up as I could not sit up well and was rolling to my side to try to get up. He then tried to help my friend Tracy and my brother tore the distal attachment of his bicep muscle trying to pick her up. He will have re-attachment this week.

This episode has demonstrated to me how fragile recovery is. I was feeling pretty well before this, although my back was hurt slightly about 2 months ago when I was putting on a sock. I am very afraid to people kicking me in the swimming pool or people running into me with grocery carts. Now, I have difficulty walking as I feel a lot of tightening of my upper and lower back. Swimming is also difficult.

I was hoping to be more active by now and am somewhat down that I am not doing as much as I had hoped.

On a brighter note, Mark and I had dinner with Irina and Dave. Irina looks totally awesome in her fitted short dress and heels. She is a foot taller than I am, or at least it feels that way! She looked and moved so well! She walks miles every day and I hope to be there some day. Hopefully, the 4 of us will be able to get together again at the one year time. I want to hear more about her life in the Ukraine and her emigration to the US. She is so poised and confident.

Wednesday is my appointment with Dr. Hu and I look forward to her reassurance that all looks OK on X-rays. I am seeing a Rehabilitation MD at OHSU who will help me organize my future and therapy. I have too many opinions in the pot: primary MD, neurologist, physical therapist, acupuncturist, pain management MD managing my headaches, neck pain, and back pain. OHSU has a program with exercise trainers that work with people with medical problems. I want to get on the right track on what to do exercise wise and know the best way to do it. I am afraid of injuring myself since falling and putting on my sock has set me back.

Susan.....still with my menopausal pregnancy, bummer I hate how that looks

Doodles
11-04-2013, 08:57 AM
Susan--Just caught up on this thread and hadn't realized you had fallen. The whole scenario would make me cringe without just having surgery. Crazy, but escalators still give me pause after a bad experience as a kid! I just hope the soreness is all that's going on and you continue to heal. Janet

Irina
11-04-2013, 01:33 PM
Susan - you're so nice, thank you for the compliments. We had a great time with you and Mark and enjoyed his stories. I hope we'll get together again when you visit the area next time. Btw, I googled Rickover when we came home and yes, he looks like such a nice and mellow man in pictures :-) ha-ha.

I hope you get a good report from Dr. Hu and let us know what she said, please!

PeggyS
11-04-2013, 04:03 PM
Susan,
Your escalator experience sounds awful - so sorry.
Looking forward to learning about the results of your check-up.

susancook
11-05-2013, 11:05 AM
Susan,
Your escalator experience sounds awful - so sorry.
Looking forward to learning about the results of your check-up.

If you have surgery, you will probably find a sort of fear or paranoia surrounding being in crowds. I am always afraid of being bumped or having someone run into me and falling down. The first time that I went to a supermarket after surgery was a nightmare! Some kid did run into me with his cart.

Susan

jackieg412
11-05-2013, 06:34 PM
I am glad that I am not the only one that actually freaks out in crowds. If too many people are walking fast towards me--I will stay still and let them pass. If someone is behind me--I step aside and let them go. I thought that I would get over it--but not yet. Twice a week I am at the local hospital and I do a lot of walking--but I am always on high alert for any quick movement around me.
Good to know that I am not alone. Thought I was just over reacting!

susancook
11-05-2013, 10:54 PM
I went to the pool at the Y this week and was so afraid of someone kicking me or running into me. A kid did kick me once, but only on my leg. Since I fell on the escalator when my friend fell and pulled me down with her as we were arm in arm, I will never let anyone hold on to me on an escalator again. Being in a very crowded place terrifies me. I hope that it gets better with time.
Susan

babyboomer16
11-06-2013, 12:02 AM
Susan, I am sure you'll get a good report about your back. I know that my surgeon said you have to fall really hard to break a rod. And although I did fracture a rod very low down on my back, it was because I fell very hard flat on my butt. And I fell twice hitting the same spot again. So he did go in and fixed it. But all the Surgeons and nurses said it's almost impossible to break a rod. But I fell real hard! Is your pain tolerable? Mine wasn't. It was in excruciating pain because of the rod fracture. I guess what I'm hoping is because you seem to be tolerating the pain,(I'm not trying to minimizing your pain,) but I'm hoping it's bad bruising that your feeling, and it will heal. Mine got so bad I ended up in the hospital to control the pain. I feel so bad that you fell and that you also are dealing with the hernia too. Just hang in there Susan. Everything is going to get better. That's my prayer for you. You're such a strong lady! I had my revised surgery, then right away they said my gall bladder was poisoning me, and it had to be taken out in a two part surgery as a specialist had to go in and remove gall stones out of my bile ducts that had been rerouted (and misplaced)during a surgery to remove an ulcer years before. I now have been told that I need a hysterectomy as soon as my spine has healed a little more. Then after that I have a bad foot that needs surgery. It has been let go because of the ongoing surgeries on my spine. I have a huge bunion and arthritis in three toes.on top of that the other foot is getting bad~~ I'm telling you all this to try to cheer you up! Ha!Ha! Truly, I know how hard this is to keep up the possitive attitude at times. Again, I believe you will be fine in the spine department. Please let us know. Stay strong ~~I hope you know I know how hard it is to have these set backs. You were such good support when I was so down, I just want you to pull through all of this with flying colors. Warm thought coming your way, Linda

susancook
11-06-2013, 03:06 AM
Linda, thanks for your supportive note! Susan

loves to skate
11-06-2013, 11:50 AM
Susan,
I just caught up on your thread and am so sorry about your fall. I hope your pain goes away soon. I am on Tramadol and I don't think it does much for me. I get more relief from Tylenol than I do with Tramadol. I guess we are all different in how we react to meds. Give it a try though, it might work for you.
Take care and no more falls. Been there done that,
Sally

susancook
11-08-2013, 06:01 PM
I just returned from my 6 month visit w/ Dr. Hu at Stanford. I noticed that they now pronounce Dr. Hu's name correctly. when i called for the appointment 2 months ago, she had not arrived and they said, "So, you're seeing Dr. Huie?". I knew that she would set them straight! i noticed that she is Chief of spinal surgery. I had to restart all of the paper word as Dr. Hu moved to Stanford University Hospital. Everyone was great!

After a pile of paperwork, I went back for X-rays. The tech was really exacting to make sure that everything was perfect. He started put, "Will you be having surgery?" I told him that I already had surgery with Dr. Hu. When he saw all my titanium from T3 to sacrum, he said, "Wow, you had a lot done!" I I formed him that I had the full meal deal. He laughed.

Dr. Hu said that everything looked great on the X-ray and that she saw signs of fusion. Other comments from Dr. Hu: "That's a really large hernia. I wonder how that happened?" I also asked her about the new kyphosis in my cervical area and she said, "Usually when we line up the thoracic area for fusion, the neck just falls into place. I don't know why yours did not." Then, she said that she could surgically correct it if I wanted and I told her that I was not interested now for aesthetic reasons, but if the pain continues, that I might consider it. I am having an injection done at OHSU this month and will go to physical therapy. Let's do some more conservative treatments!

So, I will return in a year and will hopefully have the hernia fixed by the time that I see her. I did not do any damage to the hardware when I fell on the escalator. I will try not to do any damage before the next appointment. Now, I just need to lose 30#s to have my hernia surgery! I have a second opinion next week and see what that surgeon thinks about weight loss.

Susan and her menopausal pregnancy.....

I will work on trying to post my pictures of my X-rays and feel confident that I belong in the, "I am glad that I had surgery" thread.

Doodles
11-08-2013, 06:44 PM
Good check up, Susan. Glad the fall didn't cause any problems for spine. Hope the neck area pain decreases for you. Janet

tae_tap
11-08-2013, 07:15 PM
Nice follow up report on the back. I pray the neck gets better.

Tamena

JenniferG
11-09-2013, 12:48 AM
Great news, Susan, especially that no damage was done by your fall. I hope the conservative measures help your neck and that no further surgery is required. Good though that Dr. Hu says she can do it if necessary. Signs of fusion - that would have made you happy. Now for the hernia!

susancook
11-09-2013, 01:58 AM
I am now taking care of my brother who had surgery to reattach the bicep tendon that he pulled lose when he tried to help my friend and I get up on the escalator caper. I brought him back from the surgicenter and went out and bought him some Chinese food. On the way to pick up the takeout, I tripped on the curb and landed knees first on the sidewalk. My back is sore right now as i must have stretched something. i am such a klutz. I think that a good night's sleep will help me.

Susan

JenniferG
11-09-2013, 04:34 AM
Oh Susan! Take care! Hope you wake up feeling much better!

PeggyS
11-09-2013, 07:29 AM
NO more falling, Susan!! Happy to hear your dr visit went well. Hope your neck straightens out and the pain lessens. Love the the 'full meal deal' expression!

leahdragonfly
11-09-2013, 11:05 AM
Hi Susan,

glad you got a good report overall. Now, NO MORE falling!!! Take it slow and easy.

A couple of months ago I slipped in my kitchen and fell--the floor was still a little wet from being mopped. I instantly burst into tears because I was so scared of hurting myself. I ended up ok but it was terrifying. I am coming up on the 2-year mark for my revision in January, and still have fears of suffering another broken rod. It is hard for me to entirely put this possibility out of my head, even now, but I am trying.

Best regards,

susancook
11-09-2013, 04:19 PM
Gayle, I hear you loud and clear and understand completely your and my fear of doing harm to our spinal surgery. I have re-read Your post, "the pop heard round the world" many times trying to figure out what you did wrong and thus prevent problems for me. I cannot find it and that is the fearful unknown in our healing that makes healing precarious. There is a component that is just a craps shoot, that is, just random. While we need to be careful, we need to live and mop floors and go over curbs in the dark or be grabbed by someone on an up escalator who falls. I do not think that I am falling any more than I ever have in my life, it just has a different meaning now for possible consequence. I fell about 8 years ago and fractured by fibula. The surgeon said that I had some osteoporosis in my lower fibula which made her repair difficult. Interesting that I do not have osteoporosis on Traditional bone mineral testing, yet had osteoporosis in my upper spine and fibula. Now I worry, how about the rest of me?

So, I will be a little bit more careful and continue to take my calcium and vit D supplements and hope that the stars are aligned just right for me.

Thanks for your concern and reinforcing my belief that I am not alone on this journey in the others have the same fears/worries that I do.

Wishing you and so many others good fusion and continued healing, Susan

Marianne
11-10-2013, 08:35 PM
Susan, Just read up on your thread, so sorry to read about your falls that must have been scary for you. I am glad you did not damage anything . Great follow up report. Be careful when you are out!

susancook
11-11-2013, 01:43 AM
I am having a second opinion for my incisional hernia from my ALIF incision. Wish me luck. Wonder how much weight this doctor wants me to lose? I hate the bulge in the front. I feel so self-conscious.

I was reading about hernias after ALIF and apparently they happen only 1 percent of the time. Why me? Anyone else have one?

Susan....and my bummer menopausal pregnancy