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View Full Version : New here - 2 weeks post-op, fused T10-pelvis



the_baroness
07-03-2013, 12:58 AM
Hello - I have been trying to post to this forum for some time, but have been having technical difficulties. I wrote a long post introducing myself, but it never appeared, so I'll try again with something shorter. I've had scoliosis since I was a teen, and I am now 41. My curve was 49 degrees. I had my surgery with Dr. Errico on June 18 at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. I am recovering slowly, and have good days and bad days. I'm really looking forward to "meeting" everyone on this forum, as your words have been so helpful in planning my surgery, and given me great comfort as I navigate my recovery. I hope this post works!

kennedy
07-03-2013, 01:00 AM
Welcome
To nsf

tae_tap
07-03-2013, 06:56 AM
Welcome to the forum! You will make relationships and connections with many here. Good luck during your recovery. It can be stressfull, but I'm sure you will find comfort here.
Tamena

mabeckoff
07-03-2013, 12:10 PM
Welcome to the forum
Hope your recovery goes well
Melissa

golfnut
07-03-2013, 12:19 PM
Welcome to the forum. I had to smile reading "ask me about my new lordosis" in your signature. You will get lots of answers here and make wonderful friends. Best of luck with your recovery.

Irina
07-03-2013, 01:11 PM
Hi and welcome. Congratulations on your new lordosis - this must feel wonderful. First month is difficult, but slowly you'll have more good days then bad days. Hang in here and ask all the questions you have. People here are very supportive and they helped me a lot during my surgery planning and recovery.

the_baroness
07-03-2013, 03:02 PM
I'm so happy to have finally made contact with you all! I'm exhausted and sore, and the daily walking has me tuckered out, but every time I walk past a shop window, and glance at my reflection and see the new arch in my spine, I think it's worth every minute of pain I've endured since my surgery. I used to have what I considered to be a terrible case of flatback (although my doctor said it wasn't the worst he'd seen). My spine sort of curled under, so I was not only c shaped side to side, I was a little bit c shaped front to back too. And I know cosmetic considerations should be secondary to medical necessity when deciding to have the surgery, and I decided to have the surgery because of debilitating pain and immobility, but getting a pleasant new shape is such a bonus! I feel like I've been given a reward for my pain and suffering. My new lordosis is a gift that I will treasure. I just want to heal now so I can go out on the town and show it off! Kidding. I'm fused to the pelvis. Not sure if there's going to be much dancing in my future. But still. I am grateful. Thanks to you all for the warm welcome!

jackieg412
07-03-2013, 03:10 PM
Welcome! It took me a long time to be able to post also. But it is worth it in information and understanding. Take it slowly at first. My first surgery was like yours--but I fractured level above and had to extend the fusion. I did that in the 6th day after surgery. So do be careful !

loves to skate
07-03-2013, 05:06 PM
I would like to welcome you to the forum also. I too received an new lordosis. I hope your recovery goes well so that soon you can get back to doing the things you love. I don't post a lot anymore because i am so busy living life but will be slowed down for awhile with a total hip surgery.

Sally

golfnut
07-03-2013, 10:57 PM
I am fused t4to the sacrum and I can tell you that dancing is definitely in your future. I tap dance and jitterbug, but, of course, not until I had permission. The cosmetic improvement is a bonus. You will be amazed at the compliments you will hear once you are comfortable enough to go out.

titaniumed
07-04-2013, 12:38 AM
I am fused T2-Pelvis and I can tell you that dancing is definitely not in my future. Not because I cant tango, its because dancing was made to make guys look, you know, dorky....(smiley face)

Just joking....

Keep your spirits up, itís a hard time for you right now, the immediate recovery part can be a rough period.

Do you live in the city? Yes, Iím an old Jersey transplant. You know, out west. lol

Welcome to the forum....

Ed

Confusedmom
07-04-2013, 01:28 AM
Hey,

You sound very coherent for 2 weeks post-op. congrats & welcome!!

Evelyn

JenniferG
07-04-2013, 01:58 AM
I agree, I didn't even think about the computer for 3 weeks!

I love my new lordosis as well! The surgeon didn't tell me he was going to do that, but I'm so glad he did! Agreed, it's a reward for going through this surgery.

Welcome to the forum!

the_baroness
07-06-2013, 02:16 AM
I am fused T2-Pelvis and I can tell you that dancing is definitely not in my future. Not because I cant tango, its because dancing was made to make guys look, you know, dorky....(smiley face)

Just joking....

Keep your spirits up, itís a hard time for you right now, the immediate recovery part can be a rough period.

Do you live in the city? Yes, Iím an old Jersey transplant. You know, out west. lol

Welcome to the forum....

Ed

Yes, I'm in Brooklyn. Anyone else out there live in NYC? I could use a walking buddy. Two days ago I put my sneakers on for the first time. Laced them up with the elastic laces that came in the hip kit, then used my super-long shoe horn and my grabber to put them on. Took me about 45 minutes but I eventually got them on! I can do much longer walks now. Geez, everything takes so long, just to accomplish the simplest of tasks! I see now why they asked me to take 4 months off of work. I will need all that time just to get dressed every day.

titaniumed
07-06-2013, 05:40 PM
There are a few New Yorkers here, but I donít believe anyone is from Brooklyn....Try using walking sticks or ski poles. Years ago, I guess scoli patients needed to pack an M60 for daily trips, but I guess thatís not the case now. (smiley face)

Recovery is a long slow process with its ups and downs. Try to take it easy right now, you are VERY VERY early.

Keep daily notes on your meds, food, walking, BMís etc.

Remember that with the walking, do multiple short walks each day. One long walk will not make you heal faster, it will only set you back in pain. My full recovery took me a long long time, so be prepared, and be patient. One day at a time.

Hang in there, Eyes on the prize.
Ed

susancook
07-07-2013, 03:50 AM
I'm so happy to have finally made contact with you all! I'm exhausted and sore, and the daily walking has me tuckered out, but every time I walk past a shop window, and glance at my reflection and see the new arch in my spine, I think it's worth every minute of pain I've endured since my surgery. I used to have what I considered to be a terrible case of flatback (although my doctor said it wasn't the worst he'd seen). My spine sort of curled under, so I was not only c shaped side to side, I was a little bit c shaped front to back too. And I know cosmetic considerations should be secondary to medical necessity when deciding to have the surgery, and I decided to have the surgery because of debilitating pain and immobility, but getting a pleasant new shape is such a bonus! I feel like I've been given a reward for my pain and suffering. My new lordosis is a gift that I will treasure. I just want to heal now so I can go out on the town and show it off! Kidding. I'm fused to the pelvis.
Not sure if there's going to be much dancing in my future. But still. I am grateful. Thanks to you all for the warm welcome!

Baroness: Dance slowly and gently....but do dance! Forget kicking up your heels until further healing!
Susan

susancook
07-07-2013, 03:54 AM
Yes, I'm in Brooklyn. Anyone else out there live in NYC? I could use a walking buddy. Two days ago I put my sneakers on for the first time. Laced them up with the elastic laces that came in the hip kit, then used my super-long shoe horn and my grabber to put them on. Took me about 45 minutes but I eventually got them on! I can do much longer walks now. Geez, everything takes so long, just to accomplish the simplest of tasks! I see now why they asked me to take 4 months off of work. I will need all that time just to get dressed every day.

I picked up laundry today with my grabber sock by sock....talk about slow.
Susan

PS: I grew up in Massapequa Park, and colleged [I just made up that word and spell check doesn't like it!] in NYC the left to see the world!

the_baroness
07-07-2013, 05:19 AM
Remember that with the walking, do multiple short walks each day. One long walk will not make you heal faster, it will only set you back in pain.


Question, how long is a short walk? How far should I try to walk each day? Pretty much everyday I find that I over-do it, one way or another. I need to figure out how to get myself to chill out!

I also have a lot of questions about painkillers. My doctors office seems to want me to taper off as soon as possible. So whenever I am feeling ok, I try to substitute Tylenol instead of the oxycodone, or take a nap rather than take a pill. I have also just started to take Gabapentin, to deal with what I like to refer to as "that feeling where fire ants are attacking my back." I also have a lot of pain in my right heel at night when I sleep, which seems very odd and random. I have just started to take it, so I don't think it's kicked in yet. Is it my imagination, or is it causing an upset stomach? I think I've also started to switch back to a regular diet too soon after my surgery, which is not helping matters. Starting tomorrow, it's back to the "all kale, fruit, and oatmeal" diet for me. But I digress. I guess my question is, which I haven't been able to answer by reading other threads, how soon is too soon to try to get off the pain meds? I guess that's very individualized, and as for my own body I can't even figure out what is an acceptable pain level. I think a lot of what I have been classifying as pain, is actually just an awareness that there's now a giant piece of metal taken up residence in my body. I can feel it in there, preventing movement, checking me if I try to move an illegal direction. I'm not sure I should be classifying that feeling as pain exactly. I think sometimes I should just be sucking it up and getting used to it. Would love to hear some feedback from the gang on how everyone knows when and how much to medicate.

And on a positive note, I created a new invention yesterday. Before the surgery I bought myself various tools in preparation. One that I did not end up needing, was the "bottom buddy" (apparently I have long arms.) But this silly plastic stick made a perfect tool for me to duct-tape my razor to, and now I can shave my legs! It has been liberating to no longer be confined to the same 3 long tank/jersey dresses I bought pre-surgery to cover up my unshaven legs. It has been hard to find clothes though that don't bother the incision, which burns and, of course, feels like fire ants are attacking it. Pull-over style dresses work best. And now at least my repertoire is expanded a bit to include short dresses. Right now I can't imagine ever wearing pants again. But it's hard right now to see ahead to the fall, and the cold weather, and to the new-spine future.

It is now 5:15 AM. I've also been suffering from nightly bouts of insomnia. Sleeping on my back is not conducive to sleep. But the one time I tried sleeping on my side was excruciating. But I've managed to now wake up both the cats, so I think it's time to try to put all three of us back to bed.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate knowing I'm not going through this alone.

the_baroness
07-07-2013, 05:21 AM
I picked up laundry today with my grabber sock by sock....talk about slow.
Susan

PS: I grew up in Massapequa Park, and colleged [I just made up that word and spell check doesn't like it!] in NYC the left to see the world!

Susan, I am also using the grabber, and the dressing stick, to do laundry! Socks are the worst. They keep trying to escape.

leahdragonfly
07-07-2013, 10:16 AM
Hi there,

You sound great for being so very early post-op, but I really think you are pushing yourself too hard! You will not recover any faster by pushing yourself. Your body needs a tremendous amount of time and energy to heal, so I want to suggest in the kindest way possible that you settle in for the next several months and allow your body to heal.

At two weeks post-op I was wiped out by taking a shower and getting dressed. I would recommend taking 2-3 short walks per day, of no more than 5-10 minutes each at this point. You can increase them each week by 5 minutes. Please don't do so much that you feel you've overdone it. You are hurting your recovery by doing that.

Constipation is still a huge risk at this stage, so as you mentioned you need to keep close tabs on your diet. Since you are taking oxycodone you need to be taking a stool softener like Colace and most likely a laxative such as Miralax or Senokot. All of these are available at the drug store over the counter. You need to take these every day while you are taking regular narcotics.

You asked about weaning your narcotics. You should try to take your narcotics on a schedule around the clock. I also recommend taking a regular dose of Tylenol around the clock as long as your other prescription meds contain no acetaminophen. You will feel much better taking the meds on a regular schedule, then you can start to stretch the doses out by 30-60 minutes at most when you feel you are able to delay a dose. Don't skip doses or take them on a random schedule. If you can detail what you are taking now I can try to make a suggestion on how to proceed. (I have had 3 major spine surgeries as well as being a nurse).

If you discontinue your narcotics abruptly or go too long between doses you may notice unpleasant side effects such as sweating, anxiety, shakiness etc. Tapering off on an organized schedule is the way to go. First you can space out the regular doses, then you can start decreasing the dosages by reducing the number of pills taken each dose.

I think nearly all of us have struggled in the early weeks with insomnia. It seems to be a combo of effects of the meds with discomfort in bed. I was not able to sleep in my own bed because the Temperpedic felt too soft and unsupportive. I rented a hospital bed that was very firm and had to sleep on it for the first 4-5 weeks post-op. Others have slept in a recliner. Take naps during the day, and know that the insomnia is temporary.

At this stage you do not need to suck it up and be painful or uncomfortable all the time. To me it sounds like you are trying to go too light on meds and it is way too early for that. Please do your body a favor and take adequate pain control so your body has energy to heal.

Take care, we are here to help you!

mabeckoff
07-07-2013, 12:53 PM
I picked up laundry today with my grabber sock by sock....talk about slow.
Susan

PS: I grew up in Massapequa Park, and colleged [I just made up that word and spell check doesn't like it!] in NYC the left to see the world!

I grew up in Oceanside and then went to NYU for college. I stayed on the east coast until 2011 when we moved to CA
Melissa

titaniumed
07-07-2013, 02:39 PM
Baroness

Gayle did a great job at answering.....and I must reiterate that the constipation issue is not to be taken lightly....Constipation pain is one of the worst pains, and can creep up even if you are going every day. I had this happen to me, I was going every day and then realized that I was in BIG BIG trouble. Get yourself a bottle or two of Magnesium Citrate. Its sold over the counter, and is sold in a bottle. Looks like a soda. This is your fire extinguisher and will prevent a trip to the hospital. Have this handy and also buy a few bottles of pedialyte for restoring electrolytes. After the big event, you will be completely drained and feel pretty bad. Drinking water promotes peristalsis in the lower GI tract.
Its very important to be drinking water. Sip it all day long. Walking promotes peristalsis, and some say chewing gum also helps.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peristalsis

In reading all the testimonials here through the years, it seems that prune juice is a favorite. Warm prune juice in the morning. You can also slam the citric,(orange juice) but could end up having heartburn.....I found that Zantac was the best acid reducer....Maintaining digestive health right now while on opoids almost take precedence over everything else. I have read that you should do everything to keep from having opoid constipation, even going nuclear is an option!

Did you know that castor oil was used by Mussolini as a torture method during WW2? Nice guy.....Todays trivia....(smiley face)

You are 18 days now....reduction of meds should be a goal but you are not 13 years old, so should be done carefully right now. Kids wean quickly, I donít know how they do it. Its amazing.....must be the stem cells.....

Get a notebook and write everything down. Med intake, how much and at what time, food, water, bowel movements, cat awakenings etc. If you donít, you wont remember. Reduction of any medication can be accomplished without withdrawl in 5 weeks. Thatís a 20% reduction per week. I learned this at UCSF at the last scoliosis meeting and it really stuck in my mind. Itís a sort of parameter we can relate to, however each person is completely different. Extending times is the easiest way of reduction. Cutting of pills should not be done without permission. I was on Oxycodone and the pain was severe and was switched to Percoset. Itís the same thing only with Tylenol.

Our feelings of stiffness with a full fusion can be discouraging..... I thought I would never be able to reach my feet. That was wrong......but it took a long time, and scoliosis surgery teaches patience. It does this on an extreme. I have the ability to watch grass grow now. (Actually, itís the weeds in the back yard) Hey, that was funny, I donít care who you are....(smiley face) Take things day by day.

You are in a rapid healing mode right now.....your body was just run over by a truck and has to heal. It needs protein, nutrients, and rest and positive thoughts. Remember that this is just a hard chapter in a book and you will get through all of this.

Ed

titaniumed
07-07-2013, 03:01 PM
I used the word ďslamĒ in referring to citric acid I guess since its so powerful....

I used to work at a place 30 years ago and we made orange juicers on an industrial scale. This machinery would squeeze each orange or grapefruit in 1 second, so 60 per minute. That a lot of juice!

The machines would come back after 3 months and we would have to replace many of the parts that were made from 316, 304, 17-4PH etc. The rate that these stainless steels would be eaten away was hard to believe. Citric acid is extremely powerful stuff.

They have also replaced or added the critical process of passivation with citric. This has replaced using Nitric acid, which is slightly more ďgreenĒ......Man-o-man!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passivation_(chemistry)

Ok, so replace ďslamĒ with ďsipĒ. I can imagine that orange juice is excellent for cleaning out the plumbing. Grapefruit is stronger.....

Ed

Irina
07-07-2013, 03:17 PM
Gayle said it all and I just want to add a few things. Write down the times and dosages of the meds you take. My memory was shaky and I needed to write everything down.

As far dressing up goes - it will become easier and easier to do. I know that you prefer dresses, but if you want to wear shorts or pants with sneakers, my advise would be to put pants on first and socks last. It is easier to slide your bare feet down the pants. I used a grabber when putting my pants on and dressing stick was not useful for that. I used a dressing stick to take off my socks and flash a toilet so that I didn't bend :-) Now I keep this tool in the car. When I fill my car with gas, I use the dressing stick to pull the gas lever, which is on the floor. Back to the pants - use your grabber to kind of smash the pant leg so that you have it all in the jaw of the grabber, put it on one leg, then repeat the same with the second leg. At about three months post-op I went to Gap and tried putting on skinny jeans and even jean leggings just for the heck of it. I thought it would be impossible to put on regular jeans, but I even managed to squeeze myself into jean leggins (not that I liked the look of it).

You'll get there, just be patient. Two weeks is very early - take your painkillers so that you are comfortable and don't push yourself too much.

jackieg412
07-07-2013, 05:50 PM
Gayle said it great and Ed is an amazing source of information. You will slow down your healing if you go at it too soon. My story--I was doing so well--really thought so anyway--I was forced back to work at 7 weeks.{There is a reason--I just can't say it yet}. I thought I could handle it--- Tried to rest in beween--I had a whole lot of rectrictions--- I only made it longer to feel really better--to the tune of about 1 1/2 to 2 years. So we really do not help ourselves by too much pushing.
Alot of things get better slowly.
As far as getting dressed--still difficult--but I found out if I put my left leg in pants first -I can put them on OK--If I put my right one in first--I will need help as I can not reach. We learn as we go .Yesterday I was at my son's house and in the bathroom{IT IS REALLY SMALL} I dropped a shirt that I was changing into--not enough room to squat down to pick it up--so I kicked into the hall{MORE ROOM} and then got the shirt. We learn as we go!

Doodles
07-07-2013, 08:49 PM
Welcome to the forum! You are doing some amazing things--a little early it sounds like to me too. Listen to the above pros--they know and are very wise! My husband and I actually spent our first married summer in Brooklyn, right off Flatbush Ave. because he had an internship. For 2 Iowa kids it was quite the summer--we had a great time. Take care of yourself and best of luck to you. Janet

the_baroness
07-08-2013, 09:44 PM
So, my take-away here is (1) don't skip doses (2) keep trying to eat healthy (3) don't try to walk so far all at one time (4) be kind to myself (5) I will someday dance again.

However, not sure if I will ever attempt to wear pants again! While I like my new shape, it still feels completely foreign to me, like I'm living in someone else's body. I'm actually somewhat afraid to try on pants. Pants never fit me properly before because of the flatback. I don't know what to expect. And right now I'm way too inflexible, and the nerve pain in my back feels too raw to have any clothing pinching or rubbing. Eventually it will get cold here, and then I will have to wear pants again! And eventually I will have to return to work. But everything feels in a state of suspended animation. That's probably the painkillers. But I've never been this inactive, for this long, before in my life. I'm generally a very active person! But I took everyone's advice today, and when I wasn't on my walks, I laid on the couch. Felt strange. However, the cat was thrilled to have a person-sized bolster to lean on.

Speaking of bolsters, sitting in chairs sucks. I've tried a variety of pillows, and nothing makes it feel any better. The only chair I've tried so far that works for me is the seat on the B63 bus. The seat is relatively flat, and the back is at a 90 degree angle, and the back is also short enough not to go past the top of my fusion at T10 where the rod is protruding. Things touching the protruding rod is a relatively minor pain, though. I've taken the bus now twice, which was glorious, because I got to feed my sensory-deprived eyes with shopfronts and people and cars and activity and stuff. The handicapped seats on the bus were actually quite uncomfortable though, because they had tall backs, and acted as tuning forks for the engine and pothole vibrations that shot up my hardware like, well, like a tuning fork. It's the regular people, forward-facing seats that were so comfortable. When I get tired of lying on the couch, maybe I'll just ride the B63 bus all day, back and forth, from terminus to terminus...

I'm very excited because tomorrow I need to walk to the post office to pick up a package. It's good to have an activity, a purpose. I have not yet tried to push the shopping cart. Tomorrow will be the shopping-cart+new-spine maiden voyage. Wish me luck!

leahdragonfly
07-09-2013, 12:56 AM
Baroness,

I sent you some PM's also.

Please please don't over do it!!!! Going to the post office to pick up a package at 2 weeks is just too much in my humble opinion. I'm worried about your shopping cart--are you able to push it comfortable with your back completely straight? The ones I have seen are pretty low and would involve prohibited motions to use. Please be careful.

I completely get how bored, isolated, lonely you are at home. I've been through it twice now in 2 years. I am NOT a TV watcher nor a couch potato, and the long recovery was very hard for me, too. I felt very impatient. Especially after I broke my rods and had to have an 8-hour revision. But please, find some amazing series to watch, make a list of movies, go for a 2-3 short walks per day (5-10 minutes), listen to music on the couch with the cat, and eat healthy food.

That's really all you should be doing at this point. Let your body heal. You only have one chance to get the healing right.

the_baroness
07-09-2013, 03:04 PM
Ok, my general policy is, if more than one person is telling me the same thing, then I realize there's a good chance that I'm the one who is wrong! :) I have given in, and I'm now resting in bed. Even my husband has chimed in and told me to take it easy. And I've noticed he's sneaking in and doing the laundry before I can get to it, which is a sure sign. :) And my body seems to be trying to send me a message as well. I didn't wake up today until 11:00 AM! I never sleep in like that. I guess I needed the rest. Or maybe the Gabapentin is kicking in. The bottle does say "May cause drowsiness." Whatever the cause, it felt good to finally sleep for an extended period of time. Hope you all are having a great day.

susancook
07-09-2013, 03:30 PM
Question, how long is a short walk? How far should I try to walk each day? Pretty much everyday I find that I over-do it, one way or another. I need to figure out how to get myself to chill out!

I also have a lot of questions about painkillers. My doctors office seems to want me to taper off as soon as possible. So whenever I am feeling ok, I try to substitute Tylenol instead of the oxycodone, or take a nap rather than take a pill. I have also just started to take Gabapentin, to deal with what I like to refer to as "that feeling where fire ants are attacking my back." I also have a lot of pain in my right heel at night when I sleep, which seems very odd and random. I have just started to take it, so I don't think it's kicked in yet. Is it my imagination, or is it causing an upset stomach? I think I've also started to switch back to a regular diet too soon after my surgery, which is not helping matters. Starting tomorrow, it's back to the "all kale, fruit, and oatmeal" diet for me. But I digress. I guess my question is, which I haven't been able to answer by reading other threads, how soon is too soon to try to get off the pain meds? I guess that's very individualized, and as for my own body I can't even figure out what is an acceptable pain level. I think a lot of what I have been classifying as pain, is actually just an awareness that there's now a giant piece of metal taken up residence in my body. I can feel it in there, preventing movement, checking me if I try to move an illegal direction. I'm not sure I should be classifying that feeling as pain exactly. I think sometimes I should just be sucking it up and getting used to it. Would love to hear some feedback from the gang on how everyone knows when and how much to medicate.

And on a positive note, I created a new invention yesterday. Before the surgery I bought myself various tools in preparation. One that I did not end up needing, was the "bottom buddy" (apparently I have long arms.) But this silly plastic stick made a perfect tool for me to duct-tape my razor to, and now I can shave my legs! It has been liberating to no longer be confined to the same 3 long tank/jersey dresses I bought pre-surgery to cover up my unshaven legs. It has been hard to find clothes though that don't bother the incision, which burns and, of course, feels like fire ants are attacking it. Pull-over style dresses work best. And now at least my repertoire is expanded a bit to include short dresses. Right now I can't imagine ever wearing pants again. But it's hard right now to see ahead to the fall, and the cold weather, and to the new-spine future.

It is now 5:15 AM. I've also been suffering from nightly bouts of insomnia. Sleeping on my back is not conducive to sleep. But the one time I tried sleeping on my side was excruciating. But I've managed to now wake up both the cats, so I think it's time to try to put all three of us back to bed.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate knowing I'm not going through this alone.

Hi there! Gayle had great advice. Lots of thoughts from my experience:

How much to walk? That is very individual. If you find yourself tired and hurting....that was WAY too far, so for the next week, cut way back and then add A LITTLE bit to your twice daily walk. You remind me of Gardenia who pops in and out of the blog as she sometimes did not pace herself. I on the other hand have difficulty getting moving at all.

pain meds: I am editing this as I just read Ed's post and realized that you were just 18 days out from surgery! Woman, slow down! If you don't take your pain meds then you sit a lot because you are in pain and that isn't good for healing. I don't understand your doctor's office wanting you to decrease meds. I don't know when others stared decreasing meds, and I am sure that that info is here somewhere, but personally, I started at 2 months. I decreased slowly and continued with Colace and Senacot. Advice for slowly decreasing meds when you do decide: instead of substituting the Tylenol for the oxycodone, cut the oxycodone in half and take the Tylenol. My doctor advised taking 500 MGM of Tylenol twice a day since discharge.

Congratulations on having better genetics than I have in having long arms and not needing the butt wiper!

Re: you can feel the metal there preventing movement: STOP testing it and doing those movements! My goal is only to have back surgery ONCE, so if that is also your goal, this is the max healing time, so restrict all movements and let it heal. My doctor gives everyone a brace to wear for 6 months, so I move very little.

Ants in your back: have someone check your back for erythema or redness. Maybe you have a mild infection. If not, then yes, it probably is the regeneration of nerves. I occasionally get some freekie strange electric sensations. I believe that it takes a good 2 years for our backs to heal and figure out how to settle in to the new shape.

Take care, Susan....now 3.5 months out

susancook
07-09-2013, 04:28 PM
I grew up in Oceanside and then went to NYU for college. I stayed on the east coast until 2011 when we moved to CA
Melissa

So close! I attended Columbia. We have lived in Oregon/Washington since 1976.
Susan

susancook
07-09-2013, 04:45 PM
Gayle said it all and I just want to add a few things. Write down the times and dosages of the meds you take. My memory was shaky and I needed to write everything down.

As far dressing up goes - it will become easier and easier to do. I know that you prefer dresses, but if you want to wear shorts or pants with sneakers, my advise would be to put pants on first and socks last. It is easier to slide your bare feet down the pants. I used a grabber when putting my pants on and dressing stick was not useful for that. I used a dressing stick to take off my socks and flash a toilet so that I didn't bend :-) Now I keep this tool in the car. When I fill my car with gas, I use the dressing stick to pull the gas lever, which is on the floor. Back to the pants - use your grabber to kind of smash the pant leg so that you have it all in the jaw of the grabber, put it on one leg, then repeat the same with the second leg. At about three months post-op I went to Gap and tried putting on skinny jeans and even jean leggings just for the heck of it. I thought it would be impossible to put on regular jeans, but I even managed to squeeze myself into jean leggins (not that I liked the look of it).

You'll get there, just be patient. Two weeks is very early - take your painkillers so that you are comfortable and don't push yourself too much.

I somehow missed the "dressing stick" in OT. What is that and what do you use it for? Where did you get one?
Susan

mabeckoff
07-09-2013, 04:52 PM
I somehow missed the "dressing stick" in OT. What is that and what do you use it for? Where did you get one?
Susan

The dressing stick is a wooden stick with a hook on one end and a cup hook on the other end. I use it when dressing and I need to get something on the floor that I cannot reach. I find it very helpful

Melissa

Irina
07-09-2013, 05:53 PM
I somehow missed the "dressing stick" in OT. What is that and what do you use it for? Where did you get one?
Susan

Here is the picture of the dressing stick. They didn't give it to us in UCSF and I just found it myself while browsing amazon. I keep it in the car and use it when I go get gas and need to open a gas lid (the control for that is on the floor in my car). Sometimes, when I open the car door too wide, I use this tool to close the door so that I do not not lean to shut it close.

http://www.amazon.com/Maxi-Aids-Dressing-Stick/dp/B000HZXOP6/ref=sr_1_3?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1373406532&sr=1-3&keywords=dressing+stick

susancook
07-10-2013, 12:46 AM
Here is the picture of the dressing stick. They didn't give it to us in UCSF and I just found it myself while browsing amazon. I keep it in the car and use it when I go get gas and need to open a gas lid (the control for that is on the floor in my car). Sometimes, when I open the car door too wide, I use this tool to close the door so that I do not not lean to shut it close.

http://www.amazon.com/Maxi-Aids-Dressing-Stick/dp/B000HZXOP6/ref=sr_1_3?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1373406532&sr=1-3&keywords=dressing+stick

Thanks! I actually have a stick that looks something like that which was given to me in rehab, but nobody told me what to do with it. I will try to find it. Susan

the_baroness
07-10-2013, 01:47 PM
Had a big trip into manhattan today to have my incision looked at by dr Pelham, the plastic surgeon who closed me up. Got the all clear from him. He says it looks good and I won't need to go back unless for some reason it opens up again. So yey! The outside of me is looking good. Now I just need the inside of me to heal. Two car rides in one day, now I understand the meaning of "the bear claw"! It's like a clamp on my ribs. Time to spend the rest of the day in bed. Until the afternoon walk that is. Hope everyone is having a great day. I am more than thrilled to have gotten to visit my fair city. I sure love Brooklyn, but I'm becoming immune to the charms of my three-block radius...

jrnyc
07-10-2013, 02:14 PM
hope you heal well and as fast as possible...

of course...NYC is the best...greatest city in the universe...
and i say that without any prejudice...just because i miss it so much....
does not mean i am biased...wink
am transplanted to CT after born raised and lived NYC most
of my life...
but my puppy didn't like it the one time i brought him in...
he said there wasn't enuf grass...he is like a bunny....
and he said all he saw was peoples' knees!(he is a Maltese)
and they are small and close to the ground...

jess...and Sparky

jackieg412
07-10-2013, 05:11 PM
You really sound like you are doing so well.I hope it is smooth sailing for you. I think we all deserve that!Take it easy yet and rest when you can,Jackie

the_baroness
07-11-2013, 10:49 AM
Is anyone else taking Gabapentin (or Neurontin)? I've been taking it for about a week for the nerve pain in my back and foot, but I really don't like it. It makes me sleepy and groggy, and makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. I'm thinking about giving up on it. Or should I give it a little more time and see if I adjust to the side effects? What do you all think?

tae_tap
07-11-2013, 11:06 AM
Is anyone else taking Gabapentin (or Neurontin)? I've been taking it for about a week for the nerve pain in my back and foot, but I really don't like it. It makes me sleepy and groggy, and makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. I'm thinking about giving up on it. Or should I give it a little more time and see if I adjust to the side effects? What do you all think?

I did not like taking Gaba either. I took it for about a month after surgery and it tore my stomach up. I had to take protonix to counter act the effects of the Gaba. The sleepy effect, you need all the sleep you can get right now. The more sleep allows your body more time to heal.

You sound like you are doing great.

Tamena

Irina
07-11-2013, 11:37 AM
I was taking gabapentin for nerve pain in my leg and foot and didn't do anything for me. Then pain management nurse switched me to amitriptyline - it's an old antidepressant, but they no longer use it to treat depression (and I don't have any), but prescribe it for nerve pain. That drug helped me.

jackieg412
07-11-2013, 07:50 PM
I have been on gabapentin for a few years now. Some of the side effects lessen with time. My biggest problem is blurred vision.Also in the higher dose it seems to make one retain water.It does help me with my irratated nerve in my chest wall.Also at the higher dose, I started to fall. Like leg gave out. The Dr reduced the dose and the falling stopped!

the_baroness
07-12-2013, 01:42 PM
I can't tell what dose I'm taking because when the pharmacy printed the label on the bottle, the instructions ended up getting typed over the other info on the label. Not very helpful. But I'm taking 3 pills a day. You know, I'm not crazy about sleeping 12-14 hours per day, but as Tamena says, at least now I'm making sure I get enough healing sleep! And my husband is a firm believer in the healing power of sleep, so he's satisfied now too. Boy, that's one way to bench this over-active patient. :)

I have had a little blurred vision. And I'm a little wobbly. I will give it a few more weeks, I guess. Can't tell if it's helping with the nerve pain. My back and foot still feel prickly. But I do think the "fire ants attacking" feeling is gone from my back, and now it only feels like pins and needles in my right heel, rather than a nail being driving through it, which is how it felt before. So maybe the Gaba is helping. I'll stick with it for now, I guess. I'd prefer not to take it, because I want to be freed from all of these drugs! But I will accept them for now and try to be a good patient!

leahdragonfly
07-12-2013, 02:10 PM
Hi baroness,

You can call the pharmacy and they will tell you the dosage of the gabapentin. I would want to know what I was taking.

Glad you're getting some rest.

susancook
07-12-2013, 04:00 PM
Gabapentin, like many drugs, takes a while to get used to. It can be sedating, but can also solve nerve [and seizure, pain] conditions. Some drugs that tend to be sedating are started at low levels and gradually increased as tolerance is usually achieved. For some people, the side effects are worse than the original problem.

I took Gabapentin briefly with another medication for headaches and drove off the road twice in one night when I fell asleep. Time to stop the Gabapentin! I did take it about 20 years ago successfully for headaches for about year.

Every drug has side effects and we are all individuals and react differently.

Good luck. Also, most drugs should not be stopped abruptly, but tapered off.

Susan

the_baroness
07-14-2013, 12:39 PM
Ugh. Constipation and stomach pains. Then the next day diarrhea, and waves of nausea and dizziness. Then I was trying to fix something down on the floor and I think I accidentally "bent" my spine. I know it won't actually bend because of the hardware in there. But it was stupid of me to attempt any activities like that and I should be a good patient and just go get back in bed before I jeopardize any of the beautiful work that's been done on my spine. But it's finally sunny here in New York and the idea of laying in bed sounds depressing. And I can't believe it but I'm even getting tired of reading. I want to get out and work on my garden, or just do something productive! I should just knock it off, because it was my own brilliant idea to have this surgery, and I'm glad I did, and I think it turned out great. So I should just go be a patient patient and stop all this nonsense of trying to do stuff! I need to just let myself heal. I think I will go take a walk. The nausea and dizziness seems to have faded for now. I'm guessing it's the Gabapentin causing that. I'm considering going off it. I promise I will taper off gradually. And I promised my husband I wouldn't do anything about it until I called my doctors office. I'm still searching for a solution to the constipation. Miralax and Milk of Magnesia just cause diarrhea. I can't believe I'm even discussing this on a public forum. Hopefully no one googling me will ever see through my clever username! Anyhow, all I eat is fruit, kale salad, oatmeal, ground flax seed, and occasionally a tiny bit of meat or fish. Can anyone recommend some kind of med for the constipation that is more gentle? I've read there are teas. Maybe I will try one of those. I also have Sennacot, which I haven't tried yet. Should I try it? I'm afraid to try anything else since the Miralax and Milk of Magnesia were so yucky. Sorry for this incoherent rant. I've been overly-emotional since the surgery, which I suspect I can attribute to the oxycodone. Sigh. I want my life back, AND I want my new perfect spine. Patience. I need to have patience...

Irina
07-14-2013, 01:24 PM
Have you tried warm prune juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach?

lisazena
07-14-2013, 01:57 PM
Or try All Bran cereal for breakfast, recommended to me by a GI doctor. It's 51% fiber and really effective.

golfnut
07-14-2013, 03:47 PM
My abdomen pain and lack of regularity was far worse than any back pain. It was hard for me to get the right combination of laxatives, stool softeners, fiber, etc. It finally improved once I got off of the pain medication. You WILL get your life back, but just be patient now so your spine can fuse. It's so worth it! I had grabbers in every room of the house and did a ton of walking. No golf for over a year, but . . . now, I'm riding my bike, tap dancing, and playing golf. I celebrated my 4th hole-in-one last week, but it was my first since back surgery. You will get there. This is the toughest time and it takes an incredible amount of patience.

the_baroness
07-14-2013, 03:55 PM
Have you tried warm prune juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach?

Have not, but I will try tomorrow morning!

the_baroness
07-14-2013, 04:03 PM
My abdomen pain and lack of regularity was far worse than any back pain. It was hard for me to get the right combination of laxatives, stool softeners, fiber, etc. It finally improved once I got off of the pain medication. You WILL get your life back, but just be patient now so your spine can fuse. It's so worth it! I had grabbers in every room of the house and did a ton of walking. No golf for over a year, but . . . now, I'm riding my bike, tap dancing, and playing golf. I celebrated my 4th hole-in-one last week, but it was my first since back surgery. You will get there. This is the toughest time and it takes an incredible amount of patience.

Karen - No golf for a year? Considering your username is "golf nut" I imagine that was pretty hard!

I did in fact head out to the garden today. My mom bought me this little scooter thing to sit down on while pulling weeds. My husband helped me give it a try but unfortunately it was a no go. Too low to sit on, but not low enough to reach the weeds. I was able to reach a few weeds in the flower bed. I did some deep knee bends to grab them up, then used the fence to pull myself back up. But after a few of those I'm worn out for the day. But at least there's fewer weeds now when I look out my bedroom window as I rest...

Thanks everyone for the support. I think I've reigned in my emotions a bit for now :-) I hope!

Irina
07-14-2013, 04:30 PM
Karen - No golf for a year? Considering your username is "golf nut" I imagine that was pretty hard!

I did in fact head out to the garden today. My mom bought me this little scooter thing to sit down on while pulling weeds. My husband helped me give it a try but unfortunately it was a no go. Too low to sit on, but not low enough to reach the weeds. I was able to reach a few weeds in the flower bed. I did some deep knee bends to grab them up, then used the fence to pull myself back up. But after a few of those I'm worn out for the day. But at least there's fewer weeds now when I look out my bedroom window as I rest...

Thanks everyone for the support. I think I've reigned in my emotions a bit for now :-) I hope!

Baroness,

I don't think you're supposed to do deep knee bends. If I remember correctly, my discharge papers were saying no squatting for three months if fused to sacrum. I am four months post-op, fused T6 to sacrum and I still do not squat and use grabbers instead. And also, sitting on that scooter is not a good idea either because you probably brake your 90* restriction while doing it. Your knees should not be higher than your hips while seating, which means - avoid any low chairs. Take it easy.