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back2life
07-20-2013, 06:37 PM
So my kids are in sports at a local sports complex and now that I am doing much better I have been spending up to 3 days a week there. The problem is, the seating is bleachers! When I first started attending, I would bring my my camp chair and it did not bother me as there was NO POSSIBLE WAY I could sit on the bleachers. (Even before surgery my family would lecture me that I should bring a chair to sit in due to my poor back). Problem is, I am now feeling self conscious. The chair has to go to the front of the bleachers to be able to see anything and it's like "Hey, look at me!" I just want to blend in. I have tried a pillow but then my back feels 'exposed' and I hate the feeling that someone is going to bump into me!!!!
I guess I know what you will all say as I would tell someone in my shoes the same....protect your back, it is not worth it. But anyone else tired of feeling this way? I went to the movie the other day toting a pillow and wondered what people thought. I just gotta quit feeling self conscious I guess. I am thankful to be there watching them. It brings me great joy!

*Jen
Surgery May 7th, 2013

Irina
07-20-2013, 07:00 PM
I bet you didn't have to wear a brace - that would make you self-conscious for sure :-) You already answered your question, back2life, who cares what people think - do the right thing for your back.

back2life
07-20-2013, 07:03 PM
I bet you didn't have to wear a brace - that would make you self-conscious for sure :-) You already answered your question, back2life, who cares what people think - do the right thing for your back.

No, I did not have to wear a brace.

mabeckoff
07-20-2013, 07:26 PM
Do whatever you have to do to protect your back and be comfortable

Melissa

leahdragonfly
07-20-2013, 08:02 PM
Hi there,

Bleachers are murder on my back....and I am about 18 months post-op.

Time to suck it up and forget about others judging you...take your camp chair and be proud.

tae_tap
07-20-2013, 08:09 PM
My kids are very active in sports as well, in fact we travel over the US with my boys in wrestling and bleachers are a no go! I would rather stand all day than to spen five minutes in the bleachers. Use what ever you need. It is hard enough missing things while recovering that if you find something that works where you can be there, use it and forget about what others think.

Tamena

back2life
07-20-2013, 08:09 PM
Most comfortable in my chair and went with it tonight. I find it funny because I wear my scar with pride. And the best advice is to do what is best for the back. Having something behind me gives me the most security and protection. I think if someone accidentally bumped me in the back I may accidentally have 'reflects' I can not control!!!

susancook
07-21-2013, 03:03 PM
My husband plays softball, and if I go to a game and forget my chair, I sit at the top of the bleachers where there is a back. I wear a brace, but still need a chair back.

Wearing a brace makes it obvious that I have a disability and I also get tired of explaining myself. Sometimes, I just tell them that I have on a bulletproof vest. I share my X-rays sometimes. Sometimes, I just want to be invisible and private.

I am learning that the postop journey isn't easy and I wish you well.

You will not be in your chair at the games for the rest of your life.

Susan

jackieg412
07-21-2013, 03:41 PM
I am a few years down the road--but I always protect my spine. I am on gaurd when around a lot of people--you cannot guess their movements and I know tripping hurts --even if you don't get hurt. So I say do what it takes and offer an explaination if you feel like it. This surgery gives meaning to "walking in someone else's shoes". Helps me to understand that not all things show their face. If you need a chair or a pillow while out then use it. It is better then not having a good time where you are or staying home because you can't sit.
I myself do very little sitting--anywhere. Still bothers me so much--so I stand or pace. It just has to be that way or I have to stay home and stand or pace there. We on this forum do understand--it is not possible for others that have not had this surgery to understand fully. Or if they do--some days they forget because "WE Look so OK"

Irina
07-21-2013, 06:05 PM
My husband plays softball, and if I go to a game and forget my chair, I sit at the top of the bleachers where there is a back. I wear a brace, but still need a chair back.

Wearing a brace makes it obvious that I have a disability and I also get tired of explaining myself. Sometimes, I just tell them that I have on a bulletproof vest. I share my X-rays sometimes. Sometimes, I just want to be invisible and private.

I am learning that the postop journey isn't easy and I wish you well.

You will not be in your chair at the games for the rest of your life.

Susan

Love the bulletproof vest! That is funny :-) When I just came to the US from Ukraine and worked in Kmart for a while, a lot of people who heard my accent, asked me where I am from. I got so sick and tired of it that I started telling everyone that I am from China. Very tall and light-skinned Chinese woman with a Russian accent :-)

susancook
07-22-2013, 12:43 AM
Love the bulletproof vest! That is funny :-) When I just came to the US from Ukraine and worked in Kmart for a while, a lot of people who heard my accent, asked me where I am from. I got so sick and tired of it that I started telling everyone that I am from China. Very tall and light-skinned Chinese woman with a Russian accent :-)

I knew that you were Chinese! Your beautiful dark hair gave you away!

My brace has holes drilled in it because I think that you told me that you thought that holes might make it cooler. (I don't think that it does.) So, mine is a bullet proof vest that has taken a few shots. Actually the holes are a little bit of bling. I actually like (hahahahahahahaha) my brace as I get doors opened for me and people get up and give me a seat. I call it my personal sauna. I am in central Oregon on vacation and it's 95 degrees!

I don't like people staring at me in my brace.

At the pool today, I saw a woman with tattooed words up her spine. Unfortunately I couldn't read what it said. Now that's an idea...maybe I could make the scar like a vine and have flowers tattooed all along my spine on both sides....cool.

Susan

back2life
07-22-2013, 11:39 AM
At the pool today, I saw a woman with tattooed words up her spine. Unfortunately I couldn't read what it said. Now that's an idea...maybe I could make the scar like a vine and have flowers tattooed all along my spine on both sides....cool.

Susan

My husband and I have talked about tattoos. We both have small ones. He had surgery on his abdomen a few years back and is extremely jealous of my straight, beautiful scar. His was emergency surgery and they did not do such a pretty job on his. But we joked about 'zippers' downs our scars. I don't think I could do it. I would like to do something in honor of the trials I have been through. I will be doing one in honor of one of my best friend who has been battling cancer for 5 years. Mine are small and discrete but each have special meaning.
Thanks for all the advice on the chair. I was thinking about this last night as I had read about someone who had posted someone on Facebook about getting verbal blasted about parking in a handicap spot but not looking handicap. I think this goes along my lines. I don't look disabled, but still feel disabled at times!!! But here is my 2 cents...what are your thoughts on the whole handicap stickers these days. We have a friend who rides motorcycle and has one even for his motorcycle. Come on!!! I cannot agree to that. There are plenty of times I have wanted to apply for one but 9 times out of 10 there is never a parking spot where we go anyway. My friend with cancer seems to never find a spot. Do you think it's being over used or finally being given to those who need it? I don't know, I feel it is being taken advantage of in way to many situations.

jrnyc
07-22-2013, 03:09 PM
in some states it looks like everybody and their brother have handicapped
signs for their cars...
i got one when i moved to CT, after living in Manhattan and not having
a car...(couldn't afford to garage one...it was almost as much as rent!!)

so now that i have to drive instead of taking cabs everywhere (too much
pain to stand and wait for bus...gave up taking subways after 9/11)
i got a handicapped sign, but because i honestly cannot walk any distance..
got one "for life"....unbelievable...maybe the doc knew i wasn't leaning
towards surgery...no pun intended...

as for the chair...so many people in America who do NOT have scoli
have aching backs...my opinion is they would be sympathetic more than
anything else...

jess...and Sparky (who runs everywhere, no handicapped sign needed)

susancook
07-22-2013, 03:23 PM
Couple of thoughts. I have a handicapped card and only use it when I feel that I need to park closely as my endurance seems less those days. My dad was 90 and could not walk far, so an up close parking spot was great for him (her had a handicapped card). We also frequently brought his wheelchair with us, so the extra space at the side of handicapped place was great for getting him in the wheelchair. It would irritate me no end when all of the handicapped spots were taken and then some young person would very ably get into the car parked in a handicapped spot. Maybe they were handicapped, but I doubt it.

In Oregon, when someone is parked in a handicapped place without a sticker, you take a picture of their license plate, the car parked in a handicapped place showing the handicapped sign. They are sent a note that they incorrectly parked by someone in the parking department.

You are so correct that many people that are handicapped do not look disabled. I wear a brace and use a walking stick, so I look disabled. Since I am supposed to walk a lot every day, parking away from the entrance forces me to walk more.

Susan

Doreen1
07-23-2013, 07:03 AM
I just got a tat on my forearm which symbolizes God pulling me through the pain of my preop life. It looks like torn flesh with my nickname Bionica in the center. My family gave me this nickname postop. The artist put a 2.5 inch screw in the "A" representing the size of my largest screws.




My husband and I have talked about tattoos. We both have small ones. He had surgery on his abdomen a few years back and is extremely jealous of my straight, beautiful scar. His was emergency surgery and they did not do such a pretty job on his. But we joked about 'zippers' downs our scars. I don't think I could do it. I would like to do something in honor of the trials I have been through. I will be doing one in honor of one of my best friend who has been battling cancer for 5 years. Mine are small and discrete but each have special meaning.
Thanks for all the advice on the chair. I was thinking about this last night as I had read about someone who had posted someone on Facebook about getting verbal blasted about parking in a handicap spot but not looking handicap. I think this goes along my lines. I don't look disabled, but still feel disabled at times!!! But here is my 2 cents...what are your thoughts on the whole handicap stickers these days. We have a friend who rides motorcycle and has one even for his motorcycle. Come on!!! I cannot agree to that. There are plenty of times I have wanted to apply for one but 9 times out of 10 there is never a parking spot where we go anyway. My friend with cancer seems to never find a spot. Do you think it's being over used or finally being given to those who need it? I don't know, I feel it is being taken advantage of in way to many situations.

susancook
07-23-2013, 12:49 PM
I just got a tat on my forearm which symbolizes God pulling me through the pain of my preop life. It looks like torn flesh with my nickname Bionica in the center. My family gave me this nickname postop. The artist put a 2.5 inch screw in the "A" representing the size of my largest screws.

I am almost 67 and do not currently have any tattoos. I spent 30 years in the Navy Reserves, 5 on active duty the remainder as a weekend warrior. Tattoos in the Navy have a whole different meaning. i always thought that I wanted a tattoo, a small flower in a discrete spot. Now, I am thinking about having a tattoo up my spine, kind of low with small vine of flowers on each side, with the phrase "Back by Dr. Hu". My mother will roll over in her grave when she hears about a tattoo! She had difficulty accepting that I had my ears pierced. She was a southern Victorian woman. I won't seriously consider doing it until I am entirely happy with my fusion, which will be at year 1 or 2. If I do it and we have a reunion, I will proudly show it off!

Sorry that we hijacked your thread, I still think that you should bring your chair.
Susan.....maybe the tattooed woman in the future

Susan

back2life
07-23-2013, 01:50 PM
I am almost 67 and do not currently have any tattoos. I spent 30 years in the Navy Reserves, 5 on active duty the remainder as a weekend warrior. Tattoos in the Navy have a whole different meaning. i always thought that I wanted a tattoo, a small flower in a discrete spot. Now, I am thinking about having a tattoo up my spine, kind of low with small vine of flowers on each side, with the phrase "Back by Dr. Hu". My mother will over in her grave when she hears about a tattoo! She had difficulty accepting that I had my ears pierced. She was a southern Victorian woman. I won't seriously consider doing it until I am entirely happy with my fusion, which will be at year 1 or 2. If I do it and we have a reunion, I will proudly show it off!

Sorry that we hijacked your thread, I still think that you should bring your chair.
Susan.....maybe the tattooed woman in the future

Susan

You are right. They have many different reasons. When I worked at an elementary school, it was hard with the kids asking about the one on my wrist, but I always said that I had gotten it when I was an adult and it had very special meaning (it's a double infinity for my two children).

I think when you are ready you need to do what is best for you! Yes I am sure your mother will be upset but she does not know what you have been through and what it would mean to you. I love what Biannca (I believe that is her name) had done with hers especially the screw. It would show people what is in our body!

And I am with you on when I get it done. I am only at 11 weeks so I want to really be happy with my fusion as well so I can be certain of if and what I want.

Continued healing to you.

back2life
07-23-2013, 01:52 PM
You are right. They have many different reasons. When I worked at an elementary school, it was hard with the kids asking about the one on my wrist, but I always said that I had gotten it when I was an adult and it had very special meaning (it's a double infinity for my two children).

I think when you are ready you need to do what is best for you! Yes I am sure your mother will be upset but she does not know what you have been through and what it would mean to you. I love what Biannca (I believe that is her name) had done with hers especially the screw. It would show people what is in our body!

And I am with you on when I get it done. I am only at 11 weeks so I want to really be happy with my fusion as well so I can be certain of if and what I want.

Continued healing to you.

Thank you for your service as well!

back2life
07-23-2013, 01:53 PM
I just got a tat on my forearm which symbolizes God pulling me through the pain of my preop life. It looks like torn flesh with my nickname Bionica in the center. My family gave me this nickname postop. The artist put a 2.5 inch screw in the "A" representing the size of my largest screws.

Love it!!!

susancook
07-23-2013, 03:19 PM
You are right. They have many different reasons. When I worked at an elementary school, it was hard with the kids asking about the one on my wrist, but I always said that I had gotten it when I was an adult and it had very special meaning (it's a double infinity for my two children).

I think when you are ready you need to do what is best for you! Yes I am sure your mother will be upset but she does not know what you have been through and what it would mean to you. I love what Biannca (I believe that is her name) had done with hers especially the screw. It would show people what is in our body!

And I am with you on when I get it done. I am only at 11 weeks so I want to really be happy with my fusion as well so I can be certain of if and what I want.

Continued healing to you.

I think that you mean Doreen above, and yes, her tattoo must be awesome and so creative. It is individual and speaks to her experience. Hmmm.....maybe I need to be more creative with mine in the future.

Predictably, my mom would say, "Susan why on earth did you do that?" And my dad who does not have a tattoo would say, "that's really neat!". To me, it is interesting that I still worry about what my deceased mom would say. Who is the social worker in the group? Maybe I need to see her for counseling!

So, backtolife, you also keep healing. It is a 1 to 2 year healing process, so don't make premature decisions about feelings of spine surgery outcome, like I and so many others do. You need to wait until the dust settles and see the final result.

Susan

back2life
07-23-2013, 08:31 PM
I think that you mean Doreen above, and yes, her tattoo must be awesome and so creative. It is individual and speaks to her experience. Hmmm.....maybe I need to be more creative with mine in the future.

Predictably, my mom would say, "Susan why on earth did you do that?" And my dad who does not have a tattoo would say, "that's really neat!". To me, it is interesting that I still worry about what my deceased mom would say. Who is the social worker in the group? Maybe I need to see her for counseling!

So, backtolife, you also keep healing. It is a 1 to 2 year healing process, so don't make premature decisions about feelings of spine surgery outcome, like I and so many others do. You need to wait until the dust settles and see the final result.

Susan

1: yes, sorry, it was Doreen.
2: I apologize for my words speaking as your mother was with you. Sorry for your loss. My mom never agreed with my tattoos but I just know we live in different times. Now my mil would like to go and get one done with me but she isn't too keen on pain!
3: I agree that I am no where near ready for a tattoo in the spirit of my surgery. If this fusion stops or even decreases my pain so I can reclaim my life, I would love to do something in the regards to overcoming pain. All the trials. Going through 10 years of pain and feeling like I have lost so much over this last few years it would be something for me. I have three small ones, a 'love' tattoo on my hip for my husband, then boyfriend (I was crazy), a paw print on my foot....(ouch, do not recommend) in memory of my dog who passed, and the double infinity for my children on my wrist.

So yes, tattoos are symbolic to me and people have many opinions about them. But it comes down to what you want. If you want it just for you, find a discreet spot. If you want to be bold and proudly display it and talk about about why you got it done, then place it somewhere it will be noticed.

On another note...
At 11 weeks I am chugging along. I had a mild set back with stomach issues and it kept me down and
weak for about 4 weeks! Awful!!! A good friend and member on here said the complications can be worse then surgery itself. Well said. I was kicking butt after surgery. Shocked at how well I was doing. And I have read about the 'slump-drepression' that also sets in and it seems to be hitting me. Stinks! The weather here is so hot so I cannot get outside and enjoy a day and I think that contributes to it. I am looking forward to this fall like no other!!! It will also give me the opportunity to get back into the school doing something I love, working with kids!
I am glad to have the words written by others who have been through this otherwise I think I would truly be second guessing what I did. There has not been a topic on here I have not found solace in.

the_baroness
07-24-2013, 01:31 PM
I live in New York so don't own a car, but I wish I could wear a handicapped sign on my person so people don't jostle me! I think I have sort of a love/hate relationship with people knowing about my "disability" (not sure what to call it, I am 5 weeks post op and fused t10 to pelvis.) On the one hand, I worry quite a bit about people not knowing there is something wrong with me, because new Yorkers are known for being somewhat aggressive in their street-interactions (I say this fondly.) so the few times I've gone out in public or left the safety of my immediate sleepy neighborhood in Brooklyn, I've brought my cane with me, just as an outward symbol for people to be aware to avoid jostling me, maybe help me with a door, and to let me have the handicapped seat on the bus. But on the other hand I am so looking forward to being normal again! One of the reasons I did this surgery (I know, I shouldn't admit it) but I wanted to improve how my back looked cosmetically. So while I don't want people to jostle me, I do want people to think I'm just a regular person, with a perfectly normal spine, nothing to see here folks!

I'm not actually taking the subway yet, I'm going to ask my doctor at my first follow up on August 1 if it's ok. But you can bet the first time I do I will be carrying my cane even though I no longer need it to walk. My cane will be my handicapped sticker. While I want the world to think I look perfectly normal, right now I guess I want the world to know I'm still handicapped, so nobody knocks me over on the subway.

My surgeon did not ask me to wear a brace post op although I sometimes wish he did. While a brace would probably factor pretty heavily into my love/hate relationship with whether I want people to notice me or not, if I were wearing a brace it would ease my mind quite a bit about whether or not I'm keeping my spine perfectly still so the fusion can heal. Early on after the surgery I think I overdid it a few times with the walking, and through a miscommunication with the visiting nurse surgery ended up doing pt immediately after I got home from the hospital when I wasn't supposed to, and have had some jostling accidents of my own here and there that worried me (jumping to the side in terror when I saw a bug in my shower, tripping over a crack in the sidewalk, etc.) so I think I would endure the stares of the general public in order to wear a brace so as to protect my fusion. I came home from the hospital thinking that my hardware was all I needed to protect my fusion, but after reading this forum I realized that I should be much more careful. So I think a brace could have come in handy, and I wouldn't have cared how it looked to others.

Regarding tattoos, I guess I feel sort of the same way about them as I do about the handicapped sticker and the brace. I already have a couple tattoos, so I think they're fine. But I used to want to get a tattoo on my back in the shape of a vine that outlined the curve of my spine. It would have been an outward symbol to the world of my "disability." but now that I've had my surgery, and have an enormous very straight scar going down my back, I've abandoned any desire to have any tattoos back there. I've got my "battle scar" and it looks way better than any curvy twisting tattoo ever would. I'm more proud of that scar than anything else on my body. Accept maybe my new lordosis. I'm pretty damn proud of my new booty :-)

Irina
07-24-2013, 03:22 PM
I'm more proud of that scar than anything else on my body.

Me too - I am very proud of my scar. If I like a dress or a top that shows a top of my scar, I am buying it. I just hide my scar from the sun now because I read somewhere on this forum that you shouldn't expose the scars to the sun during the first year so that they can fade out. Don't know if this is true or not.

Susie*Bee
07-24-2013, 03:40 PM
the_baroness-- I always took a cane with me when I was going to be in a crowded situation too. An automatic red flag to people around you to be careful! Or so you hope! I did that way beyond my need for any help with it. I also took it on the airplane so people would be a little more understanding if I wasn't super fast getting down the aisle. Sometimes we look fine when we just aren't quite the same as they are. Now I think I can manage it ok.

I wore a brace, but it was the kind that you wore a t-shirt under and then your clothes over... so I'm not sure if people just thought I was chunky or if they could tell I had a brace on. (smile) There are different kinds of braces.

When I was first on the forum there was a youngish girl (early twenties, I think) Rosie1108, who had a temporary tattoo down her back that was a zipper. It looked really neat. She was trying to decide if she would really do it or not. Anyone else remember that one? She had a long fusion.

back2life
07-24-2013, 04:52 PM
I loved reading your words, baroness. You have a great sense of humor. Yes, please be careful when you are out. I have not yet been in a crowed place without my husband to bodyguard for me so I would be super nervous! One time I did sit on the second bleacher (it's only three rows) a lady came and sat behind me. I was so on guard that I only sat for about five minutes and moved. I swear I almost told her off for no reason at all besides the fact the flipping whole seating was open and she sat directly behind me. But I knew I was just being super sensitive with my back so I moved. And I now learned that no matter what people think of me, I would rather have my chair. There are too many kids running around and I end up not enjoying. I am sick of not being able to watch my kids play as I am watching my back. Not worth it. I agree that sometimes I would like something more visible that shows I am 'delicate' right now and then yet sometimes I don't. But this will only be so long and after getting the hefty bill (thank God for insurance) it is worth 'pampering' myself to make sure I heal 100%!

I wear loads of sunscreen when outside and reapply. The sun will make sure that scar stays apparent if you want it. I don't! We asked my surgeon if I would be able to vacation comfortably to CA (7 hr drive away) at 2 months after surgery. He said yes but I would need to sit on the beach top side up, no tanning my back. So right now I am a pretty white AZ girl! :(

jrnyc
07-24-2013, 04:58 PM
yes, i definitely remember the whole zipper discussion...
people thought it was pretty funny....

jess...and Sparky

back2life
07-24-2013, 05:29 PM
Hi there,

Bleachers are murder on my back....and I am about 18 months post-op.

Time to suck it up and forget about others judging you...take your camp chair and be proud.

Thanks for not sugar coating it! I love that we can be honest with each other and share (with tact). This is exactly what my husband says to me. But he now says, what does the group online tell you to do because I tend to quote you all to often I guess. ;)

susancook
07-24-2013, 10:55 PM
1: yes, sorry, it was Doreen.
2: I apologize for my words speaking as your mother was with you. Sorry for your loss. My mom never agreed with my tattoos but I just know we live in different times. Now my mil would like to go and get one done with me but she isn't too keen on pain!
3: I agree that I am no where near ready for a tattoo in the spirit of my surgery. If this fusion stops or even decreases my pain so I can reclaim my life, I would love to do something in the regards to overcoming pain. All the trials. Going through 10 years of pain and feeling like I have lost so much over this last few years it would be something for me. I have three small ones, a 'love' tattoo on my hip for my husband, then boyfriend (I was crazy), a paw print on my foot....(ouch, do not recommend) in memory of my dog who passed, and the double infinity for my children on my wrist.

So yes, tattoos are symbolic to me and people have many opinions about them. But it comes down to what you want. If you want it just for you, find a discreet spot. If you want to be bold and proudly display it and talk about about why you got it done, then place it somewhere it will be noticed.

On another note...
At 11 weeks I am chugging along. I had a mild set back with stomach issues and it kept me down and
weak for about 4 weeks! Awful!!! A good friend and member on here said the complications can be worse then surgery itself. Well said. I was kicking butt after surgery. Shocked at how well I was doing. And I have read about the 'slump-drepression' that also sets in and it seems to be hitting me. Stinks! The weather here is so hot so I cannot get outside and enjoy a day and I think that contributes to it. I am looking forward to this fall like no other!!! It will also give me the opportunity to get back into the school doing something I love, working with kids!
I am glad to have the words written by others who have been through this otherwise I think I would truly be second guessing what I did. There has not been a topic on here I have not found solace in.

Hi there! No problem about mom. She is deceased but with me in so many ways. Thanks for being kind.
Down-in-the-dumps is my middle name! Check out my thread. Many awesome people have been supportive and confirm that this time in recovery is depressing.

My best to you!
Susan

susancook
07-24-2013, 11:28 PM
I live in New York so don't own a car, but I wish I could wear a handicapped sign on my person so people don't jostle me! I think I have sort of a love/hate relationship with people knowing about my "disability" (not sure what to call it, I am 5 weeks post op and fused t10 to pelvis.) On the one hand, I worry quite a bit about people not knowing there is something wrong with me, because new Yorkers are known for being somewhat aggressive in their street-interactions (I say this fondly.) so the few times I've gone out in public or left the safety of my immediate sleepy neighborhood in Brooklyn, I've brought my cane with me, just as an outward symbol for people to be aware to avoid jostling me, maybe help me with a door, and to let me have the handicapped seat on the bus. But on the other hand I am so looking forward to being normal again! One of the reasons I did this surgery (I know, I shouldn't admit it) but I wanted to improve how my back looked cosmetically. So while I don't want people to jostle me, I do want people to think I'm just a regular person, with a perfectly normal spine, nothing to see here folks!

I'm not actually taking the subway yet, I'm going to ask my doctor at my first follow up on August 1 if it's ok. But you can bet the first time I do I will be carrying my cane even though I no longer need it to walk. My cane will be my handicapped sticker. While I want the world to think I look perfectly normal, right now I guess I want the world to know I'm still handicapped, so nobody knocks me over on the subway.

My surgeon did not ask me to wear a brace post op although I sometimes wish he did. While a brace would probably factor pretty heavily into my love/hate relationship with whether I want people to notice me or not, if I were wearing a brace it would ease my mind quite a bit about whether or not I'm keeping my spine perfectly still so the fusion can heal. Early on after the surgery I think I overdid it a few times with the walking, and through a miscommunication with the visiting nurse surgery ended up doing pt immediately after I got home from the hospital when I wasn't supposed to, and have had some jostling accidents of my own here and there that worried me (jumping to the side in terror when I saw a bug in my shower, tripping over a crack in the sidewalk, etc.) so I think I would endure the stares of the general public in order to wear a brace so as to protect my fusion. I came home from the hospital thinking that my hardware was all I needed to protect my fusion, but after reading this forum I realized that I should be much more careful. So I think a brace could have come in handy, and I wouldn't have cared how it looked to others.

Regarding tattoos, I guess I feel sort of the same way about them as I do about the handicapped sticker and the brace. I already have a couple tattoos, so I think they're fine. But I used to want to get a tattoo on my back in the shape of a vine that outlined the curve of my spine. It would have been an outward symbol to the world of my "disability." but now that I've had my surgery, and have an enormous very straight scar going down my back, I've abandoned any desire to have any tattoos back there. I've got my "battle scar" and it looks way better than any curvy twisting tattoo ever would. I'm more proud of that scar than anything else on my body. Accept maybe my new lordosis. I'm pretty damn proud of my new booty :-)

People running into me was so frightening. At first and I have a brace, i was so paranoid about people bumping into me. when i swim, without my brace, i feel very vulnerable. I get what you are saying and I am an ex-New Yorker, I understand your fear of subway crowds. I suggest that you avoid rush hour if possible. The cane should also get you a seat which might prevent some jostling.

Great that you love your back and booty! That is a bonus! I love to show off my scar, I worked hard to get it to heal!

To me, the word disability just means that you currently are in the process of healing and cannot to everything that everyone else can do! Soon, you will move out of that category and be among the general population.

I will tell you what Gayle tells me a lot....slow down and treat your back kindly as it takes between 6 months and 1-2 years to fully fuse. See Gayle's thread "the pop hear round the world". It reminds me to be careful.

Best of luck and keep healing!
Susan

Doreen1
07-25-2013, 09:30 AM
Susan,
One of the most painful places to get a tat is on the back (and on ribs). My first tat is on my back, took 5 hours and hurt worse than child birth. If your back is numb from the surgery (mine still is at almost 2 years post op), a tat might not hurt so much. Two more tats on my horizon: a cross with watercolor splashes around it and an arrow when I compete at the Paralympics. ;)

susancook
07-25-2013, 10:25 AM
Susan,
One of the most painful places to get a tat is on the back (and on ribs). My first tat is on my back, took 5 hours and hurt worse than child birth. If your back is numb from the surgery (mine still is at almost 2 years post op), a tat might not hurt so much. Two more tats on my horizon: a cross with watercolor splashes around it and an arrow when I compete at the Paralympics. ;)

Doreen, you are awesome and such an inspiration! Let us know about your progress in entering the Paralympics!

I remember the tat on your back from your blog which was so well done and helped me better understand what you and your family went through for the spinal surgery. Susan

PeggyS
08-04-2013, 07:32 PM
But here is my 2 cents...what are your thoughts on the whole handicap stickers these days. We have a friend who rides motorcycle and has one even for his motorcycle. Come on!!! I cannot agree to that. There are plenty of times I have wanted to apply for one but 9 times out of 10 there is never a parking spot where we go anyway. My friend with cancer seems to never find a spot. Do you think it's being over used or finally being given to those who need it? I don't know, I feel it is being taken advantage of in way to many situations.


Here's another viewpoint:

My husband has a handicapped license plate on his motorcycle. After 2 'failed' knee replacements & severe spinal stenosis, he can ride because of his position on the motorcycle, but his ability to walk is extremely limited. It seems ironic to have a handicapped motorcycle plate, but it has been extremely helpful when we've gone to places where he would not have been able to walk from a normal parking spot. He carries a folding cane for short distances. I'm glad this option has been available to him! Unfortunately, we just totaled our bike, so the next purchase might be a trike after my recovery.

Wish2bstraight
08-05-2013, 07:47 PM
I have a handicapped Plackard. I had to use it every where I went once I felt comfortable leaving my house, which was close to two months postoperative. As I began to feel better, I would not use it if I was able to find a space close enough for comfort. Today I barely use it at all. The hard part about handicapped spaces for scoliosis patients is that you have to back up. I, for one, find that difficult to do, so I try to find two spaces facing each other when I go to park my car and park so that I can just drive straight out.

So I am still not completely standing straight up and sometimes I look like an old lady. My husband keeps telling me to keep the girls at attention. I try, but damn, it is difficult. Did anyone else have this problem, and if so, are you completely upright now and how long did it take you to get there?