View Full Version : Surgery in 9 days and I'm scared

05-10-2005, 12:13 AM
I am a 45 y/o female and I'm having surgery on May 18th, then again on the 24th. I realize that a lot of people have much worse ailments than I do. I have a double curve, upper being 23*, lower 59*. I am scared to death and I'm wondering if this is normal or am I just being a big baby? I am an emotional wreck right now. I feel like I need to talk to someone who has had this done.

05-10-2005, 12:45 AM
No, you're not being a big baby. The anticipation of surgery is horrible. My daughter had her operation on 2nd May. The four days between pre-op and the procedure were the most horrible days of my life. The level of anxiety was almost physically intolerable. Part of the problem seems to be that, although you have this big threat coming up, you can't actually do anything about it, and this causes a huge conflict. Your body is sending you "deal with this danger now!!" signals, but you can't. Once the procedure is over, you will of course no longer be worried about something horrible happening, but you also actually have a sense of control, because there is something you can do (for the parents this is fetching ice chips and things, for the patient, it's doing your breathing exercises) You're going to feel like you've been hit like a truck, of course, but at least you can work on it somehow.

Between now and the 18th, perhaps it will help to find something you can do to improve this situation. Perhaps try to prepare your home more for your recovery. Stock up on canned goods, organise your linen cupboard, whatever. Also focus on the fact that this is an often performed and uniformly successful procedure.

Cheers - Patricia

05-10-2005, 12:58 AM
Thank you so much, that was very thoughtful of you to say such encouraging things. I hope every thing goes well with your daughter.

Thanks Shari

05-10-2005, 03:22 AM
Of course you are scared stiff, we all are beforehand. I am 55 and had two surgeries a week apart, like you, last November. I think the time between the two ops was harder for my family than for me. Once the first one had happened, there was really no way back, so it was a question of recovering enough to feel ready for the second one - my worst moment was when they said they might be able to do it after only 3 days! but in the event they could not. Even that I got my head round it, so it would have been OK if they had gone ahead. The thing that was most clear to me was that everything non-important was stripped away, and I felt incredibly close to those nearest to me. At the same time I felt defenceless, and really needed other people to be kept away until I felt more able to enter the world. It really is a life-changing and special time with lots of difficult things but also good and memorable things about it.

Do feel free to be in touch during your recovery if you'd like to. VEry best wishes for the surgery!


05-10-2005, 03:09 PM
I, too, am looking at surgery at 48. The date has not been settled yet. My friend, who deals with a lot of elderly who cannot move around much, left a package at my door this weekend. In it was a stained glass paint set. She said that it is time for me to begin getting things together that I can do while I am layed up. Keep yourself busy...and remember the trust you have in your doctor. Good luck! Let me know how you do. I will be watching the answers to your question...because I have a lot of the same.


05-10-2005, 03:16 PM
Waiting is worse than the surgery. I'm 56 and had A/P surgery in 2002.You proabably won't want visitors until after both surgeries are done. I just wanted my husband to be close by. After the second surgery Physical Therapy will be in to get you out of bed within 24 hours. Ask for pain meds about 30 min. before PT gets you up. You will do better. You will be up walking and sitting in a chair before the week is out!! :eek:

You won't care about your hair. But I found it helped to keep it cleaner, longer, to wash your hair just before going to the hospital. Don't put hair spray or other stuff in your hair...it will just get dirty faster. If you have long hair, you might want to bred it so it stays out of your way.

Karen Ocker
05-10-2005, 04:02 PM
I had my revision done 2 1/2 years ago at age 60. I had to wait 3 months for my surgical date. I was walking around in a state of varying states of terror alternating with gratefulness that I indeed could be helped because I was getting worse by the day, could not eat a large meal without getting winded or even talk without getting winded because of my breathing impairment. I remember a week before the surgery, when I was getting my pre-op testing, going into a local church and telling God I was afraid.

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. You will see immediate improvement when you first stand up.

Regarding smoking. My surgeon would not operate on anyone has not been nicotine free for 6 months because it is a big cause of fusion failure. I have never smoked so I cannot preach. Others who have quit are your best source of support.


05-11-2005, 01:22 AM
Shari - I too did not smoke beforehand, and the rickety UK hospital might be different from yours. But I should think that nicotine withdrawal should be the least of your problems - the morphine will probably completely override it, and with any luck you should be through the worst by the time you come off it. I had to come off HRT abruptly because of the extra risk of clotting, and apart from bleeding, which the nurses dealt with in their stride, I did not notice any effects whatsoever - until 4 months later, when hot flushes started. I was in hospital 4 weeks, an extra week because of a brief bout of pneumonia. The nurses washed my hair several times over that period with a kind of trolley arrangement with hoses and plastic sheets - quite comforting, in fact, and a real boost to have it clean. I also had a shower in a wheelchair as time went on.

I was obviously confined to bed between surgeries, and certainly didn't feel like getting up! The bed could be raised in various directions, and I could raise myself up to 45 degrees. The time passed quite quickly - when I felt up to it I could read, watch tv (not much) and mostly just watch the world at the end of my bed go by - I got quite close v quick to neighbouring patients and it was nice chatting to the odd nurse who had time, but I had little interest in anything beyond my bed, and only wanted visits from close family. Like Karen said, you will be up and sitting in your chair/taking some steps as soon as your brace is made (5 days for me), and then it is a process of getting moving and recovering.

You are welcome to send me private emails for any specific information or morale-boosting. Like Karen, I have not regretted the surgery at all - I could feel I was straighter as soon as I woke up from the second surgery. There are difficulties, but it is a great opportunity.

Best, Lavinia

05-11-2005, 08:03 PM
I am 47 and will be having my surgery June 13th and I can tell you waiting is torture. I keep busy with projects. I am using hypnosis which has really helped me. I got some head phones and CDs with soothing music. I bought a book Preparing For Surgery that had a lot of helpful hints. I have asked my surgeon if I can have my tape player and headphones during the operation to listen to the hypnosis tapes on healing. A friend went through a heart surgery doing this method and her recovery was very positive. I have used many things for pain management that is alternative with a lot of success. It helps my feel more in charge of my surgery and recovery. I have permission to listen to it in the ICU with headphones. The music itself is incredibly soothing and relaxing. I live in California and will have my surgery done at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. I am a therapist so I am having to transfer my cases this month which is very hard to do. I am so fortunate to have family coming in to assist me the first month and friends there after. People have been so supportive but I still feel overwhelmed with the reality of this surgery. I spent years thinking I would never have to have it since I was braced for years as a child. Oh well, such is the story of many people. Thank you for sharing and I will be interested in how you are doing. You can give me a pep talk before mine.
Thinking of You!!

05-12-2005, 06:10 AM
ur not i was scared i had my operation done it is normal to be scared dont worry :)

05-13-2005, 05:20 PM
I too, was braced in the Millwalkee brace from the age of 12 to 18. I was told after that things would not change. And they didn't for many years. If you would have seen me naked only 10 years ago you wouldn't have even known I had scoliosis. Within the last serveral years my back changed and my pain got worse. But because of what they told us when we were younger, that they couldn't do anything after we were grown, I just thought I was going to have to accept the fact that I was going to be a cripple several years down the road. And one night I was watching the Discovery Channel and it happen to be a program of surgery on adult scoliosis. From that day on I was on quest to find out what I could do about my back. Now I am scared and in a way excited that I can be fixed. I owe all this to the National Scoloisis Foundation website. It took me awhile to find it, but it was well worth the effort. Hope to be in touch with everyone in a few weeks.

Thanks for your support
S-Curve Shari

05-13-2005, 11:23 PM
All the very best Shari for your surgery, I will be thinking of you and praying for the best possible outcome. We will look for your posts when you are done and recovering. Courage and fortitude! Lauraxx

05-14-2005, 01:39 AM
Very best of luck!


05-16-2005, 05:27 PM
Why do some of you require two surgeries, almost back to back? I am a 52 year old male 50T/40L who is considering surgery. I was never braced, but my curve has progressed. In fact I have a consulation 6-16-2005. How much, and what kind of, pain were you faced with that warrants surgery? Thanks!