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View Full Version : Surgery in March!



Florida Judy
01-30-2006, 12:42 PM
I would like to first let everyone know how much I've enjoyed reading the entries on this Forum and what encouragement they have given me. Sometimes I feel so alone and as if no one really quite understands what it's like to have scoliosis. When I read the Forum, I know there are many others who share the same challenge.

After suffering for the past ~10 years or so, I've finally decided to have surgery. I go back to my doctor in mid-February, and we plan to set a surgery date for late March. I'm afraid and my husband is also very afraid, but we've both agreed that it's time to bite the bullet. I've had surgery before (misdiagnosed appendicitis) that caused 3 months of pain and illness, which almost took my life, so both of us get very nervous when we're even in the radius of a hospital. (I still detest the smell of hospital soap.) But we can see when something is for the best and that we should look at the long-term goal.

I'm 54 years old and have a ~50 degree scoliosis very low in the lumbar region, which was never diagnosed in my teenage years. We've shopped for the right orthopedic surgeon that we feel very comfortable with, and he's proposing to fuse my spine to the sacrum and up to T10. L5 is too deformed to hold the back upright. He feels he can do the surgery from the posterior only. He's hoping to achieve a correction (worst case) in the area of 30-35 degrees or, at best, in the 20-29 degree area. Needless to say, I have lots of problems sitting for prolonged periods of time and a wooden chair is my worst nightmare. I haven't worked for six months because I could only have a standing desk, and it's become too painful to stand for eight hours at a time.

Any encouragement for surgery is welcome, but if there's people out there that have a lumbar scoliosis and/or have been fused to the sacrum, I'd like to hear how your surgery went, how long it took for you to feel better and any experiences with surgery that you'd like to share.

I know I've said I'm afraid, but I'm also psych'ed for surgery too. Thanks in advance for your help!
Florida Judy

marmyte
01-31-2006, 07:56 AM
you sound very well prepared and it seems like you have a great person to support you. it'll probably be tough on your husband too, i know my parents found it hard to let me go off into the hands of this surgeon who was going to mess about with my spine but we also all knew it was my decision and it was going to help me.

depending on what the hospital staff are like, your husband may have to act as an advocate and keep a close eye on you - he knows you better than they do and he'll be able to pipe up if you're not feeling so good. if you need more pain meds, ask for them. being in pain doesn't help a recovery.

for the journey home you can't have enough pillows, and once you're in the car, get home as fast as possible (make sure you've had meds about half an hour before you leave the hospital)

with a fusion that low i'd ask your surgeon about potential temporary nerve damage in your leg(s). i'm fused to L3 and have a numb patch on my left thigh (my left side is where my incision is) and i wasn't prepared for that - it caused some pain initially which was a bit of a shock and scared me until we figured out what it was so you may want to ask.

a lot of getting through a surgery like this is psychological - it can be hugely frustrating knowing that a week before you walked into a hospital relatively normally (i know you're getting pain, but you're pretty mobile) and then a few days later you're like a fawn tottering around very cautiously, you get pretty tired. you really have to just keep telling yourself it will get better and it just takes time. i had a quick recovery but give yourself 5 or 6 weeks until you expect to start feeling a little more like yourself. don't be surprised at loss of appetite either... ok i think i've bombarded you enough for now

i'm from the UK but i'm actually going to be visiting jacksonville in mid-march (my godparents live there), small world huh? best of luck and i hope you get a result you're happy with

crookedspine
01-31-2006, 10:57 AM
I am a 48 year old who just had surgery (anterior/posterior) in November. It is good that you have your husband with you. I agree that if you need pain meds, ask for them. I spent most of my life not taking pain meds because I didn't want to be hooked on them. I took them at every opportunity at the hospital, and am fine now (as far as pain goes). Everyone's surgery is different, as is their recovery. I was fused from T11 to L5. I still ache a lot and have some numbness, but not much. I start work again tomorrow. I think the best advise I can give you is to not compare yourself to others. That can get depressing (I know that for a fact!), and may impede your healing if you try to do more than your doctor says. Just ask lots of questions of your surgeon, and have confidence in him/her and yourselve. Good luck. Let us know how you are doing!

By the way, you will probably be nervous and scared, but that's ok. Linda

Shari
01-31-2006, 11:53 PM
Hi Judy,
Welcome. I still remember the day I accidentally found this forum, and I am forever grateful. I read it for 8 months before I joined.

I too, had several months to anticipate my surgery. It was very scary and stressful. Don't be afraid to come here to ask questions, express your fears or just vent your emotions.

While the loving and caring support of my family and friends is greatly appreciated. I found that nothing compares to the mental comfort I have gotten from being able to talk to people that have been through what I have been through.

We've all been there :eek:
Shari