View Full Version : Newbie having spinal fusion

Linda G
06-06-2006, 01:35 PM
I have had scoliosis since childhood and have done everything to stay on my feet but surgery. Now I have no choice. I have an appt with Dr. Shelokov in Plano, Texas or rather Eric on June 22. I have had one opinion already and I know from seeing the xrays that fusion is the only answer. I am 63 years old and as you can imagine I am very frightened. I know the recovery is long and painful. I think awaking from the surgery into the terrible pain is one of my most scary things. I have had many surgeries for various things and I know how horrible it is to wake up in pain. Can the pain be controlled to a level where you can function? I really do need any input from those who have had this done. I have read the page where Dr. Shelokov is being discussed and I am very impressed with the good words. Also my primary doctor has referred me to him. Blessings to all who post here. I know that ultimately my life is in the hands of the Great Physician. Thank you, Linda

Karen Ocker
06-06-2006, 04:18 PM
I sent you a private message.

Assuming (at our age)we have a life expectancy of around 20+ years I went ahead and was glad I did. I KNOW my life would have been shortened and miserable otherwise.

Yes, it was a serious decision but in the hands of experienced doctors dealing with adult scoliosis success is most likely.
Speaking with other patients of your surgeon of similar age is helpful.

06-06-2006, 05:45 PM
I wasn't in too much pain after surgery. The staff was great at figuring out exactly what pain meds and the amount that would work for me.

06-06-2006, 05:48 PM
I know it's different for everybody, but I did have excruciating pain but after the first few days, and they switched my meds(Morphine doesn't do much for me and gets me dizzy), it really was a lot better and more manageable.

06-07-2006, 04:48 AM
It is scary to wake up in pain and like you I dread doing that. What I did with hip replacement number two was tell the good folks doing the surgery as well as those knocking me out about that issue before the surgery. Since I take Ultram (acts on opiod receptors) a lot- I thought I was building a tolerance to narcotics. They took my request into account and it was better.
If you are taking a lot of pain meds- let them know. Also, express your concern before hand, esp lying on the gurnney before you are knocked out. Finally, when waking up- as best as you are able- let them know how you feel.
I am 51 and this is major surgery number six (and by far the worse). Nothing worse than waking up post op except the alternative.
May God walk with you. Eric

Linda G
06-07-2006, 11:35 AM
I am glad to know someone understands what I mean about waking up to the pain. I can handle it once I am awake and aware with the pain med pump. It's just that time of coming out of surgery when they wake you up and you get hit full force with the pain. It's hard to be rational at that point. I will certainly let them know that- -both the doc and the attending staff. Thank you for your encouragment. And God bless you. Linda

06-07-2006, 02:26 PM
Hi Linda,

I'm 57 and will most likely be undergoing first-time surgery for severe scoliosis in the near future. Truthfully, it's not thinking about the pain immediately following surgery that has me losing sleep at night. I believe the hospital staff can pretty much control that. It's all the pain afterwards during recovery and beyond plus the possibility for complications, i.e., serious infection, pulmonary embolism, loss of independence, etc. that scares the hell out of me.


06-07-2006, 02:42 PM
I'm right there with you. I am scheduled to have surgery with Dr. Shelokov on October 5. I hope you get the opportunity to talk with him and not just Eric. He is amazing. I have all the fears you do and especially because of our advanced age for scoliosis surgery. I will be nearly 58 at surgery time.
From the video we got from Dr. Shelokov, he is very much concerned about making sure your pain will be very much under control.

I am more fearful of coming through the surgery and all the things that Chris mentioned. Dr. Shelokov was very blunt about the risks as well as encouraging about the outcome. He really lays it on the line and scares the hell out of you about the seriousness of this surgery at our age and at least in my case the severity of my condition.

Best wishes to you. I am frightened right along with you.....

Linda G
06-07-2006, 03:22 PM
It is a scary time for sure. I have fought this all my life. Now I am loosing the battle. I have an appt with a local doctor also next week. However without even seeing him I do believe that Dr. Shelokov will be the one I'll choose. I have not thought of all the things that can go wrong. I would really lose it. Since I am a breast cancer survivor I feel like I can get though this. Thank you for being here and for understanding. I am so sorry that you are having to go thru this also. Blessings, Linda

06-07-2006, 03:44 PM
Linda, I was 47 when I had my first scoliosis surgery. I was litterally scared to death. The Dr. and hospital staff were wonderful and I was not in a lot of pain at the hospital. Especially after surgery. I was drugged up, I do not remember much of anything to be honest. I really think if I had been in a lot of pain I would have remembered it. Ever thing after surgery and the first 4 days is real fuzzy for me. Then after that I had some pain but not to bad.
They controlled it pretty good. I was in the hospital a total of 8 days.
Then 1 year later I had to go back to the hospital and have my hardware taken out. I was only in the hospital 1 day.
Then 2 weeks after that i had to go back to the hospital and hardware put back in. This time longer rods and more screws. I was only in the hospital 3 days that time. None of those times was the pain unbearable for me.
My worst pain I beleive was my staples. They sure did hurt, they were so uncomfortable.
I hope you get along ok. Good luck.

06-07-2006, 04:31 PM
Okay -- nobody could possibly be more terrified than I am! I'll be almost 52 by the time I have this thing done (for a 70-deg. curve) -- tentatively scheduled for spring of '07. When I talked to Dr. Boachie about scheduling surgery, I told him it felt like I was scheduling a car accident....

I imagine that when the time comes, we'll all somehow be brave enough to go through it okay (with the help of LOTS of drugs..!).


06-07-2006, 06:14 PM
As I go under 2 mths now, my feelings are very similar to you all. It all seems so daunting! I'm still really dazed that my fusion will be so big(T-2 to sacrum). Yet I suppose it means I really need these operations badly.. I think I am the most scared to know if this all will be done in one day..what with Kyphosis & rib removal & all...I want it to be one day but that's not my choice!
The other thing with me is I really can't complain about any horrible pain & my heart goes out to, you, Linda & others that have to deal with that. The only thing I take sometimes is Tums(thk god for that) to aid my digestive problems. So I really hope I don't have scoliosis pain after all of this (besides surgery pain) down the line.. Lynne :eek:

age: 46 surgery Aug 1st/ Dr. Boachie

06-07-2006, 06:36 PM
I have an appointment with a doctor here in Houston next Tuesday. But I feel sure I will travel to Plano because of Dr. Shelokov's skill and reputation. I dread the distance I will have to travel home. I see that you live in the Dallas area which will make it much easier for you. Let me know how your visit goes!

What are your curves? Mine are over 80 degrees both curves as well as disc damage where a cage will have to take place of 3 vertabrae at my sacrum.

06-07-2006, 08:26 PM
Linda, I am post-op 3 1/2 months. My worst pain was one day when my morphine botton jammed. I went 4 hours without pain med's. What are the odds of this happening I wondered?! Even at that pain level I could speak clearly and did not want to kill anyone, yet! Make sure your Dr. knows your concern about pain control. That was top priority with my Dr. you can't relax and heal if in terrible pain. Make sure he is willing to switch around different drugs to find what works for you. You must make sure he is willing to do this, not all drugs work the same for different people. I woke up from surgery with the relief it was over and not in pain! The pain CAN be controlled so you can function! Best wishes

Linda G
06-08-2006, 12:48 PM
Thank you for your shared expierence. I am learning from this group that pain can be managed from the beginning. You are very encouraging. Bless you, Linda

Linda G
06-08-2006, 01:05 PM
I understand the concerns about traveling that far. But you also want the best. I need to get all the info on the degree of curve etc. The first doc I saw told me the L1 is ok but from there thru about L5 is a mess. One disc gone and two more very thin. He would be putting in the cages like you are having done in the lumbar area and connecting to the bottom thoracic and pulling it straight. I really need to get a correct interpretation. My first visit I was not in control of my mind. haha When did you see Dr. Shelokov? Sure seems that everyone is impressed with him. I'll let you know how my visit goes with the one here in Grapevine next week. I am almost positive tho that I will use Dr. Shelokov. Take care, Linda

06-08-2006, 04:52 PM
I saw Dr. Shelokov at the end of April. The reason I have to wait until October is because he saves the summer months for teenagers, college students, and teachers. I too am getting another opinion from a doctor here in Houston next Tuesday....had to wait 4 months for this appointment. At this point I am sure I will go to Dr. Shelokov, but I think it is important that I get this 2nd opinion also.

07-25-2006, 02:26 PM
I'm scheduled to have surgery with Dr. Shelokov Thursday, July 27th, and I'll make sure I let you all know how it goes and everything...just as soon as I can sit at the computer again! I have every confidence in his skills, knowledge and abilities, but also still scared to death!!! I'll also update my blog regularly, or more likely, my husband will for a while!

07-25-2006, 02:38 PM
Elisha---good luck I'll be thking of you.., I'm right behind you but will have it done in NYC........Ly

07-25-2006, 03:29 PM
Thank you so much, Ly, I hope your surgery goes well too! I'm getting more scared and nervous every day, so I can't wait for it to be over and for the pain to be gone...or at least be in a lot less pain anyway.


07-25-2006, 08:44 PM
yea--this is very big & overwhelming! I actually have been pretty composed the last few days plus really busy with my kids-weird! I'm hoping it lasts until my Thursday pre-op appmt but I don't know if I'll be that lucky.........Ly
the clock is ticking away......... :eek: