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Houston Curves
03-14-2007, 11:47 AM
Well, I saw Eric in Dr. Shelokov's office yesterday. They have my old films there, and they confirmed a 9-10 increase in both of my curves over the last 4 1/2 years. So, I'm increasing at a rate of about 2 a year. I also have degenerative disc disease in my neck - the discs are "desiccated" or dehydrated. He said that if he took an MRI of a 70 year old person, it would look much like my MRI of the neck. Apparently the desiccation isn't a problem in and of itself (it part of aging), but it is a problem when accompanied by pain -yippee I win the genetic lottery again...I have LOTS of pain in my neck. However, that wouldn't be addressed by the surgery and would be a separate issue.

Anyway, he said Dr. S is now booking for surgeries in Oct. and Nov., but I need to see the Dr before I can be scheduled. He also said that Dr. S usually doesn't like to operate on anyone with children under 4-5 years old, but may make an exception as my back is progressing so aggressively.

Alright, now I'll come clean and admit this to myself. I was initially relieved to have my beliefs confirmed. I KNEW that my back was a lot worse because I could feel the shift and I was in a LOT more pain. The other two doctors just weren't very concerned...but they didn't have my old films either. I also got the impression that they were not that believing when I verbally told them about the past progression, and I hate not being taken seriously.

But now the reality is setting in deeply. I have documented confirmation of major progression, and it isn't going to stop. Eric said that, if he had to predict my outcome without surgical treatment, he would believe that I will ultimately be in a wheel chair - not from paralysis, but from the pain...that I would not be able to cope with the pain of daily activities. My pain levels are progressive and have been for years. It's hard to function now.

It's not a nice picture and I feel divested of any choices. But... at least there is a chance for me. So, I guess that gives me hope. I just need to let this settle in for now.

Thanks to everyone for your support and the kind replies to my questions.

Ann

Houston Curves
03-14-2007, 03:46 PM
I forgot to mention that Eric thinks that I will need to have A/P surgery andthey will likely fuse T2 or T3 down to the sacrum, but he said to wait till I see Dr. S on 4/2 for confirmation.

I'm off to Austin tomorrow to see Dr. Von Rueden. Thanks everyone.

Ann

Suzy
03-14-2007, 06:19 PM
Hi Ann,

Here I go again with the positive spin on your (And everyone else's.) situation. You can be helped! You don't need to think of how you will cope later in life in a wheelchair because there is technology to help you. I was talking to a lady at our scoliosis support group who CAN NOT have surgery and is not facing a very positive outlook in her twilight years. I can completely relate to your relief that it wasn't all in your head. We know our bodies better then anyone and it was nice for me to know I wasn't crazy, something was up.

Lets look ahead a bit. If you have your surgery in Oct. or even Nov. you will be able to enjoy Christmas! Most people out and about at 6 to 8 weeks. And not to mention starting the new year out with a new figure. It is a lot to digest. I know at this point the reality hasn't set in. Keep thinking of all the positive aspects of having this surgery that so many of us keep posting. Good luck with Dr. V. in Austin. Keep us posted.

bbest
03-14-2007, 07:08 PM
Yeah...what Suzy said. The first few days/weeks after finding out you need surgery are tough for many of us. The best thing you can do is try to maintain a positive outlook. There is definite power in positive thinking. Don't project too far down the road. Like you said, "there's a chance for me". Some folks aren't that lucky. I am in no way trying to trivialize the seriousness of this operation. Just try to keep things in perspective. The odds for a successful surgery are in your favor.

Brandi

Houston Curves
03-15-2007, 02:41 PM
I just got back from seeing Dr. Von Rueden. I really like him. He's direct and to the point. He also has a small child and knows what I will be going through. He said that he would do the surgery as posterior only, and would probably fuse T3 or T4 down to only L3. He told me that he just would not feel comfortable fusing a 40 year old to the sacrum. Yup...that's right...he said I am "young", which is a huge thing to me as I already feel like I'm 70. He also confirmed that he agrees with conservative treatment of my neck (no fusion), but said that there are probably a fair number of people my age with necks just like mine... He also told be that I have a bulging disc at C5, though he can't confirm that is the source of my neck pain with out further testing. I like his conservatism and preservation of as much mobility as possible. I have another appointment in Plano on 4/2 - this time with Dr. Shelokov himself. I am looking forward to his take on this (whether he goes with more or fewer vertebra in the fusion). Thank you everyone. I know there is a bright side, but it's just hard to see for all the grey clouds. Once I make a decision of which doctor to choose for the surgery and actually get the tests going, I think I will see a little better. :)

Ann