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Theresa
05-10-2004, 08:03 PM
Hi, I'm a 48 year old female who just had a spinal fusion from T2 to the saccrum. My thorasic curve measured 79 and the lumbar was 44. I had the anterior surgury done on April 8 and the Posterior one done on April 12. I was released from the hospital April 20. I'm sure someone can answer my questions. Does it seem like parts of your body are waking up (anthersia, nerves, etc) at different times. One day I feel pretty good, then a couple days later it seems like another part of my body is bothering me. My doctor told me to take it easy and just do little bits at a time. At 3 weeks out of the hospital with this type of surgury what are most people doing? I am now showering by myself (sitting down), getting up and getting cereal and toast for breakfast, getting in and out of bed and chairs by myself, taking short walks around the house with my walker and if I fill really good that day some walking with a cane. I would like to hear how other people are prgressing. Thanks

spincon58
05-10-2004, 08:50 PM
Dear Theresa,
Thank you for your post....I have not had surgery yet, but my fusion surgery sounds like yours ..maybe up to L5 ...why were U fused to the sacum? It is refreshing to here how some people recover after surgery...to me you sound great...It looks like your right on target...I have had other surgeries and when the doctor says 6 to 8 weeks they are right...I'm sure your doctor must have told you up to 3 months and sometimes up to a year to really feel like yourself again...
Are you driving yet? Are you in much pain?

Theresa
05-10-2004, 10:04 PM
Connie, They had to go to the saccrum because my L4 was a little deformed. When they went to L 3 & 2 they were in worse shape. They put a plate in by the saccrum to fuse to. They said fusing to the saccrum doesn't always take completely so that's why they put in the plate. I'm not driving yet and don't expect to for awhile. Keep in touch.

MaryK
05-10-2004, 11:15 PM
Theresa,

It sounds like you are doing wonderful so far. When I had my surgery it was difficult moving and walking too. Part of it is your body/brain getting used to being in a different position. Recovering from surgery usually means having both good and bad days. After my surgery I'd have side pains of and on for quite a while. Now I know that it was because I didn't do my exercises! :rolleyes: Don't worry so much abot being "on schedule" you are doing just fine.

Theresa
05-11-2004, 11:24 AM
MaryK, What kind of exercises were you given?

Susan Kennedy
05-11-2004, 07:40 PM
Dear Theresa,
Thank you for your post. I have been hoping to hear from someone near my age who has had a staged surgery. I am going to be 50 in June and I'm having anerior/posterior surgery on June 21st, 24th and 28th. My corrective surgery will take three surgeries. I will be fused from T4-S1. I will probably be in the hospital about two weeks. You sound like you're doing great. Are there any things you would do differently? What was your hospital experience like? Did you have any family member spend the night in your hospital room to help you? Anything you can think of to tell me about would be appreciated. Thanks!
Susan

spincon58
05-11-2004, 08:02 PM
Dear Susan,

We all seem to be in the same boat as Theresa, and we are very glad she can help us thru what she is already experiencing....I plan to get a private nurse in the hospital...what ever the cost will be I feel and so does my doctor that this can be the best investment..I plan on getting a hospital bed for home...my insurence carrier allows nurse visits and PT visits, I plan on using that service.....A toliet seat raiser and meals planned.....

My only drawback is major fear...no matter how convinced my surgeron is good , I just don't trust my body to behave accordingly....so with that I'll close my eyes and let god do the rest...:rolleyes:

Theresa
05-12-2004, 08:39 AM
Dear Susan,
My hospital stay was also 2 weeks. My husband or my daughter stayed with me overnight and most of the day. My surgury was 2 procedures done on one day, so that was a 14 hour day. Then the following Monday was when the rods were inserted and some other things were done, that was an 8 hour day. You won't remember much of your hospital stay. In between the 2 surguries you are kept pretty sedated because you're spine isn't stable. My family told me that I talked to them constantly and kept asking questions over and over but I don't remember any of it. The thing that I was really worried about was the ventilator still being in when I woke up, they said that I did so well with the surguries they were able to take it out before I woke up. The chest tube you don't even feel, even when they took it out! I had staples along the rib area where they did the anterior procedure and they were taken out a few days before I went home,. guess what? They didn't hurt either. I had steri strips down in the belly area where they had to go in to put the instrumentation for the fusion to the sacrum, they come off by themselves. The hip area where the bone graft was from had self dissolving stitches. The big back incision had regular stitches taken out in the doctor's office. The worst pain was from the hip area where the bone graft was done. The rest is more strong aches that actual pain. It seems to me that your body wakes up in different stages. One place will hurt for a few days, you wake up and it's gone but something new has started. I had the first surgure April 8th and I still have quite a few numb areas on my back. Slowly the feeling is coming back. Make sure you have a very good dry skin cream! I have never had a problem with dry skin now it's very dry and flakey. I requested a private room for the hospital. It was very nice to just pull over the potty chair to the bed when you had to go to the bathroom. I have a raised potty, shower seat, walker and a wheelchair for home, I will get back with you later and let you know more. Theresa

Irene
05-12-2004, 01:26 PM
Dear Theresa,

You sound like you're doing exceptionally well! Were you fused clear down to S1? I had the surgery done two years ago at age 56. I was fused from T11 to S1. I had 12 straight hours of surgery, and everything was done at the same time... Anterior and posterior. Bone was taken from my left hip. (You should see the funny indentation on my hip bone! Yuck!) ~ Anyway, even though it has been 2 years for me, I still suffer from very strong and intense feelings of pressure and compression in the entire lumbar area. It almost feels like a little creature is down there deep inside "squeezing" the heck out of me. After several hours of activity, I still have to run to my bed and lie down to relieve that awful pressure that turns into outright pain. It's rather depressing. My surgeon (in St. Louis) told me it would take "at least" two years before I'm really healed, which is a clear indication that it will probably take even longer than that! Ugh! :( My curvature wasn't even as severe as yours... Mine was 58 degrees above and 53 degrees below. Perhaps I've made a mistake in allowing everything to be completed all in the same day. Other folks in this forum mention having certain procedures done at different times. All I know is that sometimes I wish I'd never had the surgery. I take one day at a time and try my best to push forward. Thank you for sharing...

Irene :)

Susan Kennedy
05-12-2004, 08:58 PM
Theresa,
Thank you for responding so quickly and giving me all that info. I sure appreciate it. I have thought of a few more questions if you don't mind. How much weight did you loose? The reason I ask is that my surgeon is a little concerned about my weight. I usually weigh 110 #'s but I have managed to gain 2 #'s over the past few weeks. I have six weeks left and I don't know how much more I can gain before my surgery. Did you get an ileus? Ihope you didn't but in case you don't know what it is; it's an obstruction of the bowel that causes distension and pain in the abdomen and is common after scoli surgery. I don't think there is much I can do to prevent it but I thought I'd do an enema the night before my surgery. How soon did you get up out of bed while in the hospital? My surgeon said he will want me up asap even after the first surgery (anterior procedure) which releases the disks. He said the spine is still quite stable because of the posterior part still being intact. ???? How much walking were you able to do in the hospital? Did they have you doing any stairs? I live in a two story house with my bedroon/bathroom upstairs. We only have a half bath downstairs where I will be in a hospital bed for a few weeks. I hope to be able to climb the stairs fairly soon after coming home so I can take a "real" shower.
Hope you are feeling better each day. God bless.
Susan

Karen Ocker
05-12-2004, 09:47 PM
I had anterior/posterior revision surgery for an 80 deg thoracic curve 20 months ago at age 60. I am back at work and have minimal discomfort-usually related to weather. It was T-4 to sacrum (S-1). My ribs(hump reduction) were used for bone graft.

My experience: It was done in 2 stages a week apart.
It did take a long time for various areas to heal, wake up and get stronger.
I was glad I had private duty nurses around the clock once I was out of the step down unit. I did not have to call the floor nurse,who could possibly be occupied with other patients, for pain meds.
I spent 2 weeks in a rehab hospital; there I got excellent pain control and help to be independent at home.
I did not get a hospital bed. I slept in my own bed at night but used a walker to walk at night to the bathroom. I put a plastic chair in the shower and just sat there gloriously for a long time.
I had someone helping me at home the first month home. I needed to lay down often but I also hed someone take me to PT and out to walk. I was walking a mile the second month after surgery.
I will be happy to answer any particulars by e-mail.
Karen

nora
05-12-2004, 10:53 PM
I am so grateful for all this insight. I am 40 and, although my curves are worsening, my pain is not yet so severe that I feel it warrents surgery. I am, however, not ruling it out. I expect that in a few years, I'll be seriously considering it. I'd also most-likely need fusion to the sacrum with an A/P procedure so I'm finding these stories extremely helpful.

May I ask all of you - (except Karen who already graciously shared her insights with me- thanks Karen) - how bad was your pain when you made the decision? My pain is constant but it varies from very aggravating to just a nagging sensation I'm completely used to. I require non-prescription pain killers on average once a month. THe only activity I've curtailed is running and other high impact exercise. Otherwise, I do everything I want.

One more question for those fused to the sacrum, can you garden?
Thanks, Nora

spincon58
05-13-2004, 12:13 AM
Nora,
I'd like to answer the question about pain......let's see...when you can't stand or sit longer than 15 minutes...when the pain meds you take 4 X a day doesn't seem to help...when you wake up in the morning and feel pain and stiffness and walk a little crooked....when all you have to say is "MY BACK HURTS" every other sentance...it's time for surgery.....Also when you drive and always put on the heated seats for comfort...when the sports you love have to stop because of pain.
I feel I can't wait any longer...I'm 45 with a progressive curve of 53...
connie

MaryK
05-13-2004, 03:19 PM
Theresa, you asked about my excercises. They ones I was given to do I still haven't figured out, and the surgery was 15 yrs ago! I was to do crunches and later sit ups and there was one where you lay on your stomache and arch up. To this day I can't do those at all! The others were squats against the wall and easy excercises laying down to strengthen my legs, gluts etc. No matter how many times I read the book discribing the excercises for the lower back and abs I can't see how a fused back is supposed to do them! I've heard there are newer excercises for the back called pilates that work much better.

Theresa
05-19-2004, 02:15 PM
Susan, Sorry it's taken me a while to answer back. The last couple of weeks have been pretty hard. My daughter graduated from law school and the next day moved to Denver to take her classes for her bar review. I had also started cutting back on my meds, (bad timing I think) Went back on my regular meds til I get used to her being gone and my son coming home for the summer. About the weight loss, so far I've lost about 10 pounds. Your body uses so much energy trying to heal itself. The reason I couldn't get up in between procedures was becasue they had finished the anterior portion of the surgery around 11 am and was proceding on with the posterior portion (which was all planned). They ran into a couple of problems, I have an extra vertebra down in the sacrum area that didn't show up on any x-rays or MRI's. The doctor's had to go back a couple of times to make sure that everything was matched up right. They also had problems getting the rod to form for my curve in the lumbar area and so they ended up stopping and finishing up a few days later after getting a different type of rod that has more flexiblity in it. I had to have 7 pints of blood due to the extensive amount of work that they did. I do go up stairs at home, not very often though. Use a cane and the railing and take one step at a time. My bedroom is downstairs. I did have a little problem with the ilus but everything is okay now. Theresa

Mistina
05-20-2004, 12:13 PM
Hi Theresa,
I am looking at revision sometime here with an original fusion from !t to L1 and probably needing to be fused to the sacrum.
What was the date of your surgery and who was your surgeon?
I'm really terrified of all this, especially since when I had my last fusion at 17, I thought that it was all over.
What did you mean you had problems with the ilius?
Are you feeling better day by day and what is your pain level?
Also, what is it like being fused to S1?

I don't mean to bombard you with a ton of questions, I know your probably in pain so answer whenever you can!

Thanks,
Christina

Theresa
05-20-2004, 03:14 PM
Christina, My surgery was on April 8 and April 12. My doctor is Dr. Charles Reitman. He put a device (plate) attached to the sacrum so that the fusion has a better chance of fusing. He said alot of times the fusion has a had time fusing to the sacrum so he uses this plate that really helps. The most pain that I have right now is in the tail bone area, but I'm trying to work through that. Ilus is where your intestines shut down for awhile due to the surgery. You stay on a liquid diet until the doctors start hearing bowel sounds. It took me a little longer because I was out for so long. My problem I'm having now I think and hope is hormonal. I don't know if your hormones get messed up with the surgery and all the meds but I assume they do. I've been having little pity parties and crying spells. It doesn't help that my daughter just graduated law school and had to leave the next day for Denver. That wasn't even a week ago. I am starting to get around a lot better. When my husband and I go for a walk, we take the wheelchair so that I can walk and then rest, and walk some more. Hope this helps. Theresa

SandyC
05-20-2004, 05:38 PM
Theresa,
Hi, I'm about a 11/2 from my revision. You are doing really well. I was also fusied from T3-S1 at 53yrs. I can sympathize with you...I had to learn to take things a bit slower for about 1 year. It took 6 months for me to bend from the hip to get to my tennis shoes and tie them myself! Making the bed was a major undertaking, which required a nap afterwards LOL. Hang in there once you can stay up for several hours a day, drive and walk a couple of blocks, things will speed up as far as healing goes.
SandyC

Theresa
05-20-2004, 06:45 PM
Sandy, Thanks for the words of encourgement!!!! We don't hear enough from the people who have the long fusions or extensive surgery. It sure is different in terms of healing and getting better. It sure takes alot longer to do the simplest things both mentally and physically. There was a man in the hospital in the next room to me with the same doctor who had a spinal fusion. I don't think it was scoliosis related though, he was in and out and walked out just fine. When you have the anterior and posterior procedure and the whole spine is involved is a hugh surgery. You know this going into the process but it doesn't hit home until you're at home trying to recover and at almost 1 1/2 months you still have pains in the oddest places and using all kinds of handicap devices to get though the day. I know that one day it will be better but sometimes it gets hard waiting for that day. In my case, there was no option in my opinion to have the surgery. I could feel my ribs on the left side already poking into my lungs. I'm glad you're feeling better and I look forward to the day that I will. Theresa

Mistina
05-21-2004, 08:43 AM
Hi Theresa,
It sounds like you are doing pretty well. I don't remember much about my first surgery when I got home except for when I did something very minor I was beat and ready for a nap. Of course I was quite young and back to school in 1 month.
My biggest fear now being fused to S1. I know your still really early into it but do you have pain in that area of the sacrum at all?
I'm so afraid of this. I'm afraid of all the hardware in the sacrum causing pain.
When I hear that someone can tie their shoes at 6 months though sounds pretty good to me, as I cannot do that now.
Hope that your recovery get easier every day!!
Christina

Theresa
05-21-2004, 03:25 PM
Christina, I do have some pain in the sacrum area but it seems to be getting less and less. I didn't have any the first few weeks, I assume that area was still numb. I helps putting an ice bag on it every so often. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will go away. Theresa

Dorinda
05-24-2004, 02:24 PM
Hi Theresa!

It's so nice this forum exists! I learned more from reading about others' experiences than my doctor could ever have prepared me for!

I am 51 years old, had A/P surgery on March 29th, for progressive curves of 74 and 52 degrees - all done in one 10-hour day. I am pleased to find out a month later that the curves were 50% corrected and am 2 inches taller. I had steri strips instead of any stitches or staples on both incisions. My stay in the spine unit was 5 days after which I was transferred to another hospital for 10 days of rehabilitation. Next week, I'll be starting out-patient physical therapy and hope to be fully recuperated by this time next year. I'm supposed to walk 30 minutes twice a day (with a walker) and have a few exercises that I do in bed before getting up. It's so difficult to exercise when you hurt, but it really does help the stiffness as long as you don't overdo.

I had to travel from Alaska to Seattle, WA for the surgery and rented an apartment for the 6 weeks before flying back home. A good idea since the 2-hour flight was pretty unbearable even after all those weeks after the surgery.

The body "waking up", numbness, tingling, and other odd sensations are finally not so bothersome as they were. The bone graft from my hip was about the worst pain for the first 6 weeks or so, but much better now. I also developed an ulcer, which the doc says is not uncommon in this type of surgery. I'm not sure if it was caused by the painkillers or all the worrying I did. (It's a good idea to keep occupied with a good book or movies, etc. while you're laid up so you don't dwell too much on how you feel.) I also lost approx. 20 pounds after the surgery, and am still trying to gag down Ensure and milkshakes to gain my energy and strength back


Now that I'm back home, with family, things seem more normal. I may be able to go back to work part time sometime next month.

Hang in there! :)

Theresa
05-24-2004, 02:33 PM
Dorinda, It was great to hear from you. It sounds like you went through all the same things that I am. What were the exercises that you had to do in bed. I think that would be helpful for me to do. I overdid the walking the other day and now my calf and ham strings and real tight. Did you have pain in your buttocks? This isn't where my bone graft was from. It's from the other side. I don't think it's the hardware that was put in down at my sacrum, I think it is muscle. Did you find yourself laying down quite alot during the day? Like up for 2-3 hours and down for 2-3 hours? Good luck with your theraphy.

nora
05-24-2004, 10:02 PM
Hi All,
Thanks to Dorinda for sharing her experience. Dorinda, what mad you make that final decision? Was your pain still bearable? Had you lost quality of life? Any recommendations to a 40 year-old who has 2 large curves but pain that is tolerable. I've only had to curtail a few activities and I basically take rests periods when I do back-breaking (pun intended) things like gardening and a lot of lifting or moving furniture, etc. My kids are still little and I think will be easier on my family in 5 years or so. Its hard for me to concede to such a major, permanent intervention when I'm fortunate to not suffer nearly as much as most of the folks on this forum. Thanks again. -Nora

Dorinda
05-25-2004, 03:24 PM
Theresa & Nora,

Thank you both for responding! It's good to find others to relate to that have very similar problems that I do.

In answer to Theresa's questions: Yes, I do have pain in the buttocks, more muscle pain than anything else although the bone graft site is still achey at times. I spent most of my time in bed the first couple of months. I had to lie on my back most of that time because of pain in my left hip (graft site) and pain in my right side from the chest tube and incision - so much that I think I'm getting a bald spot where my head rubbed the pillow! Now that I'm home, I can stay up for longer periods and rest in my recliner, but still nap once or twice a day for 2-3 hours.

Nora, my final decision to have surgery was a very difficult one that I had grappled with for most of my life, vowing that as long as I could still walk, I wasn't going to have it. For the past 13 years, I've been a single mom raising 2 children by myself, which is probably one of the major reasons I've delayed this surgery so I can empathize with your situation. Now that my children are grown they have been a great help. Three years ago, I found that the pain had increased to a point where my quality of life had indeed been negatively affected. My lung function was becoming below normal and the ribs on my right side were painfully rubbing against the top of my hipbone. Not to mention increasing pain and the inability to do most household tasks without having to rest every 10 minutes or so. And the increasing desire to avoid social activities and dealing with the pain while at work; I avoided prescription painkillers as much as I could because of the drowsiness they caused. Good luck in your decision; I know it's a very tough one!

nora
05-25-2004, 09:40 PM
Thank you, Dorinda, for such a prompt reply. I've come to realize that I'll never really know the right choice. Its all a calculated risk until someone learns how to see the future. I'll keep on reading and learning. N

Theresa
05-25-2004, 10:17 PM
Dorinda, What were those stretching exercises that you did before you got out of bed? Also, what was your fusion length?

Nora,

I was like you. I had two major curves with tolerable pain (79 thorasic, 44 lumbar). I understand about the gardening. You do it but know your going to pay for it later. The reason I decided to have my surgery now was I could feel my ribs poking my lungs and having muscle spasms in the lung area. If my lungs were starting to be involved, I didn't want to wait and find out how long before my heart would be involved. My kids are 26 and 19, so I didn't have that concern. If you have family to help it would be great. My husband stayed home the first two weeks, then I had my daughter, and now I have my son. I've been out of the hospital about 5 weeks. Still use the walker alot, and lay down in bed for a few hours everyday. Starting to fix simple dinners and doing a few things around the house. Be glad to answer any more questions. Theresa

Dorinda
05-26-2004, 01:07 AM
Theresa,

My fusion length was from T4 to L4.

Sorry, I totally spaced the exercises earlier. Basically, I am doing one set of 20 reps each twice a day (the first 4 exercises while lying in bed):

Calf Pumps: (They probably had you doing these in the hospital.)
Slowly point your toes back and forth to produce contractions in your lower legs.

Knee Extensions: With a pillow under your knee, raise the leg to a count of 6 before lowering. Repeat with other leg for the same amount of reps.

Isometric Abdominals: With your knees bent, tighten your stomach by pressing your elbows down. (If this makes spasms in your back, like it did mine, you can just press the palms of your hands against your thighs instead.)

Shoulder Protraction: While raising your arms straight overhead, attempt to push your arms to the ceiling. (This should result in a nice stretch between the shoulder blades.)

Shoulder Circles: Sitting on edge of bed with feet on floor, circle shoulders backward and then forward.

Standing (with walker for support) Mini Squats: With your back straight against the wall, bend your knees and hold for a few seconds before straightening.

Toe Raises: Again with walker for support, keep your legs straight and alternate pushing up on your toes and rocking back on your heels.

My doctor recently had me add bicep and butterfly curls with one pound weights. I also try to walk a half hour twice a day, but most days can only manage once per day.

My hospital had a website that may also have some more information you might be interested in at: www.swedish.org
My rehab was at their Providence campus.

A question for you: Do/did you have to wear a back brace? (I don't but sometimes wonder if it would help.)

Thanks!

lily
05-26-2004, 12:41 PM
karen,
what is you email address? i have a lot of questions.

lily

LindaRacine
05-26-2004, 02:14 PM
Theresa...

Please do not try ANY exercises without the help of a qualified physical therapist or other health professional. I know from experience that exercise can actually worsen a situation if it's either the wrong exercise for the individual, or it's performed incorrectly (which is incredibly easy to do!).

Regards,
Linda

mish
06-10-2004, 07:20 PM
Theresa
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I haven't had my surgery yet, but i have told my doctor i have decided to have the surgery since i can't put if off any longer. My curve is close to 100 degrees now and it advances about 3-5 degrees a year. I am now in constant pain and fatigue. I can't take more than a few steps without shortness of breath.

i speculate my surgery will be sometime in September ... donating blood (3 units) and more x-rays to be done. My Doc told me it's a big surgery, and it takes about 3 months to prepare.

From your story, it sounds alot like what my Doc had plan for me. the only difference is, i will lose 2 ribs. He's taking the ribs for the fusion instead of the hip. Otherwise, your story is exactly what my Doc told me.

I am scared and afraid ... of pain, spinal cord injury etc. For the past days, i've been surfing the net trying to find some support.

I was wondering if you can share, not just the experience, but the preparation (physically and mentally), what to expect, questions to ask the surgeon, recovery, pain etc ... Any piece of advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Again, I thank you!!

Theresa
06-13-2004, 01:26 PM
Mish, I know how you feel. How old are you and where do you live? I don't know about you but I could feel my ribs pushing into my lung on the left side. The left side was constantly spasming. I had read a post from somewhere on the internet from and older lady (I'm 48) who had said she put the surgery off and now she's not able to have it and she's confined to a wheel chair. I just told myself it wasn't a question about whether or not to have the surgery (especially since I could feel that my lung was being involved) but did I want to possibly be in a wheel chair later on in life. I'm sure you know that your heart can also become involved if the curve continues. I wanted to be able to enjoy life later on and put up with the rehab for the year. (To be fully recovered). I talked to everyone that would listen. The more you vocalize what you're thinking and worrying about the better it is. By time I went for the surgery I think the whole world knew. When you get to the hospital let them know that you're anxious and they will give you something. You can also have your doctor prescribe something for anixiety for now if you need something. I also kept busy with doing projects for other people. I just had my 2 month check up yesterday with my doctor. He said he can already see fusing taking place. He said I can start driving and doing what I feel like I can do. I vaccumed the downstairs the other day. I am still taking muscle relaxers, pain meds, and an aniexty pill. I had the aniexty before the surgery. The pain isn't really a pain after you leave the hospital, it's more of an ache or twinges. You will have a lot of numb areas and it seems like when an area starts to ache then after a couple of days that area isn't numb anymore. I still use a walker to get around, but I also use just a cane at time also. The doctor again stressed yesterday how complicated and hugh my surgery was. He said I was doing great! I can walk a mile at a time outside with the walker or on a treadmill. He doesn't want me doing anything else exerecise wise for at least another 3 months. I hope this helps. Right back whenever you want. Good Luck, Theresa

mish
06-13-2004, 03:13 PM
Theresa
Thank you for writing.

You said " I don't know about you but I could feel my ribs pushing into my lung on the left side. The left side was constantly spasming. "

Is this pre-op or post op? I am a bit confused.

For the time being, i would feel a twitch in my lower back. My lower back also aches, whether i am sitting, standing or lying down. Standing for a period of 5 minutes or more makes it worse. But it's not too painful. Thank God. When i sit and lean back, i feel it's hard to breath too. My doctors tried their best to do what is best for me, but i was too scared so i kept pushing it off. Plus it scares my family too. But i have come to a point and realize i must do this otherwise in another year or two, i won't be able to get around.

I am 35 now, and live in Boston.

Connie, with the anterior, do you feel the chest tube at all? I was told the tube stays until the posterior (3-4 days) You were probably sedated and didn't know it was there? The anterior was to remove ribs for the grafting?

This other woman you mentioned ... why is she not able to have surgery?

I am so glad to hear your fusion is a success.

Please keep stay touch and let me know how you are doing (if you don't mind sharing). I will do the same

Mish

spincon58
06-13-2004, 05:42 PM
Mish,

My surgery will only be from the back

mish
06-13-2004, 05:57 PM
Oh Connie ... sorry, i meant to ask Theresa. I must have your both names mixed up

Your surgery is only your back? Luck you ... and best wishes

Theresa
06-13-2004, 08:51 PM
Mish,

The spasming was before the surgery. Sorry about the confusion. I know longer have that problem or any of the other problems. I would also get pain in the small of the back and numbness and tingling in my fingers at times. About the chest tube, I was real worrried about that before the surgery as well. I didn't even feel it when it was in or when they took it out a couple of days before I left the hospital. You do have most of your pain from the anterior incision. A lot of it is pressure. You will be short of breath also, they will have you doing some deep breathing exercises. The thing I was worried the most about was waking up with the ventilator still in. They were able to take it out before I woke up. Prepare your family for how bad you will look when they see you the first time. We didn't realize how bad I would look about 14 hours of surgery on the first day. Very, very bloated and pale. I had 7 pints of blood transfused between the two surgeries. I also had some sores on my legs and stomach from laying face down for so long. You will have a liquid diet until they start to hear bowel sounds. I didn't drink very much of anything except water. I had broth every meal and it was to salty to drink. I just looked back at your message and yes, the anterior was to remove the ribs for grafting, also that is when my doctor removed the six discs. How far are you being fused? I'll stay in touch. Theresa

spincon58
06-13-2004, 09:40 PM
I have a question I forgot to ask my doctor GEE he said I ask a zillion questions,,,so now it's a zillion and one LOL..Theresa....do they take out the dics during fusion or do they leave it in and fuse around them.....

Theresa
06-13-2004, 09:47 PM
Connie,

The discs are taken out and they insert like a little cage with the bone grapfts in it. I saw them on the x-ray yesterday. The little cage holds the bone chips and the cage also holds the opening for the fusion to grow into. Theresa

mish
06-14-2004, 01:37 PM
Hi Theresa
I am not sure about the fusion, but from what was describe in my prior visits (roughly 3 yrs ago), the scar on my back would run from my shoulder down to tailbone. So I guess that would be hmmmm 14-16 inches? I read posts where people spoke of their lumbar and thoracic curves, S-curve and C-curve etc. All I know was my curve is a little over 100.
What are the removed discs for? I donít think that was mentioned Ė maybe I was too nervous and did not paid attention, but I donít recall about having anything removed, but the ribs for grafting.
May I ask you something, you said you felt the ribs are poking your lungs. How can you tell? I know I have difficulty breathing if I am lean back when I sit or sleep on my back. I would need to be on my right side in order to breathe easily (my hump is on my left). Other than that, most of the time, I feel bloated Ö which makes it hard to breathe too. But I am not sure if this is related to scoliosis or some other medical problems. Do you have those symptoms (being bloated) before surgery?
If you have your front and back cut, which position will you be in, in order to be comfortable? You canít be on your back with the scar, nor your stomach.
Your surgery lasted more than 14 hours?
I know I am asking a lot of questions, and I hope you donít mind, but I feel more comfortable and at ease in getting information from someone who went through it Ö you know, first hand experience.
I am so glad I found this forum
Thank you for all your support.

LindaRacine
06-14-2004, 01:41 PM
In anterior scoliosis procedures, the discs are usually removed, which allows 1) better correction and 2) fusion.

--Linda

mish
06-14-2004, 01:46 PM
I thought the anterior was just to remove ribs. Come to think of if, my doctor did say something about relaxing the spine before fusion.

Thanks Linda

Theresa
06-14-2004, 03:31 PM
Hey Mish,

Don't worry about all the questions, we've all been there. It is more reassuring to talk to someone who had the similar experience. You wake up on your back. It really didn't hurt to lay on the back. Plus you have all the pain meds. The anterior incision on me is really on the side. It goes from the side of the right breast to the sholulder. My incision on my back is from the neck bone down to the tail bone. When they take the disc out it makes the spine easier to adjust because it becomes flexible. Different people have different amount of discs taken out. About the lungs, I would have quick shortnesses of breath if I moved a certain way. Just as if someone gave you a quick jab in the belly. I didn't have the bloating. The anterior portion of the surgery was only about 4 hours, then the doctor proceded onto the posterior portion. The reason it took 14 hours was because of finding extra vertrebra on one side down in my tail bone area that didn't show on any x-rays or MRII. The doctors had to go back and recheck every thing making sure things were lined up right. Then they had the problem with the rod not fitting properly. The second surgery was when they received a different type of rod that had more flexibility in it and to also attach a plate to my tail bone area for the fusion to the tail bone. In all it took 22 hours. Hope this helps some. Theresa

mish
06-14-2004, 03:40 PM
Hi Theresa

Yes, it helps tremendously. Thank you for sharing your experience

Theresa
06-24-2004, 03:50 PM
Hey everyone,

It's been a while since I posted. I know some of you just had your surgery and I hope everything went good for you. Tara, your PICC line should be out, hope all your infection has cleared up. Since my last post, I have gone out and driven my car to run some small errands. It was really great! My daughter came home for the weekend for a fitting for her wedding dress. We also went to the movies and found me a dress for the wedding. Boy was I worn out after that! I still use my walker or a cane. By the end of the day I'm hunched over. I don't lay down during the day but I probably should, I probably wouldn't be as sore in the evening. I came on a business trip with my husband. He's been having to do a lot of out of town trips. We drove from Houston to San Antonio (about 3 1/2 hours) and stayed on the Riverwalk for two days. Then we drove down to Corpus Christi (about 2 hours) and staying here for two days. Then a five hour trip back to Houston. The first two trips weren't bad, we'll have to stop on the trip back home. He feels better with me being here, he's not worrying about me. It is nice to get out and away for a while. We have the plane trip in August for the weddding in Sedona, Arizona. This is a good practice run for that. Hope everyone is doing well. Theresa

Theresa
06-24-2004, 04:13 PM
Hey everyone,

It's been a while since I posted. I know some of you just had your surgery and I hope everything went good for you. Tara, your PICC line should be out, hope all your infection has cleared up. Since my last post, I have gone out and driven my car to run some small errands. It was really great! My daughter came home for the weekend for a fitting for her wedding dress. We also went to the movies and found me a dress for the wedding. Boy was I worn out after that! I still use my walker or a cane. By the end of the day I'm hunched over. I don't lay down during the day but I probably should, I probably wouldn't be as sore in the evening. I came on a business trip with my husband. He's been having to do a lot of out of town trips. We drove from Houston to San Antonio (about 3 1/2 hours) and stayed on the Riverwalk for two days. Then we drove down to Corpus Christi (about 2 hours) and staying here for two days. Then a five hour trip back to Houston. The first two trips weren't bad, we'll have to stop on the trip back home. He feels better with me being here, he's not worrying about me. It is nice to get out and away for a while. We have the plane trip in August for the weddding in Sedona, Arizona. This is a good practice run for that. Hope everyone is doing well. Theresa

mish
06-24-2004, 05:53 PM
Theresa
So glad you are doing well.

Thank you for the update, i find it very comforting.

Mish

spincon58
06-24-2004, 11:08 PM
Theresa,

When was your surgery again????

Theresa
06-25-2004, 09:52 AM
Connie,

My surgery was April 9th and 13th 2004.

spincon58
06-25-2004, 04:08 PM
Theresa,

Thats sounds like a great recovery.....keep it up and enjoy your life...It gives me hope that I'll be doing the things I love in time ......surgery is in two days.

Theresa
06-25-2004, 04:43 PM
Connie,

Good Luck with your surgery!! I hope that everything goes well for you. Just remember to take things slow and remember the emotional roller coaster. It's all a part of it. Theresa

spincon58
06-25-2004, 06:01 PM
Theresa,
Thank You..I'm so prepared..and ready...I will remember about the depression that comes from surgery...or it comes from pain meds....my husbands on th elook out to...but its good to know that your up and around...when did u first start to drive?

nora
06-25-2004, 10:50 PM
Connie,
I don't post a lot but I've been thinking of you as your surgery approaches. I can't imagine the mix of emotions you must have right now. Just focus on the positives and the long term outcomes. I've also been to Dr. Neuwirth. You are in very capable hands. He's one of the best.

I'll be thinking of you on Monday and look forward to first post-op post. Look tall! Nora

spincon58
06-25-2004, 11:55 PM
Nora....

All this support is whats getting me through this...all the information that I gathered , has made me stronger and more secure with approaching surgery...I will have someone report on my recovery progress....thanks for caring

Theresa
06-28-2004, 07:40 PM
Hey Everyone,

I was just reading through the old posts and realized I didn't tell you all the best thing! My 79 degree Thorasic curve is down to 22 degrees and my 44 degree Lumbar curve is down to 18 degrees! I still have a hip problem but at least my heart and lungs won't have any problems later on due to the scoliosis.

Hopefully by now, Connie is out of her surgery and on the road to recovery. Enjoy your summer. Theresa