View Full Version : Moriah's surgery last tuesday T5 to L1

06-25-2007, 10:17 PM
I responded elsewhere, but I wanted you guys to know what happened with my 15 1/2 year old daughter's surgery. In advance, I want you to know, the support and advice i found here were invaluable.

Last Tuesday, my daughter had her surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland. The hospital, it's staff, the support and info and preparation we received was GREAT. She was fused by Dr. Policy from T5 to L1, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Everyone was fantastic. She wore a brace for a year and a half, she's an athlete, she looks good, she is well-balanced and yet, in the last year (after her spine stopped growing) her middle curve progressed about nine degrees to 47 degrees.

We made a really hard decision, kind of...we all thought it became a matter of scheduling, that her curve was progressing and so...that "someday surgery" was probably going to happen. But none of us really wanted surgery for Moriah. We kind of left it up to fate, if there was a surgery date available between the first of June and the first of July, we'd take it. Dr. Policy was booked until July 31. Its hard to get OR time for 9 hours. But fate intervened, and a date opened up, so our kind of decision became a definite one, we took it.

Here's what happened. Her surgery was successful. Her recovery was amazing. Her pain was off the charts, but normal for the surgery and the morphine worked pretty well. She averaged a pain level (from 0 to 10) at 5, but could get it down to 4. Honestly, that one month hard recovery time is kind of not happening. She looks good today, and she is 6 days out of surgery.

She went home two days early. The reality was she was walking great, her pain while bad, was controlled with meds by mouth. She can get to the bathroom on her own, and she's wearing her own clothes, not even jammies! Her pain is pretty bad. Walking around the house and sitting up for several hours makes her need a two hour nap, but that's darn good. She is six days out of surgery, her incision looks amazing, her pain is well controlled today for the first time by less than her full dose of vicodin. She is still taking valium for the muscle spasms. She's able to walk all around the house and outside around the yard. She rode in the car comfortably home from the hospital yesterday, which is an hour away. And her friends are coming over to hang out with her tomorrow. She wants to walk the two blocks to her friends house tomorrow is she can. She eats anything she wants and while she has a small appetite, she eats. A lot of fresh fruit is eaten, because morphine wow, it really stops the poop. She is still searching for a good poop. Her case is phenomenally good. We suspected she would heal well, but this exceeds our expectations.

Those first few days, in recovery, ICU, and the 5th floor surgical wing --- they were awful. She looked terrible. The first morning she woke up in ICU she had almost a split personality; she was crying about the pain and trying to raise her head, and at the same time she insisted they help her into a chair to sit up and take some steps. And she did it. She took those steps.

Meds:She had zofren (sp?) a kick ass anti-nausea drug, atavan for spasms, and morphine for pain, and colace for non-existent stools, and benedryl for the hives caused by tape, and random other surgery stuff. Three days out, no more atavan, just valium as needed. Four days out, no more pca (morphine). Zofren she got 24/7 as needed, vomiting is a big no-no with spinal fusion. Now, 6 days out, she takes 1 - 1.5 vicodin every 4-6 hours, a 5 mg valium every 6 hours and benedryl 2x per day. Oh yeah, and she really needs those stool softeners, and prune juice, too.

Other results: She did not need a transfusion, the cell saver worked. She had a lot of facial swelling, it was gone in two days. She had almost no post op bleeding and her incision is pretty much clean and dry, and it looks like a long cut you might have gotten a couple days ago, it looks great. And that thoracic curve? It was 47 degrees, its now eight degrees. The rib hump? You cannot even see it. Moriah doesn't see much difference, she always liked the way she looked. But I feel really comfortable, knowing that in all likelihood, she will never need another surgery and her asthma and her sports injuries will probably get better. Her smaller left lung already has room to grow. Keep your fingers crossed, this surgery so far has been AMAZING. And her recovery is off the charts, GREAT!

She is just one case, but if you are like her, in really good shape, and you have a great surgeon, and you have help and the time to take care of yourself, this might be the best time for you to schedule your surgery.

- Martha Kreeger

06-28-2007, 05:49 PM
Congratulations! That is a wonderful story. I hope her recovery continues on the same smooth path.

06-29-2007, 04:48 PM
Hello Moriah's Mom,
Wow, sounds like you had a fantastic team of Drs. and one healthy young daughter that is doing fabulous. Isn't it a feeling of relief to see her coming along so well? I know this all too well.. My daughter, Alex (15yrs) had a spinal fusion T11-L4, @UCLA Med. Ctr., on 6-18. (Curve was @ about 40, now @ 0) She also was discharged after only 6 days! A remarkable recovery, 3 days in PICU, 3 days on a Med.Surg. floor. and then wham, when she was able to master a flight of stairs, and could have a BM, we were out of there!
She is only on Percocet every 5 hrs. for pain. Also she too is a water polo player/swimmer, and very active. It's been tough for her to just rest, although she is catching up on her pleasure reading.:) Right now her DRs. are only allowing her to sit for 30min every 2 hours. The remaining time she has to be laying down or on her side. We will see her Drs. next Tues. Hopefully she'll get some more "sit" time!
Best of luck with your daughters recovery...

07-02-2007, 01:10 PM
So glad to hear Moriah's doing so well. It's really encouraging for those of us who probably have surgery in our children's future.

Thanks for sharing.


07-23-2007, 12:40 PM
Great news about your daughter. We used yogurt to get our stomaches back in shape after surgery. All the different meds can really mess up your system. Try yogurt with active cultures in it, it is fantastic!

04-09-2008, 12:38 AM
Dear Martha:

Thank you so much for your hopeful info. My 10-year-old was a 49 degree curve and surgery in August. I am in tears a lot. She was diagnosed 26 degrees at age 6 and is out of the brace now since it's not working...anyhow I could use some parent-to-parent support. I am so scared and I am having anxiety....yikes....hope you and your daughter continue to do so well.

04-09-2008, 11:15 AM

Thanks so much for the description of your daughter's excellent recovery. I have a 12 1/2 year-old son who will likely need surgery, although we are trying to delay it as long as possible to allow for as much growth as possible--he has nearly a foot of growth to go. Would you be willing to keep us posted about how much the fusion of your daughter's T-curve restricts her ability to bend? You mentioned she is an athlete.

I'm so glad it's all going well!

Mary Ellen

04-09-2008, 12:45 PM
Wow that is great news. iam gald she is doing so well. hearing these kind of stories really help. My 11 year old daughter is having surgery in May. Kepp up the great recovery!!! :D