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txmarinemom
03-01-2008, 11:25 PM
After much soul searching - and encouragement from some wonderful people I was afraid I hurt relaying my recovery news - I've decided (for the most part) to stay. I can't say right now how much I'll post, but the people who have writen me tell me it matters I continue to do so, so I will try. Admittedly, some of the wind has certainly left my sails, and with any luck a big gust is coming shortly.

(BTW, very much of this post will sounds familiar to someone with whom I emailed earlier. Forgive me if a very close rewrite seems lazy ... it's just so much seemed to apply)

For anyone who is concerned it's their fault (if I leave, if I don't, or I don't quite write as before) please, please believe me ... whatever I decide is NOT your fault. I don't KNOW why I'm recovering so quickly, but I swear to you all, I'd give up some of the speed I've experienced to bring some of you along to where you can enjoy life again. I mean that with all my heart.

I NEVER end up being the lucky one to bypass a lot of the really horrible shit (in any situation), so I just kind of expected (before surgery, even) it was coming .... and spent far too much time waiting for the other shoe to fall. I was terrified of ill effects, pain, drahhhhhh-mah, drama, drama, etc. in my recovery. Never did I imagine I'd end up being some kind of bizarre, accelerated recovery.

For the better part of 2 days, I've been on the fence about this ... wrestling with whether my posts would encourage more than discourage, give hope vs. breed thoughts of "why is my recovery like THIS?" and "why can't I do _____ yet?".

What no one sees about me (and Felicia (trulyaries) said it best because she and a few others talk to me on the phone and hear tone and "the rest of the story") is what I keep hidden: I DO hurt (I know not to the extent of others), and I DO get depressed ... I want my life back, and I want it NOW. It honestly takes all I have not to post that stuff. Honestly, A) I don't write it because I don't want to read a written record of it later, and B) I need my own positive posts every day to keep pushing forward.

I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but I have the same theory on positivity as I do forgiving someone. Go through the motions, pray for your worst enemy, MAKE yourself think one good thought about them a day - and before you know it, they're no longer renting a room in your head. Force positivity, and it does help the act seem real. Easier said than done? Sure, but it's all I got, sisters! ;-)

I'm still learning just like the rest of us, and I can say - even at 25 days post op - this surgery has changed me 1000x more than simply the physical (hah! as if the physical is simple.) I honestly think if God/fate/whatever gives us chances to become a better person, this is mine.

Not so much anymore, but the first 3 weeks (every morning - and several times throughout the day) my thoughts throughout the day included a LOT of "WHAT have I *done* to myself????" ... "Did I really hurt that badly before surgery???", and mostly "Have I permanently ruined myself??".

My circumstances going into surgery were a LOT different than some, as well. I don't have a husband, boyfriend, or any type of significant other. My kids no longer live at home (one about to start college - Mortuary Science, FYI - lol) and my son's a 3rd generation United States Marine. My mother is older, and despite her attempts to come take care of me, it was NOT feasible; we'd BOTH end up on the floor. There's no way I could heal while worrying about HER taking a fall. I had to be in tip top physical shape and have the house prepped to the nines, and that's ALL I worked on the 2 months prior to surgery.

Actually, NEITHER Hazel or I are "typical" (extreme ends of the spectrum), and despite her difficulties, she's a fighter - we ALL are at different stages in the battle. Same war.

So many of you have been strolling through hell for months post-op, and you remain determined and strong. I'm sure some days (maybe most days, at times) you don't feel courageous and hopeful, but you must be .... You're still here, you're still fighting, and you're writing to MY dumbass to make ME feel better because I worried myself silly I made any of YOU feel badly. A lesser woman would be doing NONE of those things.

While so many of you have expressed admiration for me (that, BTW, I don't particularly feel like I deserve), don't overlook that fighter staring back at you in the mirror. You're all my heroes, and those of you fighting particularly hard battles - who manage to encourage others through your own pain ... I'm not sure there is a term that adequately describes my awe.

I'd ask for a favor on this topic: While certainly, we all need to speak candidly on the bad days (in other threads?), might I ask that everyone who possibly *can* (perkiness not required - LOL ... just the facts), take a second and write ONE good thing you felt or did that day on this thread. I'd like to keep track of positive, encouraging thoughts in this thread to fall back on when you feel stuck in a rut. As an added bonus, it keeps the rest of us up to date on your progress ... and we all need cheerleaders ;-)

My good thought for the day?

I am surrounded by depths of strength and encouragement I never knew existed. Positivity is contagious, and just like love, is bottomless. Share freely.

Best regards,
Pam

scooter950
03-02-2008, 01:31 AM
Hey there! It's good to hear from you! Glad to see that you have the energy to post, and that you're staying positive! You know, I've been watching your recovery in particular, because I "may" go back to Dr Hanson... if I ever get the courage, that is. You voiced some thoughts I worry that I may have, if I do have surgery- all those "what have I done" doubts that crowd your mind at 0-dark thiry when you're lying in bed, unable to sleep. Guess that's part of being human. Glad you're back, you've been missed, and I'm praying that each day brings improvement, even in a small way to you and to all recovering surgery patients. God bless !! Jamie

Houston Curves
03-02-2008, 03:06 PM
I am horrified that you might want to stop posting just because you're one of the lucky few to recover more quickly than most. I would NEVER presume that a quick recovery means "no pain," and I hope I speak for the majority when I tell you that this forum is for everyone! You have a very, very real place here and I hope you do not leave!!! I am glad you're here as an inspiration and a reminder that this impending surgery is all to real in my life, but that it may not be such a horrible recovery as those worst case scenarios we read. Yes! It might be that bad, but thank God it might not! Thank God for stories like yours. Even with pain, even with depression, it can still go more quickly for some and I for one am very happy about that. Please, stay.

Ann

trulyaries
03-02-2008, 03:58 PM
Pam, what a beautiful post - it brought me to tears! I'm glad you decided to hang around.

My one good thing may not sound like much but it's huge for me: I can stand up straight. I haven't been able to do that since 2005 and 3 surgeries ago. Every morning when I get up and I'm still straight, I think "YES!" and say a silent prayer that my back won't fail me anymore.

txmarinemom
03-02-2008, 04:36 PM
Pam, what a beautiful post - it brought me to tears! I'm glad you decided to hang around.

My one good thing may not sound like much but it's huge for me: I can stand up straight. I haven't been able to do that since 2005 and 3 surgeries ago. Every morning when I get up and I'm still straight, I think "YES!" and say a silent prayer that my back won't fail me anymore.

FFF, I HAD to stay ... No way in h*** did I want the Bloomfield Hills mafia after me!

They might do something unspeakable like make me mow my lawn or remove that cute lil' potty planter - or worse! - that '74 Maverick on blocks from my front yard!!

I knew this surgery would do it for you, and don't worry ... we'll find you a new Halloween costume ;-).

Hugs,
~P

csc
03-02-2008, 05:46 PM
Pam,
I need to put in my two cents worth and say I'm glad you're staying, too. You provide the slower healers, like myself, with inspiration and entertainment, both!
Before surgery, I was very active. I would go in and work-out 3x a week before work in the morning plus also hiking at least once during the week. There is not one day that goes by now that I am not thankful for working out so faithfully since it has kept my legs strong and I really use them now. I was a full-time teacher along with being a mother and wife. There were times when I really wondered why I was finally going to go through surgery. Days when the pain was not overwhelming.
Someone once made the suggestion of keeping a journal to so you could look back at the progress made. I remember barely that when I came home from the hospital how dependent I was on my husband's support. He continues to be my main source of encouragement. While I know I am not as strong or have recovered as well as you have, I know I can do it. One of the things I am continually amazed at is how straight my mid-section is now. I can't see my back but I can tell when I lay down that my hump is much smaller or almost not existent. I'll find out at my appointment what my correction is.in
It will be two-three weeks before I'm given permission to drive. So I am starting to develop major cabin fever. Another healthy sign!
Anyway, please continue to post Pam. I so enjoy reading about your experiences and others.

PNUTTRO
03-03-2008, 03:29 PM
Pam.

I read your post yesterday, but I wanted to wait and think about what to say. Here goes. I hope I gave it enough thought.

I believe that your rapid recovery has happened because you were home alone and not in spite of being home alone. The strength one acquires when there is no one else to push you to go that extra mile, is an attribute that is quite rare.

The depression, the second guessing the doubt is all part of human nature but the strength to persevere is noble. YOU have that quality as do many other individuals on this forum.

You said it right: Same war, different battle.

As for me, I am just biding my time until July. I pray that I will continue to keep up my strength.

pc

txmarinemom
03-03-2008, 08:32 PM
I believe that your rapid recovery has happened because you were home alone and not in spite of being home alone. The strength one acquires when there is no one else to push you to go that extra mile, is an attribute that is quite rare.

The depression, the second guessing the doubt is all part of human nature but the strength to persevere is noble. YOU have that quality as do many other individuals on this forum.

You said it right: Same war, different battle.

As for me, I am just biding my time until July. I pray that I will continue to keep up my strength.

pc

PC,

July will be here before you know it, and by then I'll be all healed and ready for cheerleader duty and making sure the night nurses do their job. Boy, oh boy, were they ~awful.

Hopefully the shenannigans they pulled on me (not waking me up during the night for scheduled med doses, etc.) will save you ANY of the same troubles. I'm sure this comes as a *huge* surprise, but I really have no problem playing "bad cop" - LOL.

I know you have family, but I'll probably still be off work on my leave of absence - and am 10 minutes away from Methodist. I'll be more than glad to take the shift most likely to screw up (11 p.m. - 7 a.m.).

BTW, if your hubby plans on staying on the fold out chair (this is for *anyone* having surgery at Methodist) bring a (everyone's favorite new phrase) memory foam topper! In fact, I'd planned to bring my 1" full sized one (to double) if you'll let me do night shift, and your hubby is more than welcome to use it during the day to make even SITTING in the chair palatable.

Yes. The chairs are really THAT bad.

I had a private room, and the chairs that fold out into twin beds are full of more hardware than our backs, and make that old sleeper at your Aunt Edna's seem like a Tempurpedic in comparison. It actually hurt ME to watch my Mom lay on it, and hear those big (probably circa 1960) springs squeak ... as only circa 1960 springs *can*.

Your comment about "going the extra mile without anyone pushing" was one of the nicest things anyone's said to me in a while (and I'm surrounded by some pretty nice people who say some pretty nice things on a regular basis ;-). I have made some very special friends on this list (to complement a few very special local friends I had going in) who helped keep me motivated.

Aside from the results, I'll NEVER regret this surgery and all the wonderful people it brought into my life.

Setting the post-op 5K goal (... and sending out emails to 100+ people pre-op - plus even more people afterwards) did a bit of proverbial "overloading my a** with my mouth" too. Once I got that first donation, I knew there was no turning back - LOL.

The same people who motivated me accepted my attitude on the "not so good" days - one of which you witnessed first hand when they were jerking my meds around in the hospital. Without discounting how I felt, this group of fantastic, positive friends (many of them in pain themselves, or caring for children in pain) kept reassuring me it would get better - and it did.

Surely I've said it before, but people who keep calling, keep visiting, keep sending notes and cards of encouragement when you're about as much fun as (and maybe even more annoying than) a yeast infection are rare and valued. There were some days they drug me forward - or at least propped me up until I could stand on my own.

Some, like you, didn't realize how much I treasured the (small to you, but huge to me) gestures until I told them.

Let's touch base this week and see what we can come up with to keep you focused and positive until your surgery ... even if it's just a weekly sack lunch on a bench in the TMC, or getting your house ready for recovery (did I mention I have a LIST?! - lmao). You can do this, and it's SO much easier when you have someone to listen who understands the fears, the impatience, and all those other things that terrify you in the middle of the night.

Friendship is knowing at any moment you have someone willing to help carry your burdens - and lighten your load. Tomorrow, the roles could easily reverse. For someone used to being the help "giver" all these years, it took this surgery to become even remotely comfortable admitting I might possibly need help - and worse (or so it seemed at first), *accepting* help.

I'm truly discovering every day new POSITIVE ways my thinking has changed, and it's even more exciting in it's potential than an end to a droopy right bra strap ;-).

Hang in there, girl.

Regards,
Pam

PNUTTRO
03-04-2008, 12:40 PM
an end to a droopy right bra strap

That should be the title of your book.

and
Thanks.

txmarinemom
03-04-2008, 01:00 PM
OMG ... DUDE! That rocks ... I love it!

Bonus points, it's one of those people will just have to buy so they can figure out the meaning of the title - LOL!

lisanicole
03-04-2008, 04:39 PM
My bra strap still droops. :eek:
haha

Shari
03-21-2008, 03:00 AM
You're experience with this surgery is just as valuable as anyone else's here.

It is such a complex condition, we all have scoliosis, but none of us have it in the same way, so why should we assume that our surgeries or recoveries will be the same!!!

Ask any Doctor that performs this surgery if any two are exactly alike, and I would bet they would say NO!!!

I think most of us have had some kind of shame, embarrassment and self esteem issues over the years. But this is one place that we have all found, for whatever reason we were searching, that we can relate to one another. But for me this is one of the only times I type in the word "jealous" with a smile on my face!!!

Notice I didn't use the word guilt!!! It doesn't belong in this forum.

Everyone is happy for you and encouraged by you, and that makes you very valuable, especially to those considering this surgery.

Shari

sueRRT
03-24-2008, 02:31 PM
Your words are encouraging to me today. Sometimes we get caught up in the "recovery" that we forget that what we've all been through is truly amazing. Thanks for reminding me that I'm a fighter and stronger than I think. One thing I have done recently to help encourage myself is when I'm on my way to work when I'd rather stay home feeling sorry for myself, is I tell myself something I'm grateful for, whether it's that I have a job at all or that I have a great car that's cheap on gas. Whatever it is , it helps get me through the day. Thanks for your words of encouragement :)

Sue
Surgery June 19, 2007
Anterior/Posterior T4-L5 fusion w/ instrumentation