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View Full Version : 4 months post-op visit today ...



txmarinemom
06-10-2008, 10:18 PM
All is well, bone fusion looks good (based on the ever-whitening areas between the rods, and softening of the hardware angles) ...

... and ALL restrictions are lifted :).

I'm flying to Boston next week then taking a motorcycle trip to upstate NY (a bike rally) ... I'll be (gasp!) sleeping on an air mattress for 2 nights whining for my memory foam (note to self ... bring pain meds!).

Speaking of notes, I got the "flyer's note" from Hanson today attesting I have hardware. Like TSA is going to buy that? I have this horrid, irrational fear of getting delayed like Sherie and Sheena when they went for her post-op with Lenke.

(Travelocity doesn't care WHY you missed your flight ...)

With the database errors here today I'm unable to post the updated x-rays timeline in my sig, but here (http://www.box.net/shared/static/biaizm4kk8.jpg) it is ...

Please don't be the 10th person today to ask me why my hips look more straight, yet the lumbar looks more pronounced ... no clue! (and, really, no concern :))

I've been stretching the lumbar area pretty heavily these last few days and *maybe* that left side is tight? It *feels* tight.

Regarding the stretching, I discovered an odd (well, not really when you think about it) thing: When I lay on my back and bring my left knee to my chin, quad resting on chest, left leg bent, right leg flat, then sloooowly straighten my leg out straight (behind my head), I get a nice stretch on the left side.

When I do the same with my right leg, guess where it stretches? The LEFT side also. In fact, it stretches the left side all the way from the lumbar to my trap. I've finally found something to stretch that area along the top of the left shoulder blade that burns when it's fatigued. Never in my life would I have imagined I'd find a revelation of this sort so ... *~spectacular~* ...

Assumedly, this is all because the left side was the short side. Whatever works! :).

Regards to all,
Pam

Carmell
06-10-2008, 10:31 PM
Woohoo for Pam! Great news from the doc. Thanks for sharing the pics. Xrays do look fabulous. Have TONS of fun on your road trip. Yes, pain meds will be a good idea. Think of us while you're out having fun! Glad all is well. Many well wishes for all our recovering patients.

Theresa
06-10-2008, 10:53 PM
Pam,

Every time I fly I let the screener know before I walk through that I have a back full of metal. They usually say, "Okay, let's see what happens." I then walk through without it setting off and go my merry way. I did set it off a couple of times right after my first surgery when it was all new. If I remember right I think you are about 4 months along????? That's how far along I was when I set if off but the warning level was higher at that time so I don't know if it was set to be more sensitive. If you do set it off, they scanned me with the hand held wand and when they went along my back it went off the whole length of my back. You could also just print out one of your x-rays on your printer and have that in your purse with you. But you'll be fine!!!

Now the air mattress thing..........that's another whole adventure I wouldn't want to try! I have a hard enough time with the different mattresses in the motels!!!!! Good luck on your trip!!!

ElleBelleCurvz
06-10-2008, 11:04 PM
Pam---

Wow your like the poster child for a good spinal fusion. If anyone your the one that would be able to convince me IF I ever need it, you did remarkably well and your xrays look REALLY good. Continue to get better and good luck on your trip.

txmarinemom
06-11-2008, 02:00 AM
(sig) 14 Yr Old Freshwoman

I love it, Danielle. Your time in "adult swim" is not only welcomed, but I heard a rumor it's suspected as a leading cause of spontaneous smiles :).


You could also just print out one of your x-rays on your printer and have that in your purse with you. But you'll be fine!!!

Now the air mattress thing..........that's another whole adventure I wouldn't want to try! I have a hard enough time with the different mattresses in the motels!!!!!

GIRL. I slept one night in a motel at 10 wks post op, and I thought I was going to go cry - LOL! I've always hated firm beds, and unless you're staying somewhere like the W, you're almost guaranteed to get a mattress like a *slab*. Funniest part is the damn air mattress sprung several leaks last year at this same rally. I have stressed to the "mattress responsible party" just how IMPORTANT it is that NOT happen again. I don't care if I WAS the lighter person and not getting squished as the air went out overnight: Even being the squisher vs. squishee would be torture right now. (I'm actually bringing a backup air mattress in my luggage - LMAO! Really.)

And I'm still laughing at your "just print out one of your x-rays" ... I was already thinking of preparing a binder - and maybe my surgical photos - LOL!


Woohoo for Pam! Great news from the doc. Thanks for sharing the pics. Xrays do look fabulous. Have TONS of fun on your road trip

Carmell ... you're just a sweetheart - one of the most encouraging people I know. You, too, leave smiles in your wake.
_______________________________________________

For everyone else reading my ramblings, but especially the recent post-ops - some having more serious issues - please, please, please take this thread in the vein intended; someday, sooner than you think, life as you know it will again be reality as you remembered - and better. Hang in there, ladies. Sharshe, Becky, Shell - keep moving forward, and don't dwell on the days you simply stand still. ChiMama, Debbei, Chris WBS ... chin up ... focus on the other side. You're almost there!

Regards,
Pam

briarrose
06-11-2008, 04:03 AM
Pam,

I'm so happy that your appointment went so well and that all of your restrictions are lifted! Your x-rays look great too! You are truly an inspiration. I was really upset last night feeling like I would be stuck like this forever but your post reminded me that life will be back to normal soon.

Shell

Pooka1
06-11-2008, 07:00 AM
That's great news!

Apparently the rhBMP(?) works as advertised.

Have a great trip.

Best regards,
sharon

mariaf
06-11-2008, 07:43 AM
Hey Pam,

Again, that is GREAT news!!! Thanks for sharing and I'm sure it will be encouraging to those facing surgery in the future.

I didn't realize your trip was right around the corner - have a BLAST!!!!

I will call ahead and warn the folks in Boston that you are coming - LOL!!!!

Again, I could NOT be happier for you!!!

Theresa
06-11-2008, 09:12 AM
Pam,

Your response reminded me of our trip back from Dr LaGrone's last summer! I had just been released from the hospital so I was 8 days post-op when we took off for the trip back home by van. We had a air mattress on the floor of the van, it was all fine and dandy, I was doped up watching animated movies on the DVD (didn't have to do any thinking with them!!!) and I finally noticed the air was slowly leaking out! By time we got to Dallas (4 and a half hours later) I was getting very uncomfortable! I go to lay down in the hotel and the bed was as hard as a rock. I couldn't get comfy and was crying so my hubby went to get an egg crate to put on the mattress. Helped a whole lot. Then the next morning, I couldn't get comfortable enough laying down on the back seat (remember the air mattress had a leak!!) we took that egg crate and folded it into thirds on the floor and that is what I laid on coming the rest of the way back to Houston. Luckily we live north of the city in the Lake Houston area so the trip was only 4 hours. I was never so happy to be home!!!! You know.......maybe you should get the camping pads that my son and husband have from REI. They roll up real tight and they have different degrees of thickness........just a thought. Go to REI.com and put your mouse on the Camping and Hiking Tab, then click on Sleeping pads.

Have a safe trip!!!

debbei
06-11-2008, 09:22 AM
All is well, bone fusion looks good (based on the ever-whitening areas between the rods, and softening of the hardware angles) ...


Pam,

Congratulations on your good news, the Xray looks great. Can you explain how 'softening of the hardware angles' means that the fusion looks good? I see the white areas, but don't understand the hardware mention.

Have a good trip.

ElleBelleCurvz
06-11-2008, 10:26 AM
I love it, Danielle. Your time in "adult swim" is not only welcomed, but I heard a rumor it's suspected as a leading cause of spontaneous smiles :).



Meh. It's more interesting for me haha. :D

loves to skate
06-11-2008, 01:27 PM
Hey Pam,
Congratulations on such a great x-ray and visit with your Dr. and no restrictions. You must be so happy. About that note from your Dr. and a copy of your x-ray when you go to the airport. I asked Dr. Rand about that same thing 3 months ago and he said that airport security won't accept notes or xrays anymore and that if the metal detector is too sensitive, I would have to show them my scars. I said "swell". We are flying to Seattle next month so I will just wear an overblouse so I don't have to unzip my slacks to tuck everything back in, in public. I also plan to take my pain meds and that is a great idea about the egg crate mattress cover Theresa. I will pick one up when we reach our destination. Have a wonderful trip Pam and let us know how everything goes. Will you be in Boston long? I grew up in New York near Albany and upstate NY is really beautiful. Sally

Susie*Bee
06-11-2008, 01:39 PM
Yes, Pam-- congratulations on your excellent report and freedom from restrictions!

Sally--my doctor said the same about airport security. He said if it set off the detectors, they would just wand me and possibly ask to see the scar, and any papers of proof wouldn't be acceptable anyway. Another area where most of our doctors have differing ideas, it seems. I didn't set any off. If you're not able to squat down very well, watch the kind of shoes you take-- slip-ons might be easiest. Also, you'll have to pick them up to set them on the conveyor belt. But maybe you're not traveling alone.

JoAnn5
06-11-2008, 01:55 PM
Congrats on a great 4 month follow-up! Have fun on your trip ( I know you will!)

Snoopy
06-11-2008, 03:43 PM
:confused: Wait, why is everyone congratulating Pam (okay, you do deserve the congratulations, after all, you've made a terrific recovery), and telling her to have a good time on her trip? Huh? WHAT ABOUT US?!

Pam is going off on a great trip but who will entertain us while she's gone? :eek:

Seriously, though, Pam, congratulations on the great news from your doctor. You have made an amazing recovery. Please remember to take it slow on your trip and don't do anything to cause yourself a set back. I truely wish you a safe and fun-filled trip! We'll miss you while you're gone.

Mary Lou

txmarinemom
06-11-2008, 05:05 PM
... Sally--my doctor said the same about airport security. He said if it set off the detectors, they would just wand me and possibly ask to see the scar, and any papers of proof wouldn't be acceptable anyway. Another area where most of our doctors have differing ideas, it seems. I didn't set any off. If you're not able to squat down very well, watch the kind of shoes you take-- slip-ons might be easiest. Also, you'll have to pick them up to set them on the conveyor belt. But maybe you're not traveling alone.

Yeah, I was a bit dubious TSA would accept (much less be able to comprehend ... i.e., they's not gen'rully da brightest bulbs) the letter I got. I could have typed the same thing up on my OWN computer - LOL.

I will probably wear a halter top or something that shows most of the scar anyway, so it'll be easy enough to show them - and I really will probably bring printed x-rays that have both my name and Baylor Orthopedics stamped on them. I'm also leaving at 6:30 a.m., so I'm getting to the airport at 4:00 a.m. so I can have ample time to get through security. I have an hour layover in Philly, so cross your fingers THEY don't hold me up. Hopefully since I'll have my boarding pass (where I actually got on the plane from IAH) it won't be a big deal.

And, really, who knows ... it may or may not set off anything, anywhere. I'm just preparing for the worst, hoping for the best (as usual).

I have no problems squatting, and I never fly in anything but flip-flops, so that part will be fine. The last thing you need when you're having to go through proving your laptop is *really* a laptop is trying to hop around and tie shoes ;-).

I may get one of our group going to the rally in an RV to pick up an egg crate. We're pulling a trailer on the bike, but it'll be packed full of my luggage/camping gear. I actually am going to probably blow mine up and sleep on it this weekend for a test drive so I know *exactly* what I'm in for - LOL.

The bike ride from Boston is about 3 hours, but I'm not all that worried about it. It's a full dresser Harley, so the back seat is pretty much like a road couch - heh. Arm rests and everything. I refer to it as the "Princess Seat", and have a strange urge to do parade queen waves every time I ride on the bike ...

And, yes, Sally ... it's really pretty up there! Coming from Boston, we go through a short portion of the Berkshires, and then the closest big town to the rally is Schenectady (the rally is actually in Pattersonville - around Mariaville Lake ... i.e., in the boonies!).

Anyway, I'm excited ... headed out next Wednesday, and looking forward to meeting a few Bostonians from here early the next week after we get back from NY! :D

And, MaryLou, I have NO doubt you guys will ~somehow~ manage to stay entertained in my absence, but thanks :) - LOL ...

Regards,
Pam

txmarinemom
06-11-2008, 05:31 PM
... I was really upset last night feeling like I would be stuck like this forever but your post reminded me that life will be back to normal soon.

Your feelings are perfectly normal, Shell, and I think anyone on this side of surgery can relate. That "stuck" outlook comes and goes, and then eventually it comes less ...

One thing that worked for me when I'd get in a funk was to remind myself (and I actually had a few friends I trained to remind me also!) "It's only been ________ weeks, goof. You have a LOT of healing left to do!".

Although it doesn't change whatever initially upset or bummed you, it *does* help keep the recovery process in perspective, you know? At least with me, it helped to remind me how FAR I'd come (and that whole amazing reality) vs. dwelling on an unrealistic, fantasy place I WISHED I'd reached.

It just takes time, Shell ... and I know it's hard to be patient. You're allowed to NOT be some days, and to visit that fantasy place in your recovery, but only for short stays :). USE it to set your goals ... not to beat yourself up and take away one bit of credit for all your hard work so far!

You're doing great, hon, and you've been through a lot. I don't think you'll ever realize how many here were pulling for you when you collapsed in the hospital. Give yourself some well-earned kudos (and that is extended to *everyone* who's healing) for how far you've come.

And accept that somedays, that distance might just be a walk to the mailbox - or even the bathroom. It all adds up, babe.

Regards,
Pam

txmarinemom
06-11-2008, 07:40 PM
Can you explain how 'softening of the hardware angles' means that the fusion looks good? I see the white areas, but don't understand the hardware mention.

Debbe,

If you look at my 3 weeks post-op x-ray (you may need to zoom in), note how sharp the angles of the hardware appear.

Then, look at the 8 weeks. The angles aren't as sharp: That, too, indicates fusion, although "fuzzy" screws isn't all it takes. It just means your body has been stimulated to produce local bone growth formation.

And, yes, Sharon - I obviously buy in to rhBMP-2 (Hanson used it in ACS form combined with allograft). I'll stick my surgical photos back up; you can see clear shots of how they lay the ACS (absorbable collagen sponge ... soaked in the protein) along the fusion area.

Although it's technically "off-label" for scoliosis fusion (it's only FDA approved when used with PEEK cages), it has shown promise - especially in the area of quicker fusion - and also in fusion success with "at high risk of pseudoarthrosis" patients (i.e., smokers).

In the SRS archives you'll find a paper (http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article1942.html) (I used the spineuniverse.com link vs, srs.org simply so you don't have to search the 2006 SRS archives for "Paper #77") that details the results of rabbits injected with nicotine (designed to encourage pseudoarthosis), and revision of the rabbits with and without the addition of rhBMP-2 (ACS or CRM).

In brief, the meat of that study:

Results: Four rabbits (5.5%) were lost to complications. Sixty-four (94%) had pseudarthroses on re-exploration and underwent repair. By manual palpation at 10 weeks, 1 of 16 (6.3%) pseudarthroses that received no graft fused, 5 of 17 (29.4%) pseudarthroses that received autograft fused, 31 of 31 (100%) pseudarthroses that received rhBMP-2 (with either ACS or CRM) fused. Plain radiographs, computed tomography, and histology further characterized the fusion masses.

Conclusions: Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (in both carriers studied) was able to significantly increase fusion versus controls in this challenging preclinical posterolateral lumbar model.

This paper was authored by Lenke (who, I understand, is a big believer in rhBMP-2, and I've been led to believe - as always, I could be wrong - one of the few surgeons who will use it on adolescents).

BTW, I may have mentioned, my surgeon did his SRS fellowship under Lenke. Hanson, on the other hand, does NOT use it for adolescents.

As with anything, we'll see, I suppose. I couldn't find enough detrimental, *proven* data to discourage me from asking for it.

And so far, in my case, that choice has not been one I've regretted.

Best regards,
Pam

briarrose
06-13-2008, 12:35 PM
Pam,

You're so awesome! Thanks for the encouragement. It seriously made me feel a lot better.

Your trip sounds like so much fun. I hope you have a great time!

Shell

Linda W
06-13-2008, 12:55 PM
Hi Pam,

I will be listening for the roar and rumble of Harley's coming through the Boston area next week and knowing that you will be graciously waving from the Princess Seat! Enjoy.

Linda W.