View Full Version : Unhappy and Seeking Advice

10-12-2008, 03:19 PM
Hi everyone,

I am new here and thought this would be a great place to get advice from others who may have experienced what I am going through. I just had surgery a little over 4 months ago, and I find that I am still not as happy as I was before the surgery. There are a number of reasons why I am feeling this way, but if I had to sum it up into one sentence, I would have to attribute my unhappiness to being dissatisfied with the surgery. I know I look better than before the surgery, but my rib hump is still there somewhat and my shoulder blade still sticks out on one side. I feel that even after the surgery, it's gotten worse bc my rib hump came back a bit. Everytime I bring it up to my doctor he doesn't seem to think anything is wrong since the rods are still in place. He said it's normal for the ribs to move around after the surgery. Some of my friends have told me that I might have had my expectations too high to begin with and that I just need to accept how my body looks now and move on. I find it so hard to just accept things though. I just keep thinking that if I hadn’t waited so long to get the surgery or done something differently, then things would have turned out better. School kept me so busy all the time that I never really had a chance to get the surgery done until now. I'm just wondering if anyone else was unhappy with the way things turned out at anytime after their surgery and how you've dealt with things. Any advice on what to do? I know that I should just be grateful that I came out of surgery safely.

Thanks for your help

10-12-2008, 03:56 PM
Pooh, I'm sorry you're feeling so down at the moment.

Before I try to respond any further, may I ask how old you are?

Best regards,

10-12-2008, 04:21 PM
Hi Pam, I just turned 25.

10-12-2008, 05:59 PM
Hi, again, Pooh.

Well, you certainly didn't wait too long to have the surgery, hon. There are many of us here who had it in our 40's, 50's, and even 60's.

What did your pre-op curve measurement, and what level of correction were they able to achieve? Were you in pain before? Are you in pain now? Bear in mind (and, yes ... I know some days it's tough) 4 months post-op is VERY early in recovery.

Mine was corrected from ±53° down to ±20. My rib hump was corrected by about 50% (no thoracoplasty), and also still have one shoulder blade that is more prominent.

The biggest difference I see between our outlooks is I was honestly never self conscious about my back. Not before surgery, not after.

Please take what I'm about to ask as gently as possible (it's intended to be so) ...

Have you considered discussing how you feel with a therapist and see if they can help you get more in tune and become more content with your body image? Pooh, whether we're curved or straight ... short or tall ... rich or poor, how we look on the outside - or how we perceive ourselves to look - doesn't define us.

I really don't think your (well-meaning, I'm sure) friends understand when they tell you "just accept it" and "move on". Don't they think (and more importantly, don't you think?) if it were that simple you'd do it?

I'd really encourage you to find a professional to help you appreciate ALL of you, and not focus on what you see as flaws.

It's possible you're experiencing some post-op depression, as well, and I'm a little surprised your surgeon seems to be dismissing your unhappiness.

You have a long time left with your body, sweetheart. I honestly believe with some work (and, yes, it may be tough), you can learn to love it in the years to come.

Best wishes to you,

Ginger W.
10-12-2008, 06:37 PM
I think that most of the post-surgery crowd selected to do their operations because they had major pain issues and their desires for improved physical appearances were not on the fore front.

At age 25, you probably haven't been through the scoliosis pain that comes with unwanted curves and age. Often, that pain becomes so debilitating, a person looses their quality of life. You've been spared that pain. Because you had surgery, it's likely that you'll never get day after day of progressing and horrific pain. Primarily, that's the reason for scoliosis surgery.

I would second Pam's encouragement for you to consider talking with a therapist about your body image struggles. Friends, particularly those in their 20s, may not be the best help for you right now.

Best wishes to you, Pooh.

10-13-2008, 09:15 AM
Ginger and Pam are both right in their advice. Also remember that swelling lasts a loooooooooonng time. It was 6 months or so before mine was totally gone. Your rib hump might still lessen. You will see improvements increasingly.

I agree that post-op depression is a real and sometimes debilitating thing. Try to recognize it for what it is and find some way to lessen it. Exercise, therapy, volunteer work, or when all else fails, medication can help.

Wish i could give you a big hug!

10-13-2008, 10:49 AM
Hi pooh7243,

I had my surgery at age 14. The odd alignment of my shoulders and my ribs actually got better as time went by after the surgery. Now, at 33, even though I think I still have a 30 degree curve, I look pretty straight. I think it takes the muscles in a your body a while to adjust to their new form.

Having said that though, I really never took much notice of how I looked because it was how I felt that was scary. I had increasing pain and was starting to have some trouble breathing. I was already at 62 degrees the day of surgery, was going through a growth spurt and if I hadn't had the surgery, I'm not sure what life would be like for me today. Because I did have the surgery, I was able to get back into sports, no longer had to concentrate on school through the pain and could sleep through the night again.

You might want to write down all the things, not related to how you look, that finally made you choose the decision to have the surgery and celebrate those successes (i.e avoiding the pain that comes from having a slowly increasing curve). And like the others suggested, it might be helpful to have someone to talk to about this and the other body image related feelings you're having. Hope you feel better soon!

- Sarah

10-15-2008, 12:23 PM
Thanks everyone for the encouraging advice. I think I will talk to a professional about this.
I started my physical therapy about 1 month post-op and am currently still going. Even with all of that, I still have a weird feeling with the movement of my shoulder blades. I asked the doctor about this, and he attributed it to the ribs still shifting around. He said that my ribs have bounced back a bit, and this is normal since the joint between the spine and rib is not fixed even with the rods in place. The rods are there to stabilize the spine, but the ribs are still free to move around a bit. Anyways, he said it would take about 6 months for the shifting to stop. Did any of you hear this from your doctor?