View Full Version : My experiences....

10-14-2008, 02:52 PM
My experiences
Hello everyone, finally I feel strong enough emotionally and physically to write an account of my experiences on this forum wow what a journey.
I truly wanted to leave a post that anyone could read that would be helpful but find it hard to put everything into words - thank goodness for all you regulars who explain it so well. The recent post about energy levels has many excellent comments and makes good reading for those just about to have this surgery I nodded my head and said yes, yes to many of the comments.
My surgery was done Thurs 4 Sept posterior only (which I was relieved about) my surgeon had said that he may have had to do anterior release at same time. I was fused T3 L1 for an approx 67 degree upper thoracic curve. (btw I am 41yrs old). I was fitted for my brace immediately after my op so knew nothing about that bit and was given in to wear a few days later. I only wear it when up and about not to sleep in.
The thing that has been difficult for me is how everyone here is so positive and post of their excitement of getting it done, until today I havent been able to truly say to myself, hey Im glad Ive had this done, but lets just say Im kinda getting there (common sense tells me I did the right thing cos it was progressing)but I have not over the years had massive amount of pain although this was increasing specially over the last 6-12months. I remember thinking s*** I dont remember reading it would hurt this much, that I would be so scared the deep breathing def helped calm me at certain times!
I was in hospital for 8 days and things progressed quickly though the week, hdu for 24 hrs, then moved to ward (that was scary just sort of shut my eyes and kept thinking no going back now, got to get through this, be brave etc). Epidural removed after a few days, then the morphine, drips etc and finally catheter a few days before I went home. Had a bit of a problem with being constipated but this soon sorted itself out. A wonderful nurse washed my hair about day 4 which was lovely (got out all the sticky glue left from where the electrodes were stuck)
I have slept and been on my back for so much of the last month and worried whether this was right but tried to listen to everyone saying just do what your body tells you to!
I am very lucky to be well supported, firstly by my wonderful husband, 2 kids (12 and 8) sisters, parents, family and friends who have all helped me so much an endless supply of meals, flowers, chocs, buscuits and offers of help I have felt very loved and cared for.
Today my hubbie has gone back to work (it will be 6 weeks ago on thurs) and I am feeling I have turned a corner in my recovery. (hence the long post!) even went for a drive and quick walk round the supermarket (my sister was there her face was a picture when she saw me!)
So with all the unexplained tearful moments, painful, aching days I am on the mend.and still getting out to walk everyday since I came home (ever if its for 10 mins) I thank everyone who posts on this forum you have all been so helpful and continue to be.
Attached are my before and after pics(scar at 2 weeks) and my 'before' xray. I will post my after xray after I see my surgeon at my 8 week check up.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to pm me.
Good luck to Debbei and everyone else due to have their op it really is good to be the other side!

10-14-2008, 05:42 PM
Hi Louisse,

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I just know this post will be valuable for people heading into the surgery for the first time.

Isn't the first hair wash / shower just magnificent?! Exhausting & painful - but wonderful :D And how great that your surgeon didn't need to do the anterior release as well.

Recovery is definitely a rough ride, but well worth it (for the great majority of people)...I'm so glad you're starting to feel better & like this was worth it for you. 6 wks post-op really isn't far along - you'll start feeling even better over the coming days & weeks.

I'll look forward to seeing your post-op pics. Do you feel as though you're a lot straighter?

Best of luck to you for a smooth path in your remaining healing. Don't forget to feed up on those chocolates - you know they have magical healing powers, right?? :D

Take good care & keep us posted when you can (if you want).

10-14-2008, 06:10 PM

Glad to hear you are on the mend and have such great family support! That is so important to help you heal properly.

As discombobulated said, chocolate is magic! :D


10-14-2008, 11:15 PM

Wow I am happy things are going good for you. Did you drive yourself to the store? Just curious. Medicine has advanced to much since I had my surgeries. Just can't wait to hear more. Take care!

10-14-2008, 11:25 PM
Wow, cool scar. It is great you are doing better. I suppose the only way to go now is up! Congrats on your decision and am sure your life will be so much better because of it :)

Ginger W.
10-14-2008, 11:42 PM

The first stage of recovery can be so, so challenging. Now you should start feeling better and better, as long as you don't try to do too much, too quickly. Just remember, there will be 'those days' when you will wonder, "Have I progressed?" You'll really see your progress over time.

When I look at your "before" x-ray, I think - YES, you really did need that surgery and YES - your pain would have gone up, up, up if you'd waited. My pain started really impacting my life around the age of 45 and it took over my life by age 52.

Your scar looks great and so does your tattoo! My primary care doctor suggested that I tattoo some ivy vines crawling up around my scar!

Glad to get a full update from you, Louisse!

10-15-2008, 12:30 AM
Thank you Louise. Every experience is muchly appreciated by those of us on this side of surgery, wondering and worrying. We need to know it all, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Hope your recovery continues smoothly and the day comes when you say, "that was the best thing I could have done for myself!"

PS Do you feel a lot straighter?

10-15-2008, 02:56 AM

I am so thrilled to read your update right now, as I'm going in this morning. I'd say my scared/excited ratio is now about 50/50. That's probably the best it's ever been, and reading your post has helped put me there. I'm so glad that you are feeling better, and I can imagine how you feel after your drive and stroll thru the supermarket. :) Keep feeling better and I'll compare notes with you later.

10-15-2008, 06:35 AM
Louisse-- thanks for the update. It sounds like you are coming along fine. Remember, this is a long recovery. Some people bounce back sooner, but a lot of us take longer. Your body will recover at its own speed, no matter what your mind is trying to tell it (like "hurry, hurry, hurry!") It teaches us patience! It's easy to get discouraged when it takes so long to notice much progress. Just keep looking back so you realize how far you've come... that really helped me when I thought it was slow-going.

That's pretty cool that you had that outing to the store. So it really sounds like you are doing quite well! Glad to hear about all your support as well.

Take good care of yourself. And you'll see-- you are making progress-- it just is sometimes slow enough that you don't notice it very much, except with more time. Keep us posted on how things are going. Hugs, Susie

10-16-2008, 05:56 PM
thanks for all your replies and best wishes - it really means alot to me that you have taken the time to reply.

discombobulated - yes that first hair wash felt soooo good!

augemac - crikey, no I didn't drive myself - surgeon said not allowed until approx 4 months. just sat upright in the front seat - it did feel very strange and not as painful as I expected just weird

jennifer - yes I feel straighter (have gained about an inch in height) but def remember a very strange feeling like I was leaning to the right when I first came round from the op (just didn't feel like I was lying straight in the bed)

Ginger - glad you liked the tattoo!

Susie - thanks for your support , yeah I just keep looking back then it makes me strong enough to look forward (if you know what i mean)

best wishes to you all

10-16-2008, 06:50 PM
wish you a speedy recovery!

im actully getting my surgery, starting 2morrow. im at the hospital at 6am and under the knife at 8am. should be tons of funn.

god bless

10-17-2008, 12:37 AM

I had to laugh because your right it would too soon but these days I am so surprised what everyone can do!! With my last surgery I had to wait 6 months! So good that you didn't and glad you are doing good! Take care and rest.

Praying for your surgery! It will be over quickly!

Take care ya all!

12-06-2008, 05:15 PM
Hi everyone
just thought I would add my recent xrays for you all to see to this thread I started a while back as I know you all like the 'before and after' shots!
I'm now 3 months post op and starting to feel loads better.
All the best to those of you facing surgery in the next few weeks.

12-06-2008, 05:50 PM
Louisse-- what a difference! It was great to go back and see your before x-ray and compare it. Your surgeon was able to really get a good correction. And the before and after pics of your back are impressive too. By now I bet your scar is looking pretty tame too. Thanks for sharing!!!

12-13-2008, 11:09 PM
congrats on your speedy recovery! You are looking great!! Arnt those screws wicked llooking in the xrays? You look nice n straight....very cool!!! Take care & I wish you continued success w.your recovery! Keep us posted!

12-14-2008, 05:18 PM
Thanks for posting your best wishes Suzie and Lynn. Yes those screws sure look scary - very impressive when you show pics to people!!!
I am very pleased with the results - a 200% correction from approx 70 'c' upper thoracic curve to a 20 degree with small compensatory at the bottom which I am hoping will in time straighten out a little. My surgeon was very pleased with the result considering my age.
All the best to you Lynn - I can soooo sympathise with your waiting - hang on in there girl - your time will come and the waiting will soon be all over with.
Ps - my scar is amazing - can hardly see it in some places - I have been very lucky that it has healed so well.

12-28-2008, 10:39 AM
Hi Louisse!!!!

I was sooooo happy to read you post. I had my surgery on Oct 6th. It was a lumbar correction from tail to T10 / 50 degress to 3 degress. I pretty much have been doing everything. walking, shopping, wrapping, going out to dinner, etc, etc ,etc and wondering why I feel like crap most of the time. Your made me feel so normal. I am totally numb all around my low back and have pretty much constant pain when walking or standing on my low right side (where I used to and where he did the most work). I feel like I am raw and have a constantly pulled muscle. I KNOW I am doing alot and maybe too much but I was so active before the surgery that I think I go into denial and wonder why I'm not better. I don't have anyone around me except physical therapy to tell me that this could take 6 months to a year to really feel normal and it hasn;t even been 3 months. Next week my sister and I are going to Florida from Ct. for 5 days to take a break .My husband is going to take care of my 5 year old and hopefully I will relax and swim and sit by the pool. I am going to get a 'metal' card from my Dr for the airport I KNOW i am doing great but does anyone ever worry that they will be in chronic pain forever?
I cut back the round the clock pain meds to 2 pills (dilaudid 2mg) per day.....so a total of 4mgs a day. My Dr says this is fine and when my pain goes down to a better level I will not have withdrawels. I love it that I am straight and almost 2 inches taller but can't wait to JUST BE NORMAL and not feel like a walking stiff. Please check out my pics (I love to show off my beautiful daughter!) she has saved my life through this-my wonderful husband too......thanks for listening to me vent. wendy-age 49-in Conn.

12-28-2008, 10:43 AM
Please excuse my bad spelling. I rely too much on spellcheck! Wendy in Ct.

01-01-2009, 03:31 PM
Hi Wendy

Thanks for your post - great before and after pics wow 2 inches taller - I just made about 1 inch!!! It was great to read how you felt my post helped you - 'made you feel normal' I have gained so much from everyone else's posts so it is good to help! There are many different experiences to read on here isn't there and you can't help but compare?

You are right your daughter is a beautiful girl - don't we mums just love to show off our kids - I'm just the same. Great photos of you too - 49? you sure?

You sound real busy and this is probably why you are still sore - but keep using those muscles and things do improve. I'm still so sore and achey all the time but things are improving slowly (now nearly 4 months post op) if I remind myself how I was feeling a few months ago!

I hope you have or 'are having' a fab time in Florida.

Thanks again for your reply - it was great to read.