View Full Version : New Member/ Surgery Oct 6th-age 49

10-19-2008, 01:21 PM
Hi There, my name is wendy, I am 49 years old and I live in , ct. I had my surgery 9 days ago. Right now I am reclining in my bed at my inpatient rehab (which has been great by the way). I was reading this forum for about 2 weeks before my operation and tried to post before this but had to wait for administration to allow me. I have my laptop with me so I guess later is better than never.

The first that Dr Bomback said to me was that he got my curve from 47 degrees (lumbar) to 7 degrees. He initially thought he would only be able to get me in the 20's which still would have been great but after he saw my bending xray he felt he would be able to get me almost perfectly straight-and he did. My upper curve is slight and he said that the lower correction has pretty much taken care of it.My correction goes from my tailbone to T10.

I have pain but it is being managed as well as can be expected. I will be in this rehab center in Bethany, Ct probably for another week and then will probably have visiting nurses come to my home. I'd like to go home sooner but I'm afraid that my 5 year old would just torture me and herself with wanting me to play. Right now I pretty much do PT and sleep! But I am coming along at a rate that the folks here are pretty amazed by. I can walk without assistance of any kind (but not for long because it hurts).....and I can basically 'do' all my self care. I was worried about all of that-how incapacitated I would be and actually it is much less than I thought it would be but I also didn't realize how careful I had to be in so many ways. I have to be so careful and I have trouble getting comfortable at night. I have major nightsweats because of the meds. The nurses say this is normal.
I can't wait to hear about how others are doing. I know that there were a few whose surgery dates were in a few days of mine.

surgery oct 6,2008
lumbar curve corrected from 47 to 7 degrees
currently inpatient rehab and doing great.

loves to skate
10-19-2008, 01:47 PM
Hi Wendy,
Welcome! Wow, you are so fortunate to get such a good correction. I wish I had know about my scoliosis when I was young enough to get a good correction. I still consider myself fortunate that my Doctor was able to separate my vertebrae enough so that my sciatic pain is gone. So what if I am 2 inches shorter than I used to be. 5'7" is still a good height. At least, I have my life back and my Dr. said I could go back to my favorite sport of rollerskating. That is more than a 68 year old should expect. Keep us posted on you recovery. I hope that it will continue to go smoothly and you will soon be home playing quiet games with your 5 year old. Sally

10-19-2008, 02:19 PM
It sounds like you are doing super great! We're so glad to have you on the forum-- and I could tell by your other post (Debbe's thread) that you have a fun sense of humor. ;)

Yikes! :eek: You will have your hands full once you get home, trying to control yourself and your five-year old from having you do too much. I'll bet she'll understand pretty quickly and want to be mommy's little helper. Just try to keep reminding yourself that if you take care of yourself now, then you'll be in better shape sooner for doing more.

Take care of yourself and keep us posted on how you're doing. PT and sleeping are both really important for you. It sounds like the rest is pretty normal. Let them know if the pain is too much. There's a fine line where you have enough pain meds so that you can do your walking and other activity they want you to do, and yet not be too doped up so that you're "out of it"...

That's wonderful correction that your surgeon was able to get. :) You must feel fantastic about that!

I'm impressed that you have your laptop and are even feeling up to posting. That speaks tons for how well you're doing! Take care! Susie

10-19-2008, 05:42 PM
Hi Wendy, I hope you'll keep up with your recovery reports for all of us on "this" side of surgery. Mine will be from T5 to Sacrum so I'm particularly interested in those fused to the sacrum.

Once over on "that" side, I hope to do my bit to "inform" those still waiting. In the meantime I'm all questions and ears.:)

Nancy Joy
10-19-2008, 06:45 PM
HI Wendy!~
Sounds like you and I are following about the same recovery. I am the T10 to Sacrum also. I am using so many muscles in my pelvis now to get up and down etc. that I feel like I have been riding a horse. Not a bad feeling- just means I can finally get some exercise!!!! :cool: Don't you love it when we are doing so much better than any of the hospital personel, etc. can believe? :D Small reward for all the previous suffering~ha! My son said today, he and his dad were right. When I figured out how well I was doing they will have to be behind me slowing me down like you would a child_ LOL would rather have that then them prodding me to go for walks, etc. Best wishes to you each day- My next milestone will be being able to take a shower next Friday after my staples come out. I am really looking forward to that! ;)


10-19-2008, 10:30 PM
Welcome to the forum Wendy! Glad to hear you are on the road to recovery. :)

My next milestone will be being able to take a shower next Friday after my staples come out. I am really looking forward to that! ;)

Wait... You can have your staples removed?


Nancy Joy
10-19-2008, 11:04 PM
That's what they told me. They set an appointment with my regular Dr. here rather than having me come back to KC (3 hrs). I thought that was terrific and I'll let you know how that goes. I was a little surprised that #1- I have staples, rather than stiches, and #2 that they have to be removed. Not a surgery pro or anything- just thought everything disolved into the body today- LOL.

10-20-2008, 04:04 PM
That's what they told me. They set an appointment with my regular Dr. here rather than having me come back to KC (3 hrs). I thought that was terrific and I'll let you know how that goes. I was a little surprised that #1- I have staples, rather than stiches, and #2 that they have to be removed. Not a surgery pro or anything- just thought everything disolved into the body today- LOL.

Ahhh... You have staples and not stiches... That makes sense now. lol I still have staples inside of me, I think they called them 'bleeder stoppers', but then I am going off a 25 year memory so it may be faulty. :D In my postop xray you can still see them in my right rib area. (not very well cause the picture is small)

I wondered how they would remove those without more surgery. lol


10-20-2008, 05:46 PM
Hi Wendy and Nancy Joy, so glad to hear you are both doing well. Nancy, I had staples all along my long anterior incision and the doc actually plucked them out with what looked like an ordinary staple remover while I was in rehab about 15 days post surgery. I was scared to death before he did it but it really didn't hurt. Of course, I was drugged to the gills at the time...:cool:

10-20-2008, 07:04 PM
Funny ... I never knew some of you (like you, Chris) had staples.

I had one long regular 18-19" stitch ... like *old school* stitching - LOL!

Hanson normally uses monocryl (the dissolvable stitches that look like fishing line), but I learned long ago (and several surgeries ago) my body won't dissolve them. It either spits the sutures out, or they just stay solid. I recall when I had my tubes tied (laproscopically) at 21 years old and finding it humorous when I could floss the stitch back and forth ... it literally didn't degrade at all, but I didn't connect it anything other than a fluke.

Later surgeries (breast augmentation and a mole removal ... both done by a plastic surgeon - and monocryl sutures ARE used more for "aesthestically pleasing" closures) proved I had a *serious* issues with the stuff. I now make sure the reaction is noted all over my chart with any doctor.

I had staples with my 3 knee surgeries and had no problems (and, no, Chris ... they don't hurt coming out ... just odd ;-).

Hanson used internal PDS stitches (the blue ones, non-dissolvable) along with the long old school external stitch.

Guess what? My body is trying to spit them in 4 places near my incision. I had one trimmed at 4 weeks, and the same stitch is working out. You can see little blue dots where they've finally come through the skin, but they're too short to grab. If I really want them out, it's back to day surgery. Bleck.

The only one that really ever annoys me is riiiiiiight on top of the lumbar attachment, and it I lean back in a seat at a certain angle I get an electric type shock. People look at you funny when you yelp in public for no apparent reason ...

A tip for anyone who has a stitch trying to spit (monocryl or PDS) ... use a backbrush and a scrub - or even just a wash - that contains salicylic acid (most acne washes do). It causes the skin to shed upper dead layers that could be keeping the stitch trapped.

Once it comes through, and is long enough to grab, you can easily have someone clip them at home with sterilized tweezers and scissors. The trick is to push down on either side of the stitch as they tweeze it, and trim. Voila! It drops back under the skin ...


10-20-2008, 11:05 PM
I assume I had all kinds of dissolving interior stitches, and probably for the "smaller" anterior and iliac crest exterior incisions as well. My posterior incision - approx T1 to L3 - had staples. On day 15, before being discharged to rehab, a nurse removed them all - several dozen - with some kind of device - probably, as Chris said, - that looked like an ordinary staple remover.

It did not hurt at all; I asked the nurse if she thought it would be a good idea for me to look at them after they were removed (the control freak in me always needs to know what is going on) but the nurse said that that was not a good idea (she probably thought I would throw up or pass out at the sight of them).

Far far worse than the staple removal was, for my stomach surgery 10 weeks later, the insertion of a narrow tube containing a collapsible stainless steel filter via the jugular vein and into the inferior vena cava; the filter was placed in the IVC to trap blood clots. I was totally concious and could feel the physician inserting what seemed like a garden hose into my neck. And later, twice they attempted to remove the filter, again by stuffing a tube thru the jugular and into the vena cava. None of this was painful - they must have numbed the insertion area - but it was freakin' weird. The filter remains in my IVC, and shall remain there; it shows up on x-rays but neither it nor the spinal instrumentation has caused any problems going thru airport security.

Nancy Joy
10-21-2008, 12:19 PM
Well, I have to laugh at how we now know "all you ever needed to know about staple removing". I just LOVE this forum. Brad, I sure hope I am not encountering what yours would be!!! I can see how that caused a major stroke out! So great to have a group that can relate exactly to each others challenges!!!

10-22-2008, 11:39 AM
My doctor yesterday told me that I have a near perfect correction. i am beyond excited! I have attached the pic of the before and afters. He said I am the first adult with whom he has been able As of today I am off oxcontin...so gross....night sweats....crazy thoughts...I am still on diladud and valium for now. I have been feeling better every day. I am still at the inpatient PT but should be going home on Friday. I will have visiting nurses come to the house. I can't wait-I miss being with my family-especially my 5 year old. I have a lot of pictures of my surgery experience. Once I put it in my web album I will put it here so everyone who is going to do this can see that is doesn't have to be scary. Even after 16 days I feel like this has been the best thing I have ever done and would do it again tomorrow. Having the best team is the answer. Please check out my attached xrays!

age 49
surgery Oct 6th 2008
lumbar curve 47 degrees corrected to less than 3 degrees

10-23-2008, 05:06 AM
Congratulations Wendy on such a successful surgery and all the very best for a smooth continuation of your recovery. Thanks for sharing your pics. It really is amazing what they can do over a few short hours.

Ginger W.
10-25-2008, 12:41 AM

I also had incredible night sweats. I'd wake up completely soaked and have to change into another pair of PJs, once I was able to do such things. The sweats lasted almost three weeks.

10-26-2008, 12:44 PM
Hi Ginger,
I am coming up on 3 weeks-I just got home yesterday. The night sweats are so unbelievable and I have to get up and change too. I have decided to put an xtra sheet under me and just sleep naked. At least I won't have to get up in the freezing cold here in Ct and change at 3 am.
I think it is dilaudid that is doing it. I tried to be a hero and take advil yesterday and last night was the first time I had no sweats. But I guess that is the price to pay for relative comfort.
I took my first walk today down the street. It was about a 10 minute walk. I felt pretty good. No muscle spasms. I hope my muscles are beginning to get used to their new homes.

wendy h
Surgery Oct 6th 2008
47 degrees to almost perfect
home and hanging in there
check out my attached xray!

loves to skate
10-26-2008, 03:20 PM
Hi Wendy,
I was on oxycodone and I had night sweats also. It could be because you had major surgery also, it kind of upsets your internal thermostat. Are you sure you should be taking Advil? It is an anti-inflammatory and I was told not to take anything other than tylenol as anti-inflammatories interfere with the fusion process. Please check with your Doctor before you take anymore Advil. Better to have a few night sweats than to compromise your fusion. This too shall pass.

So glad to hear that you are home. I bet your little one is happy to have her Mommy home. I'm glad you were able to take a 10 minute walk. I ended up getting myself a used treadmill since my surgery was in December and it was way too cold and icy last winter to walk outside. Today is a nice day for a walk, but it will be getting colder and colder soon here in the northeast. Take good care.


11-02-2008, 08:28 PM
it's so true about the 3 week night sweat marker. I was positive it was the medication but today is the 3 week mark and the sweats have been markedly diminishing.

11-02-2008, 11:45 PM
Hi Wendy

Congratulations! Sounds like things are going fine.Welcome to the forum.

I had the sweats so bad, I floated downstream and docked at the local marina!

I believe the "sweats" have to do with the anestesia in the fat cells. It can take some time to rid this from your system. My sweats went on for about 3 months, as they had me on a respirator for about 6 days and I was on percs for 5 weeks. I was also freezing all the time! Im amazed it didnt turn to ice, I could have had a serious wreck! With all the earthquakes we were having out here, who knows what could have happened!

dangerous stuff. Im glad its over! LOL