View Full Version : Back at work and doing great.

11-05-2008, 02:59 PM
Hi folks,

Itís been a little more than four months since my surgery and Iím doing exceptionally well. I returned to my full-time job this week and surprisingly have experienced no pain or fatigue. I can sit all day and perform my work responsibilities with no problem. Two weeks ago I attended a benefit dinner and had a 40-minute wait standing in line. To my delight I was able to stand the entire time without feeling like my back was going to give out on me. Before my surgery I could not stand in place beyond five minutes and found myself having to either sit down or lean against objects for support. Everyone here at work has told me how great I look. Iím taller, straighter, and slimmer and look so much better in clothes. BUT the best benefit I received from this surgery is the complete cessation of a very serious problem I had in the making. For the past few years I had experienced a change in bowel habits. I was alternating between constipation and diarrhea which had progressed to periods of bowel incontinence. Two years ago I had a colonoscopy to check for anything serious. When nothing showed up, I began to suspect my scoliosis was to blame. I had constant grunting and growling noises in my lower abdominal area, but when I would lift my torso, they would stop. My big lumbar curve was literally squeezing my intestines and bowel. Since my surgery, I have had a return to normal bowel habits, no more grunting noises and no more embarrassing episodes. What a relief! Yes, severe scoliosis can impair other internal organs besides the heart and lungs.

I know itís been stated so many times before but Iíd like to echo it again. The key to a good surgical outcome is a great surgeon. Fortunately, living near Chicago, I had access to several top-quality specialists affiliated with the major teaching hospitals in the city. I have high accolades for my surgeon Dr. Purnendu Gupta and am grateful for what he was able to accomplish in salvaging my horribly twisted spine.

I hope I can give my support to any of you older gals who are contemplating surgery. I had first-time surgery in June at age 59. If I can do it, so can you.



Jacque's Mom
11-05-2008, 03:16 PM
Chris - what a great posting. Thinking back how you were against the surgery; your fear you'd be worse off if you had it. If this isn't an inspiring posting, I don't know what is. This is what this forum is all about - helping others with their pain, their fear, your knowledge, etc. I commend you for working through it all and posting so others may be helped by your success. Congratulations, Lynn

11-05-2008, 03:47 PM
Yay, Chris!!! That's a great post-- and it's soooo good to have you back on the forum. I'm truly excited for you and how well it's going at work and all. :cool: Big hugs, Susie

11-05-2008, 04:22 PM
Congratulations on your excellent outcome, Chris. I'm so happy for you!

11-05-2008, 05:07 PM
Hi Chris
after reading so many of your earlier posts boy was I glad to read this one!
This is great news and so inspiring to me to read only 2 months after my own surgery. So gad the tummy problems have righted themselves too - incredible!
I hope everything continues to be a success for you.

11-05-2008, 08:21 PM
Chris, What wonderful news! I've been wondering how you're doing. I'm so glad the news is good! I'm close to your age and trying to make a decision on surgery. I've been hearing conflicting suggestions from different Drs. which makes it very difficult. It's inspiring to hear of your success. Congratulations!

11-05-2008, 08:39 PM
Wonderful news, Chris!

So glad you had a great result.


Nancy Joy
11-05-2008, 08:43 PM
Yahoo Chris- back to work- that is a biggie. Glad it is going so well and interesting to hear about the bowel correction. That has to be very exciting!!!


loves to skate
11-05-2008, 08:52 PM
Hi Chris,

It is so good to hear that you are doing so well. It sounds like it was good that you didn't wait any longer to have your surgery especially regarding your bowel situation. I have had the same problem with my bowels for a few years and no one told me it was related to my scoliosis. I wasn't even told I had a scoliosis until I was 64. At my age of 68, I didn't get much of a correction, but with the use of Metamuscil every day, it isn't as bad as it was. It is nice to learn something new each day. Thanks for posting.

11-05-2008, 10:27 PM
It's great to hear of your excellent outcome, Chris and the added bonus of your correction of bowel problems. That in itself is a biggie.

I hope I am lucky enough to have a similar outcome, as a some of us older patients have had.

Congratulations and hope the rest of your recovery goes as smoothly!

11-06-2008, 11:43 AM
I'm so glad to hear from you and that the outcome is so awesome!! You were on my mind just the other day. Is it much better than you thought it would be at this point post op? I remember your hesitation and fears. It's so good to see that now you recommend going ahead and facing it. God bless you and i hope you continue to do well!!!

11-06-2008, 03:04 PM
Thanks to all for your comments. JoAnn, three months was the turning point for me. I was off pain meds, walking independently and just so relieved to have the surgery behind me. Surgery was the right decision for me. I had a big progressive curve that had to be stabilized if I wanted any quality of life in the future. And I canít tell you how relieved I am to have this bowel problem resolved. That was the first thing I noticed following this surgery; my plumbing was back to normal. And when I saw that that damn crease across my mid-section was gone, I just knew that there was now more room for my abdominal organs to properly function.

With a fusion to the sacrum, I have lost a lot of flexibility. Iím dependent on my reachers and grabbers and I need devices to put on my socks and pants, but I feel itís a small price to pay for a healthier spine. The other day I picked up a gadget so I can pull up the zippers on my boots. I treat myself to monthly pedicures because I can no longer reach to cut my toenails. All in all though, I think Iím doing very well and am thankful that my severe scoliosis was still treatable.

Karen Ocker
11-06-2008, 05:10 PM
In time I was able to cut my toenails and shave my legs while resting them, one at a time, on a low stool in the shower. Yes, I am fused to the sacrum.
With healing/ and exercise everything will loosen up.:D

11-06-2008, 06:03 PM

what a wonderful report. I'm glad you're able to get through your work day ok. And the best part is about your bathroom habits changing back to normal. I'm glad things have worked out so well for you.

As far as toenails go, I was able to cut my toenails already the other day, just shy of 3 weeks post op. But I was only fused to L3, so maybe that's why. I had this one out-of-control toenail that grew faster than the other, and asked my 9year old to get the clipper. I stuck my foot up on my other knee and clipped away. YEAH!

11-06-2008, 07:06 PM
Just have to add my 2 cents on the toenail cutting thing... I can barely do it-- and probably shouldn't, as it takes extreme effort. My arms are just not quite long enough and I probably put a little too much strain when I do it. I just started after a year. I am not fused to the sacrum, but from T2-L4, which is a long way too. Hopefully you'll do fine eventually, Chris, like the others, but it might take awhile.

11-06-2008, 10:08 PM
Congrats, Chris ... on both the surgical outcome and your outlook.

They're wonderful to read.

Best regards,

11-07-2008, 01:50 AM

Your story gives me HOPE!!! What a positive outcome! I'm going to hang on to the positive stories and outlooks of people like you, Debbe, Ginger, Disc, and many others. THAT will get me through till Nov 17th without canceling the surgery!

Thanks again, everyone, for your "positivity.":)

11-15-2008, 08:11 PM
Hi Chris- wow, I am so amazed at your recovery! Praise God! I'm right behind you in age, and I am encouraged that you were able to return to work so soon! as for the toenails... I've been thinking- can you cross your legs, bringing your foot to your knee? Otherwise, I believe some insurance companies will pay for you to go to a podiatrist every 6 weeks. That's what my mother does, just due to arthritis. anyway- it's wonderful to hear that you've recovered so well. Do you have "after" photos of your Xrays? How good of a correction did you get? I don't check this website regularly, so I may have missed some earlier posts.. thank you for sharing your news! God bless you as you continue to regain your energy and activity! Jamie

11-17-2008, 10:41 AM
Thanks, Jamie. Truthfully, I like the pedicures. My feet have never looked prettier. My hair stylist referred me to her technician who is only 10 minutes from me, so itís very convenient. Iíll see about getting after photos of my X-rays that I can download when I have my six-month check-up next month. I do have a lot of metal in me. I got little more than a 50% correction with a posterior surgery. But for someone who is approaching 60 more important to me was stopping further progression and alleviating possible obstruction of internal organs. As for work, I have a desk job and my main concern was if I would be able to sit all day. So far Iíve had no problems. If I get a bit stiff, I get up and go for a brief walk. Thereís a fitness center here and I plan to start using the treadmill after work since itís too dark and cold now to walk outdoors. If I can answer any questions or concerns, please let me know. Chris

11-17-2008, 02:06 PM
Chris, I'm so proud of you! Your posts just make me smile :)

11-17-2008, 04:37 PM
Awwwww, JoAnn, you're such a sweetheart.

11-18-2008, 03:03 AM
You give me hope too, Chris, thank you. Please don't forget to update us from time to time.

Karen Ocker
11-20-2008, 05:52 PM

I knew you could do it. I am 6 years post revision and I am still pain free and gainfully employed(part-time my choice). Without my surgery I never could be working or pain free not to mention slowly getting more snd more breathless from chest deformity. And---the money sure comes handy since my husband's company stopped paying medical benefits for retirees and their spouses.

11-21-2008, 09:05 AM
Thank you, Karen. I prayed for guidance and a successful surgery and my prayers were answered. I continue to pray for healing. This Thanksgiving season I have much for which to be thankful. Chris

11-29-2008, 04:13 PM
Chris -

I don't know if you remember me, it's been quite some time since I've posted. I just wanted to say how happy I am to hear that your surgery was a success. I remember back when you felt strongly that surgery wasn't for you. I have to admit that I was surprised to read you had surgery. I wish you the best of luck and continued health and healing.

11-30-2008, 07:10 AM
What a great post! Glad to hear that your surgery was a success. I am also fused to the sacrum and lost flexibility. What type of gadget did you pick up for your boots. I could sure use one.


12-01-2008, 12:01 PM
Hi Brandi. Yes, I remember you. Iím sorry to read though that you are facing another surgery to correct flatback. As I recall, you had a rough recovery from your first surgery. Letís hope your revision will be gentler. Brandi, my decision to have surgery was made when I saw evidence of progression on film from one year to the next. I knew I had a serious problem that had to be dealt with now. And just this weekend when I saw an elderly woman with a severely twisted back hunched over on her cane, I couldnít help but think that I probably made the wisest decision of my life. Please keep us posted on your upcoming revision surgery.

Maria, I went back to the medical supply store where I picked up my pre-surgery stuff and I came across a dressing aide that is just a long wooden stick with a small metal hook at the end. The hook easily fits through the hole on the zipper pull which enables me to pull up the zippers without bending. If you donít have a medical supply store near you, check out Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy.


12-02-2008, 03:53 PM

There are several medical supply stores near me. I will definately check it out. Thanks for the info.


12-02-2008, 11:25 PM
:)Chris I am so happy for you! You're an inspiration as I face my own surgery and fears of returning to work! Take care!