View Full Version : surgery in Jan 2010

11-03-2009, 01:27 PM
This is my first post, but I've been reading all the others for a while. I am a 42 year old mom who is having surgery at Duke Univ. in January. My curve is 48 and has progressed about 15 degrees in the last 2 years. I was first diagnosed in 7th grade with a 15 degree curve. It has progressed about 2-3 degrees a year and some years...no progression at all. For the most part, I am not in pain. Just achey back muscles...nothing that changes my lifestyle. I am in pretty good shape (I run) and I am planning to get in even better shape before the surgery. I have lots of anxiety over being put to sleep and the whole hospital stay and recovery process. My kids are 13 and 9, and spoiled because I do too much for them! I need to get them to start doing more around here, so it won't be such a shock when I lay around on the couch for weeks!

Is there anyone out there who has been through this at about the same point in your life that I am at in mine?

I curve is in my lower back....and the rib-hump on the right side of my back is pretty big. Although most people don't even notice it until I point it out. Because of my lack of pain, I sometimes question why I am going to do this! Although, the fact that the curve is progressing is a good reason to go ahead and get this behind me. My surgeon said that most people with scoliosis, even curves the size of mine, do not have any pain. I know that it will be easier to recover if I do this now instead of waiting 5 more years.

Sorry to ramble....I would just love to hear from someone with some insight about surgery at 42 with busy kids 13 and 9.

11-03-2009, 04:40 PM
I think I can help with that! As can others on this site. I have no idea when and how fast my curve progressed...not even sure what it was as a teen...but three years ago, I knew something was wrong. I still didn't see anyone about it until last January when I took my son to be checked. The doctor asked to look at my back and wanted to know right away what kind of pain I had. I only had pain in the morning and after an hour, it would go away.

But I was shocked when I went back to the doctor and saw the degree curve. I knew what was coming. I think people thought I made a very quick decision, but I didn't want to wait until I was in pain constantly, I wanted the chance at some cosmetic improvement, and I couldn't imagine thinking about it for even a year!
The recovery has been longer than I thought, but no setbacks. I just need to be patient. I am glad I did it...I think I could have gotten more cosmetic improvement with a longer fusion...but it would have been a much more complicated surgery. And I really did it so I wouldn't be 50 years old and hunched over and in pain.

I have 3 kids...15, 12 and 7. It's been a lesson for all, including my husband! I just went back to my part-time teaching job...but I am taking it easy!

I'll send a personal message.

11-03-2009, 10:55 PM
I think I can help. I was 42 yrs. old and had a curve of 49* lumbar (Lower spine) and had a right rib hump. I was diagnosed at age 34 with a 23* curve. It advanced about 4* per year. I wasn't in pain till I took a vacation with 8-9 hours of walking for a week. My Dr. said sometimes something/event can "wake up your back" and the pain can start then. My kids were 11 and 16.

I LOVE (insert sarcasm and eye roll here) when Dr's say curves this size don't cause pain, WRONG! I could only function abut 3-4 hours a day before my surgery. Tough to be a Mom with that type of schedule! You can click on my name to read my threads/posts and get an Idea what I went through or e-mail me if you would rather. Being in shape helped me, I believe, to have a faster then normal recovery. Also, I really think having the right mind set going into this is huge. suzy907@hotmail.com

2/22/06 T10-L4 Now 8*

11-04-2009, 02:46 AM
Hi Ck, Welcome to the best place to be, at the right time!!!

I hate to repeat myself, but I feel the need. We all have scoliosis, but it is so hard to compare ourselves. There are so many different circumstances that have to be factored in.

You are at a good age, I did mine at 45, T-1 to L-5, I had a rough recovery.
But compared to the pain I was in, I don't regret my decision. We all have different pain thresholds as well. And keeping active and in good shape, helps.

The shorter fusions seem to heal faster.

I also have NO doubt, that your children will soon realize, after your surgery, just how much you did for them. They will also step to the plate, and help you out. Husbands are a different story. They don't all react the same.
Some jump right in there, and others seem to spin in circles, because they feel helpless to take your pain away.

Just try and remember, that only those of us that have had this surgery can understand what you're going through. As much as you try to prepare them, it won't sink in until they see you post-opp.

All mt best,

11-04-2009, 06:29 AM
Hello ckieft, my degree is similar to yours and I am having surgery early 2010!
Do you know what levels you will be getting fused?
I hope we both do well :D

11-04-2009, 07:44 AM
I was 52 when I had my surgery, and in great shape. I had a rough first few months because of temporary nerve damage in my leg and couldn't do much of anything.

Before the surgery, I was also worried about my husband and 11-year-old daughter, who were helpless and spoiled as I did everything for them also. I typed out a detailed list of everything I did around the house on a daily and weekly basis, gave them all my important phone numbers .... etc., and basically made it as easy as possible for them to take over.

As it turns out, they really surprised me by stepping up to the plate and taking care of everything. But the most important thing was, I just didn't care about anything except my own recovery in the beginning. Everything got done -- maybe not the way I would have done it, but certainly well enough. My friends stepped in, too, especially with meals.

Also --if you can swing it, get a cleaning lady!! That was a life saver.

11-04-2009, 11:37 AM
Hi CK,
I'm right there with you. I'm planning my surgery for early Feb. (I'm 44) and I have a 9 year old daughter. I wonder, too, if this is the right time - but I don't want to face a more difficult surgery and recovery in the future. I'm worried about everything getting done at home, but as long as everyone is fed I'm not going to worry. Unfortunately my surgeon sort of gave my husband the impression that I was going to be driving and doing just great 4 weeks after surgery. I hope that will be true, but it seems rather early. Yikes! I've been reading posts here for encouragement.

11-04-2009, 01:51 PM

I had surgery at 46 years old, and had just started having pain the last year prior to surgery. At 42 years old (don't know what my curve was then), I was just getting periodic aches and pains in the back but nothing to complain too much about. When I had surgery my kids were 9, 16 & 17. For the first 2 months my parents stayed here and did everything. Once they left, and I was feeling better, I started taking care of mostly everything except vaccuming, cleaning floors & other heavy cleaning. I did everything else though, and THAT's when my kids got spoiled. When I went back to work at about 8 months post-op, THAT's when my kids got a real education that I couldn't work and do everything too. It took time but they adjusted.

Will you have help? Do you have a supportive partner?

Good luck, and ask anything you want.

11-04-2009, 02:36 PM
AMEN to what "Singer" said. It all gets done because for the first 2-3 even 4 weeks...you don't even care. You're busy getting yourself healthy. And it's amazing what the spoiled husbands and kids manage to figure out. Even as my recovery has progressed, I've seen some good changes that I don't think will go away. (and I'm keeping the cleaning service...forever!).

11-06-2009, 03:24 PM
I am 42 and had my fusion done 7 months ago at Duke Raleigh, with Dr Hey. He is wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have 3 boys, so a crazy life too. I was diagnosed in middle school and wore a Milwaukee brace for several years and was told it wouldn't progress. Well, over the past year, I had started to have some back pain, went and had new xrays done, and found that it was worse. Dr said since it had progressed that much over the past few years, it would more then likely continue, so surgery was inevitable. I decided to go ahead and get it done now.

I had surgery 3/31, came home 4/2, and off pain meds by week 5. I am fused from T5-L1. Had a 54 degree curve with a very big right rib hump. Now my curve is about 12 degrees, not noticeable at all and the rib hump is much smaller. I am very happy I had this done. I did question in the beginning, since I wasn't having that much pain, if it was worth it. I am back to all of my normal routines. Bowling, exercising (not as much as I should, hehe), work, etc.

My husband was able to stay home with me for the first few days, but after that, I was fine on my own. I think you will be fine. My boys are 16, 13, and 8. They were a pretty big help initially, but now that mom is better, things are back to normal, hehe. The 8 year old was very protective of me and my back during my recovery, it was cute.

Feel free to email me with any other questions you have. Do you live in NC? I am in Apex.