View Full Version : August ladies??

11-08-2009, 11:18 AM
I'm wondering how the "August Ladies" are doing? I haven't seen too many posts and I hope you all are doing well. I am off pain meds (doesn't mean I don't feel it though!) and back to work 4 hours a day as a reading teacher. It's the little moves that wipe me out...up and down out of my chair to the waste basket, to get kids...I really have to remember to "brace my stomach muscles" as my PT says every time I move! I'm very tired at the end of the day. After the first day back, it was my stomach that was hurting! Got a cleaning service and still order my groceries on-line to be delivered.

All in all, I think I'm doing well. My correction was good...though I do wish there had been a little bit better effect cosmetically. Doc said he could have gone up one more vertebrae, but it would have involved collapsing my other lung, etc. So I'm pretty happy. Right rib hump is much less, gained back about an inch so I don't look so scrunched and I'm a little straighter...my left hip still sticks out, but it's hard to compare to my right, as that's where my incision is and I'm not sure if that's still swollen. And most importantly, the lower back pain is gone! Even the post-surgical discomfort is nothing like the lower back and hip pain I used to wake up with each morning!

Love to hear from you all!

11-08-2009, 06:24 PM
Hi Kathy

So glad you contacted us. Just today I was telling myself that we hadn't communicated in awhile.

Thanks for sharing where you are. It sounds like you are doing very well. I'm retired, so luckily I don't have to contend with the world of work. When I look back several days, it is hard to see progress. However, over a period of weeks, I've made great progress. On the positive side, I have no more back spasms, no more bone graft pain. I'm now driving, only need to wear my brace when I go out of my house, can walk about one mile on a good day and can have a glass of wine at night :)

On the negative side, I'm aching quite a bit (kind of like the achy feeling you have when coming down with the flu). I've reduced my oxycontin from two 10mg pills to one. I still take four percocets per day. I tried cutting out the 2nd oxycontin but found the aching kept me awake at night. I commend you on being able to stop your pain pills, and I would welcome any hints you can share.

I think that pretty much covers my current status. I'm so glad I had the surgery and am trying really hard to have Patience!

Take care and let's keep up more often.


11-08-2009, 10:15 PM
Hi Karen
so glad to see "august ladies" recovering & sounding very positive about their experiences..i remember how you august folks sounded before you went for surgery! must be great to be on the healing side of the whole thing!

i have one question for karen..i would need about the same levels fused...am told i need T11-S1 & L4-sacrum...so...does your back feel super stiff?.....do you have any robot-like feelings?
just wondering if fusion to S1 makes it extra difficult to get in & out of chairs, beds, etc..?

it sounds as if you are both healing well & are inspirations to all who read forum!

best regards

11-09-2009, 09:40 AM
Hi Jess

At this point (2+ months into recovery), I'm not sure what is permanent and what is just this stage of recovery. So, please keep that in mind.

When I first get up in the morning, my body is very stiff and it takes a real effort to hoist myself out of bed and to walk. However, my ability to get up from a sitting position and walk improves the more I move.

For me, the feelings of stiffness are mostly in my legs. In fact, the daily stretches that my physical therapist gave me are for my legs, not my back. I assume, however, that the stiffness in my legs actually emanates from my back.

So far, I don't feel at all like a robot. In fact, I can bend my back better than I had expected (I expected to be as stiff as a board). I'm not particularly aware of back stiffness during the day unless I need to clip my toenails, put on socks or pick something up off the floor. I'm super careful about bending because I don't want to do anything to interfere with my fusion. I was repeatedly cautioned at the hospital (as you will be) not to BLT (bend, lift or twist) and I take this seriously.

Hope this helps you a little.

Have a great day!


11-09-2009, 02:33 PM
Another August lady checking in!!

I am extremely pleased with my recovery - even with its setbacks - and pleased with my cosmetic result. My thoracic curve was about 86* pre-op. . .I don't know what it is now, but is significantly improved.

I had the flu, almost 3 weeks ago, which really zapped me. I still have the cough, which, combined with my "pleural remodeling" post surgery, is a nuisance. I don't think that all of this coughing has been easy on my back - I now have new little stabbing pains that weren't present before. On the bright side, between my post-op complication (fluid around my right lung, which led to an admission for a thoracentesis, and then to an admission for a chest tube) and the flu, I am down 30 lbs. . .. this is weight I've been trying to lose since 2001. I no longer take any pain meds, but have some Percocets in the drawer should I need them.

In this recovery time, I have also moved (moving a family of 7, after 22 years in a house, is not a small endeavor) and have lost my mother. My decreased energy, and my restrictions, do frustrate me at times. I now get done in a day what I used to get done by 10am. I'm getting out more, but nothing like I was pre-op. This has been a humbling experience.

11-09-2009, 03:01 PM
Karen...thanks for the response..sounds like you are doing well....& thanks for explaining what it feels like...

to all the august ladies....slow & steady is probably the best way....if you can get it done in a day & not by 10 a.m., it still gets done!! i am sure that 6 months from now, a year from now, you will all be back up to speed!

best of luck for happy healing & a steady move towards a pain free life!

11-09-2009, 09:40 PM
I think you all are ahead of the game, August Ladies! Doing amazingly well, I'd say.
Mgs--I can't believe all the things you've been through. Moving is huge and I'm so sorry about your mother. These are difficult under any circumstances let alone when you are healing from this surgery. I still say my job since surgery is exercising and napping! I don't usually get a whole heck of a lot done. I wish you easier and better days! Janet

11-09-2009, 11:21 PM
I found this forum a few weeks ago and all of your comments and suggestions have been a god-send for me. I was diagnosed as a kid and never treated. I didn't have pain until 5 years ago, now getting through the day is sometimes really tough.

I have a 58 degree thoracic curve and 63 degree lumbar curve with rotation. My surgeon says he will fuse from t-1 through pelvis. I am a 33 yo female with 2 kids, a full-time job and a small farm. If there is anyone who has had a similar surgery i would really like to know what to expect post surgery (pain, activity etc) and how much range of motion i can expect with this fusion and the rods. I know i will never be pain free, i am realistic as i work in the medical field. Thanks ahead of time to you who answers.

11-10-2009, 12:02 AM
My fusion is not as long as yours will be, but I wanted to say that I expected to get through life like a tin soldier, but that hasn't been the case. I do most things I did before surgery, but some are done in a different way. I doubt I will ever cut my toenails, I am nowhere near doing that at 8 months post op. But I shave my legs and using my knees, I can pick things up from the floor. I have bowed out of one or two jobs around the house e.g. cleaning the bath, but otherwise life goes on as before. Most people couldn't tell that I've got a fused spine.

There are others here with longer fusions than mine, who I hope will also reply to you.

Good luck Redsoxgirl!

11-10-2009, 10:52 PM
I would echo most of what Jennifer G said. I am almost as long as you--T2to pelvis. The toenail thing I've attempted rather badly in some very strange positions but it was basically done. At this point I still deal with the toileting issue, however! I thought that would be past but I must have the shortest arms in the world. Still need to use the stupid tong-type device most of the time. Anyone else out there still dealing with this at 7.5 months? Overall you do find new ways to do most things. Janet

11-11-2009, 12:38 PM
I was fused t-10 to sancrum on 8/11. I'm 54 years old. I am feeling quite positive at this point. for about 6 weeks I was having pain in a specific part of my lower back. any activity seemed to bring this pain on, so I was always feeling guilty about whatever I did. then on November 1, I woke up and had a pain free day and pretty much since then the pain has gone. I don't know if it was a part of the fusion that was healing but it's amazing how it disappeared overnight.
Overall I think I'm doing well. I am somewhat stiff when I walk, but that is mostly because my knees are in bad shape. Yesterday I walked 18 holes following my daughter who competed in the high school state cup match. I am not at all sore today.
I treat myself to pedicures and I shave my legs sitting on edge of tub. I can't tie shoes still and I use my grabber as much as I can. I miss being able to walk the dogs but I can't bend down to the ground yet to pick up their poop!
today is my three month mark. I go in for a check up on Friday and will probably be given the okay for physical therapy. In the meantime I have gained 7 POUNDS which is really frustrating - walking just doesn't burn calories for me.
anyway - that's my summary! I'll keep everyone posted! All in all, I would say I'm very pleased with my recovery.

11-11-2009, 12:50 PM
Congratulations Zoee!!!! This is wonderful news.

11-11-2009, 03:54 PM
Yea that is great Zoee! Glad you are feeling better and recovering well. :)

11-23-2009, 05:40 PM
I'm just back from my 3-month post-op appt. My X-Ray shows that everything is holding, and Dr. Tribus said that now I can do just about anything I want - the elliptical, the treadmill, the bike. .. and the weight machines, just not ones that involve my back. This makes me quite happy. . .with this 30 lb weight loss, I need to get busy on toning up. He just said that I should let pain be my guide.

His office is about an hour from me, and I have a dear friend who now lives in Madison, so we met for lunch before my appt. We had a great time, and we shared fusion war stories - she had 2 cervical verts fused 2 years ago. I got caught up on a mutual friend's mother, who, at 89 years old, had 2 cervical verts fused in Sept, and is now at a rehab place/nursing home, and hating every minute of it. So, I'm going to go visit her next week. THEN, I'm heading back to Madison next Fri to have my friend go clothes shopping with me (I am enjoying my weight loss!!)

So, all in all. . .I still get tired easily, I still have weird aches and pains in my back (I'm fused from T-3 to L-3) and I still have some pleural remodeling issues,. . .but, I'm a happy camper.