View Full Version : Surgery Jan 29th Dr. Lenke

01-20-2010, 01:28 AM
I've posted a few times but this is FOR REAL.
Surgery on January 29th with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis.
My surgery is 11 days away and I fluctuate between calm and freaking out.
Any last advice?
I stop taking all meds and supplements tomorrow. Done with the iron (I gave two autologous donations).
My house is organized--just need to make a drop off at the the local thrift store.
My mom will be with me in St. Louis during the surgery.
My husband will be here in Salt Lake with the four kiddos--14, 13, 10, and 6.
A neighbor (whom I love) keeps trying to get me to cancel and do "Spinal Touch Therapy."--Hard to tell someone that I care about that I made this decision last April when I had my first appointment with Dr. Lenke--it was just the right thing to do.

I'm an RN--so I know way too much. I used to work in the OR. Just start the IV and knock me out! The plane right home is gonna be rough--any suggestions? We have the bulkhead seats and I will time the meds to the minute but. . . I love kids but I know some little kid will be behind me kicking the seat all the way home :)

My fusion will be T4-L3. My freaking out is wondering what I'll be able to do (down the road of course). I am a clean-a-holic. I wash my floors on my hands and knees? Any more of that?

I love to walk 4 miles a day on my treadmill--in one hour. Will I be able to do that ever again?

I might be facing a divorce later this year. Will I be able to work as a nurse and be a single mom?

So many unknowns! Yet, I do know that I am tired of being in pain every single day and night. Dr. Lenke said I have an 80% chance of being out of pain. 10% chance of being in different pain and 10% chance of being in worse pain.

Thank you all for listening. It's been very good therapy to write this all out. I know I can't be the only one with these types of worries--because I read your threads every single day.

Thank you to each and every one of you--I talk about all of you to others as if I know you. It's funny--but I really feel like I do in some small way.

age 37

01-20-2010, 03:34 AM
You sound almost excited Jennifer, and it is a very exciting thing if you can overcome the fear! Glad you don't have long to wait now.

My fusion will be T4-L3. My freaking out is wondering what I'll be able to do (down the road of course). I am a clean-a-holic. I wash my floors on my hands and knees? Any more of that?

I do my floors on my hands and knees and I have a longer fusion than you'll have. It's not a problem.

I love to walk 4 miles a day on my treadmill--in one hour. Will I be able to do that ever again?

Not straight off, but there's no reason why you can't walk four miles in an hour in 6 months or so.

I might be facing a divorce later this year. Will I be able to work as a nurse and be a single mom?

Do you do lots of lifting as a nurse? You will have a weight limit for some time, mine is currently 10 kilos but I'm assuming once fusion has taken place, there's no reason why you can't lift whatever you could before, once you've built up the strength again. Being a single mom is hard, but as one (ex) single mom to another, I wish you the strength, the patience, the energy and the good health that's necessary to do a two-person job!

Good luck Jennifer!

01-20-2010, 06:21 AM
Hey Jen, I too am getting quite nervous as my surgery is only 5 days away now. But I feel an aura of calm enveloping me as the date approaches and am quite sure this is common.

I am doing nursing at uni and talked with my surgeon if it would be the most appropriate career choice and he said probably not. His reasoning is that below the fused levels disk degeneration can occur quicker than normal due to the increased stress on the unfused disks. But, I am going to probably do it anyway. And you being already in the industry would be a major benefit.

You have a lot coming up! I hope you come out of it all shiny and happy :)

01-20-2010, 09:06 AM
I clean the bathroom/shower floor on hands and knees, but mop the rest of the house, because its polished Jarrah. It feels funny, but its do-able. Walking 4 miles an hour may take a while, but you will get there. With regards to your nursing position, depending on how long you have been there, they may be sympathetic and put you into a less demanding role (no lifting of patients etc) or you can possibly consider working in a clinic. I think you will be just fine. Take one day at a time and really focus on your recovery. Best wishes.

01-20-2010, 01:09 PM
Hi Jennifer

My dd also had surgery with Dr. Lenke, T4-L4. I can only comment on the plane ride home. Our flight was 2 hours from St. Louis to Houston. We flew on Thanksgiving Day which turned out very lucky for us. There were 17 people on the flight and Sheena had the entire row of front seats (3) to herself so that she could lay down the entire time. To be honest, I don't think she could have made it home sitting upright. We went home 9 days after surgery and she was still extremely uncomfortable sitting up for any length of time. Depending on how long after surgery you'll be leaving, you may want to consider purchasing an extra seat or two or flying first class. We flew Southwest so first class wasn't even an option.

Good luck to you, Dr. Lenke is an amazing surgeon.

01-20-2010, 01:59 PM
A million thanks to all of you!

Jimbo--good luck to you! I know that I just might need to switch to a less demanding area of nursing--that's what I like about the field--lots to choose from. I'll be interested in your posts after surgery.

The flight from St. Louis to Salt Lake is about 3 hours--I will just have one seat--but I've told myself I can endure anything just to get back home!

01-20-2010, 03:27 PM
Jen--You're in good hands with Dr. Lenke--very knowledgable & expert surgeron. It looks like most have answered your ?'s already very well that I can give any info on. The only one that might be different for me is mopping on hands and knees. My fusion is longer and I'm older but I have only done that for the briefest moments. Being in that position seems very strange. I used to be a super clean freak too before surgery but I seem to be getting over it! You seem to have things well in control That must make you feel better. Very best of luck to you. Janet

01-20-2010, 03:59 PM
Jen, my surgery is with Dr. Lenke March 31st and I am already starting to go through the emotions you are! I too am a clean freak, and if my place is a mess it stresses me out! My fusion is similar to yours, as well...T3-L3 approx. What is the degree of your curve? Where exactly do you have the most pain? Where are you staying after the hospital? Did they tell you about how long you will stay? How did you know when to book your return flight for (what day)??? Is someone going to be in St. Louis with you the whole time? I'm facing this surgery alone....so I will have a couple different people take shifts with me. I feel so confident in Lenke! I will be praying for you and thinking about you. Please keep me posted on how it goes! Sorry for so many questions...OH...and one more!...did you have to donate your own blood first??? Thanks and Jen, I will be thinking of you on your day!


01-20-2010, 08:56 PM
Sounds like a lot of us are in countdown mode right now. So many emotions--I had an absolute breakdown the other night but that might not have been all bad. I tend to be in control all the time, handling everything, big-girl pants and all that but we all reach a point... I do know that as I sit here with that horrible aching pain in my hips and down into my leg, that I (and the rest of us) are doing the right thing for our future health--both mental and physical. I smiled when I read about someone's well-meaning spinal touch therapy. My husband's cousin was suggesting quantum reiki treatments from where he lives in Austria--yeah, that will be really effective. You just have to laugh sometimes. Good luck with your plane ride--we're still trying to figure out the best way to manage a 4hour drive from NY. My hopes and prayers are with you and that other aspects of your life may resolve in a good way, too. Take care and keep us posted

01-21-2010, 01:49 AM
Hi Jennifer,

My surgeries were in May of 05 at the age of 45. Fused from T-1 to L-5.

Every fear and concern you have is real and normal. I liked a nice clean house, but my meds helped me get passed that, along with many other issues at the time.

We are all afraid that we will not be the same, and we aren't. We've just been totally rearranged physically and sometimes mentally for a while. No one can tell you how you will really feel afterwards. I now have different and less pain.
Rougher in the winter.

But rest assured, that no matter how you feel right after surgery, it gets better and better, month by month, and week by week. Don't compare your recovery to anyone else's. It's your body, and it will heal in it's own time, have faith in that!!! Give it the time it needs.

And all your questions about what you will and won't be able to do after you have healed, will answer themselves. I find that there is very little that I can't do, just that I may have to do somethings differently.

Everything always works out, although I was divorced 2 years after post-opp.
Your probable divorce isn't done until you sign the papers. Is it possible that some of your stress and pain you have gone through over the past years may be part of the problem. Don't know just wondering. But no matter what happens in the future, you will always have the inspiring knowledge that you survived an incredibly difficult battle with the scars to prove it. You will realize what a strong woman you really are, and you can survive anything!!!

Sorry I rambled here, you struck a chord in me,
All my best,

01-21-2010, 11:16 AM
Radiogirl--good luck in March! I emailed you previously about my pre-op day at Dr Lenke's--I'm from Salt Lake? If you still have questions--especially because we have the same doc I'll fill you in as I go along.

ADMoul--my prayers and thoughts will be with you. Thank you for responding.

Shari--thank you. Your words brought so much peace and I will hold on to them.

01-24-2010, 04:13 AM
Good Luck to You!!! You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am also an RN, but a critical cardiac RN. And yes, knowing too much really stinks at this time. My surgery is 3 weeks away, February 17, 2010. I am scared and excited at the same time. I am really nervous for the anesthesia but so excited to be getting a new back!!! What is/are your curve/curves? I have a 64 degree cervical-thoracic and a 56 degree thoracic-lumbar. I am going to be fused from C5-6 to L1-2. Seems like sooooo many vertebrate!!! Well good luck to you. You are going to do great! Take care, Melissa
P.S. Make sure you post on here after your surgery; I want to know how recovery is going for you:)

01-24-2010, 06:49 AM
Those of u that r traveling long distances I commend u. My travel from the hospital in a car ride was only 40 min and it felt like hell the whole time and I could not get in a good position with 2 pillows and a blanket. But if u do a long car ride I suggest lie down in the back cuz I was sitting in the front seat and it was killer.

01-24-2010, 07:56 AM
Good luck to you Jennifer! I bet that in time you will be able to do many of the things you asked about. Unfortunately, I am not a cleanaholic :) If I felt like it, I could get down on my hands and news and clean the floor, but #2 teenage son has that job for me. I have a fusion similar to yours (T3-L3) and I can do 4 miles on the treadmill in one hour. Lately, I have been taking Zumba classes instaed though.

Bottom line--you might do things a little bit differently afterwards, but you will probably be able to do the things that you want to do. It might take some time to get there, but I bet that you will be able to.

I'm glad you'll have your mom with you at the hospital. BTW, I have none of my pre-surgical pain. I hope you get the same results.

Keep us posted,

01-24-2010, 03:54 PM
Hi Jennifer

Having a carry on stuffed with 2 or 3 soft down pillows will be a life saver on the plane. I've been doing this for years now. Use a piece of luggage with rollers.

I think that if I would have had a nurse that was fused, and had experienced scoli surgery, that would have made me feel much better in recovery. Any nurses that have this experience will be invaluable on the orthopedic ward.

Try not to think about a divorce. This recovery is all about you.

Explain to everyone and show some post scoli x-rays to try to help explain exactly what it is that you will be going through. Most people really donít have a clue. Show them mine, they are in my first thread.

Once again I will recommend the foam topper for the bed. 2-4 inches thick.

Im late for skiing, gotta run.

Good luck

01-24-2010, 07:42 PM
Jen--Good luck to you Jen! You are in such good hands with Dr. Lenke! I'll be thinking of you and praying for a great outcome & recovery for you. Janet

01-24-2010, 09:24 PM
Best of luck with your surgery

I am getting to the point where I can't wait until 3/11 to get mine done so I can rid of the pain

Please keep us informed as to how your goes


01-27-2010, 02:38 PM
Best of luck with your surgery. You are in good hands.

01-27-2010, 03:02 PM
Hi Jenn

Best of everything on the 29th

Focus on yourself for now . You are what matters now. No one else

Take good care of yourself

We be waiting to hear from you from the other side

Tomorrow is 6 weeks for me.


01-27-2010, 10:37 PM
Jen - Did you leave for St. Louis yet? Are you staying in the hotel attached to the hospital for a night or two before? You must be going through so many emotions right now! I am for you!!! And my surgery isn't until end of march!!! Please, please, please, keep me posted on everything. I will be there in your same shoes in St. Louis in a couple short months!!! Good luck Jen! I'll send prayers and good thoughts your way! :)


01-28-2010, 01:30 AM
Good luck Jen. Sounds like you've got an excellent surgeon so that's the major aspect taken care of. You'll do great, I am sure.

01-29-2010, 12:51 AM
Jen, You've picked one of the best surgeons. I'll be sending best wishes to you tomorrow for a great outcome and a speedy recovery. Joy

01-29-2010, 02:00 AM
Hey Jen
thoughts & prayers....to you...& anne next week...it will all be good...you guys will be getting better at the same time!
best wishes to you both for a smooth procedure & uneventful healing....that leads to a pain free healthy life for you both!


01-29-2010, 08:38 AM
Hey Jen,

My prayers are with you today for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery


01-29-2010, 11:29 AM
Me tooooooo Jen!!! Get him warmed up for me :)

01-29-2010, 09:24 PM
You guys don't wear out Dr. Lenke, now (just kidding). I have plans for him in July (my surgery date)......Ha! If I can live that longggggg.

01-29-2010, 10:17 PM
Rita R - Haha! Don't worry...we'll save some for you :) It's cool that we will be able to give you the "insider info" first hand!

01-30-2010, 03:37 PM
Ha! Yeah, let me know all the skinny on everything about it. I'd love to hear it. I'm already kinda nervous - but I'll certainly be glad when its over. I can't imagine being there for week maybe ten days. Gosh, that's long time. I'm hoping for shorter. But, please let me know anything you can. Thanks. I sure appreciate it.

02-01-2010, 10:38 PM
RitaR...did I see somewhere else that you were scheduled for May 12th? I remembered that cuz that's my birthday...I turn the big 50! And originally my surgery was for 5/5, but got moved up to 3/31!!!

02-01-2010, 11:08 PM
Nope, I go for my preop testing on May 26th, but my surgery date isn't until July. I'm hoping they are able to move me up. I've talked to Kelly many times.

02-04-2010, 08:48 PM
JenParker!!!...How did your surgery with Dr. Lenke go? How are you doing? Please post something as soon as you can!! I hope you are healing well by now!