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judy
10-05-2004, 07:07 PM
Hi Susan,

My name is Judy and I am scheduled to have scoliosis/stenosis surgery Nov. 12. I am trying to get info from people that have had the surgery (rods). I want to know what my life will be after. I am 59 and a cool grandma. I welcome info from everyone!

Thanks, Judy

letty
10-06-2004, 11:50 AM
Judy,

What is the degree of your curve? What kind of surgery are you having/ (anterior, posterior, thoracoplasty)

Letty

judy
10-06-2004, 09:00 PM
Letty,

Thanks for replying. I can't answer about the degree or other info. Thanks to this site, I am realizing what questions that I need to ask my doc besides my other list. I see a doc for second opinion next week. Then I will go back to my surgeon and ask all these questions.

When I know the info, I will send you a message which would help you answer.

Thanks, Judy

letty
10-07-2004, 04:01 PM
Thanks, Judy.

Letty

judy
10-12-2004, 09:32 PM
Hi Letty,

I saw the surgeon for 2nd opinion which matched what my surgeon said. I found out my degrees are 24/57. When I see my surgeon next week (final visit!!!), I will find out how he will be doing the surgery.

In general, what can I expect in recovery after 2/3 weeks, 2 months. What problems stem from the surgery and what will be around forever?

3 weeks from this Friday is THE DAY. I am really doing this so I won't have to cook at the holidays (ha).

Judy

letty
10-13-2004, 11:21 AM
Just like you, I will be eagerly waiting for responses from those who had surgery already. I am also a cool grandma although younger than you. Boy, do I love saying that :D by 2 years. See my post on conflicting opinions about surgery which was started by Irmb.

Letty

judy
10-13-2004, 09:16 PM
Letty,

That was good reading. That seems to be the most difficult decision of the whole picture - should I have it now. I have known for a long time that it was coming but to justify the timing has taken a lot of thought. At this point two surgeons have said now is a good time since some vertebrae are almost closed and my balance is poor. I feel 99% that I am doing a good thing. The other 1% is chicken and wants to whine a while longer.

Judy

kathleensrose
10-14-2004, 06:28 PM
What is stenosis surgery?
I will be talking to my surgeon on Oct 22 about a date for my surgery . I am wondering what I will be able to do after surgery
at about 5 months. I am a very fit 62 year old.
Can I-
1. Get down on all four and weed my garden?
2. Can I use a shovel and pitchfork?
3. Can I walk three miles?

Is this a realistic objective, or silly?
Kathleen Hutchinson

judy
10-15-2004, 11:44 PM
Hi Kathleen

Boy, I wish I could answer your questions. They sound like my own. I am having trouble getting specific answers regarding what a person can/can't do. Of course, we are all different and will recovery differently. Soon you and I will know for better or worse. I am confident we are making the right choices. Have you actually decided to go with it or wait and see when you see your doc?

Stenosis many times goes along with scoliosis. Stenosis is the narrowing of the vertebrae around the nerves. I have two vertebrae that are almost closed. That was the determining factor of surgery. I also have severe arthritis in the area. I asked if that would still be there after surgery. He said arthritis is because of bones rubbing together. After surgery, you don't have that happening.

I got Valium (short term only) from my doc today to take until the day of my surgery. I have so much anxiety. When I talk with people, I am OK because my mind is off of it. As it gets closer it gets scary.
But it will be over and I can get on with my life. It will be a challenge. What feelings do you have on the surgery?

Have a good day!
Judy

Theresa
10-16-2004, 11:10 AM
Kathleen,

In answer to your questions: Can I get down on all four to weed the garden? I am 6 months post-op from A/P surgery and I went back to work full time at 5 months. I work in an elementary school library. I can get down on all four to shelve books. But weeding, that might be to much of a strain on your back. Staying in a bent over position for a period of time. The shovel and pitchfork might depend on how heavy they are. I am not suppose to lift anything over 10 pounds. Walking 3 miles should be fine. Of course that will be a slow process to get back to 3 miles. It also depends alot on what type of surgery you have done and how big. I am from T2 to the sacrum. I had 6 discs removed and a rib. I have 5 incision scars. One down the center of the back, one for the anterior surgery, one for the hip graft, one to have a plate put in for the fusion to the sacrum, and the chest tube incision. The recovery process is long and slow. Don't rush it, you can cause more problems if you do. Hope this helps you. Theresa

judy
10-16-2004, 08:03 PM
Kathleen,

You said that you cannot lift more than 10 lbs. Is that forever or will it change as you heal? What has been the progress of your scars healing? Do they itch? Does your back feel tight? Is it OK getting in and out of chairs, sleeping, driving?

Thanks,
Judy

lrmb
10-16-2004, 08:22 PM
Hi Judy,

Just thought I'd write a quick note to say good luck. I was just reading your post asking Theresa about lifting. I know restrictions can seem formidable, but I wanted to let you know that, as a 28-year-old, I am just at the end of one year of chronic back pain (hopefully about to improve)... and I could lift hardly anything most of the year. There are definitely ways to manage not lifting, it just (--"just"!) requires some thought and acceptance and planning... It's weird, I will probably end up having scoliosis surgery in a few years, and now the idea of not lifting things does not worry me very much at all. It's habit I suppose.

I guess I wanted to say that as a supportive and positive thing, in case it turns out you have some restrictions for a while post-surgery.

We'll surely be thinking of you in Nov! Take care~Laura

judy
10-16-2004, 09:18 PM
Thanks Laura,

You made me feel better. Everybody here is such a great support. In the next 2 weeks and 5 days I will probably ask zillions of questions. Regarding lifting, the most hurtful thing that I have had is not being able to hold our youngest grandson. I could only do so by sitting which is still a blessing. Now he is 6 and taller than all his friends and therefore should lift me. My two older grandchildren (12,10) are as tall as me which they think is so cool. I can't wait until after surgery when I can walk up to them and say, who's taller?

Thanks again.
Judy

LindaRacine
10-16-2004, 09:27 PM
Hi Kathleen...

We're all different, but as far as my own back, I'd say the answers to questions 1 and 2 would be yes, with some amount of pain for a day or two afterward, and probably not for at least 6-12 mos. post-op. The answer to question 3 is definitely a yes.

Many of us find that we don't have a lot of stamina in the first year post-op, but it gradually comes back.

Regards,
Linda

Theresa
10-16-2004, 09:46 PM
Judy,

Don't worry about asking questions. We wouldn't be here if we didn't want to help. The more questions you ask, the better you will feel. So ask away! The 10 pounds is for now. It has gone up from 5 pounds. As you get stronger they increase the weight. My scars are healing fine. I'm quite proud of them. Anybody wants to see them, I proudly show them off. The skin around them gets tight at times. I use extra dry skin lotion during the day and shea butter at night. The anterior incision is really the only one that still is tender, but it is getting better. I don't have any problems getting in and out of cars, or chairs, or sleeping. Again, for the first few months it was the anterior incision that gave me problems sleeping. I was uncomfortable laying on my sides. I started driving at 2 months post-op. If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Theresa

judy
10-18-2004, 09:45 AM
Hi Theresa,

What is shea butter? I have always laid on my side to sleep. Will I have to lay on my back for a while? If I lay on my side, will that be difficult at first? Does that pull on my back?

Thanks for your response. It eases my anxiety. Maybe the biggest thing to handle is anxiety! Thank you Valium.

Judy

letty
10-18-2004, 12:16 PM
Theresa,

Are you still unfortable lying on your side now?

Letty

lrmb
10-18-2004, 06:16 PM
Hi again Judy. No problem about posting. We are all in this together! (and goodness, do I know what you mean about lifting kiddies. My sister has two, and it kills me not to be able to hoist them onto my hip like I used to.)

About anxiety. Have you ever tried practicing some meditation? I took a short class in mindfulness meditation, and it really increased my ability to order my body to relax. My class used a book called "Full Catastrophe Living," which was an interesting read. The guy who wrote it is Jon Kabat-Zinn, and I believe there are even special tapes for people preparing to go into hospital, having surgery, etc.

Just a thought!
Take care. ~Laura

Theresa
10-18-2004, 06:39 PM
Hey Judy and Letty,

Shea Butter is a really, really thick cream. You can get it at just about anywhere. The one that I liked best was from The Body Shop. The ones from Walmart and Bath and Body Works were to thick. I didn't lay on my side for about 4 months. I always slept on my side also. Are you having anterior surgery or just posterior? The reason I couldn't sleep or lay on my side was due to the incision from the anterior surgery. The incision is on the right side, starts just under my right breast and goes up around to the right should blade. I was able to lay on my left side about a month before the right side. When you start to lay on your side, put a pillow in between your knees. That way it doesn't pull as much. Now at 6 months post op I can turn from side to side in my sleep. It's still not perfect but getting there. I still can't lay on my belly. It feels like a ton of bricks pushing down on your back. I had the doctor prescribe me Ativan for anixety before and after the surgery. It really helps and lets you get the sleep that you need. Hope this helps. Theresa

judy
10-20-2004, 09:02 PM
I may have already asked this. Right now my mind is a bit scattered. I can't imagine why?! What is shea butter? Where do you get it?

I started taking Valium for anxiety but it puts me to sleep. Have you tried anything that helped for pre-op gitters?

Thanks, Judy

judy
10-21-2004, 09:15 AM
Theresa and Letty,

Sometimes my mind scares me! I couldn't find the rest of the messages. I finally noticed - page 2. Daaaa How could you sleep on your back being used to laying on your side? Is there anything to help while on your back? Do you need a pillow under your legs? It sounds like people can really feel the metal in their back. Does the heaviness give you a problem?

Today is the final visit to the surgeon!

Talk to you soon! Thanks again.

Judy

judy
10-21-2004, 09:24 AM
Hi Irmb,

Thanks for the advice. I have done a lot of meditation. Unfortunately I am Bi-Polar and my reactions are always a bit more than I need. On a very anxious day, it will last about 10 seconds. Otherwise, I do take time to breathe and visualize. Thanks for reminding me to take the time to do it! I will make sure I take the time today and until 11/5.

Judy

Danite
10-21-2004, 12:09 PM
Good morning everyone,
My medication has been increased and now includes Oxycontin, I must say that it helps me a lot so that I can continue to do things that I love such as some light gardening or mowing the lawn (self propelled) and some short distance walking. But it does nothing to assist or improve the breathing difficulties, shortness of breath. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I have lived a pretty normal life that involved all kinds of activities including sports, and military life after my surgery. I do not have a rod because of the date of the surgery and because it was experiemental surgery at that time (54). I do not wish for any surgery now because of my own experience with surgery and the medical model, that is my choice. Depending on your own determination, motivation and support from close family or friends how your return to what ever normal is, God Bless and remember your back is behind you.

Theresa
10-23-2004, 12:56 PM
Judy,

Yes, I used a pillow under my legs for about 4 months. It feels funny at first then it really became quite comfortable. You're on so much pain medicine that you don't realize that you're on your back. I only remember the last few days of being in the hospital. I was in for 2 weeks. Even the first few days at home were a blur. I took Ativan for aniexty before and after the surgery. Good Luck on your surgery if I don't hear from you before you go. Theresa

judy
10-23-2004, 09:43 PM
Hi Theresa,

Thanks for the advice. From what I have read, I need to have a lot of pillows around. My surgeon said my degrees are 24 cervical, 35 thoracic, and 57 lumbar. It will be a posterior surgery. Now I am in the attitude of "just do it." We are visiting family next week. That will be a help to keep my mind off of it. My surgeon, who only does spine surgery, does one of these surgeries every week. That are that many people out there!! His name is Dr. Glenn Minster out of Detroit.

Reading your message sure makes me feel better. I think I am really letting myself soak in what people are saying. I was too anxious at first (of course).

Take it easy,
Judy

judy
10-23-2004, 10:03 PM
Hi Kathleen,

Did you see your surgeon on Friday? Did you get the info you needed or wanted? From all the info I have heard, it sounds like eventually you can pretty well do what you want. I talked to someone who had this done several years ago. She scuba dives and rides horses!

It is hard deciding. Good luck.

Judy

judy
10-23-2004, 10:10 PM
Hi Letty,

How is the 'other' cool grandma? As you may see in the other note, my degrees are 24/35/57. The surgery will be posterior. And I am ready. I guess I got tired of being so anxious. Why hold onto that? Ha! Really, I still am anxious but not as much. My surgeon uses the projected bones from the vertebrae for grafting. He said that I won't need those anymore. Has anybody heard of that? If he does not have enough he will then take it from somewhere else.

Have a good day. Judy

LindaRacine
10-23-2004, 10:32 PM
Hi Judy...

As far as I know, surgeons have been using the spinous processes (the part of the spine that can be seen when one bends forward) as fusion material for a long time. I had it done when I had my surgery in 1992 (along with bone taken from the iliac crest), and as far as I know my surgeon still uses the technique. However, a surgeon here in the San Francisco area, who trained at Washington University in St. Louis (which is a highly respected spinal deformity clinic), told me awhile back that this technique was no longer being used. I either didn't ask him why, or have forgotten why.

I think that removal of the spinous process may be thought to cause some instability, but that's just a guess. If anyone knows for sure, I'd love to hear.

Regards,
Linda

kathleensrose
10-24-2004, 07:22 PM
Judy and all:
Friday I met with Dr. Shelokov in Plano, Texas. He said I had a
difficult back because a previous fusion of L4/L5 and sub-
sequent infection had inadvertently caused fusion on vertically
to probably T9; my curves are 75 and 80. He created the operation as we looked at my x-rays Noted best course would be NOT to try and straighten my total back, instead to balance my head correctly over my hips by cutting into the vertebrae most curved.This would prevent me from continuing to lean forward. He said my hips would be level. I haven't asked how he would approach the lumbar region-I'll ask next time. I am scheduled for a milogram and a pulmonary test, then back to see him. He then gave me a pain prescripton for vicodan, swooped out of his chair,gave me a big hug and said, "everything is going to be fine, we'll take care of this."
. Kathleen















Originally posted by judy
Hi Kathleen,

Did you see your surgeon on Friday? Did you get the info you needed or wanted? From all the info I have heard, it sounds like eventually you can pretty well do what you want. I talked to someone who had this done several years ago. She scuba dives and rides horses!

It is hard deciding. Good luck.

Judy

Susan Kennedy
10-24-2004, 08:39 PM
Dear Judy,
I am 50 years old and 4 months post-op. I have been wearing a brace when I'm up and about since surgery. I have always been able to get up and use the bathroom, etc. for short periods of time without the brace. This week I will start weaning myself from the brace. I cannot drive yet because I can't get into our van without a step stool. I should be able to get in once I'm out of the brace. It seems that each day I do something "new". I am extremely stiff all over when I first get out of bed. I take one pain pill and head to a hot shower. Then I do my exercises; I started physical therapy three weeks ago. After that I begin to feel better and loosen up. Then I normally get in my brace. That part of my routine will be changing. I find that I can do little things in the kitchen and around the house and then I find my back getting sore so I rest awhile. I am back to doing just my own laundry. My family has been a tremendous help and I couldn't have done it without them. My stamina is low to moderate but I had huge surgeries. Three of them in the course of one week. A total of 28 hours. I was in the hospital for five weeks. I developed an infection which I am still taking antibiotics for but hope to stop soon after I meet with my doctor next month. So I may not be the best person to compare with. I think you will recover quicker and have an easier time than I did. Even though it was very difficult I am so happy I went ahead with the surgery. I no longer have a large lumbar hump on my back or the constant lower back ache. Hope this helps you get a picture of what it's like afterwards and good luck.
susan

momoflacrosse
10-24-2004, 10:32 PM
Hi Everyone:

I am so glad you at least have found someone to do your surgery Judy I have sesen 2 surgeons - one twice and neither was interested in helping me - now I am seeing a third on Nov 15th and have waited almost a whole year to get that app't. I am 51 and my curves are 60 and almost 40 and I am in constant pain which is now affecting my day to day life. I know this one probably won't do anything either as I have gained weight over the past few years and now have both heart trouble and type 2 diabetes which will impact everything. I am so fed up with my situation now as I can't walk or stand for much more than 15 min and even laying is a bother - if I lay on my right side my ribs hurt and on my left side my leg falls asleep and gets very painful, even sitting at the computer is short lived these days. I guess you can tell where I am at , up ubtil a few years ago I was really active - skiing, swimming etc but since 1998 my thoracic curve has progressed from 37 degrees to almost 60 as of last year. Surgeons are just in short supply here in Canada and I don't have any coverage or money to even consider coming to the states. Anyway I will be praying for you girls having surgery soon and those of you recovering. Keep us up to date on how things are going and any questions and answers you come up with. I need all the info I can gather between now and my app't to put on the table.
Take care and thanks for listening to my rant - LOL I do feel better.

Nancy

letty
10-25-2004, 12:34 PM
Judy,

The other cool grandma here is still undecided. My decision will be based on cosmetic reasons (big hump on the right side of back) as well as fear of future problems. My thorasic curvature went up from 53 to 67 degrees in a few years. Besides, T3 to sacrum is quite long. Doctor will do both anterior and posterior. How can't I not have second thoughts? Right now, I play with my grandkids (ages 3 months, 1, 2 and 3 years. I garden, walk a mile a day, go to work (although I wish I'm retired but they say I am too young :D ) Surgery is the best option for some but in my case, it sure needs a lot of thinking and prayer.

Susan, I really appreciate the info you provide to us on the surgery and recovery.

Regard to you all, nice people there (Linda, Laura, Theresa, Connie, Nancy, etc.) I'm sure I missed a lot of names :o but I really appreciate all of you.

Letty

cowprintrabbit
10-25-2004, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by judy
I talked to someone who had this done several years ago. She scuba dives and rides horses!


Judy

Judy, can you put me in contact with the woman you refer to above? I am waiting on a referral for surgery, and am searching for someone who scuba dives post-fusion. You/she can e-mail me at cowprintrabbit@hotmail.com

Thanks, Christine

judy
10-25-2004, 10:51 PM
Hi everyone,

Thank you for the great replies. I will write in more detail tomorrow since it is midnight and I need my rest.

The last couple of days I keep crying. Probably because I am totally scared. It just comes so let it pour. (ha)

Take care gorgeous women!

Judy

judy
10-26-2004, 09:44 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by letty
[B]Judy,

How can't I not have second thoughts?

I can only say what made the difference for me were two things-
finding a surgeon that is suppose to be the best of the best and my last round of PT didn't hold. That was my last option and it was gone. All that was available would be the shots which would be a bandaid and he thought that it would not help too much. In the meantime my back would continue to get worse. So I thought "why wait."

I had to set my mind to it. Once I decided, I felt good about it. Now of course I have extreme anxiety and tears but that will be gone. And I know through all these feelings that I still have made a good decision for myself.

Judy

judy
10-27-2004, 08:53 AM
To all my helpful friends,

I am leaving town today to go to St Louis MO which is my home town. We will return Monday nite (to Detroit). Then 4 days until surgery. I will be talking to you then!!

Hope everyone is OK.

Judy

judy
10-27-2004, 08:55 AM
To all my helpful friends,

I am leaving town today to go to St Louis MO which is my home town. We will return Monday nite (to Detroit). Then 4 days until surgery. I will be talking to you then!!

Hope everyone is OK.

Judy

letty
10-27-2004, 11:24 AM
My prayers are with you, Judy. I am sure you're making the right decision. You will be okay, my friend. Keep in touch as soon as you can.

Letty

judy
10-27-2004, 01:24 PM
Letty,

Thank you for your precious words. This time I had a happy cry and felt the warmness.

Judy

lrmb
10-27-2004, 09:41 PM
Good luck Judy! We will all be thinking about you and looking forward to hearing from you once you are through the other side. Take heart and stay strong. We are all with you along the way. ~Laura

Danite
10-28-2004, 11:08 AM
Best wishes for a fast and a pain free recovery, remember we all must advocate for ourselfs and do what we feel is the right thing for us now and the future. No two surgerys or disabilities are the same, no ones life or everday independent living barriers are the same, we are individuals with disabilities or challenges that we can overcome with faith and determination.
God Bless and a speedy recovery....

judy
11-03-2004, 09:55 PM
I wanted to say thanks to everyone for your prayers and help that you have given me. Talking with you has made this time prior to surgery so much easier and informative.

Tomorrow I will do the last minute errands. Then off to the motel by the hospital and be at the hospital at 5:00 a.m. Friday. Surgery at 7:30 a.m.

Talk to all of you on my road to recovery!

Judy

letty
11-04-2004, 11:01 AM
Judy my dear, I will be thinking about you tomorrow and my prayers will be with you. Your operation will be successful and your recovery will be fast. And of course, you will be very very happy with the result. This is very prophetic and it will come true. God bless you.

Letty