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Thread: Don't try and be a hero...take your meds!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    140

    Don't try and be a hero...take your meds!!

    Hey all, I'm a little over 4 weeks out from surgery and feel I'm doing really well at this point. However, I made a BIG mistake this past week and cut back on my pain medication too far too fast and paid a big price. I figured I was feeling so well, walking 2-3 miles a day, that I could easily cut back on the MS Contin by half and make up with it with Percoset. I couldn't have been more wrong!!! It didn't hit me for 3-4 days, but then all of a sudden my lower left back was KILLING me! It wasn't a sharp pain, just like a muscle cramp that got worse and worse till I had to lay down. It got so bad that I couldn't stand for more than 2-3 minutes...its was awful....I got terribly constipated again and in general felt like I did when I first came home from the hospital. I talked to the doctors office and they said I was pushing too hard to get off the pain meds and my body was telling me it wasn't ready. Man were they right!!! I went back on the full dosage of MS Contin and feel back to where I was a week ago. I'm working on getting my walking back to 2-3 miles now and am able to stand, walk, sit again...thank goodness!

    Anyway, just a warning to others who are recovering....don't try and be a hero and get off the meds too fast....carefully back off and pay attention to what your body is telling you. I learned the hard way and hopefully others won't have to as well.

    Rich
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar 65 degrees
    A/P Fusion T10-Pelvis by Dr. Christopher Good
    Virginia Spine Institute, Reston, VA 3/17/10, 3/18/10
    Post-Surgery Lumbar 19 degrees, and 2" in height

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    156
    Rich -
    WELL SAID!
    I hope you didn't have too much of a set-back....
    Julie - 51 yrs old

    Dx'd 1973 - 43* thoracic curve / rotation
    Wore Milwaukee brace 1973 - 1979
    Pre-surgery: 63* thoracic / 52* lumbar curves


    Surgeries: P - March 16, 2009 - Fused T3-S2 with pelvic fixation
    A -April 14, 2009 - Fused L5-S1
    Achieved +70% Correction
    Dr. Khaled Kebaish, (and team) Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore


    Standing x-ray
    New Spine 03/19/2009
    New Spine Lateral 03/19/2009

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Topeka, KS
    Posts
    424
    I second what Rich says totally. Listen to what your body tells you. It knows when it's had enough. I still have to take my pain pills and when I overdo things I still have to lay down. But, once I lay down for a few minutes, sometimes taking a nap, I'm much better. Like he said, this is not the place nor time to be a hero. I second what you say Rich completely.
    Rita Thompson
    Age 46
    Milwaukee Brace wearer for 3 years in childhood
    Surgery Mar 1st - 95 degree thoracic curve
    Surgery by Dr. Lenke, St. Louis, MO
    Post-surgery curve 25-30 degree

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Rich,
    Thanks for you message. All along, all I've heard is to get off the strong pain medication as soon as possible because of the constipation problems. I don't have surgery scheduled until Nov. 1, but had already been thinking that I would want to cut back on pain meds as soon as possible. I hope I remember your warning in Nov. when I'm postop.
    karen
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    140
    Golfnut, I have learned that the best thing for my constipation is to walk. I have taken stool softeners, Citrucell, Milk of Magnesia, even a glycerin supositories to help with this and none of them work as well as walking....through my recent setback that has become crystal clear to me. As long as I walk, I have no constipation issues at all even with the strong pain meds...it's when I stop walking that my problems start no matter what I do. For me, I'm clearly better off staying on the stronger pain meds and walking as much as I can....at least for now! :-)

    Also, with a name like Golfnut I assume your a big golf fan. I'm counting the days until I can golf again...that was one of my concerns going into this surgery as i love to play. What has your doctor told you about golfing after surgery? Mine says I'll have no problems, just need to wait a full year before I swing full to make sure the fusion is solid. I'm hoping the surgery helps my game although I'm probably going to have to buy new equipment since I'm 2 inches taller!! :-)

    Rich
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar 65 degrees
    A/P Fusion T10-Pelvis by Dr. Christopher Good
    Virginia Spine Institute, Reston, VA 3/17/10, 3/18/10
    Post-Surgery Lumbar 19 degrees, and 2" in height

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707

    Golf after Fusion

    Rich,
    I love to play golf and learned when I was 10. It's basically what I do for fun and socially spring, summer, & fall. I have played some tournment golf, leagues, and lots of benefit scrambles & have a 7 handicap, so o o o o, I am worried that I will never play at this level again. I try to put it in perspective and think that I've enjoyed many years of golf and I will have a better prognosis by having the surgery. I actually don't have much pain now, but I know surgery is the right choice. Maybe I won't be so hard on myself on the golf course after the surgery. I couldn't get scheduled with Dr. Lenke before Nov. 1, but thought that would be perfect since I'd get in one more season of golf. Dr. Lenke said I would probably be able to chip and putt after 4-6 months. My plan is to really work on my short game next summer & throw a ball out with my friends when we get close to the greens. Summer of 2012, I will take a few lessons, and try to learn a new full swing that hopefully will work, since I will be fused T-4 to the sacrum. I play golf every day of the summer, so I can't imagine next summer without golf. Stacy Lewis, LPGA professional, is the celebrity spokesperson for SRS. She is a high ranked professional, but I don't think she was fused in the lumbar. It's still nice to see someone who had the surgery go on and be a successful golf professional.
    Thanks for the tip about walking as to dealing with the constipation. I had been thinking how do you find the happy medium between taking care of the pain with meds and dealing with the pain from constipation.
    I just had to laugh . .. although I'm new to the forum, where else would you discuss constipation?
    Take care, Rich, and keep us posted on your progress. I want to hear about your golf game a year from now, too.
    Karen
    (I'm playing 18 holes today at Annbriar. If you're bored, go to www.annbriar.com It's a beautiful golf course. Holes 8-18 are all wooded.
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    I think tapering off slowly is the key!!
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Debbei is absolutely right. When I would lower dose and think I'm doing great this way and like someone said 4-5 days later it all catches up to you. Take it slow. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,163

    Hi Nitram

    I have been recommended to have T10-pelvis also, and I have a few questions if you don't mind.

    Was the anterior surgery anterior the full length as well as posterior, or was the anterior just some of the levels?

    How long was surgery, and was it one setting or more than one?

    Were you on a vent afterwards/overnight? Do you remember it at all if so?

    How long were you advised to be off work?

    Sorry if you have posted some of these details elsewhere.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by leahdragonfly; 04-19-2010 at 04:40 PM. Reason: incomplete
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    140
    Hi Karen, I am SOOO jealous of all the golf you get to play and that you are playing now!!! AHHH!!! I'm not quite as good as you are but am around a 17 index and love to play. I only typically get out once or twice a week as with kids and activities it's tough to do more than that. I got my wife into it a few years ago and she golfs more than I do now! Glad to hear your doc felt you'd be able to play again...my doc also said some chipping / putting in 4-6 months would be fine, but he'd like me to hold off on a full swing for a full year. This really should be fine as my short game needs the most work!!

    I'll try to keep you posted on my progress with golf so you'll have an idea what to look forward to. :-)

    Take care!

    Rich
    Last edited by Nitram; 04-19-2010 at 07:46 PM.
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar 65 degrees
    A/P Fusion T10-Pelvis by Dr. Christopher Good
    Virginia Spine Institute, Reston, VA 3/17/10, 3/18/10
    Post-Surgery Lumbar 19 degrees, and 2" in height

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    140
    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post
    I have been recommended to have T10-pelvis also, and I have a few questions if you don't mind.

    Was the anterior surgery anterior the full length as well as posterior, or was the anterior just some of the levels?

    How long was surgery, and was it one setting or more than one?

    Were you on a vent afterwards/overnight? Do you remember it at all if so?

    How long were you advised to be off work?

    Sorry if you have posted some of these details elsewhere.

    Thanks!
    Hi Gayle, I'd be happy to answer you questions...

    - My anterior surgery was to remove the L5-S1, and L4-L5 disks and replace them with titanium cages and BMP. My incision is just to the left of my belly button and is about 6 inches long. That surgery was relatively short, only about 2 hours and was pretty easy on me. I was fine after that surgery and wasn't really that uncomfortable.

    - My surgeries were on consecutive days...through the front was on a Wednesday and was about 2 hours, through the back was on Thursday and I'm told was around 9 hours ( I have no clue as I was out of it for a day or so afterward).

    - I was in a normal room after the first surgery...I don't believe I was in ICU long at all after that one and if I was I don't even remember it, I just remember going into my regular room. The second surgery was another item altogether....I was in ICU for about 24 hours following the second surgery...I wasn't on a ventilator in ICU as I recall, but I was so drugged up I only remember bits and pieces of my time in ICU. I can remember people doing things to me and having no clue who they were and what they were doing, and I really couldn't formulate any words to ask! I remember distinctly asking multiple times where I was and what time it was as I couldn't believe the clock on the wall was moving SOOOO slowly...I'd dose off and feel like I slept for hours and look at the clock and 5 minutes had passed. It was a very odd experience, but not that bad at all looking back on it, just strange. It's probably good I remember VERY little of it.

    - As far as work goes you probably don't want to use me as an example as I was back to working 12 days after surgery much to the dismay of my wife. Granted I was working nowhere near a full schedule and probably worked an hour or two a day that week. Fortunately for me I have a desk job and am able to work remotely and work for a great company that gives me tremendous flexibility. At this point I'm nearing 5 weeks post-op and am still not really back to a full time schedule, and I've had a couple days where I could hardly work at all. At this point I probably put in 5-6 hours a day from bed, or my den, or wherever I happen to feel comfortable at that time. But to be honest I like my job and have nothing else to do! I can't do anything significant around the house and I'm certainly able to type and talk on the phone so why not work? Working gives me something to pass the time...again, I'm sure I'm not the normal case here, you might want to check out how long its taken others to get back to work.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll be glad to help out as much as I can! Good luck on your pending surgery!

    Rich
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar 65 degrees
    A/P Fusion T10-Pelvis by Dr. Christopher Good
    Virginia Spine Institute, Reston, VA 3/17/10, 3/18/10
    Post-Surgery Lumbar 19 degrees, and 2" in height

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