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Thread: On the verge of a mental breakdown...

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    I'm so sorry you're going through this, Sara.

    Regarding the discussion of the no bending, lifting, twisting rule: it's not a big deal because those are the three big things you do NOT feel like doing after surgery anyway. For 3 or 4 months I wore a so-called turtle brace while I was up and about (not sleeping), which was quite comfortable and which made me feel much less vulnerable while walking around with my new spine. Of course I could lift everyday things like a purse, etc. but it took over 6 months before I felt comfortable lifting a gallon of milk. In the early days, if I dropped something on the floor and couldn't get it with a grabber, it stayed there until somebody else picked it up.

    And yes, walking is the best post-op exercise there is because it's gently weight-bearing without being jarring and is supposed to promote fusion...at least in my case it did.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    Okay, I'm new here, so please excuse my ignorance, but it took six months before you felt comfortable lifting a gallon of milk?

    How do you manage this if you have children? I've got my mom to stay with me for three months, but I was hoping to be able to do basic things like cook dinner for my kids (ages 4 & 7) after that. Is that unrealistic?

    What do you do about laundry?

    Thanks!

    Sara, sorry for what you are going through.
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,755
    Quote Originally Posted by Confusedmom View Post
    Okay, I'm new here, so please excuse my ignorance, but it took six months before you felt comfortable lifting a gallon of milk?

    How do you manage this if you have children? I've got my mom to stay with me for three months, but I was hoping to be able to do basic things like cook dinner for my kids (ages 4 & 7) after that. Is that unrealistic?

    What do you do about laundry?

    Thanks!

    Sara, sorry for what you are going through.
    As far as laundry, your kids are big enough to "help" mommy get the clothes to the washer/dryer. You may even have them load the machines for you.

    As for dinner. If you are not able, there are plenty of easy to prepare stuff you can get at the store, like preseasoned stirfry's, lasagnas, etc. That might be helpful, even if it is out of you normal routine. I'm sure you'll be fine. I've had many surgeries, just not this one, yet. You'd be surprised how ingenius you become. It's a good thing you have mom there to help through the first three months.

    If/when I ever have my surgery, my mom wants me to move IN with her indefinitely. She lives one state over. I said, "Mom, I'm married. I don't want to leave my husband and kids for that long." She said I could bring the kids if I want and Hubby can visit on the weekends. I really don't know how long that will last! hee hee

    You'll get through this. Just remember to cheer me on when it's my turn! Then you can tell me if my advice stunk, or if it was a lifesaver!

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260

    That gallon of milk..

    I'm literally a 98-lb. weakling, so a gallon of milk seems bigger to me than to most people...

    I should probably stop chiming in, because my recovery was much slower than most people's due to my long anterior incision and some temporary nerve damage in my leg. Most people are just having posterior surgery or minimally invasive anterior incisions these days. Confusedmom, if your mother is staying with you for three months, you'll probably be in good shape by the time she leaves.

    I still use a grabber for doing laundry -- mostly because I'm so short I can hardly reach the bottom of the washer!

    Good luck to all who are facing this surgery.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    I took xrays locally on Monday, I should find out today if it is broken or not.
    As for braces...I wore one for 3 months this time and 3 months last time. The hard plastic, TLSO kind.

    Lifting-my restrictions were 5lbs the 1st 6 weeks, 10 for the next, etc, increasing every six weeks by 5 lbs. I am at 25lbs right now, but I can't think of anything that I have lifted that was that heavy.

    Walking-I still walk, not nearly as much as last year (10 to 15 miles a day) because I was worried that that caused the problems. Maybe only 2 miles a day, plus normal activity.

    BMP-They used them both the anterior and posterior in the original fusion, and on the revision.

    Grabber-I was reaching my arm out to get the grabber to grab my spinal stimulator when I felt the pop. I still use it frequently.

    Other things- I wore my spinal stim for 4 hours everyday.

    Not sure what else I could have done...
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    336
    Sara, I am so sorry to hear this.

    Is there any way you can get it checked out?

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    I live in New Milford, Ct and grew up in Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    66
    I'm a little confused now. Why do some of us need braces and others don't?
    I have a long fusion, asked that question and was told it wasn't necessary.
    I had a bone density test prior to surgery- does everyone have that?
    Also, I remember being told not to lift heavy things but not specifics. At my last visit I was told not to lift more than 25lbs for the rest of my life. I wanted
    to get a puppy that would grow to weigh more than that. I am pretty sure I go
    over the 25lb limit as I am pretty strong and it would be impossible to weigh
    everything. I try to be careful and bend my knees when I lift, and I no longer help moving heavy furniture but I don't think about each and every thing I lift.
    dianeh
    ant./post. fusion Jan. '06
    T3- sacrum
    dbl.curve, T47,L43

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798

    Thumbs up

    Singer:
    Of course I could lift everyday things like a purse, etc. but it took over 6 months before I felt comfortable lifting a gallon of milk.
    Yes, purse, no gallon of milk!? Hehe. You don't know my purse! I have to carry a lot around (though probably not as much as I do) .

    I rely (I'm pre-surgical) on an attractive (Napa leather) back-pack style purse, which I find - if it's properly put on with the straps the right lengths - even relieves my pain to a degree. It also acts as a kind of stabilizer, even helping me stand up straighter regardless of whether it's full. It's important it be centered.

    I'm guessing it weighs at least 15 lbs. most days. I slip it on, first one arm, then the other - sliding it down over the shoulders with a kind of shrug.

    Wonder if this will be forever forbidden to me after surgery. It was a godsend when I found it. There aren't that many good looking purses in a backpack style. (In fact, it turns out this was technically a diaper bag! Has a good many zippers. Every once in a while something will trigger one to open, and unbeknownst to me I'll leave a trail of personal belongings from car to, say, Walmart's front door!

    Can't picture picking them all up with reachers! Something tells me, my life-style is going to have to undergo a radical reconstruction along with my spine or I won't survive. I have a sneaking suspicion that most of you who say you're independent after a few months, are actually depending on help at the beginning and end of the day (at least) from live-in family.
    Not to mention in the middle of the night, as needed. I'm trying to picture what "managing" will REALLY involve. The level of organization, this requires may be beyond me, however hard I try (and of course, I will!)

    It can be those little things that drive you nuts! After my hand surgery, I had to wait 'til a friend or contractor or even the UPS man, was around just to open child-proof medication containers. (Course I should have changed them over before hand, but there are so many such details one doesn't think of! *sigh* . I missed medication doses all over the place on that account. Just an example...

    Fierce, please let us know as soon as you hear about your X-rays! Hoping against hope...
    Not all diagnosed (still having tests and consults) but so far:
    Ehler-Danlos (hyper-mobility) syndrome, 69 - somehow,
    main curve L Cobb 60, compensating T curve ~ 30
    Flat back, marked lumbar kyphosis (grade?) Spondilolisthesis - everyone gives this a different grade too. Cervical stenosis op'd 3-07, minimally invasive

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    774
    I was completely on my own at two months. My first day home (after recovering at my brotherís house), an aunt and uncle stopped by with some groceries. Even though I had offers from friends and co-workers to pick up groceries for me, I was perfectly capable of fending for myself. Barring any serious complication, you will do fine on your own after the initial recovery period. I can assure you your lifestyle is not going to undergo a radical reconstruction.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi Backout,
    My surgeon had me wear an elastic brace for about 6 months during the day basically as a reminder to me not to bend, twist or lift. I was allowed to lift 5 - 10 lbs, so small bags of groceries. I was told not to bend over and load and unload a dishwasher, so I sat on a chair to do it. I didn't want to twist because it was doing the "Twist" that helped land me in the hospital with severe sciatica in the first place. For cooking, keep your major pots and pans on the counter tops for awhile. Minor adjustment to your routine is all.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798

    telomere healing

    You guys are so encouraging. I feel my pulse slowing after I read such posts even though I basically see myself as not being quite as "together" as most of you. Function of age, secondary physical and associated problems due to a life of draining stress which wore me out in countless ways.

    Tangent - the kind of thing I sometimes fret over....Anyone read that study demonstrating how stress affects longevity? Chromosomes have a built in maximum # of replications which determine our life span, as with all species. They grow ever shorter, no matter what but stress "frays" the ends (called telomeres) and shortens them much faster, with expectable consequences.

    Guess what human population they chose to test out the hypothesis?
    Mothers of special needs kids!
    I have two. Single mom, too.

    I figure my physiological age is several decades ahead of my chronological one (which at 64 - still can't figure out just how that happened - is already plenty! )

    Oh well, done is done. There are so many ways that fraying expresses itself, though... Seems like most come into play in tests of resilience - like how well I recuperate from this big Zap!
    But I'm trying to anticipate as much as possible and plan ahead, knowing what affects me. Ought to help.

    Meanwhile, it makes sense that obsessing over that study (etc) is in itself a stressor, so instead I might as well try to take deep breaths and try to visualize mending telomeres! (Someone said to picture them like the plastic ends of shoelaces)

    You guys help my telomeres heal!
    Not all diagnosed (still having tests and consults) but so far:
    Ehler-Danlos (hyper-mobility) syndrome, 69 - somehow,
    main curve L Cobb 60, compensating T curve ~ 30
    Flat back, marked lumbar kyphosis (grade?) Spondilolisthesis - everyone gives this a different grade too. Cervical stenosis op'd 3-07, minimally invasive

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Butte, Montana
    Posts
    114
    Hi there, Miss!! You know you can handle anything that comes your way. Please don't feel alone....my "Superman's" CT scan results came back and not only does he have the broken rod, pseudoarthrosis, but a fracture in the L5. I am learning that life is REALLY not fair. But, you've got me praying for you!!!

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    Oh no! Poor Alex! How is he holding up? Is he having surgery soon then?
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    Oh..also. I went to get my xrays done monday, they said that the university of iowa hospital would have them by wednesday, being that its thursday I gave them a call. Apparently the local hospital forgot to send them the cd rom, just sent the report. U of I doesn't trust their report. So, the local hospital is sending them by mail tomorrow. I won't know until next week. :-(
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  15. #30
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    sorry you have to spend the wkend not knowing! i hope you get some good news next week!

    jess

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