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Thread: Surgery on June 8th - Extremely Nervous!!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    238

    Surgery on June 8th - Extremely Nervous!!!

    Hi everyone-

    I can't believe my surgery is less than 2 weeks away! I made the decision to have surgery back in November and it's been such a long wait. Can't believe it is now so close! I go through moments of calmness and then feel terrified at other times. I am especially nervous because I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old at home. I'm not sure how they are going to do while I'm in the hospital for 4-7 days. They've never been away from me overnight.

    I have been reading all of your posts about 3 times a day since November and have to say I have learned so much from everyone's experiences. There is such great support on this forum. I don't know if I would have ever had the courage to do the surgery if it wasn't from reading everyone's posts.

    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone! This is such a great forum. I'm sure I will be posting alot more over the next 2 weeks.

    Just finished donating my 2 pints of blood over the past 2 weeks and did all my pre-op appointments. I see Dr. Boachie next week for a final visit. I feel as if I am in the best of hands. He is a great doctor and the Hospital for Special Surgery has such a great reputation!

    I am getting ready to pack for my hospital stay and have to go back and read everyone's posts about what to bring. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    JenM
    Surgery date: June 8, 2010 with Dr. Boachie
    Thoracic curve: 55 degrees, corrected to 25 degrees
    Lumbar curve: 58 degrees, corrected to 27 degrees
    Posterior-only surgery, Levels T3-L3
    31 year old mother of 2 young kids

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Jen,
    Best of luck with your surgery. Your surgeon has an excellent reputation so you will be in good hands. We'll all be anxious to hear how you are doing after your surgery.
    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/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    JenM,

    I will totally be thinking about you. Feel like you are somewhat of a "preview" of what's to come for me. My curves are somewhat similar, and I have a 7 and 3 year old. I will be sending good thoughts your way! Please keep us posted and let people on the forum offer you support.

    Evelyn

    P.S. I would pack something distracting for the before-hand part--People Magazine, a DVD of your favorite movie or just some music to calm you.
    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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798
    I agree with all the comments (and my confidence in your surgeon and all)
    The only thing I wonder about is how to best prepare your two small children for your absence, especially considering the context.

    Nb. I used to work as an (Adult) clinical psychologist, but have almost no training with kids apart from being a mother.

    However, I wonder whether it wouldn't be good to get some feedback about how to handle this with your children, both from other moms (what worked/didn't etc), and from anyone who feels s/he has special insight. Note, I've been VERY impressed with "Pooka's" comments to do with "Child Psychology". I hope she sees this and can give advice.

    Although they may not even remember the specifics of this later, feeling anxious and abandoned can stick with small children, even when Mommy comes back safe and sound. It matters who will be caring for them while you're gone and what their expectations are.

    Certainly, projecting a positive attitude about your absence is important but you don't want them to be surprised by it. I remember leaving my two year old (he'd never spent the night without me, either) for an important out of town medical consult taking about five days. I'll never forget hearing his heartbroken sobs on the airport phone, before take off.

    I prepared some taped lullabyes and bed-time stories - kind of a recap of our bedtime rituals - for the time I expected to be gone. His father told me they soothed him quite a lot. I'm not sure I handled the preparation for my leaving as well as I could have, though. Don't remember just what I said. I'm sure I said something.

    Now with cell phones and computers, there are many more options to stay in touch, though considering how much your operation will affect you (unpredictably) it's probably better not to promise much. There are a lot of post-surgical moms on board, and I'll bet they have experiences to share. Too bad the very first time you will be separated, coincides with a major medical procedure with attendant stress and anxiety!

    Distraction is a good idea, I think - not that it will be a big party without Mommy there (and nothing can replace you!), but something special to look forward to might be a good idea. Also making Mommy "get well cards" so they don't feel powerless! One thing that seems universally true of children at almost any age, is that they need to know JUST what to expect when major changes are in store (and when luckily, they don't come as a shock)

    Yours are very young, so the presence of an alternate nurturant figure is important and the advance explanations may be different in some way I don't know. That's where other input would help. Generally the younger the child, the less talking helps and the less MUCH advance notice is a good idea - groping for the little I ever learned about the subject! Every age and child is different.

    Good luck and as you know, you're in the best of hands! Looking forward to your "Post-post"!

    Amanda
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    798
    BTW I'm remembering how much little kids think with dramatizations, especially dolls. If you could get a soft "mommy type doll" with your color hair and similar cut (even a Raggedy Anne might work) and put a piece of clothes hanger wire in its back at a crooked angle like your curves, it might be a good way to explain both what's been hurting Mommy and what's going to be fixed.

    Then after surgery, the wire could be removed, straightened and replaced, (Or just have a replacement straight wire ready), along with a red marker line drawn for your scar - band-aid on it!

    Good way to explain your healing and the need to be careful with Mommy afterward - why you can't lift them, etc. And meanwhile, they have a Mommy figure while you're gone. Maybe TWO dolls - one for each, if they both want to sleep with it!

    Just a thought!
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    1,105
    Hi Jen,

    This is an important part of my pre and post-opp sanity. Thank God I found it when I did. Good luck w/ your surgery and recovery. Keep us informed. It really is a great place to let off steam as well.

    Thoughts and prayers to you and yours,
    Shari

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Wink Kids

    My kids are grown and even though they don't need me to take care of them anymore, I remember my youngest (she's 24 now, but she was 22 then) saying after my first surgery that she "didn't like seeing Mom like that". Meaning goofy, and drugged out! I guess no matter how old they are, they always like Mom to be Mom :-))
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    791
    Of My 2 children , my 15 year old DS could not go to the hospital. We talked on the phone but he said that it would have made it too upset .I told me that was fine with me. My 17 year old DD came and visited me when she could, it was the end of college for her and she was busy .

    Melissa

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lansing, MI
    Posts
    187
    Hi Jen - the two weeks leading up to surgery are so challenging. Emotions are up and down and you are so focused on this. The unknown is what makes it so anxietous. You will be in the present before you know and just focused on recovery.
    I agree I couldn't do it without the forum. It helped me in my prep so much.
    Good luck to you!
    Shari - 55 years old
    Pre-Surgery 62 degree thorasic curve with shifting.
    Post op 13 degree curve.
    Successful surgery 4/15/10, T3-L2 fused.
    2nd surgery to reopen incision 10" to diagnose infection, 5/18/10
    Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI - the late Dr. Harry Herkowitz
    www.scoliosisthejourney.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    If I do this, I'm planning to tell my kids (3 & 7) a week or two before that mommy is going to have her back fixed. They already know there is something wrong with it because I never carry them and sometimes they hear me saying it hurts.

    I will tell them that I will be gone at the hospital and that they won't be able to come see me, but that Daddy and Grandmommy will be here with them. They will be able to call me and send me cards, like they did for Grandpa when he was in the hospital.

    I will tell them that when I get home, they will need to be big kids and help mommy more around the house for a while, and that Grandmommy will be helping more than usual.

    I really think they will be okay with this. I think if I project confidence then they won't be scared. Young kids are very adaptable. I actually think it will be easier for them at this age then a little older when they might understand better (and hence be more frightened).

    Good luck. I'm sure you will know what's best for your little ones.

    Evelyn
    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    145
    Jen, Thinking of you as your surgery date approaches, everyday a day closer to recovery. I recently have decided to go ahead with surgery, and have an appointment with Dr. Boachie June 18 (I saw him 2 years ago, as well as other Dr.s in the years prior). My concerns with my kids wellfare was right up there with my own health like you. But I've realized that I want them to see me as being courageous when I have to face something that is proven to improve my health now and in years to come. I want them to be courageous in life too. I have to say that it is something that you've never been away from them overnight (go mom!), so you might want to bring a stuffed bear for yourself too. Good luck with all your appts. and preparations this week.
    Debra
    Debra
    Age 45
    Pre - surgery Thoracic 69, Lumbar 48
    Post-surgery Thoracic 37, Lumbar 39 (unfused)
    Fused T4-T12
    Milwaukee braced, 11 years old to 15 yo
    Surgery Sept. 1st, 2010 Dr. Boachie

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    238
    Hi Debra-

    Thanks for thinking of me. Good luck with your June 18th appt also with Dr. Boachie! Let me know how you make out. I saw other doctors in the past too but felt more comfortable with him. I feel very confident in him as a surgeon. He also told me I had kyphosis too, which I didn't even know I had. He is also going to fix it in the surgery. I was just wondering, did he recommend surgery to you 2 years ago, or just tell you that you'd probably need it sometime in the future?

    Good luck and please stay in touch!

    JenM
    Surgery date: June 8, 2010 with Dr. Boachie
    Thoracic curve: 55 degrees, corrected to 25 degrees
    Lumbar curve: 58 degrees, corrected to 27 degrees
    Posterior-only surgery, Levels T3-L3
    31 year old mother of 2 young kids

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    145
    Hey Jen,
    Yes, he did recommend surgery and thought I should have it soon. I've been seeing docs (I've seen 3) for about 5 yrs. and they all have thought I should have the surgery. It has been exciting to think of this crooked spine getting corrected to some degree, but of course it's a big decision - and I finally made mine. A more noticable, visible curve in my back and somewhat worse health have pushed me along, but I'm ready. No more waiting for technological advances, my kids to get older or toying with the idea my curve won't get worse - the time has come. You are in great hands with Boachie and the Hospital of Special Surgery. I know he does alot of surgeries on adults too, which I liked.

    I'll definately stay in touch,
    Deb
    Debra
    Age 45
    Pre - surgery Thoracic 69, Lumbar 48
    Post-surgery Thoracic 37, Lumbar 39 (unfused)
    Fused T4-T12
    Milwaukee braced, 11 years old to 15 yo
    Surgery Sept. 1st, 2010 Dr. Boachie

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    Quote Originally Posted by Debra JGL View Post
    something that is proven to improve my health now and in years to come

    Debra,

    I am going through some of the same thought processes trying to make this decision that is sounds like you have recently gone through. I like this statement that you made regarding surgery (above). Did you read any studies to support this? My doctor says vague things like "my patients who had surgery tend to do better over time." I would like some cold, hard facts to fall back on when I'm getting nervous. Just wondered if you had found any or if your doc said something more specific.

    Thanks!
    Evelyn
    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.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    114
    When I went away for an extended trip for my tenth anniversary ( a very long time ago!), I left my then 5 and 3 year old kids with relatives. What really helped was a makeshift calendar so they could "count" the days until I returned. My 3 year old really missed me, but loved counting the days, even though I'm not sure he really knew what it meant!
    Kathy, 43
    Diagnosed as a teen
    Boston brace 2 years
    63 degree lumbar curve
    Surgery August 26, 2009
    Anterior approach fused T12-L4
    now 28 degrees

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