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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3

    New here - scared, but considering surgery

    Hi everyone,

    I just happened upon this forum and it's been so educational. I'm feeling so vulnerable right now and I hope to receive some advice or encouragement. I've been in a lot of pain the last couple of weeks. I've been in pain on and off for the past two years, depending on what I do, but this time's been worse than usual. Something as minor as stretching for a few minutes can set it off, which is what happened this most recent time. Yesterday, I went shopping for a couple of hours and I was in so much pain as I left that I was in tears as I drove home. If a girl can't even go shopping, then there's a problem!

    I've limited my activities in the last two years because I'm afraid of the pain (and I'll be honest - I don't really like exercising much anyway). But as a result, I've gained about 20 pounds. Along with having crooked hips, extra weight certainly doesn't help my body image.

    These past two weeks, I've visited two orthopedic surgeons (one was Dr. Pashman at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles - found his name here). I have a 30 degree scoliosis curve due to a hemivertebra between L1 & L2. These two doctor visits been so eye-opening! For the first time in my life, I've learned that something can be done to fix me! They can take out the hemivertebra and straighten me out! I thought this was something that I'd just have to learn to accept and live with. It sounds crazy, but I'm actually a little excited and hopeful, not just to be without pain, but to have a straight back/hips. I almost feel guilty about being excited about the cosmetic benefits, but having this condition has made me feel so self-conscious over the years. The thought that I could wear cute curve-hugging dresses or not have to pull up one side of my pants so they'll fall evenly - /sigh/ it would be so nice!

    But then I think about the surgery itself and it terrifies me. I'm such a baby that I have to take anti-anxiety medication just to get my teeth cleaned. I'm questioning how much pain I'm in regularly and rationalizing that maybe I'd feel better if I just walked more. I'm not good at knowing where my limits are, even when it comes to pain. I don't know what to do. It all just sounds so scary.

    Any advice/encouragement/experiences would be much appreciated! Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    Hi Nancy, and welcome to the forum!

    What stood out from your post was that you said you are a baby about these things. Nobody could have been worse than me. I'd never had more than a sniffle my whole life so to contemplate such a big surgery, I nearly lost my mind! Having an injection made me want to run a mile. I also took anti-anxiety meds and it made all the difference. In the end, I was looking forward to the surgery, just to get it over and off my mind, but also for the positive reasons of less/no pain and even the cosmetic improvements (which were unexpected and huge , as it turned out!)

    The good thing is, since my surgery I'm not nearly the baby I was.

    Any questions you have, please just ask.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3
    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for the reassurance. Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to be otherwise healthy too - not even a cavity! The most invasive procedure I've had was when I got epidural cortisone injections to alleviate the back pain (ended up making it worse ). They had to give me "twilight" sedation for that, and it totally knocked me out.

    Maybe I should take advantage of the anti-anxiety meds more often! Maybe deciding to go through with surgery might show me that I'm stronger than I think I am?

    I saw your before and after photos - you look great! And glad to hear you're not in pain anymore. I feel like I'm getting old before my time (I'm 37) because I've been limiting my activities more and more to avoid the pain. Doesn't bode well for the future.

    I have to admit though, your scar scares me. Was that photo taken shortly after your surgery? How does your scar look now? How painful was recovery?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
    Posts
    414
    Welcome Nancylynne.......we were all new once. I will tell you, this site was a God send to me. It gave me encouragment, strength & comfort, knowing I wasnt alone & had somewhere to turn. Ask anything you need to, we'd all love to help!
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    14
    Hi ,I know what you mean as a result of my scoliosis I was 30lbs over weight
    [I was in chronic pain and couldn't workout] hopefully something can be done to stop the progress of your curves [I'm not sure how old you are but sometimes a brace can be helpful]
    Anna
    Braced: august 08-sept.09
    spinecor
    Pre surgery Curves: L90* & T55* degrees!
    Levels fused:T11-L3
    Post surgery curves
    L33*,T30*

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    WV, USA
    Posts
    92
    HI and welcome
    It seems we have similar curve degrees. I'm waiting in the wings as far as surgery goes myself, scheduled for January 2011, but I just wanted to tell you, please DO NOT feel at all bad about feeling excited or good about having possable cosmetic benefits. It seems there's alot of people that will beat you down for even thinking it, let alone saying/typing it out. It's major surgery and very heavy but your mind and your body are your own and you'll know in your heart what the decision should be. Read everything you can and be as informed as you can. The possability of hope for us is a gift in itself. I wish you the best.
    Surgery scheduled for January 2011
    by Charles (Ted) Shuff
    http://cabellhuntington.org/services...ce/physicians/
    http://s910.photobucket.com/albums/a...dayjunk/Davis/

    "Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."
    -- Samuel Johnson
    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    Quote Originally Posted by nancylynne View Post
    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for the reassurance. Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to be otherwise healthy too - not even a cavity! The most invasive procedure I've had was when I got epidural cortisone injections to alleviate the back pain (ended up making it worse ). They had to give me "twilight" sedation for that, and it totally knocked me out.

    Maybe I should take advantage of the anti-anxiety meds more often! Maybe deciding to go through with surgery might show me that I'm stronger than I think I am?

    I saw your before and after photos - you look great! And glad to hear you're not in pain anymore. I feel like I'm getting old before my time (I'm 37) because I've been limiting my activities more and more to avoid the pain. Doesn't bode well for the future.

    I have to admit though, your scar scares me. Was that photo taken shortly after your surgery? How does your scar look now? How painful was recovery?
    Sorry Nancylynne, for taking so long to reply. (I thought I had? Must have had a senior moment.)

    The scar photo was taken at 11 weeks. It's lighter now of course. My recovery wasn't overly painful from the day I came home from hospital. Being home, being in my comfy bed, I guess it was psychological as much as anything, but from that day, my pain eased off magically. I had withdrawals coming off the Oxycontin and had some dizziness to deal with, but not a lot of pain after the first three weeks. I thought I was 100% at 3 months, but of course, there were improvements after that, mainly with my flexibility. I can do anything now.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  8. #8
    backissues Guest

    New to Forum - Considering Surgery

    KathyK,
    I was diagnosed at age 28. I have a 40-degree lumbar curve and a 50-degree thoracic curve. It is idiopathic scoliosis. I have bulging discs and disc space degeneration. At the L4-L5 level, there is pressure on the L5 nerve root. There is ligamental and facet hypertrophy at L4-L5. The stenosis is worse at this level as well.

    Did your mother have any surgery? Does she use a walker? wheelchair?

    Hope this information helps you.

    Thanks.
    Irene

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    hi Irene & Nancylynne
    welcome to the forum...
    there is much information, support and experience to be found here...

    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 09-27-2010 at 10:42 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    WV, USA
    Posts
    92
    Jennifer,
    Looks like an amazing correction. You are a warrior, no doubts. Finish it up, don't let your guard down too soon. Blessings ~ The whole Davis family
    Surgery scheduled for January 2011
    by Charles (Ted) Shuff
    http://cabellhuntington.org/services...ce/physicians/
    http://s910.photobucket.com/albums/a...dayjunk/Davis/

    "Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."
    -- Samuel Johnson
    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    WV, USA
    Posts
    92

    Voting for Ed

    I'm scheduled for surgery but can't just say okay do what you do, I need to understand it first. I made a misstake by saying I was deformed when I was in 3rd grade and was attacked because of it. I faught back. I faught back hard. Here's a place we can meet. Scream people, ya know you wanna. Ed is my temporary hero. I'm sure that's alot of weight on Ed's shoulders. Quit lookin from afar, step in and lets get it all together. I vote ED. Fought?
    Surgery scheduled for January 2011
    by Charles (Ted) Shuff
    http://cabellhuntington.org/services...ce/physicians/
    http://s910.photobucket.com/albums/a...dayjunk/Davis/

    "Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."
    -- Samuel Johnson
    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    52
    Hi, Nancylynne,

    I just went to see Dr. Pashman today. My curves have progressed to 68/80. i was bursting into tears. I'm in S.CA too. I'd like to chat w/ you.
    62/75 (T4-T9 68 degree & T11 - L4 80 degree) 10/19/2010
    45/50 year 2000
    36 yrs old
    Considering, researching surgery for the first time
    S. California
    http://s1210.photobucket.com/albums/...ashionista889/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    145
    NancyLynne, Welcome to the forum. I remember feeling that mix of scared and excited when I found out the surgery was possible. First, yeah - they can fix this, then - ut oh they can fix this. I'm a 'baby' too. I've passed out from needles, and just about passed out from donating blood (for the surgery). My surgery was 4 weeks ago, I felt a braveness and a determination come over me a couple days before surgery. Even my husband was emotional the day of surgery, but I just knew I wantd/needed to stay calm. But, when I was being prepped just before surgery they put in an IV, I took one look and almost passed out (brave me). Shortly after that the anethesiologist came in and asked if I wanted something to relax me. That's the last thing I remember until I woke up from surgery. Being in alot of pain is a good motivator for surgery for sure too, especially if it's getting in the way of shopping. I just got out this weekend for the first time since surgery, and of course I went to the mall. I was in the dressing room, always a dreaded place for me with all those mirrors, while my daughter tried on clothes i dared look and I felt so good looking into the mirror. I didn't look squashed around my middle. Did your doc mention how many disks they would fuse? Good luck! You'll find out alot and recieve much support on the forum.
    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
    backissues Guest
    Debra,
    How many hours was your surgery? Were you in intensive care after? How was the pain controlled right after surgery?

    Shopping without pain, without a cart to push ....Ahhhh!! That's something to enjoy!

    Good luck.
    Irene

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