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Thread: Getting Cold Feet

  1. #1
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    Getting Cold Feet

    My pre-op tests are this Wed. and just the thought of it all makes me a little nervous. When Dr. Lenke mentioned surgery last Dec., I was actually excited about having a straight back. As the date approaches, more and more anxieties are filling up my brain. Singer's post about doubly glad she had the surgery made me feel, "Yes, I need to do it." On the other hand, I think about Joy and so many on the forum who are depressed and full of regrets. Just Fri. night after tap dancing for an event, my teacher told me I was giving up the prime time of my life (retired and loving every min. of it) and the things I love to do. I tried to explain that my age is a factor for not waiting for surgery. I think the reason the decision to have surgery is so difficult for me is that my scoliosis seldom causes me pain and never stops me from doing things I enjoy doing. I wouldn't hesitate if I had pain that stopped me from playing golf and the surgery would allow me to get back to activities instead of taking me, at least temporarily, from them. I love my aerobic classes and tap class and my friends there, but can't imagine ever going back to high impact classes. So many of our tap steps are high impact.
    Are there many who are happy they had the surgery when they had no pain prior to the surgery?
    After my pre-op meeting with Dr. Lenke on Wed., maybe I'll feel more like I'm making the right decision.
    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/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Just curious, did Lenke mention any down side to waiting until you have pain? You may never have pain. Or at least waiting until your lungs are compromised?

    I don't see why you can't wait until you have pain or lung problems both of which might never happen. I would ask Lenke that point blank.

    You might be trading in a better correction but so what as long as you are balanced. And the issue of just getting older is there but based on Linda's comments about how people much older than you do well, I don't think that is an issue.

    One thing that might be an issue is getting back on his schedule if you drop your spot. You might even be able to raffle off your spot for charity as I think it is very valuable.

    Good luck.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    hi Karen
    i do have pain, though i dont know how much is from scoli and how much from degenerative disc disease (or spinal stenosis, or listhesis, etc)...but i still can not make up my mind to have the surgery...or rather, i've made up my mind and changed it 10 times by now...
    i can't imagine how difficult it must be to decide on surgery without having pain...

    are you very sure your curves are progressing? i dont recall how large they are now...

    best of luck with whatever you decide
    jess

  4. #4
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    near Philadelphia
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    Sounds familiar....I went through the same mental process. Honestly, Karen? .... it's a crap shoot no matter how you slice it. The odds of a successful surgery are overwhelmingly in your favor, but you don't know how you're going to react to it, or how it's all going to turn out, until you go through it.

    For me, it all just came down to a gut feeling that I had to take the leap of faith and just do it. I also had to remember that avoiding surgery would NOT mean avoiding more problems -- and very probably WORSE problems -- in the future.

    One thing you have to be careful of at this point is well-meaning but clueless people -- like your tap teacher -- who just don't have the perspective on this thing that you have.

    Listen to your gut, and talk it over again with your surgeon.
    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. #5
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    Karen

    Getting cold feet happens to all of us. When I saw Dr Memuir in 2005, I ended up getting cold feet at that point and told him to put it on the back burner.

    In 2007, my situation was a different story....progression happened fast, and my surgeries were now becoming more complicated, and I pretty much had to beg to get it done. I heard the “you should have done this sooner” statement. The pain was excruciating at times, and made the final decision quite easy.

    I did all the things I wanted to do, but in 2007 I was sinking quickly, and nothing I did, seemed to work for pain control.

    I just wanted to relay how fast scoliosis can quickly change the situation. I don’t put all blame on progression of cobbs, it’s a combination of degenerative actions or changes that happen like fire. Fire can be contained, but when it gets out of control its hard to deal with. My nervous system was taxed at that stage, it seemed as if I was shorting out and it kept me exhausted all the time. I was waking up tired and lethargic.

    You can put it off, and if you do, it would be wise to have timely visits to keep an eye on things. Keep the fire under control. It is an understandable option. Making that decision with no pain makes it so hard.

    Also remember that the success rates for posteriors is pretty good and you do have a top surgeon.....
    It takes a long time to judge the overall success of scoliosis surgery. My views of my recovery changed as time passed. I feel it takes 2 years to completely heal physically and mentally.(At age 50)There are many reasons why someone wouldn’t be happy with their surgeries, but I think that time plays a major role in judging the outcome of a “successful technique, with correct level selection”. I’m wondering how many patients that reported not being happy (early) have changed their views a few years later? It’s a high number.

    What happened to Joyful is very sad. It hit us all very hard. It was a very rare thing that happened to her. This is why surgery is considered a last ditch effort. You could get hit by lightning on the golf course, and I could get attacked by a shark on a dive someday, but divers and golfers don’t consider their sports “a last ditch effort”
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    My pain was only mild to moderate but increasing. Then, when I booked the surgery, I set out to get super-fit. I found the fitter I became the less pain I had. It sounds like you're very fit and you could probably remain fit for years yet and this could very well be holding pain at bay. But inevitably, for various reasons, you're likely to slow down eventually and I feel that's when the pain could start. At that point, will you still be able to have surgery - probably, but at that stage, it may be a whole lot riskier and your results probably not as good.

    Right now, you're fit and your age is not really against you. This would seem to me to be the right time. Yes, you may have to drop the high impact activities, but there are loads of other activities, and I feel absolutely sure you will get back to your beloved golf. If there are compromises to be made, I feel sure they will be worth it for other reasons e.g. a future without worry about what your scoliosis holds in store for you.
    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

  7. #7
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    Nov 2010
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
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    I can TOTALLY relate to your feeings Karen. I have changed my mind about this surgery for over three years now and even though I do have more and more pain, I still wonder if its really bad enough to warrant such a major surgery. I am fearful of life after surgery and what the future will hold as I am only 28. It helped calm my fears a little in that Dr. Lenke said he thinks he can stop the fusion at L-4, however after reading more forums I am worried it will mean revision surgeries down the road. I also know though that so many things have to 'line-up' for this surgery to be possible and hold the potential for a great outcome...insurance, world-class surgeon (who is in our backyard!), family who are able to help right now and in my case I would still like to get married and have a family so I don't want to be faced with this decision while having little ones....although I realize getting this surgery won't guarantee that I won't need another and who knows it could be when I have 'little ones'. Its overwhelming going back and forth between all the possible reasons. I guess when it comes down to it, you have to decide to take the risk and believe that it will be better on the other side even if it's not immediately better be determined that it will get there.

    -Laurie Anne
    Sugery with Dr. Lenke 12/13/10
    Most difficult decision of my life
    T-68; L-80
    28 years young

  8. #8
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    Apr 2010
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    Thanks so much for your replies!

    You guys & gals are just wonderful. You made so many good points. I was just having a weak moment this a.m. Yes, I know I shouldn't listen to those who have no knowledge of scoliosis. I am truly fortunate to have Dr. Lenke as my surgeon. After I talk with him on Wed., I'm sure I'll feel better about taking the plunge. I am in fairly good shape for a 60 year old, but Dr. Lenke told me not to wait until I'm 70, because the recovery is tougher and the results usually aren't as good. I feel sure that the time is right. I'm just nervous!!! Thanks, again.

    FYI-My curve was measured at 77 degrees last December. I'll be interested to see if it is the same on Wed. I'm almost hoping that it has increased significantly so that I quit doubting the need for 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/

  9. #9
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lansing, MI
    Posts
    187
    Karen - I had all the same feelings you are experiencing. My quality of life was really good and was very active. I too had the surgery to invest in a better quality when i am older. Now 6 1/2 months post-surgery I can already see I will have a better life. The risks in the surgery are still something to take seriously as I did get an infection. My doctors were wonderful and healed me great. Was pretty serious at the time though.
    Karen head to my blog www.scoliosisthejourney.com, and you can read about my Dr. Herkowitz 6 month check up, and some of the surgery experience too. I too feel so sad for those that are suffering with pain post-surgery. I have stiff and soreness, but expect that for another 6 months or more. You are so active that you will be going into surgery with a strong healthy body, that helps so much. Unless someone has scoli they just don't understand what we experience.
    God bless you as you go into surgery!
    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
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    Shari,
    Thanks for the encouragement. So many people have said to me in so many words, "Why in the world would you have this surgery if you aren't in a lot of pain?" I have been to your web site several times, but will definitely check out your 6 month report. I remember the picture of your back looking fantastic. Thanks, again!
    Karen

  11. #11
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    Nov 2010
    Location
    British Columbia
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    I've never had surgery before but if I was about to, I'm almost certain I'd have cold feet too. I'm sure your visit with your surgeon on Wednesday will ease your mind. My fourteen-year-old son is apparently "probably a candidate for surgery" and I know when/if the time comes for me to actually make that decision, I am going to go back and forth and back and forth. Hey, nice pun, lol. I'm thinking that it's going to be harder for me to make a decision for my son than if it were me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elisa View Post
    I've never had surgery before but if I was about to, I'm almost certain I'd have cold feet too. I'm sure your visit with your surgeon on Wednesday will ease your mind. My fourteen-year-old son is apparently "probably a candidate for surgery" and I know when/if the time comes for me to actually make that decision, I am going to go back and forth and back and forth. Hey, nice pun, lol. I'm thinking that it's going to be harder for me to make a decision for my son than if it were me.
    Elisa,

    It might not be as bad as you think. Having a choice is a double-edged sword. In neither of my daughters' cases did we have a choice. Their curves were moving like freight trains and I didn't need to be an orthopedic surgeon to calculate where those trains were heading... those curves were going to kill or significantly cripple my kids. Sometimes you know what lies ahead and sometimes you don't.

    Not having a choice lifts the burden to a certain extent though of course you still worry like crazy. I can say that the worry associated with the second kid was much less after having seen the recovery and result for the first. I don't expect that to actually help anyone and I am not sure it would have helped me on my first kid but I'm just throwing that out there.

    Good luck.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    918
    Yes, having choices is probably more difficult for sure b/c then one day you're convinced of one way and then the next day the pendulum swings.

    Although annoyed with the length of time it's taking to actually see a specialist, I'm not so freaked out now b/c it's not a life or death situation here. I seriously thought I was going to wheel his crippled body in in a wheelchair and that was totally freaking me out. I'm much more calmer now and plan to take things one step at a time. Instead of hysteria, I'm focused on a plan of action now I think.

  14. #14
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    Mar 2009
    Location
    Carmel/Indianapolis
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    Golfnut- I had more pain and especially numbness before my spondy surgery. The numbness especially scared me. After that worked well I wanted my scoli fixed. I wasn't having pain; I felt I was starting to become more rotated and deformed. My scoli was progressing and my doc said it would continue to progress. I can honestly say I'm glad I did it, even with minimal pain. And I feel so good now. And I look normal in clothes. And I will be able to play golf again. And I think the quality of my life will be better as I get older. just some of my thoughts and I'm close to your age.
    Age 56
    Wore a Milwaukee Brace for 3 years in hs
    Fused L4-S1 for high grade spondylolisthesis Jan '09 in Indy
    Thoracic 68
    Surgery Aug 31, 2010 T3 to L1
    Dr Bridwell St Louis
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...1&d=1289881696

  15. #15
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    Lisa,
    I've been following your posts closely since you're close to my age and also had surgery with Dr. Lenke's partner. You have been doing fantastic in your recovery!!! I'm about 90 per cent sure that the surgery is the way to go for my future. Naturally, no one knows how long they will live, but I had one grandmother live until 98 and the other 103. I can't imagine what my spine would look or feel like in approximately 40 years if I did nothing to stabalize it.
    Thanks for your reply and encouragement.
    Karen

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