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Thread: Surgery Successful

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    10

    Surgery Successful

    Hello Everyone -

    So, my surgery on Friday, May 13 was successful. It went by so much faster than I thought it would, I didn't even have time to re-think. The PA met me in the AM admissions room, and it's all a big blur from there. I remember waking up in recovery and having very sharp pains as I took deep breaths, but the nurses told me that was normal. I was in and out of sleep there for about an hour before they brought me up to my room, where my mom, dad, and fiance were waiting. The dr. had already talked to them and showed them X-Rays he had on his I-phone - I'm pretty much straight as a nail now (he showed me them later that day when I became more coherrent).

    The pain wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't have a morphone drip, unfortunately (which I was a little upset about). I was getting Torridal (sp?) by IV every 6 hours, Vallium by IV every 6 hours, and Diloaden (sp?) every 3 hours per requested (that was my favorite because I would get immediately light headed and could feel it working immediately). I tried to walk my 2nd day, but my blood pressure (which is normally low), was even lower, and everytime I stood up I got really dizzy and lightheaded and had to sit back down. Standing up was probably (and still probably) is the hardest part. I was a litle upset when they took out my catheter before I could walk (due to my blood pressure), but they brought in a commode and kept it right near the bed so they could help me.

    I was finally able to walk the afternoon of my 3rd day since they stopped the Diloaden (booo). Still kills to push myself out of bed to get up to go the bathroom, but the nurses at University Medical Center in Princeton were all so amazing and helpful (I never thought I would have ever said that). I also got really lucky and only had a roommate my first night (which sucked because seh couldn't sleep, therefore I couldn't sleep at all, it was a rought night. My 2nd night was better because there was no roommate, and they let my fiance spend the night to make sure I was comfortable. The 3rd and 4th nights--no roommates either).

    I was in the hospital from Friday to Tuesday afternoon. They thought I'd be out sooner, but the low blood pressure was not helpful. It aws ok though, I kind of liked the hospital. The bed was super comfy and I had no roommate, so I just got to hang out and watch TV all day. I was not able to eat or drnk anything the first day (not even water), and they finally let me have liquids on the 2nd and beginning of 3rd day, then light diet starting the 3rd day in the afternoon. The nursing staff was wonderful, and the dining was like room service--you just called in and ordered whatever you wanted off the menu. The PA called twice a day to check up on me, and the dr. stopped by every day but the last one.

    So, now I've been home since Tuesday and getting better every day. My fiance and I went for along walk through my neighborhood on Saturday, but otherwise we've just been hanging out watching TV and movies. Taking a shower was rough my first time, but it's gotten better. I have to have my mom help me take the bandaid off, then, put a new one on. I can't really shave my legs or anything, but oh well, I'm just sitting around the house wearing sweatpants. I've noticed that sitting in the recliner is the most comfortable. I would sleep on my back in my bed with a bunch of pillows, which was fine for awhile, but I guess I was retaining water because I would wake up like 3 times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and it's just so painful to get out of bed and then back in with meds wearing off. Especially now since the fiance has gone back down to Florida where he lives.

    I was sent home with Percocet every 4 hours, and Valium every 6-8 as needed. I was using them religiously the first couple days, but now, just as needed. The pain isn't so bad anymore, it's more of an uncomfort I was just wondering if it's normal or not.I feel like I can feel the rod in my back, and it's making it really uncomfortable to stand up/walk or even sit in certain positions. Is this normal? I"m starting to being to freak out that I'm going to break it or it got disconnected or something. It's REALLY uncomfortable, esp. since there's not that much pain anymore. The Valium helps with this, but then I fall asleep, lol.

    The constipation, like everybody says, was a big problem. My stomach was sore for days. I took Miralax the first couple days, cuz it was light, and colace (since they had me taking that at the hospital every day). I then started taking Duclolax at night, which let to some really bad stomach cramps. I finally went a few times the past couple days, but the the stomach cramps are still painful, and I still get some sharp pains when I breath (I'm assuming this is gas, idk). I was extremely bloated for the first few days, my sweats were so tight and nothing fit. I think I"m still a little bloated, but not as much. I'm hoping this stomach goes away. I wasn't at my goal weight before surgery, but I was working out and losing weight, and this is not helping. I feel like the way I have to stand now because of the discomfort I"m having, I'm sticking my stomach out.

    I think that's about it. Sorry this is a really long post, I just wanted ot provide the most info as possible for people debating surgery (like me). Am I happy I got it? I'm not quite sure yet, this whole discomfort/feeling the rod thing is really getting to me, and I hope I don't have to live with that forever. I am happy I'm straight though and know I won't have to worry about it getting worse in the future or fixing it in the future.
    Elyse
    Easton, PA
    emjohansen@gmail.com
    Pre-Surgery: 40 Degree Thoracic Curve, now straight as a rod! (awaiting exact measurements)
    Surgery 5/13/11 with Dr. Antonacci at University Medical Center in Princeton, NJ
    Fused T4-T12

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,958
    Hi Elyse...

    Wow, I'm pretty amazed that you managed such a long post so soon after surgery. You're more coherent than most! Congratulations on getting it over with.

    I suspect that what you called "Diloaden" is actually dilaudid (hydromorphone hydrochloride). It's a little less effective than morphine, but I think it's tolerated by more people.

    Regarding shaving your legs, you shouldn't even try! Depending on your fusion levels, you can start trying again at about 3 months postop. Until then, you should avoid bending as much as possible.

    You would have to do a lot of bending or twisting to break or dislodge your implants. The feeling you have now is probably just your body getting used to your new posture. Some people, however, never get used to the feeling of the implants.

    Are you getting some walking in every day? (Doesn't sound like it, but thought I'd ask.) Walking will help speed your recovery, and is strongly encouraged by every surgeon I've ever heard of. Even if you can only manage a block at a time, a few walks a day will really help.

    Lastly, in regard to constipation, I received in the hospital, and was told to continue once I got home, senna AND colace. I took them as long as I took narcotics, and I never had the constipation issue.

    It sounds like you're doing really well. If anything, your pain level is better than most. Hang in there. It will get better.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    10
    Yeah, my family was making fun of me cuz I was texting and Facebooking on my phone the day of my surgery (I was bored, and couldn't sleep because of the roommate). They weren't very coherent due to the meds, but the effort was there, lol.

    Yes, you're probably right about the dilaudid. I had trouble pronouncing it the hospital too, I could neve remember the name of it. But I loved it, haha.

    When I called the PA about the feeling I was having, he said the same thing. It still makes me a nervous wreck though. It's very uncomfortable to stand/walk/sit.

    I am trying to walk every day. My fiance was more of a pusher about that while he was here - forcing to walk up the driveway to get the mail the first couple days, and then on Saturday we walked around the neighborhood. The weather's been kind of crappy lately though, but I walk a lot back and forth in my house(which is a pretty good size) between my room and the sun room where I've been spending most of time. Hopefully the weather clears up soon and I can convince my mom to take me ot the park to walk (she could use the motivation too). Another reason I"m upset my fiance's gone back to Florida.

    I'll have to look into the senna. The Duclolax has been giving me horrible stomach cramps, sometihng gentler would probably be better.

    Thanks.
    Elyse
    Easton, PA
    emjohansen@gmail.com
    Pre-Surgery: 40 Degree Thoracic Curve, now straight as a rod! (awaiting exact measurements)
    Surgery 5/13/11 with Dr. Antonacci at University Medical Center in Princeton, NJ
    Fused T4-T12

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Elyse--
    I've hardly commented lately since my daughter's wedding is in less than 3 weeks--Yikes!--but your post was absolutely amazing. I kept going back to check--you really just had surgery May 13?? of this year! You are doing so well I can't even imagine. Take it slow but definitely walk. I think you must win some sort of prize. That's fantastic. I couldn't have read that long of a post way later than that--let alone write one. I'm impressed. Congratulations. 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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Well done Elyse! It will just get better and better. Try to walk a little further (not much) every day and drink lots of water.

    Keep up the good work!
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    14
    Glad it went well...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Easton PA
    Posts
    182
    So glad to hear from you, I've been checking the forum every day for news. As everyone has said, your recovery, so far, has been amazing! Enjoy the sunshine we are having today, because it isn't going to last for long! Keep up the good work!
    Lori in PA, 52 yrs. old
    T54/L72
    Surgery 6/7/11, T3-S1, all posterior, with pelvic anchors
    Gained 2 inches!
    Dr. Boachie, HSS, NYC
    12/10/13 Hardware Removal for infection
    Lost 2", gained PJK!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    10
    Thanks everyone for the replies!

    Doodles - Yep, surgery was this past Friday, May 13. I know, it's crazy. I don't believe it sometimes after reading everybody else's posts. I think it's my stubborn-ness kicking in. I have a wedding June of next year, so I have a deadline of being good to go, lol. Also, my curve wasn't nearly as bad as most of the people on here, so I consider myself lucky. I doubt I'd be where I am now if I had it worse. My surgery was only 2 1/2 hours longer, if that puts it in perspective. Good luck with the upcoming wedding!

    I started walking some more today - went to the end of our road and back again. It's about 1/2 a mile. I'll increase it a little more every day, it's a good excuse for me to get my mom to start exercising too, hehe.

    Lorz - Thank you! I know, the weather today was crazy compared to the storms yesterday (I had to battle the stairs down to the basement last night [which I haven't had to do yet] since my mom was freaking out). Hope it stays this nice for a little!

    On a lighter note, I'm pretty sure my cousin that came to visit today gave me the best care package ever - a 6 pack of Yuengling and gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings (for when I'm off pain meds obviously), hahaha. Love it, they know me too well. Just wanted to share.
    Elyse
    Easton, PA
    emjohansen@gmail.com
    Pre-Surgery: 40 Degree Thoracic Curve, now straight as a rod! (awaiting exact measurements)
    Surgery 5/13/11 with Dr. Antonacci at University Medical Center in Princeton, NJ
    Fused T4-T12

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Elyse,
    I have to agree with everyone else that you are amazing to post so soon! I'm glad you are doing so well! I had terrible abdominal pain until I quit the heavy pain meds and switched to Tylenol. I didn't even notice any back pain during this time. I still use a throw away razor that my husband taped to a long handle. I think it was a back scrubber. I prop my leg up slightly and don't bend at all when shaving my legs.
    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/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    25
    Congratulations on the successful surgery! As someone who is having surgery on Friday I am heartened to hear such wonderful progress. Keep us posted.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Sounds like you're doing great--good for you! As far as not needing as many pain meds as prescribed--whoohoo!! Use what you need. With me, I liked to make sure that I didn't wait too long trying to stretch it out, because if the pain got bad, it was hard to get back under control.

    Feeling the rods--that will get better. I remember initially thinking that it felt like I had a big stick up my butt!! LOL After a while (well over a year), I don't even notice it any more (usually).

    Good luck with your recovery. Remember, there are usually ups and downs. So if a down does happen, don't be too impatient with yourself.
    __________________________________________
    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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    10
    Wow, I didn't realize I was doing so well - but thanks everybody for all your words of encouragement!

    Golfnut - The razor on a long handle sounds like a great idea! I may have to try that, with the summer season coming up and everything.

    CaroleM - I was excited to share my story since I know other peoples' stories were so helpful to me as I made my decision. And with everybody telling me how wonderful I'm doing, I'm hoping my experience will help other people even more. Best of luck to you on Friday, I'll be thinking of you! Keep us updated.

    Debbei - Thanks for the advise. Glad to hear this feeling will go away. I know it's normal, just awkward. I have to remember I'm not even 2 weeks into this, and to give myself time. My body is healing and adjusting to everything going on, and I have to let it do that.

    I'm still nervous to look at myself in the mirror, but I looked at my profile quickly while I was getting dressed the other day, and it's amazing what a difference it makes in my self-esteem. No more hump on my back and now I'm not hunched over, my stomach doesn't seem as big! Now i'm actually looking forward to recovering and finally going wedding dress shopping in due time, since I don't have this horrible feeling about how my back looks hanging over my head.
    Elyse
    Easton, PA
    emjohansen@gmail.com
    Pre-Surgery: 40 Degree Thoracic Curve, now straight as a rod! (awaiting exact measurements)
    Surgery 5/13/11 with Dr. Antonacci at University Medical Center in Princeton, NJ
    Fused T4-T12

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