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Thread: One year postop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    57

    One year postop

    Had my one yr checkup with Dr Lenke this week. Xrays were taken again and showed no change, i.e. everything still looking great and completely straight. Just wants to see me in another year.

    I have continued to slowly improve since last posting 6 mos ago. I basically have no real pain, just sometimes some mild general back muscle soreness if i try to work more than 4 -5 hrs of physical work, even if it's very light work. Being fused to the sacrum, i have had to learn to get used to the loss of balance that occurs when you lean too far one way and can't compensate by bending the opposite. At first i had a couple falls, hitting the ground and wondering what the hell had just happened. Dr Lenke said this was normal and something i just had to learn to be careful about. I also have yet to regain my pre-back problem stamina. I work out with a personal trainer twice and week and just try to keep doing as much as i am able. All the weakness i had in my left quad muscles slowly returned.

    So, basically i got an excellent result and should be thrilled but i have to remind myself how much better i am than before surgery. Day to day, however, i have to deal with the balance issue, reduced energy and the extra difficulty whenever trying to bend over (like putting on socks in the morning) and have to sadly accept my "new normal."

    But it IS a great improvement and i'm very grateful to Dr Lenke whose expertise has gotten me as far as the current state of the art (which he has done much to develop) can at this point in time.
    junosand
    59 yo recently retired otolaryngologist (ENT surgeon)
    schedule oct 2010 for T11 - sacrum fusion, all posterior approach with pedicle screws, steels rods, revision decompression left L3-4, right L4-5 & L5-S1, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion L3-4 L4-5 L5-S1
    with titanium cages
    Dr Lenke, WashU/Barnes/Jewish St. Louis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ukiah CA
    Posts
    891
    junosand that great
    Kara
    25
    Brace 4-15-05-5-25-06
    Posterior Spinal Fusion 3-10-10
    T4-L2
    Before 50T
    After 20T

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Excellent news! Over the years, I've read many accounts here of people not regaining their former energy for 2 or more years. So I think you can expect further improvements yet.

    I have a minor balance problem but so far haven't fallen, but the way you described it was exactly how I would also describe it. I think this too, will improve with time.

    Overall, a very good report!
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,704
    Junosand,
    I'm so glad to hear from you. I was thinking the other day that you would be a year post-op in Oct. and wondered how you are doing at this point. I haven't noticed any balance problems yet but haven't tried to bend much. I still use a suction cup on the end of my putter to get the golf ball out of the hole. Congratulations on a good report. I feel fortunate to have had Dr. Lenke as my surgeon.
    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/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Red face Go Forth!

    Good work Junosand!
    Your results sound similar to mine, in that my balance is a little off. I can't count the number of walls I've run
    into! Small price to pay for how I felt pre-surgery. I am 1 1/2 years out from my revision and have noticed
    improvement still, even after one year. I expect you will too. So glad you have had a successful result ;-)
    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Topeka, KS
    Posts
    424
    I too am little over one year postop and fully understand your balance issues. Good grief - thought someone was tilting the world when I wasn't looking. It truly is wild! But something I have come to deal with. I am one year postop last March 1st. My energy level is very good. Although I still know when I push it too much - I pay for it th enext day. Geesh.
    Rita Thompson
    Age 46
    Milwaukee Brace wearer for 3 years in childhood
    Surgery Mar 1st - 95 degree thoracic curve
    Surgery by Dr. Lenke, St. Louis, MO
    Post-surgery curve 25-30 degree

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    225
    junosand, GREAT to hear from you. I read your posts often last year. The balance issue is one I had never even thought of, yikes. I want to hear from Titanium Ed on this, because he skis. He must have worked this out somehow.
    Stephanie, age 56
    Diagnosed age 8
    Milwaukee brace 9 years, no further treatment, symptom free and clueless until my 40s that curves could progress.
    Thoracolumbar curve 39 degrees at age 17
    Now somewhere around 58 degrees thoracic, 70 degrees thoracolumbar
    Surgeon Dr. Michael S. O'Brien, Baylor's Southwest Scoliosis Center, Dallas TX
    Bilateral laminectomies at L3 to L4, L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 on April 4, 2012
    Foramenotomies L3 through S1 in August 2014

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,704
    I am almost 9 months post op and haven't noticed any balance problems in my tap dancing class that I
    returned to a couple of months ago or at any other time. I am going to try a Tai Chi class tomorrow which may be a different story.
    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,978
    Juno- I just spent about 15 minutes replying to you and then lost it all. Aughhhh! Briefly, you sound just like I felt at one year post-op. I thought I was done and I had accepted my limitations and was ready to move on with my life. Fair enough. And just as I thought back then, that may be. But what astonished me was that as each anniversary passed by (my surgery was over 4 years ago) I have increased strength and abilities. My surgery left me very weak and I really had to work my way back. I read on the forum with amazement so many times of people who are back to doing "normal" things in just a few months and can hardly believe it. I've said it before and will undoubtedly say it again-- some of us are turtles in recovery... so don't think you are "all done" quite yet. Time may surprise you.

    Also, I can really relate to your inability to correct when you lose your balance. I have that problem even though I'm not fused to the sacrum. I still have 15 levels fused and I think it's just the length of non-flexibility. Sometimes at school I'll start to lose it and have to say "oops!" as I totter, and explain to the kids how their backs work to help them regain their balance and mine doesn't compensate that same way...

    I'm super impressed if you put your socks on the old-fashioned way! I am fused from T2-L4 and use a sock-aid. It's second nature to me and so easy. My legs are just too long and I've got arthritis in my hips and knees to boot. You might try one if putting on socks are a pain. Once you get the hang of a sock-aid, it's a piece of cake.

    It's been great to hear from you-- keep in touch and let us know how you're doing. Take care!
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52į w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15į
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA area
    Posts
    189
    You sound great Junosand. Thanks for updating us on your recovery especially by commenting on your balance problem. I've been having this too, as others here have commented, and thank goodness it's not just me! I keep thinking that people must think I'm drunk because I have a hard time walking a straight line at times, especially if I am holding something and can't use my arms while walking for balance.
    Laurie
    Age 57
    Posterior fusion w/thoracoplasty T2-L3 Oct 1, 2010
    Thoracic curve corrected from 61* to 16*
    Lumbar curve, unknown measurement
    Disfiguring back hump GONE!!
    Dr Munish Gupta
    UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    772

    It really does get better with time.

    I am fused from T4 to sacrum and I no longer use a sock aid. Because of my long fusion, I cannot lean forward as I did before to pull up socks but cross one leg over the other and pull my foot up as far as I can and have no problem getting socks on that way. Pantyhose is another story. I will never wear them again. Theyíre no longer fashionable anyway. But I do like wearing colored opaque hose during the fall and winter and it does take a little extra time to get those on. The balance issue unfortunately I feel is permanent. While Iíve never fallen or even come close to falling since my surgery in June í08, I use extra caution when walking on uneven surfaces such as grass or brick pavements. And Iíve accepted the fact that five-inch wedge sandals are not for me. Bending is no longer a problem, and itís become second nature. I feel Iím as good as Iím going to get and Iím as pleased as Punch.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Junosand,
    I really think that the older we are when we have this surgery, the longer it takes to get our stamina back. For me, it took at least 2 1/2 years and at age 71 now, I have to keep reminding myself that now it is my age, not my surgery that I am fighting to keep the stamina that I have. Hang in there, it sounds like you are doing great. Good to hear from you.
    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    BTW, as far as balance goes, I started back to roller skating at 10 months post-op and it was scary at first, but my balance returned in no time. I just had to remind myself to stay off wet leaves on a slippery slope. Haha!
    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.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    57

    replay from junosand

    thanks you ALL for taking the time to reply to my post; the encouragement and support means a lot to me; this is really a terrific forum of very intelligent and thoughtful people coming together to help each other

    your replies provide the salve of empathy for my difficulties and hope that further improvement is still possible;
    i'm especially encouraged about trying winter sports again; i seriously doubt i will be able to snowboard but maybe i can still ski; i will, at least, give it a try; prior to reading your posts, i was having serious reservations about ever going to the mountains again

    i do have to ask Karen: how is golfing? i don't golf so i may not understand the mechanics but it looks like it involves a lot of twisting; it seems you could easily swing, the momentum pulling you too far and down you go (on soft turf, at least) or am i wrong? have you played a full round and kept score to compare pre with post?

    from my heart, thanks again everyone
    junosand
    59 yo recently retired otolaryngologist (ENT surgeon)
    schedule oct 2010 for T11 - sacrum fusion, all posterior approach with pedicle screws, steels rods, revision decompression left L3-4, right L4-5 & L5-S1, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion L3-4 L4-5 L5-S1
    with titanium cages
    Dr Lenke, WashU/Barnes/Jewish St. Louis

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,704

    Golf after surgery

    Junosand,
    You are right that the golf swing involves twisting. I have only been allowed to chip and putt and will hopefully get the okay for a full swing on my Jan. 18th appointment. I know that LisaB, Shari, & Rich from the forum have returned to golf following surgery. I am sure that I will have to swing a little easier and maybe turn the hips and shoulders more in one piece. Balance may be an issue as well. I am expecting my handicap to go up the first season, but after that, no excuses. I may have to become a better putter!
    Best of luck in your continued recovery!
    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/

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