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Thread: The I'm Happy I Had Surgery Sticky Thread

  1. #31
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    42
    To celebrate my surgery being over, and my graduation from an MA program, in May, the month before my surgery, my husband and I went to Hawaii. One highlight of that was a trip to the summit of Mauna Kea (by jeep, I definitely didn't hike it.) In the past I've had horrible problems with altitude and we weren't sure it was a good idea for me to go. But I really wanted to, so I did. I go to a cabin in Colorado every year, which is at 9000 feet and I've had some problems there the last few years with the altitude. Mauna Kea is almost 15000 feet, so I was really really pleasantly surprised to feel almost no altitude effects. I'm guess that it has to be the increased lung capacity from the surgery. I also handled riding up the mountain on a very bumpy road with no pain, and I was able to be fairly active in Hawaii, although I didn't do any rugged hikes. We did walk a lot, and I got in the ocean in places where it was gentle-- no rugged surf. I got through the trip with far less pain that I would have had before the surgery. Here's more detail about how I feel:

    Things that are better from the surgery:
    Hip pain -- gone
    Sciatic nerve pain-- gone
    Lower back pain-- almost totally gone, may still get better
    Hump on upper right back-- gone -- both the pain, and the ugly hump
    Lung capacity--- apparently much better
    Height-- two inches taller
    Waist-- two inches smaller, not counting the weight loss that followed. Sadly, I've gained back much of the weight, but that's partly because I lost a lot of muscle mass. Partly because when my appetite came back and my metabolism slowed down again, I still couldn't do any aerobic activity. But overall the waist is still about two inches smaller, just because there's not a curved spine in there.
    Headaches-- greatly reduced, but that might be due to almost finishing menopause rather than the spine
    Posture-- I sit like the Queen now, and can sit ramrod straight for hours -- because I have no real choice.
    Balance-- I can stand on one foot easily now, and I haven't been able to do that for years

    Things that are worse:
    Flexibility-- back doesn't bend anymore, so it affects my gait a bit, and I'm working on that. I tend to lean forward and walk on my tiptoes when I'm not thinking about it.
    Big toe pain-- this seems so random, but the worst pain after the first two weeks is/was my big toe. Fortunately it's calmed down quite a bit, but the sciatic nerve was so pinched that I had almost no feeling on the inside half of my right foot for the last 5 years or so. Now that the pinching is removed, the nerve regeneration makes my big toe throb at times. I thought I must have broken it, or gotten gout or something, but it's just nerve pain. Painkillers don't work well on nerve pain, so that's been something I had to put up with.
    Fatigue-- this was a big one till recently, but I'm back to pretty much normal, or better, stamina. It has been 7 or 8 years since I could stand for more than about ten minutes comfortably, and now I'm not sure how long I could stand if I had to.

    Overall, the things that are better FAR outweigh the things that are worse. My spine is not straight-- it's about 28 degrees now rather than 58 degrees. Partly that's because one vertebrae had enough deterioration that the surgeon couldn't put screws there, and he had to be extra careful with straightening that part-- but I'm still very very happy with the result. My recommendation to anyone considering surgery is to start as soon as possible to eat a healthy diet and exercise as much as you can. I'm sure it helped me with my outcome, and I was NOT in good shape six months before the surgery. I started an exercise program and worked out as hard as I could, lost about 12 pounds before the surgery. I think it helped a great deal.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Diagnosed at age 13
    Milwaukee brace ages 73-74
    Pre surgery 58 degree curve and lordosis
    Surgery June 7&9, 2011 Fused L-4 -T-4 Age 52
    Post surgery 26 degrees
    Surgeon Yu-po Lee

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    40

    I am most definitely happy I had surgery

    I have not been on the forum site often since my surgery but plan to provide more update and photos soon.

    I am only 4 months post-op. Even at this early stage of recovery, I have never regretted having the surgery. I have truly understood all that I have been feeling post-op has been toward recovery, that it was a healing process. And yes, my body has been adjusting to it's new configuration, and I am delighted.

    my surgery details:
    surgery: October, 2011
    my age at surgery: 60 yrs old
    Dr. Boachie-Adjei
    fused T3-sacrum
    flatback correction
    pre op curves:
    upper: 58*
    lower: 68*
    post op curves:
    upper: 23*
    lower: 24*

    Pre-op symptoms: though diagnosed at 12 yrs old, curve/symptoms not significant until much later in life, becoming more and more difficult and painful in past 10 years. Most pain muscular in lumbar area and upper area making standing, walking, sitting for any significant length of time difficult. Specific pain began to be targets in lumbar area from shifting vertebrae. Shrunk 2 1/2 inches.

    post op: I'm now ONLY 4 months post-op and obviously still feeling recovery pains, but becoming stronger and having fewer and fewer issues each and every week.

    Even at this early stage, I have much more range of movement, more endurance, and less pain than I had fearfully anticipated. What a terrific feeling!
    Judy
    60 years old
    double 60 degree curves
    being fused Oct 19, 2011
    T4 to sacrum
    Dr. Boachie

  3. #33
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    El Centro, CA & Baja California, Mexico
    Posts
    193

    thank you for reporting

    I am terrified about recovery as I am not even scheduled yet but you could me my twin younger sister. I am 62 and both my curves are close to 90. I am beginning to understanc how people in this forum use the phrase CROSS OVER in a real sense. What has scared me are those advise about getting as fit as possible before the surgery (I am in such pain the any little action like swimming or floating in water that places me back in bed and vicoden for several days)

    Then, we have many who says they walk a mile to 5 miles per day after so many months after surgery because it helps the bone to grow. Never ever been able to walk from here to far away there (not even at a mall) has been a major challenge that setting myself to be able to do that seems like I will be doomed for failure. I would be ecstatic to be able to report next year or two that indeed walking 5 miles is a breeze.

    Thank you for sharing. Gardenia


    Quote Originally Posted by judyat60 View Post
    I have not been on the forum site often since my surgery but plan to provide more update and photos soon.

    I am only 4 months post-op. Even at this early stage of recovery, I have never regretted having the surgery. I have truly understood all that I have been feeling post-op has been toward recovery, that it was a healing process. And yes, my body has been adjusting to it's new configuration, and I am delighted.

    my surgery details:
    surgery: October, 2011
    my age at surgery: 60 yrs old
    Dr. Boachie-Adjei
    fused T3-sacrum
    flatback correction
    pre op curves:
    upper: 58*
    lower: 68*
    post op curves:
    upper: 23*
    lower: 24*

    Pre-op symptoms: though diagnosed at 12 yrs old, curve/symptoms not significant until much later in life, becoming more and more difficult and painful in past 10 years. Most pain muscular in lumbar area and upper area making standing, walking, sitting for any significant length of time difficult. Specific pain began to be targets in lumbar area from shifting vertebrae. Shrunk 2 1/2 inches.

    post op: I'm now ONLY 4 months post-op and obviously still feeling recovery pains, but becoming stronger and having fewer and fewer issues each and every week.

    Even at this early stage, I have much more range of movement, more endurance, and less pain than I had fearfully anticipated. What a terrific feeling!
    Gardenia
    Baja California, Mexico & El Centro, Ca
    pre-surgery 75 and 89 - post ?
    Dr. Bridwell Nov 27, 2012 @Barnes Jewish @62yrs
    T11 to Sacrum Dural leak at L2 & L3 ccmail4g@gmail.com

  4. #34
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    Gardenia, why not start a new thread...??
    i believe this thread is for those who have already had surgery and
    are glad they did it...

    jess

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    East Central FL
    Posts
    192
    Paula - I got a chuckle out of your comment: "Posture-- I sit like the Queen now, and can sit ramrod straight for hours -- because I have no real choice."
    So true! - I easily picked my son out of an entire section of band kids in the auditorium as they were watching other bands perform - he was the only kid sitting ramrod straight, head & shoulders above the rest - he couldn't slouch if he tried lol.

    We are unbelievably thankful every single day for this surgery. Up until his fall the other day, Jacob had been in absolutely NO pain for months (except when he overdid in a basketball game 6 wks ago). Early recovery was not a cake walk, but with prep, walking & staying on top of the pain it was much better than we anticipated.
    Sneezing still is a momentarily uncomfortable problem - waiting as neck flexibility continues to improve. But other than that, Jacob has his life back & is now continuing w at home PT, walking & building up to be able to do the day-long marching band practices, which begin in August, w a snare drum. Went on a hiking trip at 3 mos post surg, rides his bike all over, boogie boards, shoots hoops. He was unable to do any of this before surgery due to pain which had started over a year before & rapidly worsened around Sept/Oct of 2011. His two ribs humps are gone.

    Would recommend Dr. Geof Cronen & Tampa General without hesitation. Jacob's specs are in signature below; his curves are now under 10%, so no longer has scoliosis. Lordosis was corrected in same surgery for a beautiful, pain-free back.
    Mom of 14yo son diagnosed Oct 2011
    Surgery 1/3/12 w Dr. Geof Cronen,
    Tampa General Hospital T3 to L1
    Jacob's pre surg curves: T58 & L31 12/28/11
    photos & xrays in "First-Time Surgery" thread "Before & After"

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lansing, MI
    Posts
    187

    Happy I had my surgery

    Shari in Michigan, at surgery 49 years old.
    Pre-Surgery 62 degree thorasic curve
    Post op 13 degree curve.
    Successful surgery 4/15/10, T2-L2 fused.
    2nd surgery to reopen incision 10" to diagnose infection, 5/18/10
    Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI - Dr. Harry Herkowitz
    Two years post-op and in excellent health and mobility
    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

  7. #37
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Willow Park, Texas
    Posts
    27

    October 25th surgery date.

    I am glad to read this post. I did not got to the one about negative surgery outcomes. I didn't think I could handle that.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Folks, please, let's keep this thread as focused as possible. Please only post if you want to comment on the outcome of your own surgery.

    Thanks!
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    241

    Smile Very Happy with outcome

    I had spinal fusion surgery (A/P) in May 2010 and am still very glad I had the surgery. Dr Tim Yoon at Emory in Atlanta, GA performed my sugery and I was 63 years old at the time. I still experience some numbness across my lower back, but the numbness is nothing when compared to the pain I was experiencing before my surgery. I do Pilates 3 days a week and am totally amazed at what I am able to do. I can also walk for extended periods now without pain. Overall, the surgery has been very positive for me.
    Glenda
    Age 66 Georgia (63 at time of surgery)
    Bi-lateral laminectomy 2006
    Kyphoscoliosis, approx 38* lumbar scoliosis, stenosis, disk herniations, lower back and hip pain, w/radiating pain, stinging and numbness in legs.
    A/P fusion (T10-S2) 5/17/10 and 5/20/10
    Dr Yoon, Emory Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital, Atlanta, GA
    Pleased with outcome

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    21

    Hello! Newbie coming out of the wood-work, so to speak :)

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Christyne; I had my first surgery done at age 16 after "wearing" the Milwaukee brace for 2 years. Dr. Stephen Koop at Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis/St. Paul did my surgery. I have 2 curves but at the time he only needed to operate on my thoracic curve. He did a bone graft at the bottom of my neck area and then fused T2-T6. I was in the hospital for a total of 1 week, no physical therapy when I got home and was good to go after everything was said and done.

    Fast Forward 21 years and my lower back is now killing me to the point where it seems like it "catches" and will take my breath away. So I research and research and research some more until I'm satisfied I found a knowledgeable surgeon/doctor who specializes in scoliosis both degenerative and adult (I fit both categories). I started seeing Dr. Farhadi at Ohio State University in November of 2012. By May 9th 2013, I had surgery on my lumbar curve which had progressed approximately 20 degrees over the last 20 years. I pretty much saw the handwriting on the wall; I know my insurance and what they will cover and won't cover, etc., we have an 11 year old son and I damn sure did not want to be in a wheel chair at his graduation, and the list went on. Oh and let's throw in the fact that I never was able to have kids and so we adopted. So the whole self-esteem on the outside issue was a big thing for me. I figured surgery was the best choice.

    May 9th was surgery where he fused T11-S1 after cutting the bottom portion of my Harrington Rods so the titanium ones wouldn't touch them and produce a current. Yeah, that sounded fun. Anyway, after I left the hospital I spent 10 days at a different hospital, Holzer Hospital in Gallipolis Ohio then came home.

    Sooo...here I am. Oh and I'm having another surgery on September 5 to correct a problem I developed. I ended up being in the hospital from May 4 until May 23 when I was transferred to Rehab. Of that time, I spent a total of 8 hours in a "normal" room. The rest of the time I was in ICU. The first problem was a blood clot in the left lung, then I proceeded to develop pneumonia, then after that I still wasn't taking in enough oxygen and kept trying to pull the tubes out of my nose and then the mask off my face and had to be intubated and on a respirator for a few days. Thank God I only remember bits and pieces of the first 2 weeks. I became more coherent and "normal" from the time they took the respirator out from the time I was discharged.

    Anyway, during that time in bed, and even with rehab and ongoing PT, I have developed a hunched position. Well, since I'm hunched over and fused from T11-S1, the top of my new rods are straight but I'm not; hence, I have a lump on my back which is metal and if something touches it, I go into orbit. I also bend my knees and now my hamstrings are as tight as "you know what" and can't stretch them out for nothin'. I walk and stand hunched over like a little old lady. My shoulders are now scrunched forward. I'm an embarrassment to myself and my family.

    Anyway, yes I love my surgery and am very happy I had it done and the doctor who did it but I can't stand the way I look. Hoping for results on September 5

    Christyne

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,526

    Adult Degenerative Scoliosis: Given a new life with surgery!

    I am now 8 months post-op and thought about posting here months ago, but somehow didn't think that I could continue to be so happy with my surgery. But, I am! I was diagnosed at age 65 with scoliosis, and was I surprised at how far my spine had collapsed! The radiologist showed me my xray and said, "You didn't know?"

    I was fortunate to have 2 awesome opinions for surgery, but my recovery resources were better for surgeon #2, Dr. Serena Hu at UCSF in the Bay Area where my son and family reside [he and his wife are Family Nurse Practitioners]. Dr. Hu was a miracle worker! I had 2 surgeries, first one 5 hours [ALIF, XLIF] and second one 10 hours [PSF]. I have bilateral screws in my lumbar and lower thoracic area, but "hooks" in my upper thoracic area as the thoracic vertebrae bones were osteoporotic and the screws would not grip there. [Interestingly, my Bone Mineral Density study was excellent and did not show any osteoporosis]. I am proud of my scar which covers my entire spine, and as my son's friend said, "Cool! Your buttcrack goes all the way to your neck!" I stayed at UCSF for 10 days and had great pain relief and great drugs so that I do not remember when I was in pain postop. I went to a rehab hospital for 7 days which was a good choice, but had it's challenges.

    Before: Limited endurance, pain meds and PT didn't help much; Steroid shots helped some; Rhizotomy thoracic and lumbar provided 4-6 months of relief only
    R sciatic pain from stenotic Right L4: had to stop and sit down every 1/2 block.
    Thoracic pain from 90 degree kyphosis that limited work to about 30 minutes, then I had to lay down with ice pack for 30 minutes.
    Lumbar pain: needed to stop frequently and sit.
    L lateral thigh: Meralgia Paresthetica, unsure how this is related or ?random

    After: At 8 months:
    Some aches, "electric shock pains", buzzing sensation but I would say all minor (now, at 1 year , those sensations are pretty much gone!)
    L buttocks pain, unknown reason: lift in R shoe helps as pelvis is slightly lower on R [will have SI joint injection] now, at one year, pain is only occasional
    R leg has limited motion and strength.....at one year, I have learned to live with the weakness. I have difficulty putting on socks, but that isn't the end of the world, is it?
    Cervical pain related to facet problems and disc degeneration [will have rhizotomy]
    Incisional hernia at ALIF site....had this repaired at one year postop!

    Surgery has given me a new life and options for retirement. I do medical work in International Health and this surgery has hopefully open possibilities for further medical projects. Prior to surgery, I envisioned myself degenerating to a slumped over kyphotic old woman on opiates. I believe that without surgery, I would be headed there.

    At 8 months, I am in PT and hoping to gain better strength in my R leg. I still use the reacher for bowel movement hygiene as I am probably cursed genetically with a long torso and short arms. I will have surgery for my ALIF hernia [entire incision of 8" "plus" opened] at the 1 year point. Full recovery, I am realizing will probably take 2 years.

    For older person with degenerative scoliosis, surgery has increased risks, but for me, I am "Happy that I had surgery!".

    Susan Green Cooksey, alias susancook

    Below are my pre and post xrays, lateral and front view.

    IMG_20130429_110609_254 (2).jpgIMG_20130429_110717_285 (2).jpg[ATTACH]
    Last edited by susancook; 03-15-2017 at 04:25 AM. Reason: An aged addled mind needs revison option.....
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Gulf Coast, USA
    Posts
    22

    Even with the problems after, I'm HAPPY I had surgery

    It's almost a dozen years since my surgery so thought I'd add my 2 cents.

    Surgery had to be done on two different days because my doctor said I was losing too much blood. Two days after completion, I was playing on my laptop and sending everyone a surgery update. I was already bugging my doctor, "When can I go home?"

    Then tragedy struck. Just days later I was running a high fever, delirious from the medicines they were giving and an all around mess. I contracted a nasty staph infection, MRSA. I had to undergo three additional surgeries to clean out the infected area (the top of the rods). I ended up staying in the hospital nearly two months, much longer than the expected two weeks promised before surgery. I also had to have 20+ hyperbaric oxygen treatments and nearly three months-worth of antibiotic infusion at home.

    All that nastiness is gone now. I no longer have horrendous lower back pain. Rarely do I ever experience any lower back pain. There is some pain between my shoulders where there are no rods to support me.

    I've had to make concessions because I can no longer bend. Slouching is uncomfortable, so that's out. Sitting up straight is much more comfortable anyway. Lying down is comfortable too although I've had to relearn to how to get up easily (no bending, remember). I can do more physical stuff without tiring and suffering with back pain, so that's a real plus. I still have lots of numbness that I hardly ever notice these days unless someone touches me on a numb spot, which feels very strange, even now.

    I've had asthma all my life but since surgery it's much, much improved, practically non-existent.

    So, yes, I'd say I'm HAPPY I had the surgery - although I would have preferred not to have had MRSA as an added bonus. That was AWFUL.
    Last edited by sidrid; 02-26-2014 at 08:16 AM.
    Sid Rid
    (female)

    Age 52
    Surgery May, 2002
    T4-S1
    MRSA staph infection

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