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Thread: Surgery scheduled with Dr. Vora on February 2nd

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    47

    Surgery scheduled with Dr. Vora on February 2nd

    Hello

    My surgery is scheduled at Hershey Medical with Dr Vora Feb 2nd. I am super nervous! I have so many questions about what to expect. My fusion will be T-2 to L2/L3, my curve is currently 62/64 degrees. If anyone has any experience with Dr. Vora, Hershey Medical, and or my type of fusion I am very eager to read about your experiences.

    Hear are some of questions that I have off hand:

    Did you have someone stay in the hospital with you?

    How long were you in the hospital?

    How much taller were you after the surgery? Is there a way to figure out how tall I may be based on my curve (currently I am 5 ft 7in and would love to be taller!! )

    How long did you have to stay home from work?


    How long was it before you were able to drive?

    Did you need help going to the bathroom?

    Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    It's good that you're asking questions because it's the unknown that's scary and the more answers you get, the less scary it will be. Even so, it's still always scary!

    Did you have someone stay in the hospital with you? No.

    How long were you in the hospital? 19 days, but that's very unusual. Most people seem to stay 6-10 days.

    How much taller were you after the surgery? Is there a way to figure out how tall I may be based on my curve (currently I am 5 ft 7in and would love to be taller!! ) 2.5 inches. I believe the amount of rotation and how much they can de-rotate, determines how much height you regain.

    How long did you have to stay home from work? I had given up work prior to the surgery but could have returned to a non-physical job at about 3-4 months I would think. I now work from home.

    How long was it before you were able to drive? As soon as I got off the Oxycontin. That was around 9-10 weeks, but many start driving well before then.

    Did you need help going to the bathroom? No, thank goodness.

    Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery? Nothing. I had 9 months to prepare and asked all the questions. Things just have a way of working themselves out as time goes by. During recovery, nothing matters more than your healing. Eating, sleeping, walking, getting those bowels moving, will dominate your life. It's deadly serious stuff, as each day you inch closer to your normal life!
    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
    Dec 2011
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferG View Post
    It's good that you're asking questions because it's the unknown that's scary and the more answers you get, the less scary it will be. Even so, it's still always scary!

    Did you have someone stay in the hospital with you? No.

    How long were you in the hospital? 19 days, but that's very unusual. Most people seem to stay 6-10 days.

    How much taller were you after the surgery? Is there a way to figure out how tall I may be based on my curve (currently I am 5 ft 7in and would love to be taller!! ) 2.5 inches. I believe the amount of rotation and how much they can de-rotate, determines how much height you regain.

    How long did you have to stay home from work? I had given up work prior to the surgery but could have returned to a non-physical job at about 3-4 months I would think. I now work from home.

    How long was it before you were able to drive? As soon as I got off the Oxycontin. That was around 9-10 weeks, but many start driving well before then.

    Did you need help going to the bathroom? No, thank goodness.

    Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery? Nothing. I had 9 months to prepare and asked all the questions. Things just have a way of working themselves out as time goes by. During recovery, nothing matters more than your healing. Eating, sleeping, walking, getting those bowels moving, will dominate your life. It's deadly serious stuff, as each day you inch closer to your normal life!


    Thank you JenniferG for your quick reply! The more feedback I get, the better I feel about the procedure.

    When it comes to getting into shape- I am not in shape at all! I am what they call "skinny-fat", meaning I am thin but I am out of shape. I have been doing yoga once a week for 60 minutes, but that is about it. From your experience, do you think it would make a huge difference in my recover if that is all I do to get fit? I have less than 5 weeks till surgery, so I am trying to figure out the best way to get in shape fast.


    I am looking forward to hearing other responses to my original question. Thank you in advance for the support!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    3,261
    It's amazing how quickly you can build up your fitness. Five weeks, if you set your mind to it, is enough to vastly improve your fitness. I set about getting fit because I was concerned about my cardiac health dealing with such a huge surgery (I was almost 58 at the time.) I definitely recommend getting fit for many reasons. First, the fitter I got the more positive I became and I began to realise I CAN do this thing. Secondly, I felt braver, thirdly, I had less pain, in fact at time of surgery, I'd not felt so well in years! Going down to the OR had been what I dreaded most, but when the time came, I wasn't nervous at all, I just wanted it over and done with. And I'm the world's biggest woos! I've tried to keep up my fitness since then. I didn't do anything clever. I walked (fast) and my partner and I kayaked. 4-5 hours a day in the last couple of weeks (he took holidays and we went away.)

    I have no idea if my fitness made my recovery easier but I did have a reasonably easy recovery and felt 100% at 6 months though I continued to have improvements, particularly in flexibility, for up to 2 years.
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    104

    Similar fusion levels

    Hi,
    Welcome to the forum! With us having similar fusion levels (T3-L3), I thought that I would share with you some of my experiences.

    Did you have someone stay in the hospital with you? No - my husband stayed in the adjacent hotel.

    How long were you in the hospital? 7 days

    How much taller were you after the surgery? Is there a way to figure out how tall I may be based on my curve (currently I am 5 ft 7in and would love to be taller!! Only 1/4", but I appear much taller because the rods give a person such great posture! I had a 50% improvement in my curve with the main goals of stopping the progression and leveling the shoulders/pelvis.

    How long did you have to stay home from work? I am self-employed and at almost 8 mos post op, I can still only work at my desk for only 2-3 hr stretches. I have to pace myself.

    How long was it before you were able to drive? After I was off all the narcotics - 1 mo post op.

    Did you need help going to the bathroom? no

    Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery?
    I knew alot about the surgery because my 19 yo son had the same surgery almost 3 years ago. I wasn't mentally prepared for how much longer it takes for an adult to recover from this surgery compared to a teenager. My older muscles had become accustomed to my curve and compensated accordingly. So it takes a long time for my muscles to like my new body. It makes it especially harder for me to be patient because I wasn't in a great deal of pain prior to my surgery. I still would have had the surgery though because of how much my curve was progressing.

    If you have any other questions, be sure to ask this group. There is a wealth of knowledge, experience and support to tap into.
    Donna
    Female - 49 yrs old at surgery
    Surgery 5/5/11 - Dr. Bridwell, St. Louis
    Fused T3-L3
    60 degree thoracic curve corrected to 30 degrees
    Tennis player & returning to the courts!
    http://s1050.photobucket.com/profile/walkingmom1/index

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    213
    Hi Roxjanine,

    I am four months post surgery. I noticed you are going to Hershey--not too far from where I work (Emmitsburg near Gettysburg). I had not heard of Hershey Medical so I looked them up (always want to know where good facilities are). Didn't see a Dr. Vora--one thing you want in a spinal surgeon is one who has done a residency in spinal surgery.

    One thing we do talk about on the forum is getting the best surgeon possible. There were three recommended in the Baltimore area. In the meantime, here are my answers to your questions (my surgeon did not break the fused bones, so my spine isn't as straight as other's post surgery. My surgeon believed in "doing no harm" by not breaking the bones). I think I might have been in a bit less pain post surgery than others...but it's just a guess:

    Here are my answers to your questions:

    Did you have someone stay in the hospital with you? My husband stayed at a nearby hotel and spent the days with me. If needed, he could make sure I received things I needed.

    How long were you in the hospital? Surgery was on Tuesday, I was out by Saturday morning. Did some rehab after that--but just for a few days...should have just gone home. I had a slow start--didn't have enough blood after the surgery and couldn't walk until I had one extra unit and then got another one later for good measure.

    How much taller were you after the surgery? Is there a way to figure out how tall I may be based on my curve (currently I am 5 ft 7in and would love to be taller!! ) I am 2-3 inches taller--but I had a pretty heavy double curve.

    How long did you have to stay home from work? I started teleworking at about two months post surgery...started with just one to two hours a day and slowly worked my way up. Sitting is the problem...you can't sit for very long at first.


    How long was it before you were able to drive? I wanted to drive at about two months post surgery, but it was more like 2.5 months. Depends on how long you are on the pain drugs.

    Did you need help going to the bathroom? No, but you should get one of those raised toilet attachments. They won't let you out of the hospital until you can walk a decent distance (like you'd be walking around a house) and go up/down stairs well.

    Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery? Keep telling yourself it will get better. First few days are very rough--be sure you get enough pain medicines. Do a search on this list--there is a website that lists everything you should think about having at home BEFORE the surgery.

    You will want someone staying at your house with you for at least one week--two weeks would be nice. After that, someone checking in on you once in a while would be good.
    Discovered scoliosis when 15 years old.
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace for 1.5 years.
    Top curve 85 degrees, bottom curve 60 degrees

    Surgery completed August 23, 2011 (during an earthquake, can you believe that?)
    Dr. Charles Edwards, II
    The Spine Center at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, MD
    Before and after xrays:
    http://www.valley-designs.com/myspine

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by djkinkead View Post
    Hi Roxjanine,

    I am four months post surgery. I noticed you are going to Hershey--not too far from where I work (Emmitsburg near Gettysburg). I had not heard of Hershey Medical so I looked them up (always want to know where good facilities are). Didn't see a Dr. Vora--one thing you want in a spinal surgeon is one who has done a residency in spinal surgery.

    One thing we do talk about on the forum is getting the best surgeon possible. There were three recommended in the Baltimore area. In the meantime, here are my answers to your questions (my surgeon did not break the fused bones, so my spine isn't as straight as other's post surgery. My surgeon believed in "doing no harm" by not breaking the bones). I think I might have been in a bit less pain post surgery than others...but it's just a guess:

    Here are my answers to your questions:

    Did you have someone stay in the hospital with you? My husband stayed at a nearby hotel and spent the days with me. If needed, he could make sure I received things I needed.

    How long were you in the hospital? Surgery was on Tuesday, I was out by Saturday morning. Did some rehab after that--but just for a few days...should have just gone home. I had a slow start--didn't have enough blood after the surgery and couldn't walk until I had one extra unit and then got another one later for good measure.

    How much taller were you after the surgery? Is there a way to figure out how tall I may be based on my curve (currently I am 5 ft 7in and would love to be taller!! ) I am 2-3 inches taller--but I had a pretty heavy double curve.

    How long did you have to stay home from work? I started teleworking at about two months post surgery...started with just one to two hours a day and slowly worked my way up. Sitting is the problem...you can't sit for very long at first.


    How long was it before you were able to drive? I wanted to drive at about two months post surgery, but it was more like 2.5 months. Depends on how long you are on the pain drugs.

    Did you need help going to the bathroom? No, but you should get one of those raised toilet attachments. They won't let you out of the hospital until you can walk a decent distance (like you'd be walking around a house) and go up/down stairs well.

    Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery? Keep telling yourself it will get better. First few days are very rough--be sure you get enough pain medicines. Do a search on this list--there is a website that lists everything you should think about having at home BEFORE the surgery.

    You will want someone staying at your house with you for at least one week--two weeks would be nice. After that, someone checking in on you once in a while would be good.

    Thank you all for your quick responses. I am pretty much on this forum every day so its nice to be able to hear back from people. Please keep the feed back coming!

    I especially think it is helping me prepare mental for the actual surgery. I have a huge fear of something going wrong and being a burden on my fiance ( who is very supportive of my surgery) We scheduled our wedding for 4/6/2013 so I would have enough time to heal before the wedding.

    @djkinkead I added a link to Dr. Vora's information in my signature. I thought it would be better to find a surgeon close to where I live( I live 10 min away from Hershey) so I would be able to be seen without having to travel far. I hope I made the right choice!

    At this point it looks like my fiance can only take 1/2 days so I hope that will be good enough. Thankfully I will be taking FMLA so my job is protected for 12 weeks, I am hoping to be able to return to work a lot sooner than that.

    Is it true that you can't raise your arms over your head after thoracic spinal fusion? I was concerned about my hair...


    Thank you again everyone and I look forward to hearing my feedback!
    Last edited by Roxjanine; 12-27-2011 at 07:53 PM.
    Thoracic curve approx 62 degrees,
    Lower curve of approx 38 degrees
    27 years old
    http://pennstatehershey.org/findaprovider/provider/1507
    Scheduled for Spinal Fusion 2/2/2012
    T2-L2 or L3
    Engaged to be married on 4.6.2013!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    I had no problems raising my arms over my head, but I believe some do. Some braid their hair in pigtails before surgery and it stays like that over a period of days without needing brushing for that first few days/week. Button down tops are a good idea just in case you have trouble raising your arms.
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Easton PA
    Posts
    182
    Hi,
    I have heard Dr Vora mentioned before on the forum, I think someone had him as their surgeon? I know Hershey Medical Center has a terrific reputation. I am almost 7 mos. post-op, so here are answers from my experiences:

    Did you have someone stay in the hospital with you? Yes, my sister who is a nurse, and it was crucial because the nursing care was lacking...

    How long were you in the hospital? 10 days

    How much taller were you after the surgery? Is there a way to figure out how tall I may be based on my curve (currently I am 5 ft 7in and would love to be taller!! ) 2" taller. It depends on how flexible your spine is, and how much correction you get.

    How long did you have to stay home from work? 6 months, and now very limited hours.


    How long was it before you were able to drive? 12 weeks ( probably could have before, but was not in a hurry!)

    Did you need help going to the bathroom? Needed a device for wiping at first. Got the "bottom buddy" from Amazon! Didn't need help walking there.

    Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery?[/QUOTE] Yes, how long the recovery really is, in terms of how long it takes to adjust to your new body. I still feel sometimes like I am in a straight jacket, because of all of the muscle tightness, pulling, stretching. It is constant, so it gets really tiring as the day goes on, because you can't ever just forget about your back. That has been the most difficult aspect for me. I just want to feel comfortable in my body again. I know some people never experience this, and it seems to be worse for those of us fused to the sacrum w/pelvic anchors. Hopefully, you will never experience this.
    Good Luck with your surgery. The waiting really is hard, but you will get through it. Lori
    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!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    "Anything you wish you would have done or known about prior to surgery?[/QUOTE] Yes, how long the recovery really is, in terms of how long it takes to adjust to your new body. I still feel sometimes like I am in a straight jacket, because of all of the muscle tightness, pulling, stretching. It is constant, so it gets really tiring as the day goes on, because you can't ever just forget about your back. That has been the most difficult aspect for me. I just want to feel comfortable in my body again. I know some people never experience this, and it seems to be worse for those of us fused to the sacrum w/pelvic anchors. Hopefully, you will never experience this."

    I just wanted to say, I'm sorry Lori feels like that but thought I should mention I never felt like that so it's another example of how we're all different.
    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

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