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Thread: Upcoming Surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pa.
    Posts
    85

    Upcoming Surgery

    Hi All,

    Well, the countdown begins...five weeks from this coming Tuesday, on Dec 11, I have surgery with Dr. Bridwell. For some reason, it just hasn't felt real until now that it is getting so close. I am 61 so I have paid special attention over the past many months to the threads from some of the older scolis here on the forum.....backissues and loves to skate....your success stories have so encouraged me. Titaniumed, I know you aren't in your 60's but you had some of the same issues I am dealing with, and to hear about all your travels and activities gives me so much hope.....still don't know how you managed to get INTO that tub to soak.....ha!!! Susancook....you sound so much like me pondering the surgery decision but getting relief from injections......I have told my husband more times than not that I would never have surgery and here I am five weeks away. I was fused in 1964 when I was 13 from T4-L2. The surgical plan now is L2-sacrum and hooking onto the existing fusion. Does anyone know what exactly that entails, the hooking on? I still have questions when I see Dr. Bridwell the day before surgery. I have neural foraminal stenosis, DDD and a 43 degree rotational curve in the lumbar and also a synovial cyst on L4-L5 which is pressing on a nerve and might be a little risky removing because sometimes it is attached to the dura. Did any of you have a synovial cyst? Ok, just wanted to sign in and tell all of you that the time you take to support and encourage each of us is a Godsend. I will be asking for prayer the closer I get to my surgery. I have many friends who are so supportive but no one really knows the emotional and physical turmoil we deal with. I have been praying for Boomergal and I am praying and pulling for TwinmomTN who has a major complication with nerve pain. Good luck to you on Nov 8th. Gardenia, we will be in St Louis around the same time. I don't know if my husband and I will be back home by Christmas but we will be returning home to a very unfestive home. I sorta regret not waiting until after Christmas, but I was so anxious to get it over with. I have been waking up every night the past week in the wee hours of the morning and my mind just starts racing with thoughts of the pain coming out of surgery. My faith is the only thing right now sustaining me. Ok, will close...just had to get some things off my mind which helps with the coping. I know there are others out there that didnt come to mind as I was writing this but I pray for all of you as you go into surgery. I am on facebook....Pat Yacisin
    Blessings and Hugs,
    Patty
    1963 Fusion T4-L2 for congenital scoliosis. It was a bone graft and not instrumentation
    1989 to Present....Have had chronic pain. MRI's show severe neural foraminal stenosis L2-S1, rotational scoliosis lumbar spine over 40 degrees, compression of nerve roots L5-S1, Broad Based Herniations L4-L5, L5-S
    Surgery scheduled with Dr. Bridwell on December 11, 2012
    December 11, 2012 Had surgery with Dr. Bridwell. He fused L4-L5 with rods and screws.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4

    Thumbs up thoughts are with you

    Hello yacpatty,
    This is my first post. I can only imagine your anxiety but stay focused on the "other side" of the surgery date. It will be behind you, you will be recovering and you will feel so much better one year from now than you do now. The surgery and recovery are a tremendous amount to submit to but at some point living in so much pain is just not an option any more.
    I am a similar scoli patient to you in that I had surgery as a 13 year old in '74 and have gone along with increasing pain and deteriorating condition. Surgery is in the works for next year. I would like to hear more about your experiences over the years in dealing with pain, treatments and how you came to choose the doctor you did. Take care for now and try to keep busy!

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

    So great!!!

    Good luck. My surgery is on the 27th of Nov at 5am. Pre ops at 7am on Monday, meeting with anesthesiologist etc.

    Not worrry about the surgery at all...

    Worried about he recovery but will spend 2 weeks at the Metro Lofts close enough after hospital release ...

    Trying to convice of fine someone to report but husband will only tweet to the family, not a blogger. One daughter might, the other one will not be there the day of the surgery due to having a be in school on Mon and Tues (2 hours away in Columbia) which is fine because I will need her later not while I am under and floating around on meds.

    As soon as I can get back to this forum I will. Otherwise, I will ask daughter to start some other blog but will people here would be interested? I know that some family will initially but not about he details as much as it is eagerly read in this forum.

    We here need to know about every little detail because it helps the next person not walk into the dark and unknown. I really enjoyed reading Hannap's blog at caringbridge because every minute was lived.
    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. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    63
    Thanks, Gardenia. I would Definitely be interested in following some kind of blog if that is something that you choose to do. I like caringbridge b/c you can sign up for email updates/texts when there has been an update.

    My dad/mom (who updated the caringbridge blog while I was still on heavy pain Meds) wouldnt know how to navigate through this forum or the other one i belong to) It did become a little bit of a headache once I started updating caringbridge and trying to remember to post here and another forum.

    Good luck to both of you in your upcoming surgeries! Dr. Bridwell is one of the best and you'll get some great care at Barnes.

    Hannah

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,755
    Pat, Gardenia, Hannah,

    I haven't had surgery, but I do hang on every word of your experiences. I live with pain every day. It's horrible and I feel like a druggie. My curves aren't huge, so don't quite know why the pain except for the odd locations. My curves are getting worse so I believe surgery is probably in my future, whether distant or near. I don't have the courage to go back to the scoli surgeon as of yet. I wish you all the best in your surgeries and recoveries. Hannah, you had your already, right? Anyway, Pat, just focus on getting better. If you can't post right away, we definitely understand. Just update us when you can. Oh, and thanks to everyone for their willingness to share. ((((HUGS)))) to all!!!
    Be happy!
    We don't know what tomorrow brings,
    but we are alive today!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    63
    Yes, had my surgery about 6 weeks ago. It's gonna be one long journey I can see but wil be worth it in the end.

    Hope your pain isn't too bad and that you go see ur scoliosis doc to know if it's progressing. It's a scary road to go down (surgery) and a tough decision but if your hurting and there is a chance surgery could fix that, id go for it/I went for it. Hasn't been so bad. Just some minor kinks here and there, everything will all work itself out in due time.

    Not sure if you have seen my caringbridge site where I've documented from surgery onto present day (as well as many posts on here:-)
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/hannahpauk/journal

    Have a good night,

    Hannah

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,690
    Patty,
    I know what you mean about the surgery suddenly becoming a reality. When we were returning from a final golf vacation before surgery, I listened to a phone message from Dr. Lenke's office with a list of my pre-op tests scheduled in a week. I thought, "I guess I'm really doing this!" Dr. Bridwell is an excellent surgeon who has worked with Dr. Lenke (he may have actually trained him). I will be sending positive thoughts and prayers your way on Dec. 11th. It's a tough surgery, as you know, but you can do it. You have a strong faith and a good attitude. Stay positive.
    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/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pa.
    Posts
    85

    Fusion in 74

    What levels did you have fused in 74? Did you have instrumentation or bone fusion? I will keep you posted.
    Patty





    Quote Originally Posted by llburke4 View Post
    Hello yacpatty,



    This is my first post. I can only imagine your anxiety but stay focused on the "other side" of the surgery date. It will be behind you, you will be recovering and you will feel so much better one year from now than you do now. The surgery and recovery are a tremendous amount to submit to but at some point living in so much pain is just not an option any more.
    I am a similar scoli patient to you in that I had surgery as a 13 year old in '74 and have gone along with increasing pain and deteriorating condition. Surgery is in the works for next year. I would like to hear more about your experiences over the years in dealing with pain, treatments and how you came to choose the doctor you did. Take care for now and try to keep busy!
    1963 Fusion T4-L2 for congenital scoliosis. It was a bone graft and not instrumentation
    1989 to Present....Have had chronic pain. MRI's show severe neural foraminal stenosis L2-S1, rotational scoliosis lumbar spine over 40 degrees, compression of nerve roots L5-S1, Broad Based Herniations L4-L5, L5-S
    Surgery scheduled with Dr. Bridwell on December 11, 2012
    December 11, 2012 Had surgery with Dr. Bridwell. He fused L4-L5 with rods and screws.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    70

    Revision

    Hi Patty, I sent you a p.message, I had revision surgery May 2011, at J Hopkins, They were going to hook new rods to old fusion and rods, they would not hold so they put 2 new rods, (I was bent over, he did a (pso), and I was good for 5 months, then the old rod broke and they had to be replaced.The reason he did not remove the two old rods back in May, he did not have to go up that high.and it would be many more hr. of surgery(it was 7 hr)and they were good at the time But the old fusion ceacked also, so we really don't know came first the crack or the rod,but they had to be replaced. I wish you good luck, and hope you feel as good as I do.Lu

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pa.
    Posts
    85

    Surgery

    Hi Lue,

    Yeh, sounds like my surgery. The doctor said he would hook onto the old fusion a L2....the only difference is I had a bone fusion and not rods. I am starting to gather my things today as I am just a little over 3 weeks from surgery and just feel I won't get everything done before we take off on the 9th. I am glad to hear you are doing good. Could you tell me what degree you had in your lumbar, the levels that weren't fused in 74 and did Dr. K get any correction in the lumbar? Do you feel screws and rods in your lumbar spine and how long did it take before you were off the worst of pain meds? If you want to email me, my address is yacpatty@yahoo.com.
    Blessings,
    Patty
    1963 Fusion T4-L2 for congenital scoliosis. It was a bone graft and not instrumentation
    1989 to Present....Have had chronic pain. MRI's show severe neural foraminal stenosis L2-S1, rotational scoliosis lumbar spine over 40 degrees, compression of nerve roots L5-S1, Broad Based Herniations L4-L5, L5-S
    Surgery scheduled with Dr. Bridwell on December 11, 2012
    December 11, 2012 Had surgery with Dr. Bridwell. He fused L4-L5 with rods and screws.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pa.
    Posts
    85

    Surgery

    llburke....I can't find you on the forum!!!!! Wanted to write you.

    Patty
    1963 Fusion T4-L2 for congenital scoliosis. It was a bone graft and not instrumentation
    1989 to Present....Have had chronic pain. MRI's show severe neural foraminal stenosis L2-S1, rotational scoliosis lumbar spine over 40 degrees, compression of nerve roots L5-S1, Broad Based Herniations L4-L5, L5-S
    Surgery scheduled with Dr. Bridwell on December 11, 2012
    December 11, 2012 Had surgery with Dr. Bridwell. He fused L4-L5 with rods and screws.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    31

    Surgery

    Patty,
    A while ago you asked me how long my fusion was. Sorry to have taken so long to answer, but I am just getting back to spending time on the computer. Anyway, my fusion was T1/T2 to sacrum. My back looks better than I ever thought possible and certainly better than I expected. My surgery was two hours longer than expected, because my bones were not strong enough to hold the shorter screws, and the longer ones had to be used. That was the only complication that I know of. I wish you all the best with your surgery, and an easy recovery, Angie

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    345

    So happy your almost there!!!!

    I should be able to remember your surgery date, because it's my moms Birthday.
    You will do just great! All the work they will be doing will take care of lots of the pain you feel now. Although you will have surgical pain for a while, that too will go away not too long. I know we're all a little different, so I don't want to say too much about healing and all that stuff! But you have a wonderful surgeon, so I just have a real good feeling about your big day! Stay positive and feel the prayers that we are will be saying for you~~~~~Warmly, Linda
    Linda Brozik~~60 yrs. old at time of Lenke's first surgery. 62 now!
    Surgery 2006 L3/4 L4/5 double fusion/ instumentation/ With 2 cages
    This started adult onset scoliosis
    July 1st, 2010/ surgery ~~fused T10 to pelvis (long rods/ screws)
    Oct.20th 2010, extended rods to T4 / did osteotomy at L3
    Oct. 29th 2012 Dr. Lenke St. Louis Mo. T4 to sacrum osteotomy anterior cage L3/4 titanium rods
    May 30th 2013 revision
    May 8th cervicle surgery 2016
    May 31st Dr. Gupta revision 2017

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4

    how are you doing? and my fusion levels

    Quote Originally Posted by yacpatty View Post
    What levels did you have fused in 74? Did you have instrumentation or bone fusion? I will keep you posted.
    Patty
    Are you ready? Do you have lots of things lined up for afterwards, books, favorite movies, some knitting or something?
    I think about you b/c of how similar our situation sounds.
    I had 1 Harrington rod placed in '74. They also used cadaver bones. Original plan was for 2 rods b/c I had 2 major curves. I am fused from mid thoracic to L2 although self fusion has taken place to L3. Too much bleeding during surgery to place second rod. Then it was decided that one rod would hold. Problem as it seems all of you know is that Harrington rods eliminate/reduce not only scoliotic curves but also the natural curves of the spine leaving flatback syndrome. Also the rod/fusion ended at the apex of the lower curve.
    At 13 I had never heard of scoliosis until my parents took me to an orthopedic surgeon to see what the hump on my back was. I had pain at that time especially when active. I was told I needed immediate surgery. Second opinion agreed with that plan. Dr. Giannestras did the surgery in Cincinnati. My family and I were told that if I did not have surgery that I would end up in a wheel chair by 18 and would not live beyond 25 b/c of the pressure on heart/lungs. Surgery seemed liked a pretty easy decision to make given that grim of an outlook by surgeons. I was in the hospital for about one month. I was in a body cast for about 6-7 months. Once recovered, I had much less pain. And although I was never into horseback riding or skiing I was pretty active with no restrictions.

    My rod jumped its hook probably 20 years ago. That was not an issue either. I had four pregnancies, no trouble carrying them to full term. Could not have an epidural b/c of where fusion is but "natural child birth" was big in the eighties. Some back pain throughout this time but really did not interfere with things too much. In late 1990's I started to have pretty serious back pain. Since then I have been getting epidural steriod injections about every 3-6 months. Usually I got good relief but less so the last year. Pain is increasing although not anywhere near what I would call a constant level of high pain. But neither can I do all the things I want to do or do them for how long I would like to do them. My pain management doctor wanted me to be followed by a surgeon even though I wasn't thinking about surgery back in 1997. Pain doc said in case of an accident he wanted someone familiar with my case. So I have been followed by a neurosurgeon for many years. He thinks I will need surgery at some point b/c of deteriorating condition. But he has always maintained that the decision WHEN to have surgery is mine. I have recently (last week and last April) had issues with loose rod moving but pain settles down after a few days. He said there are changes in my condition in that there is deterioration and increase in curvature, stenosis, kyphosis above curve (I am very bent forward). But all these changes are gradual. He doesn't say anything like, "YOU NEED SURGERY NOW."

    He sent me to see Bridwell in St. Louis. Bridwell said more or less the same thing about the timing of surgery. The big difference (that I can remember) between Bridwell and the neurosurgeon was the surgery time and the recovery. With the neurosurgeon it was going to be one 8-12 hour surgery on Monday working from the back. And a second 8-12 hour surgery on Friday from the front which involved removing diaphragm (then replacing-let's not forget that part) and I would have a lung shunt and be in ICU for a few days. Recovery would be about 2 weeks in the hospital and then about 1 month in a rehab facility. I would also be in a clamshell brace for several months but no body cast. I know their approaches to this surgery must be different b/c Bridwell said I would be in the hospital for about 2-3weeks, no brace, and no rehabilitation facility. I am so overwhelmed by all this stuff. I know I should know more about what each doctor is proposing. I just can't even judge what is right or wrong.
    Neurosurgeon is proposing breaking old fusion, removing old hardware, realigning spine, continue fusion (to what level I don't know-but I think there are only 2 or 3 levels still moveable below existing fusion). With Dr. Bridwell I am honestly not sure what his plan is b/c he wants to do more tests but only after I lose 50 pounds. I have lost 30. I think that Dr. Bridwell may be considering just extending the fusion but again I am not sure.

    Some days I feel so bad I can hardly stand it. Other days I do okay. I am never great but neither am I always horrible. But
    always I am tired of dealing with this. The most concerning pain I have comes from instability. Movement that should have been spread out over the length of a moveable spine is concentrated on an area greatly stressed from a curve. I am having trouble driving b/c it is painful now and that was not the case even a few months ago. Going around curves, bumps in the road, sudden deceleration it all causes a very attention-getting burst of pain in lower back. Then it's gone but I am left sore if not hurting. And I need to curtail my activities.

    My questions are as follows: How do I choose doctor (neurosurgeon in town or Dr. Bridwell out of town).
    How difficult is it to have a major surgery away from home/support team?
    When/how did you decide it was time to take the risk of surgery?
    I would appreciate hearing from anyone with experience in this type of situation.
    Best of luck, Patty!
    Sincerely,
    Laurie

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