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Thread: Spending More Money Since Surgery But Enjoying It!

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Yacolt, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by aileens View Post
    Karen,

    Did you have any pain/discomfort when trying on clothes? I'm 8 weeks post and I still haven't "shopped my closet" to see how my old stuff fits since I find it uncomfortable to move in certain ways - it's a bit painful to move my arms since I'm fused up to T3, and taking off sweaters stretches the whole back and it feels really weird. I'm excited to go shopping but don't quite feel up to it yet.
    Hi Aileens! I am 3 weeks postoperative and am fused to T3 to sacrum and I know what you mean about pain in your whole back. I started to wear Lidocaine patches on my upper back lateral to my incision line. I cut them in half. That eases the pain. My therapist said that the muscles in my upper back were stretched out so much before surgery and then stretched again with surgery, that they need time to get back into their new position. Cold packs also help a lot.

    Karen, the last time that I went shopping before surgery, I had lots of clothes in the fitting room and was so exhausted that I quit and just bought the first shirt that fit and left. I was totally wiped out! I won't be shopping for a while.....Susan
    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 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal Spinal Cord Injury 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
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    NYC
    Posts
    62

    Stretchy Clothes

    I see this is an old thread, but I have shopping on my mind! It's so much better to wear dresses now that I have a waist! And my hips are even! And I have an arch in my spine instead of resembling a board in back! But my issue right now is stretchiness. Now that it's summer and I've started to wear dresses and skirts without stockings (thank God, because stockings are still a pain to get on), I've discovered something alarming: it's almost impossible to tie my shoe or bend down to pick anything up in a non-stretch skirt. (I'm fused to pelvis, so there's only squatting for me if I need to get down to the ground.) Whenever I have to change my shoes at work, I close my office door so I can hike up my skirt without flashing everyone. Am seriously considering buying a bunch of spanex shorts to wear under skirts for these just in case moments. And I'm still grappling with the issue of being absolutely intolerant of anything stiff or restricting anywhere on my body. So everything from tight jeans to underwire bras are out. In fact, I made a vow to myself this past weekend: for the rest of my life I'm never buying anything else that doesn't have at least 5% spandex! Seriously, I only ever want to wear stretchy clothes for the rest of my life. Otherwise, I will never be able to tie my shoes in public again! (Yes, I do have elastic shoelaces for my sneakers - but I just bought a new pair and haven't swapped out the laces yet - to my peril when my shoe came untied in the subway last night! It was interesting to say the least.) Anyhow, just wondering what others think about needing stretchy versus non-stretchy clothes, and at what point you are in your recovery, and how you think that might relate to your stretchiness preferences. Discuss! Can't wait to hear how others feel about this topic!
    Surgery June 18 by Dr. Errico at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases at age 41.
    Fused T10-Pelvis.
    "Ask me about my brand new lordosis!"

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,704
    Putting tennis shoes and golf shoes on was not easy for a long time unless I had a step to put one foot on or I could sit in a chair. I sit and cross one leg across my knee if wearing shoes that tie, but for a year or so, my bows were always on the inside instead of being centered. Now, I can tie them in the center, so I know my flexibility is a little better. It's not easy to put my golf shoes on in the front seat of my car dealing with the steering wheel, so I put them on at home before going to the golf course. It would definitely be difficult for me to put on a shoe that has to be tied with a short skirt. I have managed to put on panty hoes a few times, but it is not easy and not worth it! I wore leggings with boots a few times last winter and it was much easier.
    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/

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    570
    Have you tried skechers without shoelaces? I keep a pair of these under my desk at work and just slide my feet in when I go on walks. I do not wear anything with shoelaces with skirts or dresses. Flats, sandals without any hooks, so that I just slide my feet in, or low hill shoes are my choice. I only wear sneakers with jeans or in the gym.

    I have an office job an if I need to get something from a lower drower, I get down on my knees. No biggie, I don't mind it. Stretchy clothes - did not think about it... I wear form fitting dresses, skirts and tops most of the time since the surgery and love it. Under wire bras never gave me any problems...
    Last edited by Irina; 06-13-2014 at 12:07 AM.
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  5. #20
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    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
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    I still have some difficulty putting on my R sock and shoe. Sometimes I am luckier than others in getting them on. Sometimes my husband puts them on, sometimes I leave the house half-socked and ask someone along my journey to help me. Sometimes, I change what I am putting on my feet. I just purchased sneakers with stretchy laces to gain more independence.

    I am working on my attitude. Susan
    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 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal Spinal Cord Injury 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
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    I am fine with everything except the bras. Definitely no underwires, and I actually prefer sports bras if I can find them. The tightness across my back still bothers me 2-years post-op. Not painful, just annoying. Weird because I am not busty.
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    26

    What to do with the DD's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Confusedmom View Post
    I am fine with everything except the bras. Definitely no underwires, and I actually prefer sports bras if I can find them. The tightness across my back still bothers me 2-years post-op. Not painful, just annoying. Weird because I am not busty.
    This is something I've been wanting to ask. What do the "busty" ladies wear after surgery? Going without a bra is not an option for me. Even my sports bras have underwires. (If I could find pajamas with underwires I'd wear those!) Any ideas or suggestions?

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Grove City, OH
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    275
    Wow- I am SO looking forward to the bonus of looking better in clothes. More selection when shopping AND more stamina - woohoo! I'd better freeze my credit cards!

    I can certainly relate to what Susan said about going into the dressing room with a ton of clothes & 'maybe' finding 1 item that is acceptable from the side/back view!

    Aileens: you mentioned limited upper body movement. Are you able to hold a hair dryer? I have thick hair & wear it in a long-ish bob. Debating on whether or not to go short b/f surgery. Current plan is to keep it as is, so I can put it in a pony tail during the early stage of recovery.

    More related questions: how soon were you women able to go to the hairdresser & sit long enough for a color session? Also, how about pedicures? Getting into those chairs & sitting for an hour?

    It's great to be able to get answers about these 'not so important' issues related to spine surgery!

    Thanks, friends!
    Peg
    61 yrs old
    75 degree lumbar curve with thoracic kyphosis
    T3 - S1 surgery with Dr. Buchowski in St. Louis, on 10/27/14
    Working on healing in Columbus, Ohio!

  9. #24
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    75
    I was fused from T-4 to sacrum and was able to blow dry my hair and use a curling iron about
    3 weeks after my surgery at age 67 almost two years ago. I went to my hairdresser to have it colored and
    Cut at about 6 weeks after surgery and the only problem I had was that I couldn't (and still can't) tilt my head back at all into the sink for her to wash and rinse it so she had to move the chair and I sort of squat and put my head face forward down into the sink and she rinses my hair and water runs all over my face removing most of my makeup. I can only wash my hair at home now in the shower and not in the sink under the spout like I could before my surgery. I am very short--only 4'11 in. I was 5'2''' 3 years before surgery and lost 51/2" and got down to 4'9". I have finally managed to take tub baths about 2 months ago
    With the help of a bath pillow someone here suggested but it still isn't comfortable and thus take mostly
    Showers.
    Jane

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    Pedicure - immediately! Just take a pillow with you.

    Hair - immediately if you wash it in the shower and go with wet hair. It was at least six months and probably a year before I could comfortably have them wash it. Oh, and take a pillow.

    Just keep a pillow in the car the first year. :-)
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    570
    I had a first pedi and a haircut at 3 months postop. I cut my hear very short before the surgery so that I didn't nave to fuss with it. I am lucky that my heardresser has one of these newer chairs where they wash hair. It has a very tall back and reclines so that you are almost laing down, like in a bed with a sink attached. Don't know if my description makes any sense, but you may see these chairs in higher end salons. I don't have any problems washing my hair if I am in this chair.
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    62

    Independence/Survival Action Plan!

    I think the not-so-important issues like hair and clothes and pedicures are the most fun! After exactly 1 year of pain and struggle and exhaustion, thinking about hair and clothes gives me such great pleasure. It's a treat to myself!

    I went to the salon for a color about a month after my surgery. My colorist is a dear friend of mine, and she was extremely accomodating with lots of pillows and an electric reclining chair for the rinse. I brought a friend with me to help me. On return trips to the salon, I've brought my special wedge pillow, but this seems to make it difficult for her to reach my hair. But I'm fine with sitting for a few hours now (although I still have no love for it), so I just deal with it. Regarding blow drying my hair, I had my surgery in the summer, and since it was so hot, I just didn't blow dry it and left it wet. I was not able to get it into a pony tail though (still can't), because I couldn't raise my arms then, and I still can't bend over and flip my head upside down like I used to to make a pony tail. I put my hair up with clips now instead, which seems to work better anyhow. Once it got cold, I needed to start blow drying my hair, and that's right when I went back to work. I was concerned about how to do it, because at the time, I was still too weak to hold my arms up over my head and hold a blow dryer. So my PT gave me an exercise tapping a ball against the wall over my head, and I did 3 sets of 10 twice a day for a month or two. Not sure if that helped really, but made me feel like I was taking action. Eventually I just started propping my arm up on the sink to hold the blow dryer. I think I dry my hair differently now. I seem to do everything differently now, so I have trouble remembering the old me!

    Going for a pedicure was and is still a problem. I can't reach my toes very well to cut my toenails myself, and in the months after the surgery I REALLY couldn't reach my toes. But I actually dislike pedicures because I don't like other people touching my toes (I know, I'm wierd.) But about a month or two after the surgery, after procrastinating way too long, I finally stumbled into a nail salon, still totally high on Oxycontin, and got a pedicure. No polish. Completely confused and forgot I was wearing sneakers, which at the time I wasn't able to put back on by myself without using all my tools and grabbers and whatnot. Had to ask the nail lady to help me. Had to ask for help crawling in and out of the chair. All in all it was a pretty unpleasant and humiliating experience. Most of the nail people in NY don't speak English very well, so I didn't want to explain the whole "recent back surgery" thing. I didn't go back for another pedicure until last month for the first time! For the life of me I cannot remember how I managed to cut my toenails in the intervening time. I can now reach my toes after some intensive stretching, so I can do them myself, but I tried to do the polish myself and messed it up because I still have trouble reaching all the way. So if I want polish I have to brave the salon. But when I went last month, I was surprised at how flexible I've become, because I was easily able to crawl over a bunch of chairs, while juggling a purse and backpack and wet toenails. So I can say I am definitely improving!

    Susan, I love your comment about working on your attitude. Yes, that's probably what I should do instead of buying new clothes! But yesterday I bought a cheapo stretchy black skirt and some loose fitting cotton crop pants. I hope to live in both this summer whenever I am not at the office.

    I cannot speak to the question for busty ladies. I think maybe I don't fall in that category! I think I can live without underwires. I might even be small enough to live without a bra at all. But I am too prudish and self-conscious to go without one. I bought a bunch of non-underwire bras when I went back to work. They are terribly ugly and not too comfortable, actually. I think I'd probably be most comfortable with just a tank top. When there's constricting metal inside your body, who wants constricting metal outside your body too! Ugh, I can barely tolerate clothes on my body. I just can't stand the feeling of anything pinching me. That is new since the surgery. But maybe I just need to work on my attitude!

    The shoes issue is still an issue. But I am solving it with more shopping! I think I finally have some decent supportive casual shoes that can be worn in a variety of weathers. I've got non-waterproof sneakers for sunny days with lots of walking. I've got waterproof sneakers for rainy days. Both have elastic shoelaces, which as someone said, give more independance. It is a terrible thing for a grown woman to have to ask someone to tie her shoe! I have waterproof slip on rain shoes in shiny black if I don't want to look like a galumph in my giant waterproof new balance sneakers which look a bit like blocks on concrete on my feet. I have fleece lined slip on Merrils for winter. I have waterproof slip on boots for snow that still look ok with a skirt. They're not warm enough, but I will work on that next winter. I've got slip on Berkenstock sandals for summer. All my shoes have a flat wide base and non slip soles. I'm still pretty unsteady. I read on here somewhere, maybe it was Irina? someone saying they felt like a kite in the wind. I kind of feel that way all the time! Especially in the subway stations. Especially in the rain. Everything in NYC is foot traffic, so you better be steady on your feet around here! That's why good shoes are such a crusade of mine. My next frontier though is shoes that actually look nice and don't make me look silly. I am unsteady and slow in flats. Heels are absolutely out of the questions. I wear flats at work around the office, and I just go slow and try to be careful. I tried to wear a pair of Aerosole sandals with a 1-inch heel to a wedding last month (hence the pedicure) and it was a real mess. I couldn't navigate around in groups. I couldn't hold myself up very well. I won't try that again. My PT asked me to bring them in so we could practice walking in them. Been meaning to do that but lately I've been focused on practicing my squats. My whole goal at this 1-year anniversary is to become more independent. And shoes and clothes factor in enormously! I need to do whatever it takes right now to feel comfortable and steady out in public on my own. If I drop something in the subway, or if I'm out on the street walking through fast moving aggressive crowds, I need clothes and shoes that will help me - not obstruct me. I need all the help I can get right now! So while I known for being skeaky-cheap to my friends (even though I love clothes!) I'm willing to spend some money right now on the clothes and shoes that are part of my independence/survival action plan! Not sure how my husband feels about the spend but I know he doesn't want to escort me to the nail salon, tie my shoes, or carry me down the stairs in the subway, so what's a little money, right? It's only money, as my dad likes to say.

    I am considering Dr. Martens as a shoe choice for the office. Does anyone have any experience with them? I know they are waterproof, which is a huge plus in NYC. And the lug soles will help me stay steady. They might not help me look all that feminine. But I'm thinking about abandoning that as one my my fashion goals!

    That's it for now, friends, have a great weekend!
    Surgery June 18 by Dr. Errico at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases at age 41.
    Fused T10-Pelvis.
    "Ask me about my brand new lordosis!"

  13. #28
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    they used to advertise something on TV that holds the blow dryer, if you put it on a counter, which leaves both
    hands free for using the dryer...
    you also might have your husband mount the hair dryer, at a
    height convenient for you to aim to heat downward to your hair.
    i have super curly hair, and it takes enormous energy to blow dry with a brush, so i use rollers for smoothing/straightening, or let it curl with lots of sticky gel (if i am not at a salon)

    i stopped using the subway after 9/11.
    i worked a full time job and a part time job in Manhattan....i swear the part time job was to pay for all my cabs....the worse my spine got, the more cabs i took....i cab everywhere in Manhattan now...of necessity.

    jess...and Sparky

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    570

    Blowdrier

    I had my surgery in March and I live in California, so I just damped the blowdryer for about 2 months and let my hair airdry. Girls, we need to give our hair some break - blow drying it every day makes hair dry and brittle. I thought that several months of air drying would be a perfect vacation for my hair :-) I am a glass half full type of person, haha. I was comfortable using a blow dryer at about 3-4 months. Just don't use heavy blow dryers. I have a basic blow dryer, but it is quite light weight.
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99
    hi baroness,

    i used to wear doc martens (years ago!) and i found the heaviness of the sole hurt my back after a while. but my back is so sensitive to the types of shoes i wear; this might not be a problem for you.

    you might also want to check out campers. http://www.camper.com/en_US/women/shoes
    they are well-made shoes and comfortable. not as heavy as docs.

    i am so hoping that someday i will be less limited to the types of shoes i wear. almost 6 months after surgery and i still mainly have to wear sneakers... in fact i have a wedding tomorrow and im dreading getting dressed up.
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

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