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Thread: Looking to connect with Moms (in their 30s and 40's)who have gone through the surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    25

    Question Looking to connect with Moms (in their 30s and 40's)who have gone through the surgery

    Hi, I am planning on having surgery done in November and was hoping to connect with other busy Moms who have had the surgery. I'd like to find out how the recovery period was and how you and your families have managed. I work FT and have 2 children and am very nervous about the surgery and how it will affect all of the day to day activities. Thank you in advance for any feedback!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    571
    Hi and welcome to the forum. I have 22-year-old daughter in college, so I can't call myself a 'busy mom' anymore. I was very nervous about the surgery too, but as I gathered more information, I became calmer. I was also working FT before the surgery. I even managed to go to grad school while working FT and my daughter was home back then. One of my biggest fears was losing control and being dependent on other people... I dreaded to be a burden on my family. I had to condition myself long and hard that I'd have to put my pride aside and ask other people for help And it turned out to be not as bad as I expected.

    We hired a cleaning lady who comes every other week. My husband and parents do grocery shopping. I started cooking basic meals at 3-4 weeks post-op, but my mom brings us a lot of food too. Recently I started doing some laundry, but husband does bedding. Before the surgery I stock my house with all the non-perishables I could think of - paper towels, toilet paper, tooth paste etc. I'd recommend to buy detergents in these little individual plastic packages (same for dishwasher liquid) so that you don't have to lift heavy bottles. If money allows and you need it - I'd recommend laser hair removal so that you don't have to worry about shaving / epilating your legs after the surgery. I am so glad I did! And talk to your family about what is going to happen - they need to be prepared too.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,163
    Hi jworth,

    I will post more later about my own experience having scoliosis surgery twice (once at age 42 then a revision for broken rods at 44) with two young kids at home and a full-time job. My kids were 5 and 8 when I had the first surgery. More on that later--have to get going to kid's karate class soon.

    How old are your kids? Do you know how accomodating your employer is likely to be regarding extended time off and returning with physical restrictions in place?
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    974
    Hi there,

    I'm 14 months post-op with a 6 & 10 year old. I am a stay-at-home mom, though, which has advantages & disadvantages with regard to scoliosis surgery.

    I had my mom, age 69, come and live with us for three months after my surgery. She did all the laundry, groceries and driving during that time. Also a lot of the cooking. I still was able to put my kids to bed, read to them, etc. I know this is not the case for many, if not most, people, but I was on narcotic pain meds for 4-5 months. That being the case, I would not have been able to go back to work. Also, I could not sit comfortably at a desk for more than an hour or so until, unfortunately, pretty recently.

    How long will your fusion be? Mine is to the sacrum, and I think that has more impact on sitting than thoracic fusions do.

    Early on you will need someone near you to shower (in case you get woozy from pain meds). Also, you probably won't be allowed to lift anything over 10 lbs. One thing that was frustrating for me was not being able to get stuff off the floor very easily. That's a problem if you have little kids who play on the floor a lot. I got lots of grabbers and put them all around the house. I can squat now, but still use them some.

    The biggest help for me (besides my mom) was an iPhone. Yay! I read books on it, did Facebook, used it for music during my walks, pedometer app, etc. Second biggest help was frontloader washer/dryer on risers. If you have a table where you can sort laundry and get the clothes in and out without bending, that is major.

    For the dishwasher, I got a cane seat. I would stack everything up on the counter, the sit down to move it from the counter to the dishwasher.

    I think the biggest questions for you are: 1) how long is your fusion, 2) how old are your kids. No matter what, you can do this, but those two factors will make a big difference in how difficult it is.

    Best,
    Evelyn
    age 48
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Broken rods 12/1/19; scheduled for revision fusion L1-L3-4 with Dr. Lenke 2/4/2020
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    25

    thank you all for your input

    Its really comforting to hear from other moms who have gone through the surgery. I don't have all of my information yet as to what they are going to fuse but have an appt in July to get the details. I have an S curve with 55 degrees on the top and about 40 on the bottom. I have debated having this done for about a year now and recently made the decision based on seeing several doctors and knowing that the surgery is inevitable. Id rather have it done while I am relatively young and still healthy than wait until I could have other complications. I live outside of Philadelphia and have found a great doctor/hospital. My children are 6 and 13 and I know my daughter will be very helpful but I am a bit of a control freak with everything in the house, cleaning, cooking, laundry, running errands, school etc. My husband is incredibly supportive but Im worried about having all of the burden placed on him.

    I appreciate all of the great suggestions, things I would have never though of (like shaving!). My doctor told me recovery would be 6-8 weeks and that I should be able to go back to work around 8. I am very fortunate to work for a great boss and company and they are very supportive of my decision and told me I could work from home for a few weeks if need be. I'm curious as to how long it will be before I can drive? Climbing steps to go upstairs? Will I need to be confined to the main level of our house? How long was everyone's hospital stays and rehab if needed?

    Thanks again for all of your advice!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    571
    You can drive when you are off narcotics. I am 10 weeks post-op and still on a small dose of on narcotics. I am slowly tapering off, but that's not easy... Your hospital stay will depend on the complexity of your surgery and how well you recover. Some people stay in the hospital 6-7 days. I had a major anterior/posterior surgery (T6 to sacrum) and I stayed in the hospital for 11 days. Then I had a complication that brought me back to a hospital for a week. I didn't go to a rehab, but went straight home.

    My husband took one month of paid family leave and stayed with me. Btw, have your husband check with his employer if they can give him family leave time. State (we are in California) paid my husband 60% and his company matched 40% so that between the two, he received 100% of his salary for the month. You will be receiving some disability payments too.

    Eventhough I am fused to the sacrum and I don't have any problems sitting, I would not be able to go back to work at 8 weeks. First, I was still on narcotics and not driving and I am just plain weak. I still get tired quickly. You can be different though, but explore your disability options - how much you'll be paid, for how long, how long will your employer keep your job.
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,119
    Quote Originally Posted by jworth View Post
    I'm curious as to how long it will be before I can drive? Climbing steps to go upstairs? Will I need to be confined to the main level of our house? How long was everyone's hospital stays and rehab if needed?

    Thanks again for all of your advice!
    Hi...

    As Irina mentioned, your ability to drive is usually based entirely on when you get off of narcotics.
    You should be able to climb stairs within a day or two of surgery.
    You will not be confined to the main level of your house.
    The average hospital stay for unstaged surgeries is 5 days, and most patients under 60 do not need to go to rehab.

    I would be a little concerned about your doctor's estimate that you could be back at work in 8 weeks. While we've seen adults get back to work that early, I think 3-4 months is more reasonable. But, we're all different, so everything we get told are just averages. If you're not average, things can take a lot less or a lot more time.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227

    Mom of 3

    I had 3 beautiful little ones when I had my revision. I did end up with a longer stay in the hospital than anticipated. My mom stayed around for a week post-surgery, then my sister came down to chip in for a few days. My children were actually my little nurses...very caring, moving chairs for me, getting pans out for dinner, setting tables, getting my hot pad. Unfortunately, my hubby was not granted leave to take care of me so the 3 kids really stepped it up. I agree with Linda that going back in 8 weeks may be a bit of a dream. I anticipated being back to normal in 8 weeks as well. I returned to work in 12 weeks...which ended up being too soon for what I could handle. In all, I ended up being out of work for about 6 long months. Luckily, my employer was very understanding (as it sounds as yours is). It was a tough time but family is EVERYTHING! I was truly AMAZED by the kind hearted caring children I raised! Best of luck to you!

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,588
    My doctor told me recovery would be 6-8 weeks and that I should be able to go back to work around 8. I am very fortunate to work for a great boss and company and they are very supportive of my decision and told me I could work from home for a few weeks if need be. I'm curious as to how long it will be before I can drive? Climbing steps to go upstairs? Will I need to be confined to the main level of our house? How long was everyone's hospital stays and rehab if needed?

    At 6-8 weeks, you begin to come out of the fog.....but recovery certainly varies for each person and my doctor said that it will take a TOTAL of 1-2 years. I am at 2.5 months and drive, shop, etc. Stairs were never a problem for me from the beginning, like one week after surgery. I stayed in the hospital for 1 week and then went to a rehab for 1 week. I liked rehab since at one week, I was mobile and finally had some energy to learn self care and stable walking. The hospital was a blur of drugs with side effects and transfusions [I had a 2 stage surgery].

    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

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