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Thread: Surgery 11-13/2013

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
    Posts
    373
    Thanks guys for all the support. When I talked about the feeling of a brace it was not an outer brace like my previous surgery, but the feeling of my insides being in that body brace 23 hours a day like when I was a kid.

    I have to say that even with the pain my back feels strong but at times my neck feels like a bobble head. Does that sound funny or what?

    I still have no appetite but am living on Ed's smoothies and a few slices of beef throughout the day to keep nutrients in my body.

    I took my first car rid yesterday to my work to have my left foot checked out. It has been in pain since surgery so I just wanted to make sure there was no stress fracture due to the positioning of the long surgery. Luckily it was just a strain from the position, which I thought but wanted to be safe than sorry. The drive was 45 minutes and for the most part I was okay just slightly uncomfortable.

    When did most of you get used to walking without the walker? I feel like it is my crutch and did not know if I should try some steps without or if it is still too early.

    I am managing the pain for the most part. It's not 100% gone but it is bearable. I wear out fast. I can make my smoothie (only because no on else in the house makes it the way I like it) but by the time it's blended I'm lying down and someone else is pouring it and bringing it to me.

    After my last surgery I could sit on anything. This time I can't find a chair that works. Any advice on what kind to look for because I'm tired of always lying down.

    I guess I have read your eyes out enough so I shall let you all go for now! Till next time!
    Tamena
    Diagnosed at age 12 with a double major curve

    Braced till age 15

    SSBOB T12-L2 Anterior age 34. (October 22,2012) Dr. Robert Gaines Jr. ( Columbia, MO)

    Revision Surgery T2-Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation Prosterior age 35 (November 13,2013) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

    Revision Surgery L4/L5 due to BMP Complication age 36 (November 20,2014) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, Mo)

    Revision Surgery due to broken rod scheduled for October 19, 2016 with Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160
    Hi Tamena,

    Glad to hear from you--slow and steady at this point is how recovery goes. Remember to take short walks several times per day. The fatigue you describe sounds exactly like what I experienced. Rest whenever you need to. It does improve slowly over time.

    I also had extreme difficulty eating and had no appetite for weeks, due to my intolerance of narcotics I think, plus I had a paralytic ileus after the 2nd surgery (probably the first one, too, looking back). Once I was able to start eating more I started to feel much better and regained strength faster.

    The sitting problem is a very common one. I found the only chair in my home I could sit on was a straight-back dining room chair. I sat bolt upright on it, and did not let my back touch it, or else I put a pillow the long way behind my back. No soft chairs, easy chairs or couches were comfortable at all for me. Sitting is not a position of comfort early post-op for almost anyone after fusion to the sacrum.

    I was sent home with a walker but ditched it after the first day. I felt like it encouraged me to lean forward, and I knew that wasn't a good position. Others here have used the walker for months. Did your surgeon have a recommendation about this?

    Hang in there, and things will start to get better soon.
    Last edited by leahdragonfly; 12-07-2013 at 10:13 AM.
    Gayle, age 49
    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)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

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

  3. #33
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,531
    Tam

    All right, my first customer! Now I just have to do some major marketing, call it EDBULL, and make $5 billion dollars. (smiley face)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaleo_Yoovidhya

    Nutrients are only going to help. Cutting off nutrients by not eating is not a good thing. Yogurt is also good stuff. A balanced meal isn’t a bad thing either....1/2 spoon of everything on the plate. Ok, 2 spoons now.

    I don’t know how many times I would vomit and have to go back out to the kitchen and FORCE a spoon up to my mouth. Even if it was only a single spoon, it was worth it.

    After I was home, I didn’t walk with my walker. I set the walker by the bed and used it when I got up. I would just stand there using it for support for around 5 or 10 minutes, then move. I did this to make sure I wasn’t dizzy before walking. I would walk in the home but made sure that I wasn’t going to fall. Were not allowed to do this. Outdoors, I used ski poles, one in each hand. I always walked ERECT, never leaning over for any reason. Leaning over a walker wasn’t the easiest thing for me anyway......

    Sitting is going to be very hard to do. I couldn’t sit for more than a few minutes for the longest time...and like everyone posts, without leaning back. It seemed when I was not in bed, I was always in an erect position, standing or sitting. Perfect posture was finally forced on me. As soon as you lean, you trigger tension in soft tissues that were just operated on. This is fine in recovery at a slow pace, but not a pleasant feeling. It was in my 2nd year that I pushed harder on this, my “fine tuning” year.

    Its good that you are managing your pain.....and it does get better every day as we heal. It’s a fine balance reducing meds and controlling pain, and should be done slowly......keep notes. It seems that many post at around the 5 week mark asking, “How do you wean?” This is where we are tired of being constipated, tired of the meds, and this is a sign that you know when you are ready. The final stages of weaning can be extremely difficult, but I knew that it was part of recovery. I also needed my mind back, I would sacrifice a little pain for that, after all, I was used to it. Full fusion A/P surgeries with large open anterior’s are painful, there is no getting around this. It worked out, I had faith and a goal.

    Eyes on the prize.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
    Posts
    373
    Ed you always make me laugh! I am forcing myself to eat but all I want is meat. Meat and smoothies and I'm not even pregnant!

    I tried walking without the walker today because I do feel like I'm not standing straight but I also feel like my legs move differently now too. It's like I'm relearning to walk all over again.

    My dad went back to Florida and since the snow has now arrived Lance is having to pull all night shifts for the state, so today I get to try to cook myself. Really nervous about that.

    I find myself moody lately too. It's like the smallest thing irritates me, which is odd because I'm usually laid back. But I can feel the kids and Lance walking on tip toes not to wake the sleeping bear. I feel awful for that.

    Oh well, guess that's enough venting! Thanks all!
    Diagnosed at age 12 with a double major curve

    Braced till age 15

    SSBOB T12-L2 Anterior age 34. (October 22,2012) Dr. Robert Gaines Jr. ( Columbia, MO)

    Revision Surgery T2-Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation Prosterior age 35 (November 13,2013) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

    Revision Surgery L4/L5 due to BMP Complication age 36 (November 20,2014) Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, Mo)

    Revision Surgery due to broken rod scheduled for October 19, 2016 with Dr. Michael Kelly (St. Louis, MO)

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    570
    Hi Tamena,

    I am so happy that you're doing well! I used a walker for a few weeks and then switched to a cane. Do you have a cane? But like Ed said, it's a good idea to keep a walker by your bed and use it when you get up. I remembered this advice and glad I did. Thanks, Ed!

    Take it slow and easy with the cooking. I remember I started cooking at about 3-4 weeks, but only simple things. If I fried potatoes, I'd peel them first and rest for half-an hour or so. Then I slice them and rest some more. Then finally I'd fry them and by the end of this process I would be totally wiped out, but happy that I did it! So, take many rests between cooking steps.

    I also found a straight kitchen chair to be the most comfortable and I still avoid any soft chairs and sofas. For a long time, my tail bone would bother me if I set for an hour or longer, but now I am back to work and pull 10 hour days and doing fine. My brain is the other story though. I feel like I became dumber and slower since the surgery. Is it just me or other people had this feeling too?

    Take it easy, Tamena!
    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

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160
    Hi Irina,

    I definitely can relate to the feeling of being dumber and slower mentally after surgery. For me it went away with time. I am almost 2 years post-op and I feel completely sharp now, but it really took awhile for my concentration and mental motivation to return to normal.
    Gayle, age 49
    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)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

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

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    570
    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post
    Hi Irina,

    I definitely can relate to the feeling of being dumber and slower mentally after surgery. For me it went away with time. I am almost 2 years post-op and I feel completely sharp now, but it really took awhile for my concentration and mental motivation to return to normal.
    Thanks, Gayle! Do you remember when that feeling went away? I am an accountant and need to be sharp, especially now, at the year end. I hope get back to normal mentally soon. First three weeks at work totally overwhelmed me....
    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

  8. #38
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    hi Tamena
    i am so sorry that you are in so much pain.
    i hope after you have healed, that you feel as good as
    your spine looks...the X ray looks incredible...
    wishing you uneventful recovery leading to pain
    free life...

    jess...and Sparky

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160
    Hi Irina,

    I don't remember exactly when the feeling went away. It was not a sudden thing, just a consistent improvement. It also took me some time to rebuild my mental stamina and concentration at work. I am a nurse working in the cardiac cath lab, where we take care of plenty of very sick cardiac patients and emergencies. It was utterly exhausting mentally and physically when I first returned to work, and I was fast asleep at 8 pm every night for a long time. I wonder if the mental dullness improves once the phase of rapid healing is past (~6 months)?
    Gayle, age 49
    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)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

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

  10. #40
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,531
    The walkers and the post surgical braces are used as an extra measure of protection. If you are comfortable walking without falling, you should be ok, but don’t fall. I would brace with my hand on the walls as I walked through my house. In the kitchen, I always had a hand on a counter. I also ALWAYS kept my cellphone on my possession at ALL times. Just in case I had to make one of those “I’ve fallen and I cant get up” phone calls.

    Watch your “digestive” health. Constipation can still happen even if you do go, and not enough. This happened to me. It seemed that my battles with this became worse at the 4 week mark. It seemed that the colace wasn’t working, was trying all sorts of things and was EXTREMELY painful. Do what you have to to avoid opoid constipation. Magnesium citrate is our fire extinguisher.....Drink plenty of water. Warm prune juice is also a favorite here.

    Standing straight up and walking is what needs to be done. Walk like a model on a cat walk, head up, walk slow. Emulate balancing books on your head. Get some walking sticks or ski poles.....they work great for outdoor walks. Remember that you are re-training your brain.

    Since we are all models walking the cat walk, this was my theme song. I would hum this as I walked.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_JowIDZgoI

    No way I’m disco dancing! LOL

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    21

    Red face Tamena recovery

    Hi Tamena,
    I wanted to chime in and say you're doing great. My last surgery was in September where it was a 2 day affair and now I'm fully caged from top to bottom. In the hospital for a week and then came home with our lovely brace to wear. At first I felt more secure with it and didn't mind wearing it. Then it got to the point where I wanted to start doing more but it "kept me in". Now, I'm out of the brace but still very cautious about everything. The worst feeling I'm having now is in my arms and across my shoulder blades in the back. I figure it's from me using my arms more and more.

    You're doing great, though. I haven't been on much because I honestly don't want to intrude on anyone's conversation but wanted to let you know you're doing great and everyone on here is so wonderful and always at the ready to help out whenever and however they can.

    I know for me the best part about this site is that the answers are true and not sugar-coated. It's helpful to have a broad spectrum of experiences, I think.

    Anyway, keep on the road to recovery because it does get better.

    Christyne

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160
    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    Since we are all models walking the cat walk, this was my theme song. I would hum this as I walked.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_JowIDZgoIEd
    Oh yeah Ed, I was going to be super disappointed if it wasn't this song you were humming! I was not disappointed!

    Glad you're not too sexy for this forum.
    Gayle, age 49
    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)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

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

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,524
    Quote Originally Posted by Christyne View Post
    Hi Tamena,
    I wanted to chime in and say you're doing great. My last surgery was in September where it was a 2 day affair and now I'm fully caged from top to bottom. In the hospital for a week and then came home with our lovely brace to wear. At first I felt more secure with it and didn't mind wearing it. Then it got to the point where I wanted to start doing more but it "kept me in". Now, I'm out of the brace but still very cautious about everything. The worst feeling I'm having now is in my arms and across my shoulder blades in the back. I figure it's from me using my arms more and more.

    You're doing great, though. I haven't been on much because I honestly don't want to intrude on anyone's conversation but wanted to let you know you're doing great and everyone on here is so wonderful and always at the ready to help out whenever and however they can.

    I know for me the best part about this site is that the answers are true and not sugar-coated. It's helpful to have a broad spectrum of experiences, I think.

    Anyway, keep on the road to recovery because it does get better.

    Christyne
    Christyne, I am 9 months post surgery and am also having a lot of discomfort in my scapula area. I think that it is just from muscles being stretched that were previously held in by the brace. I figure that I am on the 2 year recovery plan, so I need to have more patience......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 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

  14. #44
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post
    Glad you're not too sexy for this forum.
    Never! Not after a lifetime of living with scoliosis.

    I have to post “something” to make Tamena and others laugh which is so necessary right now, even if it hurts. Keeping the lungs clear and breathing deep is important.

    I want to comment on the PTSD threads happening here but cant since that subject is so complex. I think that the one way I handled this was though comedy. I have hit the high stress alarm quite a few times in the last few years......Comedy was and is the natural way of handling depression. You cant dwell on a mental overload forever, right? You try to move on anyway you can.

    I hope people agree with this.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    758
    Ed you always make my day better!

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