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Thread: Surgery scheduled - sooooo many concerns

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Rise,
    I'm not even sure if I noticed hair on my legs at 3 weeks and I have dark hair and shave my legs daily! I attached a long plastic handle to throw away razors and used it for probably 6 months. I also needed tongs for toilet paper for a long time. My, oh, my . . . it gets so much better!!!! I would recommend not attempting to stretch to put on lotion or shave your legs. I obeyed the no bending, no twisting, no lifting restrictions for over four months. It's such a small sacrifice for the long term benefit of fusing. Many of us noticed improvements in flexibility even after two years. Just try to be patient now and remember that it is really early in your recovery.
    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/

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,245
    As others have said, you need to be patient. You re only 3 weeks out from surgery. Before each of my many surgeries, I have my legs waxed so I do not need to worry. It will get better but it takes time. If you rush it, you will have more problems.

    Melissa
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    45
    Not to sound like a total idiot because I know No BLT's but what exactly does that mean? I find myself bending down at the knees and getting up from that position without bending at the waist. Is that acceptable? I lift a half gallon of milk out of the refrigerator door - is that acceptable? Sometimes I wake up and the pillow that started out between my legs is not there any longer and I'm a bit curved or spoon sleeping.

    How much leeway is there when they say no BLT's.

    Risë

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,245
    I was only allowed to lift or carry 5 lbs in the first few weeks after surgery.

    Ask your surgeon
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    137
    Rise- do you have an external brace? I just thought- if you did, if you slept wearing it- the brace would keep you from bending. When you wake up and find yourself sleeping sort of curved- does it hurt? did the pain wake you up? I would be concerned if your postion caused pain. As for the milk - well- you have to get it for yourself, no one has a servant standing around at their beck & call..... just be careful, thankfully you are able to use your leg muscles ( bend at the knees!) it sounds like you are doing so well, so soon after surgery. but also sounds like many adjustments to life, being fused to the sacrum. sending thoughts & hopes for an uneventful recovery.. Jamie in TX
    57 years old.
    thoracic curve 68 degrees
    lumbar-sacral curve +/- 41 degrees
    Cspine C3- C7 fusion Nov. 2011 <done! success!!>, then scoli surgery T2- L4 or maybe to sacrum.
    Discogram/ myelogram pending. Surgery to be scheduled, maybe fall 2015. <scared but I know this is not going to get better>
    THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR SHARING EXPERIENCES AND KNOWLEDGE!

  6. #66
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,007
    Rise, No bending, lifting or twisting means exactly what it means....I didn’t bend at all for many months. I didn’t lift more than a dinner plate for at least 4 months, and twisting really doesn’t happen early with a T2-pelvis setup. It can really be the definition of the word stiff. In my immediate recovery I thought I would never be able to reach my feet ever again. (which of course,was wrong) I started those stretches at around 8 months post, slowly and carefully with a stool.

    One of the first things I had to learn was to squat in the “vertical position” keeping the back straight. This started with unloading the dishwasher, one hand on counter, and down but with the spine erect. You want to be that model on the catwalk, perfect posture, head up. Wherever you look and turn your head, your body will follow suit. If you look down, you will bend over looking down. In ski jumping, gymnastics,or diving a twist starts with the head and arms, you look where you want to go.

    Leeway on BLT’s depends on how far you are along in your recovery....At 21 days, your are still fresh out of the oven, don’t even think about it. Lifting produces high levels of force on your spine....

    At 6 months, my surgeon wanted me to loosen up a bit. I really walked on eggshells for a long time, I just didn’t want to take any chances. My surgeries were especially taxing, and hurt like hell.

    I remember sitting here at my computer around the end of May 2008 at 4 months and feeling no pain at all. I couldn’t believe it! It had been decades since I felt that feeling. Recovery is just like a see-saw, good days and bad days. You know your improving when you have more good days than bad. Our bodies heal at our own rates, and we cannot control or speed up this healing process, its not our decision. We walk often to keep blood, and nutrients flowing which is so important, but we all push our limits, sending us back to bed once again....

    I also had stern warnings about sleeping all the time.....I couldn’t understand what that was about since my surgeries really disrupted my sleep. I had a hard time sleeping for the longest time. I think it was a year before I slept 8 hours in one shot. I did a lot of pacing in the first few months...

    Weaning off meds will run through your mind....and should be a goal. Spacing time periods between doses is probably the easiest way to do this, keep careful notes on your daily recovery. Write it down. It’s a painful period in our recoveries, the adjustment of our systems. We cut, straighten, and move our bodies, drill, tap, and insert screws and rods, drug our systems beyond belief, then come down for landing.....It’s a roller coaster for sure...

    Hang in there

    Are you the last Boachie patient in the US?
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    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

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    571
    Rise,

    I would strongly suggest to try to forget about legs shaving by yourself until you are about 3 months postop. Have someone else do it for you for now. I lasered my legs before the surgery because I knew that hairy legs would drive me nuts, but if you haven't done anything before, try to forget about it for now. You don't want to torch the fusion! Laser reduced hair growth tremendously for me, but I still need touch ups. I use an epilator every other month. It's relatively easy now.
    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. #68
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    45
    Are you the last Boachie patient in the US?
    Ed[/QUOTE]

    Hi Ed,

    I doubt that I'm his last but my surgery was 7/2 and he left the States on 7/10 so if not, I'm pretty close. He's back for one day in September at which time I will see him for a follow-up. Dr. Han Jo Kim assisted in the OR for my surgery and is basically taking Boachie's caseload. I see him in early August for a follow-up. I'm not thrilled with Boachie leaving but I had been seeing him for years and he was the only one I was comfortable with doing the surgery. Not an ideal situation but none of this is.

    Anyway, thanks for your advice. My frustration is rearing it's ugly head. Went with my husband for a ride to CVS last night. I didn't get out if the car, just went for the ride. My back felt awful. Tight, freaky against the seat back (even with a pillow) and just plain couldn't wait to come home. I was so disappointed.

    Risë

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,163
    Hi Rise,

    Ahh, I feel your frustration and impatience and I see myself in you. Ed laid it out like it is, there is no hurrying this recovery, it is not a choice how long it takes. And it does take a long time. And truly, no bending means none at all, no bending forward from the waist, no bending at the hips more than 90 degrees (knees never higher than hips when seated). Squatting was also restricted for me for awhile, as it puts tremendous pressure on the lower back. I think I was permitted to squat no more than 2-3 times a day after the first few months, until I think 6 months. Please, if you have any questions at all about what you can and can't do safely, call your surgeon's office an ask. It is better than disrupting your healing.

    I'm not sure you can shave your legs at this point without bending. Please give your back a chance to heal properly the first time, and wait on trying to shave your legs. I too had mine waxed, and I went for pedicures since there was no way I could cut my toenails for over a year.

    As far as the car goes - I too was really surprised after surgery at how uncomfortable the car was, especially my husband's SUV seats. I eventually realized a big part of it is my new lordosis did not conform to the seat. At the suggestion of a friend I got one of those $10 mesh lumbar supports from Bed Bath and Beyond, and to this day I have it permanently in the car. It fits my back perfectly and conforms to my new lordosis. Many others here have mentioned this problem with cars, and it is a matter of finding the right support to lean against.

    Take it easy, find some good series on Netflix or something else to pass some time, and take a few short walks each day. Your body needs to heal.
    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

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Before my surgery, I was the one who did everything, took care of everyone, couldn't delegate etc. When I had my surgery I gave it all up. I lay back and let everyone do everything. I felt no guilt for the first time in my life. I luxuriated in sleeping and resting and having time for walking every day. It was like a holiday. We are all different, but what I did/my mindset, still surprises me but I think it worked for me. My dr. gave me no restrictions but said it would hurt if I over did anything. Strangely, from the time I came home, nothing hurt any more. Mind over matter?

    The car seat, 5.5 years out, still doesn't fit my new lordosis. I find the head rest pushes my head forward. It's easily fixed. Similar to Leah, I have a small, rectangle cushion which is permanently in my car. It fills that indentation in the seat and holds me out from the head rest. It makes me perfectly comfortable.

    I still don't like hard backed chairs. If I'm stuck with one, I sit forward and bolt upright, which isn't uncomfortable.

    You will get through this time. Considering you're going to benefit from this surgery for the rest of your life, It's not long. Make the most of it and relax. Know that it's going to take time. There's no fast way through it.
    Last edited by JenniferG; 07-23-2014 at 05:41 PM.
    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

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    571

    Car Seat

    I was also very uncomfortable in my car - the head rest was pushing my head forward. I have 2009 Camry and the head rest is very curvy in this model. I had my husband to reverse the head rest, and it is now flash with the rest of the back of the chair. Like I have a chair with one very tall back. My car has lumbar support button, so I adjusted it it to my new lordosis and don't even need a pillow. Reversing that head rest did the trick for me. If I am in somebody else's car, I don't like their headrest either :-)
    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. #72
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,007
    Quote Originally Posted by Rise View Post
    I doubt that I'm his last but my surgery was 7/2 and he left the States on 7/10 so if not, I'm pretty close. He's back for one day in September at which time I will see him for a follow-up. Dr. Han Jo Kim assisted in the OR for my surgery and is basically taking Boachie's caseload. I see him in early August for a follow-up. I'm not thrilled with Boachie leaving but I had been seeing him for years and he was the only one I was comfortable with doing the surgery. Not an ideal situation but none of this is.

    Anyway, thanks for your advice. My frustration is rearing it's ugly head. Went with my husband for a ride to CVS last night. I didn't get out if the car, just went for the ride. My back felt awful. Tight, freaky against the seat back (even with a pillow) and just plain couldn't wait to come home. I was so disappointed.

    Risë
    After looking briefly at Dr Kim, I see he has trained with Dr Boachie at HSS, trained in St Louis with Dr Lenke’s group, and has swung by Ghana for some training on the hard core scoli’s in Africa. Sounds pretty good to me, I think we will be hearing more about him in the future.....I actually made my decision after seeing the Discovery channel program that Dr Boachie was in....I watched it around 20 times, and figured if Juma could do it, so could I. I don’t know if you saw it, I believe it was aired in Dec 2006. “Surgery saved my life” Discovery has control over this program and nobody can watch it...You cant even buy it. An educational series in control by clueless management. Sigh....

    Try not to stay frustrated....I really wasn’t since I knew It was going to be a major drag, and was going to take a long long time....Basically, we just have to hang in there while in our “survival mode”, and try to stay somewhat comfortable if we can. If it means staying out of the car, stay out of the car for now. Besides, getting into a car accident right now would be extremely harmful to your fusions....NYC has some intense driving....turning up the mirrors and punching it when the light turns green isn’t a good thing right now...(I’m originally from New Jersey where the slow lane means 100MPH) Remember the Steve McQueen movie “The Getaway” where Steve tells Ali to “punch it honey”. They need to change it to “Punch it honey, I need laxatives”. (I know, bad scoliosis forum joke)


    Calming your nervous system is critical for healing....It’s a mental thing really, understanding completely what has happened and what will happen as you heal. Having a positive attitude is important, accepting the change (always hard) adapting and allowing time to pass while healing. Before you know it, you will feel a sudden improvement, it seems to come in these steps and isn’t a gradual thing....Nerve healing happens slowly and can burn like a soldering iron. Strangely enough, just like a light switch (on or off) your particular switch will suddenly switch itself off. Having a few inflamed nerve areas can take a lot of patience and it takes time. Triggering these inflamed areas is something we want to avoid. Disrupting our fusions is also something you want to avoid, at least till they can heal some. Cutting your finger, putting a band aid on it, and then hitting it with a hammer a few days later will only slow your healing down and create more pain. Recovery and healing time is exactly that. It’s a painful vacation on drugs, without the beach. (smiley face) You need to think about the beach.

    Deep breathing is also very important on a mental level. Anxiety can be controlled by breathing. The more you do it, the lower your anxiety will be. In deep, hold for a few, exhale completely. Repeat. I found this to work well before and after my surgeries. Surviving scoliosis surgery is a challenge that many of us here have done, its something we have to do and it changes you. You learn patience better than anyone and you learn to respect your body. I think we all slow down some, which is a good thing when you think about it....

    One day at a time...

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    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

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    571
    Quote Originally Posted by jrnyc View Post
    Melissa mentioned waxing...there is also laser, for permanent
    solution...more money, but one or two tx and done...forever.
    never have to think about it again.

    jess...and Sparky
    Jess,

    With laser, people usually need between 5 to 10 treatments spaced out at least 6 weeks apart, so it's a long process that will take more than half a year from start to finish. It is expensive, but it's so worth it! Btw, laser doesn't work on blond hair and the best results are achieved on women with light skin and dark hair.

    You have to shop around for a good place because quite often people would try to sell you packaged treatments and do mediocre job. I was happy with my place. I started my treatments 7 months before the surgery, as soon as I became serious about fusion, and finished two weeks before going in. I didn't do anything (no shaving, epilating, waxing) for probably 7 or 8 months postop, but now use an epilator may be once in two months for little touch up. Laser cannot remove all the hair, there will be a few left, but almost not noticeable. I am just a perfectionist and want to yank out every single one.
    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

  14. #74
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Grove City, OH
    Posts
    275
    Ed, I appreciate reading your posts about time & attitude for healing. When it's 'my time' for surgery, I intend to go back and do a lot of re-reading!
    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!

  15. #75
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,007
    Oh No Peggy!, I didn’t think anyone reads my posts....(smiley face) I have 2755 posts, and many are long ones, some with extremely corny humor. I look back sometimes and some of it is hilarious. I hope it offers some entertainment value.

    Understanding up front what happens during surgery and after surgery is a bonus. All my life I wondered what was going to happen, I think it was this uncertainty that was so scary....and that’s why I post. It was like an Alfred Hitchcock film, (in black and white) never expecting the finale. A lifetime of suspense.

    Reading and posting on scoliosis forums is a good idea....its sort of like test driving a car....would you buy a car without driving it? Would you have serious scoliosis surgery without knowing what to expect?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_AmqBGDJDs

    Alfred Hitchcock
    The master of suspense....
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    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

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