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Thread: Hi I'm new here!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    7

    Thumbs up Hi I'm new here!

    Hi I'm new here! I found this wonderful forum a long time ago, and have been lurking for a while. My history: Scoli surgery in 1979 at age 11 in Albany NY. Wore a turtle cast for 9 months (during which I had my first ski lesson!) and then a milwaukee brace for another year perhaps after that. Fusion from T3 to L4. Single harrington rod.

    35 years post-op and I'm a poster-child for all the things you can make your body do after surgery. A lifetime skier, I recently started surfing at age 40. My adventures have included waterskiing, backpacking, horse riding, skateboarding, and all other things that can possibly freak out your mom. However in the back of my mind, I always knew eventually there would be a point when I am going to slide sideways off the track into the hay bales…

    And here we go… I've started to experience increased pain to the point where I needed injections at L4/5 and L5/S1. And a visit to Dr. Errico.

    So here's how it's going down.. Last spring, I noticed during long walks that I had to constantly stop and rest due to stabbing pain. This persisted all summer and fall. Fast forward to the winter. After a day on the slopes I would be at a point where I couldn't make it back to my car without wincing every 100 steps and screaming out my car window the whole way home in stabbing pain. Mind you, skiing did not hurt. But the walk to the car was a killer. I could also surf all day pain free, but a simple walk to the snack bar would stop me in my tracks. All the OTC nsaids and acupuncture in the world didn't touch this pain. The pain would shoot from 0 to 60 in seconds flat, and then recede again just as quickly. So I headed for the Hackensack Univ pain clinic for treatment while waiting for my appt with Dr. Errico. The injections worked immediately. 6 weeks now and my pain is reduced to arthritis level aches, with residual pins and needles running down the front of my leg. The searing knife-stabbing pain radiating from my back through my hip to my thigh I've had for 18 months is currently g-o-n-e. PT helps, and I've easily added my assigned exercises into my nightly yoga routine.

    Onto the visit to Dr. Errico: First and foremost, Dr. Errico confirmed that I absolutely can, and should, continue all sports and activities with no restriction, including skiing and surfing to my hearts content. He also confirmed my fears that my future may likely include additional fusion. He said I'd be in this same situation no matter what, even if I were a couch potato, and that it's more likely I would've had this pain sooner rather than later. My level of activity is helping me here. I'm in the same bucket as everyone else with the same early degenerative issues in the same location in the lower spine beneath my fusion, with the same prognosis of further fusion. I'm showing early degeneration in my two remaining motion joints, L4/5 and L5/S1. He says I can keep getting shots up to 3x a year, if they are working, great, keep going. But if I get to the point where pain can no longer be helped, then the choice comes to continuing the fusion all the way down the remainder of my spine to the sacrum.

    I'm so thankful I have a golden ticket to keep going right on up until I can't any further. The pain doc even said to stop my activities "would be detrimental to my wellbeing." This is going to be a good race. I'm hoping I can outpace the inevitable for as long as absolutely possible. I've lost a whole inch. If (or when) I allow them to do this surgery, they will jack me up to full height again (oooh!, 4'11!) with spacers after they take my discs out. And then after the period of restricted activity I would be able to get back to life (yes, the doc says, including skiing, albeit in a oddly stiff dippy-bird kind of way). *[Ed, I'll be following you closely, paying special attention to you how you've adapted to skiing post surgery. Your notes about how you first hit the slopes again 14 months out, about your skiing muscles being extremely weak, G forces, and putting on ski boots - are all so helpful to me in particular!! I will need to accept that I won't be able to ski like I used to......I guess I too will also have to slow down at some point. I do worry about the loss of side to side hip motion.]

    Meantime, I'm self-restricting certain activities. Even though I'm being encouraged to continue unrestricted, I need to preserve what precious little I have as long as I can. To me that means eliminating tasks that involve lots of bending, pushing, straining and lifting or activities that I have decided are too jolting to my body. Sorry vacuum, sorry yard work. Sorry sledding, sorry roller coasters. Sorry speed boats. It was nice knowing ya!

    Big encouragement to athletic kids just coming in… Simple pushups are easy to do, and yoga has allowed me a solid flexible body with strong core muscles. I've always had tight hamstrings, and I'm sure that's a long-running result of my surgery. I definitely recall being shocked that I could not touch my knees(!) after my surgery way back then… Now I can lay my hands flat on the floor…. I can also pop up off the floor onto my feet from laying flat on my stomach in a single motion (this is a necessary surf move). I've worked hard to get to this point, and I still surprise myself with how much further I can push this whole fusion thing. I've also learned that there are people out there who invent things to modify sports gear, and I have a pad on my surfboard to help me keep my back arched when paddling, since arching~ I cannot do. There is also someone out there who makes a rash guard shirt with air pillows in the tummy for the same purpose! --> Ed, I'm sure you can vouch for the use of wedges and canting to modify ski gear based on an individual's stance and balance needs. Kids, once you are fused solid you are good to go! This is true! You will be able to get back out there and rock it! Just don't worry your mom to much in the process... ; )

    Best regards~
    marta
    Last edited by martini; 12-03-2014 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,535
    Quote Originally Posted by martini View Post
    Mind you, skiing did not hurt. But the walk to the car was a killer.
    I completely understand Marta.....Now I know you “are” a skier.....I grew up skiing ice at the old Great Gorge in NJ, with many Vermont trips back in the 60’s, mainly Stowe. I had a photo of me and Suzie Chaffee at a competition, remember Suzie Chapstick? he he

    You were fused at 11. Did you ever jump on skis after your were fused? or did your original surgeon clip your wings? What kind of crashes did you have? I could imagine that being hard on your lowest 2 levels under that fusion mass.....I didn’t crash much, but when I did, they were devastating. I have almost killed myself a few times on skis through the years.

    I also went to Hackensack High..... The cheerleaders would keep repeating “Hack, Hack, Hackensack, Hack, Hack, Hackensack” I’m pretty sure that caused my scoliosis, no x-ray proof is needed...... (scoliosis forum humor)

    I made my own 2 degree cants and mounted under Cubco’s before canting was ever used......Canting was standardized in boot molding around 1974.....Now were are getting into some serious ski history.....Back in the day, Stein Erickson would ski a tight locked parallel, and with the hips wider than the ankles in this position, forces the outer edges down which can be a problem in skiing.

    I am very surprised you can palm the floor with your fusion....and you know that disc herniation’s always seem to happen in the direction of the spinal cord. When you do this you compress the very front of your disc and force the material back in that direction.....You might bring this up with Dr Errico next time you see him....that and the cheerleader story.

    Welcome to the forum

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    7
    OMG. I volunteer on patrol as a ranger at Great Gorge now (aka Mountain Creek). That's my stomping ground every Sunday!! It's amazing how many people got their start skiing in New Jersey! And by the way, do you know the word Hackensack means "river of many bends" - hmmm.

    So, to answer your questions. Yes, I do jump, and it's not been an issue for my back at all. I make sure i absorb the landing in the knees. Not anything huge, but I do occasionally hit the smaller kickers they build in the parks. Such as a 1-2 footer where I've pre- scoped the landing to be smooth. I also hunt out the little whoop-de-do's on the trail sides and will find anywhere I can to launch myself a foot or so in the air. I ski moguls, snaking my way inbetween them. I have had many high speed crashes, I used to have a love for speed. As I've gotten older, I've taken it down a notch. I no longer ski GS style and switched to twin tips. I've cartwheeled many times, and no issues whatsoever. Although yes the concept is quite scary eh! I once cartwheeled in the Cucumber bowl at Breck, landed on my feet and kept going, but no-one saw it. Oh well! Ski injury-wise, I've separated my shoulder, cracked a rib (I slipped on the sun deck at GG), blackened a toenail, and blew out my thumb..and always kept skiing the season out. I guess I've got a good pain tolerance. I'm 46.

    Post surgery as a kid, my wings were only clipped for a year in which waterskiing was "out". Gymnastics too, obviously. And then it was free to go. Really, my first ski lesson was in my cast. Talk about falling and not being able to get up ; )
    I've also figure skated, golfed and swam the butterfly.

    Regarding my flexibility, it's been a long road to the toes, but I got there. Now that I'm older and arthritic, I can still palm the floor but with a minor bend in my knees, it's difficult with legs straight anymore. Legs straight I can touch fingertips to the floor. I can feel the pressure nowadays as it causes that tingling. I don't actually try to palm the floor often, but I like to check once in a while just to "see if I still can". I don't have any disc herniation, but a I've got lot of bone spurs and my discs are just plain wearing down.

    I'm so glad to be in the forum. I've learned so much about all these new procedures they do, and everyone's experiences are just amazing!
    Last edited by martini; 12-04-2014 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Rats, I can't get my signature to show up???

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,224
    I just want to welcome you to the forum. I was not athletic before my fusion and certainly not now

    Melissa
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    7
    Thanks Melissa! I'm certainly overwhelmed with all the super people here.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    -Marta
    Scoli surgery 1979, age 11, Albany NY
    Fused T3 to L4, single harrington rod
    2013 X-rays:
    http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/g...psce6b64aa.jpg
    http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/g...ps46760488.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    1

    Cool surfing

    Quote Originally Posted by martini View Post
    Hi I'm new here! I found this wonderful forum a long time ago, and have been lurking for a while. My history: Scoli surgery in 1979 at age 11 in Albany NY. Wore a turtle cast for 9 months (during which I had my first ski lesson!) and then a milwaukee brace for another year perhaps after that. Fusion from T3 to L4. Single harrington rod.

    35 years post-op and I'm a poster-child for all the things you can make your body do after surgery. A lifetime skier, I recently started surfing at age 40. My adventures have included waterskiing, backpacking, horse riding, skateboarding, and all other things that can possibly freak out your mom. However in the back of my mind, I always knew eventually there would be a point when I am going to slide sideways off the track into the hay bales…

    And here we go… I've started to experience increased pain to the point where I needed injections at L4/5 and L5/S1. And a visit to Dr. Errico.

    So here's how it's going down.. Last spring, I noticed during long walks that I had to constantly stop and rest due to stabbing pain. This persisted all summer and fall. Fast forward to the winter. After a day on the slopes I would be at a point where I couldn't make it back to my car without wincing every 100 steps and screaming out my car window the whole way home in stabbing pain. Mind you, skiing did not hurt. But the walk to the car was a killer. I could also surf all day pain free, but a simple walk to the snack bar would stop me in my tracks. All the OTC nsaids and acupuncture in the world didn't touch this pain. The pain would shoot from 0 to 60 in seconds flat, and then recede again just as quickly. So I headed for the Hackensack Univ pain clinic for treatment while waiting for my appt with Dr. Errico. The injections worked immediately. 6 weeks now and my pain is reduced to arthritis level aches, with residual pins and needles running down the front of my leg. The searing knife-stabbing pain radiating from my back through my hip to my thigh I've had for 18 months is currently g-o-n-e. PT helps, and I've easily added my assigned exercises into my nightly yoga routine.

    Onto the visit to Dr. Errico: First and foremost, Dr. Errico confirmed that I absolutely can, and should, continue all sports and activities with no restriction, including skiing and surfing to my hearts content. He also confirmed my fears that my future may likely include additional fusion. He said I'd be in this same situation no matter what, even if I were a couch potato, and that it's more likely I would've had this pain sooner rather than later. My level of activity is helping me here. I'm in the same bucket as everyone else with the same early degenerative issues in the same location in the lower spine beneath my fusion, with the same prognosis of further fusion. I'm showing early degeneration in my two remaining motion joints, L4/5 and L5/S1. He says I can keep getting shots up to 3x a year, if they are working, great, keep going. But if I get to the point where pain can no longer be helped, then the choice comes to continuing the fusion all the way down the remainder of my spine to the sacrum.

    I'm so thankful I have a golden ticket to keep going right on up until I can't any further. The pain doc even said to stop my activities "would be detrimental to my wellbeing." This is going to be a good race. I'm hoping I can outpace the inevitable for as long as absolutely possible. I've lost a whole inch. If (or when) I allow them to do this surgery, they will jack me up to full height again (oooh!, 4'11!) with spacers after they take my discs out. And then after the period of restricted activity I would be able to get back to life (yes, the doc says, including skiing, albeit in a oddly stiff dippy-bird kind of way). *[Ed, I'll be following you closely, paying special attention to you how you've adapted to skiing post surgery. Your notes about how you first hit the slopes again 14 months out, about your skiing muscles being extremely weak, G forces, and putting on ski boots - are all so helpful to me in particular!! I will need to accept that I won't be able to ski like I used to......I guess I too will also have to slow down at some point. I do worry about the loss of side to side hip motion.]

    Meantime, I'm self-restricting certain activities. Even though I'm being encouraged to continue unrestricted, I need to preserve what precious little I have as long as I can. To me that means eliminating tasks that involve lots of bending, pushing, straining and lifting or activities that I have decided are too jolting to my body. Sorry vacuum, sorry yard work. Sorry sledding, sorry roller coasters. Sorry speed boats. It was nice knowing ya!

    Big encouragement to athletic kids just coming in… Simple pushups are easy to do, and yoga has allowed me a solid flexible body with strong core muscles. I've always had tight hamstrings, and I'm sure that's a long-running result of my surgery. I definitely recall being shocked that I could not touch my knees(!) after my surgery way back then… Now I can lay my hands flat on the floor…. I can also pop up off the floor onto my feet from laying flat on my stomach in a single motion (this is a necessary surf move). I've worked hard to get to this point, and I still surprise myself with how much further I can push this whole fusion thing. I've also learned that there are people out there who invent things to modify sports gear, and I have a pad on my surfboard to help me keep my back arched when paddling, since arching~ I cannot do. There is also someone out there who makes a rash guard shirt with air pillows in the tummy for the same purpose! --> Ed, I'm sure you can vouch for the use of wedges and canting to modify ski gear based on an individual's stance and balance needs. Kids, once you are fused solid you are good to go! This is true! You will be able to get back out there and rock it! Just don't worry your mom to much in the process... ; )

    Best regards~
    marta
    Martini, wow my hat is off to you!!! I have a fusion from T9 - L5 several years ago and am pain free, thanks to God, my physician and the fact that I was in good physical shape. I did all my PT and pushed myself even when I didn’t want to. I am strong and doing alot, but certainly not all the impact stuff you are able to do. I was also told by my Doctor that the discs on either end of the fusion will take all the brunt since the rest of my back doesn’t...my Doctor told me since they weren’t 100% will cause them to wear sooner than later leading to another surgery which i need in time meaning T8 and S1. I wanted to preserve any motion possible and they weren’t a disaster yet.

    t am amazed that you can surf and everything else!! I surfed before but currently I can’t seem to get my feet under me since my back doesn’t arch for the paddle and pop up and it doesn’t bend in order to get my legs under me or or get my feet under my hands. When you say you have a pad on your surfboard to keep your back arched since it doesn’t arch, what do you mean and where can i purchase one? I’ve also seen push up modifications for under the hands, they are 2 inches and assist in getting the feet closer to the hands? It’s killing me, it’s my zen. Can you offer any suggestion?
    link for hand supports:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2953347/
    Last edited by ftpanelli; 03-26-2015 at 05:23 PM. Reason: addtl'info

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    7

    Oh I just saw this post!!

    Ftpanelli, so sorry I missed this post and now summer is nearly ended. I agree with you about the zen of surfing! I've had a great summer surfing the jersey shore and I feel great!

    Yes you should definitely look into these things.. My surf coach gave me a pad called the denno pop. It makes all the difference in the world as far as paddling goes! I'd NEVER be able to paddle nor continue to surf without it! So simple, it's just an inexpensive foam wedge velcro'd to my board! Go to www.dennopop.com
    I've never seen the hand supports before, thx for sharing! There are also other things out there for folks like us, but I haven't tried them. All same concept. http://www.evolvesurf.com/Products.html -they make a vest w wedge; also a separate "put in shirt" wedge
    http://paddleair.com/ergo/ - blow up rash vest or shirt
    http://www.surfoutlet.com/p/body-glo...74/#color=9325 - 1mm neoprene vest w wedge

    I suggest tons of yoga, and a surf coach knowledgeable in amending techniques, to make it possible. I stink at surfing, as I started barely a few years ago, more than 30 years post fusion. I am finding I absolutely Can do this, I am not limited, and it's exhilarating to find I can still push myself to new levels. My coach adjusts my location, takeoff angle, hand positions, all that I need to succeed. I don't yet think my feet always land in the right spot and I nose dive often, but go for it, keep at it! Get that zen back!

    Btw my injections are still holding well almost a year since the first shot
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    -Marta
    Scoli surgery 1979, age 11, Albany NY
    Fused T3 to L4, single harrington rod
    2013 X-rays:
    http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/g...psce6b64aa.jpg
    http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/g...ps46760488.jpg

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