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Thread: 3 Months Post-Op and Pictures of the Surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Glen Oaks, NY
    Posts
    16

    3 Months Post-Op

    Hello Everyone,

    I don't even know where to begin, I guess from the beginning huh?

    My name is Jessy and I am 27 years old. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 15, I wore a TLSO brace for a little over two years. My curvatures became worse and I was a candidate for surgery. My 1st surgery happened in April 1995, the doctor fused levels T4-L2. It was a success, so I thought! Somewhere around 1997 I complained to my mother that my back was bothering me and I felt as though the bars were going to protrude through my skin. Appointments after appointments and the doctors found nothing. No hook unhooked, no damage with the fusion. I finally became fed up because I was not able to sit in an upright position and when I pressed against that area only, I had sharp pains. Finally, the doctors took me serious and they performed a 2nd surgery in November 1998. I had partial rod removal, which left the fusion from T4-T9. They discovered that a hook became unhooked and that was the cause of my pain. I thought I was done with all the surgeries. A couple of years later I began to have pain again, I went to see the original surgeon who did the surgeries and followed up with him for a couple of months. I felt I was going nowhere with him becuase everytime I went there, it was the same story...he refused to do the surgery unless I was shrinking and my health was being impaired. I left mad and decided to search for a new doctor.

    I noticed my body was leaning more towards one side and I was also hunched a lot. I also developed a lot of sharp pain with numbness and tingling all over my extremities. I went to an orthopeadic doctor (who specialized in the bones/spine but not scoliosis) He sent me through cortisone "Facet-Joint Injections", massage therapy, physical therapy and nothing worked. Finally he tells me as he is looking at my X-rays, "Sorry I can't help you anymore because what you have is arthritis of the spine and some degenerative discs". Basically, if I can live with the pain so be it. I refused to give up and deal with the pain and take pain killers and all sorts of meds everyday for the rest of my life. I came onto this website and I found real doctors who specializes in scoliosis.

    I found the doctor who knew exactly what was wrong with me and did not talk down to me. I ended up seeing Dr. Frank Schwab and Dr. Jean-Pierre C. Farcy and they were excellent. They basically told me straight out that surgery had to be done, if not in a couple of years I would be walking around with a big hunch on my back and not being able to stand upright. They explained the surgical procedure to me and I ended up having a "Thoracotomy incision (I had a rib hump) with posterior harrington rod removal to spinal revision with bars and screws." My spinal fusion is from T2-L4 and I am currently a little over 3 months post op, and I feel great for a person who went through a lot. I still have a lot of pain, but not as bad when I first came out the hospital.

    I was wondering from anyone who has had the surgery done, how do you sleep at night? Do you need pills to make you go to sleep? Currently I am taking Vicodin to go to sleep, but at times I feel as though that doesn't help and my body can go 24 hours without sleeping. My doctor prescribed me ultram 50mg, but it doesn't seem to help either. I feel as though my pain threshold has increased and that's why I need more medication. Any help would be gladly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jessy

    Please feel free to make any comments and/or suggestions.

    Surgery Pictures
    Last edited by JLozada1013; 03-09-2005 at 06:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Hi Jessy...

    Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Interestingly, I think I'm going through something similar. Within the last few months, I've had lots of strange feelings and pain at the top of my fusion. In January, I noticed that I could see the top of my left rod bulging beneath my skin. In the last week, I've noticed that I can now see about 8-10" of the rod bulging. I had my original surgery 13 years ago.

    I think you should discuss taking vicoden to fall asleep with your doctor. It seems to me that might be a good way to get addicted. I had trouble falling asleep for awhile after my spine surgeries. I'm guessing it's because I was so much less active than normal. I got past it relatively quickly.

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Glen Oaks, NY
    Posts
    16
    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for the response. What are you doing about the bulging rods? Is it uncomfortable for you? What are the doctors saying why it happened? My doctor in the beginning thought I was doing this for cosmetic reasons. I was young and a teenager and he talked down to me. His approach to me felt like ... So what you have a bulge sticking out of you back, you're just too skinny. If you gain weight than it will disappear. With a lot of persistance and perserverance I had the second surgery done because I knew something was wrong internally, and something was; I had an unhooked hook

    As for the Vicodin, my doctor switched me to Ultram 50mg Q6H. I took my first dose yesterday and nothing took effect. I did not take another vicodin because I know that narcs are easy to get addicted too and I have to wean my body off the narcs. The pharmacist recommended Benadryl to go to sleep and he said its non habit forming. I actually had a restful night last night with the Benadryl. I think I also had a restful night last night because I began Physical Therapy yesterday too. Boy did it take a lot out of me.

    Now that I am able to move around and be a little bit more active, I think I'll be able to sleep more and do more.

    Thanks Linda

    -Jessy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    6,797
    Hi Jessy...

    At this point, I haven't really spoken to my doctor about the bulge. I'll see her again in June or July. It is painful, but not all of the time. I'm hoping that removal of part or all of the hardware will resolve the problem.

    --Linda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Glen Oaks, NY
    Posts
    16
    Hi Linda,

    Well keep me posted on the doctors appointment and the condition. With technology being advanced in today's world, you have nothing to worry about. Hopefully one of the two will solve your problem like you said. Good luck

    -Jessy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    323
    Dear Jessy,
    Thanks for the photos,,they and you look great.. I went for a consultation with Farcy and I liked him, but I decieded to use Nuewirth in Beth Isreal for my scoliosis surgery...I take Ambeim to sleep and it works well..I also was put on trazadone and that helps me sleep walk and eat at night..so I plan on getting off that soon, so I don't gain 10 pounds in my sleep...lol....Benedryl did help I was using 50 mg.s and i'm taking a rest with them....welll , ive been having some pain and friday i'll find out what the cause is...
    good luck on your recovery
    CONNIE


    Surgery June 28th 2004
    fused T4 -L3
    Hip graft
    Grown 1 1/2 inches
    25/o upper T 15/o
    53/o T 15/o
    37/o L 6/o
    Dr. Micheal Nuewirth
    New York City

    August 6, 2004
    Pulmonary Embolism
    complication from surgery

    January 2007 currently
    increasing pain at the T4/5
    point irratation heardwear

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Glen Oaks, NY
    Posts
    16
    Hi Connie,

    Thanks for the input on the photos. When I look at them I still get teary eyed. I guess I'm still sensitive on the surgery topic and now that I have more scars makes it a little harder to deal with it. I am thankful that the surgery turned out well and my recovery is getting better each day. I'm weaning myself off the medication little by little because I don't think that my body needs all those drugs and their interactions.

    I've tried Ambien and it did not work for me. The Benadryl is working for now, but it takes too long in order for me to feel the effects. I too wish you well on a speedy and healthy recovery from your surgery. Hopefully the pain that you are having is not the cause of your surgery. Best of luck

    -Jessy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    323

    today

    Dear Jessy,

    Thanks..I went to the surgeon today and he said that even tho I have mycroplasma pnuemonia and my body is weak and joints are achey , that the extra pain I'm feeling can not be all from the virus...so I'm off to take an MRI..In the last week I had a sinus CT scan, chest xray, CT of adbominal and pelvis and an ultasound of the abdomen and pelvis...so do you think I can glow in the dark????oh and don;t forget 3 sets of blood test....I was feeling so good 3 months ago..I showed my dr. the photo of me rock climbing and he wants to put me on his websight....example of middle age woman recovery from scoli surgery oy vey...lol....
    CONNIE


    Surgery June 28th 2004
    fused T4 -L3
    Hip graft
    Grown 1 1/2 inches
    25/o upper T 15/o
    53/o T 15/o
    37/o L 6/o
    Dr. Micheal Nuewirth
    New York City

    August 6, 2004
    Pulmonary Embolism
    complication from surgery

    January 2007 currently
    increasing pain at the T4/5
    point irratation heardwear

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    543
    Hey Connie,

    I hope everything goes okay with all your test results. I hate waiting on them! I had my physical a few weeks ago and they had to redo my blood because my white cells are down some. The second time around they were a little lower but everything else was okay so the doctor said not to worry about it. I had the school nurse pull up some stuff on the white cells and one word stuck out on all the reports that can cause a lower than normal white cell count. INFLAMMATION! I have plenty of that going on! I go for my mammo on Monday and the spine surgeon on Friday. What a great way to spend my spring break! My son has gone up to Denver with his roommate to bum in on his sister and go skiing and hiking. I hope he has a good time. I know his sister is looking forward to him coming. Did the doctor say whether or not you could have hurt yourself when you were rock climbing? Did you have a seat harness or a chest harness on? I know when I used to go mountain climbing with my husband and I would slip and fall somewhat that chest harness would really yank on the back. I hope everything is fine. Keep us informed. Take Care and GET BETTER!!!!
    Last edited by Theresa; 03-11-2005 at 10:26 PM.
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Connie...

    I couldn't tell if you were kidding. Have you gone rock climbing since your surgery?

    --Linda

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Glen Oaks, NY
    Posts
    16
    Hi Connie,

    So are you glowing in the dark yet? I hope they find the cause of your problems and the reason why your body is feeling so weak and achy. Did you really go rock climbing?!?! Did it take a lot out of you to do extraneous activity? I wish my body is as strong as yours. Its a little over 3 months and I still have pain at the sites. The good news for me is that the doctor gave me the go ahead to go back to work. Lets see how my body is going to react to work, stress and my kids. I'm a Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist, and I work with multiply disabled preschoolers and adolescents. He's starting me out Part Time and I will gradually increase my hours back to Full Time if my body allows it.

    Definitely keep me informed and feel better

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    52
    Jessy,
    Congrats on a successful surgery. For me both vicodin and ultram keep me from sleeping. Good for pain bad for catching the ZZZs. I was given a sleeping pill for pain until I stopped taking them after 4pm. Benedryl can also be helpful for sleep.

    Good luck
    Christine

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