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Thread: Activities That Are Impossible or Difficult After Full Fusion

  1. #1
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    Sep 2019
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    132

    Activities That Are Impossible or Difficult After Full Fusion

    How many of these activities are no longer possible or more difficult after a full fusion of thorax and lumbar?
    And are you fused to the sacrum, and/or do you have pelvic fixation?

    • Gardening (kneel, dig, pull weeds)
    • Mow lawn (pushing a powered lawn mower) and prune bushes
    • Vacuum rugs
    • Scrubbing bathtub
    • Get down on hands and knees and scrub floor
    • Throw a ball hard
    • Hike a steep uneven trail
    • Tie shoes
    • Clip toenails, give self pedicure
    • Pull on socks
    • Pull on pantyhose
    • Shovel snow
    • Rake leaves
    • Open lowest drawers and cabinets
    • Reach highest shelves
    • Sit or lie on the floor
    • Take a sit-down bath (not a shower)
    • Wiping one's butt
    • Getting cut/colored in hair salon? (Leaning backward in chair )
    • Dust mop hardwood floors? ( getting down on all 4s to get under bed/couch)?
    Last edited by Tina_R; 01-20-2020 at 11:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    54
    I am due to be having an extension of my thoracic fusion from 16 years ago (age 12) to my sacrum within the next month or two. I met with a woman from my area who has had the same full fusion and she said the only thing she absolutely cannot do now after her fusion is paint her toenails and thatís why she has her husband, HAHA! Meeting her and having her show me how she gets down to garden, put on her shoes and pants, etc. has given me hope and courage that despite losing a bit of flexibility and range of motion with this procedure, life is not over and tasks are not insurmountable. I think a lot of things will still be able to be done but with some modifications. I am interested to hear others takes on this very important question.
    Feb 2003 - Diagnosed C (35) T (45) L (25)
    Dec 2003 - T2-T12 Fusion correcting to C (8), T (14), L (20)
    Oct 2019 - Lumbar curve progressed to 40
    Nov 2019 - Thoracic curve progressed to 31
    ??? 2020 - T10-S1 Fusion with SI fixation

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,260
    I am fused from C2 to the sacrum.

    I cannot do these



    Gardening (kneel, dig, pull weeds)
    Scrubbing bathtub
    Throw a ball hard
    Pull on socks- I use a device
    Reach highest shelves - I am short
    Sit or lie on the floor
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,118
    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    How many of these activities are no longer possible or more difficult after a full fusion of thorax and lumbar?

    • Gardening (kneel, dig, pull weeds)
    • Mow lawn (pushing a powered lawn mower) and prune bushes
    • Vacuum rugs
    • Scrubbing bathtub
    • Get down on hands and knees and scrub floor
    • Throw a ball hard
    • Hike a steep uneven trail
    • Tie shoes
    • Clip toenails, give self pedicure
    • Pull on socks
    • Pull on pantyhose
    • Shovel snow
    • Rake leaves
    • Open lowest drawers and cabinets
    • Reach highest shelves
    • Sit or lie on the floor
    • Take a sit-down bath (not a shower)
    Tina... be sure to find out whether each individual who answers, is fused to the sacrum, and whether or not they have pelvic fixation. Those are far more significant components in terms of function, than the length of the fusion.
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    853
    On your list I can do all of those things . On the up hill home I would say down hill would be harder. Up hill you lean forward and down hill puts a lot of stress on the spine. While I live in Illinois I live in a city with hills so I do the walk frequently.
    I am fused from C-4 to the pelvis. I do have s1 and pelvic fixation. I am also fused though the cervical in the front.
    Some positions like gardening on hands and knees, I do have to stand up occasionally. I know the lawn with a small electric lawnmower. The snow thrower is a little harder. I shovel by pushing the snow but not actually picking it up.
    I work 3 days a week and stand most of the time.
    Recovery is possible as long as you can find out your way of doing things.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    Fractured t-9 six days out of surgery
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    PJK at t-9
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    Removal of left side t6-t10. 8/14
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    99

    Much Appreciation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    How many of these activities are no longer possible or more difficult after a full fusion of thorax and lumbar?
    And are you fused to the sacrum, and/or do you have pelvic fixation?

    • Gardening (kneel, dig, pull weeds)
    • Mow lawn (pushing a powered lawn mower) and prune bushes
    • Vacuum rugs
    • Scrubbing bathtub
    • Get down on hands and knees and scrub floor
    • Throw a ball hard
    • Hike a steep uneven trail
    • Tie shoes
    • Clip toenails, give self pedicure
    • Pull on socks
    • Pull on pantyhose
    • Shovel snow
    • Rake leaves
    • Open lowest drawers and cabinets
    • Reach highest shelves
    • Sit or lie on the floor
    • Take a sit-down bath (not a shower)
    • Wiping one's butt
    Thank you so much for asking the basic questions-Nancy

  7. #7
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    Sep 2019
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    132
    Quote Originally Posted by Scared View Post
    Thank you so much for asking the basic questions-Nancy
    Nancy, please feel free to add to my list. These are just things that are most important to me personally that sound challenging with a full fusion. I will probably be adding things I forgot.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    132
    Quote Originally Posted by jackieg412 View Post
    On your list I can do all of those things . On the up hill home I would say down hill would be harder. Up hill you lean forward and down hill puts a lot of stress on the spine. While I live in Illinois I live in a city with hills so I do the walk frequently.
    I am fused from C-4 to the pelvis. I do have s1 and pelvic fixation. I am also fused though the cervical in the front.
    Some positions like gardening on hands and knees, I do have to stand up occasionally. I know the lawn with a small electric lawnmower. The snow thrower is a little harder. I shovel by pushing the snow but not actually picking it up.
    I work 3 days a week and stand most of the time.
    Recovery is possible as long as you can find out your way of doing things.
    Why is it hard to pick up snow with a shovel? Even light, powdery snow?
    With gardening, do you have to stand up because you get stiff crouching or is it something else?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    99
    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    Nancy, please feel free to add to my list. These are just things that are most important to me personally that sound challenging with a full fusion. I will probably be adding things I forgot.
    Can you get your hair cut/colored in hair salon? (Leaning backward in chair )? Can you Dust mop hardwood floors? ( I have to get down on all 4s to get under bed/couch)? All I can think of for now

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,260
    Quote Originally Posted by Scared View Post
    Can you get your hair cut/colored in hair salon? (Leaning backward in chair )? Can you Dust mop hardwood floors? ( I have to get down on all 4s to get under bed/couch)? All I can think of for now
    I am fused from C2 to the sacrum and have no problems having work done to my hair
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Posts
    132
    When you've first had surgery your back is tender and painful. At the beauty salon, when they lower the back of that chair to get your hair rinsed at the sink, it can can be scary. But you'll be OK, because nothing is touching your back, you're supported at the neck. If your neck was fused you probably wouldn't be able to do it until you were fully healed.

    Dust mops are light but you're still using your back muscles to push them. Right after surgery there will be pain and you aren't supposed to use your back muscles. But I can't tell you how it will be once you've healed, whether the restrictions of the fusion will affect mopping.
    Last edited by Tina_R; 01-20-2020 at 10:27 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    54
    Would you say that people success or lack there of in doing the listed activities as well as others is largely dependent on following through completely with physical therapy at the appropriate times during recovery? Does it depend on the age of the patient at the time of fusion more so? Other bone or soft tissue issues along with scoliosis? Prior flexibility before sacral fusion?
    Feb 2003 - Diagnosed C (35) T (45) L (25)
    Dec 2003 - T2-T12 Fusion correcting to C (8), T (14), L (20)
    Oct 2019 - Lumbar curve progressed to 40
    Nov 2019 - Thoracic curve progressed to 31
    ??? 2020 - T10-S1 Fusion with SI fixation

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    99
    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    How many of these activities are no longer possible or more difficult after a full fusion of thorax and lumbar?
    And are you fused to the sacrum, and/or do you have pelvic fixation?

    • Gardening (kneel, dig, pull weeds)
    • Mow lawn (pushing a powered lawn mower) and prune bushes
    • Vacuum rugs
    • Scrubbing bathtub
    • Get down on hands and knees and scrub floor
    • Throw a ball hard
    • Hike a steep uneven trail
    • Tie shoes
    • Clip toenails, give self pedicure
    • Pull on socks
    • Pull on pantyhose
    • Shovel snow
    • Rake leaves
    • Open lowest drawers and cabinets
    • Reach highest shelves
    • Sit or lie on the floor
    • Take a sit-down bath (not a shower)
    • Wiping one's butt
    • Getting cut/colored in hair salon? (Leaning backward in chair )
    • Dust mop hardwood floors? ( getting down on all 4s to get under bed/couch)?
    I will be fused T-4 - Pelvic. Can you lift up your arms to pull sweaters/nightgowns over head?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,260
    Quote Originally Posted by Scared View Post
    I will be fused T-4 - Pelvic. Can you lift up your arms to pull sweaters/nightgowns over head?
    I am fused from C2 to my sacrum.

    I have no issues getting dressed.
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    46

    T2 - Sacrum with pelvic fixation

    Sorry, I didn't realize this was under revision and not first time surgeries. I'll leave it for now, but feel free to move it......

    I havenít logged in for a few years now and I apologize for that. Everyone here has helped me through such a difficult decision. I would not have found the courage otherwise. I was fused August 2017, T2-Sacrum with pelvic fixation, by Dr. Lenke in NYC. I was 52 at the time with curves of 70 and 54 and a lot of rotation etc. I had a large hump on my back and pain most all of the time. Standing more than 5 minutes hurt and at the end of the day was impossible. My back was burned from the heating pad which I could barely feel. I would lean on the kitchen counter to make dinner, only went to stores with carts, and used a wheel chair the last time we went to Disney. Little by little I gave up things I used to enjoy. I did force myself to stay active prior to surgery however, (vanity mostly!). I worked out with weights and cardio. I would do an elliptical machine for 45 minutes by leaning after the first 5 to counter the pain and weight machines were never really a problem. It was something I really enjoyed, so I was concerned about what I would be able to do afterwards.

    I have to say, I do so much more now than ever before! I now feel guilty for not staying on an elliptical and lifting more out of laziness! I can leg press 540 pounds and feel nothing. I lift weights as much as I want with no limitations. I donít even think about the fusion. I was worried that I would be stiff etcÖ but no. You donít realize how little you need to bend your back for most of your daily routine. Of course I have limitations like putting on socks, painting my toes, and shaving legs close to the ankles. Thatís not a concern for me at all though, it is so minor compared to the pain and disfigurement I had prior! I donít have any pain now! I know some people still do afterward and I feel so badly for them. Sometimes things donít work out no matter how hard you try and through no fault of your own. However, all you can do is to do your homework, place your trust in the trained doctors who know more than you, and hope for the best.

    I researched surgeons for years prior and struggled with the decision. I thought how brave everyone else was who had it done and that I could absolutely not sign up for that! I lied awake thinking of how to get out of it, and of course the only way is to let it progress, put up with more pain and do less of the things you enjoy each year. It is a terrible decision to have to make. I am so glad it is over for me and someday it will be for you too. I am tremendously happy with my decision of surgery and am amazed at how much better my quality of life is now. I donít feel I am missing out on anything because of fusion to sacrum. The surgery and recovery is difficult, but it gets better of course. Knowing the pain/recovery/benefits/limitations, I would most definitely do it again.

    Just for reference, I donít have problems with most of what you listed, only the following which I do not consider to be limiting in any way whatsoever:

    -Tie Shoes: I can tie them, but not to comfortably, so I tie them first then use a sock donner to help put them on.

    -Pedicure: Cutting and painting toe nails is difficult, so my husband does it for me. You could also use a salon. I wish I could do this, but not too big of a deal.

    -Shaving legs near ankles and around groin is a bit difficult. I have a ďman shaverĒ. It is an electric shaver I found on Amazon with a long handle. Itís for menís backs, but it works pretty good for womenís legs too!

    -Put on socks: I use a sock donner. Its quick and easy. I have several around the house and carry one in my gym bag. Itís not a problem.

    -Sit down bath: I can do this, but my shoulder blades are not very comfortable against hard surfaces. I think this is because I canít round my back, so what hits hard back surfaces are my shoulder blades.

    -Sitting/laying on floor: Sitting upright on the floor is not too comfortable. It is easier if I lean back on my hands or a pillow. Since you canít round your back, you canít get too close in forward to your legs, so you need to lean back. I can lay down on the floor, back, front or side, not real comfortable though. I get onto my knees to get up off the floor.

    -Butt wipe: This is difficult right after surgery especially. It gets better, however I will never be able to sit to do it again. I learned to stand and reach around. I also use Huggies wipes to be more efficient, but just tp works too. In the hospital they will give you a tool to help. I hated the tool and thought t was useless!
    Last edited by ripley; 01-21-2020 at 11:35 PM.

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