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Thread: "We can rebuild him. We have the technology."

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    19

    "We can rebuild him. We have the technology."

    Howdy all.

    I'm a 34 year old male from Austin, Texas. I've been lurking on these forums for a little while, but with the impending date of my surgery fast approaching, I thought I would sign on and share my experiences.
    The most interesting thing about my situation is that I am not in and haven't been in any real pain. This made learning that I had scoliosis in '99 quite a shock. My doc at the time reccomended surgery, but said since I wasn't hurting, I could wait. Not being a fan of invasive procedures, not to mention a little freaked-out, I chose the latter. In '05 I figured I ought to see what was going on with my back, so I met with another highly respected doctor. I found out the curves had been increasing about 1 degree a year. The doc suggested that since the curves were increasing and would likely continue to, I should have the corrective surgery. Even though I still wasn't experiencing any real discomfort, he said it was only a matter of time. I agreed, thinking that recovering from this would be easier at 34 than 54. Since then I've had an MRI (definitely NOT for claustrophobics), a discogram (not pleasant, but not nearly as bad as I'd anticipated), and have set aside 2 pints of blood with one more pint ot go.
    These forums have been an invaluable resource for me and I hope to be able to return the favor to others. Thanks!
    Bryan

    Corrected T4 to L4 in May 2006
    Thoracolumbar Curve
    Before 65 Degrees - After 26 Degrees
    Thoracic Curve
    Before 52 Degrees - After 25 Degrees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    east coast
    Posts
    359
    Aw..next time you can ask for an Open MRI. They are also less noisy compared to the conventional tube ones.

    or.. some people get sedatives to combat claustrophobia

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    260
    "We can rebuild him. We have the technology."
    I totally heard the million dollar man theme song in my head when I read your title...lol

    I got used to all the mris. I was not a fan of the myeleogram though. I hate being upside down for any reason.
    36 year old single mom of teens ages 14 & 15.
    Anterior/posterior spinal fusion on February 9th & 16th 2006 with Dr. Anthony Moreno who now has his own practice.
    Fused from T-3 to S-1 (sacrum)
    Curve pre-op = 70 degrees
    Curve post op = 20 degrees
    No pain anymore!!
    Google is your friend

    I am not a doctor and will never give medical advice. I will support and answer questions from personal experience only.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    19
    It didn't really bother me, I was just suprised. They always look bigger (on the inside) on TV . My dad, on the other hand, would have to have been rendered unconcious.

    I don't think I had a traditional myeleogram. My doctor only wanted imaging done on the L3-4, L4-5, and L5-S1 discs, so I only had to lie on my stomach.
    Last edited by CorkScrew; 04-09-2006 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Added another response
    Bryan

    Corrected T4 to L4 in May 2006
    Thoracolumbar Curve
    Before 65 Degrees - After 26 Degrees
    Thoracic Curve
    Before 52 Degrees - After 25 Degrees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    850
    Hi,
    I have 60 thor & 60 lumbar curve, 80 kyphosis & 95 thoroculumbar curves In my case I went to be checked because I was scared about my organs, digestive etc. not so much pain issues. I've had a lot of acid reflux, coughing & a lot of tightness in my mid section. I have some pain now& then when I'm sitting up for a while or standing a while. I researched it a while ago, & the diaphragm & stomach can get squished(for lack of a good medical term!) when one loses height with scoilosis( I lost 4 inches alrdy). So keep in mind the curve can affect your organs, lungs etc............good luck w/ your surgery Ly

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    east coast
    Posts
    359
    Quote Originally Posted by CorkScrew
    It didn't really bother me, I was just suprised. They always look bigger (on the inside) on TV . My dad, on the other hand, would have to have been rendered unconcious.

    I don't think I had a traditional myeleogram. My doctor only wanted imaging done on the L3-4, L4-5, and L5-S1 discs, so I only had to lie on my stomach.
    LOL...

    Well... now, there ARE bigger MRI tubes since the typical ones didn't fit some of the morbidly obese people so MRIs with larger tubes are available. MRIs are HUGE,... the tube we get stuck into isn't. Whoever designed it obviously didn't have to hold still for tests in one of those

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Quote Originally Posted by green m&m
    Aw..next time you can ask for an Open MRI. They are also less noisy compared to the conventional tube ones.

    or.. some people get sedatives to combat claustrophobia
    That's something that's news to me, open MRIs...Don't know if there are some here in Canada yet, but it's good to know and I will ask if I ever need another one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Northants, UK
    Posts
    11
    Hi Corkscrew,

    I was in a very similar situation to you, I'm 23 but like you I was diagnosed a few years back (2000), and was never in any really massive pain. Occasionally I'd get back ache if I did a bit too much but doesn't everyone.

    Like you my curve got worse by 2-3 deg a year, it went from 42 degrees in 2000 to 53 degrees in 2005. At that point I did my maths and decided I needed to get it sorted before it got any worse.

    6 months later I had the operation. It was January 24th (so about 2 1/2 months ago). I wasn't nervous before, and to be honest the pain wasn't that bad. Yeah it was horrible being stuck in hospital, and that feeling of not being able to help yourself is one of the worst. But I got through that, and after 2 weeks I was at home. Then since then I've gradually been getting better.

    I'm now driving and moving around pretty normally, the back still feels odd, and there are many things I simply couldn't do. But all in all I have a straight back, am taller, and think I did the right thing.

    I'd say if it's an option then go for it, as long as you have some people who can look out for you, and you're comfortable with the surgeon and his/her team.

    Oli

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    19

    Update

    Hello - I'm CorkScrew's wife, and he asked me to update you all on his progress. His surgery went very well. The doctor originally thought he could only correct his curves about 50%, but was able to correct them closer to 80%. The "before" and "after" x-rays were an incredible sight to see, espcially seeing the TWO INCH screws used! Incredible. The doctor thought he had gained closer to 3-inches in height.

    He was wheeled into ICU, and I was called to finally see him. He appeared "puffed up" (of course, after being on his stomach the entire 8 hours of surgery), but nothing too horrendous. He was easily on a dozen different tubes. Unfortunately, he developed a 101 fever, which the nurses thought may have come from an infection. They drew blood and urine samples (thought he might also have a UTI from the cath). We should probably know the results of the tests today. The good news is that he was able to break the fever.

    Also in less than 24 hours after surgery his physical therapist had him sitting up and dangling his feet from the bed. Unfortunately his heart rate got up to close to 200/bpm, so it was probably pushing it. A few hours later they tried again, and his heart rate was closer to 130. He was then able to sit to get up, walk a few inches, and sit in a chair--a huge accomplishment for him. While he stood up, I was able to see his bare back for the first time, and the length of the cut made (of course, it's all covered up with bandages at this point) - the humps are gone and he is so tall! What an incredible sight to see!

    They made him stay in ICU for another night, and hopefully he will be moved to a room today. Again, the doctors are very pleased with his surgery.

    He is drinking lots of water. He had his first meals yesterday: Broth, jello, and grape juice. He couldn't finish the meal, although he was able to keep it all down. Not the kind of weight loss diet I would recommend, but at this rate, he could probably lose about 20 pounds over a five-seven day hospital stay.

    NOTE TO SPOUSES: Come hell or high water I was going to spend the night in the ICU with him. Anyone who wants to do this, be prepared. They woke him up every two hours to "turn him," and throughout the course of the night easily had a half dozen people come in an look in on him. There is no such thing as sleep. I did this again last night, which was a bit better, but you are basically worthless, because of the two hour turning schedule and general noise from the floor.

    Also - Did anyone experienced hiccups? Everytime they raise the bed, or he makes the slightest turn, he experiences hiccups. Of course, it's incredibly uncomfortable when it happens, because it jars his body. He is able to control it by sippping water, while I put my fingers in his ears (trust me, it works), but it happens so often, it's too bizarre.

    I will post later with additional news. Thanks again to everyone. This forum has been a valuable resource.
    Bryan

    Corrected T4 to L4 in May 2006
    Thoracolumbar Curve
    Before 65 Degrees - After 26 Degrees
    Thoracic Curve
    Before 52 Degrees - After 25 Degrees

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Houston area
    Posts
    129
    Thank you so much for the first-hand up-to-the-minute details Corkscrew's wife!!! With surgery ahead of me, I find this very useful and interesting information to pass along to my husband and family who will be concerned. This forum is wonderful!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    19
    Howdy all - CorkScrew's wife, with another update. His test results came back, and there was no infection. Just the nurses being overly careful because he was running a fever...gotta love 'em for it.

    For any of you who can't stomach the thought of having broth, jello, and juice, for almost three days-- get over it! LOL! Hubby has had it "up to here" with the combination three times a day, but since he hasn't had any bowel sounds, he has to stick with the liquid diet.

    We have been waiting for three days for some sign that he can be moved from the current "cuisine," but he must first pass gas, and have a some sort of a bowel movement. I'm sure most of you preparing for surgery are aware of the constipation that will occur, so this won't come as surprise.

    Last night he had horrible stomach cramps. I understand this is normal and is one of the first signs that your body is back on its way to recovery. The nurse gave him Milk of Magnesia, and that seemed to calm him down.

    Today, he finally passed gas!! Folks, when you first do this, it will be unpleasant. Trust me, nurses have smelled worse in their careers, so let it rip and enjoy the moment. YAY!!!!! I'm only sharing this with those of you who are going to be going into surgery-- you really need to know this stuff...it's unpleasant, but (hopefully) very helpful.

    The nurses had him up and walking with a walker yesterday and this morning. He looks great. His progress is nothing short of amazing.

    More updates to come...
    Bryan

    Corrected T4 to L4 in May 2006
    Thoracolumbar Curve
    Before 65 Degrees - After 26 Degrees
    Thoracic Curve
    Before 52 Degrees - After 25 Degrees

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Wow, your updates are awesome -- and extremely helpful for those of us awaiting surgery. I'm really happy your husband's doing so well. Keep the updates coming....

    Chris

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Houston area
    Posts
    129
    LOL!! Thanks for the update! We really appreciate being able to read what is happening right up to the minute. It is so encouraging for those of us awaiting and anticipating surgery.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sacramento,Calif.
    Posts
    420
    Mrs. Corkscrew, Thanks for the updates! Yes, I agree let em rip! After days of stomach cramping and pain I was never so happy to pass gas in my whole life. Wish I had been offered broth, jello and grape juice! I got water. They brought me regular meals (very heavy type foods) after I finally had bowel sounds and had passed the gas test. I begged for soup instead. I couldn't believe they wanted me to start with that type of food! Tell Corkscrew it could be worse.... those of you heading toward surgery, constapation IS NO JOKE! Talk to your Dr. and get something ready for when you start to eat again. As my Dr. put it "pain meds shut down your system" He warned me and we were prepaired. I ended up needing stool softners and a laxitive with each meal. Best wishes, Suzy

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    850

    Yikes!!!!!!!!

    I had horrible constipation after the birth of my second boy likes there's no tomorrow! so I'm no stranger to that issue....it's one I'd wish I did'nt have to re-visit but whatcha gonna do?????????????!!!!!!!!!! Ly

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