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Thread: 11 years post op.....just an FYI!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Michigan
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    Thumbs up 11 years post op.....just an FYI!

    Hello everyone. I see a lot of posts on here are from people that recently had the surgery or are a few years post op so I thought I'd share a little about how I'm doing 11 years post op.

    I had my surgery in January 1997 when I was 15 years old at Beaumont Hospital in Michigan. I'm not familiar with all the correct medical terms anymore but my fusion was done from just below my neck down through the first 3 vertibraes in your lower back that allow you to bend (I was informed that you have 5 vertibraes in your lower back that are responsible for letting you bend down and touch your toes, etc.) so as you can imagine it is a fairly large fusion.

    My surgery went very well, was in the hospital for 5 days, released and then spent a good amount of time at home recovering (with a tutor for school) and easing myself back in to school and everyday life. I didn't have any complications with the surgery itself but I did push myself a little too hard and ended up with mono in the summer of 1997. My advice is to listen to your body and if it's tired, rest! It's easy to want to go out with friends and dive right back into school but it's important to realize that when you're body is healing it needs extra rest! I got over the mono in about a month and have not had any issue whatsoever since then.

    I'm now 26 years old and I can do pretty much everything anyone else can. This includes: snowboarding, tubing (behind a boat), water-skiing, playing sports, I run and lift weights regularly.....I am not limited at all! I just wanted to let everyone know that life after surgery for me is completely normal - even 11 years later!!
    Last edited by tracylynn; 12-04-2007 at 08:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    877
    Thank you so much for your positive post, Tracy. This means a lot to Moms like me whose daughter is almost 12 weeks post-op. She just wants to go back to dancing. Any input on that?
    Melissa
    From Bucks County, Pa., USA

    Mom to Matthew,19, Jessica, 17, and Nicole, 14
    Nicole had surgery with Dr. Dormans on 9/12/07 at Children's Hospital of Phila. She is fused T-2 - L-3

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    672
    Thanks for posting, Tracy, I am glad that you are doing so well and it is so encouraging to hear of someone doing so well years down the road. How about rollercoasters? My son will be 2 yrs post-op soon, last time he was at an amusement park was still too soon to try riding.

    Renee

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    877
    Renee,

    Mary Lou will tell you that her daughter has been on them, after one year, I think.

    I am more concerned about the water parks. Nicole loves them. Are all of those slides safe after one year?
    Melissa
    From Bucks County, Pa., USA

    Mom to Matthew,19, Jessica, 17, and Nicole, 14
    Nicole had surgery with Dr. Dormans on 9/12/07 at Children's Hospital of Phila. She is fused T-2 - L-3

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    PA
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    Renee,

    Melissa is right--Jamie was on rollercoasters as soon as possible after her one year mark. I must admit, I was a little nervous and was thankful that I was riding with her. Honestly, I think she was happy I was with her as well. She seemed a little nervous. I was never a big fan of the wooden coaster, but she rode one for the first time ever this past summer at 2 1/2 years post-op and did fine.

    Melissa,

    Jamie has been to Dorney Park since her surgery and has ridden everything she wanted. Hang in there, you know this summer is going to be hard if her doctor doesn't release her from all of her restrictions.

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    672
    You are brave Mary Lou! I don't know if my stomach can handle that kind of stuff anymore. Last summer I went on one of the spinning rides, OMG I was probably the loudest one screaming...good thing I hadn't eaten anything

    Renee

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    495
    Great post Tracy Lynn, thanks.

    What happens to us as we get older? I used to love all those crazy rides. Sheena doesn't even like roller coasters, I've got no worries there. In fact, she's just not into any kind of risk taking activities, driving in Houston will be the worse thing I have to worry about and I don't even want to think about that yet.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    PA
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    778
    Renee,

    No, I'm not brave, maybe a little crazy ? I've always loved coasters. And I'm right there with you when it comes to spinning rides. I refuse to ride them unless I absolutely have to, since they tend to make me sick in the stomach as well.

    Sherie,

    Driving in Houston would worry me too! I've told Jamie I trust her, it's the other drivers that I don't trust! I never thought of Jamie as a risk taker, but I guess she is some times. She loves coasters, hunting and riding our 4-wheeler. But then again, that's just what our family does.

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    Thanks for the post, Tracy Lynn,
    It's reassuring to hear that you can do everything you want to do. Have you gone on trampolines & if so, how has that felt on your back? I'm also interested in the water park slides & other rides.

    Thanks again,
    Laurie

    Mother of Alexander & Zachary:
    Alex is 16 years old and in the 11th grade. He has congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebrae at T10. Wore a TLSO brace for 3 1/2 years. Pre-op curves were T45 & L65; curves post-op are approx. T31 & L34. Had a posterior spinal fusion from T8 to L3 on 7/12/07 at age 12. Doing great now in so many ways, but still working on improving posture.
    Zach is 13 years old and very energetic.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    254
    My Dr. told me at 1 year post op I could be back on all amusment park rides and water and Jet Skis. I'm just over 6 months and am just to the point where I think can I do these things again....Next summer were going on a cruise and plan on spending a couple days at Disneyland beforhand and I will ride everything!!!! I hate to feel left out.
    Patty 51 years old
    Surgery May 23, 2007(43 Birthday)
    Posterior T3- L4
    Pre surgery curves
    T-53degrees
    L-38degrees
    and a severe side shift to the right.
    Post surgery curves
    Less than 10 degrees
    Surgery April, 2006
    C4 - C6

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Tracy, thank you for your reassuring post. Sometimes it seems like all we hear about is the need for revision surgery somewhere down the road!!

    I've been following the other posts about post-surgical activities with interest, as I plan on babying my back for the rest of my life and NOT doing any activities that might jar or bump it -- especially amusement park rides or skiing. I wonder if I'm in the minority on this. I would imagine teenagers' backs are much more flexible and better able to absorb wear and tear -- but I'm just so determined not to go through any back surgery again if I can help it.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    4
    Hello again! Well as for rollarcoasters, water parks, skiing - I can do all of that without a problem. I am not sure exactly how long it was after my surgery that I went on a rollarcoaster.....I'm sure it was a year or longer because my mom was pretty cautious with me at first - as you all can understand. But I've been to Cedar Point and Busch Gardens since then without a problem.

    I do know that I was jet skiing at my cottage in June 2008 (so 1.5 years post op). Tubing behind the boat is a passion of mine and I really had to ease myself back into that initially - just took some slow rides and gradually was able to go fast and get crazy out there again. The key for me was to ease myself into things like jet skiing, tubing, skiing....start of slow and work your way back to how it "used to be." I would have to say that over everything tubing was prolly the one that took the longest to get comfortable with. I didn't have any pain, just fear ya know!

    I've been to several water parks (slides, wave pools) - no problem whatsoever there....again I don't remember how soon I was back doing that but I can say with conviction that 2 years post op I was 100% back to a normal rebellious teenager!

    Also, I am an avid 4-wheeler and hunter as well. I have no problem jumping my 4-wheeler or sitting in a blind for long periods of time hunting. I'd like to think that I'm not just a lucky one and that lots of other people live very normal lives as well!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    4
    Just wanted to mention one additional thing that I feel helped me. When they give you the list of stretches and exercise BE SURE TO DO THEM! I followed the doctors orders and did them religiously....then once I started feeling stronger and the pain got less and less (about a year out or so) I joined a health club and did a lot of basic strength training with low weights....I really liked the machine where you push backwards and it forces you to use your back muscles. FYI - I remember my back being very numb where they cut the muscles to put the rods in.....well, the numbness goes away but it takes a while so be patient with that....I really believe strengthening my back muscles helped my recovery.....but that's just me!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
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    As for trampolines and dancing....I really can't remember how long it was until I got back into those things....I can tell you they don't bother me at all now! If my memory serves me right I would say that I began easing into things after the one year mark....I was nervous but I just got back into them slowly....listened to my body and if it was sore or tired I stopped. An example would be going back to school - at first I couldn't make it through the whole day sitting in those hard plastic chairs, couldn't carry a backpack, etc.....I'd just go to school, stay as long as a could and then have my mom pick me up. Within a couple weeks I was there for full days. I would assume the same method could be used for dance classes. Sorry I can't give you all a better time line!

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