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Thread: surgery march 3rd, questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    30

    surgery march 3rd, questions

    Hi, I'm going to have my surgery on March 3rd, (at last!) XD. I have been waiting for this surgery since January truthfully. I know that my trip with scoliosis hasn't been as long as a lot of you, so I'm sorry if I sound impatient.

    We went to the chiropractor on Martin Luther King Day, and he told us to see how far my curve had progressed since the July 30th x-rays to the January 4th ones, and so just recently we learned that my thoracic in July was 49, as opposed to the 55 in January, so in 5 months (august-december) it moved 6*! 1.2* per month! Me and my mom were shocked.

    So, I'm truthfully looking forward to the surgery, I know that it will be a possibly painful, possibly hard recovery, but I'm just glad that I can get fixed, because I've been having back pain for like 6 months, and rib pain for like 2 years now.

    So questions:
    What all is required before the surgery? like what sort of tests did you have to do? I had my MRI done, but other than that, nothing so far. The pre-surgery talk thing is on the 28th.

    How much weight are you expected to lose?

    How long did it take you to eat normal food, besides soft food?

    what all happens in the hospital? I read that Vdny slept 20 minutes at a time? Is that because of the nurses?

    How long did you take to get out of the hospital, and how bad was the pain while in and out of the hospital?

    How long did the pain last outside of the hospital?

    thank you for your comments so far,
    Sanah
    Pre-Op:
    UT-35*. T-55*, L-30*
    16 year old girl
    Fusion- T5- T12 on March 17th 2008
    Post-OP:
    UT-27*, T/L-very straight : ]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Big Bear, CA
    Posts
    290
    I can tell you what I experienced:
    Pre op tests were an MRI, Xrays an EKG and some blood work all done about 2 weeks before surgery. I could have donated blood too, but I didn't. I live over 2 hours from the hospital and it wasn't convenient to go back twice to donate the blood.
    I wasn't told to lose any weight before the surgery but since surgery I have lost about 13 lbs. Most of that came off 1-3 weeks post op and it just hasn't come back. I was 5' 6 1/2" and 155 lbs and now I am 5' 8 1/2" and 142 lbs.

    I didn't eat much at the hospital and I was there 5 nights. Mostly I wanted ice chips and juice. I also ate watermelon and maybe a few bites of chicken. Once I was home I ate very small portions, I just wasn't hungry. Mostly soup or yogurt.

    I had most of my pain the day after surgery, but I was on a morphine pump and it controlled it very well. By day 3 I was just "uncomfortable" really. I didn't have a whole lot of pain with the surgery. They give you something that numbs your spine and you don't really feel much the first 24 hours. I had some pain the day I came home (day 6) but I was in a car for 4 1/2 due to traffic, rain, fog and snow on my trip home.

    I was able to sleep at night in the hospital but I never really napped during the day. The nurses do come in a lot and give meds and draw blood. I also need a blood transfusion so I I had an IV in my arm quite a while.

    I was off the heavy pain meds by day 13 but I probably could have been off of them even sooner.

    I could keep typing but I am not sure how in depth you want me to be. Feel free to PM me with any other questions I might be able to answer.
    Alicia
    Geish
    47 years old, dx at 13
    +30* to the right, +60* to the left, +30* to the right
    Surgery 12-13-07 - fusion from T4 to sacrum.


    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...tachmentid=267 Pre surgery
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...tachmentid=268 Post surgery
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...s/DSC01091.jpg Xray from the side
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...1089-1-1-1.jpg Xray from the back

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Heya, Sanah ... glad to hear you're finally scheduled!

    Here's how my experience went ...

    What all is required before the surgery? like what sort of tests did you have to do? I had my MRI done, but other than that, nothing so far.

    I had cervical and lumbar MRI's done about 2 months before surgery to determine whether degeneration was present that might extend the thoracic
    fusion (there was none present).

    During the 30 days prior to surgery, I donated a pint of blood and met with Anesthesiology. No EKG or anything else.

    How much weight are you expected to lose?

    The only real estimate I've seen is in Wolpert's book, which estimates 1-2 lbs a day the first week or two. I haven't lost any, but as Sherie so eloquenly put it (and it's true - lol) I've been eating since they closed me up. I haven't lost a lb.

    How long did it take you to eat normal food, besides soft food?

    See above. I woke up asking for my cell phone and yawning "Food? HUNGRY! And, coffee, too!". After 6 cups of broth and 3 Italian ices, the nurses finally gave in and tossed me 3-4 packs of cheese and crackers.

    what all happens in the hospital? I read that Vdny slept 20 minutes at a time? Is that because of the nurses?

    They wake you up every 3-4 hours to check vitals. The first night I went to sleep at 9 pm (after spending like 3 hours on the phone - LOL). I woke up at what I was SURE was 5 am or so ... only to discover it was 10:45 pm. AGH. That was the longest night of my life. Sleep 15 minutes, awake for 2, lather, rinse, repeat. That only happened the first night.

    How long did you take to get out of the hospital, and how bad was the pain while in and out of the hospital?

    I was actually ready to go at 3 days, but my veins infiltrated from the Vancomycin (the caustic abx blew the IV's) and it took 3 more days to get the pain under control with oral meds. It wasn't as if I had a pressing engagement to attend, so I stayed 6 days total.

    How long did the pain last outside of the hospital?

    You'll find "pain" is relative ... and your definition changes during recovery. I still feel (and sound) like Frankenstein for the first 30 minutes every day until my pain meds and coffee kick in. Once you hit the stage where it gets better, it seems to get better quickly.

    You'll do fine, kiddo. I've got several years on you, and my guess is you'll bounce back more quickly. Just stay focused on the long term results when the days are tough. You can do this!

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sydney - Australia
    Posts
    166
    Hi Sanah,

    Now that we are on the other side of surgery at last we can repay the kindness and offer some advice and opinions on surgery.

    The main problem with Scoliosis surgery is the massive pain and anguish before surgery!!!!! The build up before hand in my opinion is worse than the surgery itself. I always wondered why our surgeon looked at the whole affair as a walk in the park!! Whilst not quite - it certainly is no where near as bad as what your brain makes you think.

    Elysia, 13 next week, just had surgery on the 13th Feb, fused T5 - L1 and 5 ribs removed - right now she is sitting on the lounge watching TV and snacking on some junk food (just a little as you have to make sure you eat healthy after surgery and build up your strength). She lost a little weight in hospital but not much even though she didn't eat for 5 days - she was 45 kilo's (don't know pounds) and only lost 2 kilo's - I think that's about 4-5 pounds?? Something like that.
    She was on a morphine pump and epidural for 2 days and then oral meds. Don't worry - hospital staff are wonderful and they know how to give you the right kind of medications to reduce your pain to a very manageable level!!! In fact one night I was crying in pain from back ache from sleeping on the pull out couch and there she was laying in bed all cosy and comfy watching TV!!!! LOL!

    Coming home you will be fine, just not be able to do the things you did before for a little while. Elysia had a shower and a hair wash today, went for a walk down the road. You just have to be careful and treat yourself gently while you recover.

    Believe me the most painful and scary time of the whole thing is BEFORE the surgery when you don't know what to expect. Everyone will tell you that you will be fine and you don't want to believe it - but before you know it you will be back on this forum telling others that it wasn't as bad at all as you thought!

    All the best for the 3rd March, will be thinking of you. Put your name and date on the calendar.

    xx
    Del
    Elysia 16 in Feb 2010
    Sydney - Australia
    Feb 2008 Fused T5-L1 and 5 ribs removed.
    Dec 2009 - Crankshafting
    Dec 10 - Revision surgery...3 vertebrae taken down, hooks removed, at T11-L1 - screws inserted, fusion extended down to
    L3 using Pedicle screws, some rib removed to try to derotate. Praying for things to settle.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    30

    thanks

    Thank you everyone, I feel much more comfortable with the whole ordeal ^___^. Now to get rid of this blasted cold/allergies, the transition between winter and spring sucks XD.
    I feel like the whole pre-op talk and stuff is a bit late, seeing as how you guys had the blood tests and stuff done 2 months to 2 weeks before. I think it's because they didn't know if we were going to change the date again, because it had been Feb. 4th before.
    The fact that the pain before is worse is quite believable.

    So two more questions: Once you/your daughter got home, how many days did you/she stay in bed, or not move around much? How long did it take to start walking?

    What all did you need help with/help you daughter with after the surgery, such as showering, etc.

    Thank you so much everyone!
    Pre-Op:
    UT-35*. T-55*, L-30*
    16 year old girl
    Fusion- T5- T12 on March 17th 2008
    Post-OP:
    UT-27*, T/L-very straight : ]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    We were told that Alexander should start walking around right away and that he did not need to stay in bed. Once off the hard core pain meds (by 2 1/2 weeks post-op), he was up and about all the time. He was told he could swim a little by about a month post-op but didn't feel comfortable in the swimming pool until a month or two later. Now he is swimming 3-5 days a week before school - doing lots of laps.

    Since you're a competitive swimmer, you'll probably find swimming will help you get your strength back - as soon as your doctor says it's okay to get in the pool.
    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sydney - Australia
    Posts
    166
    Elysia has been home 2 days Sanah and can walk up and down our stairs, get up off the lounge by herself to take herself to the toilet. She does get very very very puffed out though - about 20 - 30 minutes of any activity and she's back on the lounge - sitting though and doesn't lay down at all during the day.

    She had a shower yesterday and this is what we did. We put a plastic garden chair facing the spray of the shower and Elysia sat on that with a towel over her back (she doesn't want it getting wet yet). I put a small pillow inside a plastic bag for her back. Then I gave her a scrub brush with body wash on it so she could wash herself. She has very very long hair, so I just pulled it all forward and gave it a very light wash - enough to get the week of built up oil out of it. I used a plastic jug to pour the water on her as we don't have a hand held nozzle but that would help. If you too shy to be undressed in front of your mum in the shower, try wearing your swimming bottoms, but then, we're all girls so you'll be fine.

    Also when you get home you'll have lot's of sticky stuff on your arms from the tape they use in the hospital for your drips. We used a little Eucalyptus oil on a tissue and it comes right off. Just be careful to avoid any open wounds as it may sting - it won't hurt anything as Eucalyptus is a natural antiseptic.

    On the blood tests - Elysia only had hers the night before her surgery and the chest x-ray. MRI and bending x-rays were done way before and that's all the tests she had. Spinal Cord monitoring tests were all done once she was in surgery but I have a friend who's daughter was done a week before. Doesn't hurt.

    Hope this helps.

    Del
    Elysia 16 in Feb 2010
    Sydney - Australia
    Feb 2008 Fused T5-L1 and 5 ribs removed.
    Dec 2009 - Crankshafting
    Dec 10 - Revision surgery...3 vertebrae taken down, hooks removed, at T11-L1 - screws inserted, fusion extended down to
    L3 using Pedicle screws, some rib removed to try to derotate. Praying for things to settle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Quote Originally Posted by sanah
    The fact that the pain before is worse is quite believable.

    So two more questions: Once you/your daughter got home, how many days did you/she stay in bed, or not move around much? How long did it take to start walking?

    What all did you need help with/help you daughter with after the surgery, such as showering, etc.
    Del hit the nail on the head that the worry pre-op is (almost) worse. I was a list making fool to stay occupied ;-).

    My situation was a bit different than most in that I planned to recover without live in help. I actually ended up not even doing home health care.

    I tried to sleep away the first two days at home (7 and 8 post op), and did a pretty good job of it. Wake up every 4-5 hours, take a handful of meds, eat, go tinkle and back to sleep. By about day 10 post op I was walking around quite a bit, washing dishes, doing small loads of laundry with my grabber and walking with my neighbors (I'm training for an AIDS Walk 5K March 9th).

    I was able to cover myself in a trashbag around day 9 post op and wash my hair (oh where's a camera when you need one - LOL). I could have used someone to blow dry it for me (I ran out of energy), but washing was no problem at all.

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    30

    Thanks again

    Thank you everyone! You've been a great help ^___^ I wish everyone luck with their recoveries.
    -Sanah
    Pre-Op:
    UT-35*. T-55*, L-30*
    16 year old girl
    Fusion- T5- T12 on March 17th 2008
    Post-OP:
    UT-27*, T/L-very straight : ]

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