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Thread: 10 weeks post op

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Question 10 weeks post op

    Hello All: It's been a while since I've posted, but yet again I see that this is the place to be along with all my friends and those who understand what I'm going through. I've read through many posts from early this year regarding post-op and the ultimate question of when will I feel better. I am 10 weeks post op from a fusion of L3 to S1, with 6 segmental pedicle screws from L4 to S1 and 2 65mm rods (adding to the 2 previous harrington rods inserted in 1977 and 1984) and placement of intervertebral cages, illiac crest bone marrow aspirate and local laminectomy bone graft harvest. This was done for preoperative diagnosis of degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis resulting in severe numbness and pain from hips radiating down legs to toes and post right lumbar fusions for scoliosis. I am now 10 treatments into physical therapy, I moved to the treadmill 10minutes today and the recumbent bike, leg raises, hamstring stretches, etc....I have 2 more visits unless after my visit with surgeon recommends continued treatment. I am now on NASIDS (hydrocodone and celebrex) and I must say the excrutiating pain in legs presurgery has now almost completely diminished. I have still having quite a bit of discomfort from the illiac crest bone aspiration, previously the bone was taken from the hips with incision and I don't remember that being as painful. Right now I can sit with one leg under me and upright. I plan to begin some form of telecommuting next month, but don't know if I"ll be able to tolerate the 45 minute ride in bumper to bumper traffic on a daily basis in a few months. I am a single mother who cares for a disabled parent who lives with me and I cried, laughed and smiled at many of the posts because over the weekend I attempted to venture (I just started driving again only short distances) to the grocery store on my own to pick up just a few things.....and asked to have the bags packed lightly and when I got home, I did not treasure the 5 trips I had to make back and forth to get those few things in the house! Will I always have to wear slip on shoes, I'm only 44 and looking forward to getting this stack of books feeling off my back and looking forward to experiencing true quality of life as well. I'm on the waiting list to get into a heated therapeutic pool in June, but is that realistic that I will feel like doing water aerobics? Do you mean the beautiful flowers I just ordered from QVC, I better ask someone else to plant around my patio?

    Everyone keeps telling me that I am doing really well and I'm on track and healing more one day at a time, but I so have cabin fever and if I see one more episode of 7th Heaven I'm going to scream and I've got terrible insomnia, my "normal" bedtime is about 2-3 am and I sleep until about 11 am I can't work like that. I appreciate all the posts from everyone and I'm so glad I found this site. Anyone in the Bowie, MD area I would love to start a support group like one mentioned in another post.

    I too apologize for the length, but I just needed to vent, I'm tired of crying and I don't have stock in Kleenex or Puffs



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Hang in there! Your life WILL return to normal and then only better. It does take a while. It took me a good eight months after T3-L4. I recommend getting someone to at least help with digging the holes for your flowers but after that you should be able to handle the weeding. And yes, you will get back into nice shoes. That wasn't really a problem for me. Make sure you follow all of Txmarine's (spelled something like that) posting's. She has already participated in some sporting events. It really does help if you were active prior to surgery too. Most of those people seem to get back at it sooner. Include me in that group.

    And someday soon you will even be able to stop giving $ to Kleenex! You sound as it you are doing everything right so just hang loose and you'll soon be singing a different tune! Krysi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Dear LJ-- thanks for sharing your story. You have a lot to deal with-- but you also seem to have a sense of humor (your Kleenex/Puffs comment!) which will help you through so much. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't sometimes laugh at myself-- as it seems like it's either a cry or laugh situation! The forum is a great place to vent and share, because, as you said, we understand. The pains, aches, fears, possibilities yet to come, emotions, stress, depression, hopes, excitement, ability to overcome,-- so much -- and all the shared information gained from so many people's personal experiences, knowledge from our surgeons, and individual research. So you are welcome to vent and cry, and we will try to give you solace and hugs...

    It seems like our scoli recoveries are as varied as our personalities, so it's hard to say when you might feel back to "normal"... At this point in time I have resolved that there is no "normal" but rather it's a changed life, for the better, but with challenges. At almost 11 months post-op I feel pretty good. I am so much stronger and more able to do things than even just a month or two ago. I think length of recovery depends on too many facets to even go into. I still have aches and muscle fatigue in my back after what I deem a long day (but it shouldn't really be THAT long a day), but they are different from what I experienced pre-op. I would rather have these-- and I think they are improving with time. Physical therapy has helped me to be stronger. I am due to resume PT and get into core strengthening this time, in another week or so. I'm hoping this will help with the back muscle fatigue I experience sometimes. Who knows? But that is what I'm hoping now. Since you have only 2 sessions left, make sure they give you an "at home" regimen to continue with. I have tried to keep up with that since my pt ended in December, and it has helped me build strength and endurance.

    I think you just have to hope for the best (as in planting your own flowers), and when the time comes, go to Plan B if that doesn't work out. Like-- invite some friends over for a "garden party"-- they plant the garden, you do what you can, and then you all enjoy some food and company... it might not be done quite how you imagined, but your flowers would be planted and it could be fun.

    I understand disappointment--I thought I'd be able to go back to my job at an elementary school last August. I definitely wasn't ready and couldn't have handled it-- although if it had been an absolute necessity, I'd have managed somehow. I have been disappointed with how long this is taking to recover from... but then I look back and see how far I've come, and I am grateful. I know I will be stronger and better able to deal with my life as I age because of the surgery. So I wouldn't go back to my BS (before surgery) life, if given the choice.

    This is way too long, so I will close. Just remember that you've come so far, and you will continue to improve. It's really hard to know or even guess at how long it will take to get to the point where you are content. But then is anyone ever content? Look at all the non-scoli people with their various problems, and take heart. You ARE improving. You ARE getting stronger. You WILL be able to resume many activities and work and all at some point. Hang in there. It just keeps getting better and better-- and remember, our backs may not be flexible, but we can be-- we can adjust to our new life. Hugs, Susie
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Thumbs up 10 weeks post op---smiling!

    Thanks so much, you know I KNOW that in due time and due season when I look back on what I am going through now, I will eventually be able to laugh at all of this and laugh at myself and throw away the Puffs/Kleenex. I can already be thankful that this is NOTHING like it was going through the two previous surgeries with body casts and homeschooling, etc., and I made it through all of that. It's just that now I'm older and the mind starts to play tricks on you, but I have to keep listening for the truth and this forum gives me the opportunity to let it out and let it go! So thanks for indulging me and I'll keep you posted and continue to rest in the wonderful victories and praise reports that come forth!

    Thanks so much, LJ signing off until the next Kleenex break!
    Last edited by dealornodeal; 04-01-2008 at 12:43 PM. Reason: forgot title

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    near Philadelphia

    Speaking of kleenex....

    .....I cried at least once a week for 7 months straight after my surgery. Most of the time I couldn't even tell you why I was boo-hooing, but my family got so used to it it didn't even faze them after a while. I think it's been over two months since I got out the Kleenex. I really think it took me that long to process the whole experience....I tend to be a pretty tightly-wound person so the emotional side of surgery has been particularly challenging for me.

    It's a big surgery and it takes a long time to recover. It's difficult to be patient.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Chicago north suburb

    How do you do it?


    Im not there yet. Im having surgery in late June. But I cannot even begin to imagine having to care for a disabled parent who is living with me besides looking after myself following major surgery. I hope you are getting help.

    I had to laugh at your comment about ordering flowers from QVC. I did the same thing and then I asked myself now whyd I do that when I know I wont be planting any flowers this year? But that gorgeous guy from Cottage Farms can sell me anything.

    From everything Im reading here, it sure sounds like this surgery is a VERY BIG lesson in patience. And all we can do is take it one day at a time.

    Wish I could speed up your recovery.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Red face Flowers are in the ground

    Hello Everyone,

    I've been away from the forum for a few days, but wanted to give a BIG report, I got my plants that I ordered in the ground. No of course not by me, but a wonderful friend came over and she loves to dig in the dirt and that day happened to have her tiller in the car with her and she planted ALL my beautiful flowers. So I'm looking forward to having roses, day lillies, gladiolas and forsythia blooming very soon, so instead of the Kleenex I'll shed the tears over the beauty that will come up! How about I almost let that Cottage Farms guy get me again in QVC, but I turned the channel because my friend doesn't live here close to my area and I know I wouldn't get any other plants planted this season, so I'll enjoy what I have!

    By the way I go for my second f/u visit on Thursday and we'll see what the xrays show this time.

    Anyone have any experience post revision surgeries down to the sacrum with pin pinching feelings in the crest area or in the bone grafted donor site, I've been experiencing some of this the past few days.

    All and all I can say this is a lesson in futility, but this forum sure makes it easier to handle.

    For those who are facing pending surgeries, I would suggest if your surgeon or hospital offers pre-surgery spinal classes that you attend, it's 2 hours WELL SPENT. Even though this was my third surgery, so much time had passed since the second one I felt like a "newbie" , but this class answered a lot of questions and helped me to follow the checklists and get things in order so I wouldn't be too overwhelmed with "home matters" and gave me time to focus on preparing for the surgery. Just a suggestion.

    Take Care Everyone,


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Hi LJ,
    Congrats on getting the flowers in! I was going to suggest finding a neighbourhood hottie to put them in for you
    I wanted to let you know that I went through a phase around 10 weeks post op where I became really tearful, and had a hard time being motivated to do anything. The family doc noticed (attempts at hiding it really failed miserably) and reassured me that it's a normal phase, like you're just going really well with recovery all in the immediate post op period, and then suddenly you crash. It's different for everyone, but I thought I'd share. It's great that your coming out of it a bit now.
    The therapy pool is a great idea! I have been using the local pool often for walking. I found it hard keeping body alignment the first few times just walking on the bottom... but now I'm jogging and feeling really good. I do some kickboarding but not too much as it really stirs up my lower back. I find it really gentle, and pleasant!
    1994 curve at age 13, 70 degrees, untreated
    2000 Anterior fusion with instrumentation T9-L2, corrected to 36 degrees, 14 degree angle between fused and un-fused thoracic spine.
    2007 26 degrees junctional scoliosis
    Revision surgery, 6th December 2007 T4 to L3, Posterior approach.

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