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Thread: Poll -- do you garden?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260

    Poll -- do you garden?

    At my one-year checkup, Dr. B cautioned me against gardening because of its tendency toward repetitive bending. I really miss it. I can pick up sticks with my grabber and trim bushes at chest-height, but I really miss getting down on the ground. Part of the problem is the weak leg, which is still not all the way back -- I tend to bend and strain a little getting up from a squat (even leaning on something), so I hardly ever go all the way down to the ground. Still working on it in PT.

    I was wondering if any of you with lumbar fusions have eventually found a way to work in the yard. Thanks...
    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Chris, have you tried one of the many gardening seats (on wheels, and some even have a pull along handle that can be locked in an up position to pull yourself up, and even have storage under the seat for items)? It would be something that would get you *almost* at ground level, yet not so low you couldn't get back up.

    I'll have to look, but I know I've seen some pretty cool helpers in catalogues from Plow and Hearth, Smith & Hawken, etc ...

    Let me see if I can find you some links .

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi Chris,
    I love to garden, but it is very difficult to do now. What little I do now, I actually use my tub bench to sit on if I need to prune something knee level or lower. I did plant a few flowers last week on my hands and knees and can get down on a knee pad by going down with one leg in front of the other and getting up the same way. Finally my legs are strong enough to get back up without having to push off on something. Dr. Rand told me squatting really isn't a good thing to do even if you don't have back problems as he said you can blow out ? tendon in your knees. I wonder how baseball catchers are able to do so much squatting. They are young and supple, I guess.
    I hope this helps a little. Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Quote Originally Posted by loves to skate
    I wonder how baseball catchers are able to do so much squatting. They are young and supple, I guess.
    Sally, many do have knee problems later.

    Younger catchers are more prone to Osgood-Schlatters (initially it starts with swelling and pain where the quad attaches to the tibial tuberosity - just below the kneecap, and later results in calcification - a significant, in some cases, raised knot. I have this in both knees and caught off and on for 11 years - switching out with 2nd base), and residual issues as adults. By age 26, I'd had 2 knee repairs - and at 27, another one to remove hardware I kicked out in karate.

    Older catchers ARE more likely to have damage from wear and tear on the ligaments, cartilage/meniscus, and patellas. Fast pitch and baseball catchers take a beating from overall body use (and abuse) like no other position.

    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Big Bear, CA
    Posts
    290
    Well said Pam...I sure do love baseball catchers and believe they have one of the hardest jobs in all of baseball. And yes, they take a huge beating to their bodies every day. Many won't catch a day game if they had a night game the day before.

    I don't garden any more and don't believe I will go back to it later on. It is too hard on my body and if I squat I lose my balance easily and fall over. Not fun at all and often times I land in a position that is difficult to get back up from. My back is fused from T4 to the Sacrum and there is not even a little room for a mistake in balance with out toppling over like a Weeble...but I do fall down, unlike Weebles!
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    St Pete Florida
    Posts
    16

    Thumbs up

    I've always been an avid gardener, so when I got back home after 6 weeks away for surgery/rehab etc, the unkempt yard made me itch to get out there! I got some "long-armed rose pruners' on ebay and they work pretty good for keeping things under control. Fiskars makes a long-handled grass shears, too, (ordered but not yet received), and the dog's old 'pooper-scooper' is ideal for picking up piles of stuff. I use a wagon instead of bins for yard waste and toting things. Too soon for me to be actually diggin' in the dirt yet, but I hope to get back to it in a few months... I thought I'd try the rolling stool idea, too. I have a small yard, and I never pick up anything heavy, asking friends and neighbors for help. Also, consider hanging orchids, container gardening, bonsai, dish gardens on a waist-high shelf. Garden puttering is vital therapy for me... I'm sure you'll find a way to do what you love!
    Mild scoliosis diagnosed at 12, wore brace for a year then ignored till after menopause when it started to progress. Lost 5 inches in height. Pre-surgery double curve measured @60/80 degrees. Surgery May 14 & 15, 2008 in Philly, Rothman Inst; Instrumentation & spine fused T1 to L4 with screws into hips. Wore brace for 3 months. Good recovery; totally off pain meds after one year. Now 3 inches taller with no hump, but I lean to side in thoracic & wear 3/4 in. lift on right shoe. No regrets!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    I don't have surgery till October, but I have always HATED gardening. I think because it always made my lower back hurt. So it has always been my hubby's job. Now I know why, so I feel like I've got a good reason.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Thanks ladies -- I love the rolling platform and pooper-scooper ideas .....actually, I think I will grass over a couple of my annual beds to make everything more manageable.

    As in every other aspect of this surgery, I'm still feeling my way to find the right balance between my limitations and my capabilities. My first priority is proper biomechanics to protect my fusion, but .... I DO want to enjoy life too. I am just starting to actually forget about my back sometimes (what a concept)....!!
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sacramento,Calif.
    Posts
    420
    Hi Chris,

    I HATE to garden!! Actually, all I do is weeding and that is enough for me! I don't have a hard time doing it but if I keep at it my back muscles get worn out. I guess I shouldn't wrestle with the weeds so much and just wait till the ground is a bit softer..... It is all out war with weeds around my house.

    Fused T10-L4

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    407
    Well I am not a gardener, I leave that to my 80+ year old mother-in-law who has 4 grape vines, pear, plum, peach, fig, almond and apple trees, herbs and tomatos too. She does a little each day, never overdoing it. Just inches her way along.

    As you mentioned you have to still find your balance between limitations and capabilities. Just don't over do it. There are many ways to do the same thing, they may take a little longer, but are easier on your body.

    For now though... If you have children, that what they are for, putting to work. At least thats how my parents saw it.

    Brad
    Surgeries July 26th & August 3rd 1983 (12 years old)
    Still have 57 degree curve
    2 Harrington rods
    Luque method used
    Dr David Bradford
    Twin Cities Scoliosis Center
    Preop xray (with brace on)
    Postop xray

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    42
    Like Polyphemus, gardening is very therapeutic for me. I'm 10 days post op (T10-L5) and every day since I've been home I've been able to walk about in my garden, deadheading a thing or two at my standing level. Prior to surgery, a few slight bends to reach something sent me to a pain level of 10 immediately, but I'm BELIEVING I will find a way to do a satisfying amount of garden work by next summer. Anything at standing level and and easy reach up should be no problem, but I will have to look for implmements to reach the ground. I know there are lots of tools out there. I just create piles and my husband comes along and picks them up...good man.

    I can't remember who said it was a battle with weeds all the time...if it were that for me, I would hate gardening too...

    Lisa
    Lisa, Portland, OR
    49 y.o.
    46 degree curve L1-L5, mild T curve
    L5-S1 healthy, thankfully
    Lumbar stenosis, osteoarthritis, lumbosacral sponsylosis
    T11-L5 fusion 7/3/08

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Caesarea, Israel
    Posts
    72
    I too, found that the little every day method works best. And remembering to ask for help if you need it is important, too :-)

    My husband still hasn't stopped teasing me about the time he found me facedown in a hole! It was the first year after my surgery and I was trying to get a bunch of plants in the ground after buying more than I could really handle in one day. My flexiblilty was not back where it is now and I tried to reach too far to reach something I dropped. Kerplunk - facefirst in a fresly dug hole just in time for DH to catch a posterior view from the sliding glass door in the living room...


    Quote Originally Posted by Qikdraw
    Well I am not a gardener, I leave that to my 80+ year old mother-in-law who has 4 grape vines, pear, plum, peach, fig, almond and apple trees, herbs and tomatos too. She does a little each day, never overdoing it. Just inches her way along.

    As you mentioned you have to still find your balance between limitations and capabilities. Just don't over do it. There are many ways to do the same thing, they may take a little longer, but are easier on your body.

    <snip>

    Brad
    Age: 30
    Pre-surgery: upper curve 44 (and kyphosis), lower curve 45
    Post-surgery: under 20, both curves (doesn't even qualify as scoliosis anymore )

    surgery: August 29, 2005
    fusion T5-L3
    Surgeon - Dr. Ted Wagner at University of Washington (Seattle)

    Scar getting to the point where people either don't notice it or think it is from something much less serious!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    285

    Just a little warning ...

    I have a townhouse condo with an enclosed patio garden and a small front garden and it's amazing how much I have crammed into them! I love gardening as well, and over the years I have accumulated a number of long-handled tools and other assists (not the least of which is recruiting family members to help). I have one word of caution which is especially important to those of us with fusions. If you get a rolling seat like I have, be sure that you sit on it properly so that you slide sideways. Don't try to straddle it the other way, with the wheels in front and back of you because it can - and will - shoot out from under you just like a skateboard! And the unexpected landing on your bum is the last thing in the world you want to experience. OK, maybe you're not quite as stupid as I am ....
    FeliciaFeliciaFelicia
    10/24/00 posterior fusion T4-L4 at age 57
    8/5/05 posterior surgery for spinal stenosis at L4-L5; laminectomy and fusion
    5/14/07 posterior revision with fusion to sacrum
    2/11/08 anterior discectomy L5-S1, and reinforcement of fusion with plate attached to L5-S1
    3/9/2011 and 3/11/2011 revision surgery with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis - complete revision and fusion with instrumentation from T1 to sacrum, one lumbar osteotomy.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    850
    I was always a big gardener prior to surgery. Now at 2 yrs post op, I am again gardening, just slower & more careful. It is very hard not to bend while gardening of course & I try to limit it.
    I must have about 6 perennials in containers ready to plant...I try to plant one or 2 a day!
    I also have my son lift anything heavy like a bag of mulch etc -- I just cannot stop something I love.....Ly

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    74
    Only container gardening this year *sigh* I really miss getting my hands into the dirt and digging up and changing around my flower beds.
    Posterior fusion T5-L1 May 5, 2003-age 43
    Posterior revision, thoracotomy,fusion T2-L2 April 8, 2008-age 49
    Fusion extension C1-L2 evacuation left pulmonary effusion May 9, 2008, age 49
    www.buggfamily.blogspot.com

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