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Thread: new to this

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    2

    new to this

    Hello everyone....I am 55 year old active woman. I have always known that I have scoliosis...MY parents chose to do nothing.....but recently I have become more worried about it. I have always had pain...but resisted medication....I have been to an orthopedic surgeon in Miami and my double curve is 57 degrees and 52 degrees. I am planning a 2nd opinion hopefully at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. I am increasingly becoming more concerned because the dr. in Miami says the curves progress 1 degree a year.....so at 70 I would really be in bad shape. I am just starting this journey and am quite confused.....do I wait....do I do surgery now? I worry about those rods...is there any other choice? Thanks for any advice, Pat

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Once the curves start progressing, surgery is the only thing that can stop it. It's not an easy surgery of course, but to have it in your fifties is usually way better than having it in your sixties, in my opinion. The trick is to do your homework, get several opinions, and choose an excellent surgeon.

    I just spoke with a woman at church -- in her seventies -- with a large progressive lumbar curve who told me how she wishes she'd had the surgery when she was younger because she can't stand or walk for more than five minutes at a time. She's no longer a surgical candidate because of other health factors, and she looks very deformed when she walks. Seeing her and speaking with her made me doubly glad that I took the plunge and had the surgery when I did.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    774
    Every now and then I too will spot a woman who is up in age with a very noticeable deformity leaning on a walker or cane. It reaches a point when clothing canít hide it. Once these curves get very big like mine did, I think they progress even more than one degree a year. I saw a seven degree progression in my curve in one year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    46
    Patpow - I am in the same position as you are. I don't have any answers, only questions at this point.

    Singer - I have been thinking a lot about your "church lady" lately. I might even make a doctors appointment to see if I've had any changes lately.
    dd
    57 yr. old female
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    No Surgery, No Way, Not Ever, but I reserve the right to change my mind
    2003: rotatory component centered at L1 convexed to the left with a measurement of 68 degrees. Gentle compensatory thoracic curve and a more acute compensatory curve in the lumbar spine at L4-5 Superimposed fairly extensive degenerative change seen in the lumbar spine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Topeka, KS
    Posts
    397
    Little over two years ago I had resorted to the idea - No surgery never not ever again. Well, then this came up. I, too, have some elder folks who obviously did not have the surgery we are contemplating and I am sure if they had been faced with our decision they would have resorted to the idea of undergoing the knife again rather than to live like they are. I hve talked to folks who have had this surgery, altough i understand it's not a piece of cake, I am certain I am not up to living like I am (or worse) the rest of my life, let alone when I'm in my 70's. I've had (at least) 3 knee surgeries from an old softball injury during a home run, DeQuervain's tenosynovitis surgery on my right wrist from too much typing, hysterectomy a year ago - need i go on. With the most loving husband I have - I know i can make it through this. He has already helped me a nbunch and I know I wouldn't make it through all this pain I currently have without him!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    7

    Questions

    I'm very interested in this subject to operate or not. What to do when one surgeon says yes, and the other says no. Both specialists in their field. I am 61 and am having increasing difficulties but have been told I'll be worse with surgery. Any comments anyone on older people having surgery. Are the pain levels awful or can you then sit and stand for a while. I'm currently unimpressed with my GP who just says don't iron for five hours bending forward. What do they think??? I only iron 4 items a day - I think they often have no reality of what life is like with constant pain and the effort of keeping going. So pleased to have this forum. Thanks everyone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,901
    Quote Originally Posted by Franny View Post
    I'm very interested in this subject to operate or not. What to do when one surgeon says yes, and the other says no. Both specialists in their field. I am 61 and am having increasing difficulties but have been told I'll be worse with surgery. Any comments anyone on older people having surgery. Are the pain levels awful or can you then sit and stand for a while. I'm currently unimpressed with my GP who just says don't iron for five hours bending forward. What do they think??? I only iron 4 items a day - I think they often have no reality of what life is like with constant pain and the effort of keeping going. So pleased to have this forum. Thanks everyone.
    Well.

    Unless you are into extreme ironing...

    http://damncoolpics.blogspot.com/200...e-ironing.html

    is there some way to avoid it if it causes you pain? Maybe change the height of the ironing board (raise it) and maintain good posture?

    I never iron. My husband does iron his shirts. I say you hang 'em up right out of the dryer and that should be good enough for anyone!

    I hope some others come on here with some useful suggestions for you.

    Good luck.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    Hi...

    I've talked to literally hundreds of older adults with scoliosis who have been at the point of making a decision about surgery. I think the vast majority of us will tell you that, when the pain gets bad enough, the decision becomes easy.

    I have a totally unscientific quiz on my website to help people think about the things that should go into making such a decision. You can find it here:

    http://www.scoliosislinks.com/ShouldYouHaveSurgery.htm

    Good luck with your decisions ladies.

    Regards,
    Linda

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,258


    Franny -

    I'm 60 and bracing with Spinecor vs surgery. Doing quite well. This of course, does not mean I may not face surgical need in the future. Absolutely no one can predict what any given human scolio spine may decide to do (darn it), we can make educated guesses but that's about as good as it gets - there are always exceptions to every rule and there just aren't any guarantees (with surgical or non surgical methods).

    Should I ever require surgery it is good to know that there have been positive results, even with the well seasoned age group. While surgery was recommended (due to curvature degree and pain levels) prior to my Spinecor experience - the ball game has changed for the moment and I am out of that category. I do realize that scoliosis is a life long condition requiring attention, no matter what the treatment decision ultimately is. I'm not near a Schroth facility where I could spend several weeks learning a method that could help me hold/tame the curve over the course of my lifetime - so I guess I know where my first health vacation will be in retirement :-)
    Last edited by mamamax; 12-02-2009 at 09:02 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    My pain was only moderate in my 50s but increasing. My curvature progressed rapidly in my 50s, and from first surgeon's appt. to surgery, increased 2 degrees (9 months.)

    I could see where I was headed and still had plenty I wanted to do. I cancelled my first surgery date because I couldn't get it into my head that I really needed this major surgery. But I'm so glad I went ahead with it.

    No regrets.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    Hi & welcome to Patpow & to Franny..

    i wrote each of you a private message...

    best regards
    jess

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    Hi patpow and franny,
    Welcome to the forum. My surgeon also told me that generally curves deteriorate at 1 degree per year, however, in June '08 my curve was 50, then in March '09 it was 58. I knew something was wrong around xmas '08, as rhe pain had become more severe, and it felt like electric shocks going through my pelvic area and down my legs. My reason for surgery apart from, to stop the progression, was because, I wanted my quality of life back. Good luck in your decision making.
    Vali
    44 years young! now 45
    Surgery - June 1st, 2009
    Dr David Hall - Adelaide Spine Clinic
    St. Andrews Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
    Pre-op curve - 58 degree lumbar
    Post -op - 5 degrees
    T11 - S1 Posterior
    L4/5 - L5/S1 Anterior Fusion

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    774
    Franny,

    I had surgery at age 59 and it was the best thing I could have done for myself to secure a healthier future. The surgery and early recovery were rough but the benefits I have derived made it all worthwhile. I canít tell you how wonderful it is for me to now be able to stand in comfort while shopping, cooking, socializing, and even ironing. My standing duration is endless. Before surgery I had reached the point where I was leaning against anything for support. Those days are gone for good. In the hands of a truly competent surgeon who routinely performs adult scoliosis surgeries, I donít see how one would be worse following surgery. There is always a possibility for a serious complication, but that is very rare. I wish you well.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    I echo your words Chris. I used to dread joining a queue, within 30 seconds the pain would start. I can stand endlessly now completely pain-free. All those activities you mention were cause of pain, but now I do them without thinking about my back. It seems nothing is too much trouble any more.

    I am grateful every single day that this surgery was available to me and for the remarkable skills of my surgeon.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    58
    Wow!
    My story is so identical to Patpow and I cannot believe that two days away from my Dtr surgery I am actually confronted with one day possibly having one of my own. I was diagnosed at 11 with Scoliosis. I am 52. My parent also chose only occasional visits to a chiropractor. Most people don't know I have scoli because you can imagine from 11 yrs to now I have learned to hide it well. I have no idea what my curvature is. I do know that I have spent most of my life with back pain (actually a way of life for me) and only when pregnant painless - except for now with the ahem additional weight I dont have much pain either. must be a balance thing - anyway I never heard of the curve increasing every year after a certain age I surely don't want to look up 10 years from now and totally require the surgery then. So. I guess once I am all done with Skye and her recovery I will take myself to an Ortho and see where we wind up... -

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