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Thread: Reality Check

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Posts
    21

    Reality Check

    I had my surgery 8/11- t10 to S1 posterior fusion. I had a rapid recovery and was priding myself on all that I could accomplish. I was even starting to tie my own shoes and was walking the dogs which was a stretch because to pick up their poop I had to bend to the ground - and my knees aren't in very good shape. I was driving a LOT - including two round trip 2 hour trips in a week and a half.

    Long story short, I began experience lower back pain that would persistently get worst as the day went on. I went in for my check up and was x-rayed and everything looked fine, but I was in a lot of pain.

    I did an experiment and for the last two days I have stayed home and not driven anywere and not exerted myself in any way, other than my daily walks. and guess what - the pain has disappeared.

    I learned my lesson - for all the preparation for surgery, going through the surgery and the weeks after - it is really well worth it to go easy and let yourself heal and not get so caught up on how "quickly" you are rebounding. I am humbled but I'm also relieved that it was such a simple solution to get rid of the pain!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    114
    Good for you! I'm a few weeks behind you recovery-wise. But I, too, have found that I need to have a day off. The driving is what gets me the most and then I find I need to go flat on my back for a while.

    I'm glad you found a smart solution to your pain! A good reminder for all of us...
    Kathy, 43
    Diagnosed as a teen
    Boston brace 2 years
    63 degree lumbar curve
    Surgery August 26, 2009
    Anterior approach fused T12-L4
    now 28 degrees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    90
    Zoee, thank you so much for posting this message. I really needed to hear it. Like kt2009, I had my surgery several weeks after you. I had read that we really need to be patient during recovery and that it was typical to take two steps forward and one step backward. Well, I was feeling very well, and my friends kept telling me how impressed they were with my progress. Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that I would escape those backwards steps in my road to recovery.

    Last Monday I went to the Y and did some water walking and stretching exercises, the first such activity since my surgery. That evening my sacroiliac area began to hurt badly. My surgeon's nurse practitioner assured me that this was not uncommon for fusions that included S1. The upshot is that I am now very humbled and even embarrassed when friends tell me how well I'm moving. My S1 pain is still there, and the intensity of the pain seems to be directly related to the intensity of my activity that day. So, my new mottos are "patience" and "easy does it."

    Again, thanks for posting your message.

    Cheers!

    Karen
    Karen, 66 years "young"
    Polio at 6
    Diagnosed with scoliosis at school; no treatment
    Lumbar curve in 2005: 40; moderate pain
    Lumbar curve in 2009: 55; pain severe
    Lumbar curve after surgery: 21
    Surgeon - Dr. William Lauerman, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC
    Three surgeries in one week:
    8/24/09 L3 to S1 anterior spinal fusion with Harm cage
    8/28/09 Posterior spinal fusion from T10 to S1 with instrumentation
    9/1/09 Partial revision of instrumentation


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    772
    The reality is that you are compromising your fusion to the sacrum just two months post-op by bending to tie shoes and pick up dog poop. Surely your surgeon has not okayed this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Posts
    21

    reality check

    to Chriswbs:
    this is why I posted this:
    to show how easy it is to get caught up in the whole "getting better and doing it faster" mind set. I was losing sight of what my real goals were.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    237
    I am 9 months post-op and can't tie my shoes other than by some strange body contortions which cause me so much pain in the thoracic region so I don't wear tied shoes. Putting socks on kills me and i never remember to use the sock putter on thingy. summer is good because of no socks.
    avis
    1987 Lumbar Laminectomy (forget which levels)
    2005 A/P fusion, L2 - L5, 2/2005
    2009 2 Posterior fusions, T6 - Pelvis, 2/10 & 2/18,
    Dr. Frank Rand, NEBH

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    I still don't tie shoes and I always use the sock-putter-on thing. I tie my sneakers, then use a shoehorn to ease into them. I refuse to strain my fusion.

    I have, however, graduated to scooping cat poop, picking up dog poop, and cleaning up cat and dog puke. (hope nobody's eating while reading this, ha ha) Took me over two years to feel comfortable doing those things.
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    long island, ny
    Posts
    233
    It's so confusing to me, I went for my 4th or 5th post-op visit since my surgery in June, he says he is very happy with my progress and sees fusion on my recent x-rays, he has taken away all restrictions. What's confusing is, it seems each surgeon is different in when they lift these restrictions. It still hurts when I have to get down to pick something up, or reach for things. I stopped using my sock put on thing, also tie my own shoes (although the bow is off to the side), but when I'm done, I feel a lot of pain, though it goes away quickly. I guess I have to listen to my own body, I started using my grabber again when I'm doing to wash and things like that. So Zoee, I can understand that mindset of thinking we can do everything, especially when your surgeon says you can!
    Dolores A
    June 4, 2009 Anterior L3 - S1
    June 8, 2009 Posterior T4 - Pelvis
    Mark Agulnick, MD FAAOS
    NY Spine & Scoliosis Center

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    106
    I agree that it is confusing. I was also trying to make a speedy recovery. I was being carefuly not to twist. I walk A LOT and do "corner pushups" and other arm exercises. I also have been stretching my legs. All of this with my doctor's permission. I have been surprised how stiff I still get and how much I ache sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself that it takes a lot of time and energy (at my age at least) for the fusion to heal, so I need to remember that resting and moving gently is very important, too.
    At age 56 my curves measured: 48/60/30 with lots of rotation and getting worse
    Posterior fusion T5-L4 June 30, 2009
    Excellent correction

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Elastic laces are still the best for tennis shoes for my walking and what exercises I do. Most are p.t. ones, etc. I add a little at a time. A doctor that I saw here for 6 months said just add activity in 5% increments and know there are some things that you won't do--yoga, etc. I finally can put my leg up on my knee and get socks on w/o twisting. I still use long shoe horn etc. for shoes. I hate that I can't just stick my feet in sandals now as the weather is turning. It really does take a year to fuse so newbies please take it slowly! Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Oh, and forgot--yes, it is terribly confusing about how much you can do. At 3 month check in St. Louis got differing opinions in the same office from doctor, nurse, and p.t. But the fusion has to be the priority. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    Zoee,
    i also found and thought that i was doing really well, until i started driving. It seems that everytime i drive, i get out and walk funny for a bit. I hav all the necessary lumbar supports etc, but still find it not comfortable.
    I was able to slide on my socks on day three post-op by putting my foot on the opposite knee. As for shoes ladies, if you have 'Merrell' where you live, definitely go and have a look. I have the sporty ones for walking (they have a zipper) and another pair for general wear, which looks good under pants or skirts. They are so comfortable, you can wear them to bed. Just kidding!
    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

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