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Thread: Surgery Jan 29th Dr. Lenke

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Surgery Jan 29th Dr. Lenke

    I've posted a few times but this is FOR REAL.
    Surgery on January 29th with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis.
    My surgery is 11 days away and I fluctuate between calm and freaking out.
    Any last advice?
    I stop taking all meds and supplements tomorrow. Done with the iron (I gave two autologous donations).
    My house is organized--just need to make a drop off at the the local thrift store.
    My mom will be with me in St. Louis during the surgery.
    My husband will be here in Salt Lake with the four kiddos--14, 13, 10, and 6.
    A neighbor (whom I love) keeps trying to get me to cancel and do "Spinal Touch Therapy."--Hard to tell someone that I care about that I made this decision last April when I had my first appointment with Dr. Lenke--it was just the right thing to do.

    I'm an RN--so I know way too much. I used to work in the OR. Just start the IV and knock me out! The plane right home is gonna be rough--any suggestions? We have the bulkhead seats and I will time the meds to the minute but. . . I love kids but I know some little kid will be behind me kicking the seat all the way home

    My fusion will be T4-L3. My freaking out is wondering what I'll be able to do (down the road of course). I am a clean-a-holic. I wash my floors on my hands and knees? Any more of that?

    I love to walk 4 miles a day on my treadmill--in one hour. Will I be able to do that ever again?

    I might be facing a divorce later this year. Will I be able to work as a nurse and be a single mom?

    So many unknowns! Yet, I do know that I am tired of being in pain every single day and night. Dr. Lenke said I have an 80% chance of being out of pain. 10% chance of being in different pain and 10% chance of being in worse pain.

    Thank you all for listening. It's been very good therapy to write this all out. I know I can't be the only one with these types of worries--because I read your threads every single day.

    Thank you to each and every one of you--I talk about all of you to others as if I know you. It's funny--but I really feel like I do in some small way.

    age 37

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    You sound almost excited Jennifer, and it is a very exciting thing if you can overcome the fear! Glad you don't have long to wait now.

    My fusion will be T4-L3. My freaking out is wondering what I'll be able to do (down the road of course). I am a clean-a-holic. I wash my floors on my hands and knees? Any more of that?

    I do my floors on my hands and knees and I have a longer fusion than you'll have. It's not a problem.

    I love to walk 4 miles a day on my treadmill--in one hour. Will I be able to do that ever again?

    Not straight off, but there's no reason why you can't walk four miles in an hour in 6 months or so.

    I might be facing a divorce later this year. Will I be able to work as a nurse and be a single mom?

    Do you do lots of lifting as a nurse? You will have a weight limit for some time, mine is currently 10 kilos but I'm assuming once fusion has taken place, there's no reason why you can't lift whatever you could before, once you've built up the strength again. Being a single mom is hard, but as one (ex) single mom to another, I wish you the strength, the patience, the energy and the good health that's necessary to do a two-person job!

    Good luck Jennifer!
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Hey Jen, I too am getting quite nervous as my surgery is only 5 days away now. But I feel an aura of calm enveloping me as the date approaches and am quite sure this is common.

    I am doing nursing at uni and talked with my surgeon if it would be the most appropriate career choice and he said probably not. His reasoning is that below the fused levels disk degeneration can occur quicker than normal due to the increased stress on the unfused disks. But, I am going to probably do it anyway. And you being already in the industry would be a major benefit.

    You have a lot coming up! I hope you come out of it all shiny and happy
    Surgery 25/1/2010


    Scoliosis Corrected 25/1/2010 by Dr Angus Gray, Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Sydney. Fused T3-L4.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Adelaide, Australia
    I clean the bathroom/shower floor on hands and knees, but mop the rest of the house, because its polished Jarrah. It feels funny, but its do-able. Walking 4 miles an hour may take a while, but you will get there. With regards to your nursing position, depending on how long you have been there, they may be sympathetic and put you into a less demanding role (no lifting of patients etc) or you can possibly consider working in a clinic. I think you will be just fine. Take one day at a time and really focus on your recovery. Best wishes.
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Near Houston, TX
    Hi Jennifer

    My dd also had surgery with Dr. Lenke, T4-L4. I can only comment on the plane ride home. Our flight was 2 hours from St. Louis to Houston. We flew on Thanksgiving Day which turned out very lucky for us. There were 17 people on the flight and Sheena had the entire row of front seats (3) to herself so that she could lay down the entire time. To be honest, I don't think she could have made it home sitting upright. We went home 9 days after surgery and she was still extremely uncomfortable sitting up for any length of time. Depending on how long after surgery you'll be leaving, you may want to consider purchasing an extra seat or two or flying first class. We flew Southwest so first class wasn't even an option.

    Good luck to you, Dr. Lenke is an amazing surgeon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    A Million Thanks!

    A million thanks to all of you!

    Jimbo--good luck to you! I know that I just might need to switch to a less demanding area of nursing--that's what I like about the field--lots to choose from. I'll be interested in your posts after surgery.

    The flight from St. Louis to Salt Lake is about 3 hours--I will just have one seat--but I've told myself I can endure anything just to get back home!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Ames, Iowa
    Jen--You're in good hands with Dr. Lenke--very knowledgable & expert surgeron. It looks like most have answered your ?'s already very well that I can give any info on. The only one that might be different for me is mopping on hands and knees. My fusion is longer and I'm older but I have only done that for the briefest moments. Being in that position seems very strange. I used to be a super clean freak too before surgery but I seem to be getting over it! You seem to have things well in control That must make you feel better. Very best of luck to you. 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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Jen, my surgery is with Dr. Lenke March 31st and I am already starting to go through the emotions you are! I too am a clean freak, and if my place is a mess it stresses me out! My fusion is similar to yours, as well...T3-L3 approx. What is the degree of your curve? Where exactly do you have the most pain? Where are you staying after the hospital? Did they tell you about how long you will stay? How did you know when to book your return flight for (what day)??? Is someone going to be in St. Louis with you the whole time? I'm facing this surgery I will have a couple different people take shifts with me. I feel so confident in Lenke! I will be praying for you and thinking about you. Please keep me posted on how it goes! Sorry for so many questions...OH...and one more!...did you have to donate your own blood first??? Thanks and Jen, I will be thinking of you on your day!

    62 degrees
    49 yrs. young
    Surgery 3/31/10 with Lenke

    Before and After pics

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    York, PA
    Sounds like a lot of us are in countdown mode right now. So many emotions--I had an absolute breakdown the other night but that might not have been all bad. I tend to be in control all the time, handling everything, big-girl pants and all that but we all reach a point... I do know that as I sit here with that horrible aching pain in my hips and down into my leg, that I (and the rest of us) are doing the right thing for our future health--both mental and physical. I smiled when I read about someone's well-meaning spinal touch therapy. My husband's cousin was suggesting quantum reiki treatments from where he lives in Austria--yeah, that will be really effective. You just have to laugh sometimes. Good luck with your plane ride--we're still trying to figure out the best way to manage a 4hour drive from NY. My hopes and prayers are with you and that other aspects of your life may resolve in a good way, too. Take care and keep us posted

    Anne in PA
    Age 58
    Diagnosed at age 14, untreated, no problem until age 50
    T4 to sacrum fusion
    63 thoracic now 35, 92 lumbar now 53
    Dr. Baron Lonner, 2/2/10
    Am pain-free, balanced, happy & an inch taller !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Wheeling, WV
    Hi Jennifer,

    My surgeries were in May of 05 at the age of 45. Fused from T-1 to L-5.

    Every fear and concern you have is real and normal. I liked a nice clean house, but my meds helped me get passed that, along with many other issues at the time.

    We are all afraid that we will not be the same, and we aren't. We've just been totally rearranged physically and sometimes mentally for a while. No one can tell you how you will really feel afterwards. I now have different and less pain.
    Rougher in the winter.

    But rest assured, that no matter how you feel right after surgery, it gets better and better, month by month, and week by week. Don't compare your recovery to anyone else's. It's your body, and it will heal in it's own time, have faith in that!!! Give it the time it needs.

    And all your questions about what you will and won't be able to do after you have healed, will answer themselves. I find that there is very little that I can't do, just that I may have to do somethings differently.

    Everything always works out, although I was divorced 2 years after post-opp.
    Your probable divorce isn't done until you sign the papers. Is it possible that some of your stress and pain you have gone through over the past years may be part of the problem. Don't know just wondering. But no matter what happens in the future, you will always have the inspiring knowledge that you survived an incredibly difficult battle with the scars to prove it. You will realize what a strong woman you really are, and you can survive anything!!!

    Sorry I rambled here, you struck a chord in me,
    All my best,
    Last edited by Shari; 01-21-2010 at 11:56 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Thank you again/Good luck

    Radiogirl--good luck in March! I emailed you previously about my pre-op day at Dr Lenke's--I'm from Salt Lake? If you still have questions--especially because we have the same doc I'll fill you in as I go along.

    ADMoul--my prayers and thoughts will be with you. Thank you for responding.

    Shari--thank you. Your words brought so much peace and I will hold on to them.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Lafayette, Indiana

    Good Luck!!!

    Good Luck to You!!! You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am also an RN, but a critical cardiac RN. And yes, knowing too much really stinks at this time. My surgery is 3 weeks away, February 17, 2010. I am scared and excited at the same time. I am really nervous for the anesthesia but so excited to be getting a new back!!! What is/are your curve/curves? I have a 64 degree cervical-thoracic and a 56 degree thoracic-lumbar. I am going to be fused from C5-6 to L1-2. Seems like sooooo many vertebrate!!! Well good luck to you. You are going to do great! Take care, Melissa
    P.S. Make sure you post on here after your surgery; I want to know how recovery is going for you

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Those of u that r traveling long distances I commend u. My travel from the hospital in a car ride was only 40 min and it felt like hell the whole time and I could not get in a good position with 2 pillows and a blanket. But if u do a long car ride I suggest lie down in the back cuz I was sitting in the front seat and it was killer.
    pre-op L 74*
    pre-op Th 56*
    surgery scheduled for jan. 6th 2010
    getting nervous

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Central NJ
    Good luck to you Jennifer! I bet that in time you will be able to do many of the things you asked about. Unfortunately, I am not a cleanaholic If I felt like it, I could get down on my hands and news and clean the floor, but #2 teenage son has that job for me. I have a fusion similar to yours (T3-L3) and I can do 4 miles on the treadmill in one hour. Lately, I have been taking Zumba classes instaed though.

    Bottom line--you might do things a little bit differently afterwards, but you will probably be able to do the things that you want to do. It might take some time to get there, but I bet that you will be able to.

    I'm glad you'll have your mom with you at the hospital. BTW, I have none of my pre-surgical pain. I hope you get the same results.

    Keep us posted,
    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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Hi Jennifer

    Having a carry on stuffed with 2 or 3 soft down pillows will be a life saver on the plane. I've been doing this for years now. Use a piece of luggage with rollers.

    I think that if I would have had a nurse that was fused, and had experienced scoli surgery, that would have made me feel much better in recovery. Any nurses that have this experience will be invaluable on the orthopedic ward.

    Try not to think about a divorce. This recovery is all about you.

    Explain to everyone and show some post scoli x-rays to try to help explain exactly what it is that you will be going through. Most people really donít have a clue. Show them mine, they are in my first thread.

    Once again I will recommend the foam topper for the bed. 2-4 inches thick.

    Im late for skiing, gotta run.

    Good luck
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion

    My x-rays

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