View Full Version : New to posting

12-18-2010, 08:41 AM
I first want to say thanks to all who have posted. I have been reading since I found I would need surgery in May, and have had many questions and concers answered.
I was having difficulty getting on,but I am here now.. My surgery was August 9th , at Hershey Medical Center in Hershey,Pa. by Dr. V. Vora. The surgery lasted 12 hours(yikes!!!). I had some post-op complications which kept me in ICU for 7 days. I than went to rehab ,but was re-admitted to hospital for transfusions ,collapsed lung (chest tube)and pleural effusion bilat w/ severe fluid retention in abd and legs. Recoverd and back to rehab for 10 days . Home on September 1st(yeah!).
I'm not sharing this to scare anyone but just to inform that things don't always go as planned.
I had PT/OT for 4 weeks at home and am contiuing aqua therapy and massage therapy 2X/ week. I must say that I feel very lucky that my pain was never severe and was relieved ( once home ) w/ percocet and muscle relaxers to now just aleve and muscle relaxers (I don't remember much of the 1st 2 weeks)
My biggest problem now is my neck;rotaion, discomfort and pulling forward. I also am still trying to increase my endurance.

I have a few questions; How does one "break a rod" ?
When does the numbness finally go away?
Will I ever be able to do what I used to w/ some adjustments

As you can see I am a little discouraged, can't drive,work,shop for long,and I feel bad for my husband ;who has been my chauffer and therapist. He was also my nurse,cook and maid when I 1st came home.

Sorry for the long post but I have been itching to let it all out tp people who understand

12-18-2010, 10:46 AM
Hi boopy,

I am so sorry to hear what a rough post-op course you've had. Everyone's recovery is different, some fast, some not. You are very fortunate that your pain has never been severe.

You might want to share a few more details about your type of surgery/levels/approach, and your age. You will probably get a few more replies if you can share some specifics.

Good luck, and please let us know how you are doing.

12-18-2010, 11:30 AM
hi boopy i'm really sorry you had a rough postop course
i had my surgery in march 10th 2010
i never really had postop problems

12-18-2010, 11:41 AM
Excellent screen name! Sorry for the difficult recovery. Hopefully you will turn a corner soon.

Here are some answers... Hopefully others will respond also.

How does one "break a rod" ?

It is my understanding that rods break only in the case of repeated movement near a pseudoarthrosis (non-fusion). There is no rod breakage in a successful fusion.

When does the numbness finally go away?

As far as I know, both my kids have small areas on their back that are still numb. One was fused in 3/08 and the other in 10/09. I asked the one kid if it bothered her and she said no and that she is used to it.

Will I ever be able to do what I used to w/ some adjustments

Where does your fusion start and end?

As far as I can tell, most people fused through the lumbar can do most things but may have to do them differently.

My daughters are fused in the thorax and they do everything the same as before.

12-18-2010, 03:52 PM
Sharon answered your questions but just to add, re the numbness. I asked my surgeon that question and he said that if the numbness hadn't gone by 12 months post-op, it probably never would. Mine didn't but it doesn't bother me.

Hope the remainder of your recovery goes well...you deserve it after the rocky start!

12-18-2010, 09:57 PM
Hi Boopy,
I am really sorry to hear about your ordeal after surgery. Thank goodness you had good care, and overcame those set backs!
I had surgery on August 23, so we are sort of on the same time line. I was lucky to not have complications, but I know that recovery is not a quick or even predictable process! We are all in this together, and I know that everyone reading your post sympathizes w/ your situation. All I can do is encourage you to keep plugging away! Even if recovery takes longer than you expected, if you keep faithful to your PT, work in the pool, walk a little bit more every week, it seems to me that you will get where you want to be eventually - it's just a matter of time!! And resting is important too, I think.
I don't know about rods breaking, but I can tell you I still have plenty of numbness (sides of my thighs, lower back, all along the incision)...
HANG IN THERE!! You will get better!

12-19-2010, 06:46 AM
Hi boopy,

My daughter had her surgery at HMC six years ago. It's funny you mentioned the numbness in your back. Someone was touching my daughter's back the other day and she said it "felt funny" when they tickled it. She said it isn't exactly numb, but she said it still felt weird, so I'm guessing there's still some amount of numbness even after six years.

Like others have said, most people can and do return to all their normal activities after a recovery period. My daughter is fused T3-L2 and does everything she wants to do. Take your time and let your body heal....it takes time. You've been through a lot, so it will probably take a little longer than you expected to heal completely.

I sent you a private message.

Mary Lou

12-21-2010, 03:35 PM
The broken rods question is one that I can unfortunately answer. I have broken 4 now (2 sets). Both times were caused by a non-union area. Mine both broke roughly 6 months out of surgery, everything but L4 and L5 were healing well, but that area healed very little (both times). Because that area is still more mobile than everything else, the little micro-movements that happen in those rods weaken it and subsequently break it. The best explanation I have heard is "bending a paperclip back and forth many times until it eventually breaks."

12-21-2010, 03:37 PM
Oh, and I am also still numb. :-) Its annoying, but you get used to it.

I am so sorry that you had such a complicated surgery/recovery! Hopefully it is smooth sailing from here on out for you!

12-26-2010, 10:23 AM
I am sorry you had such a rough time. Hopefully, things will go smoothly from now on.

01-01-2011, 09:09 PM
Numbness - I had my surgery (t3-t12) almost 11 years ago, and I still have a few spots on my spine that are numb. Not totally numb, but if someone touches me there it's like they're touching me through a towel - I can feel it a little, but not really. You get used to it - 99% of the time I don't even notice it, unless I have an itch and can't really scratch it because it's like my fingers can't get through the numbness.

Activities - depends on a lot of factors, and what activities you're talking about. I'm now 41 and am very active. I do get a very stiff low back sometimes, but nothing too unusual. I cross-country ski a lot, hike, canoe, work out 4-5 days/week, walk, swim, etc. No problems. Frankly, my worst problem is with sleeping - I stiffen up a lot at night, and often have low back/hip pain depending on the surface I'm sleeping on. Might be time to invest in a very fancy mattress....