View Full Version : 8 days post-op

01-04-2011, 09:07 AM
Hey everyone!

I am home and doing very well. I am not up to much typing yet so I'll keep this short. I just know how helpful it was for me to read posts like this when I was about to take the leap.

My fusion began Monday morning around 7 a.m. and ended around 4 p.m. No complications whatsoever. I was doing so well I didn't even have to go to ICU at all. I woke up in my private room in the hospital with my dear husband and mother by my side. I don't really remember much of that day except I was so happy to feel my legs move and be told I was doing very well. I am now fused from T4 to L4. My surgeon was very happily surprised with the flexibility in my spine and was able to get an amazing correction with less hardware, and without going all the way to the sacrum like he originally thought was necessary. I gained almost 2 full inches in height.

I am still a little worried about not being fused all the way to the S1, but I have to trust that if I needed it, he would have done it.

The days at the hospital are a blur of constipation, drugs, and pain. The pain wasn't as bad as I imagined it, but it is no joke. My nurses were great and didn't ever let it get out of control.

I was doing really well and by my 4th day the hospital I was walking, doing stairs, and able to sit up and finally go to the bathroom. My dr said I could go home because I was doing so well. Looking back, I think if my Mom was not a former PA, this would have been a terrible decision. But I knew she was here to take care of me, and is medically trained. So I went home after only 4 days in the hospital! I DO NOT recommend this to anyone who does not have 24 hours a day trained medical assistance at home.

I took my get out of jail free card and ran home as fast as I could (lol). That is when I started to notice severe pain when standing which soon turned into nausea and vomiting. Called the dr and turns out I had a spinal headache that didn't fully develop until I was at home and doing so well...of course.

This was a huge problem. I couldn't walk or sit up AT ALL for 72 hours. As we all know, walking is the biggest part of this recovery process, and all the progress I had made at the hospital got thrown in the garbage. I couldn't poop again...was absolute HELL for 5 days. I couldn't eat because of the constipation pain, and couldn't sleep either.

Anyway, there was nothing to be done but deal, and like I said, my mom is a PA and was with me 24 hours a day doing absolutely everything for me. I would've had to go back to the hospital if she wasn't here.

The headache is finally gone and I am already doing 100% better. I'm no longer "clogged" but it's such a fine balance between pain meds and constipation, a daily battle. Eating as much fiber, bananas, applesauce, gatoraide, fiberone cereal as possible. Also gas pills and 2-3 stool softeners a day, and prune juice, eggs, and chicken soup.

The pain is strong. I am on a lot of meds right now. But now that I can stand again and take hot showers PRAISE GOD...I am able to deal a little better. Taking little walks down the hallway and just sitting up for short periods of time really seem to help the stiffness. and HOT SHOWERS.

But, as you can see from how long this turned out, I am doing pretty well for only being a week and a day post op.

I am really excited about one thing I've noticed despite the pain I'm in. When I sit up, I never feel like I'm collapsing in on myself anymore. It is not so much work to stand up, or sit up. I LOVE that change. I'm adjusting to the new height. I have trouble reaching my sink's handles right now, not sure how I'll adjust to that, but am choosing not to worry about it yet. I can lift my arms without much pain now, and stand sooo straight. it's so strange!

Anyway....to all of you about to take that leap, here's some advice that I am repeating to myself: "it will not be this bad forever". The pain will get better, and I can't wait to start living my life without the crazy curves. I am glad I did this now, when I am young and don't have children to take care of yet. I can get a glimpse even in this state how hard it's been for me over the last 5 years, and I think this correction will actually help me.


01-04-2011, 12:27 PM
hey Rebecca
you poor baby...
is that the dreaded "spinal headache" they warn against when one has a myleogram or a spinal tap?
i heard tell it is horrendous!
i once spent hours laying flat after a myleogram, just to guard against getting one of those awful headaches!

i hope you are now headache free and nausea free too!
how awful to be vomiting after much of your body has just been rearranged!

wishing you an uneventful...from now on...recovery...peaceful, steady, and successful!


01-04-2011, 02:19 PM
Despite the horrible headache ordeal it sounds like you have come a long way in a very short time. Hopefully, that was your complication and now your recovery can be issue free. Congrats on a successful surgery. Janet

01-04-2011, 03:14 PM
It sounds like you have things under control now. I'm sorry you had a shaky start. I guess I won't push to come home too soon. My surgery is 8:30 tomorrow morning. I like your thought that "it will not be this bad forever". I'll try to remember it.

01-04-2011, 06:02 PM
Ah Rebecca! Thank you so much for that information. You help to ease my mind. I am 6 days away, and a little nervous, as we all tend to be. Your accomplishments and attitude is inspiring! I'm so glad you are over the rough beginning and able to look forward to the future. I wish you much rest, decreased pain, and a wonderful new life!!!

01-04-2011, 06:49 PM
Great that you are doing so well and such a great positive attitude! I wish you well...
I had a spinal headache as well, but was still in the hospital. Whenever I sat up or stood, OMG. It was so severe they put me back on the PCA pump. I would have hated to deal with that at home. I was told it was probably due to a dural tear...a common thing. Nothing to do but bedrest and fluids. May your recovery continue to be uneventful ;-)))

01-04-2011, 07:47 PM
What a wonderful post. Congrats on doing so well, despite the terrible headache. Great to hear another one safely over surgery! Your post will be of great interest to those facing surgery. Amazing to be able to write so much, so coherently, so early out! May the remainder of your recovery be comfortable and smooth.

01-05-2011, 06:03 PM
Congratulations, Rebecca!

You're on "the other side!" I'm really glad it is going well (except the headache, of course!). You're an inspiration.


01-05-2011, 07:27 PM
Rebecca - Sorry you had to go through the setback with the spinal headache but it sounds like you are well on the road to recovery. Just take it easy and go at your own pace. Things will get better each day!

01-05-2011, 08:16 PM
Hope it's all smooth sailing from here on out. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and how much more you can do from week to week! Sounds like you will do great now that the nasty headache is over!

01-06-2011, 05:09 PM
thanks everyone for the well wishes! now that the headache is gone, i'm feeling much better. It's amazing how from day to day I'm able to do some little thing a little better. I have already figured out how to brush my teeth without being able to bend and reach the sink handles. =)

This is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done. But I am so glad I did it, and know the pain won't be this bad forever. I'm looking forward to when I can start backing down on the meds. I hate the daily struggle with constipation, but for now I know I need to keep the pain down so I can walk and get my strength back. I forgot to mention that my surgeon was able to get an almost 80-90% correction, where he was originally only thinking he would be able to get it 50%. I'm thankful for that, though it is strange seeing myself in the mirror. My torso is so stretched out! I was not expecting such a drastic change from the front. Or the FLAT back I have now!!! My severe rotation is completely gone. No more rib hump. I can't wait till the swelling goes away completely so my back is normal looking.

anyway, thanks again for the support! You all are so awesome!

01-06-2011, 09:17 PM
Your post made me smile. I don't think any of us could have imagined the improvement from the front, the stretched out look (which becomes the norm very quickly) is just amazing, isn't it?