View Full Version : 3 month check up.

06-03-2006, 05:13 PM
Hi All,
Had my check up last week and have been on a dead run since with no time to post results and ask questions about it until now.

Silly me I thought I would be cut loose to "do as I pleased" as long at I took it easy. WRONG! When I asked about ending my 5 lb restriction on lifting he said I could now lift 10 lbs. What!? (O.K. now I can lift a full 1 gal. of milk without guilt.) Still no bending or twisting EITHER!? (But, I wanna dance!) I was SO not ready for that. I also thought I would be starting P.T. He thought about it for a few minutes and then with a sigh said I could do some LIGHT P.T. I guess I haven't been paying as much attention as I thought I had been to the post-op recoveries of others. Also, I have lost a lot of weight. I put on 5 lbs for good measure before surgery, that is gone plus 15 more! Not good in my case, I am always cold now. It's been 85* and I carry a sweater to the store with me because I will be shivering in no time. Those of you heading for surgery, the pain meds flat kill your appetite. Then when you do eat you get constipated! You can't win.

So, is this what you went through? Do you get more freedom at your 6 mo. check up? I feel so great and I am down to only a couple of pain meds per day. I still have the fentanyl patch on but 1/2 dose (It is an opiod, thus still my constipation issue.) and that only for 2 more weeks. I didn't wear any type of brace after surgery, which I really appreciated after reading how tough they can be to use. I am experiencing the shocking feelings as things wake up. (Intense enought to make me gasp out loud at times.) Which speaking of waking up how long before numbness goes away? My butt is still numb. Also, Does anyone have flatt butt syndrome? I am fused to L4 and it looks like some invisable person is pushing my butt cheeks down. You know when you stand up and usually can push your butt out? I can't, my pelvis looks tucked under. (If I were a dog it would be the tail between legs look!) I asked my Dr. about this and he said "it would get better". How better? Anyone go through this one? So you add that to all my weight loss (Which hads also led to breast loss.) and I am a walking yard stick! I am straight though! He got me from 49* to 8* I actually have a waist on each side of my torso now. I do find when I over do it my whole upper body leans forward, like the tower of piza. (I am fused T10 to L4) Kinda funny because before surgery My husband said I looked like a walking sack of potatoes! My potatoes are all in a row now.

It's funny how I go in to my appt. with a list of questions and then get home and have more. Thats where this site helps so much for me. Reading everyones experiences and their questions being answered gets me by till my next appt. Thanks all!

06-03-2006, 06:35 PM
Hi suzy!! Since you said I looked too skinny, I must subconsciously be trying to gain some weight before surgery! I was weighed thursday & they said I gained 9 pounds since winter appmt & maybe lost another inch but that was ify.... Not good, I guess but I'm glad you said you gained a few before surgery too! I'm nervous about losing a lot after surgery... Sorry to hear the pain meds kill your appetite even at 3 mths...Ly
at least you go to lifting 10 lbs now but still take it easy...

06-04-2006, 07:34 AM

My daughter will be 18 months post-op next week, and I remember her recovery like it was yesterday! Three months through one year post-op, I think in some ways is the hardest part of the recovery period. Like you said, you start feeling great, your incision is well healed, but please remember, this is a very critical time. We were told it takes 6 months to 1 year for the fusion to become solid, so you really need to try and follow your doctor's orders to make sure you get a good solid fusion.

Once Jamie got through the initial healing from surgery, it got really hard to keep her down. She was 13 y.o. at the time and loved swimming. It was so hard for her to be at her grandmother's pool and not be allowed to jump into the pool let alone dive into the pool, but guess what, she joined the swim team this year to make up for last year! It was hard, but now that she is more than one year post-op, she does anything and everything she wants to do.

Hang in there, your restrictions will be over soon!

Mary Lou

06-04-2006, 08:31 AM
I took the patch in 2002 before the final hip replacement so I know the feeling. I lived on grapes, juices, and whatever got hings moving - so to speak. Hip replacement was worth getting off that patch and I hope you get the pleasure of turning those back in soon. As to recovery- since I go under (ant post rods from T 10 to S1 and fusion from L1 to S1) on 13 June- your story is a bit spooky. I had no idea the restrictions would last so long- being an active duty Army LTC and being restricted to five pounds for three months is a major issue- Yikes again.
I told my boss I would be reasonably functional at three months and maybe even two. I think I was optimistic.
However, I am impressed at how you kept a positive attitude during recovery. Thanks for doing the "recon" for me and keeping us informed on this board- it certainly helps me.
Walk with God eric

06-04-2006, 09:31 AM
Hmmmmm..............now I'm a little worried because I'm less than a month post-op and began Physical Therapy Friday. It felt great at the time, but Sat. I was REALLY tired and run down.
Also, what specifically helps or hurts a fusion from taking place???

06-04-2006, 09:58 AM

I'm not sure what all would help or hurt the fusion process but I know Jamie's doctor was very cautious with her, and very strict about sticking to her restricitons. Example: hunting season started two weeks before her 1 year mark, and when we asked if she could go, he told us NO WAY, not until her one year mark. Jamie didn't start p.t. until she was three months post-op and that was also when she was allowed to start bending, twisting and turning. Like you, Jamie too was wiped out after p.t. in the beginning.

Remember, everyone is different and so is their surgery--Jamie has a long fusion (T3-L2) and doesn't have any pedicle screws, just rods, wires and hooks. So, therefore, I would ask your surgeon directly exactly what you can and cannot do. For the first year, Jamie and I would always have a list of things she wanted to do and we'd ask the doctor just to be sure.

Mary Lou

06-04-2006, 07:43 PM
Suzy, I was sort of like you after surgery. I lost somewhere between 18 to 20 pounds after surgery. My Dr. told me it's because it takes a lot of calories to heal. It took more calories to heal than I was taking in. My appetite was gone, I didn't eat hardly anything for the first month, then my appetite picked up gradually. The constipation was the pits also. My Dr. prescribed me medicine for it and it helped a lot.
I am now 8 months post-op and feel great. Don't get me wrong I still have pain but it isn't unbearable. I have gained almost all my weight back and I eat all the time. No more constipation either.
I started my PT 3 months after surgery. It didn't take much to wear me out.
I had no energy, I had to push my self to go to PT but now I am glad I went through it, it sure helped a lot.
My Dr. has released me and I don't have to see him for 1 year. He said just watch what you do and don't strain your back muscles. He says that people who have scoliosis surgery can strain their back quicker than people who haven't.
Good luck.

06-04-2006, 10:56 PM
Mattie, I just got on the scale and I'm down MORE! YIKES! I do now remember my Dr. saying it takes calories to heal, but jeeze how many? I have only 9 days of my patches left so I should be rid of the big C problem. I would have liked to have had some RX for it. I asked the pharmacist and he reccomended Senokot, plus stool softners. You should let Eric know what you had since he is next in for surgery. Thanks for the time line it helps to know I just might be up for the huge Halloween party in town! (my 8 month mark.)

Eric, Recon no problem! I'm still not to twist or bend my back along with the 10 lb limit.......

Mary lou, I was shocked to read 2 wks B 4 1 yr. not hunting? I have 14 screws and two rods, I am gonna have to stop thinking I am wonderwoman! I was out pulling (Gently) weeds today making sure to keep my back straight.(With knees bent) I later looked longingly at the pool and wondered if I could at least stand in it....... Dr. Swears at one year mark I wll be back to snowskiing. I have never had patience, I guess I better learn some or I'm going to screw this up.

Hey Jenn (Summer), you are doing P.T. ALREADY? What do they have you doing, I would like to know. That seems way early. Also, are you having the weight loss issue?

Lynne, you know from all our e-mails I don't take it easy! When I eat I do try to make it count calorie wise and nutrition wise. After reading what Mary lou wrote it is finally sinking in, take it easy.

No one has addressed the flat butt syndrome, or lost chest. I can't possably be the only one? (No worries for you Eric!) Wait yes I can, I am always the one who has different stuff happen to them........4* curve per year, diagnosed at age 35, to name a few. Why should I be surprised at my different body changes?! I guess I will visit Frederics and buy new parts!

Thanks to all of you for the input and continued support! I need to go eat something.............

06-05-2006, 06:13 AM

I would think it would be okay for you to be in the pool as long as you aren't over doing it and as long as your incision is totally healed (which it should be by now). When Jamie started p.t. at 3 months post-op, she actually started in the pool and eventually worked up to both the pool and regular p.t.

Hang in there. It won't be easy following your restricitons, but it will be well worth it in the end.

Mary Lou

06-05-2006, 01:59 PM
Hi Suzy
I don't think I'm losing weight, but I haven't stepped on a scale since my surgery. My boyfriend and family haven't noticed. I love to eat and have minimal loss of appetite. My stomach is still distended from the anterior part of my surgery.
How bad is everyone's constipation??? Once my GP prescribed me Lactulose solution which I stir in juice once a day I've been going at least once a day. I also take one stool softener pill a day (docusate sodium)
The PT has me do a few leg exercises in bed, holding a lunge on a step stool for 30 seconds, up and down on my tiptoes holding onto the kitchen counter, marching in place, pushing my legs back and to the side, walking up and down stairs and while sitting in a chair trying to raise my feet off the floor. I think it's a little too much for me and will mention it to her tomorrow.

06-05-2006, 08:47 PM

The shape of my rear end kinda curved downward after the surgery. There was no curve in my lower back due to all the swelling for a long time. If I'm having a good day and can stand pretty straight without hurting my side profile is finally starting to look normal again. Some days my rear looks like it comes to a point!

If your incision is healed good you can probably go in a pool. Word of warning though, the first time I got make into a pool and tried to swim, I couldn't really do it! I felt like I was sinking like a brick. Also my lungs hadn't built back up enough at the time.

On the losing weight issue, I continued to lose weight for about 9 months. The last 3 to 4 months it was only like a pound or so every few weeks.

06-06-2006, 07:14 AM
The weight loss part after surgery sounds good to me since I have 20 extra pounds to begin with. When I was thinner, the curves in my back stood out and people said I looked better with the extra weight on. But with the enforced idleness of not doing housework for so long, it seems like one would eventually put the weight back on; especially with my appetite. Guess I'll find out!


Awaiting surgery date
Thoracic 65 degrees
Lumbar 75 degrees
Age 47

06-06-2006, 01:54 PM
I lost some weight for the first few weeks and then ate a lot b/c my body craved nutrients and I started putting some much needed weight. I wasn't on pain meds at more than one month post op though, that does kill the appetite.

I started walking in the pool at about a few months post op, swimming a bit maybe three months post op.