View Full Version : Time flies ... (some days - heh)

02-28-2008, 02:31 PM
So ... all that griping I did about being trapped at home (before I got released to drive), I got approval to drive on Monday ... and my car still hasn't moved - LOL!

It's not that I'm worried about driving, I just realized everything I actually NEED (drug store, post office, library, etc.) is all within 20 blocks (albeit different directions)- and I haven't REALLY been trapped because I've been walking there.

Funny how when you *can't* do something (or are *told* you can't) it drives you nuts ... and a funny correllation I've discovered ... I spend a whole lot less when I'm NOT driving ... BONUS! ;-)

We get about 10 GREAT days of weather in Houston a year, and today is definitely one! 75 and sunny ... light breeze (almost unheard of).

I had prescriptions from my 3 weeks post op visit to get filled, I needed Mederma (my incision is ready for it now), and I missed the mail this morning and needed to go by the post office for stamps and to send some things.

I got dressed ("dressed" these days consists of yoga pants or shorts/tank top and tennies), and almost grabbed my keys for the maiden voyage in the car. I looked outside and realized how silly driving a mile and half would be on a day like this.

Yeah, I just got in from my trek, a bit tired - and tight through the lumbar area (it gets better with periodic stops to stretch my hamstrings) - but I made it. A MILE and a 1/2!!

I feel SO much better since I started walking. It's funny, even my regular stride (I take loooong steps, and normally walk fast) has come back. The worst part of the whole adventure was when I sat for a few minutes in the drug store waiting (I loosened back up when I got up and browsed the aisles).

23 days post op and walking 1.5 miles at an almost regular pace - yay! It certainly wasn't what I expected to be doing this far out ;-)

For any of you awaiting surgery, I just can't stress how much more quickly "normal" returns with activity - and walking is perfect! Check with your doctor, of course, and definitely take it slow at first: Be sure to listen to your body. Add a little more each time and you'll start feeling like yourself before you know it ;-).

Although I certainly wish my life had never been touched by scoliosis at all, I don't regret my decision to have surgery, not my choice of surgeon. (and of COURSE I put the pinch on him for a walk donation - LOL!).

Regards to all,

02-28-2008, 05:01 PM
Pam - sometimes when I read your posts I'm insanely jealous. First, I'm jealous of that 75 degree weather - I'm stuck in Michigan with snow and single digit temperatures. :eek: Second, last night I went downstairs, fixed and ate dinner, and decided to try to go get my mail - it's just a few yards away. I bundled up, walking carefully to avoid any ice, then came back, sorted through the mail, and by then I was exhausted and had to hit the bed. And you! You were "a bit tired" after a mile and a half walk! Aaarrrgghh!! :mad:

02-28-2008, 06:26 PM
Pam - sometimes when I read your posts I'm insanely jealous. First, I'm jealous of that 75 degree weather - I'm stuck in Michigan with snow and single digit temperatures. :eek: Second, last night I went downstairs, fixed and ate dinner, and decided to try to go get my mail - it's just a few yards away. I bundled up, walking carefully to avoid any ice, then came back, sorted through the mail, and by then I was exhausted and had to hit the bed. And you! You were "a bit tired" after a mile and a half walk! Aaarrrgghh!! :mad:

I know how you feel..I got on the treadmill yesterday and walked, very slowly I might add (2.4 MPH), for 15 minutes. By the time I was done I was sweating profusely, huffing and puffing and I had sipped a pint of water. How sad is that? Then to top it all off I had to go nap for an hour and I was still tired. I am 2 1/2 months post op and thought I would have more endurance and stamina by now. I can't wait to get this damn brace off so I don't feel like a lumbering cow when I walk. Maybe my normal stride will return then. :p

02-28-2008, 10:14 PM
FeliciiaFeliciaFelicia, no hatin', girlfriend ... if I lived in single digit weather, I'd NEVER get out (and I'd have NO friends because I'd whiiiiiiiiiiiiine. A LOT!!). I really think i'd just hibernate through a *real* winter recovery and start later. (i.e., someone wake me when it's 70 - at least!)

There's a *reason* I live in the South, and it damn sure ain't the mosquitos, the hurricanes or Houston drivers!

And you know how big a difference a week makes in recovery, babe: You're a week behind me in surgery, and it stands to reason you'll be a bit (timewise) behind returning to your normal activities.

My lil' walk today at a near running pace was NOTHING for me pre-op - so it's not something I can just suddenly do ... it's a return to normalcy for me.

Geish, my fusion was roughly HALF the size of yours. Practically a "baby fusion" in comparison.

I certainly didn't intend for my post to make anyone feel bad about where they are post-surgery, but apparently I inadvertantly did when that was not at ALL my goal. :(

02-28-2008, 10:43 PM
Nah...you didn't make me feel bad. I was just amazed at how easily I tire still. I had been going to the gym to build strength and endurance before the surgery and it just doesn't seem to be returning. It would probably help if I was on the treadmill even a fourth as much as I am on the computer, but it sure wouldn't be as fun or entertaining! :rolleyes: In the mean time I will just keep plugging along.

By the way...there is no such thing as a "baby fusion"...they are all huge if you ask me! Keep showing us what we all have to look forward to recovery wise! You are a true inspiration.

02-29-2008, 11:40 AM
Sometimes when we see a "Wonder Woman" as positive as Pam is, it's easy to forget that she is not immune to the pains and difficulties that the rest of us have. But she fought through a lot of pain for a lot of years, and she still has her share of pain and heating pads and mood swings and odd sleep patterns. But she chooses to write us of the more positive aspects of her recuperation, which we all agree are so much more amusing! I think we need a "smilie" on this forum that means "tongue in cheek" because that's what I intended when I posted my comment to Pam. She didn't by any means make me feel bad about my slower recuperation; I was just trying be to be as funny as she is - an impossible task!

How many times have we read on this site and been told by our doctors - "everyone's recuperation is different; try not to compare yourself to others." That's a hard lesson to keep in mind when we hear of Pam's (and others') great progress. So I decided that I should also post my positives instead of "whining" about my shortcomings. So many of you are/were so supportive of me that it's only fair to let you know your good wishes for me are coming true - slowly.

As you probably know, this is my fourth surgery, first anterior procedure. I am in A LOT LESS pain than I was in any of my previous surgeries. My back is a little sore, but the back pain and left leg pain pre-surgery is GONE. The incision hurts, but not unbearable. (I just keep hoping I don't have to cough!) I decided that Valium and I just don't get along; I was sleeping too much and too groggy and off balance when awake. So I stopped taking it and feel much better already. I'm also trying some adjustments in my other medications and so far so good. Wearing the light brace feels good and I'm starting to move around the house a lot better. I'm starting on the treadmill slowly and for just a little at a time. I'm almost a little superstitious to say this, but for the first time in a long time I feel like my back issues will be behind me soon. (HAH, I made a pun!)

As far as living in the frozen north, I have to admit that each weekday I wake up and see the snow coming down, and hear the weather/traffic reports about the morning commute, I think about all those years and years I fought through it to get to work, and I think of all my friends still fighting that good fight, I just lie here in bed and I LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH - and then I turn over and go back to sleep! :D :D

02-29-2008, 01:19 PM
Thanks, trulyaries, for saying it so well about Pam! I tried to say something in that other post... the one from Hazel. Anyway, you said it much better! :)

I'm so glad to hear it's going well for you-- and I have to agree about having a bit of fun that I'm not back in the grind of working this year. No driving through all this snow/ice "stuff"-- and it seems SO luxurient to sleep in till 7:30 or 8:00 every morning after having gotten up at 4:45 for years! When I go back next year, I think I'll skip doing some of that early work I used to do! I didn't get paid for it anyway! (Yeah, have I developed an attitude or what?!!) :rolleyes:

02-29-2008, 04:18 PM
Hi all,

I feel like I have such a small fusion. I have 7 levels and don't think I can compare my fusion to others. After awhile I quit posting my progress because it made me feel bad that others didn't recover as fast as I did. (Pam is a lot like I was in my recovery) I Knew going into this we all recover differently. I just hoped and wished for all the people I was in touch with before, during and after their surgeries they would do just as well. I have REALLY tried to back off on my over exuberance at our support group because I realised they are not going to recover like I did because they are having 2 or 2 1/2 times more work done. Sure some of the recovery is the same but not the length of recovery. I have scoli friends who tell me not to underestimate what I went through but it is hard not to when I compare myself to those with larger fusions. (Then when I remember the horrible pain prior to my surgery....) I have SOOOO much respect and admiration for those of you who have larger fusions and celebrate all your accomplishments no matter how small. Especially those who are fused to S1. It is a tough road but well worth the trip. If it takes you months or years (2 years is the norm.) to recover, it is worth all you go through.

02-29-2008, 05:56 PM
I have 7 levels and don't think I can compare my fusion to others. After awhile I quit posting my progress because it made me feel bad that others didn't recover as fast as I did.

I was only fused 1o levels, and you explained how I'm feeling very well, Suzy. I'll answer questions via PM on my recovery, but I think it's time it went away as a public topic.


02-29-2008, 07:36 PM
As I read through these posts, it reminded me that I really should contribute to this forum by providing a brief summary of how my recovery has gone. I have for the most part been only a reader (for almost 2 years) and have only posted a few times. I have found it hugely beneficial to read how the recovery has been for all those who contribute this information to this forum, and feel that I should add my 2 cents here, to also contribute. I sure agree with the comments that everyone is different and it's not possible to compare your own surgery with anyone elses -- we're all different in the extent of surgery, age, fitness, other medical issues, etc., etc. However, I think it it helpful for those pre-surgery people to read the posts from those on the "other side" to view a cross-section, or a range of recovery stories, to gain some sense of what to expect. So, here's my story: It has been 6 weeks and 4 days since the second stage of my A/P surgery from T8 to sacrum. I'm 52 years old and was in fairly good physical condition pre-surgery from daily walking and some core-strengthing exercise. I got through my surgeries (1/7 and 1/14) well with no complications and my surgeon acheived very good correction. I had a thoracic curve in the 60s and lumbar curve in the 40s. I'm not sure what my post surgery correction is but the x-rays look darn straight to me. I've been very grateful to have a treadmill and started using this about a week after getting home. As of today, I'm walking 2 miles on the treadmill at a 3.2 mph pace. I've also been doing the physical therapy exercises recommended -- although I recently had to stop these after I had some right hip pain -- a few days ago that mystery pain went away and I need to get back on the PT program again. The treadmill walking is way, way easier for me than outdoor walking. It may be that the moving belt does actually do some of the work and unlike outdoors, there's no uneven ground to negotiate. My treadmill goes down to a 0.5 mph and on my first walk, I set it to this lowest setting while standing on the side rails and then carefully stepped onto the belt. For several weeks I held on to the bar and have gradually increased distance, speed and no longer hold the bar. I really don't think I would be able to walk outdoors as fast or far as on the treadmill, but plan on transitioning to outdoor walking when the weather allows for this (today it's raining here in western Oregon). As for my flexibility, I'm happy to report that I was able to tie my own tennis shoes about 2 weeks after coming home. I'm able to squat down to the ground to retrieve things fairly well. I also had no problem with personal hygiene after toileting and was happy to not need the salad tongs I had purchased pre-surgery ;). I've been taking afternoon naps most days but am finding I need less of this lately. I have a 3 story house and had no problems with stairs since coming home (of course I negotiated them slowly at first). As for pain meds, I'm now down to 4 oxycodone pills/day and am supposed to transition to Vicodin in a few days. I should probably also mention that I have children, ages 8 and 10 and although I have good childcare coverage for most of the time when hubby isn't home, I do spend significant time taking care of them -- this has been one of the most tiring things for me post surgery. As I've been weaning down on the pain meds, I do find that I have more pain issues. I've also noticed that as I take on more activities, I overdo it more often and pay the price in pain afterwards. Sorry this post ended up so long, but just wanted to fully cover most of the important topics here to help contribute to this important recovery topic. And thanks to all of you for all the posts that have helped me so much!

AP surgery T8 to sacrum
Jan 7 and 14th surgeries - Dr. Hart, Portland, OR

03-01-2008, 07:34 AM
Evie--I'm so glad you posted and let us know about your situation. It sounds like you are doing wonderfully well with your recovery! You are so right in saying that the people who just read the posts need to see the cross section of how people do... and I think it's already skewed anyway, with more people with problems being the posters on this site. So many others have just progressed and gone back to their regular lives. So-- TXMM-- please still let the general public know how you are progressing. Your progress is very valid and needed in the "big picture" of how people are doing after their surgeries. Most of us have our ages and levels that were fused, etc., in our signatures. People can figure things out if they want to from that. Evie sounds like she can join you on one end of the spectrum... :)

Suzy--7 levels is still a bunch-- and quite a lot to recover from. There's a fellow at my church who had either 2 or 3 vertebrae fused (not from scoli) and he had a rough time of it. It's all relative. No one should feel that they don't fit here because their's isn't as much. This forum is for everyone with scoli-- not just those who had longer fusions. If we go with that mentality, then soon those (like me) who had lesser curves wouldn't feel like they could post anymore... (Alright, I can hear some of you saying "YAY!") :( Sometimes I've felt inhibited when a few posters mention that so and so's curves aren't very bad compared to theirs... if you know what I mean. But we all have our problems and challenges with scoli-- and we all, that have had surgery/ies, have problems major enough to warrant them. It's like talking about love gone awry, in a way. A broken heart is extremely painful and can even cause suicidal thoughts-- even though others might view it as having "just been" puppy love. As they say, puppy love is huge to a puppy. Likewise, the 2 or 3 vertebrae fused was a huge surgery to that fellow I mentioned. And talking of levels fused doesn't include degree of rotation or whether they do hip or rib autograft or any of the other things... or just that our bodies may react to the surgery in different ways, regardless of the physical shape we may (or may not!) be in prior to the surgery. This surgery is a total invasion to our systems-- and anyone who doesn't understand that can go look at Pam's photos. Suzy--don't think I'm venting just for your benefit. I hope everyone is reading this and taking it in. I'm just feeling bad for those of you who think you either don't count or don't merit any empathy from the rest of us. You do-- and we want to hear from you and see how your progress is. And, as Evie said, others read our posts. There are tons of people who are probably looking at fusions similar to yours--and how scary it would be for them to only read about the longer fusions and how long it takes to recover for some of us.

So, everyone, let's work on accepting everyone's scoli journey as being unique and valid. Because they are. There are no little surgeries in the scoli world. Everyone recovers as they are able to. We'll all get there when we do, and that makes us all winners. :D

03-01-2008, 07:39 AM
Thanks for the update, Evie -- you're doing REALLY well!! The fastest I can go on the treadmill is 2.5 and that feels like I'm racing.....