View Full Version : Surgery June 23 or 30 with Dr. Purnendu Gupta in Chicago

03-13-2008, 09:59 AM
Well I did it. I scheduled surgery when I met with Dr. Gupta yesterday. What a long day. My sister and brother who live in Madison, WI accompanied me. Now I know why itís mostly women who end up having this surgery. I thought my twin brother who is 6í2Ē, well-built and athletic was going to pass out. Men simply cannot handle this as well as we women do. I feel good about my decision to move forward with this and Iím extremely confident in my surgeon of choice. Thanks everyone for your support.


03-13-2008, 10:35 AM
Way to go, Chris!! I'm so happy that you are ready and confident in your surgeon. These few months are going to go fast so buy your grabbers now!

Does Dr. Gupta plan on a posterior approach?

03-13-2008, 10:41 AM
I'm so happy for you! You know you'll have a ton of support from everyone here.
Its taken me well over 10 years to make the same decision. Now I can't wait.

03-13-2008, 10:42 AM
I am very glad that you have made your decision. That is one of the hardest parts..to decide yes or no. I felt much better, kind of relieved in a way after I decided it was the right move for me...
Plus you had that sign(roses). I strongly believe in signs that lead us down the right path....Ly :)

03-13-2008, 11:22 AM
Chris-- I am so excited for you! That (to me, anyway) seems like the main hurdle-- the rest of it will now fall into place. I'm a visual person, and what helped me once I got the date set, was to make myself a little one page calendar (mine went from Jan. to mid May) to plot in happenings at work, family stuff, getting things done at the house, etc., and of course, surgery related things-- so I could see it all in a glance... Of course, the best laid plans... they upped the surgery by a week, but it was ok too. ;) Keep us posted with your plans, concerns, questions, whatever. Take care!

03-13-2008, 11:31 AM

I can imagine that you are glad that you finally have a date and that the decision is made,,,, but bet you are also terrified. Here's where your faith comes in... Just don't let any negative "what-if's" come into your thoughts. So many of us have been thru it and come thru just fine, so will you!!

You can use me if u want to.... Just say to yourself..."If that WIMP, JoAnn, can do it, i know i can too!!" ;)

I'll be watching the forum for your postings and will be glad to help in any
way if i can. We are all pulling for you!

03-13-2008, 11:39 AM

Best wishes to you on your decision to move forward with surgery. You have been contemplating for quite a while, so either way it must be a relief to make a decision and move forward. I'm sure you will be very well prepared, and of course you will have all the support and prayers from the "forum folks".


03-13-2008, 11:44 AM
Congrats on your decision, Chris. Singer's right ... it will pass quickly!

You can do this ;-).


03-13-2008, 01:58 PM

Thanks for all your comments and well wishes. Considering that I have an 80ļ curve that has shown fast progression the past decade (I can tell by how my body has changed), I think I would be foolish to ignore this. It will only worsen and possibly lead to more problems in the future. Additionally, I really donít want to become any more deformed than I am now if I can do something to prevent that from happening.

Chris, yesterday Dr. Gupta reiterated his stance for posterior only and I trust his judgment. No, I will not get the kind of correction that you got, but Iím pushing 60 and I would be satisfied with a lesser correction and a faster recovery. I will require a fusion to the sacrum and he told me that in itself will not be a walk in the park. Where have I heard that before?

03-13-2008, 01:59 PM
Wow, Chris. I know what a monumental decision this is for you; I've been following your posts since I first came on here at the beginning of 2007. I wish you the very best, and I hope you feel peace.

03-13-2008, 02:06 PM
I'm so glad you made the decision to move forward! You are going to do just great! And fusion to the sacrum isn't so bad...I just had to learn how to do some things a new way. Its been a bit rough, but I'm getting there, and soon I have no doubt I will be able to do all of the things I did before. Again, just in a new way. If you want any info on life after fusion to the sacrum I will be happy to answer any questions that I can, even those embarrassing personal ones, just send me a PM. Good luck with your surgery and a new improved back!

03-13-2008, 05:44 PM
Hi Chris,

So glad you have come to your decision and that you have such confidence in your surgeon. We are all here for you. And I know you have a local support group in Chicago. Keep us posted!

03-13-2008, 06:24 PM
I think it's great you are moving forward with surgery, especially with such a large curve I think you are right to take care of it now rather than later. It is such a good feeling to have confidence in the doctor you have chosen. Good luck, the time will be here before you know it.

03-13-2008, 07:13 PM
Good on 'ya, Chris! :) You've passed the biggest hurdle -the decision. Please keep us updated on your progress.

03-13-2008, 07:21 PM
Chris, I'm so glad you're avoiding the dreaded anterior cut!!

03-13-2008, 11:36 PM
You've come a long way baby! :)

03-14-2008, 07:10 AM
Congratulations Chris. I am excited for you. We are both on this countdown together and will have post-op stories to share. Looking forward to hearing about the "new" you. Take care.

03-14-2008, 08:07 AM
It's a tough decision to make. Now everything will fall into place. Wishing you all the best!

03-14-2008, 09:54 AM
Again, thanks everyone for all your comments and support.

CSC: Yes, itís taken me close to three years after much research to make my decision. But after seeing my spine looking more and more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa thatís about ready to topple over, I knew I had to take action. In addition, I turned to my strong faith and prayed for guidance which I was given.

03-14-2008, 02:04 PM
Chris--your wonderful faith will pull you thru this....prior to my surgery, I wish I had more belief in the higher powers! It's something that was learned thru this experience....Ly :)

03-14-2008, 04:57 PM
Hi ChrisWeb
I have consulted with Dr Gupta. Even though he didn't think I was a surgical candidate, he is a wonderful human being and surgeon. I wish the best of luck and a good recovery. I also find his assistant, Maria, quite wonderful. I will be checking on you on how things are going. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

Linda W
03-14-2008, 10:31 PM
Hi Chris,

Good for you for making a decision to go ahead with the surgery! Making the decision and saying it out loud to yourself and others is a major step forward. Take advantage of the the time before surgery to make your plans and preparations. I kept a small note bedside that listed the reasons I was going to have the surgery. It was a quick reminder and kept me focused on the future. I have absolutely no regrets for making my decision, and I was glad I did not wait any longer. I will be one year postop when you have your surgery, and I will be celebrating for both of us!

Linda W.

03-17-2008, 11:37 AM
Thank you Lynne, Donna and Linda.

Donna, Iím sorry you were not offered more encouraging news from Dr. Gupta, but I am one who believes that thereís a reason for the whys and why notís in our lives. My preference would be to avoid this surgery altogether, because I would rather have a mobile spine even it that means living with a deformity, but my worst fears were realized when I saw x-rays of my spine that showed significant progression within just one year. In addition to Dr. Gupta, I consulted with Dr. Hammerberg, Dr. Schafer and Dr. Bridwell, all of whom have excellent reputations. I then turned it over to God and asked to be led to the doctor who is right for me, and I felt myself being guided to Dr. Gupta. Iíve read your earlier posts and you state that you are not in pain in spite of your 125ļ curve. That in itself is a blessing. Surgery is by no means a perfect solution and as you read through many of the posts here you will learn that many people live with chronic pain even after surgery, and sometimes as a result of surgery. Nonetheless, I will keep you in my prayers. Oh, and for the record, like you, I have never been married and I will turn 59 this year.


03-17-2008, 12:29 PM
ChrisWBS ... sorry to interrupt your thread, but I wanted to tell you your PM is full! :)

03-21-2008, 03:51 AM
Hi Chris W,

I just have to chime in here, to wish you all the best!!!! I know you have struggled with this decision for quite some time.

I am SO glad you have found the Doctor that gives you the peace and comfort you needed to go through with it.

You will have all my thoughts, prayers and best wishes!!! I am so happy for you!!!


Karen Ocker
07-17-2008, 06:42 PM
I've been thinking about her and wonder how her surgery went.

07-28-2008, 03:33 PM
Hi Karen,

I survived my 12-hour surgery but it has been very rough. My fusion is from T4 to the sacrum. I can feel the rods in my back and the pelvic bolts. My recovery is anything but remarkable. It's slow and painful. I did get a very good correction and gained back most of my lost height. I now stand two inches taller at 5'6". Walking is difficult for me as I feel very unsteady and fearful of falling. I'm using a cane indoors but need my walker when I go outside. My doctor though is not in favor of walkers. I have weakness in my left leg which is slowing my progression. I was in the hospital for six days (4 days in ICU) and then two weeks in rehab. I'm currently staying with my brother and sister-in-law. I sure hope I'll see some better days ahead soon.

Thank you to all the kind people here who were asking about me.


07-28-2008, 04:13 PM
CHRIS!!! Welcome back!!!

It will get better, I promise. Remember, I used a walker for 3 months and today I took a 3-mile walk. You can do it!

07-28-2008, 05:46 PM
YAY, Chris! It's wonderful to see you back on the forum! Singer is soooo right. It just takes some of us awhile to get going. You're doing just fine. :) Keep us posted with how you're doing!

07-28-2008, 06:28 PM
Great news, Chris. YOU DID IT !!!!!

It is difficult at first, but it really improves in a fairly predictable sequence. You will see many better days soon.

Although I lost 2 months of recovery due to my stomach obstruction, now at 7 months I am doing almost everything I want. I started in-home PT in April and got out of the house in May, started driving soon thereafter, been in hydro-therapy 3x / week since end of May - it has been a huge help. I have regained a lot of strength, and my balance is far better than it had been for the past 30 years!

My thoughts are with you.

07-28-2008, 09:48 PM
I'm happy to hear from you Chris. I guess not everyone can have a remarkable recovery, but slow and steady sounds good too. I am glad that you are able to stay with your brother's family.

Take care and let us know more when you are feeling better.


07-29-2008, 07:46 AM
Chris, I'm so proud of you for your strength so far!!! Congratulations for being 'on the other side'!! You might have some discouraging days, but the ENcouraging ones will outnumber those more and more. We 'aint spring chickens' anymore so don't expect to bounce back like some chicks do.... but just keep clucking;).... we'll get there!!!!


loves to skate
07-29-2008, 02:03 PM
Congratulations Chris. I'm glad you are back and on the recovery side. Recovery is tough, and for some, it is longer and tougher that for others. Just keep the faith and put a smile on your face and you will do just fine. God bless you. Sally

Tall Paul
08-03-2008, 05:45 PM
Chris is great to hear from you. I've been thinking about you and was happy to see your post. Wishing you all the best and a speedy recovery.


08-04-2008, 07:34 AM
Dear Chris,

It is good to hear from you. Congratulations on your great correction and regained height. You had a very large lumbar curve, and I am sure you have quite an adjustment to make being realigned. I would image you have to adjust to walking with your new configuration. I am now 6 weeks post-op and have left leg issues, but have always had a slightly weaker and slightly shorter left leg. I just took myself off the walker and now use a cane. I'm starting to do more but am a little pokey and have to rest intermittently.
Good luck with your continued recovery. Your muscles need to take their time to heal after your big surgery. Take good care. Rita

08-05-2008, 11:22 AM
Thank you all for your well wishes. They are much appreciated. Chris

Ginger W.
08-06-2008, 07:24 PM
Dear Chris,

Weakness in my left leg really plagued me in those first few weeks. I'm now two months post-op and finding that the leg is getting stronger and stronger.

Hang in there!

AND, I am WAY HAPPY that you returned to share your story on the forum. I've appreciated so many things you've written!


08-08-2008, 01:35 PM
Thank you, Ginger. Earlier this week I ditched my walker. My leg too is getting stronger. My PT has given me some at-home exercises to strengthen the muscles and they have helpd a lot. I'm using my cane now when I go outdoors. I walk like a little old lady, but at least I'm walking.


08-08-2008, 08:52 PM
Yeah Chris!

You seem to be making great progress, and it will continue to improve. Just keep walking and doing the PT exercises. Before you know it, you'll be driving again. I keep my cane in the car, and still use it when I go into a crowded location - sort of a warning signal to others.

Ditching the walker was a real high emotionally for me - mine is somewhere in the back of a closet, and if I ever find it I'll donate it so I won't have to see it again (or maybe I just won't clean out my closets :rolleyes:)

Has your doctor or PT recommended hydrotherapy? I have been doing it since the end of May, 3 x / week, and it has made a huge difference. Most of the workoouts are to strengthen core muscles, and I can really feel them kicking in at this point.

Glad you have returned to the forum - we are here to support you.

Diane BCSW
08-09-2008, 02:24 AM
Chris, I'm so happy about your surgery and recovery, but may I ask a question of Janet who just posted ahead of me. How do you get your doctor to measure your post-surgery kyphosis? Does your kyphosis change during the time you wake up to the time in the evenings? I hate seeing myself in mirrors and usually just won't look. I've got to find out more about this kyphosis that didn't happen until this past 5th surgery.

Chris, again, bless your heart. Your faith came through for you in a big way. You've, like so many of us, have walked the valley of death.... and made it.

08-09-2008, 01:48 PM
Diane BCSW-

It sounds like your experience with kyphosis is somewhat different than mine.
I went into my surgery last December with a 100* kyphotic curve that had developed over the past 50 years; 1 month post-op it was about 57*. It was measured in the same manner as the pre-ops: standing x-rays that are marked up with all those geometry-class tools the names of which I don't recall.

I don't know what it is now 'cause I haven't had a real post-op exam (due to other circumstances) but I am seeing Dr. B on Sept. 15 and I'll find out more then. However, I think it is holding at about 57* degrees.

I hadn't even thought about differences between AM and bedtime measurements but I am sure there is a difference later in the day - my muscles feel overworked and I'm sure I am slouching somewhat - but at least the next morning I am straighter again. I think that any change I might experience is due to just plain slouching rather than the rigid curve from pre-op days.

Hope this helps somewhat.

Karen Ocker
10-29-2008, 09:21 PM
I was wondering how you are doing?