View Full Version : I'm now 6 months post op

04-24-2008, 01:11 PM
Sorry that I have not been here for awhile but I have had a full plate for the last few months. I'm sure that some can relate. I want to ask who knows how long or if and when I will be able to walk normal because I do walk rather stiff at 6 months post op. And do we have to forever squat to pick things up. Or how about sitting on a low comfy sofa, it is not so easy getting up from that position. I am fused from T2 to the sacrum. Also, when I sit, my chest sticks way out which can sometimes be a good thing...lol. But it really does not look normal. My back now sways inward and makes my chest and...my belly stick out. It really sucks. Will all those issues eventually calm down after about a year post op? Man...I hope so. I do know that I have some weight to lose (25 lbs.) so maybe if I lose the weight it will help. One more thing...I am a blackjack dealer and I just recently went back to work and I am having a hard time with it. I cannot reach across the table to pay or take bets or pick up the cards. I know that if I was taller that it would not be an issue with me. I am only 5 ft. I did gain an inch after surgery in which I am pleased with. Any thing helps when your short. So I am now going back out on long term disability. I do need to say that I do not regret having this surgery as it has helped with my number one complaint...PAIN and I did get a 60% correction. Sorry about the long rant but, I do know how understanding all of you can be. You are all simply "the Best"
Thanks you guys for any input you may have for me!!!


04-24-2008, 02:29 PM
Hi Debbie,

Your fusion is longer than mine but I still have quite limited mobility being fused to L5. I was still in a lot of discomfort at 6 months and have only recently started to feel a lot better some days. I don't think they're kidding when they say it takes a year or more to heal from this surgery. I'm about your height (okay, 4'11") so I can relate to not being able to reach things. I guess you can't use your grabber on the blackjack table, eh?? I use mine constantly.

Also, my body settled into its new shape at around 6 or 7 months....that's when all the swelling eveywhere (including my ankles) finally went away.

04-25-2008, 10:57 AM
I guess your right. I think I get impatient sometimes. Since my fusion is longer than yours and you had discomfort at 6 months then mine could easily take at least a year. The grabber is the best invention ever for us except they need to make one for the blackjack table...ha ha ha. That'll be the day.

04-25-2008, 11:24 AM
Hi Debbie-- I'd been wondering about you! Thanks for the update! Remember that "one pound a week" I was going to lose? Ha! It hasn't happened. :o And it's not that I haven't tried... I've been dieting and exercising, but it just doesn't want to leave... ;)

I am at ALMOST one year now, and the farther I get into this recovery, the more I understand about what "they" meant by 1-2 (or 3) years, at least in my case. I kept thinking that meant you'd be feeling at least around 80% and then you'd sort of hit a plateau, but still get better and better. Instead it's been so much slower for me and very gradual-- it's sort of like climbing, but at such a low slope ratio that you hardly feel the climb. But then when you stop and look behind you, you can see you've actually traveled a fair distance. So at this point, I know I'm doing well-- have progressed quite a bit, but imagine it will take me at least the 2, maybe 3 years to "recover."

That's too bad about your job though. I'm going to PT now and he's about to start working with me on doing my job-type things... like wheeling AV carts, picking up boxes, and stuff like that, but doing it the CORRECT way. The more I think about picking up boxes of books and wheeling carts around, the more it sounds like I'd better hurry up and get farther along with this recovery QUICKLY! :eek: School will start for me in about 3 1/2 months, and that's not that long away! We'll see how it goes... I may have to find something else to do rather than be an elementary school librarian.

Again-- it's good to hear from you! Take care! Susie

04-26-2008, 10:52 AM
Hi Susie,

Talk about the lbs...yes I remember you saying that. I think I picked up that "one pound a week". What I weigh now is the most that I have ever weighed in my life :( . I still believe we can do it!!! Time, time and more time.
I think PT is really helpful as long as you keep it up. I myself need to start back up with it. It seems that if you do not stretch, etc. that we start to stiffen up. So...yep, it's back to PT I go. Do you walk on a treadmill? I was doing so good on it for awhile, then it was time to start back to work which was too exhausting to do anything. Work for me is like a workout. From our employee parking lot to the casino is a 10 minute walk, plus walking up and down stairs all day which really is a good work out though.

It's good to hear from you Susie Bee!!!

04-30-2008, 12:38 PM
Hi Debbie,

Remember me? Cathy, Dr. Pashman's other patient? I've been wondering about you lately and thought I'd log on to see if you were still posting. I just went for my one year check-up and all is well with the fusion, but every complaint you mentioned is something I also live with everyday. I returned to work after 5 months, but only lasted 3 before I quit permanently. Less severe pain, yes, but with increased lower back aches and lack of mobility. I am, however, able to stand, walk and sit upright much longer than before. Dr. Pashman informed me that he is the only doctor doing such extreme spinal balancing and has just published a paper on the technique he's performed on 35 of us. I never realized I was a guinea pig. Although, we all now have sway backs and all the problems you mentioned, he believes we have a much better chance of staying upright as we age. Guess it will be several years before we know if that's true. Meanwhile, I've found that the only way to deal with my new body is to accept it and adapt to it. There's no going back. Like others, I'm hoping that things will get slightly better as time passes.

Chihuahua Mama
04-30-2008, 02:17 PM
Dr. Pashman informed me that he is the only doctor doing such extreme spinal balancing and has just published a paper on the technique he's performed on 35 of us. I never realized I was a guinea pig. Although, we all now have sway backs and all the problems you mentioned, he believes we have a much better chance of staying upright as we age.

Hi to Debbie and CRGriffith - I'm also going to go with Dr. Pashman for my surgery - but my fusion will be T10 to the sacrum both anterior and posterior. He's the only doctor (out of the 5 surgeons I consulted) that wanted to fuse to the sacrum. He said that if I didn't (and only went to L5) that I'd be back in 3 years as that last level would wear out from the strain of supporting the rest of the fusion - which does make sense to me. I'm wondering if I will have a 'sway back' and WHY you guys have sway backs...is this a result of his 'balancing' ? (which I agree is important - he told me I was leaning forward and to the side...I'll grow by at least an inch)

It seems a little extreme to create a sway back - I look at his website and DO find alot of side views that appear to be swayed, now that I think of it. If you look at the case of the "41 year old" on his site, that is my curve and it will be corrected pretty much the same as he did that individual. And yeah! She's waaaaay more sway backed after the correction than in the original curve of the back. Hmmmmmmm.....

04-30-2008, 03:34 PM
There sure seems to be a lot of inconsistency among doctors about stopping a fusion at L5. Iíve had a discussion thread on this subject a while back. Chris (Singer) was told by Dr. Boachie that she could possibly get 20 good years before the last level would wear out. My preference would be to take that chance and spare that final level because unfortunately everything I have read about a fusion to the sacrum mentions low back ache such as Cathy is experiencing as a common occurrence.


Chihuahua Mama
05-01-2008, 01:11 PM
There probably is some inconsistency - I do know this doctor showed me where the disc at L5 already wasn't good, where the other doctors didn't indicate that. I truly only want to have this surgery once and don't want to have to go back and do it again!

05-01-2008, 03:56 PM
Yep, C-mama, I think you and Chris are right about inconsistency with this... and it's one of those things you just have to trust your surgeon with. It's probably one of those "six of one, half a dozen of the other" type things... and which way to play the odds. My surgeon said there's a chance we'll have to go back and fuse my lower lumbars to the sacrum, but he said I probably have an 80% chance we won't. So I opted to play the odds that way. My understanding is that it helps prevent ALL the stress from being on your hip joints... and with my arthritis, I'm hoping this will work. Of course, my discs aren't very good. If not, I'll at least have a few years till it's needed. And he did say if it's needed, it will not be anything as major as the first surgery. I guess time will tell. I'm not holding my breath over it!

Debbie-- yes, we can still work on that weight problem. I ended up going to my regular doctor yesterday because of excruciating headaches caused by a sinus infection... and we talked about why the weight just won''t come off... I already knew this, but it doesn't help. Some of us are just so much more efficient. If we were cars, we'd be the ones in high demand right now-- just a little fuel gets us going for a long time. Throw in menopause when your metabolism drops even more, and it's a no-win situation. He said just to aim at 5 lbs. a year and consider that a success. DRAT! I always want to hear some magical words. He did draw blood to check my thyroid, but I'm sure that's just wishful thinking. I've been dieting, gave up baking, etc., for 4 months now. I've only lost a few pounds. And yes, I'm doing the treadmill and also other exercise-- going to PT now too. I've been bad about the treadmill this week though because of the headaches and I feel so lousy. I finally resorted to taking one of my "leftover" pain pills.

When you (and the other Dr. Pashman patients in this thread) talk of your swaybacks, are they REALLY swaybacks? Or just the normal sway of normal kyphosis and lordosis that is supposed to be there? I know I asked that before, a few months ago.

:( Just got called from the doctor's-- no problems with my thyroid. I guess I just have to cut out even more, but that hardly seems possible. Anyone who reads this and is skinny, please understand that some of us "chunks" don't overeat by society's standards. We just overeat by our own body's standards. That is why I gained 8 lbs. in the hospital even with the ileus and not being able to eat or drink for 5 days. There was enough nutrition in the IV solution, plus my body sent out its signals that I was in starvation mode, dropping my metabolism even lower. Some of you are asking "where's the cheese?"-- to go with all this "whine." :rolleyes: But I think some people don't understand about some people's weight problems. They're not all from eating excessively or anything. :(

05-01-2008, 04:47 PM
Iíve looked at Dr. Pashmanís adult cases and I can definitely see a more pronounced lordodic curve in a couple patients where I can see how it would create swayback, especially the 41-year-old and 60-year old females.

Susie, I have tried Seattle Sutton on occasion when I got careless and gained some weight and it was very successful for me. The food is fresh, tasty, and calorie-controlled and it can be delivered to your door. Itís a little pricey, but for me it beats WW or Nutrisystem.

05-01-2008, 07:01 PM
Chris-- you are way too kind. I'm sorry I had my little meltdown. :rolleyes: Good thing everyone is so patient with me! Anyway, the closest Seattle Sutton's is 45 miles away, if it's still there, so I doubt if they'd deliver to my door. I should PM you what I eat, and you would see that Seattle would probably feed me more than what I currently eat. I'll just have to bite the bullet more, or else stop worrying about it that much.

What's a link to see some of Dr. Pashman's patients?

Debbie--I think it would be so interesting to see you using a grabber and a rake of sorts at the blackjack tables. But my guess is that someone would complain. Is there something else you could do there after you heal a little more?

Chihuahua Mama
05-01-2008, 09:18 PM
Here ya go Ms. Susie Bee http://www.espine.com/adult-scoliosis-cases.htm
it is very informational. My concern now however is the fusion to the sacrum and the possibility of a swayback. I'm told I'm most like the "41 year old".

Any and all, please-oh-please feel free to pm me any of your thoughts? They are so appreciated as I know nothing...other than I need surgery.

I appreciate all of you and all the information and involvement you all have to offer.


05-02-2008, 01:51 PM
A picture is sure worth a thousand words... now I see what you guys are talking about. :eek: But then, x-rays are so harsh, whereas once you put some tissue and skin on, topped off with clothing, it probably looks fine. Still, I think I would be afraid of quite that much curve... It's really hard for us to try to understand a surgeon's thought process, and he has a lot of experience, so I probably shouldn't say anything... but I personally don't understand why he does it quite that way. I know I'm only one year "out" but I think I'm really straight, look and feel fairly natural (other than being stiff and a little awkward about it!) and don't have any tilts or leanings or stress that I'm aware of. You can see my "after" side profile if you click on my x-rays in the sig. They aren't good x-rays like some-- I asked the x-ray person last time I was there what the deal was, and she said my doctor (and Dr. DeWald) always request this kind, that shows the surrounding tissue and stuff some. Not a pretty picture like those others that people have that show just the bones. I forget what they're called-- something like compressed or compacted (????) x-rays. Anyway, my lordosis is very gentle, not like the one I just looked at with that link you put in. I think I'd question it myself. But maybe others have more thoughts.

05-02-2008, 03:44 PM
I realize my post just above this probably sounds a little negative. I should have thought a little longer about it before I posted... I guess I was genuinely surprised when I saw the x-ray, thinking you guys might be exaggerating a little. He must think this will be best in the long run for your stability and all. That's interesting that he's publishing a paper on his technique.

We are all reluctant about so many things-- not just scoli surgeries-- to think "outside the box" and question what isn't like our own. If it works, keeps things from going bad later, and you feel comfortable, then it's a good thing. :)

Hugs to all of you, and hope I didn't offend anyone. (I find myself doing that at times, though not intentionally...) :(

Chihuahua Mama
05-03-2008, 12:12 PM
I think you just sounded like "a picture is indeed worth a thousand words", but I appreciate your second post as I'm a little alarmed at the thought that this (could) be me?!? so emotions are running a bit high to say the least.

I have emailed the surgeon to get some clarification with a specific question about this curve and that it does, indeed, look unnatural.

I'll post back if anyone's interested.

05-03-2008, 02:45 PM
Let us know what he says!! I'm curious to know. Although, I have a picture (as crazy as this may sound) of the American Idol top 6 and if you look at Carly Smithson's (who should not of been voted off, but that's another story) profile, she has a swayback. So maybe we are taking this a little too far. I don't know. I am curious though.

05-03-2008, 10:35 PM
Hi Debbie, So good to see you posting. I don't know if you remember me or not? We had surgery on the same dates (Oct. 15 and Oct. ). We talked on the phone a long while back. Anyway I was amazed when I read this thread. I thought maybe I was the only person with a sway back. My surgeon said he balanced my spine and that was very important for many reasons (which I don't remember). Like you though my back sways inward and my belly sticks out (very pronounced). I wasn't fused up as high as you, maybe that's why my chest doesn't stick out. There is no way to stand and hold my belly in, the way my back is fused the sway back is just the shape it is and it won't bend. I sure understand what you and Cathy and any others with this problem are going through.
All the other issues you mentioned are definately with me too. I hope they do get better with time. I'm having headaches almost every day now too, don't know if it's tension, or if my neck and below (I knew I had a couple of pinched nerves there before) is working too hard. I know I don't want another surgery to be fused higher... I see my surgeon next Tuesday for my six month visit. He has been out of town so it will be a little past six months. I can't wait to hear him say everything is okay. I won't go into a lot of detail right now but I took a couple of falls this week and am pretty sore and nervous. Didn't mean to get so carried away here. This forum is great.
Susie Bee, you really described the climb of this recovery to a T.
Take care all,