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Thread: Doubly glad I had it done

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    near Philadelphia
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    Doubly glad I had it done

    I saw my cousin this past weekend, who I hadn't seen in over a year. She's 62 and has a thorocolumbar curve very similar to the one I had. In the past couple of years, her curve suddenly progressed to the point where she's shrunk at least two inches and has a lot of trouble standing up straight or walking for any distance. She also has intermittent nerve pain down one hip and leg and lots of aches and muscle fatigue all through her back.

    For a variety of reasons and life circumstances, my cousin is not a surgical candidate. I can't imagine what she'll look and feel like in another ten years. I know none of us have a crystal ball, but it seems to me that I got a glimpse of what my future might have been had I not had surgery. I felt so fortunate -- and so STRAIGHT -- after seeing her struggles.

    We all know how dangerous large thoracic curves can be, but curves that are mostly lumbar (like mine and my cousin's) can be really disabling and painful. For anyone who's on the fence about whether or not to have surgery, it's something to think about.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Carmel/Indianapolis
    Posts
    246
    I couldn't agree with you more! I'm so happy I had both of my surgeries - spondy and scoli. I wish I would have had the scoli surgery 10 years earlier but I didn't even know at that time they could fix scoliosis in adults and I didn't realize how far the hardware and surgical techniques had progressed.
    Age 56
    Wore a Milwaukee Brace for 3 years in hs
    Fused L4-S1 for high grade spondylolisthesis Jan '09 in Indy
    Thoracic 68
    Surgery Aug 31, 2010 T3 to L1
    Dr Bridwell St Louis
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...1&d=1289881696

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    970
    Thanks, Chris. I'm still one of those on the fence. Well, not really on the fence, just trying to decide about now or later--but I know it's inevitable. Any more details on severe thoracolumbar curves would be appreciated.

    ,
    Evelyn
    age 48
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Broken rods 12/1/19; scheduled for revision fusion L1-L3-4 with Dr. Lenke 2/4/2020
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    Chris

    I feel the same way....

    I think my timing was perfect. I couldnít say I wish I had it done 10 years earlier due to my skiing and knew I couldnít go any farther at age 49. I also know that I wouldnít have wanted to do my surgeries at an older age and also know that surgeons can get jumpy and not want to proceed with tough scenarios. I was truly at the end and out of time and had no choice. Iíve had surgeons shake their heads and sigh looking at my x-rays a few times. Some can go longer, but in my case I couldnít. I was on the fence for many years.

    I donít know why your cousin cannot proceed with surgery, I hope she will be able to manage her pain in the future. I really like hot water....I think its one of the easiest ways to deal with severe back pain.

    We are fortunate.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    I am also one of the lucky ones who feels very glad to have had the surgery. Knowing how rapidly my curve was progressing I feel lucky I was able to go without the surgery as long as I did, as well as lucky for having not been penalised for waiting till almost 58.

    My partner once said, we'll never win Lotto: we've already had all the luck in the world.

    If only I could pass on some of this luck to those who feel less happy with their surgery.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    4,159
    Jen

    You are right about winning the Lotto. I would never try, and certainly never expect to win being the luckiest person on the planet.

    I just wouldnít deserve it.

    I also donít expect too much or want much anymore. Iím happy now, no matter what happens. I guess this comes with a second chance. This should be on the other thread on how surgery changes you.

    I always have the wrong info on the wrong thread! LOL
    No worries...

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    3,263
    I feel the same Ed.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    332
    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for sharing that. I could have been in your cousin's shoes in a few years had I not done something. My thoracolumbar curve was huge (I'm happy as a clam with it still being in the 50's!) but no more pain/nerve compression and I feel great. I am so thankful that I made the decision when I did. Timing was right in so many ways. That surgery changes your perspective about a lot of things!


    Anne in PA
    Age 58
    Diagnosed at age 14, untreated, no problem until age 50
    T4 to sacrum fusion
    63 thoracic now 35, 92 lumbar now 53
    Dr. Baron Lonner, 2/2/10
    Am pain-free, balanced, happy & an inch taller !

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Just wanted to add that I'm mindful of the people who are less than happy with their surgical results. I really feel for them, because as we all know there are no guarantees with this surgery. I still have some discomfort from time to time but it's not a biggie...so I realize I'm lucky. And it took me a long time after a looooong recovery to be able to feel that way!
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Wow Chris, how sad for your cousin. It's wierd to have it stare you in the face like that.

    I'm glad you had it done too; you were a big inspiration to me!
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA area
    Posts
    189
    I can't wait until I'm 6 months postop and I can say without a doubt that I'm glad I had this surgery because _________.

    At 6 weeks postop, it's waaaaaay too early to comment about this. I'm at the frustrated stage where I am so limited at what I can/am allowed to do. I go outside and stare down at the nasty weeds popping up in my yard and I can't bend over and yank them out of the ground! (I had my daughter have the honors.) I can't mow the lawn. (I like to!) No dusting, no driving, no clothes shopping, no nightly glass of wine , etc, etc.)

    BUT, at 6 weeks I am walking really well, walking up and down stairs, off pain meds except for muscle relaxers. I sat in a restaurant for 2 hours for my daughter's birthday. I am suffering from very little pain most of the time. It's a challenge to have to tell myself to backoff and NOT do anything and think of myself and focus on just getting better. I am thrilled that my back looks flat and my presurgical back pain appears to be gone - too early to tell really.

    I feel badly for those I read about here who are suffering from postop pain and complications. I hope in time that they will heal and will have a happier quality of life.
    Laurie
    Age 57
    Posterior fusion w/thoracoplasty T2-L3 Oct 1, 2010
    Thoracic curve corrected from 61* to 16*
    Lumbar curve, unknown measurement
    Disfiguring back hump GONE!!
    Dr Munish Gupta
    UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    112
    I can so relate to your feelings, Chris!
    I waited a long time; well, actually didn't know they could do anything about my back. When it started deteriorating I realized it was now or never. I'm osteopenic and 57 years old. My mom had horrible spinal stenosis in her last years and was bent over at a 90˚ angle, in constant pain. We found out she was crawling around the house and not telling anyone, but her skinned knees gave her away. Her condition was so sad, but untreatable.

    When I found out there was appropriate treatment, not only for my disc disease but for my scoliosis, I was overjoyed.

    It was now or never. And even though I'm having some unpleasant issues with pain management right now, I know it was the right decision in the long run, and am looking forward to more active and pain-free years to come than I would have had otherwise.
    Juliet, age 57
    37˚ lumbar and 35˚ thoracic with rotation
    Diagnosed at age 11 and untreated.
    Total degeneration of disc at L4-5, spondylolisthesis at L4, L5 sacralized.
    Surgery on 10/26/10
    Dr. Matthew Geck, Seton Spine & Scoliosis, Center, Austin, TX.
    University Medical Center @ Brackenridge Hospital.
    Posterior fusion of T11-S1, part minimally invasive; TLIF at L4-5.

  13. #13
    backissues Guest
    I feel the same way. It is now or never. Until last year, none of the pain management doctors were willing to recommend surgery. They kept providing shots when I had "acute" pain. That only got me to my "chronic" state and didn't solve the problem but I went on. I want to go on with my life and cannot make this decision again in later years. Because I have osteopenia, I may not be able to have the surgery later. Hopefully, all will be fine. The good thing about surgical pain is that there is supposed to be an end to it. The other back pain has no end.

    Wishing you a continued and smooth recovery.

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