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Thread: 5 years ago today

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    5 years ago today

    Hello all,

    I haven't been on here for quite awhile but think it is important to check back in and let those of you facing your surgery or, recovering from one, know how a few years out might look for you.

    I was 49* lumbar curve now fused from T10 to L4. My surgery was 8 hours, I was in the hospital for 8 days and am now corrected to 8* (Wonder what my lucky # should be?)

    The only sport I have given up is water skiing, I still snow ski and scuba dive. I was not sure the first 2 years about rollerblading again but as time has passed I don't worry at all about falling I just haven't gone yet. I don't care for riding in a fast boat or on jet skiis as the pounding on the waves is a bit uncomfortable and I pay the next day with a sore back. I never was a runner so I don't miss that. It too is a bit uncomfortable and is a weird feeling when I do.

    I have been back at the gym since I was done with PT. I have found I MUST go to the gym at least 1X a week to keep my back muscles from getting tight. 2X and I have no problems. My lower back muscles tighten up and get uncomfortable when I am slack and don't go. This is actually a good thing as it keeps me in shape. I have over the years not gone to the gym while sick or just being lazy and then my back just gets too tight to loosen up myself. I then go to my friend who is a massage therapist and all is well again. This only happens after I have missed a few weeks.

    I am still wearing my high heels. This floors the scoliosis support group I attend~ Heh heh! I go dancing about every 2 months with the girls, in my heels for 5-6 hours. My feet give out before my back.

    I had trouble initally putting on tights and my knee high boots because I was trying to do it the way I did before my fusion. I can do it now that I have figured out a different way. I still polish my own toes, the key is to keep your hamstrings flexable. As I get older it will be my eyes that keep me from doing this not my back! (I am 48)

    I do not lift the amount of weight (Like boxes of stuff.) I use to, nor move furniture around without sliders under it. At the gym I do no excersize that puts weight stress on my spine. I vaccume by following it forward then walking back not pushing/pulling while standing in one spot, then another spot, like most do.

    I realise as some of you read this you might think because my fusion is shorter then most, that you won't have great results. Wrong. I have freinds with the same fusion as I as well as their whole back fused and they too are doing great. I can not stress to you enough the power of positive thinking. That seems to be the one common factor all with a great out come have. Unfortunately I have a few friends who are having troubles post op but that isn't the norm.

    I hope this post helps some of you who might be on the fence as to go forward with your surgery or wait. Before my surgery I was only able to function 3-4 hours a day, now I have to make myself slow down. I would do the whole thing all over again if I had to.

    Best wishes, Suzy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Wow Suzy,impressive!! My surgery is just a few weeks away now and reading your story is just what I needed to hear. Congratulations!
    Cathy from CA
    59 years old
    70 degree curve before surgery
    Original surgery March 2011, anterior and posterior
    T3 - sacrum
    UCSF, Dr. V. Deviren
    Infection after two weeks,
    Then four more weeks in the hospital and three more surgeries to clean out the infection

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Central NJ

    it is so good to hear from you. I remember what support you gave me before my big day--thank you very much. It is good to hear that you continue to do well. Seeing your name did bring back memories of you talking about your heels, I'm glad it's still going well. For about the first year, heels made me uncomfortable, but I can wear them now with no problem. HOWEVER, I don't think I've ever worn heels as high as you like them!

    Keep in touch when you can.
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Excellent story and result!

    You were fused at a smaller angle that most other adults here as far as I can tell. Maybe you had less damage than others. That may be a factor in your recovery.

    Best wishes.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine

    "We are all African."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    near Philadelphia
    Hi Suzy!

    What a great post. Congratulations! It was really helpful to read how you do some things differently, as I do also. You're so funny about the heels ...I can wear them now too, but dancing in them for 5 hours ... don't think so!! I totally agree about keeping the hamstrings flexible -- I find that this makes a huge difference in overall comfort.

    What exercises do you do in the gym? I'm curious because I mostly hike for exercise and do a few core-building exercises on a mat. Do you use the elliptical? I have found that to be a bit too jarring for me, even at the lowest setting -- possibly because my legs are so short. I also have trouble on a stationary bike and do better on a recumbent bike, but really prefer walking to any kind of biking.

    Good to hear from you!
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Easton PA


    My surgery is coming up in June, and it is really helpful to read posts like yours. Thank you so much for taking the time to update us. I am very glad to hear you did so well, and hope you continue to do so! Sincerely, Lori
    Lori in PA, 52 yrs. old
    Surgery 6/7/11, T3-S1, all posterior, with pelvic anchors
    Gained 2 inches!
    Dr. Boachie, HSS, NYC
    12/10/13 Hardware Removal for infection
    Lost 2", gained PJK!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Hi Suzy and thaks for the great follow up post - so important for those facing surgery.

    And congrats on 5 years!
    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
    Oct 2007
    Suzy- good to hear from you! Congrats on the 5 year anniversary. It sounds like you are doing great and definitely have your life back. Thanks for encouraging everyone.
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    London, UK
    What a brilliant post, Suzy! Thanks for the boost!
    32 year old male from UK
    Fused at 25yrs
    62 degree thoratic curve
    45 degree lumbar curve
    Fused T3-L1 on 3rd Jan 2012

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Sacramento, CA area
    Hi Suzy,

    Good to hear from you and that you are doing so well. You were a great inspiration to me when I first joined this forum almost 2 years ago. Then I got to meet you at one of the support meetings and you looked fantastic. Since you and I are close in age, I figured that I could get through this horrendous surgery too. Your positive attitude really helped me at that time. Now here I am, 5 months postop, standing straight and doing really well. Thanks for coming on the forum again to share with the rest of us!
    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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Waterloo, IL
    I love reading success stories. I am 7 weeks post-op and doing extremely well. I just keep my fingers crossed that it continues. I am a member at local Y and as I have recently walked laps on the track above the exercise room, I look down and wonder if any of my favorite machines will ever be allowed. I want to get my muscle tone back that I had worked so hard to achieve. Maybe swimming will be the answer.
    Thanks for posting!

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    London, UK
    Forgive me - what's a Y?
    32 year old male from UK
    Fused at 25yrs
    62 degree thoratic curve
    45 degree lumbar curve
    Fused T3-L1 on 3rd Jan 2012

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    British Columbia
    Quote Originally Posted by BendyBill View Post
    Forgive me - what's a Y?

    They also usually have a swimming pool and exercise facilities etc.
    Son 14 y/o diagnosed January 20th. 2011 with 110* Curve
    Halo Traction & 1st. surgery on March 22nd. 2011
    Spinal Fusion on April 19th. 2011

    Dr. Krajbich @ Shriners Childrens Hospital, Portland Oregon

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Great post. I especially enjoyed reading about how you vacuum (that's still in my future).

    I was wondering if anyone who is well into their post-op period (and technically savvy) would be willing be take a video of themselves doing day to day life activities in their modified fashion. Ed's twisting photos were such an enlightment and motivation to all. I think it would be really helpful to actually see a video of someone vacuuming or polishing their toenails or putting on knee high boots in a modified fashion. I have yet to try any of those things and am really curious about modified ways to try them.

    46 yrs at surgery, now 50
    71 degree thoracolumbar curve corrected to 34 degrees
    8/2/2010 surgery with Dr. Lenke

    posterior T9 to sacrum with pelvic fixation

    4 osteotomies and 1 cage

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    My my my, how time fly’s by. You were doing quite well when I came down, so you must be kicking it with no problems now.....You were the first scoli I ever met, remember?

    Nice that the “dark ages” are over, and this forum is here.

    Glad to see your report

    I have video of me skiing here in my 3yr thread, but I really don’t think I will do any vacuuming or nail polishing. Its just not going to happen!

    One of the toughest things for me is getting into my ski boots. I can not reach my buckles unless I get down on the floor, and then its tough. I will have to make a video of that process for all the fused skiers out there. Glad you like the rotational pics.
    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

    My x-rays

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