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Thread: 12 Weeks Post-Op Visit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    177

    12 Weeks Post-Op Visit

    Hey everyone!

    I saw my surgeon today, and he was really happy with my x-rays, and VERY happy/surprised that I'm off all narcotics. He thinks it's a good sign that the gabapentin is really helping my nerve pain, but doesn't think I'll be seeing a huge reduction in the nerve pain for at least another 3-6 months. But since the gabapentin is working, I am not too worried about it. I am able to drive, sit for long periods of time, walk my 45 mins, and there are a lot more great days than bad days.

    He said I can start physical therapy, although it will be very limited, gentle exercises. But I'm excited, I am ready to stop feeling so weak! You know you're out of shape when the laptop feels heavy lol.

    I have to wear the bone growth stimulator for another 3 months, which is annoying but it seems to be working so I really shouldn't complain. I am working full time from home again, and am able to go out to dinner, grocery shopping (though I'm still figuring out how to reach things w/o bending, like in the cart, or on low shelves).

    It was very hard, painful and frustrating for the first 1 1/2 months, and for the last 1 1/2 I've seen steady and rapid improvement. I'm glad I did this, even though my nerve pain didn't go away right away. I generally just feel better. My back/neck/shoulders seem to hurt less than pre-op, and I love knowing that my scoliosis is never going to get any worse. I think the mental relief is as good as, or better than the physical!

    I've got a ways to go, but now that I can do most normal, day to day things, I am feeling pretty good!
    Rebecca
    Age: 28
    Dx w/ scoli @ age 12 S curves T-40* L-42*
    wore night bending brace as teenager
    Curves changed to 50's plus or minus
    herniated disc L2-3, Discectomy October 2007
    fusion L2-3 November 2008
    Revision L2-3 Fusion, Removal of hardware August 2009
    Curves measuring 52 T&L September 2010
    Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
    gained almost two inches in height

    Before and After Exterior
    Before and After X-rays
    My blog: http://herscoliosisjourney.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Peach--
    You really do look great--just looked at your before and after again. Your back is straight and shoulder blades so even! Glad you are also doing so well with your recovery. Congrats!! Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Your pictures tell the story! You look fabulous and it's great to read you're doing so well.
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    918
    I'm so happy for you Peach!
    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



    http://tinyurl.com/Elias-Before
    http://tinyurl.com/Elias-After

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Your xrays look great. Isn't it nice to be straight! It sounds like you re getting better and better. I am looking forward to physical therapy soon,as well. It won't be much for me, but I am hoping to regain some muscle tone.
    Karen

    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.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    177
    you all are so kind! =) I am really happy with how my back looks now. I know my transformation isn't as dramatic as some here, but I sure do FEEL the difference.

    I noticed something funny last night when I was riding in the car with my husband. I always used to prop my left arm up on the console in the middle between the two seats, and I always felt uncomfortable if I didn't sit that way. I realized last night that I hadn't sat that way since my surgery, I no longer lean to the left, and I sit up perfectly straight without any help from the console. It's funny how you just live your life crooked for so long, it just feels normal.

    anyway, thanks again for your sweet words!
    Rebecca
    Age: 28
    Dx w/ scoli @ age 12 S curves T-40* L-42*
    wore night bending brace as teenager
    Curves changed to 50's plus or minus
    herniated disc L2-3, Discectomy October 2007
    fusion L2-3 November 2008
    Revision L2-3 Fusion, Removal of hardware August 2009
    Curves measuring 52 T&L September 2010
    Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
    gained almost two inches in height

    Before and After Exterior
    Before and After X-rays
    My blog: http://herscoliosisjourney.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    122

    peachrush7

    Your are so fortunate and I am so envious. You sound like your doing so great. That is so wonderful. I wish I was. Did you wear a brace at all ? I had to for 3 months. How did you get the bone growth stimulator. Ive heard great things about them. I had 50% fusion at 4 1/2 months on March 18th ( some areas fused , and some not they said from the CT) I dont know if thats good or bad at 4 1/2 months..
    Who was your surgeon and where ? So happy for you. Your pictures are amazing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    197
    Peach, I'm terrified to ride in a car (still on oxy so not driving) for fear of a car wreck - plus, it's still really uncomfortable to ride more than about 2 miles.

    When did the discomfort of riding in the car diminish?
    Female, age 38
    4 years of bracing, concluded at 42*upper/38*lower
    currently 64*upper/40*lower
    Fused T3-L4 on Feb 23 2011
    now 32*upper/18* lower

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Peachrush,
    I'm not sure who your last post was directed to. I did not wear a brace or use a bone stimulator. Dr. Lenke thinks that your muscles get stronger sooner if they are forced to support your back after surgery. I would think that showing fusion already would be a good sign. I've heard that it's at least 9 months before you could be totally fused. I am recovery well (I think), but have no idea if my spine is starting to fuse. I am not quite 3 months post op.
    Karen

    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.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Oops. I just realized that Leanne wrote the post I was referring to instead of Peachrush.

    Lily,
    I am almost 3 months post op and still put a pillow behind my back in the car. It helps!
    Karen

    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.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    9,263
    Quote Originally Posted by leannebr View Post
    I had 50% fusion at 4 1/2 months on March 18th ( some areas fused , and some not they said from the CT) I dont know if thats good or bad at 4 1/2 months...
    Hey I don't what I'm talking about but based on the "vibe" I have gotten from reading the few testimonials that mention this, you sound ahead of the game. I am not sure even kids fuse that fast but I don't know that. Did you have BMP?

    Maybe others can comment. Very interesting.

    The only thing I know (because the surgeon told me this directly) is that fusion can't be determined from radiographs. So if folks know their fusion amount, it has to be based on some other imaging modality like CT in your case. I am not so sure there are many folks who have that done.
    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."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    312
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilysaidwhat View Post
    Peach, I'm terrified to ride in a car (still on oxy so not driving) for fear of a car wreck - plus, it's still really uncomfortable to ride more than about 2 miles.

    When did the discomfort of riding in the car diminish?
    I am totally comfortable riding/driving now (my surgery was the day before yours, but this go round was not nearly as long of a fusion as yours).

    My original surgery (as you can see from my sig) was similar to yours - it was T-3 to L-3- then I had a rough month (2 hosp admissions) of complications. My mother died about 6 weeks after that surgery, and I was totally comfortable riding in the car for the 5 hours to STL for her funeral. (I wasn't comfortable on the ride home, but not because of my back. During that drive, the first symptoms of H1N1 hit me. Suffice it to say that my first 2 mos post-op were less than a joy. Plus, in that time, we moved out of our house of 22 years into the house we built. ) Life was a bit stessful in those 2 months, but at least I was comfortable in a car.
    (sorry - don't mean to hijack, peachrush!)
    Last edited by mgs; 03-28-2011 at 10:42 AM.
    Fused T-3 to L-3, Aug 25
    Hardware removal surgery, Nov 2, 2010
    Fused T-10 to L-2, osteotomy, Feb 22, 2011

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    177
    Quote Originally Posted by leannebr View Post
    Your are so fortunate and I am so envious. You sound like your doing so great. That is so wonderful. I wish I was. Did you wear a brace at all ? I had to for 3 months. How did you get the bone growth stimulator. Who was your surgeon and where ?
    Leanne,
    I've been reading your posts, and I'm so sorry you've had so many problems! I hope that things start getting better for you quickly.
    To answer your questions, my surgeon didn't have me wear any brace. He (like Lenke) agrees with the line of thinking that by not bracing post-op, the muscles are forced to work, and so get stronger faster.
    My surgeon prescribed the bone growth stimulator. I wear it 4 hours a day, and will have to wear it for a total of 6 months. I think you could ask your surgeon to write a prescription for you, but I know my surgeon has me wearing it because I have had 4 surgeries in the same spot.
    My surgeon is Dr. Joseph Flynn in Orlando, Florida. I really like him as a person, and trust him as a scoliosis surgeon. He's also on the SRS.


    "Peach, I'm terrified to ride in a car (still on oxy so not driving) for fear of a car wreck - plus, it's still really uncomfortable to ride more than about 2 miles. When did the discomfort of riding in the car diminish?"

    Lily, I didn't start driving until I was completely off the hydrocodone (I was off the oxy at 7 weeks, switched to hydro, and then off the hydro at 10 weeks). Riding in the car really didn't start getting comfortable until probably around 10 weeks. I haven't really gone too far yet though, so we'll see in April when we take a 2 1/2 hour trip down to visit my husband's family. Different cars/different seats seem to affect it too. In my husband's car I have to use a pillow, but in mine I don't. I would think if you're still needing the oxy, it would follow that riding in the car would still be pretty uncomfortable.

    I'm sure everybody heals differently too. I just remember around 8 weeks trying to get in and out of cars was painful and really hard. But now it doesn't hurt at all at 13 weeks. So it has gone pretty quickly when I look at that. But it sure does seem slow when you're living it! =)

    mgs----
    wow! what a hard recovery you had!!! Hearing from all of you who have had difficult recoveries makes me grateful every day.
    Last edited by peachrush7; 03-28-2011 at 09:34 PM.
    Rebecca
    Age: 28
    Dx w/ scoli @ age 12 S curves T-40* L-42*
    wore night bending brace as teenager
    Curves changed to 50's plus or minus
    herniated disc L2-3, Discectomy October 2007
    fusion L2-3 November 2008
    Revision L2-3 Fusion, Removal of hardware August 2009
    Curves measuring 52 T&L September 2010
    Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
    gained almost two inches in height

    Before and After Exterior
    Before and After X-rays
    My blog: http://herscoliosisjourney.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    122

    pooka1

    What is a BMP ?
    Thanks for the inspiring wors, I hope/pray your right !!
    To peachrush and others that didnt/arent wearing a brace, I think your surgeons choice probably makes alot of sense. Maybe I'm having such a hard time because I wore it and it completely imobilized my body/full torso that whole time. I felt like a worm when i took it off, I was afraid to go without it I felt so weak. You probably begin to strengthen muscles and create muscles right away without a brace, where as I started to learn to use muscles I had never used, and make muscles due to my body accomodating my curves all those years. The process of strengthening and healing might be slower for me because I wore the brace.
    When dr told me I didnt have to wear it, I took it off and cried I was so happy hugging everyone at the office who walked by and telling them. But I was really, literally like a worm, and when I got home I put it on off and on because I felt so weak and it was comforting like it protected me..

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    9,263
    Quote Originally Posted by leannebr View Post
    What is a BMP ?
    Thanks for the inspiring wors, I hope/pray your right !!
    Bone morphogenic protein. It significantly speeds fusion as I understand this game.

    I hope you catch a break soon. You deserve it. :-)
    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."

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