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Thread: Surgery with Dr. Lenke

  1. #241
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lilburn, GA
    Posts
    201

    So happy!

    Doreen is making amazing progress! I couldn't stand until the second day after surgery.
    Wishing you all the best and a continued speedy recovery!
    50 years old!!!!!
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace 1976-77
    Original curve 36 degrees ( measured in the 70s)
    Advanced to 61 degrees 01/2011
    Surgery 07/11/2011
    Fused T1-L2 (curve now in the 20s!)

  2. #242
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    42
    Thanks for the update. I'm so happy Doreen is doing well and had such a wonderful correction. It is great that you are there for her. I couldn't have recovered without the help of my husband, both physically and mentally. The recovery isn't easy but it sounds like she has great medical and family support.

    Best wishes for continued improvement!

    Irene
    1996 x-rays (none read recently) 50 degrees thoracic, 40 degrees lumbar
    Never braced, found out I had scoliosis at age 28
    At time of surgery, multi-level disc spondylotic degeneration,
    advanced lumbar degeneration, stenosis
    65 years young and very active but no lengthy walks or standing without pain
    Now, 67. walking and standing as much as I want
    Surgery Dec. 7, 2010
    T10-S1 posterior
    Dr. Rand
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston,
    http://s1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee369/itr1/

  3. #243
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    East Central FL
    Posts
    193
    Congratulations on what seems to be an excellent surgery & will hopefully continue to be a great recovery. We've ridden the emotional rollercoaster of your journey via your post and have been rooting for you - we all wish you the very best! You're both so positive & blessed.

  4. #244
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535

    Thumbs up Day 3

    Last night I went to ICU hoping for an early room assignment. I was kicked out at 6:00pm for the shift change and returned at 8:00pm. They had not yet heard of a room but the nurses were kind enough to bring me a recliner with sheets so I could rest. I decided to stay the night with Doreen in case she got a later room assignment.


    The room assignment came at around 10:00pm. I was reclined next to Doreen and the nurses got a laugh when I showed them how I could easily access the swabs (for water) and tissues that Doreen needed. They told me she had me trained well and asked that she share her secrets when she was feeling better.


    At around 11:30pm we were moved to the new room. Unfortunately it was a shared room. That meant almost zero room for me, so I got Doreen settled and headed back to the lodge. I stopped by the cafeteria first to grab some food and brought it back with me to eat, then pretty much passed out.


    I had promised to return to see Doreen at 8:00am and overslept a bit so instead of cooking breakfast at the lodge, ended up going in to see her first. It was a nice, warm 24 degrees Fahrenheit as I came in. Fortunately I had remembered to bring my bandanna so I could cover my bald head and ears, otherwise I might have lost them on the way. I also brought in her spine kit and other items. She was doing well and I stepped out to have my breakfast. She was already moving to solid medications and taking her first swallows of water. She had really bad stomach cramps but we were told that is normal as the digestive wakes up, and actually a good sign that she'd be moving to more solid foods soon.


    I was able to get a chair squeezed in with a power cord so I can at least do some catching up by her side while she rests. She won't be getting much today as Occupational Therapy was already in. She not only stood this time but actually walked about 10 steps! It was great. She felt really dizzy and nauseous and had to sit. We think it's the morphine doing it so this afternoon they are planning to return after she has her pill-form pain killers so she doesn't have to use the morphine and hopefully won't get as dizzy. The plan is for her to walk some more.


    She also learned more about her "spine kit" which is a bunch of instruments provided to help her with doing things without bending or twisting. She was able to take off a sock and put it back on by herself using the tools.




    Her friend Karen sent a beautiful arrangement of balloons. It was a nice surprise and helps to brighten the room.




    I've also been diligent with helping her do her breathing exercises. The device is pictured here (ignore the goal setting, she's been hitting 1500, I noticed after I took the picture I hadn't set it). She has to inhale and try to get the ball inside to reach a specific level. She's been doing really well but I noticed right after pain medication her lung strength is far less than without it.




    I'm going to head to lunch and will share other updates as I can!


    Lunch was good, I had a huge salad. I came back and Doreen was getting a little tired. The nurse gave her some anti-nausea medication and some valium to help with nerves and sleep. The therapist came and Doreen sat up and felt dizzy and had a headache. She got a little sick but the good news is her digestive system is definitely awake now so she is cleared to start on clear foods tonight - jello, juice, popsicles, etc.


    She sat a bit and then was ready to walk. She stood up and amazed us all by walking all the way out of the room and into the hall. She then turned around and walked back to the bedside, then sat in the wheel chair. She sat there for about a half hour before she told me she was ready to get back into bed. The wheel chair wasn't collapsing properly so she had to walk a bit so I could wheel it out and then sat down. She did great - so two times walking today and cleared for foods.


    She is absolutely exhausted now. I am letting her rest and let her know if she was sleeping when I left for dinner, I'd just let her stay asleep. I'm going to relax a bit myself now and will check in again tomorrow.
    44 years old at time of surgery, Atlanta GA

    Pre-Surgery Thorasic: 70 degrees, Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 68 degrees, lost 4 inches of height in 2011
    Post-Surgery curves ~10 degrees, regained 4 inches of height

    Posterior T3-sacrum & TLIF surgeries on Nov 28, 2011 with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis
    2 rods, 33 screws, 2 cages, 2 connectors, living a new life I never dreamed of!

    http://thebionicachronicles.blogspot.com/

  5. #245
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Doreen is doing great! I would imagine that some food in her stomach will make her feel even stronger.

    Take good care of yourself, and thank you for keeping us updated on Doreen's progress.
    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. #246
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    I have been out of touch for two days, so I just read up on all of the updates. Thanks Jeremy for all of the good news about Doreen. They certainly brought back memories of my own surgery almost four years ago. Doreen is blessed to have a good Christian man beside her. I hope and pray that Doreen continues to have an uneventful speedy recovery.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  7. #247
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535

    Day 4

    This may be the last guest post for me ... I'm bringing Doreen's laptop and she may be ready to start hammering out her own updates tomorrow. We'll see!

    Last night was exciting as Doreen moved to her first "clear" foods and was drinking some apple juice and all-natural soda (carbonated water and fruit). I waited to have "dinner" with her and then returned to the lodge, where I had my own dinner (organic burrito, organic corn chips, and an orange).

    This morning was 28 degrees but sunny and beautiful. It really felt like the days I started dating Doreen and would get so excited to see her. I just get a lump in my throat and feel more and more excited with every step and the elevator seems to take ages to her floor. Then the highlight of my day is walking in and seeing her.

    She was something else today. Had her glasses on, was sitting upright eating jello and drinking water directly. No more ice chips or sponges/swabs. In fact she got cleared for solids and we ordered her lunch ... hasn't come yet but it's a salad which she likely won't eat and some beef stew which we are hoping she can enjoy the broth. She ate more jello and had plenty to drink.

    Physical thereapy came and she did better than any other day with sitting up and then walking. She walked 10 feet the first time yesterday and about 30 feet the second time. Today she walked 80 feet. She then came and sat in the wheel chair.

    We had a little bit of concern because the nurse mentioned that transport was coming to take her for X-rays. We decided she should stay in the wheel chair and get transported that way. After about 40 minutes though they were not in sight so I paged the nurse again. My concern was getting her back into the bed and then having to turn around and get her out again. The nurse checked and it turns out the X-rays are scheduled for tomorrow morning. I'll check what time to make sure I'm here to help when it happens.

    She got back into bed and that was it - the walk and sitting had totally exhausted her. She passed out and this is the first time I've seen her truly sleep since I've been at her side. It was great ... it's getting close to lunch so I'll wait for her food and eat with her and then go to the cafeteria myself.

    Her food came and she had a little bit of broth, some nibbles of crackers and some jello. It's a start. I ate and came back and she was sleeping. She woke up and had some grape juice. Then she fell asleep again for several hours. She hasn't been sleeping at night because her roommate was so loud, but they just moved out ... hopefully we'll have a quieter "neighbor."

    She was sleeping so deeply that when physical therapy came, we had trouble waking her up. The nurse came in and forcibly woke her to ensure the medications weren't overdone, and now she is relaxing and waiting for her session. We're going to try to walk farther of course.

    She is due to have catheter and IV out tomorrow. She is also scheduled for x-rays. If that checks out and she does some pre-requisites like going 1 and 2 on her own, then we may be cleared to check her out on Saturday!

    We finally got to physical therapy. She did a fantastic job standing up and walking a good distance, then sat for awhile in her chair. I think the first walk wore her out, so we transferred her back to bed and her food came. She is eating far better and had some potato soup and several grapes. Always tough to leave her but decided to head home, get some food and rest and focus on another great day tomorrow!
    44 years old at time of surgery, Atlanta GA

    Pre-Surgery Thorasic: 70 degrees, Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 68 degrees, lost 4 inches of height in 2011
    Post-Surgery curves ~10 degrees, regained 4 inches of height

    Posterior T3-sacrum & TLIF surgeries on Nov 28, 2011 with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis
    2 rods, 33 screws, 2 cages, 2 connectors, living a new life I never dreamed of!

    http://thebionicachronicles.blogspot.com/

  8. #248
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    What a great job you have done keeping us up to date. The detail has brought many of us back to our own surgeries, I bet, I know it did mine. You two have done very well and I'm so glad to hear Doreen's walking, sitting and eating without too much difficulty. Once the catheter is out, she'll really feel like she's on her way. Best of luck with the BMs and the last few days in hospital!
    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

  9. #249
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    thanks so much for the latest updates...
    so wonderful to hear that her recovery seems to continue with
    small steps at a steady pace...i hope progress builds in that manner...
    i did not see very much in the writing about excruciating pain....so i am hoping
    the pain is not so severe or that it is well controlled with medication...

    it will be nice when Doreen is feeling up to being on the computer herself....
    but you have done a TERRIFIC job in letting us all know what's been
    happening, minute to minute...great reporting!
    thanks again.....

    jess

  10. #250
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    104

    a gift for Doreen

    Hey Jeremy,

    You may not realize it but with your guest postings, you are giving such a wonderful gift for your wife. Throughout my hospital stay, my husband wrote a daily journal and then sent it to friends and family. A few weeks later, it was nice for me to read them and go down memory lane because I wasn't able to recall my hospital stay without some prompting that was reflected in his journals. It was nice to see how far I had come since those early days. Plus, I am sure your writings, like my husband's, had such an impact on those who read them. Hopefully, other spouses and family members will be inspired to do the same for those on this forum who are facing upcoming surgeries. Tell Doreen that she is doing awesome!
    Donna
    Female - 49 yrs old at surgery
    Surgery 5/5/11 - Dr. Bridwell, St. Louis
    Fused T3-L3
    60 degree thoracic curve corrected to 30 degrees
    Tennis player & returning to the courts!
    http://s1050.photobucket.com/profile/walkingmom1/index

  11. #251
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    970

    Appreciate the posts

    Hi there,

    I am going to have my husband read all of these posts from Jeremy before my surgery. Same doctor, same hospital, so I think he'll appreciate all the tips--which cafeteria to eat in, etc. (Can we get a room without a roommate?)

    More importantly, I'm glad to hear Doreen is doing so well!!! I look forward to hearing from her directly, as well.

    Best,
    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.

  12. #252
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535

    Final Guest Update

    This is my final guest update. The last days have been busy. I told Doreen I'd have her post the next one as incentive but we skipped a day so I figured I'd better wrap this up here.

    First good news is that her neighbor was moved out and she never got a new one, so for all practical purposes it was a "private" room although I would still go back to the lodge in the evenings. Yesterday Doreen was making a lot of progress with sitting up, walking, brushing her own teeth, getting a bath, etc. Pain was managed really well.

    Then, everything seemed to happen all at once. She got off the nutrition medication for her hypoglycemia, started eating "real" solid foods, had the tubes and catheter removed, and started getting up on her own to use the restroom, etc. Most of this happened between 6am - 8am before I even made it to the hospital this morning (I was playing at Mr. Mom, doing laundry and preparing the room for her return). We thought yesterday the release might be on Monday, but when I came in she smiled and told me they said today would be the release date. I could tell she was doing much better but was still surprised it would happen so soon.

    The nurse and I gave her a sponge bath and I got to see the scar for the first time. Doreen let me take a picture but any of the x-ray, hospital, etc. pictures I'm saving for when she is less drugged so she can decide what she wants to share. I can say it amazed me to see how clean the scar was after so few days - it's long but it looks to be healing quite well.

    Occupational therapy came. She'd already been using the bathroom on her own. This time she removed both socks and put them back on by herself using the tools they provide with the spine kit I mentioned earlier.

    I received the list of medications so I took them to the pharmacy and it was about an hour to fill them all. I came back and she was in bed eating and told me I missed all of the fun. She had walked 175 feet and then went up and down the equivalent of about 3 flights of stairs or 36 steps. She told me the physical therapist told her if she didn't complete that, she wouldn't be going home, so she did it. Her central line was removed as well.

    I helped her get dressed in her "civilian clothes" and made a few trips to the lodge to get some walking exercise in and remove all of her stuff. Then I came back and the nurse gave me the schedules/instructions for follow up and medications and that was it - time to go! I thought my heart would jump out of my throat I was so excited. I walked back to the lodge, grabbed some pillows, and drove the truck back to the hospital. We have a Honda Pilot. The nurse gave me the number to the nurse station so when I pulled up I could park by the curb and call for them to bring her down.

    Transport brought her down and wheeled her to the truck. It was a fairly big step up so she had some difficulty getting in but then she got settled and was fine with just a pillow behind her back. I did notice the seat is a little low for the 90 degree angle she should sit at so we agreed she'll get boosted with a pillow when she rides the next time. We drove back to the lodge and I parked up front. There was a long ramp to get inside and she did great, then sat in a chair to rest. Once she had some water and was rested, I asked her if I should get the elevator ready and she said, "No, we're taking the stairs." Silly me. So we went up a flight of 16 steps (yeah, I counted them) and then into the room and into bed. That really wore her out so she is sleeping peacefully now.

    I took the time to enter the medication schedule into Google Calendar. My Windows Phone synchronizes with it so I get reminders that buzz me whenever the next medication is due. I love modern technology!

    So this is it. Husband signing off. It's in my wife's hands now. She has her lap top and her phone so the next one is hers to post!

    Jeremy
    44 years old at time of surgery, Atlanta GA

    Pre-Surgery Thorasic: 70 degrees, Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 68 degrees, lost 4 inches of height in 2011
    Post-Surgery curves ~10 degrees, regained 4 inches of height

    Posterior T3-sacrum & TLIF surgeries on Nov 28, 2011 with Dr. Lenke, St. Louis
    2 rods, 33 screws, 2 cages, 2 connectors, living a new life I never dreamed of!

    http://thebionicachronicles.blogspot.com/

  13. #253
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    thank you so much Jeremy...for all the posts....this last post of yours
    is the best news....i am so thrilled for her that she is doing so well...
    i hope she continues to heal and progress in the same manner
    until she is back to her old, but new and straight, self!

    congratulations to Doreen....and to her wonderful surgeon!

    jess

  14. #254
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,262
    I am so glad that everything is going so well for her and wait to her from her .
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  15. #255
    Kayde Guest

    So happy

    I am so happy for her. I completely understand the struggle from where she started and her disappointments and the divine intervention to get the surgery moved up and her determination. I'm so touched by her strides and so happy for het it's hard for me not to cry tears of happiness for you both. She is going so well she will be better than ever soon. Exhaustion is the hardest I think to get used to, but I'm sure she will overcome that sooner than expected. This will be the best Christmas present ever for her and your love and inspiration is a rare gift that you will look back on and it will be appreciated even more through the years. God bless you and thank you for keeping us all updated it has meant a lot to me

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