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Thread: when to do surgery as mom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    7

    when to do surgery as mom

    I am considering surgery again and wanted to get thoughts on what it is like to recover as a mom (or if you are not a mom what you could imagine). The debate is whether to do surgery now (I'm 37) or wait for 5 years until the kids are older (the youngest are 3 and 2). When could you imagine taking over full-time childcare again post-surgery? When could you imagine doing part-time childcare? When could you drive again? Our first consult, the doctor really pushed to do the surgery before I turned 40 because outcome and recovery would be so much better. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535
    I guess it really depends on your pain levels right now. Is the quality of your life diminishing? I'm pre-op and have lived in the grin-and-bear-it mindset for 10 years. Honestly, I wish I had done surgery years ago, regardless of the age of my children. My daughter is 11 years old and I have been unable to do many things with her the past several months. She has been a tremendous help but I am confident she would have been a big helper at a younger age too. I recently met someone from this forum who had surgery with two young ones and her oldest (maybe 6 at the time) turned out to be quite helpful.

    When you say, "... considering surgery again," are you referring to a previous spinal surgery? What does your current curve(s) measure?

    Warmly,
    Doreen
    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/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lilburn, GA
    Posts
    201
    I agree with Doreen that it depends on how uncomfortable you are. But I would not want to go through the covery if I had small children to take care of full time. I couldn't bend, lift or twist for six weeks and now at three months post op, I still am limited to what I can do. Toddlers can be fast and if you have to dash off to get them, you may move in a way that would hurt your back during recovery.

    I am 48 and had the surgery. If you can wait, do. If it's something that needs to be done soon, you'll find a way to make it work.

    Good luck!
    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!)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,102
    Quote Originally Posted by tree View Post
    I am considering surgery again and wanted to get thoughts on what it is like to recover as a mom (or if you are not a mom what you could imagine). The debate is whether to do surgery now (I'm 37) or wait for 5 years until the kids are older (the youngest are 3 and 2). When could you imagine taking over full-time childcare again post-surgery? When could you imagine doing part-time childcare? When could you drive again? Our first consult, the doctor really pushed to do the surgery before I turned 40 because outcome and recovery would be so much better. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Hi...

    Hopefully, you'll hear from a few people who had surgery when their kids were very young. From what I've heard, it's pretty difficult in terms of not being able to lift the kids. I imagine that the surgeon would tell you that you wouldn't be able to lift your kids until you're at least 6 months postop. I think it's hard for really young kids to understand why you won't pick them up.

    I was able to drive when I was about 3-1/2 months postop. It really varies, and depends mostly on how long you need to take narcotics.

    I think age has become less of an issue in recent years, especially if your surgery is being done in a center where they routinely do spine surgery on older patients. I had an 8 hour revision surgery in January. I'm 61. In my case, the revision was far easier on me than the initial surgery, which I had when I was 42. I also work in a spine surgery center, where our docs routinely do fairly big spine surgeries on people in their 60s, 70s, and 80's.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    7
    Doreen, by considering surgery again, I just mean that I first realized that I would probably need surgery 3 years ago, but for various reasons decided to wait. However, life has settled down again, so we are giving it serious consideration. My curves 3 years ago measured thoracic-60 lumbar-28. I am use to the pain I am in, but it is definitely limiting. It does get me out of dishes most of the time though. My husband would take 3 months off to take care of the kiddos.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    535
    Quote Originally Posted by tree View Post
    Doreen, by considering surgery again, I just mean that I first realized that I would probably need surgery 3 years ago, but for various reasons decided to wait. However, life has settled down again, so we are giving it serious consideration. My curves 3 years ago measured thoracic-60 lumbar-28. I am use to the pain I am in, but it is definitely limiting. It does get me out of dishes most of the time though. My husband would take 3 months off to take care of the kiddos.
    If you don't have recent xrays, I recommend getting a current set so you know exactly what's going on with your curves. A current xray may help you decide on how much longer you can wait for surgery.

    Warmly,
    Doreen
    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/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,158
    Hi Tree,

    I would strongly recommend you wait for surgery for a few more years! I had an 8-hour surgery one year ago when my kids were 5 and 8. I was 43 and recovered uneventfully. But, I can not imagine going through the recovery period with two little ones under the age of 5. You will not be able to pick them up, and they will not understand why. Also at your kids age they need SO much from you, but in several more years they will be fully self-sufficient with dressing, bathing, brushing teeth, etc, which will be MUCH easier for you. It is also easier to explain to them why you have to go away to the hospital for a week without scaring them if they are over 5.

    My daughter, at age 8, was a huge help to me in my recovery. She helped with so many household activities and cared for all of our pets. My son at age 5 was able to help with some things too, and was old enough to understand when I needed to lay down, why there were times I couldn't play with him right then, or why I couldn't pick him up. I still was in the habit of picking him up some at age 5 (like up onto the counter for teeth brushing or bandaids), and I miss being able to do that. He still needed/wanted our same bedtime ritual of laying in his bed and reading stories, which I did, but there were nights in the first few weeks especially when I truly didn't feel up to it, but had to anyway.

    I started driving again at 8 weeks post-op.

    I agree with Linda that there should be no rush to do your surgery now while you are under age 40 unless you are having severe pain. It will not make any difference if you are 40 or 45 I don't think. But it will be difficult to recover with your kids both being so young. Do not underestimate the difficulty of the recovery period.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  8. #8
    Kayde Guest

    Wait

    Unless you have insurance concerns or other issues such as your curve is getting worse quickly or you can no longer function without falling i would strongly suggest you that would wait as long as you can. I raised 5 kids and I was limited in some things but found the more active I was and doing things with the kids the less I hurt. Massage was excellent for me. My kids are grown now and I have grandkids. I can't keep up with them like I could my kids when I was in my 30's and if I had the pain then I have now I would have had no choice but to have the surgery. I am 46 and I don't regret waiting until the kids were grown to do this because I was able to do most activities with them that I may not have been able to do if I had the surgery before. If you can wait at least until the are older and can drive and help you that would be ideal. But life isn't always ideal- so the question you need to satisfy for yourself is what you feel will give you the best quality of life to enjoy your children and all the things they will want to do. I'm sure if you feel quality of life would be better now you could find a way to function for a few months but it would be more difficult on you.

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