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Thread: August 8 upcoming surgery with Dr. Lenke/ questions

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    31
    Hi Jane,
    I had surgery with Dr Bridwell at the end of March, T2-sacrum with pelvic fixation. I did have halo traction during surgery, which is honestly a good thing as scary as it sounds. It will hold your spine perfectly still until they remove it. I don't remember anything about it - it was obviously put in and removed when I was under anesthesia. I had a couple of small scabs on my forehead and the back of my head under my hair, but I honestly did not even notice them until about 3 days postOp and by then they were about gone. They were not sore at all.
    As far as drying your hair, I was able to do that pretty much immediately (had my first shower/hair wash 6 days postOp). I did feel some slight pulling on the incision so didn't push it. I was able to reach up and put on t-shirts within days of surgery.
    I haven't had a tub bath (too hot here in Atlanta!), but I would imagine you could do that when you are cleared by Dr Lenke to do so. It may be a bit uncomfortable with your new straight back, but you will find pillows or a position to help you with that! I was in a pool the other day - not swimming because I am not cleared for that yet - just wading around. At one point I realized I was on my knees in the shallow end! It felt great. I stayed in there for about an hour and then when I got out my back felt SO heavy....almost like it did right after surgery. I guess the water really lightened the load, so to speak, so it was a wierd feeling when I finally got out of the water!
    Good luck with all the planning for surgery - it'll be here and over with before you know it and you'll be able to get on with life and your new grandchildren!
    Suzanne

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    75

    Surgery is Monday July 23, not July 28

    I see in my last post I put in 2 different dates! It is the 23rd of July. We will fly to St. Louis on July 19 and I will have the central line put in early the next day, Friday morning. I have more of a peace about it now. I'm grateful to have a lot of people praying for me.

    One concern I have is hearing about a lot of muscle cramping (the "bear claw" thing?) people are talking about. But, the intense pain I get if I accidentally flex my lumbar area and the rib pressing down on my pelvis on the left side remind me that this surgery is something I need.

    I'm grateful for all of the information you all are giving me!
    Jane

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Not everyone gets the bear claw thing Jane. I didn't, so try not to concern yourself about it. Best of luck in July and I hope this last waiting month goes quickly and smoothly.
    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. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,712
    I didn't get the bear claw feeling either. Stay focused on all of the positives of having the surgery and you will have it behind you before you know it. I preferred the recovery period to the stress I had worrying about the surgery and wondering if I was making the right decision. Dr. Lenke is the best ( or st least one
    of the best)
    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/

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,607
    I am following your blog and am wishing you the best of luck with the surgery. Sounds like you are in very capable hands and that you are psychologically prepared. You say that you are the oldest among the group here, and I may need you for support in the future. I will be 66 in August and am still comtemplating surgery. For me, it is at least a year out, as I do not consider myself in enough pain to undertake a T3-S1 fixation, but only time will tell how this all progresses for me. Be assured that there are many "twisted sisters", many senior ones also, that are sending their warm thoughts and prayers your way. I have heard that the surgical journey is "more difficult that you had planned", but when you look at what your future would have been like without the surgery, we all see those crumbling little old ladies in the wheelchairs in the clinic and we don't want to be there.

    Keep a notebook of "helpful hints" for those of us yet to go though the journey, especially us older ladies.
    HUGS to you. Susan
    Adult Onset Degen Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Sev disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal SCI T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Rev Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw
    2021: Removal T1 screw & rod

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    75

    Flying back to St. Louis two weeks from today

    We have been very busy these past couple of weeks. Thanks again to all of you for your encouragement. I have had 2 of my grandchildren for a number of days this past week as my son and his wife wrap up their trip to Latvia. They return home Saturday night with their 11year old daughter and their newly adopted son and daughter. That will give them 5 children and a very busy household starting Sunday.

    It seems hard to believe that my central line will be put in 2 weeks from tomorrow and my surgery will be 2 weeks from Monday!

    Did any of you need a bed rail of some sort to help in getting out of bed when first at home? I have considered ordering one thinking it might help me in pulling up to a sitting position before getting out of bed.

    I feel like I have gathered together most of the things I will need after this surgery. Wish I had time to cook up a bunch of meals to stock my freezer! But, with my new grandchildren coming and other weekend guests coming tomorrow I probably won't. What did most of you do about meals post surgery?

    Thanks, Jane

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Jane, I cooked up a bunch of meals but they weren't eaten. My partner cooked every night and did a great job and I finally threw out the frozen meals I'd cooked! He also left food for me for during the day. He didn't miss a single day off work! Though he left early a few times. It worked out just fine.
    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. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,712
    Jane,
    I didn't have a bed rail, but had bought a medical step stool with a handle that wa.s probably 6 inches above the mattress. We bought a new mattress and box springs and then put a memory foam topper on top of it. I needed the step stool in order to be at the right height to logroll. The handle really helped in getting in and out of bed.
    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/

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    I was in hospital for 19 days and they placed a lever to the right side of the bed, which helped a lot. Once home, I used the chest of drawers beside the bed. I didn't really do any log rolling after the first few days.
    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

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    970
    Jane,
    I just logroll. No rails. But I have to tighten my abs a lot.

    For meals, neighbors brought us a lot. (A friend signed me up for bringameal.com.) Then we bought a bunch pre-made at Dinners by Design--one of those places where you can go in to prepare meals to freeze.

    Best wishes,
    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.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Chelsea, MI
    Posts
    53
    Hi Jane,
    We all know how nerve wracking it is the couple of weeks leading up to surgery! Best wishes as you prepare.
    I found that I didn't need a rail once I was released from the hospital. The meal thing was very tricky for me because the pain meds messed with my appetite SO badly. There were not many things I ever felt like eating. I had a few friends scheduled to bring over meals, but quite often I couldn't bear the thought of eating what had been prepared! Kind of like when I was pregnant and only wanted to eat certain things. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can make things ahead, but you might end up sending someone out to get something different!
    I also can't recommend the extra foam pad enough. I ended up ordering a second one for a double layer. Made a big difference.
    GOOD LUCK!!
    Nancy
    Age 58
    Surgery w/ Dr Lenke August 23, 2010
    original curves 91 thoracic, 86 lumbar
    fused T1 to sacrum, new curves 50 and 45

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    18

    Hello! Guess I got your August 8 spot!

    (Guess I should change the name of this thread as my surgery has been changed to July 28! )
    Jane[/QUOTE]
    I'm really excited and scared. I hope your pre-op goes well. I also hope I pass mine
    Pam

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    129

    almost there

    Hi Jane,
    I was thinking about you today and praying for a most successful surgery! I think waiting is so hard... Please call me if you need to talk.
    Best,
    Heidi
    Scheduled for surgery with Dr. Lenke Oct. 2012
    53*T 71*L
    Surgery 10/05/2012 T4-pelvis
    Correction: looks perfect! Will find out how perfect at future appointments

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    4

    Post Jane

    Dear Jane, I was excited to hear you were going to have surgery 8/8/12, because I am scheduled to have surgery on 8/13/12, perhaps we could have met in the therapy room. Ha ha. But am happy to hear that your date has been moved up to july 23rd. I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. Would love to hear minute by minute recovery updates if you plan on taking computer. God Bless Laurie

    Quote Originally Posted by golfnut View Post
    Jane,
    I know you are probably feeling a little rushed, but it's good that your surgery was moved up. I waited (and worried) for 13 months, and although some cancellations opened up, they didn't work for me. Please feel free to email me: pottoff@htc.net I will give you my phone number if you are interested in talking sometime. The pre-surgery time was extremely stressful for me as I was petrified and doubting myself constantly. Not being in pain, made it difficult to elect to have major surgery. I have not regretted it for a single day. Choosing a top-notch surgeon is half of the battle-actually more like 98%. I have tons of faith in Dr. Lenke and his staff and would recommend him to anyone. Best of luck!

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Syracuse, NY, USA
    Posts
    158
    Jane,

    I know things are getting very close for you now, and don't know if you'll see this until after your surgery.

    I just wanted to say that I did have traction during my surgery (T9 to sacrum with pelvic fixation). I don't know if it was halo traction, but it was definitely traction. After the surgery, there were two staples in each knee, which were a result of the traction (some nurses initially assumed I'd had knee surgery -- go figure!), along with a bit of an abrasion on my right hip, also due to the traction. And there were also a couple of spots on my head that were left by the traction.

    In my case, my muscles and ligaments were so weak that my surgeon was able to get me much straighter than he initially assumed would be possible.

    While I had definitely made a conscious decision/effort to get back into shape in 2007 (surgery was on 1/23/2012), I had to cut way back on my exercise due to the pain from neurogenic claudication caused by the lumbar stenosis. And I was extremely busy working on a contract up until the Friday before my surgery, which was also on a Monday. Unlike Dr. Lenke's/Bridwell's patients, the only prep work for Dr. Tallarico's patients is Xrays, MRI and CT scan done within 6 months of the surgery, and one pre-op visit.

    Good luck on Monday!

    -- Mary

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