Dear Scoli Friends -

It's always helpful to know how others have managed LATER in their recoveries. I like to share in December since it's a time when many donate to causes which mean something to them. For us, it's scoliosis. In Africa, there are so many who cannot obtain good medical care for a surgery correcting spinal curvatures. A world-famous scoliosis surgeon - Dr. Oheneba Boachie created a hospital which uses over 250 international doctors donating their talents to training African surgeons and providing free operations for children. His non-profit organization can really use help with donation funds to provide medical supplies. If you are able to help, go to and help those who simply cannot help themselves. Even $10 can go a long way since the doctors are donating their time.

MY STATUS: I was fused through the sacrum 25 months ago when I was 65 years old. I struggled with pain in my knees, upper thorasic spine and cervical spine. It DID take two years for my body to adjust. At 14 months 'out', I was discouraged enough to return to my surgeon Dr. Sigurd Berven and ask why I was struggling. Additionally, Dr. Serena Hu evaluated me. They both said that the skeletal system is going through some big adjustments and it definitely takes two full years. They were both correct. Month by month, I felt improvement. Additionally, there's always some fatigue during recovery.

That didn't mean I was hanging around in bed or anything. I took two months abroad, driving through North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula when I hit my one-year mark. I'm a good driver and even got to the nomadic Berber tribes in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. I used an inflatable neck pillow to keep pressure off of my tailbone during my travels. Also, I took off some time each day to recuperate. I would do it again.

At 16 months 'out', I traveled through Central America. Again, driving. My spine really likes warm, moist climates at low elevation. I was able to do some snorkeling and body surfing. At that point, the improvement was becoming noticable - both with less pain and more energy.

I continue to work on strengthening my upper body so my neck can handle what the rest of my spine cannot handle. I use a Saunders Cervical Traction unit ten minutes daily when I'm home. There are usually bargains on E-bay and these units are much better than cheaper alternatives.

I have no regrets and my body is definitely better than before I went into surgery.

One recommendation: get an experienced and highly-rated surgeon. Doing your homework is important.

I'll be back next December.