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Thread: It's About Time

  1. #16
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    Ok, big T curve and your lumbar must be in good shape....down to L1 sounds pretty good.

    Have you seen this video? I posted a few weeks back.
    Stop at :52 Look at his waist in relation to his arm pits. OMG
    My back hurts just watching this video...I have to lay down now (and I am fully fused!) Ha ha
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqoo...rengthandPower

    This pretty much proves that maintaining a strong core is essential. My core was rock hard from skiing years ago, but, you know how it goes.....I hung in there as long as I could.

    I hope you are vaccinated. If not, ask. I don't think it would be a great idea not being vaccinated with implants. Staph or any of the bugs could take over. There is limited material on COVID vaccines and implants. (Immunity dropping from COVID and having staph and or p-acne biofilm and colonies multiply).

    Sept 7th is coming up fast. Your not doing this alone are you?

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  2. #17
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    May 2010
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    Burlington, Ontario
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    Hi Ed:
    I did see both of the videos you posted. Great stuff. Good finds! I hope to be able to lift again. I believe you are correct when you say how important a strong core is. I was never able to deadlift 5 x my body weight, though! I think I managed double at my peak, but I also wasn't a power lifter.
    My mother used to knit sweaters and complain that I had long arms like an ape.
    I do know how it goes This last lockdown with no gyms was brutal exercise-wise. At home just isn't the same when you are used to plenty of equipment. That's when the sacroilial pain began to kick in. When I couldn't stay strong the same way.
    Thank you very much for your concern.
    I am fully vaccinated since early July. I agree that I would not want to go in unvaccinated. I will still have to get a Covid test the day before. According to Toronto Western Hospital's website, they presently have no Covid patients, which is obviously no guarantee, but still a good sign.
    I will have my wonderful wife to help me along. She will be taking time off work for my recovery period. I am very lucky that way
    I also live in an apartment-style condominium, so I don't have any stairs to navigate.

  3. #18
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    Peter, Everything looks pretty good. I see your surgeon trained with Drs Bridwell and Lenke in St Louis which is great....

    I forgot to ask, are you working? This is concerning as picking a date out of a hat for physically returning to work is difficult at our age. We had a nurse that returned to work at around 60 days many years ago that reported pure misery....and I myself didn't return to the office for 18 months....My surgeon gave me a 1 year recovery, I figured 2 years.

    You don't speed recovery up.....You push the exercise (walking) envelope until there is pain, then go lay down. Then do it again. Push too hard, and you will really feel it. At 4 months, some friends wanted to get me out of the house so they came up in their RV and took me up to Virginia City, Nevada. You know, the Comstock. Its preserved quite well for an old mining town, and the wooden boardwalks are crooked as heck. Walking on crooked surfaces like that is extremely taxing, and I had to try to sleep for 4 days. That trip really smoked me. (It might have been due to being fused to the Pelvis).

    Kind of a shame because I was 4 months along in May 2008, when I registered here, and was sitting here at my desk and realized that I was completely out of pain. I couldn't believe it. After a lifetime of pain, I forgot what pain free was like. We do get used to pain, that's for sure. It was a very see-saw recovery with good days and bad days. When you have more good days, you know you are recovering. It took me 10 months to get up to a mile. November 2008, in the Redwoods National Park of Northern California. Walk, sleep, walk, sleep, walk sleep....with ski poles. The poles are for the mountain lions. Having 20# of meow mix cat food in a backpack would probably work also. (Ha ha)
    https://www.sfgate.com/science/artic...ck-3658073.php

    Frequent walks in recovery are important. I would do short walks about every 90 minutes. It's really hard to sit, and hard to sleep, so that leaves walking. It distributes nutrients into healing zones through the bloodstream.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  4. #19
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    May 2010
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    Burlington, Ontario
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    Comstock sounds fascinating. I have been to Nevada many times, including both Reno and Las Vegas, but I have not been to Virginia City. I am a big fan of historical sites of all types and quality. Sometimes the cheesier the better. I once went a Titanic exhibit at the Geo Centre in St. John's NL (put on because many of the survivors were brought there). It was a hilarious (to me) collection of artifacts vaguely associated with the Titanic. Most artifacts on exhibit were labelled as "similar to what might have actually been on the Titanic". The item with the closest actual relationship to the Titanic was a single tile that has been on the ship but was rejected as a second and never installed. Well worth the amusement.
    I am working and have scheduled 6 weeks off with flexibility to see how it goes after that. I will be able to WFH for a while, too.
    Your walking recommendation is well-taken. Walking isn't very much fun now, but certainly moving will be key to recovery, both physically and mentally.
    I hope I will have your same pain-free epiphany. It is easy to forget that though everyone has issues in their life, not everyone has a torso that hurts all of the time. Like I have said before, I am really hoping for improved breathing, too. I can't recall having a straight spine ever.
    Date moved to September 10 now.
    Appreciate the advice and the listening.

  5. #20
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    May 2010
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    Burlington, Ontario
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    Hi Folks. It has been a little while since I posted and I apologize but I haven’t really been in the mood to write
    I am pleased to say I am writing today from the other side, a week post-op.
    It has been a tough week, as I am sure many of you know.
    I have been fused from T1 to L1. Operation was 9.5 hrs long and I had 7 units of blood replaced.
    The curves were 90 degrees and 73 degrees.
    We achieved around 70% correction.
    I am tired but am moving around pretty well for the end of week 1. Was moved to rehab for around 2 weeks (depending on progress).
    All in all am feeling pretty positive now. I wanted to give a quick update to people who understand where I am right now.
    I had several extremely rough nights and days until we got the pain management under control but that seems to be managed now.
    My bones are obviously still adjusting to their new position and give some very deep aches.
    I am pleased to say the surgical team gave and continues to give me great confidence.
    I will share more as energy allows. I will also send an after picture when I have one.
    Ed, not that I doubted you before, but I can see very clearly why you asked if I had anyone to be with me. My lovely wife has been a complete and utter saint.

  6. #21
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    May 2008
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    Congratulations Peter!

    That was a large T curve.....

    Hang in there, things will get better in time.

    Are you weaned to orals now?

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  7. #22
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    May 2010
    Location
    Burlington, Ontario
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    Hi Ed
    Thank you!
    I have been on orals since I left ICU on Sunday afternoon, except for one or two “breakthrough” IV shots.
    Getting the pain management correct was a bit of a balancing act.
    I still have some orals on PRN (as needed) every two hours and so far they have been needed.
    Some parts so far have been truly horrendous, beyond what I could explain well, but we have gotten through them.
    I am able to get out of bed, move about with a walker, mostly to help balance, sit in a chair to eat and write this, and get to and from places in the room on my own.
    I am at Bridgepoint rehab here in Toronto, which is one of the newest and finest facilities in the country. I look forward to wandering about more once they certify the negative result of my COVID test taken upon arrival.
    The incision is healing well and does not even have a dressing on it anymore. I have not seen it and do not want to until it is a scar.
    The doctor was very pleased with the results, as am I.
    I am supposed to wear a collar when sitting up beyond 30 degrees for the next 4 weeks. My neck and shoulders make it clear when I am pushing too far beyond their tolerance and should lay down for a bit.
    Stuff is settling into its new home within my trunk and still complains a lot, but we shall soldier on. No returning now.
    Ultimately, despite the massive pain, I believe this is the best path for my future health and a good, active life. No regrets.

  8. #23
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    Somebody needs to keep a close eye on your incisions for infection....If there is any question at all, red spots, swelling, discharge, notify your surgeon right away. Inspect every day. I had instructions for the dressings, and remember that they didn't want me using any products on the incisions. No healing creams were allowed. I would look with a mirror, and had nurses looking every single day for a few weeks. The nurses came out to my house every day until I was off meds....about 6 weeks.

    I suppose that immediate recovery (the first 6 weeks) is our own painful "lonely" existence feeling out our pain, and learning what triggers the most pain..... It's not easy. Masking the pains with opioid's makes it that much trickier if there is any variation (fast release, slow release meds, timing of meds) and these variations get triggered by our own actions,(trip on curb, take more pain meds) and also the unknown while the body struggles with healing. You can have an inflamed area create pain for a long time, nerves and soft tissues around nerves, then suddenly the pain goes away. I noticed no improvement for days, then suddenly a 20% improvement. I had stepped improvements in my first 6 weeks. It was not gradual. It was an exercise in patience balancing everything. Balancing pain, meds, exercise, diet and constipation. All of us have to go through this and try to keep our wits straight doing it.

    I say lonely because only "we" truly know what is happening with our bodies through our recovery and it's hard to relate these things to others...

    Get a notebook and write everything down. Meds, diet, exercise, bowel, pain levels. Write down the times also.

    That T curve was big. I would have selected "Mr T" as a user name....(smiley face)

    Hang in there, breathe DEEP often.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  9. #24
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    May 2010
    Location
    Burlington, Ontario
    Posts
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    Thanks for the motivation!
    Feeling better as things go along and progressively lengthening times between pain killers.
    But I am experiencing first hand the ups, downs, and plateaus you describe and assume it will continue this way.
    Just keep on keepin’ on.
    Mobility returning and had whet felt like the best shower in the world this morning for the first time in a week.
    Am also wearing my own clothes again. I swear this t-shirt used to be longer…
    Incision is doing extremely well. No infection and not a source of discomfort itself. It gets examined quite regularly.
    Pre-op I did focus on core strength and a relatively healthy lifestyle is paying some dividends now. I never smoked, gave up drinking years ago as a personal choice, and have exercised regularly for the bulk of my life. The surgeon facetiously complained about having too much muscle to work through.
    Last edited by Twisted Lifter; 09-18-2021 at 02:49 PM.

  10. #25
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    I forgot to mention that first shower....It sure does improve things quite a bit.

    Are they doing any sort of orthopedic rehab other than walking? I skipped rehab so I don't know what it's like in a rehab facility. Do they have a Poker room? Anyone for some Percoset Poker? Hmmm...is that a Poker face, or a Percoset face? Ha ha

    I suppose the healthy lifestyle before surgery helps in recovery....I don't know if there is any way to really know? Surgical procedure and invasiveness is probably the biggest factor. The minimally invasive procedures I have had were really easy compared to large open procedures.

    Diet "after" surgery is probably more important. You need protein for healing. I ate a lot of yogurt in my recovery. Vitamin D is also important. This would be a good question to ask while you are in there.

    I was also drinking whey protein smoothies. They helped a lot and I noticed quite a bit of difference in the way I felt after I started drinking them. Re-establishing bacteria after antibiotics were finished. Probiotics....I took antibiotics for a few weeks after my surgeries, along with Percoset. It really does a number on your gut.....and you will feel it.

    I have taken Amoxicillan a few times due to Peridontal infections....and after I was done I would always re-establish things with yogurt, banana, blueberries etc. I have also done this with Pedialyte. You get done with diarrhea or vomiting, just take a sip off a bottle. It doesn't get any easier while you are running out of the house.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    1,068
    Sounds like you are doing really well. Keep walking but no falling. It gets easier with time and you already know there will be ups and downs.
    And then one day it will not feel so new any more. It will just feel normal. No one can tell you but you will find different ways to do the things you need to do. We adapt when we have to.
    Keep posting progress.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16
    Broken neck 9/28/2018
    Emergency surgery posterior fusion C4- T3
    Repeated 11/2018 because rods pulled apart added T2 fusion
    Removal of partial right thoracic hardware 1/2020
    Removal and replacement of C4-T10 hardware with C7 and T 1
    Osteotomy

  12. #27
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    May 2010
    Location
    Burlington, Ontario
    Posts
    42
    Day 11 post surgery.
    Received the “After” photos yesterday. Amazing. I will post a “before” and “after” slide when I am home and have more suitable electronics to do so.
    It looks rail-straight even though Dr. Lewis characterized it as around 70% correction. I don’t see where he hid the 30% not corrected!
    Vitamin D and protein have always been strong components of my daily life. Aids with bone density along with weight-bearing exercises (on hold for quite a while, as you would assume).
    I think I am doing pretty well insofar as looking after myself. I am showering alone quite capably. I can dress myself, including socks. I got those elastic shoe laces which seem to help. I can walk fine without a walker, but am using one of the roller ones anyway to prevent falls and to have a place to sit when I get tired.
    Pain continues to be my biggest challenge. All of my torso bones can really, really hurt. Deeply and intensely. Not all at once (usually) but always something and more or less and to varying degrees. Nights are by far the worst. Since the surgery, I have had some truly agonizing events.
    Nowhere to go but up. I know it is improving moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by day. As I am sure many of you know, it can tease you with some really good periods of time, then come back with a vengeance. I am working with the pain management team here and I believe we will get it better controlled.
    It can feel daunting, but it isn’t crushing my spirit.
    The other part is, of course, exhaustion. Showering requires a good rest afterwards. I get very tired much more quickly. I know it will improved slowly with time, like everything else.
    I have tried to eat every day and every meal post surgery, even when I would rather not, because food is fuel and you can’t expect a body to rebuild without resources. It took about a week before I began to actually want to eat and enjoyed eating (relatively speaking, since it is still hospital food, but acceptable). I supplement with gifts from home, like fresh fruit, a rare commodity in hospitals.
    I begin working with OT and PT today after yesterday’s assessments.
    I bow with deep respect to those of you who are much farther down this road than I. It isn’t easy, but I believe the benefits will be worth it.
    Thank you for your continued interest in my progress. I appreciate it and it does help.
    I will keep updating.
    Last edited by Twisted Lifter; 09-21-2021 at 08:14 AM.

  13. #28
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    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    I remember when a nurse came in with my x-rays about a week later.... "They got you straight as an arrow" she said. (It's the coronal in my signature). I looked for about 4 seconds which was all I could do at that point....I felt like Andy Dufresne (The Shawshank Redemption) looking up after a month in solitary....I was literally hit by a train and still on injectables at that stage. I was a shot beggar, they came every 4 hours and not a minute sooner.

    Much later, I looked closer with the digital x-rays and could see the curves on each side of the straight rods. So, I guess about a 50% correction. We never measured....because it doesn't matter all that much and I never asked. My surgeon stated that he could have gotten me straighter, but it was ok. Better than to be overcorrected and in pain. It's a radical change especially in adults.

    For shoes, a 20" long shoe horn is invaluable. I still use mine to this day. I can do shoes without a shoe horn, and tie them no problem, but it's just easier with the shoe horn. I invert it to hold the tongue up while inserting the foot, then flip it over and insert in the heel of the shoe and press down.

    Pain can run deep in recovery....deep and intense aches.... Its why I used hot soaks in my recovery. Cut back on meds too early, and you will feel it. There is no doubt about that and it seems there is no speeding the recovery process up, it just has to run its course. The first 6 weeks are the hardest. (For adults over 50) The worst pains come at night for some reason....I have done countless all nighters in MAJOR pain. People always ask, how is your day going? Just great, thanks. If you only knew.....

    When I came home early skipping rehab, the PT girl looked at me and said "How did you get out of the hospital, your beat" I got a kick out of that.... Thanks for the vote of confidence.....The first thing we did was heel lifts at the kitchen counter. This is important for DVT prevention. Walking is so important! Walking often! I also had a lot of edema in my legs and feet...This might have been due to the large anterior ALIF procedure I had done.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_vein_thrombosis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edema

    Eating is hard on opioid's, but you have to do it.....Opioid's are hard on eating, but you have to do it.

    11 days is very early.... Your fresh out of the oven and too hot to touch. Try to take it easy, one day at a time. There is a lot of healing and changes going on right now....

    Looking forward to the documentation of your recovery....I have done some of this over the years, as much as I can remember. 13 years now....

    Day 11 was the day I went home and I lost my option for a shot.....which was really really tough. I will never forget that. I would not leave rehab until you know you are good on orals. Completely weaned to orals. I don't know how long it will take you but very interested in knowing. I don't think any full fusion adults over age 50 have posted about this here...

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  14. #29
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    May 2010
    Location
    Burlington, Ontario
    Posts
    42
    Day 13 Post-op
    Physically, things are going well. I am moving around just fine. I am using the rolling walker for safety and to have a place to sit down when I am out and about.
    Physio today was a nice walk outside in some glorious fall weather and sunshine. We are doing the treadmill tomorrow.
    I will be sent home from here next Wednesday because I am doing so well. The physiotherapist said I am an anomaly and that many people aren’t doing as well going home as I was coming in. It is usually a six week course of treatment with physio and occupational therapy. I am more than please to be that anomaly. He has done some work to make sure all of the nerve pathways are in tact and that my balance is fine. He says otherwise there is not much he can do for me because I can already do all the things he would teach me. Before I leave, we will have an exercise plan for the future.
    What is keeping me here is still pain management. I am waking in the night with a lot of pain, so the team is working to get the chemistry just right for me.
    Like I said before, I have had some really rough nights. I have been off any injections since, well, since I left ICU two days after surgery. I had a couple of “breakthrough” shots in the ward, but other than that, it is all orals. Muscle relaxant, long release hydromophone Tylenol, Lyrica, with some PRN fast acting hydromorphone. They have to get the timing and balance right.
    My wife did an ad hoc measurement of me. I have gained nearly 4 inches in height. My already shorter brother is really not going to like this.
    Incision is giving no difficulties at all and is healing ideally.
    I still get tired quite quickly and more deeply than I remember feeling.
    I know. One step at a time. Be patient. Let things heal.
    Like Ed said. Days are fine, but once the sun goes down, the pain is waiting.
    I will continue to update as things change. Right now, I just want to go home.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by Twisted Lifter View Post
    Day 13 Post-op
    Physically, things are going well. I am moving around just fine. I am using the rolling walker for safety and to have a place to sit down when I am out and about.
    Physio today was a nice walk outside in some glorious fall weather and sunshine. We are doing the treadmill tomorrow.
    I will be sent home from here next Wednesday because I am doing so well. The physiotherapist said I am an anomaly and that many people aren’t doing as well going home as I was coming in. It is usually a six week course of treatment with physio and occupational therapy. I am more than please to be that anomaly. He has done some work to make sure all of the nerve pathways are in tact and that my balance is fine. He says otherwise there is not much he can do for me because I can already do all the things he would teach me. Before I leave, we will have an exercise plan for the future.
    What is keeping me here is still pain management. I am waking in the night with a lot of pain, so the team is working to get the chemistry just right for me.
    Like I said before, I have had some really rough nights. I have been off any injections since, well, since I left ICU two days after surgery. I had a couple of “breakthrough” shots in the ward, but other than that, it is all orals. Muscle relaxant, long release hydromophone Tylenol, Lyrica, with some PRN fast acting hydromorphone. They have to get the timing and balance right.
    My wife did an ad hoc measurement of me. I have gained nearly 4 inches in height. My already shorter brother is really not going to like this.
    Incision is giving no difficulties at all and is healing ideally.
    I still get tired quite quickly and more deeply than I remember feeling.
    I know. One step at a time. Be patient. Let things heal.
    Like Ed said. Days are fine, but once the sun goes down, the pain is waiting.
    I will continue to update as things change. Right now, I just want to go home.


    Thank you for mentioning this: "My bones are obviously still adjusting to their new position and give some very deep aches." because I forgot to take into account my muscles and bones having to adjust to being in positions they are not used to, in addition to healing from the surgery itself.
    I am glad you are healing relatively well and for posting about your surgery results. I am trying to prepare myself mentally and physically for surgery (which is tentatively scheduled for November) and this forum is helping me do that.

    I am extremely nervous but also hopeful for relief from the pain and the ability to participate in typical household activities without pain and in other activities that I haven't been able to do.
    Have your medical team prescribed a typical sleep aid in addition to your pain medication to help you get better sleep?

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