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Thread: Second thoughts . . .

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    52

    Second thoughts . . .

    I've been re-scheduled for Nov 17th, so now have a firm date. Now I keep waking up in the wee hours of the morning, having a little anxiety attack and not being able to go back to sleep. I've been busy lately, so don't spend much time thinking about it during the day. But obviously it's bothering me sub-consciously. I keep having doubts about going through with this--my pain's not that bad, and so many things could go wrong! I'm even second-guessing my choice of a surgeon (have I really checked him out thoroughly?), etc. I had to switch to a different hospital because the first one's not on my insurance, so now I'll be having it at a hospital that he usually doesn't operate at, and according to his assistant, they don't have the state-of-the-art equipment there. But I can't afford $4,000 to get it done at the other hospital that's not on my insurance plan.

    Help! Is anyone else going through this anxiety and second thoughts?
    Lisa MS
    age 46

    Braced 1976 - 1980, corrected to 19" then
    Spinal fusion, a/p, 8 vertebrae, 11/17/08
    Lumbar curve was 57 degrees, now 24 degrees
    Dr. Doug Wong, Panorama Ortho, Golden, Colo.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    I had the same doubts as you. My pain wasn't nearly as frequent or severe as it seems many people around here had it, but the fact was, both of my curves were 66 degrees and continuing to progress. I really wished (at the time) that I could have chickened out, but (this will sound idiotic), I was afraid to chicken out. Meaning that if I did back out on it, I would never schedule it again, I would lose the outstanding doctor that I selected, and that in 20+ years, I would end up in a wheel chair.

    I'm glad I went through with it, even though it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, willingly. I had many, MANY sleepless nights. As a matter of fact, I think I posted here during lots of them. It is perfectly natural to be nervous, but looking back now (tomorrow will be 3 weeks), I am so SO glad I'm on the other side. I'm feeling pretty good already, and can see the positive change in my body shape just by looking in the mirror.

    One thing I tried to do was pack as much fun and good times into the time prior to my surgery that I could. Dinners out with friends, weekends away, we had a 100+ person party at the end of the summer, etc. I wasn't sure how long it would be before I felt like having a good time afterwards. But guess what? Yesterday on our way home from a doctors appt. (unrelated to my back), my hubby and I ate out at a diner! Not even 3 weeks, and I ate out I was very proud of myself.

    You will be fine too, I just know it.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    I suspect it's natural to have doubts. I've had a few e.g. I only got one opinion. Perhaps I should have got more but I was satisfied that what my dr. said, was correct. I am satisfied he's a good doctor with plenty of experience with scoliosis surgery.

    I personally am in awe of all you people who go through this waiting time without the aid of anti-anxiety medication. Lisa, your "little anxiety attack" sounds like sheer bravery to me, after what I experienced after being told I needed this surgery.

    Debbe and others give me hope. Debbe's curve was similar to mine and like Debbe, I get very little pain. Her recovery is one of a few I'm watching closely!

    I'm sure others who've already had surgery will be able to reassure you that what you are feeling is perfectly normal. It really is a scary thing to go through.

    *hugs*
    Jen
    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. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    213
    Quote Originally Posted by LisaMS View Post
    Is anyone else going through this anxiety and second thoughts?
    In a word - Yes!

    I, too, won't be in my doctor's hospital of choice & therefore won't have access to his favourite OR gadgets. This surgery is riskier-than-average for me, and I do really worry about that.

    I'm in pain - but am I really in THAT much pain? Well, some times are better than others, but the pain is constant. The curve can't get a lot worse (since it's now bone-on-bone [ribcage on pelvis])....but the twisting is definitely getting worse. It's causing problems with other medical issues I have - but maybe I can put up with that? No, not much use putting up with a lack of lung space!

    Yep - I definitely have a heap of doubts.....but for me, I have to weigh the risk of having the surgery vs. the "risk" of not - progression, worsening other medical issues, a much more difficult/dangerous surgery the longer I leave it.


    As someone who's on both sides of the fence - having already had the surgery (twice) & heading for it again - I can definitely tell you the worries are normal. And healthy - the fear's just our brain's/body's way of asking us if we're sure we need to do this. In my case (& I suspect yours, too), the answer is a resounding Yes. So then it's time to channel the fear into something constructive - doing what we can as patients to help our bodies have the best chance of things going well. Eat well, get as fit as possible, take any needed meds religiously, enjoy the company of good people, get plenty of rest. And if you feel you need them, anti-anxiety or sleep meds could be a good option.

    And for what it's worth, even though I've ended up needing further surgery, I don't for a minute regret the previous fusion surgeries. I was terrified going in & the recoveries were hard....but I don't regret them, at all.

    Well, sorry to ramble. I'll be thinking of you on the 17th - & I know you'll do great & will be posting about your recovery in no time.

    Take good care - & be gentle with yourself

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    62
    I this night time thing is common the night is the worse for me although it is not me having surgery I think I would be better if it was. My daughter is 14 and has surgery in two weeks. Stress!!!!!!! Stay positive half the battle so I am told.
    Catherine
    Catherine
    Mom of 14 year old Danielle
    T45 degree curve Feb 2008
    T47 degree curve May 2008
    T50 degree curve Sept 2008
    Surgery Nov 24th 2008
    Ontario, Canada

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    213
    Catherine - best of luck to your daughter & you, too!

    It won't be easy, but it's much easier to bounce back from the surgery as a kid or teen. I'm sure your daughter's op will go well, but of course it's only natural to worry.

    Don't forget to take care of yourself so you're fighting fit when your daughter needs you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    52
    Thanks everyone for your sympathetic responses. It's nice to know I'm not over-reacting with my anxiety. I was anxious at the end of my pregnancies, too, knowing that I'd have to go through labor & delivery (ended up with 2 c-sections, which was worse), and then months of no sleep, etc. But that was for a good end result too--my kids (now 21 and 14) are amazing, and I would go through all the pain all over again if I had to. Maybe I need to look at the surgery this way--that I need to go through something painful and difficult in order to "give birth" to something better. One of my doctor friends who was initially skeptical of my need for the surgery, after hearing what my curve was & how fast it's progressing, said he'd go through with it too. He said that really, it's an investment in my future. That was very helpful.

    This forum is the BEST!! I don't think I'd be coping very well without all of you and the good info we all share with each other.
    Lisa MS
    age 46

    Braced 1976 - 1980, corrected to 19" then
    Spinal fusion, a/p, 8 vertebrae, 11/17/08
    Lumbar curve was 57 degrees, now 24 degrees
    Dr. Doug Wong, Panorama Ortho, Golden, Colo.

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