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Thread: VERY bad day today...one leg shorter???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Greenfield, WI
    Posts
    414

    VERY bad day today...one leg shorter???

    Hi. Today has got to the be one of the worst days ever. Im 3 weeks port op today and feel mierable mentally & physcially. More mentally actually which is pretty bad. I had this sugury for multiple reasons-here they are: 1-future growth of the curve dont the road, 2- the pain & 3- the aesthetics..meaning my crooked body...waist uneven, back bone sticks out, rib hump etc. So..again for more than one reason. Earlier this week, as I was walking around aimlessly around my house for "excersise" I noticed I was limping...which reminded me that my right leg was (pre op) about 1/3 of an inch longer then the other. However, It was never noticable to me or anyone else as my crooked frame made up for it so to say. What I dont know is did I get the Scoli from the longerr leg or did the longer leg get that way from the twisted curved spine? Either way, it VERY obvious now. My aunt who has been helping care for me while my husband is at work, can even tell. Now here is where I get ticked off....my surgeon knew about the longer leg at my inital consult. He said it may or may not be connected (scoliosis) but did say it was most likely like that my whole life. NOW knowing this...assuming this was in my charts, WHY oh WHY didnt he say "Lynn-just so you know your longer leg will even appear to be longer after the surgery as the rest of your odywill be in aligment and you will have to wear a shoe lift forever" ????? One of my 1000000 questions for him at my pre op was will I even out & will my deformities disappear? Again, I will have to assume that he noted the fact that one of my legs is onger than the other. Im so depressed right now....They wont allow me to go on a strong med at night to help me sleep and for the major pain on the right side.(just happens to be the same side of the longer leg....coincidence??) Im 3 weeks post op and feel behind everyone else here on this site as far as physical activities, I cant ride in a car yet just to leave the house as I am COMPLETLY stir crazy And now this!!! I gave up a big part of my life just to have the surgery(bending, twisting, holding my son when he needs his mommy, etc and NOW I will also have to give up my appearence as well. Not to sound like a self centered b&tch, but I do actually like(d) myself & how I looked, dressed & acted & the "attitude" that I carried with it. Please dont get me wrong, Im actually a modest person. I do enjoy keeping up w/fashion, I love to dress up & wear heals almost every day to work. Heals w/no backs, strappy sandels, wedge shoes, knee highboots, etc. I wear makeup & always make sure my hair looks nice. I do it for me and my hubby,who also loves the fact that after being w/him for 10+ yrs, I still give a damn about how I look. Now I feel like an outcast. I have not done anything to myself since a few days before the surgery, have not worn nice clothes, etc. forever. I just feel like a whole new person-in a bad way. I feel like hell, I miss holding and lifting upi my son, I miss not being able to sleep, let alone just sleep comfortably, even if just for a few minutues and now we throw this shoe wedge thing in the mix. Im devestated. To some, you may think whats the big deal, it could be worse, etc, etc...but its really upsetting to me. I truly believe he should have warned me about this. Whats done is done - no take backs,right?! Does anyone has any insite on this?? Im really not looking for pitty...my husband already tried...ha ha --I just want to knw if anyone else has this issue to deal with & how its impacted their lives, if at all. Pleasseee let me know....thanks for listening everyone.....
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Lynn,

    I'm sorry that I can't be any help in the longer leg issue, I have no idea. Have you called the Dr.'s office to discuss? When do you go back for a checkup?

    It really bothers me that you are in so much pain and they are limiting your pain meds at this point. I assume that you've asked for more. Seems to me it couldn't hurt to call again and get hysterical if you have to. After all, hurting that much and getting no sleep will get ANYBODY down. So will being stuck in the house and going stir crazy. Believe me, this will pass. I am sure that sooner than you think you will be able to go into a car. Going to the mall to walk with the seniors was such an enjoyment to me early on because it was my only contact with the outside world for a while! Maybe once you're up to it your aunt can take you?

    You are in my prayers. PM me if you need to talk, I'll send you my phone #.

    ((Hugs))
    __________________________________________
    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
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,102
    Hi Lynn...

    I think you're expecting too much too soon. We all recover at different rates, but I don't think I've ever known anyone who was ready to dress up at 3 weeks post op. To put it in perspective, I didn't get dressed up until I was about 8 weeks post op. And, even then, it totally exhausted me.

    It's entirely possible that you're experiencing some depression. It's fairly common after surgery. I would talk to your primary care physician about both the possibility of depression and your sleeping issues.

    Hang in there. I promise that it will get better.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,159
    Lynn

    I was whoooppped for quite some time, and yes its depressing. Sleeping was tough, it improved with using a foam topper on the bed. It seemed like there was no improvement till about my 4th or 5th week, then I had a 20% overnight improvement. I really didn't leave my house at all unless I was driven down to the Drs office and then I just wanted to go home. I couldn't sit anywhere for more than a few minutes. I didn't even use my computer for 6 weeks. I didn't look pretty, and everyone understood.

    You are just getting through with the hardest part of recovery, the first few weeks. Your body is in overtime right now healing from very complex surgery. All sorts of numbness,stabs, stings, burning sensation etc.

    This will take some time,you are only 3 weeks out.

    We were there. You are going to make it.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF 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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2
    I can completely relate to your concerns. I am 25 years old and am 7 weeks post op. I thought that since I was in great physical shape pre surgery that I would be back to normal after a few weeks. I was so frustrated at around three and four weeks and I thought that I would be in pain forever. In addition, I had a strange bulge on the side of my stomach from bloating and my ribs were sticking out significantly in the front. I remember saying to my mother that I traded one deformity (rib hump) for another, and what was the point of all this pain if I looked worse after the surgery than before?! But after six weeks everything sort of shifted into place somehow and now I couldn't be happier. I can relate to the body image issue. I work in fashion and my appearance is very important to me. Caring about how you look is not self centered - it's part of taking care of yourself. I haven't ventured out in heels yet and I'm still going for comfort but I find that leggings with a high flat boot and a nice long cashmere sweater looks good and put together As for the pain I'm still on percocet twice daily and slowly coming off it but the way I feel now compared with even one week ago is incredible. You will reach a point where it just keeps getting easier and easier. Please don't get discouraged! Patience is the key. I know it's hard when you can't see what's around the corner but you WILL feel better and you will look in the mirror and smile.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    72
    Hi Lynn

    I was so sorry to read how bad you are feeling about your leg and I would suggest like many have already said, getting in touch with your Dr. to talk about it.

    3 weeks...mmm let me think, yep, still in bed lots, def not up to getting dressed up (sweat pants and comfy zip up hoodies for me) and no trips out in the car....that came a loooong way down the recovery road. Crikey, it was even months before I could comfortably wear a bra again - hubbie whooooped when he saw me put it on one day and said 'hey you must be feeling better' Please don't beat yourself up about it. Your recovery is just that yours - please try not to compare yourself to others - use everyones posts as a 'guide'. (easier said than done I know!)

    Cry those tears if you have to, they will pass, honest!

    We're listening and all sending our very best wishes to you....
    keep your chin up honey - tomorrow's another day towards getting better.

    Louisse

    btw I, too, missed the cuddles and 'closeness' of my children and hubbie while recovering in those early months - I just felt so fragile! But I'm glad to say I'm nearly back to (giving and receiving) full strength hugs now!!!!
    Diagnosed aged 17 thoracic curve of 40°/48? given brace worn for short time but was then told that I had stopped growing and it wasn’t likely to get worse. Follow ups ‘got lost in the system’ and I chose to ignore until age approx 33, after two children. Now nearly 42yrs curve was progressing (last xrays 67 degrees) and increasing 'backache' so surgery (posterior T3 - L1) went ahead beginning of September 2008 in UK - thoracic curve now approx 20° and I look a lot straighter!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
    Posts
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    Thanks everyone....feelin' better today....

    Thanks for the notes everyone. Just a crappy day really. I know my recovery is is my own...sorry. Im just jealous of some peoples recovery is all...lol... The longer leg thing is what really bothered me....for 2 reasons...1- I will be 35 in April & Im not ready for orthopedic shoes or shoe lifts quite yet....no flip flops, not strappy sandels, etc. and 2- the nurse said yesterday when I called that the uneven leg is bad for my recovery..walking un even can interfer w/the healing of the fusion & she said, is also the reason for my pain that is more noticable on my right side. Im over the dorky shoe thing and already have a plan to but new shoes w/backs that are still "sassy" if you will....shopping!! Yahhhoooo....BUT Im worried about the fusion & the limping. Basically Ive been walking this way for 3 weeks now. I Just pray that it didnt mess anything up. The nurse was going to talk to my doc & call me back today to talk about meds for the pain and also what to do about the leg issue. SO I shall wait & see & let you know! Sorry for the sobby, angry post....just glad you are all here to let me vent!! I really am better today.....my pain level is good today as well-double bonus!!
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    111
    Dear Lynn,

    First, I want to congratulate you on such a wonderful correction. I believe that you did the right thing in having the surgery and am somewhat envious. Apparently having the shorter leg happens. I had surgery last June with Dr.Lenke in St. Louis. As a teenager, my left leg became slower in growth than my right leg and ended up about 3/4 inches shorter. I also developed a very progressive scoliosis. Back then treatments were not very effective,and I ended up with a 96-100 degree thoracic and 70 degree lumbar curve as well as signifiant ribcage deformities both front (caved in chest on right) and back.With the increasing curve, my limp went away and I no longer had to wear the shoe lift that I hated as a teenager. I completely forgot about the limp. I, also, was concerned about my appearance, had a reasonably attractive face and disguised with clothing as much a possible. I was very self-conscious. I'm now 64 y.o. I've had rib resections, mammoplasty to build up my concave right chest, two attempted reconstructions to correct my high thoracic curve but due to complications (blood pressure issues and spinal cord monitoring alarms), my thoracic curve was not able to be corrected. Also, the high thoracic curve caused significant breathing problems which will shorten my life. My lumbar curve was corrected to 46 degrees which lifted my ribcage up off my pelvis and gave me more room to breathe. However, I also got my limp back. So, I swapped one problem for another. I now have to wear a 3/4 inch lift on my left shoe. So, the result is that I'm somewhat straighter and can breathe a little better but limp. I wear fashionable heels and strappy sandles briefly on special occasions. Oh, I also sleep on my back and left side as my right hip hurts if I sleep on my right. However, I still would have the surgeries over again. I had the best of surgeons and was kept safe.
    I had my 6 month check up at UCLA nearer to where I live which was arranged by Dr. Lenke. The doctor there said the shorter leg problem was independent of the scoliosis, but Dr. Lenke said it sometimes happens.
    The UCLA surgeon also said the scoliosis cannot be cured but can be managed. You are still very new post surgery and will continue to feel better with time. I wish you the very best and hope you continue to enjoy all the nice fashions.

    Rita
    Age 64. Fused T1 - L4 with instrumentation T-1 - sacrum.
    Current curves: Thoracic 95-100, Lumbar 46 (corrected from 70).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    455
    Lynn,

    I wish I had some good advise that would make you feel better. I don't. However, do not beat yourself up over wanting to look good! Your are 34 years old. You should still want to look good. If I were you I would certainly be in my surgeons office creating quite a stir....he should have shared the info regarding your leg. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Good luck and try and hang in there.

    Susan
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    1,010
    Just a suggestion while you are in the "at home" recovery stage - Try wearing a shoe on your shorter leg that has a slight heal and go barefoot/sock with the other foot. This way you will help even out the leg length difference (resulting in more balanced hips, spine, etc.) and help reduce the risk of failed fusion. No one important needs should care about you wearing one shoe on and one shoe off. When Braydon was little, he did this (when his LLD was less than 1"). Now, he requires a 3.5cm buildup on the sole of his shoe. His total LLD is 5cms, so leg lengthening is likely in his future. I digress...

    Continued best wishes with your recovery. I agree that taking life one day at a time is best.
    Carmell
    mom to Kara, idiopathic scoliosis, Blake 19, GERD and Braydon 14, VACTERL, GERD, DGE, VEPTR #137, thoracic insufficiency, rib anomalies, congenital scoliosis, missing coccyx, fatty filum/TC, anal stenosis, horseshoe kidney, dbl ureter in left kidney, ureterocele, kidney reflux, neurogenic bladder, bilateral hip dysplasia, right leg/foot dyplasia, tibial torsion, clubfoot with 8 toes, pes cavus, single umblilical artery, etc. http://carmellb-ivil.tripod.com/myfamily/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
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    414

    good advice...

    I got a call back from the docs office & was told the leg issue will not interfer w/the fusion. The doc recomends the shoe lift for comfort but doesnt feel it will interfer w/the fusion. Mixed signals if you ask me. Either way, Paul went out & got me a shoe lift w/memory foam. I will use this til I go to my post op apt in March. I was told we wont know whats up w/the leg for sure(whether it will stay shorter or work its way to the other) until Im completly fused and my body has made all of its adjustments, etc. Ive been walking around w/one slipper and the other w/ just a sock. As soon as I finish this post, Im gunna try out that fancy new "device" from Walgreens. Ohhh joy!! lol

    Again, I know its still early.....I just want to pre myself for the worst...so if it does get better, I will only be happy! yea yea yea...the glass is half empty! I know I know!
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    388
    Awww Lynn, I just wanted to hug you when i read your post. I remember those 'dark days' so well! As you can tell from your own experience, they don't last forever. But you will have some more, unfortunately. Just recognize them for what they are, temporary depression due to Post Traumatic Stress.... which you have definitely experienced with your surgery. Know that it will get better. And so will your sleeping and exercising. And you'll soon be able to play with your son.. and devise ways for him to get into your arms and lap without jeapordizing your fusion. You can do it... just hang tight. Hugs, JoAnn

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
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    JoAnn-thanks.....hugs are ALWAYS nice! lol That day was just that, a bad day. I was more depressed about the shorter leg issue that anything else at the time.....which Im,for the most part, over now. It is what it is.....so, now you may call me Ilene! LOL Teasing of course...........
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    Lynn,
    I completely understand where you are coming from. I am 23 years old, and have a love of shoes. I did not have problems prior to surgery, both legs were "the same." After surgery I ended up with my right leg just about an inch shorter than the other. They ended up giving me shoes with a lift built into the bottom, half of the difference, when I left the hospital, unfortunately they were way too big in width and they tried to compensate by putting a platform inside both shoes to make my foot "feel" more enclosed. They then put the other half of the lift INSIDE the shoe. Because of the platform my foot no longer fit in the shoe at all, and I was pretty much unable to walk. They did warn me that walking a lot without the shoe would make things worse, but really only if I walk long distances in it...at three weeks they were still, also having problems with my brace...so I wasn't up much at all.
    I am now 2 months out and walking in my (not so attractive) lift shoes, which have been corrected and now have the FULL lift on the OUTSIDE. I can walk about 6 and a half miles a day now. But...the shoe thing has plagued me too. I am getting married in May, and pretty much had a meltdown about it. I now look at all my shoes that I used to wear and know that most likely I won't be able to wear them again. They don't reccomend putting a lift that size in your shoe....it makes you walk on tiptoe on one side and not the other. I do have a 1 cm lift (about half of what I need) that I can fit inside a shoe if need be.
    During the interim where my shoes didn't fit, i walked around with one croc on...not attractive at all, but lets face it, nobody leaves the house for at least 6 weeks, and limping isn't very sexy either. lol.
    I have found out that leathermakers and specialty shoe shops can build lifts into shoes less noticeably than the beasts that I wear now. Strange thing, nobody has noticed except for me, unless I point it out.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
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    414
    Quote Originally Posted by fierceliketiger View Post
    Lynn,
    I completely understand where you are coming from. I am 23 years old, and have a love of shoes. I did not have problems prior to surgery, both legs were "the same." After surgery I ended up with my right leg just about an inch shorter than the other. They ended up giving me shoes with a lift built into the bottom, half of the difference, when I left the hospital, unfortunately they were way too big in width and they tried to compensate by putting a platform inside both shoes to make my foot "feel" more enclosed. They then put the other half of the lift INSIDE the shoe. Because of the platform my foot no longer fit in the shoe at all, and I was pretty much unable to walk. They did warn me that walking a lot without the shoe would make things worse, but really only if I walk long distances in it...at three weeks they were still, also having problems with my brace...so I wasn't up much at all.
    I am now 2 months out and walking in my (not so attractive) lift shoes, which have been corrected and now have the FULL lift on the OUTSIDE. I can walk about 6 and a half miles a day now. But...the shoe thing has plagued me too. I am getting married in May, and pretty much had a meltdown about it. I now look at all my shoes that I used to wear and know that most likely I won't be able to wear them again. They don't reccomend putting a lift that size in your shoe....it makes you walk on tiptoe on one side and not the other. I do have a 1 cm lift (about half of what I need) that I can fit inside a shoe if need be.
    During the interim where my shoes didn't fit, i walked around with one croc on...not attractive at all, but lets face it, nobody leaves the house for at least 6 weeks, and limping isn't very sexy either. lol.
    I have found out that leathermakers and specialty shoe shops can build lifts into shoes less noticeably than the beasts that I wear now. Strange thing, nobody has noticed except for me, unless I point it out.
    Yea....finally someone I can related to in regards to the leg thing. Im telling you, I was REAL upset. You are younger than I am so Im sure you were even more upset. Im sure my doc will tell me whats up at my post op next month. I was told my limp wouldnt effect the fusion......seems odd that it wouldnt. Ughhhh.....this really stinks.....lol....but thank you soo much for sharing you info. Im sure its more common than I thought. However, I do envy the fact that your doc/hospital actaully noticed that you did have a variance in your leg length! Mine didnt.....grrrrrrrrrr.......Have a great weekend!
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

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