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Thread: Return to life

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227

    Return to life

    I have returned to work...this will be my first FULL week. I LOVE being back in life but have noticed a new symptom...a pinching about mid-back? Very confusing as I've never felt that before. I'm hoping it's temporary from starting back at work...I try NOT to bend down but it's tough when working with little ones. The pinching is terribly painful...argh

    My ribs are STILL killing me. I spoke to my primary about it and he hesitantly said he could have the nerve injected/killed in that area but I'd lose feeling. I said that is not really an option as I like to have feeling (even if it is pain..weird I know...but I hate to mess with nerves...I still have numbness in my legs and can't stand it). It'll be interesting to hear what my surgeon says next month.

    Thanks all of you for your kind words over the last couple years. It is comforting to know that people do care and look for my updates. THANKS

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    114
    I, too, returned to work...just today. Luckily, a teacher workday and i only work part time...so I had some time. Lately I've been feeling an intense tightness in mid-back between my shoulder blades. It's above my fusion and I know in past years I've felt it...once saw a doctor when I was pregnant and complaining...I think it's tension. I get it after I have been out and about for a while. As soon as I lie flat it disappears. Does yours go away if you relax? Today my stomach muscles hurt! I actually put the heating pad on my stomach and not my back tonight!

    Also, I have considered a small rolling stool (like the kind the docs use) when working with my kids. I had a pre school specialist once who was very tall and had a bad back and she zoomed around the classroom! It kept her from bending over and kept her at eye level with the kids. Not sure if that will help in your situation.

    Good luck on your first full week!
    Kathy, 43
    Diagnosed as a teen
    Boston brace 2 years
    63 degree lumbar curve
    Surgery August 26, 2009
    Anterior approach fused T12-L4
    now 28 degrees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    What an excellent idea, Kathy.

    Good to get your update Colleen. I hope all your symptoms gradually ease as your life returns to normal and your body gets used to your new daily regime. Take care and let us know how you go.
    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
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    Actually someone at work did wonder if maybe my body isn't used to being upright for so long...hadn't thought of that as I have frequently taken naps when I wasn't working or laid down when I needed it.

    Yes, my pain does get better at night when I can rest a bit...so it could be tension. Heating pads do wonder!

    I do LOVE being back at it I do have a chair on wheels that I have been using and my class is being very understanding which is wonderful. I have THE nicest class I've had in years...NO real behavior issues...a Godsend! Usually I have many students with severe emotional/behavioral and severe cognitive disabilitites. For this one year they have been reassigned to the other grade level teacher who generally does NOT deal with the students. So, it is a nice reprieve and a way to rejuvenate for next year

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
    Posts
    449
    Some of your pain could be doing new movements. I have had a few nerve ablation where they zap the nerve and I get relief from pain for almost a year. I am having one done in a couple of hours and the last time I had that area done was 1 1/2 years ago. My problem is in the chest area so getting rid of the pain makes it easier to breathe!
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    101
    Quote Originally Posted by always smilin' View Post

    I do LOVE being back at it I do have a chair on wheels that I have been using and my class is being very understanding which is wonderful. I have THE nicest class I've had in years...NO real behavior issues...a Godsend! Usually I have many students with severe emotional/behavioral and severe cognitive disabilitites. For this one year they have been reassigned to the other grade level teacher who generally does NOT deal with the students. So, it is a nice reprieve and a way to rejuvenate for next year
    Hey always smilin'!

    Glad to hear you're back at work and enjoying it! As a teacher myself, I smiled when I read how they re-jigged the classes to give you a better year...but it sounds like after all the work you've done in the past, you deserve a little break anyway, back surgery or no back surgery. Take it easy and make sure you ask for help when you need it...grade 5s and up are great for moving heavier stuff and picking stuff up off the floor (learned that after my disc herniation). Don't know if you have any of those at your school though (the older students). Best wishes!

    - Sarah
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    Interesting Rainbow. I guess I didn't know anything about the nerve thing...I'm just so afraid to not feel. Not sure why. I may need to look into this though as a possible option.

    Sarah - I really am fortunate to have an understanding principal/co-workers. I have done more than my share over the years so don't feel too guilty. I'm lucky that I enjoy being with such diverse populations but I've had some hitters and runners before and really didn't want to risk that this year. Next year I'll be up for the challenge again I do have a lot of people who have offered to help me with lifting. Amazing how much lifting teachers do!

    I'm on to my fourth day this week and am still kind of going strong (after taking a few extra meds tonight...shame on me...but I do NOT medicate at all at or before school). Have a great week all

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    Hi Colleen
    congratulations on going back to work!

    i do have some idea of what your school day is like....i retired from nyc dept of ed after 25 years as special ed teacher & then social worker....worked with severely disturbed kids..also some children with other disabilities...loved the work, but the pain of 40 degree upper & 61degree lumbar curves became too much..also have degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, & arthritis in spine (lyme disease didnt help!)! When i herniated discs at work about 5 years ago, all heck broke loose & the scoli got so much worse. i had to retire!

    as for ablation...i have mine in a small area of lumbar spine ....i have no sensation of not being able to feel..it just takes the pain away for awhile...i've also had epidurals, facet block injections, sacroiliac injections...none worked more than very temporarily, tho i think the nerve ablation & sacroiliac shots worked the best. but...botox really REALLY helps the pain from my upper curve....it prevents the muscles from bunching up or going into spasms..i've been getting the botox shots since about 4 years ago, when a fellow social worker at school told me she got them for hip problems....i have not had surgery...yet...

    i hope you find solutions to what gives you pain...& i wish you a healthy & pain free life..

    best of luck
    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 11-07-2009 at 08:00 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Oh wow

    Jess, the botox makes alot of sense. How often do you get the injections? Do you get them from a pain management doc or ortho doc? I have been having lots and lots of upper spinal pain since my fusion a year and half ago. I am trying to find something to get me through until I have to have a revision.
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    Hi Kristy
    i get the botox injections 3-4 times a year..from my pain management doctor in nyc...my pain doctor in Ct "doesnt believe" in the shots...dont know why......the doctor in new york orders it from my insurance company "special pharmacy" a few weeks before i come for my appointment...i am going the 18th of this month....sometimes the shots last for 3 months, sometimes 4....it freezes the muscles so they cant contract & cause pain...i used to get these huge muscle bunches on my left side, where my thoracic curve is....no more!

    best regards
    jess

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416
    good for you Jess, it sounds like you have found a good solution for you. I wish I had investigated pain management more thoroughly before having surgery. It was not given to me as an option.
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    Kristy..
    i worked 2 stressful jobs in nyc.....couldnt take time off for surgery...couldnt afford it financially, so i was forced to try to find something else...& to take pain pills....but please dont feel badly..all these solutions are very temporary..the botox works well on upper curve, but nothing seems to work very well on larger lumbar curve..that is the one they would operate...as of now, they say that they (surgeons) would leave top alone & just operate on lumbar...so while i am very grateful for what the botox does for my thoracic curve, the injections dont last long on my lower curve...& we even tried botox on lumbar..didnt help at all!...so i kinda feel as if i am delaying the inevitable..surgery!

    i am finally in touch with dr anand in CA, (got in touch thru this forum) the doctor who does "less invasive" surgery for curves otherwise thought not to qualify for such...i am going to make an appt..(requires flight from east to west coast)....so we will see how that goes....dont know how much of that is still experimental...

    best of luck to you...hope you find something to relieve the pain, even if temporarily...

    jess

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    Jess-
    Interesting reading your posts. I swear I've never known about all the pain mgmt options available...although I think my curve was at a point where I had to do something surgically. I just know I won't be able to do this again...it was too much for my body to handle I will need to do something soon as far as the rib pain goes. The back pain is still not better than before surgery...but hopefully time will bring that around. I'm counting on it

    I don't really think that people know what schools are like until they are in them. Special ed and then social work..that's a load! I teach in the "regular" ed classroom but our district does full mainstreaming with minimal support so really I feel I teach both. Luckily I LOVE it! I think it's a job (like many others) that you couldn't do well if you didn't love it! Sorry you couldn't continue...but there were days where I didn't know how much longer I could continue with my back pain. Now I'm determined to continue as long as possible...although I pray the back pain disappears soon!

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    43
    Hi Always,

    So there has been no improvement for you pain wise since the surgery? What does your surgeon say about that? I would expect it to be a bit better by now.

    Also how are your curves? Do you feel straigther and taller? I only ask because I feel my curve is progressing even though fused 14 years ago. I going to the RNOH in London on the 24th of Nov to have it checked. I dont suffer from too much back pain only when I lie down I have to put something under my left hip to stop it for going into spasms.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    Hi Colleen
    you are so right about working in schools...those who dont, dont understand! and if you have minimal support for mainstreaming, shame on your administrators! you do have a double tough job! one of my masters was in administration...& i have no patience for administrators who used to be teachers, but then promptly forget how hard it was as soon as they leave the classroom!! after i graduated, i realized i didnt want to be an administrator... i just wanted to work more therapeutically with the kids.. thus the next masters in social work...& that job was not as difficult as having a classroom!

    i feel bad that you are still in so much pain, but maybe it will just take longer for the healing to complete...in the meantime, would you be able to get to a pain management doctor just to see if there are injections they can do to help give you some relief, even if temporary..?
    it might be worth a try, just to get you out from under the pain for a while....

    hope you are feeling better soon
    jess

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