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  #1  
Old 10th May 2014, 11:48 PM
KMaxwell KMaxwell is offline
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Default Recovery so far

Hi Everyone!

I’m now 18 days post surgery. Other than common issues like pain management and lack of mobility/flexibility, I think things are mostly going well. I guess my one big issue is struggling with being able to sit comfortably in any kind of chair or getting into a comfortable position in bed.

I was terrified going into the surgery, of course! Cried like a baby until they gave me something to calm down – I don’t remember a thing after that. The surgery apparently went pretty quickly – about 5 hours. The surgeon fused T4-L3 as estimated. Here's the incision the next day:


I remember waking up from surgery and instantly feeling relieved. It was done! No more decision about ‘do I go through with it or not’. I did have a couple minor complications (a breathing issue due to a reaction to one of my meds and a few days of passing out due to low blood pressure, finally resolved by a few blood transfusions). That added a few hospital days to my stay but mostly my recovery went really well and I was out on day 12.

A few things that really helped me in the hospital… I was lucky to have my dad and boyfriend take ‘shifts’ so that I always had someone with me. It made a big difference just having someone there, even if I was just sleeping. Also I brought the afghan my grandma made me which made the bed seem cozier and the room less sterile. And, though I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it at my age, having a big stuffed mouse to hug when needed was very comforting!


There were loads of great nurses, techs and therapists at the hospital that took really great care of me. I decided to ask them all to sign my brace. I didn’t get everyone’s signature (since I didn’t think of it until a couple days before I left) but I managed to get over half of them. Even the Physician Assistants who put in my staples (and took them out) came up from the OR and signed it. I was surprised how excited most of the staff seemed to be about it. One lady even cried. It was a really fun thing to do plus now I have all these cool autographs from these nice folks on the back of the brace when I wear it out and about.


I did hear quite a few times from the nurses, therapists and doctors at the hospital that they felt like my surgery time had been very short, that my incision was healing more quickly than expected and that my recovery was ahead of schedule. I don’t know if it’s related but I did listen to a guided imagery CD (called ‘Preparing for Surgery’) each night in the week leading up to surgery… perhaps it contributed to my recovery time. If anyone has considered trying out something like this out, I would say ‘why not’?


Anyway, now I’m home – going to physical therapy twice a week and trying to walk outside every day. I feel like I’m recovering faster than expected but I’m struggling with how the rods feel when I sit and lie down. When I lie down on my side, I feel like they’re moving to the left or right. And I have a similar sensation of the rods pushing out against my skin whenever I sit down. I end up standing a lot but that tires me out really quickly. I realize I’m probably just imaging things and the rods are just fine but I can’t overcome the sensation.

I also wonder if I should switch my meds – they help but my pain level but never get it below the ‘just manageable’ level. I’m not sure what I should be expecting though… Hopefully the doctor will have some insight when I see him next week.


Here’s my pre-op xray and a not-so-good photocopy of my post-op xray. I went from 80 to 47 degrees. I will have a better post-op photo to share after my follow up with my surgeon on the 22nd.
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- Kay

I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Kyphosis at age 16. I had an 80-degree thoracolumbar kyphosis and mild scoliosis. My posterior fusion surgery was performed by Dr. Sethi in Seattle on Earth Day 2014. It reduced my kyphosis to 47 degrees and my scoliosis to about zero!

Last edited by KMaxwell; 10th May 2014 at 11:49 PM. Reason: typo
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  #2  
Old 11th May 2014, 03:15 AM
hduggan hduggan is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Your spine looks fantastic and you sound very good.

Very helpful for those still on the cusp.

Continue the good healing!
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  #3  
Old 11th May 2014, 06:55 AM
Angeceilien Angeceilien is online now
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Hi K,

That is such good news. You look amazing. Its so good to hear everything went smoothly. about 2months after surgery I needed a pillow to sit on a chair. Still kinda wished I had it cz hardback chairs are awful. Everythinh does feel weird back there for a long time. It took me ages to be able to lie on my side on my own and when I did it also felt funny with the rods.

It's really good they gave you physio. I suspect part of the reason I still have trouble with certain things is the lack of physio.

Keep us updated

Ange
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Old 11th May 2014, 09:09 AM
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GillyG GillyG is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Oh my, your spine looks perfect, I'm so jealous! I hope you manage to get more comfortable soon, don't be afraid to ask questions of your surgeon (vis his secretary is usually the best way) if you are still worried about the rods moving, it might just be a case of getting used to how they feel though. It sounds as though you're doing amazingly well
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  #5  
Old 11th May 2014, 09:19 AM
LucieT LucieT is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Hi Kay!! Just read your update and I am smiling like a Cheshire Cat that you are doing so well. So here we both are "on the other side"!!

I didn't have a brace, my surgeon said I didn't need one. Is it only for Schuermann's that you need a brace and what does it do?

I can't get comfy either, I'm like the Princess and the Pea, although my electric recliner chair has been invaluable.

I thought I could feel my rods move but my surgeon said it was the muscles moving over them as they learn their new place.

Sooooooooo glad you are home. Your x-rays are amazing xx
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I'm 44, I had a scoliosis: thoracic at 49 degrees, lumbar 47 with severe rib rotation. My surgery took place on 28th March 2014, I have 26 screws and 2 titanium rods.
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  #6  
Old 11th May 2014, 01:06 PM
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JENNY14 JENNY14 is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Looks great!!
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Diagnosed with a 75 degree Scheuermann's kyphosis curve in 2010. After numerous doctor visits and a few years later, my curve had developed into one measuring 95 degrees. I had my spinal fusion done June 21, 2012 at the Children's Hospital of Georgia by Norman Chutkan in Augusta, GA.I'm now fused from T5 to L3.
Follow me on twitter... @JustBeing_Jenny
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  #7  
Old 11th May 2014, 01:46 PM
Sporty gal Sporty gal is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Glad to hear your doing so well Kay your correction looks fantastic ,hopefully you will get your pain meds sorted soon xx
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Mum to Aaron who has congenital kyphosis . Surgery performed by Mr Lehovsky and his team (Matt & Charlie ) on Tuesday 18th February at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore . surgery was anterior and posterior approach carried out in the one surgery .
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  #8  
Old 11th May 2014, 03:03 PM
Rod Stewart Rod Stewart is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Kay

Those are very nice looking x-rays! Congratulations.

With all the surgical preparation lists, not one has mentioned using a mouse. We are going to have to add that one....but be careful, some are known to have a craving for Oxycontin, and well, we cant have a wasted mouse because you will have to manage his meds also. He he

I had to do a med switch from Oxycodone to Percoset around the 18 day mark....It seemed that The Oxy just wasn’t cutting it. If you call your surgeon on the phone and cry the blues, he should do a switch, call it in, and you can simply pick it up at the pharmacy......Percoset is Oxy with Tylenol in it, it helped some...

The first few weeks are the hardest being in our survival mode with every minute spent trying to get comfortable. A foam topper for the bed helps quite a bit, especially if you roll on your back and hit the scar.

You know to keep notes on everything. Document meds, food, BM’s, sleep, walking, and the mouse.

Don’t let Opoid constipation get a foothold. This is extremely painful.....Warm prune juice is a favorite, drink plenty of water, and walk often. Do you have a bottle of magnesium citrate? If not, get one. Its sold over the counter at the pharmacy in the laxative section.....

Hang in there and remember, no falling.

Ed
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  #9  
Old 11th May 2014, 07:27 PM
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bluestone bluestone is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Well done you!
There will be some ups and downs and strange sensations as your body gets used to its new position but if there's anything your worried about do what I did-call your surgeons secretary, mine called me back to reassure me about some worrying hip pain.

I agree with Ed, be careful about the opioid constipation-its hell! I know because I had it and wouldn't want to repeat it so drink lots of fluids and have something in-Movical helped me a lot.
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Thoracic 72 degrees, lumber 30 degrees. Fused aged 44, T2-L4, posterior fusion with costoplasty (8 ribs were chopped) on 3/11/10 under the care of Mr Ahmed at North Staffs Hospital.
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  #10  
Old 12th May 2014, 04:02 AM
Mrs. Krier Mrs. Krier is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

K,
Congrats sister!! Looks great! You sound like your in great spirits and doing very well, You will be in my thoughts and prayers! Hang in there!
Ps...your inks beautiful! I went crazy in 2010 and decided to cover my deformities with lots and now i worry they'll be ruined by the incision, ha so lame i am! Take care stay tough!
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  #11  
Old 12th May 2014, 05:06 AM
KMaxwell KMaxwell is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Hduggan, Jenny and SportyGal Ė thanks for the kind words!

Ange Ė I actually started physio in hospital. I was transferred to an inpatient rehab ward and had several sessions of OT and PT each day. I had to complete a whole set of tasks before they would discharge me. Iíd read on the forum that some physicians will not prescribe physio for some months after the surgery so I was relieved when they allowed me to start it so soon.

Thanks Gilly Ė I was pretty excited to get such a good correction! But donít be jealous as I still have a pronounced curve at my neck which looks worse now that everything T4 down is straighter. Itís a bummer but better than a fused neck!

Lucie Ė I was a bit confused when my surgeon prescribed the brace. He told me at my initial consultation last July that he didnít prescribe them anymore but then told me after the surgery that he likes all his Scheuermannís patients to wear them for the first 12 weeks. There was a scoliosis patient at the hospital with me who was also wearing a brace. So Iím not sure why Iím wearing it but it does make me feel safer and keeps me from twisting, which is good.

Iím glad to hear you are able to use your reclinerÖ I bought one specifically for my recovery but I canít stand it, itís too soft and actually hurts my low back.

Ed Ė I have spied the mouse having a peek my Oxycodone from time to time... hmmm, I best keep a watch on him! I do think adding Ďstuffed animalí to the hospital packing list would be useful, I was amazed how comforting it was to have one with me. Plus he doubled as an excellent pillow!

Iíve only been documenting my meds and pain levels, I hadn't thought about the other thingsÖ Surprisingly enough, my constipation isnít too bad (even though I have a history of it). It was pretty bad in hospital but I was put on a Ďsteppedí program where each day I add a stronger medication on top of the lesser one until I get regular. Itís not perfect but Iím managing to be semi-regular with the BMs. Itís a relief because I know itís a real bugger for some folks.

Gilly and Sarah Ė youíre right, I should just give my surgeonís office a call. Never hurts to ask!

Mrs. Krier Ė I have a fair amount of tattoos as well and love them! Unfortunately the incision ran over my Fred Astaire tattoo a bit (and messed up my dragonfly tattoo on my low back) but I think the gal that does my artwork should be able to fix them up. The Astaire tattoo isnít actually done, the tattoo artist refused to finish it until I recover from surgery because she wasnít sure how much the incision would hurt it. She was right! Here's what it looked like pre-surgery:
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- Kay

I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Kyphosis at age 16. I had an 80-degree thoracolumbar kyphosis and mild scoliosis. My posterior fusion surgery was performed by Dr. Sethi in Seattle on Earth Day 2014. It reduced my kyphosis to 47 degrees and my scoliosis to about zero!
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  #12  
Old 12th May 2014, 12:50 PM
lozzym-may lozzym-may is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Hi Kay! So glad to hear that you are doing so well. Your correction looks amazing and it seems like the scar is healing up nicely too. Lovely to see that you're in such good spirits too. Sitting and sleeping comfortbaly will come - I spent the first 2 or 3 weeks sleeping at the wrong end of the bed because for some reason it was more comfortable that way. Not sure my partner agreed as he had my feet in his face! Also, I find a pillow very helpful for sitting on chairs and in the car. Don't be afraid to take it around with you either! The sensation of the rods will get less and less. I don't notice mine so much anymore but initially it felt like my muscles were snagging on the screws all the time.

P.S. Love your mouse and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one to take a toy into hospital for moral support!

P.P.S. Your tattoo is fab. Your tattooist made the right call about finishing it after surgery I reckon. You'll have to post some pics when it's completed!

P.P.P.S. Good luck with the rest of your recovery and keep up the good work!
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  #13  
Old 12th May 2014, 03:13 PM
Mrs. Krier Mrs. Krier is offline
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Default Re: Recovery so far

Kay,
ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!!!!!!!
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