Life After Surgery

Hey guys! I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the positive feedback, and for all of your questions. Today, I’m going to be replying to Steve Wainess.

When I first got out of surgery, I was in the hospital for four days. I was asleep for most of that time, and only got up if someone made me. I also didn’t eat very much, and lost around ten pounds during those four days. I had to stay a day or two longer than another spinal fusion patient nearby, because my curve was more advanced than hers. There are many different factors that could influence how long you are in the hospital, so don’t worry if you are in the hospital for a different amount of time. While I was in the hospital, I had to practice walking a lot, which I hated. First, I was walking with assistance. A day or two before I left the hospital, I could walk on my own, but I still had someone next to me.

After I got out of the hospital, I was usually in bed or sitting somewhere comfortable; I only moved when necessary. This went on for about two weeks. My ability to move slowly increased, but I got tired really easily.

My restrictions were slowly removed each time I went to the doctor’s office. Four months after my surgery (I think), I was cleared to run. My mom tells me that I was so elated that I sprinted out of the doctor’s office as soon as I got the ‘ok’. At the six month mark, in June, I had all of my restrictions removed. I only had one complication during surgery. While the doctors were operating, the sensors on the left side of my body were not responding. Because of this, the doctors couldn’t get as much correction done as they wanted, and they had to use more hooks. When I got out of surgery, my left thigh was numb, but it has faded over time. It feels completely normal now. (Mom’s input: the Doctors lost signal to her left leg during surgery while performing the first of 3 osteotomies that they wanted to perform.  Because her curve was so severe (97 degrees), Dr.Li wanted to do the osteotomies (shaving of bone) to get the curve straighter.  Because she lost signal to the left side during the first one, she did not finish the others.  Therefore, we only got a correction to 40 degrees.  The loss of signal could have been from a loose connection, but it was good that they played it safe).

Now, there are very few things that I can’t do. I can’t bend backwards very far or twist from side-to-side, but that’s pretty much it. My back and shoulders surrounding my scar are still partially numb, even after a few years later. Don’t worry, this is normal. I also sometimes get little nerve pinches in my shoulder blade area, but that’s nothing to worry about as well. Of course, if you have any concerns, you can ask your doctor when your surgery date gets closer.

One of the questions I got was this: What is the most important thing to know about spinal fusion surgery? I had to think for quite a while on this one, but I hope my response answers your questions.

It is going to be difficult, and most likely uncomfortable too for a while. I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I know, you’ve probably heard that it’s going to be hard, but hearing it and experiencing it aren’t the same thing. You might get nervous, frustrated, or scared. I went through all of these things, too. As I was in the final hour before my surgery, I was terrified. It’s scary not knowing what’s going to happen next, and realizing you have no control over it is worse. Know this: your family and team of doctors will be there for you and protect you. They will make sure you’re alright. I had so much support from my family and friends, it was overwhelming.

My days in the hospital were extremely uncomfortable, but the doctors always made sure that I was never in pain. While I was recovering, it was extremely frustrating to not be able to do everything you could before. Things like showering and even walking are difficult for the first few weeks, and that can be hard to deal with. Just know that it gets better, that you will get better, and that you will be back to normal in no time at all. Also, I don’t regret getting surgery for one second, because everything was worth it in the end. I feel so much better, so much more alive, now that I have fully recovered. It will be difficult, but you will be so much better off when it’s all said and done.

Remember, if you have any questions, simply ask! See you next week!

-Cindy

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4 thoughts on “Life After Surgery”

  1. Awesome way to write your story Cindy! You are such a strong girl in every sense of the word! Keep being positive and thanks for sharing the good and the hard times in your story!

    1. Thanks! I try to give a realistic picture of what actually happens, and usually that includes something difficult, along with something good. To tell the whole story, you need to share the good and bad times.

      -Cindy

  2. Hi Cindy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your detailed report on your fusion surgery. Although the doctors always say each surgery is unique, there is much we can learn from hearing about other patient’s experiences. You are a very brave young lady. If you wish, I will give you a report on my son Anthony’s fusion surgery taking place on August 30th.

    Best always,

    Steve

    1. You’re welcome! And yes, I’d love to hear how Anthony’s surgery goes. I hoped I helped to answer your questions.

      Good luck!

      -Cindy

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