Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's been a year!

It's hard to believe it's almost been a year since my surgeries to correct my scoliosis!  December 29th and 30th 2011 I had a spinal fusion (T11-L2) done at St. Mary's Hospital to correct my severe scoliosis!  Scoliosis is not uncommon but I did find out that only 10% of scoliosis cases end up needing surgery.  A year ago the degrees of my curves were in the 40s and 50s and causing my severe pain on almost a daily basis.  A year later I have almost no pain and I'm still able to do everything I'd like to.  Overall, I'm extremely happy with the results of my surgery.  The pain was well worth the result, and I'm happy to say that my degrees are now in the 20s!!  Did I mention I gained two inches from the surgery?  

December 2012 X-Rays 

Both my pediatric orthopedic surgeon and adult orthopedic surgeon are happy with the results and how my S curve has balanced out.  My shoulders are almost even and my rib hump is much less visible!  Couldn't be happier! Until next time!  Blessings to all and Happy Holidays!     

Monday, April 23, 2012

Food for Thought

This doesn't directly relate to my back or back surgery, but I couldn't think of a better forum to voice my current thoughts.  Before I start, I will say that my back is doing great. I still have restrictions that I follow but I do not take any painkillers of any kind for my back.  Most of the time I have no pain whatsoever and I'm very grateful to have had surgery to correct my scoliosis.  It was worth it, and I don't regret it one bit, but like I said the following post isn't about my back. Lately, I can't help but realize how ungrateful people are for the abundance of gifts in their lives.  Life is far too short, and with the current loss of a student at my high school I know this is on the minds of many.  

The youth director of my church once told a group of us high school students a story of when she worked in a bank.  When handling money to be deposited in a man's account she asked if she should put the money in his account or hers jokingly.  The man told her she could have all his money if he could have her health.  After leaving church, I couldn't help but think about this man and people today.  I think he had the right philosophy to live by.  We get so wrapped up in our materialistic lives.  We constantly think about ourselves and things we want.  Rarely do we stop to be thankful for what we already have.  Everyone is guilty of this, including myself.

There are so many that don't have food, shelter, or water, and we get upset when we can't have the newest iPhone.  It's my belief that God gave us life so that we can in turn serve others.  Did He want this to be easy for us?  Probably not.  We all face challenges, whether big or small.  God doesn't give us anything He knows we can't handle, though.  We face our obstacles and they make us stronger, so that we can help others climb their mountains.  I pray that I never forget to live my life for God by living it to serve others.  I pray that I'm always thankful for what I have.  And I pray that I make a difference in other's lives.  Life is too short to live any other way.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New X-Rays!

 Rods from the side
 from the back

 zoom-in on the back

zoom-in on the side

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

6 week checkup!

I had my 6 week checkup with my surgeon this Monday!  It was originally a snow day but we ended up using it.  My appointments weren't until later in the day so we went prom dress shopping in the morning in Rochester.  Unfortunately I didn't find anything I liked, and most the dresses were much over our budget anyways.  I was surprised that I couldn't fit into a 00, which i usually my size, but a 1 was still much too big.  I haven't gained back all the weight I lost during surgery so the fact that I couldn't fit into a 00 dress was because my muscles are still healing from being moved around during surgery.  I asked the surgeon why the muscles in my thighs and stomach are still sore since having surgery and he said that's due to the moving around of muscles done during surgery also.

The first nurse that came in to ask me how I have been doing was shocked to know I don't even take tylenol everyday anymore.  She said if I had been a middle age patient undergoing the same surgery I would most likely still be on narcotics.  It just goes to show how much faster a younger body heals!  They said the x-rays look good too, but they won't have evidence of healing until 6 months after surgery.  They are going to send a CD with my x-rays on them and once they do I will put them on here and on my blog and facebook for anyone interested in seeing how much straighter my spine is!

I still use a pillow to sit at the desks at school and leave my classes 5 minutes early because I do still have some soreness and being bumped would be painful.  

Overall, I'm doing great and I don't have to go back to the doctor for 6 more weeks.  After 3 months they will move my weight carrying limit to 20 pounds which I am very excited for!  It's amazing what little you can carry that is under 10lbs!

I'm just as amazed at my fast recovery as everyone else and I'm very thankful for everyone that has helped me along the way! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Back to School!

It's been a little over a month since my surgeries and I'm doing much better than I thought I'd be doing.  I've been in school since the 23rd and I've been going full days instead of half days like was originally planned because I only have 4 classes.  The hardest thing about being back in school is minding my ten pound carrying limit.  With textbooks and binders its very easy to go over, so I get to keep an extra set of books at home.  I also carry around a small pillow at school because otherwise the desks are way too uncomfortable. 

The hardest part of the day is by far night time.  I find it difficult to get into comfortable positions and stay asleep all night without waking up in pain.  I use a heating pad on my back some nights to help ease my muscles.  I'm hoping the sleeping issue will get better with time.

I've been off my Rx for almost 3 weeks now, and just taking tylenol.  The past few days I've been trying not to take any at all.  I do still have some pain but it's managable for the most part.  When it gets really bad I just lay down for a while then I'm usually fine.  I go back to the doctor on the 20th for x-rays and to meet with my surgeon.  As far as I can tell everything is going well but it's hard for me to know what's going on inside.  The bone will take about a full year to heal so I'm sure I'll have to go back for multiple check-ups just to make sure everything is healing correctly. 

I am very greatful that I did this surgery and I don't have one regret about it! I would recommend it to anyone with severe scoliosis that causes back pain! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The day before my surgery, my surgeon had to inital me. Apparently, this was new policy and no one liked it but the nurses looked for it before proceeding with surgery.

 My wonderful boyfriend came to visit me!

 Kelsey was one of my main nurses and by far my favorite!  She was always cheerful which made being in the hospital much easier! 
 These are the two side incisions on my left side from the first day of surgery on December 29th. The small incision that isn't covere is from my chest tube.
 This is the scar on my back from the second surgery on December 30th. The two smaller incisions on each side of my back incision are from the fluid drains I had.
After having the IV in my right arm something they gave me made my whole arm bruise!  It looks much worse in person!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Surgery was a success!!!

It's been so long since I've updated this so I have lots to say so please just bear with me! This could be long! After having an MRI and meeting with the spinal specialist December 29th, it was decided I was decided I could actually have surgery this time!  This was a huge relief but also brought on new stresses!  I had two teams of surgeons who decided I would be having a two part surgery.  The 29th was the first surgery which lasted about four hours and they made two incisions on my left side and put a rod in on that side.  The next day I have another four hour surgery and they went in from the back and put the second rod in on the right. 

They decided by doing this it would be less stress to my body, I would have a better recovery, and they wouldn't have to fuse as many discs.  They ended up only having to fuse four discs which is great compared to the five to seven they were gonna fuse.  They ended up fusing from T11 to L2.

The first few days were rough, but they got better and I started eating better. I even got wheeled down the hall and had my hair washed!  After that I started getting more nausous and I couldn't keep food down.  By the time they wanted to dismiss me from the hospital I couldn't eat anything because it wouldn't stay down for more than thirty seconds. They discharged me anyways.  The car ride home I was very car sick.  We had to stop in a near by town so I could go to the bathroom and the smells of fast food joints made my car sickness go crazy!

The first few days home were the worst.  I tried to get up and move every hour like they had me doing in the hospital, but I still couldn't keep food down.  Nights were the worst because I would get so stiff and that would cause my pain to rise.  Now I am sleeping much better and managing the pain.

On Friday my brother was doing my hair and all of a sudden I felt like I was slurring my words.  My brother and mom assured me they could understand me.  Seconds later my tongue started swelling and I was having a hard time breathing.  My mom quickly called the number to Saint Mary's in Rochester where I had surgery.  They said they thought I was having an allergic reaction to one of my medications.  We climbed in the van and my brother sat in the back with me and tried to calm me down.  I was so scared that I was going to die it was impossible to stay calm.  Once we got to the ER a man tried to help me in a wheel chair but he didn't seem to understand I that I couldn't twist my body. He kept telling me to twist my legs around and my brother finally got mad and said, "She can't twist! She just had back surgery!"  They got me back into a room quickly but to me it seemed like it was taking forever.  After a few nurses and a doctor looked at me they finally got an IV in (which was a process in itself!) and they gave me benedryll and I think something else.  Shortly after I was able to breath again! I was also feeling very loopy and tired from what they gave me. 

We had to stay there for a while so they could make sure I was doing okay.  Another doctor came a couple times and talked about the medications he was switching me to to prevent the reaction from happening again.  He didn't seem to understand I couldn't take any anti-inflammatory drugs, because of surgery.  When we got home my mom called Saint Mary's to verify that the drugs they switched me to were safe.  They ended up cancelling one of them, but other than that I have had no more allergic reactions or negative drug side effects, other than drowsiness which is to be expected.

I am learning new ways to do things myself!  I have a shower chair so I can shower without assistance and my brother bought me a grabber so I can pick things up off the floor.  I even had to get a new bed frame because my old one didn't have enough support for my new healing back.

I have a great family who has proved to be wonderful nurses!  Since my older brother is home from college he is my main caretaker since Mom went back to work today.  I am keeping food down much better and just enjoying some R & R time.  Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support!  I am more than thankful for these and they make my healing much speedier!