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Hello, Mid Illinois here, getting ready for the 2nd fusion

PrincessGrammyPPrincessGrammy Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in New Member Introductions
In 2000 I had my spine fused for scoliosis, now I am preparing for the lumbar to be fused, I am 54, and babysit my granddaughters every day. It is killing me that I will not be able to take care of them for 3 months, I hope it is not more than 3 months. I am thinking about having it done Dec 1 or after the first of the year. I am going for a 2nd opinion to appease my daughter mostly, she is a Nurse Practitioner, and I think this is all scary to her, so a 2nd opinion is always a good idea. I am married for 36 yrs. Mother to 2 adults now.
So I am looking for thoughts on how hard the 2nd fusion is. The first one was hard enough!


  • Welcome to spine health. Can you tell me a little more about the upcoming surgery?

    I am almost 1 year out from my second 2 level fusion with hardware. Believe it or not the 2nd (ALIF L4-S1)one was easier than the first (L2-L4).

    At the time of my first fusion I was a stay at home mom to my 1 1/2 year old. I couldn't lift her, etc for 3 months. It was hard but as they say "this too shall pass".

    I'm getting sleepy, long day, any help I can give let me know. Going to doze now......

  • Lisa, can appreciate what you are experiencing having had your first surgery fusions years ago and now going into a second surgery with how it will affect your life.

    Those granbabies sure look precious and hopefully you will manage to have some quality time with them as you recover. Although you will certainly will need to make arrangements for the full activity and taking care of them, hoping things work out well for finding a person who can do that well for you...but of course it won't be grammy!

    Where about in Mid-Illinois are you?... most of my life was in St. Louis and fond memories of my grandparents near Springfield and an an aunt in Peoria!

    Glad you found us here, there is much support and great spine friends who can understand your path with this upcoming surgery.

  • Hello Lisa & Janelle,

    Thank you for your kind words. My DD and SIL took the girls to the Day Care yesterday and looked things over. Of course the 2 yr old wanted to stay to play with the kids. I knew she would like that, and I want her to be happy while I am healing, but it still made me cry. I just hope my kids don't like taking the girls there each day better than me coming to their home. I quit a really good job (with Aflac) to take care of my grand-babies. Of course that is another story, and they will bring the girls over to see me while I am getting well. My husband does really well with the babies, so he can even take care of them here once in a while.
    I do not know a lot of technical terms of my upcoming back surgery, Even though my DD is a Nurse Practitioner. She works for a Pediatrician. But I have had pain since the first fusion, not like before the fusion of course, so when I started having a little more pain, and I noticed I lost an inch in height again, I was worried. This was about 1 1/2 yrs ago and I had an xray for chest pains and they said all the hardware was in place, so I thought I must be mixed up about loosing an inch again.
    Fast forward to July of this year, we went to Florida, and the waves knocked me all over but they had for the last ten years, (we go about once a year) and it never bothered anything. The next morning I could hardly get out of bed, and the next day it was even worse. I called my daughter and she put me on Predinsone and I felt better right away, and was able to get home comfortably. But the days following, I suffered lots of "lightening" pain stiffness etc. You know the drill....so I went to my new doctor who works in the same office as my daughter and she took xrays, and sent me to a spinal surgeon who took more bending xrays. He said I had bone on bone, I needed a cage, and he was going to fuse the rest of the spine. The first time I had a cut from my upper middle back and it whipped around down my side to my naval. Plus the cut on my hip for more bone fragments, and they removed a rib. This time he is going to cut me from the middle of my back down to my but crack, and fuse the spine going over the old fusion somewhat for a good anchor. Then screw it to my pelvic bone.
    Tuesday I am going for an MRI and my fam. doc and my daughter wanted a 2nd opinion, so I will be seeing a nuro surgeon at Barnes, in St. Louis, which I am about 40 miles from there Janelle. I live right on I-55 around Staunton, IL My fam doc said there is no other way out of this except a fusion, but she would like a 2nd opinion anyway, and she also said I will not be eligible for the less invasive surgery, but my DD wants this and so if it makes her feel better than I am willing to go for it, besides it is always good to have a 2nd opinion. When my daughter is afraid, she acts angry, you know what I mean? When I told my son he gave me a hug and said I am sorry to hear this mom. My daughter said, what if you don't have it. Of course this causes me grief, but I know she is just frightened. I looked like death warmed over after the last one, I got 3 pints of blood and I would stop breathing when I was in the CCU after the surgery. It was from the pain meds. It took me 3 weeks to quit using the walker. 2 months before I went back to work, but this time he said 3 months since I would have to pick up the babies. I never filed for disables SS, did anyone else?
    Sorry this is so long, I am good on making short stories, LOL.

    So I em encouraged by the fact Lisa said the 2nd one was easier. Did you need blood the 2nd time Lisa? The doc told me a 50-50 chance that I would of needed a blood transfusion. Last time I gave 2 pints of my own, my husband gave a pint and a sister-in-law, but he said he did not want me to do that, the blood supply was plenty safe, (we hope)
    So that is it.
    Thank you for listening, Tara
  • Tara,

    So sorry that you have the challenging issues of scoliosis and having to go through another major
    surgery. I have met people on my spine journey at the spine institute who had scoliosis and had no choice in needing the correction and stabilization surgery. One man I met did so to allow him to continue walking and regain use of his arms.

    That is a very good idea to get a second opinion assessment and good to hear you are going to a very good major medical center in St. Louis.

    My heart-thoughts go out to you on this assessment phase and experiencing much discomfort with pain. I am in the same phase, getting second opinion assessment by a NS and dealing with a "no choice but to have the surgery to keep my arms/hands functioning, with nerve compression and advancing osteophytes with narrowing space around spinal cord.

    So glad you found us here, there are many who can understand challenges with the spine and having multiple surgeries, although each of our cases and spine are different, the issues of pain, dysfunction, getting adequate pain management, physical therapy, pre and post surgery recovery, etc.- - truly means you are not alone on your journey with others who walk a similar path and therefore, have understanding, experience, strength and hope !

    It would be nice to chat PM Private Message, with you being in the area where I have relatives and
    where I grew up as well! Spine chat and share more.

    Wishing you well with your appt. with the NS and hoping you can have more answers and full assessment confirming what your spine is needing and the best procedures/surgery to be done for you.


  • A chat would be awesome Janelle. :-C I sure am interested to hear about your hands. My hands at times seem to feel like there is a rubber band around them, but I had carpel tunnel surgery back in the 80's so I always attributed it to that. But my upper arms and shoulder often feel like there is a rubber band around them also, now I am wondering is it all from that? Will that maybe be better also? One can hope. I too have narrowing of the spine, not sure what that means but am sort of afraid to ask. It surely is time to put my big girl panties on again! :S
  • The reason MY second fusion was easier is because it was done from the front (ALIF). This way a lot of muscles, tendons, etc are not disturbed: shorter surgery time, shorter hospital stay, shorter and less painful recovery. Sorry to have to tell you that, I'm sorry if I mislead you!

    However, I also think my second fusion was a better recovery for me because I found this site and gathered as much info and support I could get before my surgery. I truly think that made such a huge impact on me. Its so helpful to hear from those who have gone through this stuff and the support is a lifesaver.

    Don't worry about your grandbabies, they will be just fine, concentrate on your recovery. If I can be of any help feel free to PM me, or post for all of us.

    Take care,

  • Thank you Lisa for your kind words. Some say my was from the front the first time, but it was a 22 inch cut, I kid you not. From between my shoulder blades, down my side to my navel, oh I think I already said that. Anyway, I think once I learn to navigate this site,it may be a big help. If nothing else it validate your feelings! A BIG plus.
    Always, Tara
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