My name is Lydia and I am 24 years old. I have noticed an abnormal curve in my spine since I was about 10 or 11 years old. Since then it has gotten progressively worse and so has my back pain. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with scheuermann's kyphosis, or to use the worst word ever "hunchback". I already knew what I had because my older brother had it also and had worn a brace for a few years as a teenager. I saw him suffer through wearing the brace and seeing as it didn't even help much, I never wanted to go through that. This deformity is something that is extremely emotionally difficult to deal with. Growing up I was called names in school, had to get off a ride or 2 at the theme park since the harness couldn't close, and go through life daily knowing I look different than everyone else. This isn't something like being overweight that is common and fixable on your own, I hate the way my back looks, I feel judged by others and this prevents me from being the person I really am. All that is not to mention the physical pain when being in any kind of position for too long. Most of the pain I feel is in my lower back on my sides, my shoulders are very tender, and I have some numbness in the middle of my back.
I have wanted to have surgery to correct my spine for a very long time. I am a very happy, confident person, and am happy with my appearance, other than my back, and I think this would greatly increase my quality of life. Now that I am a young adult and have a decent job with medical benefits I feel that this is the best time for me to do it. When I was 18 and got diagnosed, I went to a spinal surgeon and left not feeling good about it at all. The doctor was discouraging and I didn't feel comfortable with him. Being 18 years old and not having much support from my family, I decided to put it off at the time.
Things in my life have changed and I know without a doubt surgery is what I want. Today I went to a Neurosurgeon in LA with extremely good credentials. Both him and his partner suggest Spinal Fusion surgery for me. I understand this is an extreme surgery and that I will have a long and painful recovery, but I know it will be worth it. I also understand that I am most likely going to need it at some point in my life so why not now when I am young and healthy and do not have large responsibilities yet.
Normal curvature of the spine is 20-50 degrees. When I was 18 mine was at 79 and now it is at 85 degrees. Needless to say, I am a candidate for spinal fusion surgery to correct this. The doctors say the surgery will be 3-5 hours long. Then I will be in the hospital for 3-5 days, they said they make me get up and walk within a day of having the surgery to quicken the recovery time. I was told I should be able to go back to work after 3 months, since I have a fairly easy office job. Within 6 months I should be doing pretty much back to myself and after 1 year I will be completely back to normal. Of course I will have plenty of pain meds in the beginning and physical therapy for about 9 months. They said they could bring my degree of curve to around 50, not average but certainly a HUGE improvement.
My real goal by coming to this site is to find other people who have situations similar to mine. I want to hear good and bad stories of this type of surgery and to hear experiences of people who know what it is I have to deal with this condition every day. I want to know what it is like after surgery, down the road a few months, and years after if possible. I also want to share my story with others who have this problem. I consider myself a strong person and this is something not easy to deal with but it can be fixed.
I feel like there are not many experiences with this exact condition out there. So if I don't get my questions answered, maybe I can answer someone else's in the future. I know it takes precious time to answer questions like this but it will be greatly appreciated.
So can anyone here answer my questions or give me any insight that the future me might have.
Will going through all this time, pain, and money be worth it?
Will I be happy with the correction they can give me?
How "normal" does your back look after?
What else do I need to know?
Thank you to anyone who reads!