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Surgery Postponed/Cancelled After Pre-Op Appt...

TrixieMamaTTrixieMama Posts: 64
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello my wonderful spiney friends :)

Had my pre-op on Monday for the second fusion to complete my 360 and the Dr. called me yesterday to tell me he had cancelled/postponed my surgery for at least 4 weeks (January 2012) due to severe anemia. My hgb (hemoglobin) was about 9.6 or 9,7, can't remember and he said the surgeon and hospital don't like to operate for non emergency (i.e. cuada equina's) when hgb is below 10.

At first I was overwhelmed with frustration and excitement, unsure which to welcome because i'm 4 weeks post op from my ALIF and was only 2 1/2 days away from surgery when I got the cancellation call. Family was ready, kids were ready and I was ready to not be home for Christmas and to get this over with. As many of you know I have had several complications from the ALIF and posted a thread about a required hospitalization for a Seroma that developed at the incision site as well as the hematoma on my spine. Since D/C the Seroma site on my belly is still sore and swollen. So I really was looking forward to going back in on Saturday that way they could deal with that issue also if it was an issue. Anyway, once the emotions settled and I calmed down, a plan was put in place and now i'm looking forward to being home for Christmas with my family. Sounds like the last one should have been a no brainer but when you psych yourself up to prepare for something like this it is hard to refocus and regain your grounding. Hope that makes sense.

The plan is to increase my iron like a mad woman which will increase the problem I already have = constipation so each day i'll drink 1-2 cups of warm prune juice, eat 5-6 prunes, drink 1 glass of water every hour (this will be hard, I am SO NOT a water drinker, time to be creative), eat cereal each morning and eat a salad each day of spinach. The hope is that by doing this in two weeks when I have my blood drawn, i'll be halfway to the point where they want me (over 10) so they can schedule me then two weeks later, have another pre-op, more blood work and then surgery the following Saturday. My butt hurts right now just thinking about the pain of this process. LOL.

I made a new YT video yesterday, two actually, one about Depression and how i've been coping and then one about the cancellation. In my YT video I posted about it yesterday I said the doctor wanted me to increase my iron and I *thought* in my medicated mind that I was to increase iron to 9 pills a day, after realizing this couldn't possibly be right, a quick call to the pharmacy fixed it and it's increased now to 3 iron tabs a day, can you say "Hello constipation?", thank God it wasn't 9 pills a day, my poop would be like concrete. It's bad enough already! ROFL. Hey, sorry if that offends, in times like these we have to find humor in silly things or we'll go nuts, at least I will because the stress of this whole process, dealing with wc for a year and then surgery - complications - another delay, yeah, not very good for my already difficult to control anxiety/depression r/t injury and pain meds.

Anyway, i'm dealing with it, coping well and trying to make the best of it. It is what it is and being a Christian believe that Gods hands are in this, this happened for a reason and it's okay.

Just wanted to update you all. I have some other issues to post about so i'll probably post another thread to ask about those things :) Thanks and have a blessed day <3 <br />


  • extremely difficult to increase iron absorption. Google ways that help that process. Be sure not to take any other medications for four hours before/after taking iron.

    What was your beginning hematocrit before your surgery. You likely have had lost a fair amount of blood with the ALIF. Did you have to have a blood transfusion with that first procedure? Wonder how much blood you lost with your first procedure???

    Since it is difficult to increase iron storage, you possibly will need a transfusion with the second procedure. At least it would not surprise me if you do require transfusing, especially if you have it in 4 weeks. It takes months to normalize your blood count once you have lost blood from a big procedure.

    Good luck replacing those blood cells!!

  • Hi SG :)

    Thanks for reading my post and commenting :)

    Not sure what my beginning Hgb was before first ALIF, know it was above 10 but unsure exactly what. I have always, always been anemic since childhood. After my ALIF I can't recall if it was 7.9 or 8.1 but in that range. The hospitalist that covered me really didn't want to transfuse me because I was tolerating it well so she started me on iron as a trial for a day because I was stable and have a history of hemorrhage and remaining stable until my hgb was 6 and crit 8 (long story but surgical error in 07 after a lap choley and allowed to hemorrhage for 2 days in the hospital despite telling the MD's something is wrong and being a nurse working at the same hospital, they refused to do a CBC and CMP even as a professional courtesy, very sad situation, long story though that I go into detail about in my YT video). Anyway, back to this surgery (ALIF), within a day of starting iron (which is crazy, I know) my hgb responded and my iron levels increased substantially so we opted to continue with iron. By the time I left the hospital my hgb was 9.7! and iron levels looked great. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I was suppose to take it 3 times a day when I came home. Usual dose is 325mg q day.

    Anyway, long story short, if I drink the iron with OJ to increase absorption and continue eating spinach, it's possible to get it up in time.

    Unfortunately, I don't recall how much blood I lost during the surgery, they said minimal, the standard amount from what I recall, no specifics. Internist said with the PLIF to expect to lose a gram so they want me over 10 so they don't have to transfuse.

    I wouldn't be surprised though if they do transfuse post op this next time either. I may have bled more than anticipated also because I take garlic and didn't stop it timely. I didn't even think about it being an issue until 4 days before surgery. Should have stopped it two weeks ahead. Maybe that had something to do with it the loss.

    I don't eat a bunch of meat but my grandmother reminded me of an old trick back in the 40'5 and 50's they used. You would get some raw liver and blend it into liquid form and drink a cup each night. She had a sister who almost died from blood loss and the liquid liver saved her life from all the stories in the family i've heard and my mom had to drink blended/liquified liver as a child for a year straight due to severe, severe anemia. GROSS. I would never, ever consider doing this though, i'd take the transfusion first! LOL. Just some humor from my family history.

    I think they are optimistic it can come up since it's responded so well thus far to the iron supplementation. I've always been iron deficient for as way back as I remember and every lab test i've ever had i've been anemic. All they ever say is take some iron and MVI. LOL.

    Hopefully this works, i'm in pain and really hope I don't have to wait months. Hopefully taking the iron with the OJ will help raise it and increase absorption. Wish me luck on pooping! LOL.

    BTW, are you a nurse or in the medical field? You seem quite knowledgeable on the subject. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know :)

    Hugs and thanks so much for the comment and encouraging words <3<br />
    Have a blessed day!
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  • Hi Kimberley

    Very disappointing to have surgery postponed once you're all geared up to go, but just as well seeing as you're anaemic.

    I don't think I could cope with pureed liver - yuk. I remember my mother in law telling me that's how she fixed her anaemia, and that would have been in the 40's or 50's. Thank goodness we now have iron supplements!

    Beetroot is another food that's recommended for building up the red blood cells, as well as meat and fish, greens, dried fruit, beans, grains and iron fortified cereals. You can buy the juice or make your own and perhaps blend it with other juices.

    Would recommend that you take your iron supplement either one hour before or two hours after eating any of the following foods :

    Milk or milk products
    Tea (contains tannic acid)
    Whole grain breads and cereals (contain phytic acid)
    Dietary fibre

    Not sure if you're on any of the following medications, but the same principle applies :

    Antacids containing carbonates or magnesium trisilicate
    Calcium supplements
    Histamine H2 - receptor antagonists (such as cimetidine)
    Pancreatin or pancrelipase

    Use these next weeks to build yourself up as best as you can, even though you're recovering from the first surgery.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I did hear recently about not drinking tea or coffee at the same time you are trying to increase your iron (someone who knows better than me - is this right?) - because it prevents absorption.

    Anyway - I also hemorrhaged post op, my levels tanked and finally the NS had to go back in and find the leak. They had to transfuse 2 units during that second surgery.

    I tell ya, I'm a confirmed believer in donating blood now - whatever I can do to help - to help someone else that finds themselves in need of blood.

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