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  #1  
Old 23-03-2016, 11:53 PM
Bren Bren is offline
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Red face Looking for advice

Hi there,
I have been following this forum for over a year now, which I just find so interesting to read of everyone's experience. I am at a crossroad and thought it good to reach out for some advice.
Let me introduce myself, I am a 54 year old woman and I live in Perth. I have an 80 degree curvature that has increased a degree over the past 10 years, however I have no pain as such but only with some impingement pain on my right side which feels more like a bad stitch which comes and goes. Iím active and most people donít realize I have a curvature because I hide it very well.
Ten years ago, when I was in my 40s, I was advised to see an orthopedic surgeon. This surgeon advised me that I should have an operation, however I was also given an option by another surgeon to maybe wait, which I have done.

So I have waited but now however, I have found my curvature has increased, after being checked out by another surgeon. My dilemma is I want to make a decision when I next see my surgeon next month. I am also worried that if I donít have my curvature corrected now, by the time I am in my 60s, I could be in a worse state.
I am also afraid that I could end up after the operation in a lot of pain, which I donít have now. Has anyone else had this dilemma? Also if anyone is from Perth, did they have a good outcome with their surgeon they went with?
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  #2  
Old 24-03-2016, 10:13 AM
Annette
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Default Re: Looking for advice

Hi Bren,

I had anterior surgery last year at the age of 50 I had a 49-50 degree lumbar curve and fused T11 L3. I did not have much pain only the muscle on my left shoulder needed massaging. As I was rotating I was experiencing discomfort from my rib pressing onto my lung and found certain positions uncomfortable. My surgeon suggested surgery to stop the curve increasing and before I got too old and I would have a better quality of life in my senior years.

You can read my story on this site or your most welcome to send me your mobile number via private message to discuss further.

PS. I am located in Melbourne

Annette
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  #3  
Old 25-03-2016, 09:33 AM
Christine Christine is offline
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Smile Re: Looking for advice

Hi Bren

I am now 53 and had my first surgery in 2011, another one 2012. My curvature was also worsening with middle age. Fusion was T4 - L1 and had five ribs re-sectioned to reduce the hump. My back is very straight now and quality of life very good...still can't believe I have good posture! Some pain, but it is very manageable by keeping fit and resting lots. I like to tell people I made a pain trade when I had surgery - the post-surgery pain and new confidence is much more bearable that the pre-surgery pain and depression from living with scoliosis.

It is generally a more difficult recovery for older patients, but I am a big advocate for this life-changing surgery and wish I had it years ago. I felt I had little to lose anyway and sought the advice of three surgeons before settling on one in Melbourne.

Like Annette, there are quite a few of my posts still on the forum that you might like to read.

Feel free to shoot me a PM for a chat
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Old 28-03-2016, 10:31 AM
Suzanne_H Suzanne_H is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice

Hi Bren
Like you, I sat in the shadows and read about all of the wonderful women on this forum for a couple of years before committing to surgery. I am 47 years old and had posterior surgery last November in Brisbane. I was fused from T2 to S1 and am in my 5th month of recovery. My lumbar curve had reached 65 degrees and was progressing, as was the rotation. I had shrunk 7 centimetres but like you hid it well, very few knew. I was very active physically so whilst pain was there and growing, I didn't allow it to curb much activity.
The surgery was extremely successful, my curve now being 14 degrees and I gained 4cm in height. I have no regrets whatsoever. It was a difficult journey and though I still have some pain, it is nothing panadol, a heat pack and rest won't relieve.
I think having an excellent surgeon I trusted in and wanting to be straight again helped me make the decision. I was tired of the struggle, worrying about curve deterioration, my growing hump and a distorted waist. I also worked very hard physically leading up to the operation to be in the best shape I could be in. Being an asthmatic I was terrified of being under for an 8 hour operation. I swam and did Pilates twice each per week. I think that has helped my recovery tremendously.

I hope this is of some help with your decision making. I struggled with it for so long and am so happy I went ahead.

Also, a big thank you to all the lovely ladies on this site for helping me get here too!

Sue
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Old 29-03-2016, 01:27 AM
Bren Bren is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice

Thank you Annette, Christine and Suzanne for your replies
It's great to hear how you all have come through your operations and have no regrets. That gives me some confidence to actually make a decision to go ahead with the operation. However, whenever I think about it there never seems to be a good time to have it done. I worry about my work and family commitments and I've been told that I most probably won't be driving for the first 3 months. I love driving so that's going to drive me crazy . Also exercise. I love riding my bike and also going to clinical pilates. I know that I will get back to doing pilates and may be swimming. Cycling may be another story, that might take longer to get back to.
I am going to see a physio who specialises in the Scroth method next month. I am interested in what she has to say.
How did you all cope with being house bound? I imagine you would have to be well organised. I know my husband will help me as much as he can and my grown children as well...I hope? By what I've read on the forum most of you have coped very well.
I think the best part I am looking forward to is gaining my height back and hopefully a bit more. Also to have my clothes sit better on me, especially dresses and skirts, without having to adjust the hem. I have noticed over the years, especially the last 10 my clothes not fitting as well as they use to. Was this the same for any of you?
There is so much more I would love to ask but I think I will leave it until next time.
Thanking you all in advance
Bren
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Old 29-03-2016, 10:38 AM
Christine Christine is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice

Hi Bren

One of the things you have to get used to is letting go of the things you like and want to do for a while. It is not the end of the world and you get to a point where those things can come back into your life. All of the things you are worried about not being able to do become very insignificant when you have surgery. Your prime focus will be on recovery, increasing your strength and then (the fun part) overhauling your new wardrobe My previously all-dark wardrobe now overflows with pretty, colourful fitted clothes now! So good to not be anxious about dressing or those pesky hemlines or slipping shoulders! I grew 3cm too.

I was overwhelmed with offers of help from all angles; family, friends, even work colleagues. They still even help out at work, heaps. You have a grown family so let them work/cook for you for a change! I was able to shower by myself and all of those other intimate things we usually worry about? They were not a problem for me. Shoe horns are great to have hand and so are those grabby things. Other than that, just go slow and listen to your body. Didn't mind being housebound because I was so tired and my brain was all about recovery. Didn't care about not cycling/gymming or any of that. My daily walks were a real treat though, and really enjoyed building them up. Driving happened after a few months but I rather liked being chauffeured around.

I had a lot of sick leave saved up, then took extra time without pay but then went on a centrelink sickness benefit - which continued as I built up my work life again. It was a great help.

The whole surgery experience has changed many things about my life...like I feel it has humbled me in many ways. Enduring high levels of pain is eye-opening.

Personally? I wouldn't waste time with the Scroth method, or any promises by physios to correct you. Been there, done that!
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:15 AM
Bren Bren is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice

Thanks Christine,
Iím hearing you and agree with having to let go. It wonít be easy but I donít think Iíll have a choice in the matter, and by what Iíve read on previous posts the drugs that Iíll be on and the pain will prevent me from doing a lot any way. I suppose thatís my fear in some ways. My surgeons have all said that I will take a long time to recover and the first three months is the worse. However, because I have been thinking of doing this for so long, I am funnily enough, not that afraid of the operation. Iíve prepared myself mentally, but still a bit afraid of what happens afterwards and how much of a correction I get and if I will end up with long-term pain afterwards. But thatís a risk I think all of us have taken and that is something I will have to face and am aware of.
I am though looking forward to the ďfun partĒ of overhauling my wardrobeÖslipping shoulders - tell me about itÖIím over it!
Only out of curiosity, Iím still going to see this lady about the Scroth method. She may have some words of wisdom?
Thanks again Christine I loved your comments
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  #8  
Old 01-05-2016, 10:17 PM
Jules Jules is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice

It is an extremely personal decision. I am younger than you do my situation was different, but I made my decision on 2 things: pain was one. My pain was gradually getting worse. I did not see myself or my quality of life improving if I simply waited. Still, it is a gamble. It is not often that it happens but a few will end up with more pain after the surgery. Still I decided in favor but went into it knowing and accepting that maybe my pain would not improve at all. If that was the case, I would resign myself to the fact that at least we were stopping or slowing down the progression of the curve. That leads me to the second aspect of my decision. My curve was getting worse. I am in my mid thirties and my curve was already 68. And I knew it was still crumbling even more. I could feel my ribs even more pronounced than years earlier. And I have seen elderly ladies with severe scoliosis who, as a matter of fact, shared with me their experience with pain and how they wished they have had access to these surgeries when they were younger. That was a major influence on my decision too. And so far I have not yet regretted it, quite the opposite.
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  #9  
Old 01-05-2016, 10:26 PM
Jules Jules is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice

As for letting go, yes, you will have to let go of many things. Let go of the control we think we have over our lives, you are going to have to trust your surgeon, trust that you will be ok. It's a tough journey but it is temporary. The after surgery by might seem so long but honestly, those months will fly by. I'm 6 months post op and I feel like my surgery was yesterday. At the same time, it feels like a life away, another existence. You have to have as much support as you can around you. And you will feel so tired at the beginning that you won't care if the house is messy, or if things are not the way you would like them to be. Then, when you start feeling a bit better, you will focus on your recovery. On walking, on getting stronger. And slowly you will start doing things again. I know this varies too but I was back to driving within 6 weeks, even though I was still taking a few pain meds. I made sure I only drove short distances and only when I was not feeling drowsy. When I had the surgery my mum came and stayed with me. 2 months after the surgery she went back to our home country and I stayed here with a hubby who works full time and a 4 year old. We still managed. It's tough but doable. After the 3 months I was pretty much back to an acceptable "normal" level, although still cautious. So you will manage. Everybody finds a way to. And when you realize it's all pretty much over and behind you.
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  #10  
Old 05-05-2016, 10:55 AM
Heathpal Heathpal is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice

Hi Bren - welcome to our world! I am 2 years post op and also had an impressive 80 degree upper curve, and 64 lower, and am fused T2 to L2 posterior fusion (at 50). No regrets, except not having done it sooner! I did not get a magnificent correction but what I did get gave me stability and my waist back. Of course the first few months were not pleasant but saying that, I was able to do much more than I thought I would. As for driving, I got back into it after 6 weeks. The drugs initially made me rather sick but then were changed and it was ok. I experienced a bit of dependency after 6 months but that was easily sorted with gradual reduction in dose. I still have some discomfort between my shoulders, like a burning/stinging sensation, and am sometimes reminded of my limitations when I do too much. Other than that all is good. I think I had a fairly smooth ride with just a few bumps. Sleep is initially an issue as you are limited with position. I am interested to hear what the Scroth physio comes up with. Heather
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