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Thread: Back surgery (cont.) -- scheduled, and I'm scared!

  1. #1
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    Mar 2006
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    Back surgery (cont.) -- scheduled, and I'm scared!

    Hi folks, just wanted to update you regarding my potential back surgery... after all my earlier discussion here (http://petoftheday.com/talk/showthread.php?185449) and all the concerned and helpful feedback and information I got from you all.

    It is now scheduled for Sept. 15, by Dr. Rakesh Patel at the University of Michigan Hospital.

    I could have had it late July, but my nephew is getting married Aug. 30. and I didn't want to take the chance I might not be rehabbed enough at that point to attend the wedding.

    I think I'm scared just about out of my wits. I have had this nameless fear floating around at the base of my stomach for the last 4 or 5 days, and I think that's what it is about: Just being so helpless for so long after, and all the things that might go wrong.

    I have an appointment to see Dr. Patel again on Tuesday, July 22. I want to ask him just what I can expect assuming things go as planned, in terms of what shape I'll be in and how long it will take for me to become more self-sufficient in varying degrees.

    Also, what if things don't go as planned.. what kinds of things might possibly go wrong, and how likely is it that any of these things might happen, and what then..

    Ellie, and others who have had such surgery or know people who have.. I'd appreciate greatly any feedback you have on this, experience with it and if so what did you do, etc.

    Thanks very much! I love you all.

    Pat (and cats)
    Last edited by phesina; 07-19-2014 at 02:36 PM.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  2. #2
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    No experience with it, just wanted to add you'll be in our prayers!
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
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    Thank you, Karen.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  4. #4
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    Pat - I really believe that you are needlessly worrying yourself. I know that's easy for me to say since I have had 2 lumbar surgeries and 3 cervical surgeries, and you have yet to have any. First of all, the lumbar is nearly painless and doesn't carry with it the drastic restrictions that the cervical does. The most difficult part of the lumbar fusions, is making yourself follow the restrictions, since you don't feel bad at all, and want to carry on as usual. The one I had done this past May, was to repair and fuse L3, L4, L5 and S1 - L3 needed to be added this time. I had it done on Wednesday, and doc came in Friday morning and said I could go home that day - but due to a mix up with my son's schedule, he couldn't get over to pick me up until Saturday. Still - I came home and no rehab, same as the previous one. I had the regular restrictions - no driving, no bending, lifting or twisting ( BLT ), must "log roll" in and out of bed, no carrying anything over 10 pounds. I was able to shower but no baths, and I was encouraged to walk-walk-walk as much as possible. My first post op visit was 2 weeks after the surgery, and restrictions were modified - I could now drive, no more log rolling necessary, weight restrictions still in place, and gradually add back the bending, lifting, twisting - in moderation of course. I used just a cane for under 2 weeks for my own piece of mind, and never used my walker at all. I did have one complication, and the only reason I say anything about it, is because it is so closely related the the surgical issue, but not a normal complication resulting from it --- but it was something that could happen to anyone at any time, and really wasn't a result of the procedure. Three weeks ago I had a tear in the fascia of the spinal column and a spinal fluid leak that makes me look like I have a sponge implanted along the incision line. This could have been caused by something as simple as a sneeze or cough, or in turning or stretching - all kinds of different reasons. I was back for my 2nd post op this past Tuesday, and the x-rays look great, and the surgery did exactly what it was supposed to do. The leak was just an unexpected fly in the ointment. So doc put me in a lumbar compression brace to try to disperse and squish the fluid out so that my system can absorb it naturally, and so that he doesn't have to drain it. Draining opens up the possibility of infection, so hoping this method works. My "spongy" area has gone down drastically in just a few days with the brace, so I'm confident that this is working. If not, then when I go back on 8/12, he'll arrange do another MRI to see where it's still leaking, and take it from there, but even if it has to be plugged, it isn't a surgical procedure. I'm not really worried about it, since I have an awesome surgeon - the one who actually saved my life back in 2006 (the year from hell) after 2 local hacks nearly killed me. And the icing on the cake - I don't even need to go to p.t. - unless I want to and feel that I need it. I don't - on both counts !

    So PLEASE try to stop worrying - I'm certain that' you'll have an easy time of it. You'll sail thru this and heal much more quickly if you go into it with a positive attitude. I'm thinking of you and sending you good vibes. I'll let you know how my next appointment goes, and if my family can stop calling me "Sponge Bob".
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

  5. #5
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    Like Ellie, Iíve also had my share of surgeries. I really can say I didnít feel freaky nervous before any of them.

    My brain tumor caused the most concern for me Ė but I had to put it out of my mind or I would have gone batty. I figured my surgeon had all the worries to deal with, and I just refused to think about the actual procedure, and concentrated on what I would do post-op. And I spent just 2 days in the hospital Ė piece of cake, just like I imagined.

    My recent one Ė the new hip Ė just made me angry. Iím far too young to have to need a new joint. At least thatís what I told myself.

    I think you should print Ellieís response and read it several times a day. You can do this

  6. #6
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    I wish I had some magic words to give you that would put you at ease, but I don't. I would echo Grace's comments
    about following Ellie's suggestions on the surgery. I just know that some things in life that I worried so much about before
    they happened, turned out to be worrying for nothing. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers for a successful outcome
    and quick & easy recovery for you. (((Hugs)))
    I've Been Boo'd

    I've been Frosted






    Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

  7. #7
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    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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    Thank you, Ellie and Gretchen and Liz. And Ellie, I will keep reading your message and work on the positive attitude.

    A friend of my sister's had back surgery (not quite as extensive as mine; just laminectomy, no fusion) recently done by Dr. Patel. She came out of it just fine, is very pleased with the results, and LUVVVVS Dr. Patel!

    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  8. #8
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    Dear Pat,

    Try not to worry so much. Instead of focussing on what might go wrong, try to visualize how better you will be afterwards; You will be in safe hands, the docs know what they're doing, so try not to think negative
    In 2003 I had a really major back surgery, and i had no choice to get it or not; I simply had to!
    Together with lots of support from friends and family, I managed to stay reasonably calm;
    Now I am soooooooo glad I had that operation! I know, I still have lots of backproblems, but at least I got rid of a very big problem; If I hadn't agreed to be helped, I would now be in a wheelchair, suffering immense pain! I am so happy I had so much trust in my surgeons!
    I am most willig to send you as much positive vibes as I can sweetheart

    Take care!!

  9. #9
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    Thank you, Lut. You are very encouraging, too! I really appreciate your good wishes.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  10. #10
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    Alberta, Canada
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    Pat, I have never needed back surgery so I can't empathize, but I did have one surgery as an adult.

    I did all the positive things I could. I reminded myself to use "Please" and "Thank You" to all medical staff, especially nurses who often don't have a great time of it with patients. (I remember the day after surgery, a nurse from the day before was on a different ward but popped in to see how I was doing. SOMEHOW - after the anesthetic and all the day before - her name popped into my head, and I smiled and said, "Good morning, (name). How are you today?" Well, her smile just lit up the whole room!)

    I was a churchgoer at the time, and even went to the anointing of an oil for healing. Why not? I put all the positive things in my favour!

    I'll email you a humourous memo I wrote at the time. Just before I went to the OR, a nurse saw it and cracked up. My older, experienced, wizened surgeon got a good chuckle out of it; he wore a faded surgical cap with teddy bears on it. Whether it was a gift from a grandchild or said something about his personality, I don't know.

    HUGS to you - I know it's a while to wait - but it does sound like you are in great hands!
    "To begin, begin." ~William Wordsworth

  11. #11
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    Hi Candace, thank you for all the encouragement.

    Yes, I am also a great believer in saying Please and Thank You to the medical staff and all who do helpful things for me even if that is their job to do those things. I will make it a point to continue to do so throughout this.

    I'm not a churchgoer and don't have a particular religion I follow, but maybe I'll look around for one of those healing ceremonies. Good idea, thanks! I do believe that such positive things like that are good, and holy.

    I'm looking forward to your memo!

    Thanks again, Candace, and everyone! You all have already done a great deal to lift my spirit from the pit of fear it has been lurking in.

    Love from Pat (and cats)
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  12. #12
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    My life is God filtered :)
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    While I've never had back surgery, I've had major surgery in 2006 for lung cancer. Never once did I worry about it as I had put 100% faith in my surgeon whom I met many times before the surgery date.

    The one thing I learned was to not waste energy worrying needlessly. Instead, pre-surgery, I focussed on being as healthy as I could be at the time so that post-surgery recovery would be much faster.

    Breathe deeply and know that everything will go well. I have it from the source, Merlin. He tells me that you will be surprised on how well you do.

    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand and strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!
    --unknown

    Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see
    --Polar Express

    Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.




  13. #13
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    Thank you, Slick. And thanks for your words of wisdom. I have to say lung cancer trumps back problems, so your ability to face that with a positive attitude certainly is inspiring for me! God bless.

    And many thanks to Merlin for his prediction, too! Sparkler said "That's what I keep telling you, and see, I KNOW!"

    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  14. #14
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    North Carolina, USA
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    No, thankfully I've never had any serious surgery... only had my gallbladder removed through my navel. I'll say a prayer for you and your medical staff.... Kay

  15. #15
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    Thank you, Kay!
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

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