Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Anniversary

Today is the 2 year anniversary date of Little Ms. Fun becoming part Wolverine fused.  On January 4, 2010, I underwent a spinal fusion surgery.  They screwed two metal rods into part of my spine and fused the vertebrae together.   Dr. Thomas Errico of NYU Medical center (He is one of the top spinal surgeons in the country.  I highly recommend him to anyone considering going under the knife.), performed the 6 hour surgery.  
I'm pretty sure that's a dentist, but that's exactly what my surgeon looked like!!
In memory of my surgery and in attempt to help out others the way that a certain blogger helped me, here are a few excerpts from my personal online journal:

10/20/09:  ...http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/ is full of great people that are willing to offer advice and guide you along the way. We are each other's support system...


11/02/09:  ...I was diagnosed at the age of 13. I was not born with scoliosis, but somewhere along the line my spine developed an S shaped curve. The top curve is 56 degrees and the bottom curve is 47 degrees.  My scoliosis was always a huge secret.  I didn't know anyone else with this problem and was embarrassed of it.   I wish I knew how common it was. It had a huge effect on my self esteem.  While no one can see it, I know it's there....

11/04/09:  ...After going to three different spinal specialists, I have chosen my surgeon and scheduled my surgery for January 4, 2010. I am very nervous about the risks of the surgery.  The most important thing  is that my heart and lungs will be taken out of danger and the pain will go away...

01/04/10:  ...I'm on my way to surgery.  It'll be a six hour procedure.  There's a great chance that I'll come out with severe nerve damage or not be able to walk again.  Strange thing is, I'm not nervous at all.  I'm at peace with my decision.  I'm in the universe's hands now.  I can't wait to be straight and for the pain to be gone...

01/07/10: ...I have a morphine pump that I am able to push every 6 mins to alleviate the pain.  I am not able to stay awake for very long.  I don't remember much of Tuesday, but I do remember having a blood transfusion...

02/01/10: ...The hardest parts of this recovery are not being able to do much, the massive amount of hair that falls out, and the stabbing sensation in my leg.  The surgeon accidentally hit a nerve during the surgery which resulted in this stabbing pain in my left leg.  I hope it's not permanent.  It is more painful and annoying than any back pain I encountered. I can't walk with this stupid shooting pain...

03/25/10: ...I think that I'm addicted to my pain meds.  I've been trying to ween off, but I can't sleep without them.  The surgeon just told me to pop one right before I want to go to bed.  What does that solve?  I'll just be addicted then for life...


It is two years later and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of my surgery.  All it takes is me lifting something the wrong way or me stretching too hard and, BOOM, my rib is swollen.  I look in the mirror and I can see the scar riding down my back.  Granted, my scar is practically invisible.  It rides along the natural crease of my spine disguising it significantly.  While I live a normal life, and you would NEVER know that I had surgery, it has been hard to adjust.  I can only bend at certain parts of my spine.  It took me well over a year to learn how to do this and function as I once did.  I even had to learn to walk all over again.  (I used a cane for two months!!!)  My first sit up, my first night out dancing, and the first time I was able to bend down and touch the floor again were all huge milestones for me.

I am extremely grateful for the surgery, not only for medical reasons, but for cosmetic reasons as well.  I am now perfectly straight.  I can wear any clothes that I want to and not be fearful that someone may “notice”.   The worst part of scoliosis for girls is the psychological damage.  It can make the most secure person insecure. 

I overcame it, and I want to help others overcome it as well.  I speak to several young girls about scoliosis and the fusion surgery.  My surgeon gives me their names and numbers so I can coach them through it.  There is no better support group than the people that have been through it.

Have you suffered through surgery?  Where did you find support?

-LMF

22 comments:

  1. Yours is a very inspiring story and you had and have a great outlook on it. I've never been in a situation where I needed surgery, with the exception of a C-section. The medication made me do sick, I puked through the entire ordeal.

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  2. Wow. Amen for knowledgeable doctors. You are so positive about it!

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  3. Wow! I'm beyond impressed with you! Your attitude is wonderful and I'm sure you are a fantastic influence on other young women who have to go through the same thing :-)

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  4. Wow! That sounds really serious -- I'm glad you were able to bounce back.

    I've had a gallbladder removed. Not toooo exciting. But my mom wouldn't let me have the painkillers after I left the hospital because she didn't want me to get addicted *rolls eyes*

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  5. Wow never would have even guessed you went through all of that. Amazing the attitude you took in fighting it. Also nice that you help others with it.

    As for me "knock on wood" I've never had so much as a single stitch. Got some scars, one looks like a third eye on the back of my leg..lol..but other than that not a thing.

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  6. Quite the story...so glad you are better! xo

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  7. Thanks for the inspiration LMF and glad you found support. No major surgeries here--knock on wood.

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  8. LMF - thanks for sharing your story and your bravery. A strong support network is crucial to a good recovery and I'm glad you have that!

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  9. part Wolverine - hahaha ;) it's wonderful that you have a sense of humor about it! what a crazy story...i knew one girl in high school who had a similar-sounding surgery to correct her scoliosis, but it left her looking very stiff, and only able to bend at the waist, at the time. she might be more flexible now, but it sounds like your experience was much better than hers.

    happy new year!

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  10. Wow, what an ordeal. So pleased you came through it okay. More than okay. And what a great thing to do - help others. At least make some good come out of all that pain and heartache. Well done. I had a tracheotomy when I was 8 and have a scar in the middle of my throat. I was really self-conscious about it when I was a teenager and people were always noticing it. Now I don't care a damn and no-one notices it!! Typical!

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  11. One of my relatives underwent a similar surgery, and from your narrative, I know it's quite intense. I'm glad that you've overcome this milestone and can share your story.

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  12. Wow that's so intense. I'm so happy you made a smooth recovery! Congrats on all the milestones :-)

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  13. yes, i can imagine that the psychological effect is tremendous, especially among girls. we have such a weird mix of influences in the dominant culture: medical science, which is irrefutable, so that when we are told something is wrong with us (and that's how we are told often) we believe it hook, line and sinker. another influence is the perfect image of the woman's body. anything less than that, according to virtually all the marketing, and you are not right. or am i overstating?
    congrats for getting through it. what a journey that must have been for you. but i imagine you gained some wisdom from it all.

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  14. did you have to wear a brace? my mom had back surgery this summer and it was HELL on us, so i can imagine it was a bagillion times harder for her.
    i'm glad you're better now! mwah.

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  15. Wow. You are so strong! I'm proud of you, girl :0)

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  16. You are such an inspiration for me and so many others. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank God for the advancements in medicine that we have today. I love that you're helping others who are experiencing the same thing. Scoliosis is nothing nice. ((HUG))

    http://averysweetblog.com/

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  17. What an amazing story and experience for you to share. That is a drastic surgery, I knew someone close to me who had it as well and she struggled a lot with rehabilitation. And a cane! So cute, I bet that was stressful. You're so right that much of this has an effect on the mind sometimes more than the body, I'm glad you are using it as a strength. I haven't had a surgery that intense but I have had surgery on my eyelid twice. I was born with a lower right eyelid and 2 surgeries later, it still is lower. It didn't depress me then and it doesn't depress now- I have wholly accepted it and it's just how I was assembled. I feel bad when people can't have that mentality for things like this because really- all you can do is make the best of it! :) Thanks for sharing.

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  18. I've never had anything that major. So glad you recovered well from it and had a great outcome!

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  19. This is one heck of a story. You have really overcome so much. It is inspiring. I know that you are going to touch others with your experience.

    *Erin

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  20. I would be so scared through the surgery. Who all did you tell before?

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  21. you are such a wonderful, jovial person nobody would guess that you've been through huge things at such tender age. it is so incredibly brave of you, you are truly inspiring hun!!
    *hugs*

    Rakhshan

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  22. i've always look forward to your post.. you always have interesting topic to share and i'm very happy to be part of your readers :)
    xoxo, Haus of Gala

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