Pain days

I don’t like to post about pain too much as I don’t want to put people off having this surgery, as I know that in many severe cases like mine, surgery is unavoidable.

However, this is an honest blog about life after scoliosis surgery and if you need to have this surgery you will be interested in what it’s really like living your life after this type of surgery.

Today has been a bad pain day. Actually the past few days have.

Honestly, I don’t get as many pain days now as I used to, in fact, I can now go months without taking my painkillers. Considering how many painkillers I took in the year following my surgery, I think this is incredible.
I believe alot of this is down to my exercising and keeping my core as strong as possible as I’ve worked really hard to get my strength back since surgery.
My pain days generally don’t stop me from doing anything. I just keep calm, take a codeine and carry on!  But these pain days do make me stop and remember that I have had major surgery on my spine, it’s so easy to forget sometimes.
I’ve been trying to work out recently what causes my pain days. Am I doing too much by going to the gym frequently and working full time? Should I rest more? I just don’t know.  These are the questions I will ask my consultant when I see him next month.
I think though, that I’ve worked out a few ‘triggers’ of my post-surgery pain over the past few months:
  • Stress I’ve been under alot of stress over the past couple of weeks and I think this is causing my back pain to flare up now. Maybe it’s the muscles tensing up I don’t know but it seems to be worse when I get stressed.
  • Cold Weather Now the summer has come to an end (I know, I know, what summer right?) I can feel the cold working my way into my back and making it tense up more.
  • Uncomfortable chairs I still need to get myself a decent cushion!! But most chairs are uncomfortable and will cause my back pain to flare up if I sit on them too long.
  • Time of the month (ladies!) for some reason my back pain gets alot worse during this time, which is odd as this never happened before surgery!
  • Being on my feet too long although I know this is also a problem for people who don’t even have a back condition and it’s usually relieved once I sit/lie down.
I would be interested to hear from other people who have had the surgery, what do you think causes your pain and how do you tend to cope?

 

2 years post op!

I can’t believe it but today I am 2 years post op! I can’t believe it was a whole two years ago today that I had my scoliosis surgery.
I thought I’d do a quick update on how I’m feeling now in myself and how my back is. 
I’d say at 2 years post op I’m pretty much back to normal, I work full time and I go to the gym 3-4 times a week. 
I still get bad pain days from time to time but I don’t take painkillers everyday now and I’m just really thankful for everything I can do. 
Everytime I go to the gym, drive my car, go shopping, even getting out of bed by myself (things I used to take for granted) I really appreciate that I can do them. 
I think this surgey has made me look at my life in a different way and just be thankful for every thing I can do and thankful for life in general. I think it’s only when these things are taken away or made difficult after this kind of surgery, that you realise how much you really rely on using your back in every day life. People really do take it for granted. Everytime I do something new that I havent done since surgery I feel so happy that I’m able to do it.

It’s a long, slow recovery and it’s only very recently that I’ve been able to do things like lie on my side in bed comfortably but I got there eventually! 
I also still feel stiff sometimes, I dont know if this will ever go but I’m kind of used to it now. If I had the option, I still wouldn’t change my back for a “normal” one without the rods, as in a way I quite enjoy being unique and the rods make my back feel strong and supported. 
I don’t think my back will ever feel 100% normal, but who knows it might improve even further in 6 months time!
I don’t have my 2 year post op appointment until October (the hospital forgot about me!!) so I just prey everything is ok with the fusion and metalwork until then.
I’d say to people early on in their recovery – you still have a long way to go but eventually you do start getting back to “normal” and getting on with and enjoying your life again.
Louise x

Holiday – 1 year 7 months post op

I’ve just got back from my birthday holiday in Marrakech and thought I would update how it was for my back. 
Holidays are always difficult for people with bad backs, lugging cases about, airport queues, hours on your feet, uncomfortable aeroplane seats, hard hotel beds.. the list goes on!
However, this holiday it actually wasn’t so bad.
Last summer when I was around the one year post op mark I went to Cyprus for two weeks and I found it incredibly difficult. Especially getting on and off low sunbeds and I found it hard keeping up with my family during evening walks when I would get a tight ‘pulling’ feeling in my back if I walked too fast.
This holiday I only realised that I had improved when my boyfriend pointed out how different I was to when we were in Cyprus last year. After he made the comment, I realised he was right. I found myself easily getting on and off the hotel sunbeds plus I did a few long days of excursions walking round all day and it was no problem at all. I had no problem spending all day on my feet and keeping up with everyone else on the excursions.
I didnt even realise all this to begin with, I was just doing it without thinking. I even had no painkillers all week! I think the heat helped with this though – I need to move somewhere hot..
The point I’m making really is that at a year post op I was thinking that that was it and that it was as good as I would ever be after this surgery. 
I know now that this is not the case, although it’s impossible and frustrating not to know that at the time. If you reading this and are at this stage around one year post op please remember you will still be improving and you won’t even realise it until you look back a good few months later and see how much easier things are still getting.
I had a wonderful holiday and did all the things I never imagined doing again (comfortably!) last summer.

Nothing is impossible and I still look forward to seeing what else I can do as each month passes by! 
Louise x