Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Settings Personal Goals and Achievements for Spinal Fusion Recovery

People out there who are keeping tab on my progress of my scoliosis spine surgery recovery I  want to apologize cause I don't do frequent update as per your expectation.    Few months back someone wrote me an email with the opening sentence
Hi, I don't know whether is this thread is still active.? …....” 

My reaction

If this is the first time you stumble into my blog, this is my "weird back"  before the Scoliosis spinal fusion.  My shoulder was tilted, my pelvic is uneven, my torso is shorter and shorter by years due to the curve progression.

This is my recent "selfie".  My skirt hangs well now compare to before the ops?

Settings personal goals and achievements will continue to motivate one to move on, staying alive and kicking.   I also set goals and things that I want to achieve to motivate me on my scoliosis surgery recovery.

On my admission day I forewarned my spine surgeons (my main spine doctor and the junior doctor who is helping out in the operation) that no matter what happen have to ensure that I can walk again. In a serious stern tone, I told them that is it my wish to go to Nepal. I want to witness vulture migration. As the general anesthetic is being injected to me, the very minutes before I doze off I quickly switch my mind to imagine that I am standing at the ridge top of Australian Based Camp at Thulakharka the foothill of Ananpura. Yes I will walk up to be there at 2050m above sea level!

As of now in the month of Nov 2015, I am passing the 20th month of post ops. I am recovering on a good track. For physio I started off with brisk walking then since 4th months post ops I progress to be a wannabee fish.

I usually swim 3 – 4 times in a week except on those days when swimming pools are close during Hari Raya or I am on a long holiday trip. Those days when I am taking leave from swimming I will do superman exercise  instead.

Since beginning of this year I started to wear back my high heels shoes to office.

My back has no complain even after I had made trips traveling on rough pothole gravel road to Orang Asli settlement to bring to them spine care awareness and scoliosis screening.

Recovering is solely the responsibilities of the patient. In order to achieve my goal, I eat rightly do all the physio as per my doctor advice to build back all the necessary muscles to hold up my new spine.

As I wait impatiently of the day my weight carry/lifting restriction to lift off, occasionally I send message to my spine doctor asking the same old question. ( Is there any kind of exercise to speed up the fusion? When the restriction is lifted? )

On the 6th months post ops clinical appointment, I was very nervous sitting outside of his clinic waiting for my name to be called. Thoughts and doubts like this keep running through and forth in my brain, “OOOOh did I make it? Has fusion started? Does it manage to achieve to the satisfactory level?...” Goodness I am tormenting with all these unnecessary thoughts..
Such relieve and I wish that I can jump to express the joy when my spine doctor said “ more restriction now...”

Knowing very well that all strenuous activities need to reserve after 18th months post ops. Yet I still have the thought of having in mind to do Nepal trip on my 8th months post ops. I wrote an email to my surgeon informed and seeking permission with the traveling condition of porthole dirt gravel road.
Yikes his reply is “All strenuous activities are after 18th months post ops.....”
However, little by little I did all the trip preparation for the next season. I make sure of my Passport validity, bought the air ticket , chart my mandatory leave, Applied Visa, get a better tracking shoes, bought the wind breaker, sleeping bag , thermal wears..etc..etc.

YES I will be there to witness vultures that has being rare and extinct.  I will let you all know whether do they really have bad breath cause their role is to clean and consume carcasses.

I will have a good look at this "sacred holy mountain"..

I am very excited on this trip and I can't wait to see how a millet and buckwheat plantation. I also hope that I can have a look of a legal opium farming. I want to have a glimpse of the opium plant that produce morphine. Morphine  that is what I used as the painkiller during my 1st and 2nd day post ops.

All three of us have these  things in common.
a) We have scoliosis. 
b) Our scoliosis curve had progress from mild till severe
c) Due to severe curve, we need spine surgery.
d)  We have undergone scoliosis spine surgery
e)  After the surgery we have titanium screws, nut, rod and crosslink to hold our new spine.

f)  We set personal goals and  achievements.
In today medical spine medical technology surgery are faster and safer compare to the former days. Even thought it is the fact that scoliosis surgery is very complex and has lesser life risk compare to when we are on the road. It  is still very important that you do spine surgeon selection. Yes very true that spine surgeon we also called them orthopedician. In actual fact spine surgeon are the rare bits of orthopedician that are specifically specialist on spine.

You can formulate a list of selection criteria eg
 1) how many times in a year, month, week that he/she perform somewhat of this kind of surgery?

2) What is the industry success rate ? What is his/her personal level of success? Patient recovery rate?

3) Is the hospital well equip? Does it have the full medical team in that single hospital.

4) How many operative hours would your case need? The longer operative hours the patient are expose to more risk eg deep scar infections, excessive bleeding, facial swells, longer recovery process.

5) What level of your risk?

6)  Till what level of Vertebrae that you will be fuse