Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A little more about scoliosis (6 month post-op update)

Hello, hello everyone! Long time no post I know, but I'm not feeling all that creative or inspired lately and haven't been able to conjure up enough energy to make a post! Back in December I wrote a post about my scoliosis and the spinal fusion surgery I under went to correct it (you can read A post about Scoliosis here). I thought I would take the time today to write a small update post (more for myself and self-documentation than anything else) but I hope some of you read it all the same. 

My scar as of May 2015

Last Monday (the fourth of May) marked exactly six months since my spinal fusion surgery. As you'll know from my previous post, it was a very risky surgery but I was lucky enough that everything went well (besides a few set backs when we discovered I was allergic to majority of the drugs and pain killers I had to take). 

I'm happy to say that in the five months since my last post I've improved a great deal. In that post I mentioned that I had only been home for two weeks and was struggling to get out of the house. This continued for another four or so weeks and I was terribly bored throughout most of it but two of my lovely friends came to visit me at home a few times and we even managed to go out for lunch or dinner too! I went back to work mid-December (in retail) and managed to deal well with the Christmas crowds and general hussle and bussle of the city during such a busy time. 

By February I was ready to start getting back into the swing of things and started taking 40 minute daily walks. My surgeon told me not to bother with physio (other than what help I received in hospital when learning how to walk again etc.), so I was a little concerned I wasn't doing enough physical activity or rehabilitation. My muscles were constantly sore and I was still almost completely numb on the right side of my torso and back, along with the underside of my right arm.  *Note to my fellow scoliosis sufferers; I doubt this is the same thing every neurosurgeon recommends to their patients so ensure you follow directions given to you by your surgeon and not what you read about other people's experiences on the internet. But as the month wore on I found that a small walk each day was all it was taking for my muscles to adjust to the rods attached to my spine and for the muscle to start building back up. 

I started a new job in March and as I assisted with the opening of a new store I was working full time hours, despite being a casual employee. Whilst I greatly enjoyed working so much and having quite a bit more money than usual I had to ask for my hours to be reduced a little as I couldn't cope with so many hours on my feet. I would return home from work only to find that my back muscles could barley move and the only thing that could help with that was lying down and resting. The rest of the month and April both flew by. It's a little weird being able to physically improve a little bit each and every day but that's exactly what happened! I gradually got a lot more movement in my arms and shoulders as well as my back. Some of the numbness started to go away and now my right arm feels completely normal! 

At the end of April (and the beginning of May) my family and I travelled back home to Tasmania to visit my great-grandmother for her one hundredth birthday! Unfortunately for me, the position of the rods in my spine made it nearly impossible to get even a little bit comfortable when sitting on a plane. The flight to Melbourne wasn't too bad as I was able to recline my seat a bit to accommodate to the fact that my upper body can't 'bend' to fit in the seats but the flight we took from Melbourne to Devonport (thankfully only an hour long flight) was pretty excruciating as the seats were unable to be reclined. I'm a pretty nervous flyer to start with so this really didn't make things any easier for me but as I mentioned, the flight was very short and I was able to stretch my poor back again as soon as we landed. The different temperature down in Tasmania really effected how my back felt too. With the colder weather I could literally feel all the muscles around my rods (including the ones that are still numb) tense and become rigid. Naturally, this was pretty painful but I couldn't do anything about it and it was almost comical how much I felt my muscles relaxing nearly as soon as I made it back to warmer temperatures. 

Updated x-rays I received on the 11th of May 2015. Left; pre spinal-fusion. Right; 6 months post-op

Yesterday (Monday the 11th of May) I finally had the opportunity to have my "six-month" post-op appointment. As I expected, everything went well and we managed to confirm that I grew exactly four and a half centimetres taller after my surgery (I went from 165cm tall to 169.5)! I had a few concerns to ask my surgeon about but he assured me that it was all normal and that I can now start trying to get myself a little fitter by "bulking it up" at the gym (his exact words, it was pretty hilarious). Obviously, my movement is still fairly restricted and I'm going to have to be a lot more careful than I would have in the past but I'm looking forward to finally getting fit again! I also discovered that I shouldn't still be numb on the right side of my torso and back, which is a little concerning but I've been assured it's nothing I should be worrying about just yet. It's normal to still be numb in the middle of my back where my scar is and it's normal the be a little numb on the side you've been 'pulled' across, but as I was 'pulled' back to the left side of my body and not the right it's a little weird.  Never fear, I'm sure it will eventually go away (hopefully)! 

I hope that wasn't too boring to read but it feels good to finally be posting again! If any of you suffer from scoliosis and have any questions about the surgery and all that jazz please feel free to comment below or email me! 

Thank you for reading, love from Maddie (❁˘◡˘❁) 


  1. Damn, those x-rays OUCH

    1. My thoughts exactly anonymous ahahahaha

  2. You are amazing! Such a strong young woman xx

    1. Thank you so much! It means a lot :) xx

  3. I really love this post. I too used to suffer from scoliosis but the doctor caught it during the very early stages. Right now, my husband has minor scoliosis as well but we're doing our best to make sure it doesn't worsen. Hope the numbness rubs off. :)
    And happy belated birthday to your great grandmother!! I absolutely love grandparents. Hahahah

    Vegetarian Courtesy

    1. Thank you Adi, I'm glad you liked this post! I hope everything goes well for your husband!

      I will let her know a stranger on the internet wished her a happy birthday, she will be thrilled! <3