II Corinthians 12:9-10

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities... for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
II Corinthians 12:9-10

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Post-Surgery Hair Cuts

When dealing with back problems, a few things can be a little less enjoyable at times. For me, that would be getting my hair cut.

I was reminded of this recently. It's been a while, and I realized again how sitting in those chairs for so long (since my hair was so thick and long) really makes my back sore for the rest of the night. The problem, in my opinion, is when they wash your hair. When I lean back in the chair, my back doesn't even touch it. Only my shoulder blades actually touch the chair because I can't slouch down into it. But that's not too much of a problem, as long as they are fast hair washers.

My first haircut after surgery was about a month and a half later. That was pretty painful. But I brought two pillows, and it really helped. Plus, my hair stylist new about my surgery, so she was very careful.

This time I donated my hair to Locks of Love. It always feels great to help others, whether it's blogging about scoliosis or donating hair.

                                                     Before and after. :)

I've also tried donating blood, but that didn't work out so well. It usually never does. I think I'll stick to donating my hair.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Truth or Dare?

In this game of "truth or dare," here are your options: I tell you the truth about spinal fusions, or I dare you to go ahead and experience it for yourself.

Truth? That's what I thought.

I'm active in several online health communities and forums. One thing I've found is that many people tend to "sugar-coat" their surgery to the point that I'm wondering if we had the same surgery. It's somewhat easy to think that way when it's been so many years since you were lying in the ICU with a fresh incision down your back. There are also others who are considering surgery for (in my opinions) all the wrong reasons.

Of course, I'm extremely thankful for my spinal fusion. It's pretty much the best thing that's happened to me since my salvation, when Christ saved me from my sins. But that doesn't mean it was easy, by any means. I've talked with many people whose curves aren't at the point of being serious, but they just want surgery for different reasons.

One reason is that they are sick of the way they look. It's understandable not to like the fact that your shoulder blade sticks out or one side of your chest caves in, but here's the truth. This surgery is not for looks. After my fusion, yes, my spine is straighter, but you know what? My shoulder blade and chest are exactly the same. I was disappointed when I realized that at first, but I'm so glad that I didn't have my fusion simply to make myself look differently.
Another reason is that they are sick of wearing a brace. Yes, it's uncomfortable, yes, it doesn't look the greatest under most clothing, and yes, it restricts you from bending or eating a lot (which might not be a bad thing). But the truth is simple on this one: if you can't handle a brace, you can't handle surgery. I speak from experience in both cases. And guess what. You can't bend after surgery, either. So for me, my braces actually prepared me for my new back. I usually don't even think about not being able to bend, because all these years I've been squatting down, instead. But my point is this: be faithful in your responsibilities (like wearing a brace) and optimistic in the place you are now, whether you're wearing a brace or facing surgery. Surgery should not be a cop out for bracing. You can take off the brace, but you can't unfuse your spine.

Spinal fusions are huge deals, and NO one should take them lightly. After saying that, for those of you who need surgery, it will probably be the one of the best things that you could do for your body. Although it's definitely not easy and the recovery can seem long, in the long run if you truly need this surgery, it will be totally worth it. I have no regrets. And that's the truth.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Spoonful of Sugar

I've tried a lot of things to make taking medication better-- including a spoonful of sugar (which didn't work so well).

At the hospital, taking medicine is great. All you have to do is press a button--that is, if you're awake to do it. (But then your parents or friends can do it for you.)

Once you're on your own at home, though, you'll be taking pain pills throughout the nights. If you're like me, you might have a few problems with that.

First of all, I don't like to drink anything (especially water) in the middle of the night, and definitely not two seconds after I wake up. After a while of taking my pills with water and feeling sick afterwards, it was time to try something else. I tried Capri Sun, water, grape juice, and who knows what else. But I found that Ensure was the only thing that didn't make me feel sick. Plus, I still wasn't eating much at that time, so it was good for me to be drinking.

Tip number two: Buy straws. It's really hard to swallow a pill while lying down. And trust me, as often as you'll be taking these pills, you won't want to keep getting up and down every time. I was able to lift my head up and take it with a straw. Less choking and no sleeping on a wet pillow.

(I was perfectly capable of eating on my own, but my sister took advantage of the opportunity.) :)

No matter how tired you are or how you feel, at first it's wise to take your pain meds faithfully. You'll probably pay for it later if you don't. Every four hours I took mine, and I'm glad I did. But I was really able to back off of it about a month later (approximately).

I know this surgery and recovery is sort of a trial-and-error thing, but I want to give you any helpful tips (no matter how small or seemingly insignificant) to make it that much easier for you.