I had scoliosis from childhood, but through my teens and early adulthood, I never really experienced any problems other than my hips were a little uneven. With the beginning of menopause in my early 50’s, I began to feel some pain in my lower back. I babysat my three grandchildren and, as I picked them up daily and carried them around, the pain became more frequent and intense. By age 57, I was experiencing severe, constant pain that was interfering with my sleep and mood. My body was giving in to the curvature of my spine, and this is when I went to my medical doctor for help.
He referred me to a spine specialist, who sent me through numerous x-rays/MRI and he even performed a small surgery on my c-spine to relieve cord compression that I didn’t even know I had (said small chance it might provide some relief, but did not).
So he counseled with other spine surgeons in the area and decided I was not a candidate for the bigger scoliosis surgery in Chattanooga, TN. He gave me three referrals and spoke highest of the surgeons at Washington University, which was 700 miles from my home.
I consulted with Dr. Lehman in April, 2014. My pain was almost unbearable at that point and was wearing on my nerves. I was ready for surgery that day, but I would have to wait a little longer. I was very impressed with him/his staff from the first visit. Together we began the process of preparation for my surgery in September, 2014.
Dr. Lehman informed me that my curve was 65 degrees, and he would have to operate on most of my thoracic and lumbar area, that I would spend 2-3 weeks in/around the hospital and that it would be a rough 6-8 weeks post-op recovery period. After all the praying I had done and my quality of life at that point, I was ready—scared to death—but ready to get it behind me.
September 16, 2014, I checked in the hospital the morning of my surgery. I was in surgery 8-9 hours, had T4-L4 replaced. I was moved to a room that night, spent six days in the hospital, four more days in the hotel and then I was released to go home.
Eight weeks later I took a road trip for my check-up with Dr. Lehman, and I was able to walk in with no walker or cane. I got a great report from him that my spine was healing well.
Two weeks later, I started outpatient physical therapy three times per week for a total of twenty visits. The therapy was very helpful and beneficial because I learned how to move my body properly and strengthen my muscles back to normal. I have continued my own therapy/exercises at home 3-4 times per week. In March, 2015, I returned for my 6-month check-up, and I was informed I was healing well and was released to normal activities, using common sense.
I am feeling great now. I currently take no pain medication, I have no pain and YES I would do it over again tomorrow for the quality of life I now have back! Thank you, Dr. Lehman, nurse Christine and all other staff members who aided in my amazing surgery/care.