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Old 03-06-2009, 10:21 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Good afternoon,

I had an unfortunate 8 foot fall, from my daughters playhouse in November 2008. I broke my thoracic bones and required extensive surgery, including two fusions with brackets and screws. I have never had back surgery or an injury such as this and would appreciate any feedback regarding my recovery period? I am being weaned off my back brace right now and am to start hydrotherapy next week. I am thankful for the progress I am making, but would really welcome others who have experienced an injury comparable to mine? Thank you and best wishes to all!

 
Old 03-06-2009, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mod08 View Post
Your post has been moved to the correct board. Thoracic and cervical problems belong on the spinal cord disorders message board.

Thank you and I pray that you will feel better soon.
Mod08
Thank you so much, I really appreciate your well wishes.

 
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:55 AM   #3
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Sorry, I just had ACDF c4-c7 done. Peanuts compared to you... I wish you a complete recovery.
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Thank you for the well wishes. I am doing a lot better this week and have been enjoying sleeping at night without my brace on. It was a really weird feeling at first (I felt very off-balance and my back swelled) but now my back has adjusted to not having it on at night. I'm going to try a morning walk and an afternoon walk, to prepare for my hydrotherapy. Walking is suppose to be the best therapy for me right now and the more I walk, the better I am feeling. I was in very good physical shape prior to the accident and my doctors feel I should recover very well. My feet still ache at night and when the humidity rises... the joints in my hands, fingers, knees and feet ache. I don't know if that is due to the hardware or just the healing process? I wish for you a speedy recovery and will gladly answer any questions I can for you. Thanks for your reply.

 
Old 03-07-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hey there, thoracic surgery is always difficult and considered to be the most dangerous area to operate on. Did you have trans thoracic surgery - the most common type, they go through your ribcage, via lung. Very scary stuff. I had thoraic surgerybut thankfully found an aesome surgeon that was willing to go through the back. I had a costotransversectomy, discectomy, laminestomy and fusion with bone graft - sounds big but really, compared to transthoracic surgery, a walk in the park. I didn't have the surgery until 12 months post car accident. I herniated discs and fractured t10. The fracture itself didn't hurt 4 some reason but I had nerve damage which still hurts whn I breathe in. I was very fit and I'm sure this helps with recovery -building bone etc.

I did have aches after my surgery, especially lying down and in the cold. Do you get any chest pain?

Best of luck, sounds like you're making progress

 
Old 03-08-2009, 08:21 AM   #6
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hi there and thank you for your reply. Like you, my surgery was done through my back. I cannot fathom having surgery the other way... it sounds excrutiating. When I was transported to the emergency room, my husband and family were told that I completely crushed my spine from what the MRI was showing. The specialists were then called in and my actual condition turned out to be severe fractures to T2 through T12 and significant damage to the soft tissue areas surrounding the T's. My surgeon did not know how many fusions were going to be needed, until he started the surgery. My surgery lasted several hours and I had T11 and T12 fused and a lot of internal stitching to pull back together my damaged muscles, etc. Apparently, one of my broken bones was a hair away from puncturing my spinal cord, which would have left me paralyzed. I had one trip back to the ER a few weeks after my surgery, as I twisted wrong trying to sit up and pulled a muscle. I stayed a few days for observation and MRI's and was released back home. I have had some sharp chest pains off and on during my recovery, but they don't last long. I also get sharp pains in other areas, which come and go. My muscle spasms are minimal now, but when I start physical therapy... I'm sure they will return and I'm prepared for that. I'm very thankful that I am improving each day, but it's mentally exhausting being laid up and living with daily pain. My pain level is not off the scale now... it's about a 3 throughout the day and will rise to an 8 when I sit too long, stand too long, etc. Is your chest pain something that will continue? I wish you the best and hope your pains subside. Thanks again for your reply and I welcome any input you may have during my recovery.

 
Old 03-12-2009, 11:46 PM   #7
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hey there, yes, my T8 pain is permanent, or that's what they say...time will tell. I try not to get too down about it because like you, I was nearly paralyzed too. Life is too short to spend on what ifs. The worst part for me is that the pain is so central, everytime I breathe. I do take medications that help somewhat and have nerve blocks done. Do you have any thoracic rotation? I guess it's too early to tell, I lost 95% of mine almost immediately,luckily thoracic rotation is limited anyway. How are you going? I really hope ur healing nicely

 
Old 03-13-2009, 07:33 AM   #8
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

I went to my first physical therapy treatment yesterday... which was aquatic therapy. They had me walk in the water and did some leg and feet exercises. I was really sore afterwards and had a lot of muscle spasms. My left leg was tingling a lot from my hip down, but it feels good this morning. I'm scheduled to go three times a week for 6 weeks for the aquatic therapy and will then advance to the land therapy. My doctors say I will be on the same pain medications for at least 2 months and they will adjust them accordingly, depending on how I do. I'm not sure what thoracic rotation is... please let me know what that is? I am so glad you were not paralyzed and I hope your pain lessens. You are right... I pretty much need to wait and see how I heal and time will tell. I feel like I am making progress each day, but wow... it has been a painful ordeal. I am hoping the physical therapy will help. Thank you for your reply and my thoughts are with you.

 
Old 03-13-2009, 12:16 PM   #9
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hi TTLC,

I fell in August and suffered a burst fracture to my T12 and a compression fracture to my L2. I had fusion T10 thru L2 with rods and screws. Then in December I had another compression fracture to my L5 that was not found until I had an MRI.

I would not wish this on my worst enemy, the pain at times is still unreal. I mainly hurt on my left side in the rib cage area and hip as well as the mid to lower back area.

I wish you much luck with your recovery.

 
Old 03-13-2009, 02:44 PM   #10
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hi Abbey,

My, my, my... I sure do feel your pain. Have you been to physical therapy? If so, did/does it help? Are you able to do much on a day-to-day level? Sometimes I wonder how long it will take for the pain level to reach "tolerable" for just 24 hours. I take that back, 12 hours would be wonderful. (I wish that for everyone who is suffering!)

I sure hope each day brings you less and less pain. How much do you sit, stand, walk, sleep each day? I have been wondering that of others who are recuperating.

I will keep you in my prayers and would love to hear more from you. Please take good care.

 
Old 03-14-2009, 12:05 AM   #11
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hi ttlc, when I was first recovering, I used to have to rest a great deal - nearly any exertion exhausted me. I think that this was pain related lso. Does your dr have you on elavil/endep? This drug was wonderful for helping me sleep - it was so hard because breathing hurt so much. It's not a pain killer though. I've got to run but I just wanted to offer that up. I'll jump back on soon. Juliet

 
Old 03-14-2009, 08:37 AM   #12
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hi Juliet,

Thank you for confirming the need for constant rest. I needed to hear that! I sometimes feel like I should be doing more, but the pain keeps me down a lot. I do get encouraged on the days I am able to be in the kitchen for a little bit, as I love to cook and bake. My hubby and 9 year old daughter help so much and do all the heavy lifting, bending and stirring for me. For sleeping, I've been taking Ambien for the nights I absolutely cannot get comfortable. I also take xanax, as needed, for the times I feel overly anxious and can't relax during the day. When I tense up, the pain drastically increases and sometimes throws me into an anxiety attack? Those attacks felt like I could not swallow, felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest and brought on extreme hot flashes. Horrible. I am able to control those attacks much better now by taking deep breaths, closing my eyes and pretending I'm laying on a beach. It sounds like the elavil provided you the same relief, so you could get some much needed sleep. I am glad you were prescribed that and it helps. Is there anything else they have suggested for your painful breathing? I did experience that at first, but it slowly went away. I will be praying the same will happen with you. Do the nerve blocks help? Hope your day is a good one for you. Hugs to you.

 
Old 03-16-2009, 12:38 AM   #13
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hey there, how's things today? It's interesting that you suffered anxiety attacks too - I still use xanax when necessay. It's horrible because you start panting which hurts which makes you more upset etc etc etc. Yuck, I hope you don't have too manyof them. I used to find that cycle completely devastating because I'm usually a very rational person. Thoracic pain is hard though because you can't escape it or rest it properly.

The blocks usually help but I think he missed the spot this time oh well. They never work 100% but they do help - any relief is welcome. I hope you don't wash up? I still find that that is one of the hardest jobs for me, along with the vacuuming! I think my partner could learn something from your husband

I hope that youdon't worry because istill suffer pain? One of the main reasons is because they didn't operate soon enough and my T8 nerve was crushed for 12 months. I'm hopeful that all will be well in your case. How long do they say before you should back to normal? Enjoy your day

 
Old 03-16-2009, 04:47 PM   #14
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

Hi Juliet,

I'm not too bad today, even though my day was full of resting. I have realized since last week, that I will probably be having a lot of restful days while I'm being weaned off of my back brace and beginning my aquatic therapy. I was in my brace 24/7 for almost 4 months, so it will take time for the muscles to strengthen. I was able to get out yesterday and have dinner at my parents house which was nice. I also managed to bake a cake, with the help of my hubby, to bring to dinner.

I don't know how I would have been able to manage without the xanax for the anxiety episodes. I was happy to hear that you have also been prescribed that, as it certainly makes me feel like I'm not alone! I agree, they are horrible attacks and I'm thankful they are not as frequent.

So sorry to hear about the shot not taking very well for you. Any little bit of relief is very welcomed and when you are away from the pain for a while, it makes me happy to hear that. You've been through a whole lot and deserve to have pain free hours.

I was surprised to hear that you are vacuuming! Wow... that is very strenuous on your back and I hope your partner can help you with that. I don't do any washing up yet... just will rinse some dishes off in the sink, to help out a little. I've been blessed with a hubby who is sometimes "not for real"! He goes over and above, to make me as comfortable as possible and with so much love. We have been together for 2 1/2 years and just got married last October. We were only married 1 month before my fall. We were able to have a very nice wedding and honeymoon in October. I'll be happy to have him give some hints to your partner on your behalf. I know it must be really tough on them, seeing us in our conditions.

I haven't been given a date on when I will be fully recovered. When I ask my doctors about that, they are very encouraging about a positive recovery... but no approximate time has been given yet. I visit my neurosurgeon in a few weeks and will ask him again. I will also ask my PT along the way and see what she thinks, too.

Thanks so much for checking in with me. It means a lot. I haven't been frightened of what you tell me, I just keep praying for you and your pain to be less and less. I always keep my eyes open for similar situations like yours, in the event I run across something new that might help you.

Keep thinking happy thoughts and it's great we have the ability to type to each other. I remember the first few weeks after my fall... I didn't think I'd ever be able to type again. I could hardly bring my arms up to brush my hair!

Have a happy day and talk to you soon.

 
Old 03-17-2009, 02:30 AM   #15
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Re: Fell 8 feet and broke my back (thoracic bones) in November 2008

You make me smile, ttlc, I couldn't do my hair for ages - nothing like looking like a scruff to bring down to reality. Blowdrying isn't great now but I do it because it makes me feel better, knowing that you look presentable goes a long way to making you feel better.

I think I mislead you...vacuuming and washing up are big no's for me. Vacuuming is the one thing that I can't do under any circustance...I just can't push and pull it. My partner isn't quite so good at housework but we get a cleaner to come in once a fortnight to tidy up the things that I can't do.

I'm so glad you got your wedding and honeymoon in on time...it would have been terrible for you if not. It's hard enough on family as it is - I often feel bad for moaning about how bad I feel. Pete is pretty good about things and never gives me a hard time when I'm having a bad day. It's hard not to be hard on yourself though, especially if you're used to doing a lot.

I'd better dash, our dinner is boiling...chat soon, take care ok

 
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